HC Deb 12 June 1941 vol 372 cc318-9
32. Sir Irving Albery

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the observations made by the judges in two recent habeas corpus actions arising out of detentions under Regulation i8b, whether he is now prepared to recommend any additional safeguards?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the full statement which I made in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward) on 10th June.

Sir I. Albery

Does my right hon. Friend not think it time to make some modification in the Regulations, giving greater security to the individual?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Why, since it was necessary to detain all these people from the time they were put into custody —

Mr. Speaker


35. Mr. Loftus

asked the Home Secretary how many British citizens interned under Regulation 18b have now been brought to trial; how many convicted and how many acquitted; and how many of those acquitted have not been released but kept interned?

Mr. Morrison

The object of this Regulation is to provide in time of war a power to detain on grounds of national security persons of hostile origin or associations and persons whose dangerous activities cannot be dealt with by criminal proceedings. As a general rule, therefore, no question arises of bringing to trial persons so detained. In two exceptional cases, however, criminal proceedings have been instituted. One of these two persons was sentenced to 10 years' penal servitude; the other was acquitted on the particular charges which were the subject of criminal proceedings but is still detained in preventive custody under the Regulation.

Mr. Loftus

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that to bring a man to trial, and then to acquit him and keep him in prison, is repugnant to the thousand years' tradition of British justice, and will he take steps to avoid this kind of thing in future?

Mr. Morrison

It must depend upon the circumstances of the case. I was pressed in this House once to detain some persons who had served a sentence, and I thought that they ought not to be further detained, but the circumstances vary. It may well be, as I think it was in this case, that a person who is charged with a particular offence and acquitted might still be an appropriate person for detention on security grounds.