HC Deb 14 December 1939 vol 355 cc1236-8
13. Mr. James Hall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to issue his first monthly report as to the action taken by him under Regulation 18 (B) of the Defence Regulations relating to detention orders?

63. Captain Ramsay

asked the Home Secretary when the monthly reports provided for in Defence Regulation 18 (B) will be laid before the House?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department {Sir John Anderson)

The first monthly report was laid before the House yesterday.

14. Mr. J. Hall

asked the Home Secretary how long Mr. E. Loader has been detained under Regulation 18 (B) of the Defence Regulations; what are the grounds for the detention; whether the procedure laid down in paragraph (4) of the regulation was followed; how many weeks elapsed before the case was heard by the advisory committee; what conclusions were arrived at by the committee; and what action does he contemplate in the matter?

Sir J. Anderson

This man has been detained since 25th October on the ground that by reason of his hostile associations it was felt to be necessary for security purposes to exercise control over him. He was informed at the time of his arrest that it was open to him to make objections to the advisory committee. He came before the committee on 21st November. I understand that as a result of certain statements he made to the committee further inquiries became necessary, and the committee have postponed their report till these inquiries are completed.

Mr. Hall

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, as far as is known, the only thing that this man has done injudiciously is to spend a holiday in Germany this year, and in view of the fact that he is a man who is well known and of good character, will the right hon. Gentleman expedite the inquiry?

Sir J. Anderson

That is in the hands of the Advisory Committee, and I am sure that they will do everything possible to expedite their report, but I should not like to leave the House under the impression that all that could be said against the gentleman in question is that he spent a holiday in Germany.

32. Captain Ramsay

asked the Home Secretary how many British subjects arrested under Regulation 18b and still detained in prison have had the benefit neither of judge, jury, habeas corpus, legal advice, nor witnesses to help establish their innocence; and whether it is proposed to keep these men imprisoned over the Christmas Recess without recourse to any of these recognised judicial rights?

Sir J. Anderson

When Parliament passed the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act it recognised that in time of war responsibility must rest on the Home Secretary for the custody of persons whose detention is necessary in the interests of the public safety or the defence of the realm, and the need for safeguarding these interests will not lapse during the Christmas Recess. As regards the number of British subjects who are detained under the Regulation I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the report which was presented to the House yesterday in accordance with paragraph 6 of the Regulation.

Captain Ramsay

Is this not the first time for a very long time in English history that British-born subjects have been denied every facility for justice?

Sir J. Anderson

It is a long time since the security of the State was exposed to risks comparable to those of the present day.

Captain Ramsay

Why does my right hon. Friend always make innuendoes about risks and the people responsible? Will he not name them?

62. Captain Ramsay

asked the Home Secretary why, very shortly after the issue of the amended Defence Regulations, the persons detained under Regulation 18b were moved from London to Liverpool, thus placing them beyond the reach of their legal advisers?

Sir J. Anderson

Arrangements have been made for these persons to be detained in a special wing at Liverpool Prison in order that they may be kept apart from ordinary prisoners: but, as regards the last part of the question" I may add that they are not in fact sent away from London until after their cases have been disposed of by the Advisory Committee.

Captain Ramsay

Do the amended regulations give an opportunity for travelling to Liverpool? Many of the persons are very poor, very often working-class men, and cannot afford the fares of solicitous travelling up to Liverpool. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of providing warrants or give them suitable facilities for attending Liverpool prison?

Sir J. Anderson

I would certainly consider what could be done to meet any such difficulty as my hon. and gallant Friend has indicated, but I have had no such case brought to my notice.

Captain Ramsay

If I bring such a case to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman will he investigate the matter?

Sir J. Anderson indicated assent.

Mr. Cocks

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that no inconvenience is imposed upon the hon. and gallant Member?