HC Deb 02 December 1959 vol 614 cc1169-70
24. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for War whether Corporal John Ingham is still employed at the Guards Depot, Caterham; and on what duties.

Mr. H. Fraser

No, Sir. He has been moved to regimental duty with a battalion at another station.

Mr. Stewart

Is it not the fact that this N.C.O. was found guilty at a court martial of striking and ill-treating recruits on several occasions? Does not the hon. Gentleman think it rather surprising that he was still considered suitable to hold non-commissioned rank? May we have an assurance that he will not be put in a position where he will be in charge of recruits?

Mr. Fraser

It is not for me to comment on the findings of a court martial. Of course, the offence will be borne in mind when his future employment is considered.

Mr. Strachey

We are not asking the hon. Gentleman to comment on the findings of the court martial, which are clear enough; but does not it seem very strange that after such a sentence this man is considered a proper person to hold a non-commissioned rank?

Mr. Fraser

I am prepared to defend this, since it was confirmed by the proper authority. Looking into the background of this man, his past history, and the excellence of his previous record, I think that both the confirming authority and the court martial were right.

Mr. Shinwell

Is there not a misunderstanding here? Does the hon. Gentleman confirm that he said that he cannot comment on the findings of a court martial? Is he aware that his right hon. Friend can either confirm or act otherwise in connection with the findings of a court martial?

Mr. Fraser

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. In this case I do not propose to comment on it.