§ 33. Mr. Stokes
asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the names of the three persons whose continued detention under Regulation 18B was referred to in the report dated 24th December, 1940, whose release had been recommended by the Advisory Committee?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Peake)
The reports of the Advisory Committees are confidential documents, and I regret that I cannot undertake to disclose what was the nature of their recommendation in individual cases.
§ Mr. Stokes
Is the Under-Secretary aware that quite a number of people who are still detained have gone away from the Advisory Committees with the impression that they were to be released, and would it not clear their minds if it were specifically known in which cases the recommendations were not accepted?
§ Sir William Davison
Can my hon. Friend say whether an applicant is informed or not, as I have had a letter saying the Advisory Committee had recommended a person's release but that the recommendation had not been acted upon?
§ Sir Irving Albery
May I ask my hon. Friend whether the Home Secretary, in differing from the decision of the Advisory Committee in these cases, did so because he disagreed with their decision or because he had available to him certain information which had not been made available to the Committee?
§ Sir I. Albery
Then we can take it from that that the Home Secretary disagrees with the conclusions to which the Committee have come?
62. Captain Shaw
asked the Home Secretary how many detainees appealing to the Advisory Committee set up to deal with people detained under Defence Regulation 18B have been allowed legal representation before the Committee; whether his Department invariably produces witnesses, or sworn evidence, before the Committee to justify detention; how long before they have to appear before the Committee are the reasons for detention sent to the applicants; whether the Committee give the applicants reasons 1499 for the continuation of detention; and whether a shorthand note of proceedings before the Committee is given to the detained person or to his legal adviser?
§ Mr. Peake
In reply to the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave to a similar Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) on 19th December. In some cases witnesses may be available, in others not; and where witnesses are available it is for the Committee to decide whether the attendance of witnesses is necessary. Evidence given before the Committee is not on oath. It is the practice of the Committee to send a notice to the applicant giving particulars of the grounds for his detention at least three days before the case is heard. The Committee takes all care to ensure that an applicant has every opportunity to deal with any matter that is raised. A shorthand note of the proceedings is taken for purposes of record, but this is not made available to the detained person or to his legal adviser. The question whether the detention should be continued is one for my right hon. Friend to decide in the light of all the available information. If the decision is that it would not be consistent with the interests of public security to revoke the detention order, that decision is communicated to the applicant, but there is no further information which could advantageously be communicated to him at that stage.
Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that the proceedings before the Committee are more in the nature of a third degree?
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that applicants are invariably asked whether they are satisfied with the hearing, before they know what the result will be, so that naturally in every case the answer is in the affirmative?
§ 63. Mr. Silverman
asked the Home Secretary in how many cases in all he has 1500 now refused to accept the advice of an Advisory Committee to release persons detained under Regulation 18B; and in how many such cases his refusal was based upon a secret police report?
§ Mr. Peake
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reports submitted to Parliament in pursuance of paragraph (6) of Regulation 18B, which covers the period up to 31st December last. The report for the month of January is now in preparation and will, I hope, be available shortly. After the Advisory Committee has reported on a case, my right hon. Friend carefully considers the report and all the information available and, whether his decision does or does not accord with the recommendation of the Committee, the responsibility for the decision rests on him. In many of these cases the information considered by the Committee and by the Home Secretary is necessarily of a confidential character, but if the suggestion is that the Home Secretary may come to a decision on some secret report which is not known to the Committee that suggestion is unfounded. The practice is to place before the Committee all the information available to the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. Silverman
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that he has not answered the Question on the Paper, and will he be good enough to do so? The Question on the Paper is not how many cases—.
§ Mr. Silverman
Would the hon. Member say whether the Home Secretary is advised by the security authorities in cases where the recommendation of the Advisory Committee for the release of an internee is not accepted?
§ Mr. Silverman
On a point of Order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I intend to raise the matter on the Adjournment.