HC Deb 05 November 1940 vol 365 cc1177-8
12. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is now in a position to say whether the court of inquiry set up to investigate the allegations made regarding the treatment of conscientious objectors will meet in public?

25. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the court of inquiry to investigate allegations respecting the treatment of conscientious objectors has completed its investigations and has issued its report; and whether he will emphasise, for the benefit of a minority who may not appreciate the fact, that brutal treatment is expressly forbidden in Army discipline and is not in accordance with the highest traditions of this country and of the British Army?

26. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in the inquiry to be conducted into the treatment of certain conscientious objectors, those individuals who have alleged that they received ill-treatment will be given an opportunity to state their case?

33. Major Milner

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is now in a position to state the result of his inquiries into the complaints regarding Dingle Vale school?

Sir E. Grigg

The court of inquiry met in private, and heard evidence from the individuals who were alleged to have received ill-treatment. It has now completed its investigations and is preparing its report. As regards the latter part of Question No. 25, I have already said, and I repeat, that the Army desires to treat conscientious objectors with scrupulous fairness, in whatever unit they may be serving.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Does not the Minister think that it is a very bad thing to have held this inquiry in private? Surely pub- licity is of the essence of things in a case of this kind? If there is anything in these allegations, the public should know, and if there is not, there should be no fear of somebody being whitewashed.

Sir E. Grigg

I do not think there is any reason to direct any suspicion against the court of inquiry. It consisted of very highly-placed and responsible officers, and I do not think any suspicion should be directed against it. There are objections to hearing these cases in public.

Mr. Sorensen

Are we likely to get the report, together with some report of the action which has been taken?

Sir E. Grigg

I cannot say that until the report is available.

Mr. G. Strauss

Will the Minister say how many complainants had the opportunity of putting their cases before the court?

Sir E. Grigg

I am afraid I should require notice of that question.

Major Milner

Will the Minister see that the list of witnesses is published? It has been said that some of those who might have given evidence have been spirited away—with what truth I do not know.

Sir E. Grigg

I will look into that point.