HC Deb 07 November 1921 vol 148 cc31-3
41. Captain Viscount CURZON

asked the Prime Minister whether it is yet possible to state the name of the successor in office to Sir Basil Thomson; and, if not, whether the appointment will be made before the House rises?


No successor has yet been appointed. The position is an important one and the Government are anxious, if possible, to secure the services of someone who acquired experience and distinction in that branch of work during the War. I cannot say whether we can succeed in doing so before the House rises, but we are losing no time in making the necessary inquiries.

Lieut.-Colonel CROFT

Is it not a fact that a successor was appointed, and that Police Regulation No. 31 stated that General Sir Joseph Byrne was in charge of the Department under its new name? Was that not a document signed by General Horwood?


Notice ought to be given to me of that question. My knowledge of the facts only leads me to the conclusion that General Byrne was invited, that the position was offered to him, but had not been accepted, and I also understand that it had not received the approval of the Treasury.


In view of the communistic rejoicings over the departure of Sir Basil Thomson, will the right hon. Gentleman not consider the desirability of reinstating Sir Basil Thomson in a post from which he was dismissed after a long period of distinguished service?

Viscount CURZON

Who in the meantime is in charge of the secret funds?


I think that notice ought to be given of that question. I do not know anything about the organisation of the Department.


Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to a statement by Sir Basil Thomson in the Press to-day, which, if it be true, shows that the information of the Home Secretary the other day was entirely inaccurate?

Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE

If General Byrne had not been appointed, why was he allowed to have access to the secret funds?


I really think that if I am to be examined about details of that kind, notice ought to be given to me. I really cannot give an answer as to details of administration in all Departments of the State.

Colonel ASHLEY

May I ask the question of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary?


That would not arise from the question on the Paper.

Colonel ASHLEY

If the Prime Minister states that it is not within his knowledge, but it is within the knowledge of one of his subordinates, surely it is in order to ask the Minister who is sitting there on the Front Bench?


It really does not arise from the question on the Paper.


Why all the row about the dismissal of this one man?