HC Deb 17 January 1918 vol 101 cc482-3
30 and 31. Mr. LEES-SMITH

asked the Home Secretary (1) if he will say how many raids under the Defence of the Realm Acts were made during the months of last September, October, and November, and against how many of the societies and individuals raided prosecutions are at this moment in progress; (2) whether the leaflets, pamphlets, and other literature seized during the raids under the Defence of the Realm Acts during last September, October, and November have been returned in all cases where they have not been made the subject of a prosecution?


Twenty-four raids were carried out under the Defence of the Realm Act in September, October, and November. In one or two cases proceedings are being taken, and other cases are being considered. Some of the leaflets and pamphlets seized have been returned, and others have been retained, pending a decision as to whether they shall be destroyed. I have recently, with the concurrence of the Secretary for Scotland, appointed a Committee to advise us on the question whether material which has been seized under Regulation 51 shall be destroyed, and I hope to submit the material seized in these raids for their consideration at an early date. The Committee consists of Mr. Justice Shearman, who will preside, Lord Burnham, the hon. and learned Member for the Bassetlaw Division of Nottinghamshire, and the hon. Member for Greenock.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether we are to understand from that reply that in every case where it has not been decided to destroy those leaflets they will either be prosecuted or the leaflets returned to their owners?


Certainly we shall return them unless it is decided to destroy them.