CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

BUSINESS QUESTION – MPS' HOME ADDRESSES – 3 July 2008

Dr Julian Lewis: The Leader of the House has done a great service to Members' personal security by tabling the motion that will be debated later today on the non-disclosure of private home addresses. May I urge her to resist strongly any amendment that seeks to make an exception for Members' home addresses in their constituencies, just on the basis that these occasionally have to be published locally? Returning to wider business, may I also request a statement from a Home Office Minister about the strange case of the suspected terrorist who went on the run last week and who was believed to have been involved in a major suicide plot, and yet whose identity could not be disclosed while he was on the run, for legal reasons? Some of us find it very strange that dangerous people could be on the run without our having a chance of catching them, because no one would know who they were or what they looked like.

[The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): At first sight, the case of the person who had gone on the run but could not be named does sound a bit baffling, so I will ask a Home Office Minister to write to the hon. Gentleman, and to see whether the matter is not too secret for some light to be shed on it.

The hon. Gentleman's first point brings to the House's attention the J. Lewis list. This is not the John Lewis list but the list of Members throughout the House who have signed his early-day motion. We have to base this issue on the security advice given to this House, which says that we should not publish our addresses, travel patterns or any information that could lead to Members being insecure and therefore unable to speak freely in this House. There will be an opportunity to debate this issue in the second of this afternoon's debates. I know that the hon. Member for North Southwark and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) has tabled an amendment, but I hope that he will not press it to a vote. We simply have to act – [Interruption.] I can now reassure the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis) that the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for North Southwark and Bermondsey has not been selected, so I will not have to do what I would have done, which is to resist it and make sure that we get this issue sorted out once and for all.]