New Forest East


By Michael Evans

The Times – 4 February 1999

The Public Record Office is to be allowed to read MI5 files that have been earmarked for destruction to check their historic value. New guidelines for assessing the historic significance of MI5 files have also been approved after a review by the Advisory Panel on Public Records. In a written Commons answer, Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, said he had increased the number of categories of files that should be kept. These would include files on organisations and individuals on which security action was required but which were not of great significance at the time.

He said selection from this category should be carried out to show "the geographical, national and social range of individuals and organisations with which MI5 had dealings". Officials at the Public Record Office in Kew who have the appropriate clearance would be able to double-check files to ensure important documents are not destroyed.