HC Deb 04 March 1912 vol 35 cc150-2

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr.Gulland.]


There is a matter as to which I desire an explanation from the Home Secretary. This morning a Gentleman whose wife is in prison in Holloway in connection with the disturbances that occurred the other day inquired over the telephone from the Governor of Holloway as to what hour he could see his wife. Under Prison Rule 207, Section (2), each prisoner awaiting trial shall be permitted to be visited by one person for a quarter of an hour on any week day during such hours as may be appointed. Relying upon that rule, the gentleman in question made the application, and was informed over the telephone that the visiting list to remanded prisoners is suspended, except to solicitors, by order of the Home Office. I desire to ask in what circumstances this prison rule was suspended in respect of this particular lady, and under what authority the Home Office has power to suspend rules and regulations laid down for the guidance of the prison authorities? Those are the two questions on which I hope the Home Secretary will give us a satisfactory explanation.


With regard to the first question raised by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, the circumstances under which this gentleman was refused permission to visit his wife were these: The prisoners, I believe the whole of the prisoners who were recently sent to prison on remand in consequence of the destruction of property in the streets, were guilty of insubordinate and riotous conduct in the prison. In consequence of their misconduct it became necessary, in the judgment of the Home Office, to suspend the ordinary allowances which are permitted under the regulations with regard to receiving visitors. I conceive that the House will agree that the Home Office acted quite properly in punishing the prisoners who were guilty of riotous misconduct. As regards the power of the Home Secretary, I may inform the hon. Member that the Home Secretary in his discretion can suspend the rules according to the circumstances of each particular case. The Home Secretary of course, has to defend his conduct on the floor of the House, but I shall appeal to the judgment of the House that I acted quite rightly in refusing to allow the ordinary indulgences to prisoners on remand when those prisoners are guilty of riotous and insubordinate conduct.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say under what authority he suspended the rules?


I have done it under my own authority.

Adjourned at Eight minutes lifter Eleven o'clock.