HC Deb 16 February 1956 vol 548 cc2525-7

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


TO ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in what circumstances he is prepared to make available to hon. Members a copy of a transcript of evidence taken under Section 16 of the Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, by placing it in the Library of the House of Commons.

Mr. Willey

On a point of order. As I am not in my usual place, perhaps I was unobserved when Question No. 51 was called.

Mr. Speaker

I did not observe the hon. Gentleman rise when I called his name. I ask him if he did rise—if he did rise, I will call upon him to ask Question No. 51.

Mr. Willey

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Deedes

The following is the answer to the Question.

My right hon. and gallant Friend is re-examining this matter with the object of finding a way to satisfy the wish of hon. Members that transcripts should on occasion be placed in the Library of the House. It may be found desirable to amend the law in order to put it beyond doubt that transcripts can be made available to Parliament. If so, my right hon. and gallant Friend hopes that it will be possible to find an opportunity for the necessary legislation.

Mr. Willey

While fully appreciating the reply the hon. Gentleman has given, and appreciating the present difficulties, might I ask whether he agrees that this applied on the recent case, which led to compensation being paid, in view of the statement made by his right hon. Friend in the House; and would he see that if action is taken it will be made retrospective, so that we get the information about that particular case?

Mr. Deedes

I will ask my right hon. gallant Friend to consider that.

Mr. Younger

Can the Joint Under-Secretary say whether there is anything other than Departmental practice which governs the interpretation apparently wrongfully put upon the phrase "a party interested"; is he bound by some precedent, as it seems that he needs to be very much freer in this than he has been?

Mr. Deedes

If the right hon. Gentleman will look at Section 16 of the Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, and Rule 5 D of the Criminal Appeal Rules, I think he will perceive the difficulty of my right hon. Friend.