Dr Julian Lewis: One thing that would seem only common sense to anyone finding classified documents is that they should hand them to the police. Can the Minister advise us what the legal position is? Was any official secrets legislation broken by somebody handing these documents to anybody other than the police? Was any official secrets legislation broken by the BBC in not handling them directly to the police but in choosing instead selectively to quote from classified information? Will the Government inquire as to whether the BBC paid any money for the acquisition of these documents from someone who ought to have handed them to the police straightaway?
[The Minister for Defence Procurement (Jeremy Quin): In an ideal and proper world, the documents should not have been available where they were, so that is where the original fault clearly lies. In the event of documents of this nature being found, clearly one would encourage members of the public to hand them in to the police. In this instance, they were handed in to the BBC. Naturally, I would have preferred the BBC to hand them over immediately and not made reference to them, but it has a job to do, and I recognise that it has behaved responsibly and handed the documents back to the Department. We are analysing that now.]