HC Deb 03 March 1948 vol 448 cc387-8
51. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Minister of Defence, in view of the increasing lawlessness and outrage in Palestine what changes of policy in the operation of British security Forces, have been or are about to be imposed.

Mr. Alexander

As I explained in the House on 24th February in answering the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden), the responsible authorities, both civil and military, already have full power to take any steps which appear to them necessary either for the protection of the lives of British Service personnel in Palestine, or for enabling the British Forces to discharge their duties.

Mr. Stewart

Are we to understand then, that despite the increasing gravity of the situation, and the increasing loss of British life, the Government have taken no steps, and are proposing to take no steps in the future, to tighten up our security Forces in Palestine?

Mr. Alexander

That question betrays a complete misconception of the position. We have very considerable Forces in Palestine. We have a responsible High Commissioner, and a very efficient Commander-in-Chief. We have already assured the House that they have our full support, and that whatever representations they make to us will be most carefully considered. I do not think we want to have driving directions given from the back seat.

Earl Winterton

Does the protection to which the right hon. Gentleman referred extend to bringing an action for seditious libel against Mr. Abrahams or Abrams, who has accused the British Army or Police of being responsible for the recent outrage? Will he give further consideration to putting this matter in the hands of the Public Prosecutor?

Mr. Alexander

I will certainly bring that to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whose administrative function it is.

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