HC Deb 31 July 1941 vol 373 cc1514-6
19. Mr. Stokes

asked the Home Secretary whether, before he decides to disagree with the Advisory Committee's recommendation in any case with regard to appeals against detention under Regulation 18B, he will either himself interview the detained person, or personally discuss the case with the Advisory Committee before taking a decision?

Mr. H. Morrison

During the Debate on 23rd July I outlined certain of the difficulties which would be caused by the suggestion that I should interview detainees personally, and I regret that I cannot see my way to adopt this suggestion. I should, however, feel no hesitation in discussing any case with the Advisory Committee or the Chairman if I felt that any useful purpose would be served by doing so, and, in fact, cases are frequently referred back to the Committee for further consideration if I do not feel able at once to accept the Committee's recommendation.

24. Major Cazalet

asked the Home Secretary how many of the persons detained under Defence Regulation 18B still remain in prison; and how many have been sent to other places of detention?

Mr. Morrison

There are 642 in the Isle of Man, and at the present date there are still 118 in prison establishments in this country; but the figure of 118 includes 75 persons of whom some do not wish to go to the Isle of Man and the remainder are being detained in this country for the time being for some temporary reason, such as pending litigation or attendance before the Advisory Committee.

Major Cazalet

May I take it that it is the policy of the Home Secretary in the future to see that His Majesty's prisons will be used only for those who have been tried and duly convicted by law and not for people who have been detained under this Regulation?

Mr. Morrison

I think the House will know, from the policy I have adopted, that I am very anxious to remove ail these cases so far as I can, but I do not think it would be right to commit myself 100 per cent. to such an undertaking, because circumstances may arise in which it would not be possible. It is my intention, however, to try and do what the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggests.

Mr. Maxton

Regarding these 600 who went to the Isle of Man, did they have the option of not going?

Mr. Morrison

Not necessarily. The House gave me powers of transference to the Isle of Man. There have been cases where people have expressed a preference not to go to the Isle of Man, and that has been taken into account. I am quite willing to meet them so far as I can.

Earl Winterton

Can the Home Secretary say whether any persons still in prison are subjects of foreign Powers, or are they British subjects?

Mr. Morrison

I would not be quite sure, but I think some are subjects of foreign Powers.

Mr. Maxton

Can my right hon. Friend say on what basis some remained in this country, compared with others who wished to remain here yet were sent to the Isle of Man?

Mr. Morrison

There is a variety of considerations, but I can assure my hon. Friend that he need not think there is anything sinister about the fact that some are here and some are in the Isle of Man. We do try to meet their wishes so far as we possibly can.

34. Miss Eleanor Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether he is now prepared to release from detention the Communist ex-deputies to the Czech Parliament, Mr. Gustav Beuer and Mr. Kreibich, and the other Czechoslovakians, of the same- political faith, now detained in the Isle of Man internment camp?

Mr. Morrison

I am arranging to have these cases reviewed by the Advisory Committee sitting in the Isle of Man and will consider them when I have received the Committee's report.

Miss Rathbone

Will my right hon. Friend remember that it is now six weeks since the beginning of the war on the Russian front, and that the men referred to in the Question are highly respected men, against whom, I believe, there is no cause for complaint except their Communist opinion? Can that be an objection now that Russia is our Ally? Arc-not these men our allies?

Mr. Morrison

The hon. Lady has always felt strongly that detainees should be released, and I have held the view that they should not. I agree that new circumstances have arisen, and I am having the matter investigated, but there has to be an investigation before they can be released.

35. Miss Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary how many non-enemy aliens are still detained in prisons, specifying the Regulation under which they are detained; and whether, in view of the long time that such detention has lasted in many cases, he will arrange that all, except those he feels able to release, or those whose specially dangerous character require closer seclusion, should be transferred to internment camps?

Mr. Morrison

The total number of aliens of non-enemy nationality who are at present being detained in prison is 204. Of these 56 are detained under Article 12 (5A) of the Aliens Order because their deportation is impracticable or would be prejudicial to the national interests and their detention is necessary or expedient; they will be sent to internment camps as soon as their cases have been reviewed unless, in any particular case, it is considered desirable for reasons such as those suggested by my hon. Friend to detain the alien in prison. 143 are detained temporarily under Article 3 (4) of the Aliens Order and they consist of a miscellaneous collection of persons refused leave to land pending inquiry and a decision as to their ultimate disposal. Five aliens are detained under Defence Regulation 18B whose cases are at present under consideration.

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