§ 22. Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the Secretary of State for War, in view of the fact that the misprint in the Criminal Lunatics 1656 Act, 1884, copied into the Irish Lunacy Act, 1901, by which the word person was substituted for the word prisoner has led to invalided soldiers being classified as criminal lunatics, whether he will introduce a short declaratory Bill to rectify this mistake, and so put an end to a misunderstanding which is causing pain to and resentment by the soldiers so classified and their friends and relations?
Ths SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
I will consider the hon. Member's suggestion, but, as he is no doubt aware, the change of classification which he desires would have financial consequences which have hitherto rendered controversial the Bills introduced for the purpose. I would add that the description of insane discharged soldiers as "Criminal Lunatics" is merely one of classification in the official records, and in no way affects their treatment, and there is no information to show that it has caused pain or resentment to the soldiers so classified or their friends.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why this financial business should be involved in correcting misprints?
On the present classification, the Treasury Grant is paid in respect of these persons. If the classification was altered the Treasury Grant would cease, and the local authorities would suffer.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Am I to take it, then, that we are to continue to have invalid soldiers classified as criminal lunatics?