HC Deb 23 December 1929 vol 233 cc1896-7

asked the Prime Minister whether it is his intention to implement the pledge given by his predecessor after the General Strike that there should be no victimisation?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

I am not aware which pledge the hon. Member has in mind. The most definite pledge was, I think, that contained in the fourth issue of the "British Gazette," which was in the following terms: Every man who does his duty by the country in the present crisis will be protected by the State from reprisals and from lose of benefits or pension, and legislation for this purpose will be proposed at an early date. I am not aware upon what lines my predecessor intended to proceed and no Bill was drafted beyond the Clause in the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act (1927), relating only to Trade Union action which as a matter of fact has not been taken.

I am, however, only too painfully aware of the fact that there have been many cases of victimisation, including that of trade unionists who had been involved in the General Strike, which have prevented the healing of old wounds.

I feel confident that this healing can be better achieved by applying tact and discretion to individual cases rather than by resorting to general coercive powers.

It is most desirable that there shall be no victimisation of those who took part in the General Strike as well as to see that others shall not be penalised for the part they played.

I should add that in cases in which legal proceedings are pending, it would manifestly be improper for me to use such influence as I possess to adjust a difficult situation, save at the request of all parties concerned.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that after the strike the undergraduates left that city on the first day upon which the transport was available, and is he prepared to correct the wrong impression created by the words of the hon. Member for East Hull (Mr. Muff) a few days ago?

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