§ Mr. Alfred Morris
To ask the Prime Minister what are the conventions whereby civil service departments take steps to consult the opposition about their policies towards the end of a Parliament; and when such steps are planned to be taken before the end of the current Parliament.
§ The Prime Minister
The convention is that, by authority of the Prime Minister, in the last six months of a Parliament of when a general election has been called, Opposition parties may arrange, with the authority of their party leaders and through the head of the civil service, contacts with senior civil servants. These arrangements are designed to allow briefing on factual questions on departmental organisational changes which Opposition parties have in mind or which may result from Opposition522W party policies. Any exchanges would be confidential. I will be prepared to authorise such arrangements from the end of this year.