HC Deb 08 January 1942 vol 377 cc6-8
29. Squadron Leader Hulbert

asked the Home Secretary what are the conditions under which two Fascist internees, Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley, occupy a self-contained flat at His Majesty's prison, Holloway; and whether similar facilities and accommodation are available to other internees?

Mr. H. Morrison

As detention under Regulation 18B is for custodial purposes only and not for punitive purposes, I have always had it in mind that married couples detained under Defence Regulation 18B should be allowed to live together if suitable arrangements could be made. It has now become practicable to allow selected married couples detained under this Regulation to live together in the mixed camp in the Isle of Man. As regards other married couples, who cannot be allowed to go to the Isle of Man, it is not practicable to make arrangements so favourable as those afforded by the camp in the Isle of Man, but it has been arranged that these persons, including Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley, shall be accommodated in a separate block at Holloway Prison which has been set apart for this purpose. This accommodation consists of cells, but there is also a kitchen, where the detainees may cook the rations supplied to them, and two other rooms which may be used as a sitting room and dining room.

Squadron Leader Hulbert

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether these internees are allowed to have other prisoners wait upon them, and whether they are allowed to have any food they like brought into prison? Do they have to do any work?

Mr. Morrison

The House will know that these detainees have never been treated as ordinary prisoners convicted by the courts, and that fundamental point must be kept in mind all the time. I think it is the case that they can make arrangements with other detainees to assist them in household work. That is a domestic matter on which we can give facilities. I think they have the right, within certain limitations, of buying food from outside. All that we have done is to make arrangements in prison whereby married couples can live together. There is nothing luxurious about it, but I think it is a fair and humane thing.

Mr. Thorne

If they are allowed to buy food outside, and they get food inside, are they not getting rations to which they are not entitled?

Mr. Morrison

That point should be put to the Minister of Food.

Mr. Silverman

When my right hon. Friend talks about selected married couples, what is the principle of selection? Is it capacity to pay for the accommodation?

Mr. Morrison

I am surprised at that point being put by my hon. Friend. There is no privilege about this. They are not paying a rent. I cannot see why people detained in prison should be required to pay a rent for the cells they occupy.

Mr. Silverman

I do not think that my right hon. Friend has appreciated my point. In his original Answer he said that these arrangements were made in respect of selected married couples. I asked him what was the principle of selection?

Mr. Morrison

We must retain the right of selection, because in particular cases security considerations might arise. In fact, there are, in all, 15 married couples detained under Defence Regulations. Of these, four couples are at Holloway and eight couples are in a mixed camp in the Isle of Man. As for the other three couples, there were particular reasons of a physical character why these arrangements could not be made in one case, and in two cases the couples hive refused the opportunity of living together.