HC Deb 01 November 1937 vol 328 c521
24. Sir John Ganzoni

asked the Minister of Pensions how many ex-service men committed suicide in the years 1928 and 1929?

The Minister of Pensions (Mr. Ramsbotham)

No figures are available because the statistics of the Registrars-General do not distinguish between ex-service men and others. But the total number of suicides in England, Wales and Scotland in these two years in the whole male population of ages from 30 to 6o (to which age group the great bulk of ex-service men belonged) was 4,419.

Sir J. Ganzoni

Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the statement made that 8,000 ex-service men committed suicide in the years 1928 and 1929, and what steps does he propose to take to contradict that statement?

Mr. Ramsbotham

Yes, Sir, I have seen the statement referred to. From the figures which I have given there is obviously no truth in it whatsoever, and it appears to be a pure invention, and a discreditable invention at that and I hope that no one will repeat it.

Sir J. Ganzoni

But is the Minister aware that this was repeated by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) in this House on Tuesday last?

Mr. George Griffiths

Was not the statement made at the Conservative Conference, and cannot the Minister trace it through the Chief Agent?

Mr. Ramsbotham

That does not in the least affect my opinion.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is it not a fact that that is not the only inaccurate statement made at the Conservative Conference?