HC Deb 11 November 1958 vol 595 cc166-7
3. Mr. Mawby

asked the Attorney-General whether he will instruct the Director of Public Prosecutions to institute proceedings for conspiracy in the case of Mr. Tom Chapman, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Totnes.

The Attorney-General

No. The evidence at present available would not, in my opinion, justify the institution of any criminal proceedings.

Mr. Mawby

While everyone appreciates the aim of the Government not to interfere unduly in the domestic affairs of the trade unions, may I ask whether my right hon. and learned Friend realises that great public alarm and disquiet has been caused by the exposure in the Sunday Graphic, particularly, and will he make it clear that the full rigour of the law will be applied to put an end to this monstrous state of affairs?

The Attorney-General

In considering whether criminal proceedings should be instituted, one has to make up one's mind that there is evidence which will support a criminal charge. In this case I have no evidence, and I can find no evidence, which would support any criminal proceedings.

Mr. Lee

While we are all duly appreciative of the interest which the Tory Party now take in our trade union movement—[HON. MEMBERS: "Your movement?"]—may I ask whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman is aware that Mr. Chapman has taken the constitutional course of putting his grievances before the highest authority within his trade union and that that authority is making a thorough and complete investigation of the matter and is quite determined that justice will be done?

The Attorney-General

No doubt the House is grateful to the hon. Member for the information which he has given in the latter part of his supplementary question. The first part of his question calls for no comment from me.

Mr. C. Pannell

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that if the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) is so interested in this matter there is nothing to stop him from bringing a prosecution himself?

The Attorney-General

Except, perhaps, a lack of evidence.