HC Deb 22 January 1941 vol 368 cc169-70
47 and 48. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether in view of the fact that the powers of the Select Committee on National Expenditure are limited by their terms of reference to recommendations and they have no authority to punish persons who are found guilty of acts of victimisation, waste and dishonesty, he will take immediate steps so that such cases may be heard before a court of law or other tribunal, where evidence can be taken on oath and the parties represented by counsel, and the malefactors punished;

(2) whether in view of the fact that the allegations of waste, dishonesty and victimisation preferred by Major H. H. Evans, late Royal Engineers, Major A. Reid-Kellett, D.S.O., M.C., and Mr. W. H. E. Carr, A.M.I.C.E., have not been dealt with by the Select Committee on National Expenditure, he will, in the national interest, take immediate steps for them to appear before a court of law or other tribunal where their evidence can be heard on oath and appropriate action taken?

Mr. Attlee

I understand that the Select Committee will shortly present a report on the militia camps. The points raised in the two Questions must await the receipt and consideration of that report.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the very serious nature of the allegations made by these three gentlemen, and in view of the limitations of the Select Committee, will he devise some means by which, in the national interest, those very serious allegations can be dealt with rapidly and effectively?

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the implication in this Question that the Select Committee have found cases of dishonesty and victimisation is not founded on any facts? The Select Committee have found no such cases?

Mr. Attlee

I think it is clear that we had better await the report of the Select Committee before coming to any conclusion one way or the other.