HC Deb 27 June 1950 vol 476 cc2087-8
35. Mr. Blackburn

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will issue instructions to ensure that orders to sentries to shoot to kill are limited to theatres of war or very exceptional cases where special security considerations arise.

Mr. Strachey

I should be grateful if my hon. Friend would await a statement on this and other issues raised by the Linsell case, a statement which, with your permission, Sir, and that of the House. I will make tomorrow.

Mr. Blackburn

While entirely accepting that, might I ask whether that statement will cover the general issue raised in this Question and not merely the particular case to which my right hon. Friend is referring?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, to the best of my ability.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Without asking my right hon. Friend to anticipate his statement in any way, might I ask him to bear in mind the importance of making it clear that it is not a defence to a charge of crime in this country, and never has been, that the man obeyed superior orders?

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will my right hon. Friend take steps to ensure that sentries and other soldiers are not penalised for obeying orders?

Mr. Strachey

I think hon. Members should wait until tomorrow.

Lieut.-Colonel Lockwood

When the right hon. Gentleman makes his statement about the case of Private Linsell, will he inform the House what were, to quote the official document. the other aspects which arose in the proceedings which might, in the Commander-in-Chiefs view, have influenced the court's decision and resulted in an injustice to the accused man"? Will the right hon. Gentleman apply his mind particularly to that point, and let us know what those facts were?

Mr. Strachey

I think I should avoid making a statement about a statement.