HC Deb 12 May 1952 vol 500 cc865-7
The Minister of Health (Mr. fain MacLeod)

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I should like to fulfil the promise made by my predecessor on Tuesday last, to announce the arrangements for further investigation of the problems raised by the recent incident at Broadmoor.

I am glad to be able to inform the House that the following have agreed to undertake the inquiry: Mr. J. Scott Henderson Q.C.—Chairman. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse). The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger). Dr. P. K. McCowan M.D., F.R.C.P., D.P.M., Medical Superintendent of the Crichton Royal Hospital, Dumfries, and President of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association. The terms of reference are: To inquire into the adequacy of the security arrangements at Broadmoor and to make recommendations.

Mr. Peter Remnant

While congratulating my right hon. Friend on his "jump bid," may I ask him whether the proceedings of the inquiry will be held in public or in private and, if the latter, as I hope they will be largely, will he, when he gets the report, consider publication of the findings and the recommendations?

Mr. MacLeod

My hon. Friend will realise that the purpose of this investigation is to inquire into security arrangements, and from the very nature of the inquiries it is impossible to conduct them in public. But, on the other hand, the question of procedure is a matter for the Committee itself, and I have informed the chairman that if he desires to hold one or more sittings in public to hear any representations that he may think suitable, I should not object to that.

On the question of the publication of the report, I will, of course, give the fullest information that I can give to the House and to the country either by statement or by a White Paper. But, again, my hon. Friend will realise that I cannot undertake to publish the whole of the report because security arrangements and inquiries will probably be involved.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that, pending the issue of such report as may be published, no disciplinary steps will be taken against any members of the staff at Broadmoor until the report is available?

Mr. MacLeod

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is no doubt referring to the fact that an investigation has been instituted by the Board of Control into the conduct of an attendant at Broadmoor. There is a special procedure laid down in these matters called "Estacode" and procedure under that has already been started. It would be quite improper for me to interfere in any way with that. On the other hand, I think it reasonable to say that although that inquiry will proceed, and will proceed to its end, the report of the Committee will be received by me before I take action, if action be necessary, on the disciplinary report which I shall receive in due course.