HC Deb 20 November 1917 vol 99 cc1004-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the shooting affray at the Dartmoor settlement; whether he can say how it has been that a conscientious objector should be armed with a revolver; whether any search is made of a conscientious objector's belongings on admission to the settlement; if not, will he undertake that the precaution is taken in future; and whether a man who carries about him a weapon which may cause death can be correctly described as a conscientious objector within the meaning of the Military Service Act?


I have received a report on this shooting, which appears to have been accidental. The revolver was brought into Dartmoor without the knowledge of the authorities, and steps will be taken to prevent this from happening in the future.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of the question?


That is a matter of opinion. I suppose that a man may wish to defend himself and nevertheless claim to be a conscientious objector.

53. Mr. E. HARVEY

asked the Prime Minister whether Douglas Bishop, a member of the Society of Friends who has undergone repeated imprisonments after courts-martial in consequence of his conscientious objection to military service and to receiving merely conditional exemption therefrom, has been recently transferred to an asylum from Winchester prison; whether the Home Office were repeatedly informed both by his father and from other sources of the danger to his mind involved by his continued imprisonment; whether any action was taken in consequence of this information; whether previous to his last sentence the military doctor declared, after a medical examination, that he was not a to undergo hard labour, to which he was sentenced notwithstanding this; and whether the Government sanction this method of punishment, involving the loss of reason, of a man of high character whose action was the result of his religious convictions?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. I am in communication with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary with regard to the matter, but I regret I have not yet been able to complete the necessary inquiries. I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as the matter has been fully considered and I am in a position to let him know the result.


I will put it down again to-morrow.