HC Deb 10 July 1924 vol 175 cc2450-1
34. Mr. HEALY

asked the Home Secretary if be has received any recent communications from Labour organisations in Great Britain urging upon him to grant an amnesty to the Irish political prisoners in this country who have been in prison for two years; and if he has decided to accede to these requests?

35. Mr. BARNES

asked the Home Secretary whether there are any Irish political prisoners detained in the gaols of this country; if so, will he state to the House the number imprisoned; and whether he can see his way to grant an amnesty to these political prisoners?


I have received some resolutions of the kind indicated from Labour organisations and others. Prisoners are not classified according to the motives underlying their offences, even when those motives are known, which is by no means always the case. I am not, therefore, in a position to answer the question as to a number. The reply as to an amnesty is in the negative.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the present Government ought to be more lenient towards political prisoners than the last Government; and, if so, is he prepared only to confine his professions to words?


Did the right hon. Gentleman take any notice of these communications; and, if so, why?


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that in the days before he became a member of the Government he was quite capable of classifying political prisoners, and fre- quently pleaded for an amnesty for such prisoners? Why has he now changed?

Viscount CURZON

Is it not a fact that many of these prisoners are detained in custody in the interest of their own safety?


Is it that the right hon. Gentleman does not answer because he cannot, or because he will not?


May I have an answer to my supplementary question?