HC Deb 05 December 1939 vol 355 cc433-4
39. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for War the total number of persons employed on Post Office censorship of letters and telephones at Inverness; what qualifications are necessary for these appointments; how many of the appointments were made through the local Ministry of Labour Employment Exchange; by whom the appointments were made; and on what grounds the ex-brigadier-general on the staff has also secured the appointment of his wife, son, and daughter?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

About 100 persons are employed in the censorship at Inverness. The qualifications needed are integrity, intelligence and a good standard of education. It is clearly not desirable to employ local personnel for inland censorship, and the appointments were made by the War Office without reference, except in a few cases, to the local Employment Exchange. Some local personnel are employed to make up the necessary numbers, but these are being gradually replaced. The selection of the personnel referred to by the hon. Member was made on the basis of the qualifications have mentioned.

Mr. Mathers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of these apopintments are looked upon in the district as being cases of gross nepotism and favouritism, and can he say that in a number of cases the clerical and other people who were put forward by the Employment Exchanges were not more qualified than those who were appointed to the posts?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I did not say that. I said that where there is an inland censorship it is not advisable to have local personnel, for obvious reasons. This censorship had to be established with great urgency for particular reasons of national safety. It was not easy to get people to go to Inverness immediately. They had to be displaced. That is how these appointments were made.

Mr. G. Strauss

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the ex-brigadier-general, his wife, son, and daughter are still on the staff?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I have no reason to suppose they have left the county.

Mr. McGovern

Are there any more children in the family?