HC Deb 21 January 1943 vol 386 cc283-4
58. Sir I. Albery

asked the Home Secretary, having in view the improved position as regards National Defence, the drastic security measures in force, and the various registration Regulations, whether he will now consider the desirability of amending any Defence Regulations which deprive British subjects of the right of appeal when their personal liberty is involved?

Mr. H. Morrison

I presume that in referring to Regulations affecting personal liberty my hon. Friend has specially in mind the power to detain which is conferred upon the Secretary of State by Regulation 18B. The considerations referred to by my hon. Friend are of course taken into account by the Home Secretary when deciding how far the exercise of such powers is still necessary, and it is one of the factors which I have had in mind in authorising the release of a number of persons who had been detained. The curtailment of these powers which it may be necessary to invoke at any time in the interests of national security is, however, another matter, and in the view of His Majesty's Government the time has not come when it would be safe to deprive the Executive of these special powers.

Sir I. Albery

The right hon. Gentleman answered as if he had been asked to forgo his powers. That does not arise. If the right hon. Gentleman reads the Question again, he will find that the main principle raised is that of appeal after a man has been arrested and detained on suspicion.

Mr. Morrison

I assumed that the hon. Gentleman wishes, as he always has wished, to limit my powers in the matter, and I thought I should indicate to him that I cannot do so. The point to which he has drawn attention is fully taken into account, and the consequences are that many scores, if not hundreds, of people have been released in recent times who would not have been considered for release earlier.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the Minister take a trip to North Africa and use these special powers there?