HC Deb 21 October 1942 vol 383 cc1968-9
53. Mr. McEntee

asked the Minister of Supply if Sir William Mallinson, against whom a writ has been issued in connection with alleged illegal practices against the Inland Revenue, Taxes Department; is still holding the office of Financial Adviser to the Timber Control Board, or whether he has been suspended from this office pending the hearing of this application?

Sir A. Duncan

I understand that a writ was issued last April on behalf of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General against Sir William Mallinson and the Westminster Bank claiming accounts of sums expended under a charitable trust. Sir William Mallinson is still performing his duties as a Deputy Controller in the Timber Control.

Mr. McEntee

In view of the fact that these charges were made in June, 1938, why was it considered reasonable or decent that this appointment should be made two years later? Was it on the general principle of setting a thief to catch a thief?

Mr. Astor

Is not a man presumed innocent until he is proved guilty?

Sir A. Duncan

I obviously cannot answer the first part of the supplementary, but the latter part is clearly not the reason for his appointment. This gentleman has given the most distinguished and honourable service in the Department.

Mr. McEntee

May I again ask why a man against whom serious charges have been made was appointed two years later? What were the qualifications he possessed which are not possessed by scores of other men in the trade? Why is a timber man appointed as financial adviser?

Sir H. Williams

On a point of Order. Is it proper for an hon. Member to exploit his privileges in this House and accuse a man who has no redress of being a thief?

Mr. Speaker

It is most improper.