§ 21. Mr. Mander
asked the Attorney-General the number of times during the last five years in which his fiat has been granted and been refused in connection with criminal prosecutions under the Official Secrets Act, 1911, and the circumstances under which it was granted in the case of Lewis versus Cattle?
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Donald Somervell)
The fiat has been granted 28 times and refused 10 times. I should explain that in the latter cases, no proceedings were taken, as a result of the preliminary discussions with the Attorney-General, but there was no formal application for and refusal of the fiat. In the case of Lewis versus Cattle the fiat was granted as there had been a plain breach of a Section of the Act, subject to a question on which it was desirable to have a decision, namely as to whether a member of the Provincial Police Force was a person holding office under His Majesty within the meaning of the Act.
§ Mr. Mander
Can the Attorney-General say when a decision is likely to be reached as to the future of this Act, in view of the fact that an interpretation is desired?
§ Mr. Mander
Can the hon. And learned Gentleman say when a decision will be taken in regard to the future of the Act?
§ The Attorney-General
I understand that a question as to the operation of Section 6 has been put down to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, and I think that that is the matter to which the hon. Gentleman is referring.