HC Deb 29 July 1937 vol 326 cc3291-2
29. Mr. Petherick

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the disturbances caused by the Basque children at Brechfa, in Wales, he will arrange for the return of the children in question to their parents in cases in which it is safe to do so?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the question of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Cleveland (Commander Bower) on 21st July.

Mr. Grant-Ferris

Would it not meet the convenience of my right hon. Friend if all these children were removed to Blair Atholl at once?

Miss Wilkinson

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that in these extraordinarily difficult circumstances only a very small percentage of boys, some of them very bad shell-shock cases, have proved difficult to control; that they are being given the very best possible care; and that this type of propaganda against them is really in the worst possible international taste?

30. Mr. Petherick

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the fact that he is ultimately responsible for law and order in this country, he has received any report from the chief constable of Carmarthenshire about the disturbances recently caused by Basque children in that county; and, if so, what action he proposes to take?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir. I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given yesterday on this matter in answer to the question by the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir T. Moore). In view of the steps which are being taken by the Voluntary Committee to repatriate the boys responsible for the disturbances and to provide for the supervision of the boys remaining at Brechfa, there is no reason to anticipate further difficulty, but the position will, of course, be watched.

Mr. Petherick

In consideration of the fact that these boys did a great deal of damage in Brechfa, that one of them chased a cook with a knife, and that in many cases their mental condition does not conform to strictly orthodox standards according to the organisation responsible for their good conduct, will my hon. Friend make sure that the Home Office gives very great attention to the children that remain in other parts of the country in order to make quite sure that these disturbances do not recur?

Mr. Lloyd

As a matter of fact, a cook by mistake cut one of the children with his own knife before the incident occurred, and I think it will be agreed that the Voluntary Committee have done right in removing a certain number of these children.

Mr. Jagger

Should not the hon. Gentleman discourage hon. Members who spend their time chasing these kids?