HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc2571-2
45 and 46. Mr. Bramall

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether Ministers responsible for deciding on the removal of Communists and Fascists from office in their ministries will be supplied with the full facts on which the Special Branch recommendation for removal is made; or will only be notified of the recommendation;

(2) whether persons recommended for removal from Civil Service posts as Communists or Fascists will be allowed to know the evidence on which such recommendation is based.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

Ministers will have all the relevant information before making their decisions, and I have already stated that those whose removal is under consideration will be told the charge against them and given opportunity to reply.

Mr. Bramall

Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that the information to be given to the people charged will be the actual evidence, and not, as in the case of 18B, merely the fact that they are charged with certain hostile associations; and will he further assure the House that facilities for answering these charges given to British subjects in these circumstances will not be less favourable than those given to Nazis who were removed from their offices in Germany?

The Prime Minister

That is a very long and complicated question, and I do not know what the procedure was under 18B. Perhaps my hon. Friend will put that forward on Thursday, when we are to have a discussion on it and we can go into the matter in more detail.

Mr. Keeling

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Special Branch will have the assistance of the hon. Member in dealing with what he pointed out was the difficult problem of distinguishing between Communists and Socialists?

Mr. W. J. Brown

May I ask the Prime Minister if, between now and Thursday, when we are to discuss this matter, the Prime Minister will consider the possibility of providing between the stage when the M.I.5 report is produced and its consideration and the decision by the Minister, for the advice of an advisory committee composed of persons of standing within the Department who might qualify the police character of the report by reference to political horse sense?

The Prime Minister

I did explain before that this is not a matter solely to be dealt with by information of the Special Branch. I will be giving very full information on Thursday, when I hope to satisfy the hon. Member and this House that every opportunity will be given to those to whom this applies of making their case.