HC Deb 08 July 1965 vol 715 cc1800-2
12. Mr. Gower

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what decision he has reached regarding the request of Mr. C. P. Q. Beck of 56 Heol-y-Gors, Whitchurch, Glamorgan, for a full inquiry into his case, as outlined in the correspondence which has been forwarded to his Department.

Mr. George Thomas

As the hon. Member has been told, my right hon. and learned Friend can find no grounds to justify the institution of a formal inquiry into Mr. Beck's case, which has already been very fully considered in the light of the correspondence that he has forwarded.

Mr. Gower

Has the Joint Under-Secretary of State noticed the two main complaints of Mr. Beck, namely, that although the Home Secretary refuses to intervene in this case, in fact the Home Office intervened in a similar case brought to its notice by the Society of Labour Lawyers some time ago; and, secondly, that although there was no reporter in the magistrates' court, a full report of the prosecution case appeared in the newspapers and the defence case, which was ultimately successful in the assize court, was not reported at all—an action which was condemned by the Press Council? Does he not think that there is some ground, in the light of all these circumstances, for some investigation?

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Member knows that his constituent met my predecessor in office, that he was heard by the Minister then dealing with this matter that for three years the Home Office has been receiving correspondence upon the matter and that it has been thoroughly looked into.

Mr. Gower


Mr. Thomas

The hon. Member ought to know, because he has sent me more letters than anyone else—and that is saying something. The hon. Member may be assured that we have looked into this case with the utmost care, as did the last Administration, and we have reached the same conclusion.

Mr. Michael Foot

While I am sure that the Home Office has looked at the matter carefully, may I ask my hon. Friend to appreciate that what is required in this case is some form of independent investigation into the matter? Does he not accept the fact that those who have looked into the details outside the Home Office have reached a conclusion that some independent inquiry ought to be made? Will he, therefore, undertake to reconsider the matter with that in mind?

Mr. Thomas

No, Sir. The inquiry which took place in the Home Office was an independent inquiry and not a biassed inquiry. It was an inquiry by people who have all the facts at their disposal, and I see no reason at all for asking for a special inquiry in this case.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Does the Minister realise that to a great majority of people in the House, including myself, the details of this case are unknown, but that what creates anxiety is the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) in his supplementary question and reinforced by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot)? Unless the Minister is prepared to dispute these facts—and if he is, will he tell us so—does he not agree that there is a case here for an inquiry?

Mr. Thomas

What has been said this afternoon is not new. All this has been looked into. I do not seek to dispute what the right hon. Gentleman said about publication in the Press, but I assure him that these facts were borne in mind during our investigation and during the investigation of his right hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead (Mr. Brooke), who reached the same conclusion as we have reached.