§ Sir John Wheeler
To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about the Government's policy on the implications of homosexuality for security vetting.
§ The Prime Minister
All candidates for posts involving access to highly classified information are vetted in accordance with the procedures described in the statement of vetting policy announced by my predecessor on 24 July 1990 at columns159–61.
Because homosexual acts, even between consenting adults, remain criminal offences in a number of overseas countries, evidence of homosexuality, even if acknowledged, has been treated under this policy as a bar to clearance at PV (TS)—positive vetting (top secret)—or enhanced positive vetting (EPV) level in overseas posts and therefore as a bar to recruitment to certain areas of employment, including the diplomatic service. In the light of changing social attitudes towards homosexuality in this country and abroad, and the correspondingly greater willingness on the part of homosexuals to be open about their sexuality, their lifestyle and their relationships, the Government have reviewed this policy and concluded that in future there should be no posts involving access to highly classified information for which homosexuality represents an automatic bar to security clearance, except in the special case of the armed forces where homosexual acts remain offences under the service disciplinary Acts.
The susceptibility of the subject to blackmail or pressure by a foreign intelligence service will continue to be a factor in the vetting of all candidates for posts involving access to highly classified information. An individual assessment is made in each case, taking account of the evidence which emerges in the course of the vetting process and the level of security clearance required.