§ 35. Sir L. Ropner
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence the number of British prisoners of war captured in the war in Korea and still held by the enemy.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Can the hon. Gentleman say when the Government propose to make a further detailed statement on the war in Korea, and why should we in this House have to rely for our information on what is happening in Korea, particularly to our own Forces, on what appears in the American Press?
§ Mr. Birch
Naturally my noble Friend is anxious to consult the convenience of the House in this matter, but he made a long statement not long ago. During this period of stalemate it is rather difficult to make a statement which differs in any material degree from the previous statement, but if there is any desire for a further statement it can be made.
§ Mr. Shinwell
But is the hon. Gentleman aware that a report appeared in one of the American newspapers sent to hon. Members of this House to the effect that the Commonwealth Division was being taken out of the line completely for a period of rest? Is that not information that ought to be conveyed to this House and not in an indirect way? Does not the question I am now putting directly arise out of the question of what is happening to the prisoners of war in Korea?
§ Mr. Nicholson
Those last two supplementary questions had nothing to do with the Question at all. May I ask about British prisoners of war, the subject of the Question?
§ Mr. Speaker
The supplementary questions were relevant, and we must get on I am afraid it is frequently my painful duty to prevent hon. Members asking supplementary questions, otherwise there would not be a chance for the hon. Members who follow. Hon. Members must take it with patience. It is as painful to me as it is to them.