56. Brigadier Clarke
asked the Minister of Defence if he will allow an amnesty or free pardon for all deserters, subject to their volunteering for three or more years in one of the Services.
Does the Minister not realise that there are a lot of deserters now leading the lives of "spivs" in this country, and that if he gets them back into the Services they can do a useful job?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
In view of what now appears to be some measure of all-party support for the consideration of a conditional amnesty of some kind, will my right hon. Friend re-open his mind on this subject and see what can be done for these men? Will he ensure that they are not treated more unfavourably than certain Nazi war criminals?
§ Mr. Shinwell
We have given this matter careful consideration, and, indeed, have done so repeatedly and with the utmost good will, but we are assured that this would be quite an improper thing to do.
Will the Minister bear in mind that I did not say that the deserters were "spivs"? I said that they were leading the lives of "spivs."