HC Deb 30 July 1925 vol 187 cc603-4
15. Colonel DAY

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been drawn to the evidence given at a Southwark inquest on the 15th July held on Arthur Passey, an unemployed labourer, of 35, St. Gabriel Street, Southwark, who committed suicide, and whose widow and other witnesses made certain allegations against officials of the Southwark Board of Guardians in the matter of deceased's application for relief from the said board; and, in view of such allegations, will he cause a public inquiry to be held, in order that the statements made by the witnesses at the inquest may be fully inquired into?

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)

I have made inquiries into this case, and am informed by the guardians that it is not the fact that this applicant was refused relief on any occasion by them; I have no evidence to suggest that there is any cause for complaint of the manner in which he was treated by them, and would point out that the Coroner expressed the view that the relieving officer had done all he could for the family. I do not consider that it is necessary to hold a public inquiry.

Colonel DAY

Is it not a fact that a relieving officer is bound to give a man relief when starving, and that this man was refused relief for himself and his children by the relieving officer?


My information is that the applicant was not refused relief on any occasion.


Is not even an allegation of this sort sufficient justification for a public inquiry? There is a public inquiry that has been attracting public attention regarding the alleged ill-treatment of an Army officer by the police?


I do not think so.


It depends where the allegation comes from.


Yes, that's it—it does depend where the allegation comes from.