HC Deb 07 December 1944 vol 406 cc727-8
66. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the enquiry into remand homes is not being held in public; and if he will arrange that it shall be and that evidence be taken on oath.

Mr. H. Morrison

On the first point, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I made to my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling) on 28th November. In order to enable the evidence to be taken on oath, it would have been necessary to have recourse to the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921, but procedure under this Act is quite exceptional and in the present case it was deemed sufficient to adopt the usual procedure which is recognised to produce excellent results.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the setting up of these secret inquiries is further evidence of the way that he is leading the country down the totalitarian road?

Colonel Greenwell

Are shorthand notes being taken of the proceedings of the inquiry?

Mr. Morrison

I think there is a Question on the Paper on that point.

76. Mr. Molson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now prepared to undertake that the evidence given before the Committee of Inquiry into Remand Homes will be published as a supplement to the Report.

Mr. H. Morrison

Even before the warthe general practice was against the publication in full of evidence given before committees, since it is the duty of a committee to include in its report a fair and adequate review of the evidence given and of the reasons for its conclusions and recommendations. In war time the arguments against publication are even more cogent. The report of the inquiry, which will be searching and comprehensive, will be published in full, and there is no sufficient reason for departing from the usual practice on the present occasion.

Mr. Molson

In view of the widespread impression that the Home Secretary is anxious to hush this matter up, will he make the evidence available in the Library?

Mr. Morrison

I will consider that point, but, if I may say so, there is far too much tendency to bring party politics into this matter. There is none in my mind, and I hope that hon. Members will be restrained about that aspect of the matter.

Mr. Silkin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that no one would be more pleased than the London County Council that the evidence should be published in full?

Mr. Morrison

I will take note of that observation.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

For the sake of the children, will my right hon. Friend see that no daily reports are published until the official report is ready?

Mr. Morrison

That is what I have done, and what I am criticised for. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend.