§ 31. Mr. E. Fernyhough
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence how many British Service personnel are serving sentences in military prisons in connection with offences committed during the 1939–45 War.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (Mr. Nigel Birch)
Fifteen soldiers and three airmen are at present serving sentences in the Military Prison at Shepton Mallet. Eighteen soldiers, three airmen and one Royal Marine are serving sentences at the Military Corrective Establishment, Colchester. In all these cases the offence was desertion during the 1939–45 war.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
In addition to these men who are serving sentences in military prisons there are a number of men convicted of crimes during the war serving sentences in civil prisons, and in view of the leniency which has been extended to thousands of Nazi criminals, will not the hon. Gentleman now have these cases reviewed and see whether we can have charity beginning at home?
§ Mr. Birch
There are 12 Service personnel still serving sentences in civil prisons as a result of offences in the 1939–45 War. The offences were murder and collaboration with the enemy. As the hon. Gentleman knows, all sentences are reviewed at intervals of not more than six months, and clemency is frequently shown. There has been no general 1423 amnesty; nor, in fact, has there been one for Germans.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
The hon. Gentleman says that a number of these men have been sentenced for collaboration with the enemy; those are cases to which I am specifically referring. Since the Government themselves are now most anxious to co-operate with the Germans, does not the hon. Gentleman think that these men merely anticipated present policy, and, in view of that, might they not be given their immediate release?