HC Deb 29 July 1936 vol 315 cc1516-7
26. Major MILNER

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will publish a return of prosecutions under any legislation relating to sedition in British colonies and Mandated Territories during the latest year for which particulars are available, including details of the offences charged and sentences imposed?


No, Sir. The preparation of such a return would mean a vast amount of labour and expense, involving communication with distant Colonial Governments, and I feel that I should not be justified in calling for such a return.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware of the great anxiety which exists as to these ordinances; and is it not possible, between now and the reassembly of Parliament, to obtain such a return as is asked for in my question—unless of course the numbers are so extraordinary that it is difficult, or unless the Government desire to keep the matter secret?


No. These cases have all been dealt with in local courts and great labour would be involved in extracting from law reports a very large number of cases extending over a considerable period. I do not know what the hon. and gallant Member intends to be covered by the word "return," but perhaps he will discuss the matter with me. A lot of these ordinances, I would remind him, deal with quite minor matters.

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