HC Deb 13 December 1950 vol 482 cc1130-1
3. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what grounds he has delayed reconsideration of Mrs. Becker's claim for pension promised in June last; whether he is aware that at the inquest on her husband's death the coroner drew attention to the negligence of the Malay police constable; and if he will expedite this matter.

Mr. J. Griffiths

There has been no delay in reconsidering Mrs. Becker's claim. The allegation at the inquest of negligence on the part of the police was fully investigated by the Singapore Government, who are satisfied that there was no foundation for the charge. As the hon. Member is aware, I have asked the Governor of Singapore to expedite reconsideration of this case.

Miss Ward

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that representations were made by me as long ago as March, that it is now December and that Mr. Becker was killed some considerable time before my original representations were made? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that this is very fair treatment of a man who was in the special volunteer police in Malaya?

Mr. Griffiths

The hon. Lady knows, and I should like the House to understand, that the Government have made an ex gratia payment in the case of Mr. Becker. As I have indicated, the Governor is reconsidering the matter and I will certainly ask him to let me have a reply as soon as possible.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Will the right hon. Gentleman stress the urgency of "as soon possible" as this gallant man was killed nearly 2½ years ago and the ex gratia payment, however welcome, is wholly inadequate to the need and quite different from what would have been done had a special constable been killed in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Griffiths

I have asked for the matter to be settled as soon as possible.

Professor Savory

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the ex gratia payment to which he refers barely covered the out-of-pocket expenses of Mrs. Becker in going to Singapore to claim her rights?

Mr. Griffiths

I do not want to discuss this ex gratia payment. I have had some experience of this in our own country. I do not think it was too bad an ex gratia payment, but the matter is being reconsidered and I will see that it is dealt with as soon as possible.

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