§ 28. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department where Miss Howsin and Mr. L. Græme Scott are now detained; how long they have been 12 there; whether they are kept solitary; whether allowed to be visited by their respective legal advisers and medical advisers; whether the latter has in either case expressed fears for the health of the prisoner if imprisonment be continued; visers; whether the latter has in either case, why its value has not been tested in a Civil Court; whether in Mr. Scott's case evidence is available to prove his imprisonment to have been compassed by personal malice; how many English women and men are now in prison in this country untried like these two; and when it is proposed to give them the benefit of the law as it existed before the War?
These two persons are interned under Regulation 14B of the Defence of the Realm Regulations—Miss Howsin at Aylesbury since 8th September, and Mr. Scott at Islington since 27th July last. They are not in solitary confinement. Both have been visited by legal advisers, and Scott by a medical adviser, but the medical adviser did not express any opinion which would justify his release. The suggestion that personal malice is responsible for Scott's internment is without foundation. Apart from the recent internment of persons concerned in the insurrection in Ireland, there are fifty-seven other British subjects who have come within the scope of Regulation 14B and are interned there-under.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why Mr. Scott is not allowed to communicate an ordinary letter to his mother, such as this in my hands?
Yes, Sir, they are allowed to forward proper communications. I do not know what the character of the alleged letter may be. If it has reached the hon. Member apparently he has been allowed to communicate.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this letter in my hand was returned to Mr. Scott and not allowed to go to his mother, and that it is because it was returned it is now in my hand?
I was not aware of that, but I will make inquiry as to the surreptitious means by which the letter has been obtained.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire into the character of the letter itself, and why it has not been allowed to go to the lady to whom it was addressed?
§ 60. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Prime Minister whether he will have the statement sent to the War Office in March, 1915, by Mr. L. Graeme Scott, and for the writing of which Mr. Scott is now interned, made available for Members of this House to read, to enable them, in the light of events, to compare it with official statements on the same subject?
§ Mr. FORSTER
The hon. Member is incorrect in assuming that Scott was interned for writing the statement referred to. The case has been fully considered by the Advisory Committee, who dismissed the appeal against internment. It appears, therefore, that no useful purpose would be served by submitting Scott's statement, which only represents a fraction of the case, and which did not form the grounds for internment as alleged, for the consideration of Members.
§ 29. Sir W. BYLES
asked the Home Secretary whether, as one result of the recent Irish rising, nearly 2,000 persons have now been interned in this country for many weeks without charge or trial, of which number a large proportion are presumably innocent of any complicity or even sympathy with the rebellion; and seeing that the prolonged investigations of the Advisory Committee have not yet resulted in the release of any of these interned persons, whether a second or third Committee of Inquiry can be set up, or some means of acceleration adopted, so as to obviate the detriment to the British reputation for prompt justice which must otherwise result?
Between 1,800 and 1,900 persons are interned in connection with the Irish rising; they are interned under the Defence of the Realm Act and not committed for trial. Some hundreds of them have been seen personally by the Committee, and I expect to receive from the Committee at an early date recommendations with regard to a considerable number. So far four have been released on their recommendation. The Advisory Committee are dealing with the cases as rapidly as possible, and I do not think any advantage would be gained by setting up a second or third committee.
§ Sir W. BYLES
What is the object of detaining persons who have been adjudicated upon by the Committee and found innocent?
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Will the right hon. Gentleman expedite the work as much as possible in view of the statement being made in America that the condition of the people in Ireland under General Maxwell is no better than that of Belgium under von Bissing?
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many interned prisoners the recommendations of the Judicial Committee refer to, and how many of the prisoners have been recommended to be released by the committee?
I have already said that I have so far only received recommendations in four special cases. I am expecting to receive in the course of a very few days recommendations in regard to a considerable number, possibly some hundreds.
§ Mr. GINNELL
At the rate of four in a month, how soon does the right hon. Gentleman expect to be able to get through 2,000?