HC Deb 07 November 1940 vol 365 cc1424-5
52. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Home Secretary whether, as he has the particulars of the 9,000 members of the British Union of Fascists in this country before the war, he can now say how many of these were interned; how many of the interned were released before 7th October, 1940; how many since; and how many besides Sir Oswald Mosley remain in confinement?

Mr. H. Morrison

The total number of persons who have been detained under Defence Regulation 18B because of their association with the British Union is about 700. Most of them have appealed to the Advisory Committee, and the Committee are examining the individual cases as rapidly as possible. The number as yet released is about 100, of whom 78 were released before 7th October.

Mr. McGovern

Is the Home Secretary aware that a considerable number of these people who may have been attracted by the attractive programme of this party are not really Fascists in intention; and cannot he speed up the consideration of their applications for a hearing, as some of them have pleaded for months for a hearing, and some young women especially who I do not believe had any evil intentions towards the State are lying in prison?

Mr. Morrison

I have always thought, and I have learned increasingly since I have been at the Home Office, that the members of this organisation are a very varied collection of people. I appreciate that point, and I assure the hon. Gentleman that no undue delay will be caused. I am looking into the matter very carefully to see that the cases of these people, in common with those of all other internees, are dealt with as soon as possible.

Mr. Mander

How many of these 700 cases have actually been dealt with at the present time by the Advisory Committee?

Mr. Morrison

I answered that question when I said that the number released is 100.

Miss Rathbone

How many have been continued in detention, which is a different question from that relating to those who have been released?

Mr. Morrison

I cannot give the figure, but there are some additional cases outstanding from the Advisory Committee, and certain further inquiries have to be made before I can reach a decision, but I will reach a decision as soon as possible.

Mr. Mander

I did not ask how many had been released, but how many cases had been dealt with.