HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 cc248-9
28. Mr. Evelyn Walkden

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the fact that Miss Unity Mitford has now recovered from her illness; and whether he has considered the desirability of detaining her under Regulation 18B on account of her past close associations with Nazi leaders and her declared pro-Nazi views?

Mr. H. Morrison

My information as to the condition of this person's health and the circumstances under which she is living does not indicate that there is at present any ground which makes it necessary in the interests of national security to exercise control over her.

Mr. Walkden

Would my right hon. Friend say whether the illness from which this woman is suffering is called "Quis-lingitis," and would she not derive beneficial treatment by being transferred to the Isle of Man for a short period?

Mr. Morrison

The sole consideration for me in this case, as in all such cases, is whether it is necessary in the interests of national security that a person should be detained. In this case I am not convinced that it is necessary, and, therefore, I do not propose to detain her. If circumstances should change, however, I should reconsider the matter.

Mr. Frankel

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that this case makes people less convinced of the necessity for keeping hundreds of others in detention?

Mr. Morrison

That is a debating point. What my hon. Friend is putting to me is that I should put people I do not like under detention, and I cannot do that.

Dr. Edith Summerskill

Can my right hon. Friend say why this particular woman should have special privileges?

Mr. Morrison

It is not a special privilege for a British citizen to be at liberty. Nobody will suggest that the Home Office have come to that point yet. The sole point for me in all these cases, as I have said, is whether in the public interest and the interests of security a case requires detention. If it does, I detain, and if it does not, I do not.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a very widespread feeling, in view of this person's record, that special consideration has been given?

Mr. Morrison

I can assure my hon. Friend that I have given no special consideration, and I would not do so. I am exercising here a quasi-judicial function, and I could not allow myself to be influenced by popular feeling. I must do what is right in the interests of the security of the State.

Sir C. Rawson

Why does not the right hon. Gentleman like her?

Dr. Summerskill

Hitler does.