16. Major HOPE
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that the medical officer of Duke Street Prison, Glasgow was, during 1912, a vice-president of the St. Rollox Liberal Association, and also one of the representatives to the Scottish Liberal Associations Council; and whether this is not a contravention of the rules of the Civil Service?
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)
I was not aware of the fact until I saw the question of the hon. 981 and gallant Member, but I have made inquiries. I am informed that many years ago Dr. Devon's name was placed on the list of the vice-presidents of the St. Rollox Liberal Association, whose position is purely honorary. The secretary informs me that six years ago Dr. Devon intimated his withdrawal from the association, and that at least since then he has not subscribed to the funds of the association or attended its meetings. His withdrawal was duly reported to the executive by the secretary, but the executive, being desirous of retaining a nominal connection with him, left his name on the list of vice-presidents and also retained his name as one of their twelve representatives on the Scottish Liberal Association. As to the second part of the question, Dr. Devon did not attend the council meetings referred to. As the association does not print or publish a list of its officials and I never saw Dr. Devon at its meetings, I was not aware that his name was on its books. In regard to the suggestion underlying this and previous questions, I wish to add that Dr. Devon is the best-known writer on criminology in Scotland. In combined experience and ability he was in my judgment the best of the candidates who applied. His application was supported by testimonials from magistrates, sheriffs, procurators-fiscal, and others who had formed a high opinion of his work as medical legal examiner from personal knowledge and who certainly did not support him on political grounds, as many of them are Unionists.
May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman agrees with the sentiments expressed in Dr. Devon's book, "The Criminal and the Community?"
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
That is a very extraordinary question. I do not suppose that I agree with all the sentiments expressed in any book.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
May I ask whether or not the fact that the doctor had held previous appointments had anything to do with the appointment he has recently received?
§ Dr. ADDISON
Is this gentleman of wide experience and learning to be debarred from public office because he happens to be a Liberal?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this question is inspired by a disappointed aspirant for the office?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must keep that to himself. He has no right to suggest motives of that kind at any time.
Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that the "Evening News," his own organ, said, "It is a venturesome experiment"?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
I did not see the picturesque phrase the last hon. Member referred to, but I did see the other allusion.