§ 20. Mr. Hugh Jenkins
asked the Minister without Portfolio whether he will institute an inter-departmental inquiry into the leakage of information by civil servants, with a view to increasing the amount of on-the-record information and decreasing the number of off-the-record and unattributable briefings.
§ Mr. Jenkins
Will my right hon. Friend reconsider that answer? Is he aware that the editor of The Guardian, for example, in a Hetherington Lecture recently said that civil servants were in the habit of giving private briefings of their own? Is it not desirable that this should be co-ordinated? In the event of various civil servants giving different briefings, the public may be mislead. Should not there be some co-ordination of this activity?
§ Mr. Shore
I know my hon. Friend's great interest in this matter, and particularly in getting more openness in Government. This is a serious problem. I do not, however, think that there is a need for increased co-ordination here. I think that the public generally, and organisations in particular, need more information and more opportunities for consultation than they have had in the past, and this is precisely what the Government have been providing them with.
§ Sir G. Nabarro
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how the Daily Express this morning has succeeded in publishing a comprehensive statement of Wednesday's agricultural price review, including every item of review commodity and the increased prices? Who is responsible for this bureaucratic incontinence?