HC Deb 29 May 1956 vol 553 cc15-6
20. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Secretary of State for War what further communication he has received from Mrs. Churchley in regard to the visit to her home by military police on 23rd April; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Head

I understand that my hon. Friend received a letter from Mrs. Churchley pointing out that she had not invited the military police "to come back on a further occasion to have tea" Mrs. Churchley was indeed kind enough to invite the two military policemen to have tea on their arrival at her house, but she had not invited them to come there for that specific purpose. They had in fact come to visit her unofficially of their own accord.

Mr. Yates

Might I ask the Minister a question which I think is a very serious one for the House? Is he aware that the military police called upon Mrs. Churchley a second time without being invited and that they cross-examined her about writing to her Member of Parliament? Can that question be investigated, because it is a very serious matter? What is it to do with the military police if a woman writes to her Member of Parliament?

Mr. Head

This is the first that I have heard of the point. I have heard nothing about it from Mrs. Churchley. I am informed that the police visited Mrs. Churchley because she had asked them to find out certain questions about her son's pay, which they did, and they called upon her unofficially, without their red caps, in order to give her the answer to her question.

Mr. Strachey

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, if it were proved on examination that such a question was asked about writing to Members of Parliament, it would be a most improper one, and that he would correct the officers or men concerned if they had done it?

Mr. Head

I have said repeatedly, and I repeat it now, that every soldier in the British Army is at perfect liberty to write to his Member of Parliament. I have never disputed that, and I have previously stated it in the House.