HC Deb 17 July 1924 vol 176 cc561-2
Mr. H. DUNNICO by Private Notice

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in amplification of the reply given yesterday regarding the case of Mr. Roskell, he can now furnish for the information of the House fuller particulars as to the history of the claim?


I am glad of the opportunity of giving fuller information to the House on this case. The claim in respect of delusional psychosis was first made on Mr. Roskell's behalf on the 16th January last. Mr. Roskell had, throughout the lime, since his discharge, in February, 1918, been in receipt of compensation of varying amounts in respect of disordered action of the heart and gunshot wounds of the left thigh and forearm. During this period he had been medically examined by successive medical boards and had been under treatment in Ministry hospitals, but no symptoms of mental affection had been claimed by the man or observed by the medical staff. Mr. Roskell was medically examined for the purpose of determining his claim—

Lieut.-Colonel LAMBERT WARD

On a point of Order. Is this a matter of urgency?


I inquired into that. The urgency arises from a misunderstanding yesterday, which it seems to me ought to be cleared up.


May I ask if this is a reply to the question I asked? Mine was the original question.


I was informed that there was a misunderstanding in some answer. It was not in the hon. Member's question, but in something that occurred later.


Mr. Roskell was medically examined for the purpose of determining his claim on the ground of mental affection, but in the absence of any evidence as to any previous mental history in the case the claim could not be admitted. In the middle of May an appeal was lodged against this decision to the Appeal Tribunal, and in support of the appeal new material evidence was submitted for the first time. After consideration of this evidence, I personally directed a mental specialist to examine Mr. Roskell, with the result that, as stated in the House yesterday, I am glad to say the claim has been found to be good.


Is it a fact that, as stated yesterday, an hon. Member of this House addressed 16 letters to the right hon. Gentleman's Department concerning this case?


May I say that my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow (Mr. D. G. Somerville) has asked me to mention that he has written a much larger number of letters during the four years that this case has been in hand, but that since this Government has been in office he has only written four letters to the Ministry and five to the board of guardians, and that it was only after he wrote an article in the "Times" that the Minister took action?


It is not true to state that 16 letters have been addressed to the Ministry. Five letters have been written on this particular case, about which there has arisen a considerable measure of controversy. Much prominence has been given to it in the Press in various directions, but, in accordance with the amended instructions to which the House agreed a few weeks ago, it has been found possible to include this and similar cases within the scope of the present administration. Five letters on this case have been received by myself, four from the hon. Member for Barrow and one from the board of guardians.