§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (St. Marylebone)
I beg to move,That this House deplores the refusal of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to set up a specific inquiry to report as a matter of urgency on the escape of George Blake from Wormwood Scrubs Prison.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before we proceed, may I inform the House that three Front Benchers, four Privy Councillors and a number of back benchers wish to take part in this debate, which is a comparatively short one.
§ Mr. Hogg
I must say at the outset that we on this side think it a pity that, contrary to all the recent precedents which we have been able to discover, at least those since the summer of 1963, the Home Secretary does not propose to rise in his place at the beginning of the debate to answer what is said and leave a senior colleague, perhaps the Prime Minister, to defend his conduct at the end.
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman, no less than I have, has reflected more than once upon the exchange of opinions which took place in the House last Monday afternoon. The more I reflect upon this exchange, the more convinced I become that the action taken by Her Majesty's Government over the Blake case has been not merely inadequate but inappropriate. I say "by Her Majesty's Government" advisedly. The target of this Motion of censure is, of course, the right hon. Gentleman because what has happened happened within his Department and because he was the Minister who made the statement last Monday to which we take exception. But it would be naïve for anyone acquainted with the way in which government works not to realise from the start that a statement of this character could not have been made by the right hon. Gentleman if he had not concerted it at least with the Prime Minister and with other senior colleagues in the Cabinet. Therefore, what has been done has been done by Her Majesty's Government.
The general problem of prison security has caused anxiety, I suppose, on all 116 sides of the House in recent years, especially since the summer of 1964, when one of the train robbers broke out of Birmingham Prison, an occasion which established almost for the first time in our prison history that our prisons, which had been constructed to keep people in, were not in future to be immune from organised rescue attempts from outside. Such escapes constitute a serious problem for any Government to consider.
There were over 520 escapes of all sorts in the calendar year 1964 and over 520 escapes of all sorts in the calendar year 1965. The Home Secretary has told us, I think, that up to 11th June this year there were 200 escapes of all sorts. The crude figures do not reflect the seriousness of some of the escapes, rescued and organised from outside as a result of criminal conspiracy. Therefore, there can be no dispute on either side of the House that the Home Secretary was quite correct when he considered that the general problem of prison security constituted a serious question for us all.
The more I think about this problem, however, the more I am convinced that what is needed to solve the general problem of prison security is not an investigation under an eminent personage to report, to use the right hon. Gentleman's own words, in a few months, but a programme of action operating, as all programmes should operate, under the responsible Minister and not under a close relative of the Royal Family. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]
My reason for that conclusion is that I should be astonished——
§ Mr. Leo Abse (Pontypool)
On a point of order. Is it not quite improper, Mr. Speaker, for any reference to be made to the Royal Family, particularly in a way which by implication is clearly depreciatory?
§ Mr. Speaker
If there had been any depreciation in the reference, I would have called the right hon. and learned Gentleman to order.
§ Mr. Hogg
The reason for my conclusion is that I should be astonished if the Home Secretary were not already well aware, after nearly a year in office, of what is needed to be done. If he does remain ignorant, which I do not suppose 117 or suggest, I doubt whether his Department is ignorant. That this is so appears plainly from what has been done since Blake's escape.
Now that the horse has been stolen, stable doors are swinging ponderously to all over the nation. Guard dogs have mysteriously appeared. Prisoners have been switched, although, curiously enough, potential rescuers have been told where each is going. Watch towers have been springing up like mushrooms. It is possible that the Home Secretary has even considered the unlovely but not wholly inappropriate idea of putting a concertina of Dannert wire over some of the walls.
One is almost tempted to think that if some of this had been done at any time during the last two years, Mr. Blake would still be inside. What is needed, therefore, to improve the general pattern of security is a programme of action under the Minister and not an investigation under Lord Mountbatten. In the judgment of my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself, what needs an immediate and specific investigation is not the general pattern of the security of those still inside, but the particular question of how and why Blake has been allowed to escape.
May I say here and now, in view of something which fell from the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse), that whatever anyone else may think I mean no discourtesy whatever to Lord Mount-batten. I acknowledge his public spirit, and I am sure that the whole House will acknowledge his public spirit, in undertaking what must be an onerous and, perhaps not unlikely, disagreeable and exacting task. But the more I think—[HON. MEMBERS: "When?"]—about the nature of the inquiry—[Interruption.]—and I sometimes think that hon. Members opposite might do some thinking, too—the more I am convinced——
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Roy Jenkins)
May I put one point to the right hon. and learned Gentleman before he leaves the last point which he has been making? In his last question to me last Monday, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that there were two separate issues:The first is the general question of security in the prison service, for which the right hon. Gentleman has, quite rightly, appointed a 118 general inquiry".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1966; Vol. 734, c. 655.]Why has the right hon. and learned Gentleman changed his mind?
§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Richard Crossman)
That is not what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said last Monday.
§ Mr. Hogg
I am sure that that is a conclusive and important observation. The right hon. Gentleman might care to reflect that, save for a brief moment, of which his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is aware, I had no prior notice whatever of what the Home Secretary was to say. One of the very reasons why it becomes necessary to reopen a matter of this importance in debate is so that the whole question can be ventilated in the light of the reflections of the last six days.
The more I reflect upon it, the more certain I become that the Mountbatten inquiry was calculated, and by the Prime Minister almost certainly designed, to shroud under the billows of smoke which will be engendered in the next few months——
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take it from me that, while I of course accept full responsibility, as we all do, for this, it was my right hon. Friend who decided that Lord Mountbatten was the right choice and I concurred with it?
§ Mr. Hogg
Well, I am glad exactly to know the division of responsibility in this matter, and, of course, I shall accept what the right hon. Gentleman has just said, but it is a curious reflection upon how experience of office sometimes develops—[Interruption.]—sometimes develops, that on 10th May, 1965—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Hogg
—that on 10th May, 1965, the right hon. Gentleman, in answer to a Question from this side of the House, used these words about security matters, in describing his own responsibility as Prime Minister. He said that there was a special responsibility on the Prime Minister in such matters, and that it simply was not good enoughonce the horse has bolted to have a high-level inquiry six months after to see what was wrong.And since the right hon. Gentleman's memory is so good he will immediately recall to the House that that quotation is to be found in column 42 of HANSARD of 10th May, 1965. I remember the context very well, and we are going on to it.
But the object of this exercise is to shroud, under billows of smoke engendered by a public inquiry, the sharp outlines of a national scandal which emerged starkly as the result of a particular occurrence.
Now George Blake was, at the time of the right hon. Gentleman's appointment and of the appointment of the Government in October, 1964, probably the most important single prisoner we had in Her Majesty's prisons.
§ Mr. Hogg
I am perfectly sure that the public will notice the frivolous attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I have been too long in this House—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—to be deterred by jeers and frivolity, and I notice that right hon. Gentlemen are not altogether well comforted by the attitude of their supporters.
Blake had been sentenced to the appalling total of 42 years in prison. His crimes had related to matters so sensitive that virtually the whole trial was in camera. In any other country, or almost any other country, as the Lord Chief Justice reminded him at the time of his sentence, he would have paid for what he had done with his life, without question, and certainly without mercy, either in the United States of America or in Soviet Russia.
I do not pause to examine the full extent to which he may be a national danger. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister made a statement about 120 that in answer to a Private Notice Question in the House, and, of course, I accept without question, on the narrow matter to which the Private Notice Question related, that what the right hon. Gentleman said was correct, and I should be doing no service either to the House or to national security were I to pretend the contrary, but surely it is rather innocent to believe that a dedicated enemy of this country who has spent 10 years or more in the security services can be of no use at all, if he takes refuge behind the Iron Curtain, either as to matters of consultation or organisation, on the matters on which he had been previously employed, or about the methods of interrogation to which he was subjected since he was arrested, and which must have told him a great deal about methods of interrogation employed by the counter-espionage service, and which might be of the highest possible use in training agents from the other side.
Incidentally, surely a far more important question even than that, is the question of morale—both of the security services of the Communist Powers, which must have been greatly enhanced by Blake's rescue, and of our own security services, when they reflect on what Blake has done and what has now become of him. Clearly, this is not a laughing matter. The escape of such a prisoner as this delivered a swingeing blow at the national prestige of this country, at a time when this country cannot afford very well further blows to its national prestige, and a serious setback to the international standing of the security forces of our allies; and we think this is something which cannot be erased without a particular inquiry.
The right hon. Gentleman in his statement last Monday reflected upon the fact that Blake had been placed in Wormwood Scrubs in 1961 when Lord Butler was Home Secretary, and from the jeering which greeted this announcement from the benches opposite one would have thought that disposed of the entire matter. I wonder whether the public will think the same. I wonder whether the public will think that it is a defence in a Government who have been more than two years in office——
§ Mr. Hogg
Not at the moment—and who got in under the precise promise that they were going to make all things new, that they had, on this crucial matter, left things exactly as they were. I wonder whether the public will think that the Opposition ought to be deterred from doing their duty to subject the Front Bench to the necessary scrutiny of criticism, if they allowed themselves to be deterred by the fact, if it was a fact——
§ Mr. Silverman rose——
§ Mr. Silverman rose——
§ Mr. Hogg
No. I will not give way at the moment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because I am addressing myself to the Front Bench opposite. I wonder whether the country would think that we as an Opposition would be doing our duty to subject the Front Bench opposite to the scrutiny of criticism in the public interest if we allowed ourselves to be deterred by the fact, if it be a fact, that a former colleague had been guilty of an error of judgment?
But I doubt whether, on mature reflection, the right hon. Gentleman will consider that what he said to the House on Monday last reflected the whole of the information in his own possession or really constituted a candid admission of all he knew. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The right hon. Gentleman knows—perhaps he will confirm whether he knows or not, but I assert that he knows—that in May, 1964, there was brought to the Home Office, while Mr. Brooke was Home Secretary, the report of an elaborate plan to rescue Blake, and on the instructions of the then Home Secretary the Home Office was instructed that, true or false, this report must be taken extremely seriously, the more seriously as by that time Lonsdale had been exchanged; and he raised the question—and the question was raised, to which I shall revert in a moment—as to whether Blake should not be moved to another prison. He also, so I am informed, instituted special precautions and security measures against Blake which, had they still been in force in October, 1966, would certainly have prevented the escape.
I hope that it will not be thought that I want to make an unfair point. I recognise 122 that special security precautions involving a constant watch cannot be continued indefinitely either from the point of view of the necessities of the prison service or from that of simple humanity to a prisoner. But if and when they were relaxed—and the House is entitled to know when they were relaxed—in the light of the question which has been raised as to whether Blake ought to remain in Wormwood Scrubs, surely that should have led the right hon. Gentleman or his predecessor to move him.
Even that is not the whole story which the right hon. Gentleman did not tell us last Monday. In August, 1964, Wilson—I mean, the train robber—escaped from a Birmingham prison. Again, that was considered by the Home Secretary of the day, and again he instructed his office that it was clear that, from that moment of history, organised rescue attempts by professional criminals would have to be guarded against from without. He recommended what had not then been done—because, up to that point, prisons had mainly been places to keep people inside—the strengthening of Durham, Parkhurst and Leicester to be secure against it.
That has now been done but, when it was done, why was it not considered that Blake should be transferred to a new security wing. If he had been transferred to one of those new security blocks, there is little doubt that he would still be inside it now. Instead of being kept in an ordinary prison 20 yards from a public street and 20 minutes from London Airport and allowed, we read, the facilities of a VHF radio and coffee mornings, why was that not done?
In addition, Mr. Brooke then set up a working party to draw up plans immediately for a special security establishment, which has since been located at Albany but which has not yet been completed under the present Government. In addition to that, the Home Secretary of the day drew the special attention of his Department to the danger of Blake escaping after he had learned of the escape of Wilson. He pointed out that if Blake were to escape, it would be as disastrous as or more disastrous than if one of the other train robbers were to escape.
The right hon. Gentleman has not told us another fact. In October, 1964, within a fortnight of taking office, the Labour Government who were going to 123 be so peculiarly careful about matters of security and promised and boasted that they would be, received a fresh report from Birmingham Prison which indicated the method of Wilson's escape. A request was thereupon made by the then Home Secretary that a special officer with security experience should be appointed forthwith to act as a security adviser throughout the prisons of the land as to what further measures were necessary. It was not done for over a year. It was not done until another train robber escaped. It was not done until the end of 1965, and then, lackadaisically, fecklessly and at last, Lord Stow Hill appointed not a security adviser but a retired Metropolitan Police superintendent. One wonders what he has been doing since December, 1965. Did he go to the Scrubs? Did he make a report upon it? Did he tell the right hon. Gentleman that within 20 yards of a public street, within 20 minutes of London Airport and at a point at which a bold and successful escape had already taken place, there was in custody the most important State prisoner of the time? Did the right hon. Gentleman know it?
It is no good trying to cower behind Lord Butler's skirts when those are the facts. Blake has escaped, just as Mr. Brooke warned the Home Office that he might escape. It has been disastrous, more disastrous than any of the escapes of the train robbers.
Even from the meagre information that we got last Monday certain unalterable facts have begun to emerge. He was rescued from without as a result of a conspiracy in which there must have been a considerable number of participants, involving an elaborate plan, the expenditure of large sums of money, the importation of sophisticated material and, for the purpose of concerting plans and securing co-operation over quite a period of time, a freedom of communication between the outside and the prisoner. We see that it is even suggested that those communications were effected by wireless. It was a conspiracy, moreover, involving an escape vehicle, an escape route and perhaps rehearsals on the part of the conspirators, a getaway plan, perhaps a temporary hideout and an ultimate destination.
124 Those are the facts which have emerged even from the meagre information that we have been given by the Home Secretary. They are facts which demand a short, sharp, brisk inquiry, resulting in criminal prosecutions, if necessary, and the publication of such conclusions as are arrived at which do not damage security. It should be completed within weeks rather than months, as the right hon. Gentleman told us on Monday. It should be empowered to summon witnesses, because one can well understand that some of the potential informants might be reluctant to give evidence, and to compel the production of documents. Finally, it should be headed by a man with some professional experience of eliciting facts and marshalling evidence and not by one of the most eminent subjects of the Crown. Surely that is what is wanted.
Instead, we have a general inquiry which will take months, or so the right hon. Gentleman told us last Monday, under this eminent person who has not the technical expertise and has not been afforded by the right hon. Gentleman the rather miserable powers accorded by his right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to the prospective Ombudsman. That is what we have been given. Is it to be wondered that we were not wholly satisfied with what the right hon. Gentleman had to tell us the other day?
Let me remind the House of what the right hon. Gentleman said. He gave us the information then at his disposal about the actual escape. He gave us the proposals—or the fact that he was about to take action to remedy the want of security—which, so far as they have been put into force, might have been put into force at any time in the last two years, and most certainly would have been if Mr. Henry Brooke's suggestion in October, 1964, had been acted upon properly.
Lastly, as the pièce de résistance, the right hon. Gentleman said:Second, I believe that an independent inquiry into prison security is now called for. I have asked Lord Mountbatten to head such an inquiry and he has most generously agreed to undertake this important task. I hope that his report will be available in a few months.I at once challenged the right hon. Gentleman's judgment in this matter. I said:Will the right hon. Gentleman consider a fuller report into the particular case to which 125 the Question relates, since an escape of a prisoner of this kind is a matter which must necessarily cause widespread concern quite outside the ordinary questions of security in the prison service.The right hon. Gentleman, as he was entitled to do, turned me down flat. He said:But it will certainly be perfectly competent for the inquiry to look into the circumstances of this particular escape and to report anything which it thinks should be reported on that.My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition then pressed the right hon. Gentleman and asked him to make it a specific instruction to Lord Mountbatten, and the right hon. Gentleman turned him down flat, too. He said:But what I think is required at present is an inquiry into our prison security as a whole. I do not think "—lest there be any doubt about his attitude—it would have been in any way appropriate to ask Lord Mountbatten to conduct an inquiry into a particular escape on Saturday evening.That is the issue between us. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman again, and he answered me a little less flat footedly than before. I asked him to reconsider his attitude about a particular inquiry, and the right hon. Gentleman was quite right, because these are far too serious matters to make false points, to remind me that I said:Will not the Home Secretary give us an assurance that there will be a specific investigation, with a report, into this specific instance, either independently of or as an integral part of the Mountbatten inquiry?".The right hon. Gentleman then said:This can certainly be done, and, I hope, will be done, as an integral part of the inquiry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1966; Vol. 734, cc. 650–55.]I had at one time thought that the right hon. Gentleman was moving this way, but when hon. Members afterwards said, "Order it" he did not order it, and it is clear that although there may be attempts, as there nearly always are in the case of the right hon. Gentleman, to take into account seriously made criticisms of his conduct, the gulf between us remains. It remained at the end of Question Time on Monday, and it remained after he had defined the terms of reference and released them to the Press. We want a specific inquiry of the kind that I have indicated into the 126 stark outlines of a particular national scandal. The right hon. Gentleman is offering a general inquiry into recent escapes, reporting, so he told us, after a few months into what has gone wrong.
That leads me to the question of responsibility for the whole matter. Of course the Home Secretary is the constitutional target for our Motion, and I think it is only honourable of him to have shouldered that responsibility without qualification. He is of course responsible for the prison service. He is responsible for the police force which should prevent crime and should set in motion perhaps more vigorous measures to recapture the criminal. Also, as the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister reminded us on 10th May, he has the responsibility for the operation of the security services as well as the responsibility for the police. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman has rightly been selected as, and has accepted the rôle of, the target for a Motion of Censure.
But, as the Prime Minister frankly accepted at the beginning of this debate, the responsibility in this case is not the sole responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman. It is the responsibility of the Government of which the Prime Minister is the head.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
To use the right hon. and learned Gentleman's analogy, is not the issue here that the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants an examination into one of the stable doors, and not an examination into all the stable doors?
§ Mr. Hogg
I want the horse to be found.
The Prime Minister, in the speech to which I referred at the beginning of my remarks, after defining the rôles of individual Ministers and then of the Home Secretary, said:In addition to this, the Prime Minister has a very special responsibility as head of the security services. I have taken certain dispositions, certain action to make sure that I am kept fully informed of everything that I feel can possibly involve any security risk …"—Has he?—because"—he went on to say—it is not enough once the horse has bolted to have a high-level inquiry six months later to see what was wrong.127 And he spelt it out:It is the duty of the Prime Minister to see that he is so informed about these matters that he can take immediate action and close that door and any other doors which may be open."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th May, 1965; Vol. 712, c. 42–3.]I realise that in the Blake matter the right hon. Gentleman is largely shouldering the blame for other persons. Behind the Home Secretary is the Prime Minister, and possibly also the even more coy figure of the Paymaster-General. I am sorry for the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, but I cannot help that the rules of Ministerial responsibility in this country are harsh, and sometimes operate cruelly. If the right hon. Gentleman feels that he cannot take the blame for his colleagues, he has one course open to him, but so long as he remains in office he must recognise that what has happened has happened altogether within his own Department. There has been a great lapse of security within his Department. The measures which he has taken to put things right confuse two entirely separate issues, and do not carry the confidence of the country.
But what are we to say about the Prime Minister? There he sits, peeping out from behind his colleagues' skirts, unwilling to take his place on the firing step when his colleague to his right is exposed and to shot and shell. One of the most disagreeable features of public life in recent years was the sustained, vindictive, and if I might borrow a phrase, politically motivated attack mounted upon the then Home Secretary, Mr. Henry Brooke, by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, and the present Paymaster-General. I more than ever regret that it was the Home Secretary that we have had to attack tonight, because he was an honourable exception to what I shall always look upon as one of the basest features of Labour opposition.
I want to quote once more the words which the present Foreign Secretary uttered of Mr. Henry Brooke—as he then was—after the first of the escapes, which was the Wilson escape from a Birmingham prison in 1964. Referring to a whole series of episodes amounting to nothing in comparison to that to which the right hon. Gentleman has exposed the country, he said:Just a few years ago almost any one of these messes would have been regarded as 128 sufficient of a scandal for the Minister to take personal responsibility. That would have meant the offer of his resignation.But not so with the right hon. Gentleman; still less so with the Prime Minister, the man whose bungling incompetence in almost every field of policy—equalled only by his almost terrifying conceit—has brought our once proud country in shame to her knees in so many things.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Gordon Walker (Leyton)
I am sorry that the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) adopted the tone he did tonight. On Monday last it seemed that he was taking a much more politic and temperate line than his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, but tonight he not only made a very long speech for this short debate; he resorted to extraordinarily farfetched metaphor to pad out a very weak and poor case.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he intended no discourtesy to Lord Mountbatten, but he contrived on at least three occasions to make such discourteous reflections upon him. He went so far as to imply that Lord Mountbatten is the sort of man from whom things can be shrouded—this man of great vigour and energy who has always been ruthless though fair in any inquiries that he has made. Remmebreing that he has three very able assessors to help him I thought that it was an extremely unworthy slur upon him.
Then, in the last words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, we discovered what it was all about. This was to be a covert attack, under the guise of a Motion of censure—to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman never referred—upon the Home Secretary, who is one of the best men that has ever presided over the Home Office. That is the motive behind the Motion.
The escape of Blake is a very grave and disturbing affair, but it is not the issue that is before us tonight. The issue chosen by the Opposition concerns the method of inquiry into Blake's escape. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was very careful not to tell us about the terms of reference of the Mountbatten inquiry, because those terms of reference completely destroy the entire basis of the 129 Motion before the House. The terms of reference areTo inquire into recent prison escapes, with particular reference to that of George Blake, and to make recommendations for the improvement of prison security".Directly those terms of reference were made known, the Political Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, last Tuesday, said of the terms of reference:They meet the point repeatedly made by Mr. Heath"—who is now leaving us—and Mr. Hogg from the Opposition Front Bench yesterday, that the Blake affair should be the subject of special investigation.That was just before the Motion of censure was put down. The terms of reference exactly meet the point made on Monday by the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, when he asked for an inquiryeither independently or as an integral part of the Mountbatten inquiry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1966; Vol. 734, c. 655.]This is precisely what the right hon. and learned Gentleman was asking for last Monday—so precisely that he had to seek refuge tonight in a piece of hot, coloured verbiage.
It is clear that the right hon. Gentleman had rather a bad conscience about having to put down this Motion. There was an obviously inspired report in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday last, written by its Political Correspondent—a man of known integrity who would not have published such a story save on the highest authority. He said that the terms of referenceissued from the Home Office some hours laterthan the Motion was put down. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition obviously wanted to give the impression that he and his right hon. Friends did not know anything about the terms of reference, but it is demonstrable that they must have known hours before they put down the Motion.
I have looked up the times when these various things appeared on the tape. On the Press Association General News Service tape the terms of reference appeared at 6.55 p.m.—one hour and thirteen minutes before the censure Motion appeared upon the tape.
§ Mr. Hogg
The right hon. Gentleman is suggesting the precise contrary of the fact. I not only did not desire to pretend 130 that the terms of reference were preceded by the Motion of censure; I expressly said that the Motion of censure was designed to object, among other things, to the terms of reference.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
The Political Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph would not have published this story unless there had been some very strong information—I am not accusing the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself—from whoever it is whose job it was to convey these things to the Daily Telegraph.
For a good hour or more before the Motion was placed upon the Order Paper right hon. and learned Gentlemen must have known that the Home Secretary had given them—and had published that he had given them—exactly what they were asking for. Therefore, the question arises: why was this Motion put down after the terms of reference were known? The reasons are simple. The Leader of the Opposition committed himself rashly and too far last Monday and, like the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself tonight—I regret to say—he was determined to extract any little party capital that he possibly could out of the situation.
If Conservatives are tempted to make party capital out of this they should remember the key dates. Blake was convicted on 31st May and was then put into Wormwood Scrubbs, which is 20 yards from the street and a few miles from London Airport. In October, 1961, he was taken off the escape list. I do not complain about this; it was done after due care and consideration and, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said on Monday, after discussions with the security services. It was a decision taken after all thought and care had been given to the question.
Perhaps Blake should have been moved during the last two years, but it does not lie in Conservative mouths—least of all in the mouths of right hon. Gentlemen opposite—to say so, because that would be to ask us to alter arrangements made after all due care and consideration and calculation by the previous Administration.
I should like to raise very briefly a point about a remark made on Monday by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), of which I have given him 131 notice. He made a reference to the police beingalready pretty demoralised by the right hon. Gentleman."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1966; Vol. 734, c. 653.]The right hon. Gentleman was referring to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. For the right hon. Gentleman to say that, with his known views on hanging, and so on, was the clear implication that the failure to alter the law in this respect was demoralising the police. This is very dangerous and irresponsible doctrine. The law on hanging is not a matter for the Government. The law was carried on a free vote in the House. What the right hon. Gentleman said was an unworthy slur on the police.
All of us have a duty to stand by the police in their hard, arduous and often dangerous duties. But the police also have a duty, which they fully recognise and carry out, to accept the law of the land laid down by Act of Parliament. After all, that is the basis of their activity as a law-enforcing organisation.
I should like briefly to return to the main issue. Whether or not there should be an interim report, which seemed to be one of the points which the right hon. and learned Gentleman made in the midst of his turgid remarks, must by all precedent, be left to the chairman of the inquiry. This was the case in all committees of inquiry set up by the Opposition when they were in office. It is the accepted precedent. A chairman cannot decide in this or other matters whether to produce an interim report until he has begun his inquiry. I do not doubt that Lord Mountbatten will start straightaway going into the Blake escape, and will have to decide whether it is proper and possible to separate this from the other matters and make an interim report. According to all precedent, this should be left to the chairman.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
On Monday, the right hon. and learned Gentleman asked for a special inquiry as an integral part of the Mountbatten inquiry. If that is 132 all he wants, I do not know why he made such a long speech today.
When we have the report or reports—we do not know whether there will be an interim report—it will be right to have a searching debate in the House into the whole question of prison security and the Blake escape. What is wrong is to spend the time of the House of Commons on this squalid, pointless Motion, which has been primarily produced for covert reasons to attack my right hon. Friend and partly for party reasons. It is an abuse of the right of the Opposition to demand time to debate a Motion of censure on a Minister of the Crown. The Motion should be withdrawn. If it is not withdrawn, it should be resoundingly and scornfully rejected.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Duncan Sandys (Streatham)
The right hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Gordon Walker) criticised me for referring to the demoralising effect of the Home Secretary's attitude to crime and punishment. I do not believe that anything I said was either untrue or unfair. Have we not good reason to be worried when we read that the Home Secretary has been booed and jeered at by the police and that the prison warders are threatening to go slow as a protest against his decisions?
I am not commending these deplorable occurrences—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Of course I am not. But do they not show the extent to which the Home Secretary has strained the loyalty and weakened the morale of the police and prison services, who feel very badly let down?
§ Mr. Ben Whitaker (Hampstead)
On a point of order. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension about which Motion we are discussing.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)
I have not heard anything out of order from the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys).
§ Mr. Sandys
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was not proposing to pursue that point further.
I consider that, by his reluctance to hold a proper type of inquiry into Blake's escape, the Home Secretary has further undermined general confidence. Of course, I welcomed his decision to institute a comprehensive study into the problems of prison security. In fact I asked for it even before the right hon. Gentleman made his statement. Having worked closely for several years with Lord Mountbatten in the Ministry of Defence, I appreciate his great abilities. I am perfectly sure that he will carry out this general review into the broad problems of prison security with the utmost thoroughness and efficiency and that he will produce a valuable report which will contain constructive and useful recommendations.
But the investigation into the circumstances of Blake's escape and the opportionment of responsibility is quite a different kind of inquiry and should have been kept entirely separate. It is more in the nature of a tribunal. It will have to cross-examine witnesses, weigh evidence and pronounce opinions which will affect the reputations and careers of officials in the Home Office and prison service. I am sure that Lord Mountbatten would be the first to agree that this aspect of the inquiry is a job, not for an admiral, but for a judge. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because it is essentially a judicial matter. It is a quasi-judicial investigation.
The truth is that when the Home Secretary instituted this inquiry he did not intend that it should probe too deeply into the circumstances of Blake's escape. Otherwise he would surely have included among the assessors somebody with legal experience. If he intended this inquiry to examine witnesses and sift evidence about Blake's escape, which is a quasi-judicial task, why did he not include among the assessors somebody with legal experience? The right hon. Gentleman obviously hoped that by hurriedly ordering a wide-ranging inquiry into future methods he would distract attention from past mistakes. But that is such an old trick that I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman could have thought that he was going to get away with it.
134 The only result of his evasive tactics has been to give the impression that he has got something to hide. Blake has been allowed to escape from prison. But we do not intend to allow the right hon. Gentleman to escape from his duty to tell the whole truth to Parliament and the people.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Tomney (Hammersmith, North)
Of one thing we can be sure. It is that this issue is too serious to be laughed off or jeered off. It is an issue which concerns the very fabric of our society. That being so, I intend, with Mr. Deputy Speaker's indulgence, to go rather wide of the Motion, because the matters involved here are much wider. They concern principally the Home Secretary himself and the execution of his office while he holds that post, remembering that it is an office which is responsible for tendering to the Cabinet advice on issues which affect the moral, ethical and behavioural standards of the British people.
I am speaking of standards which have been slipping disastrously in the last 20 years, standards which must be brought up with a jolt if confidence in the office held by my right hon. Friend is to be restored and if confidence in the police by the public and in the public by the police is to be put on a better footing than is the situation at present prevailing. These are the issues before the House affecting the office of my right hon. Friend.
Like other hon. Members, I have had a nodding acquaintance with the present Home Secretary during my years in the House and I know that he is a somewhat diffident and shy man; a little difficult to approach, although I believe him to be sincere in the execution of his office. I have, on most other issues, agreed with him on policy matters. On this issue, however, I have not. My views are known and were known before the event—indeed, were deliberately known.
Everything seems to happen in Shepherd's Bush—Wormwood Scrubs, the murder of the three policemen. These are matters which affect the security of the nation and are worrying my constituents. They are particularly worried about the number of prison escapes—19 during the past 20 months—close at hand. The 135 task of Parliament tonight is to try to put these matters into perspective. What are we doing? What can we be said to be doing now to help to put matters in perspective?
Environment and upbringing come into this, but responsibility and respect for law and order is something else. These are taught through our institutions to our children on their way to adulthood. What the Home Office—and, to a lesser degree, the police—have been unable to tackle adequately and to take adequate measures to achieve is the tempo of life and Britain's crime rate, which is ever rising and becoming more violent.
The Home Secretary is a man of very little love—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—When the three policemen were murdered in my constituency I expected either a letter or a word of sympathy from him. [HON. MEMBERS: "He paid a visit."] I am sorry to say that nothing arrived—[Interruption.] There is no need for my hon. Friends to interrupt me. They know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. No letter of sympathy from my right hon. Friend was received by the hon. Member for the constituency concerned. Naturally, this hon. Member was under considerable pressure from his constituents, who were anxious for him to say something about the issue. I therefore left my investigations until the followins day and left my right hon. Friend to settle down to his job and make his on-the-spot investigation. T should have thought, in the circumstances, that he could or should have written to me a message of sympathy, and——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I understand how strongly the hon. Member feels about these issues, but he is getting a little wide of the Motion, to which I hope he will relate his remarks.
§ Mr. Tomney
Gladly, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
I thought at the time that the Home Secretary's decision, taken almost on the spot, not to recommend a change in the law had been given with undue haste. I still think so. The Metropolitan Police is 6,000 recruits short and resignations are occurring every week. A new type of criminal is before us. For the first time, the British policeman appears to be losing his nerve—[HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] 136 —in the face of unrelenting pressure against him personally. It is one thing for a policeman to be backed up by the law. It is another for him to be backed up by the public. But when neither give him adequate protection, he is in a frightful dilemma. I have said previously, and I repeat now, that we should, in circumstances where there is wilful murder of a policeman, protect——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The Motion concerns the refusal of the Home Secretary to hold a specific inquiry into a prison escape. I hope that the hon. Member will speak to the Motion.
§ Mr. Tomney
It is all tied up with the Motion. We are speaking of the escape of prisoners from prison and of a depleted prison service for which recruits are difficult to obtain. In the sort of free society we have, it is not easy to get men to take dangerous employment, and the prison service provides dangerous employment.
The prison about which we are speaking has been understaffed for the last seven years. Correspondence has passed between the Home Secretary and myself about staffing, but the prison is still understaffed. It should be pointed out and recognised that we are now dealing with a new type of criminal who, by power of money and organisation, is able to engineer escapes of a spectacular character from prison. This, therefore, places a responsibility on us and the Home Office to put matters right.
§ At Question Time last Monday week I said that Blake should not have been at Wormwood Scrubs. It is not a maximum security prison—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who put him there? "] I am dealing with the point that Blake was at Wormwood Scrubs. I am not concerned so much with who put him there. The man has just recently escaped to the detriment of the nation. Let us not try to dodge the issue. He has escaped to the detriment of the nation and of the security services, and it is something we should not have allowed to happen——
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
My hon. Friend has said that this prisoner has escaped to the detriment of the nation. Does he, with the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), also accept what the Prime Minister said 137 this afternoon, that there is no further security risk from this prisoner, even though he has escaped?
§ Mr. Tomney
I am not in a position to answer that question, nor do I think that anyone else is. The men to whom I refer are now organising escapes from outside the prison in the most deliberate and coldblooded circumstances. In this situation, how is the prison service to be strengthened? What can the Home Secretary do to to attract and retain recruits? What is the overall policy of the Home Office in this matter?
In all service employment which carries a service tenancy it is laid down that the tenancy ceases when the man reaches retiring age. This is a grievous thing in the prison service. The day a man finishes, he is out of his prison flat or cottage. The same applies to most policemen who are in police; houses. I therefore suggest that as a first step we ought to begin to put this on a proper footing, and make long-term provision of this character in a service right through to a man's retirement——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member is very much wide of the Motion. I must ask him to bring his remarks to the Motion, otherwise he will have to resume his seat.
§ Mr. Tomney
All right, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I thought that I was speaking to the Motion. What I am saying is all bound up with the original Motion—how to protect the police and warders, how to induce men into the service, and so on. If we cannot get that, I do not know what the future of the police and the prison services will be.
Maclean and Burgess were one thing—they were never apprehended. Kroger and Lonsdale were put inside. This man Blake, possibly the greatest criminal of them all, was put inside for 42 years. It is obvious that his escape could not have been engineered without considerable help from inside, and perhaps from outside, the prison. Therefore, any investigation must be of the widest character possible. It must range from the top officials downwards through the whole staff and the ancillary services. The prison staffing must be checked, and the hours of maximum relaxation—Blake escaped during an hour of maximum relaxation.
138 I know for a fact that the prison warders have been very overworked; some of them have had only one day off in three weeks. This is not conducive either to a man's career or to his good conduct in his position. These men get tired, over-wrought and anxious. All these matters, together with considerations of proper conditions, are within the Home Secretary's province.
Whether the inquiry, with its terms of reference, will give the House of Commons its answer at once we cannot yet say. The Home Secretary himself is very much on trial in this matter, and will be for a period of, perhaps, 12 months, until matters begin to shake themselves out. He is a man of integrity, and I hope that he will come out of this incident with full honour. He has not had much time to bed himself into his job)——
§ Dr. Hugh Gray (Yarmouth)
He is the best Home Secretary we have ever had in the history of the country.
§ Mr. Tomney
—but, given confidence, and the confidence of the House, I think that he can achieve what he is setting out to do——
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
I am very interested in what the hon. Member has been saying, but as he has this intimate knowledge of conditions in Wormwood Scrubs, and knew that Blake was there, can he say whether he suggested to the Home Secretary before Blake escaped that Blake should be moved?
§ Mr. Tomney
I did not know that Blake was at Wormwood Scrubs, nor could I. That was not a very clever question. But I do know about the numerous complaints by warders about conditions in the prison service, and it is to that that I have been addressing myself.
To resume my previous theme, I do not know whether this inquiry will give us the results we all want. If it does not, coupled with the nervousness in the police service and the prison officer service, the House of Commons will have to do some very drastic rethinking about conditions and recruitment in those services. I do not intend to deny my right hon. Friend the benefit of my vote tonight. I shall support him, but I hope that the House 139 once having got this matter behind it, will then be able to say that the Home Secretary shall be given a reasonable time to put the whole matter in order.
Attempts have been made during the last few days to transfer important prisoners to places of maximum security. The Home Office should now consider as a set policy in future that prisoners of this character, violent prisoners, train robbers, high security prisoners, should be placed in prisons of maximum security. If we get that alone out of this inquiry—the provision of better and safer prisons—we shall have gone some way to justify the high office of Home Secretary. We as a House of Commons all want to get the best out of this service that we can get. I fervently hope that the present Home Secretary can do it.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Sir Peter Rawlinson (Epsom)
I share with the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) the view that this is a grave matter and I think no one outside this House would not think it a very grave matter indeed. I share with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) disappointment that the Home Secretary did not reply immediately in this debate. Doubtless, he will speak at the end of the debate and perhaps have a great debating triumph, but those of us who are seriously concerned would like to know why in circumstances such as these he refuses to have a specific inquiry into the escape of this very especial man in these very especial circumstances.
Doubtless the Home Secretary will tell us at the end of the debate that this was an especial man bearing a terrible punishment for terrible offences he had committed, a man who had nothing in common with so many other people who serve prison sentences and that the only thing he had in common with other escapees was the ease with which he effected his escape. There are unique considerations in his case and particular circumstances attaching to the escape of George Blake which apply to no other convict in the country. Persons interested in a man such as George Blake go far beyond the underground who might perhaps have engineered this escape and might have been the instrument of other people.
140 I noted what the Prime Minister said in answer to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon. I hope he is right, but I wonder if he is right. Why for instance should it be said that no one was further interested in what George Blake could know in the security matters of the world? Why should they be interested after five years, so runs the argument? They were still interested after many years in Colonel Abel whom they transferred for Power. They were still interested in Lonsdale and exchanged him for Greville Wynne. They are still interested in the Krogers and an exchange for Gerald Brooke. Why is that? Is it only for the morale of the service or for something more which they might be able to learn?
Therefore, although the Prime Minister has said that with all the authority he has in these particular matters, I wonder. I sincerely hope that we may not see George Blake turning up in some Eastern European country. All I can say is that, while I listened to what the Prime Minister said, I wonder. Blake was a man of very great talent and very great abilities. He deceived many people for a very long time and under very difficult and very dangerous circumstances. Is it any wonder that he was able to deceive the prison authorities and, of course, his fellow convicts?
§ Mr. William Price (Rugby)
I am sorry to interrupt what is a very interesting speech, but I wonder if the right hon. and learned Gentleman can help me on two points. First, in view of all this, why was Blake very rapidly put on the list of those not likely to escape; and secondly, in view of the concern of Mr. Henry Brooke, of which we heard from the right hon. and learned Member, why was it that Mr. Brooke did not take the obvious step and put him back on the list of those likely to escape?
§ Sir P. Rawlinson
I know not what the reaction was to the rumour that reached the Home Office—perhaps we shall hear—in May, 1964, that there was a plot to get Blake out of prison. At that time there were limitations on maximum security, limitations which I agree should never have been. They were limitations which existed until what was done in August, 1965, at 141 Durham and Leicester and in 1966 at Parkhurst.
I agree that I would not want to have seen a man of such especial importance kept in this particular prison. The country wants to know from the right hon. Gentleman, who has brushed aside our demand for this inquiry, whether the prison authorities were warned about this particular man. This is the dilemma they were faced with. They had to balance on the one side the fact that here was a man with an enormous sentence ahead of him who had to be given some tolerable living conditions. They had to balance that against the need for some special security in this particular case? Were there security checks on those with whom he talked? Were they given a warning of Blake's abilities and talents? Why, in fact, was he retained in Wormwood Scrubs when he could and should have been moved to Parkhurst, Leicester or Durham? This was a political crime and he had political sympathisers. Were any checks made on members of the Communist Party who went to the prison? The prison has a prison college. There are teachers there. The right hon. Gentleman will perhaps tell us whether some of those teachers are Communist Party members. Why was no check made? Why were no searches made to see if there were political sympathisers from outside who were in possible contact with him? There seems to have been confusion over the state in which the authorities decided to keep him.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman has any direct allegations to make, he should make them openly and not by innuendo. He should let the Mountbatten inquiry go fully into the matter. It might be a new principle, one we might have to consider, to apply political tests of the sort of which he is speaking and which certainly none of my predecessors have applied.
§ Sir P. Rawlinson
The right hon. Gentleman is attempting to excuse a fact—[Interruption.] No. The right hon. Gentleman has intervened. I suggested that, where there are special circumstances surrounding a man, that is a special case. The right hon. Gentleman knows what this man did to other human beings. When there are special circumstances, as 142 in this case, when there are likely to be political sympathisers, is it not sensible and right to have political checks made upon persons who might be in contact, especially if there had been warnings given to his predecessor of an escape plan? There is a duty to keep such a person in prison. Why should there not be general inquiries of this kind?
I am asking a question. This is what this House is for, namely, to ask questions and to receive answers, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give them. I understand that Blake was permitted to change his job to that of storekeeper. I will be corrected if I am wrong, but I believe that he was refused permission to do any translating work. Why? Was this because the authorities suspect that it might be a way in which messages might be passing to and fro? Again, he was given certain privileges. Was he given any particular privileges in regard to his wife visiting him? Was he entitled to see his wife alone? If he was for a time, was that changed.
Was not this a strange casualness in view of this man's ability to lull people into a sense of security and get people on his side, to give this man various advantages. The authorities held back in some things, but permitted him to have this very powerful radio receiver. Why? Why should he be able to have that? What was the necessity?
§ Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)
Granted that these are relevant questions, what puzzles some of us is why the right hon. and learned Gentleman should think that they cannot be investigated by Lord Mountbatten and treated within his terms of reference.
§ Sir P. Rawlinson
Because these are serious matters which demand a specific inquiry. This is a special case involving a special type of man. I see the hon. and learned Gentleman shaking his head. I sat for a long time on the Government Benches and heard him and his hon. Friends who were in opposition at the time demanding special inquiries in special cases. They were doing their duty as an Opposition.
I say that such an inquiry was what was needed in this case, not a general inquiry on a high-powered basis which will take months. The Home Secretary knows full 143 well that what was needed here was direct forceful, vigorous investigation. Has the investigation been very vigorous so far? Have contacts been made with every person? I hope we shall hear about this from the Home Secretary.
This escape demonstrates very forcibly the great malaise which exists in our prison administration. It demonstrates the state of our prison services. The Home Secretary is the Minister who speaks in the Cabinet for police officers and for warders. He hears the responsibility for these services. He has been failing, and because he has been failing it has led to this dispirited service.
I think that the Home Secretary is a person who could and should adorn every single office in the Cabinet, save for one. The office that I do not think that his particular talents lie in is that of Home Secretary. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] I believe that this is shown by the fact that he has not done what should have been done in this case, namely, ordered a complete inquiry.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Victor Yates (Birmingham, Ladywood)
On previous occasions I have listened with respect to the right hon. and learned Member for Epsom (Sir P. Rawlinson), but I must say that the contribution he made tonight was quite unworthy of him. It is not only wrong but it is also unfair to use an opportunity such as this to try personally to undermine my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.
§ The Motion is irresponsible and unfair. In the 21 years I have been in the House I have never heard a worse case advanced for a censure Motion than that advanced today. The main contributions were of low value. Many of us on this side of the House who have had a good deal of experience in visiting prisons and in studying prison conditions believe that this attack is political and quite unworthy.
§ I had the greatest admiration for Mr. Butler, as he then was, when he was Home Secretary. If something had happened in 1961 which was being questioned tonight, I should not have thought it right for us to table a Motion of censure upon Lord Butler. If we were to seek to make political capital out of issues of this kind, we should have censure Motions galore.144
§ The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) spoke of the large number of prisoners who escaped in 1964 and 1965. I want to draw attention to the large number of prisoners who escaped from security prisons—I am speaking of closed prisons—during six years of government by the party opposite. During the period 1958 to 1963, no fewer than 413 prisoners escaped from closed prisons. Many of us are very deeply concerned about those escapes. In fact, there have been——
§ Mr. Peter Archer (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
Will my hon. Friend also accept that in 1965 the number fell from 85 to 71?
§ Mr. Yates
I am coming to that. I want to emphasise that the figures I have given relate to prisoners who have escaped from closed prisons. They do not include remand centres and open prisons. In 1961, under the Tory Government, a record number of people escaped from closed prisons; 112 escaped in one year. In 1964 the number was 75.
There is a need for an inquiry, and I congratulate my right hon. Friend on having stood firm for a general inquiry. Of course I can understand that hon. Members opposite do not want investigations to be made into those who escaped while they were in power. What has the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone told us this afternoon that could not be investigated in a general inquiry? It is absolute eyewash to suggest that my right hon. Friend, who is known to be courageous in all that he does, is trying to hoodwink or hide facts from the public or from the House. My hon. Friends—and I am speaking for many of them—are fully in support of my right hon. Friend's action. Nothing has been said that would justify putting on one side the general inquiry and having a specific inquiry into one case.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Tomney) referred to a prison in his constituency. In my constituency there is Winson Green prison. I have never regarded it as my special preserve but I have been concerned about escapes from that prison. I have been concerned about the escape of Wilson. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone said that he wanted to 145 catch the horse, but he did not seem to have pursued Wilson very much.
I wish to draw my right hon. Friend's attention to what I think is perhaps an important cause of the present situation. I have heard right hon. and hon. Members opposite speaking in favour of long prison sentences and I have discussed the matter with a good many prison governors. I invite any hon. Member opposite to tell me of any prison governor in this country who welcomes a very long-term prisoner. I am not now referring to Blake who was sentenced to 42 years' imprisonment. Even with his full remission his sentence would be reduced to 28 years, which means that when he left prison he would be over 70 years of age.
It seems that when one accepts the idea of the long-term sentence one takes away all hope and gives tremendous incentive to escape, especially to the intelligent, those who have friends and money outside. Is not that what has happened? Did it not happen in the case of Wilson, who had a 30-year sentence? I know full well the circumstances. I visited Winson Green Prison on that occasion, and I know how the prison officers feel. I have heard the term "warder" used in the House tonight. It is an old-fashioned term. We do not refer to "warders" now; they are prison officers, and the word "warder" seems to mean something entirely different.
One prison governor told me that when a prisoner comes in for a long-term sentence he is all right until his appeal is heard. When his sentence is still not reduced he can go on for four or five years and then he begins to deteriorate.
§ Mr. Oscar Murton (Poole)
Does the hon. Gentleman consider that the sentence given to Blake was too great? Does he condone a man who is a traitor to his country?
§ Mr. Victor Yates
I assure the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Murton) and the House that of course I deplore the activities of a man like Blake. I certainly deplore the fact that he has escaped and I think that he is dangerous. But there are many others. When I heard of the escape of Straffen from Broadmoor I knew that probably within a few hours he would kill. I was right, for he killed a young child. I was deeply concerned 146 and so was the nation about that. But I want us to try to be realistic about this. How is one to deal with a prisoner who has had a sentence of 42 or 30 years? There is only one way to prevent a prisoner of this kind escaping and even that cannot be 100 per cent. certain. That is by subjecting him to conditions of torture.
I mean that. I went to the United States of America and visited the famous Alcatraz Prison. The first thing I saw was a woman speaking to her son through bullet-proof glass, and at every landing the prison officers were armed with guns. I said to the governor, "Well, of course, you will not get any escapes from a prison like this". He replied that——
§ Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This is a very short debate and I am sure that every hon. Member wants to know the views of hon. Members about the inquiry into Blake's escape. I cannot really think that this is relevant.
§ Mr. William Hamling (Woolwich, West)
Why not tell your right hon. and learned Friend? He took an hour.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman will realise that this is a very short debate, but he is not out of order yet.
§ Mr. Yates
I am obliged, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have not been speaking for very long, and I shall not speak for more than a minute or two longer. We are talking about the security of prisons, and it is very important to mention these conditions. Where there was the maximum security the governor of that prison had to tell me that no fewer than five prisoners had been shot while trying to escape. If right hon. and hon. Members want that they can have that kind of system, but we should resent it and resist it in this country. For 18 years I and other hon. Members have been pressing in the House for better staffs and for different conditions in prisons.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman is now getting rather wide of the Motion. I hope that he will relate what he is saying to the need for an inquiry.
§ Mr. Hamling
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Previous speakers 147 in the debate have spoken of these matters. Why should my hon. Friend be out of order?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I did not object to the hon. Gentleman referring to these matters. What he must not do is to discuss them at length. He must relate them to the Motion.
§ Mr. Yates
I do not want to discuss them at length, Mr. Deputy Speaker. In this House, we have over the years considered the question of security and the conditions in which prisoners live and work. We have many times suggested improvements, and some of them have been referred to tonight.
I have listened to every argument in this debate, but I know of no argument which can justify not having a general inquiry into the escapes of prisoners. It is such a very serious matter, and there are so many of them, that I applaud my right hon. Friend for what he is doing, in spite of the jeers and insults thrown across at him tonight. I hope that he will feel that he has very many friends who support the stand which he is making, even if someone boos him. After all, I remember Sir Winston Churchill being booed in this House, but he did not take that——
§ Mr. Yates
I shall not be led away by the insinuations which have been made against my right hon. Friend. I believe that he will come through with flying colours on this matter because he is determined—we support him on this side of the House—to carry out those reforms which right hon. and hon. Members opposite in 13 years of power did not carry out. He will carry them out now after a full and clear investigation into not only one case, however important, but into every case of escape. I wish him godspeed and every success in the effort which he is now making.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
I believe that I have only three minutes in which to speak, but I want to get in as much as I can. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Victor 148 Yates) said that he had been in the House for 21 years. I have been here only seven years, but I find this the thinnest ground upon which I have ever heard a censure debate mounted. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I appreciate the interjections, but they take time.
It was almost as though the Opposition Chief Whip said, "We were told at Blackpool that we have got to bash 'em, so let us put up Quintin to 'blow his top.' It will not matter if Duncan joins in, too, and we can bring Enoch back on to the Front Bench." What is of significance is that the Tory—[An HON. MEMBER: "The Brighton bomber again."]—I wish that these tribal noises would stop. They are evidence of un-suitability for majority rule.
The Tory Opposition have been saying two quite different things. They say in the Motion that they deplore that the Home Secretary has notset up a specific inquiry to report as a matter of urgency on the escape of George Blake".That is what they say—a specific inquiry into that and that alone. Yet on Monday last the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) said that he would settle either for a specific inquiry into that or for the matter to be included in the Mountbatten report. That appears in col. 655 of HANSARD. The same was said by the Leader of the Opposition.
What I thought disgraceful was the suggestion by the Solicitor-General. [An HON. MEMBER: "The former Solicitor-General."] Yes, the former Solicitor-General, though I shall come to his rôle as Solicitor-General in a few moments. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Epsom (Sir P. Rawlinson) seemed to suggest that Lord Mount-batten would not have the competence to go into these matters, either because there would be delay in his report, or—this was the implication—because he had not, perhaps, the judicial knowledge. This was the point mentioned by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys).
§ Sir P. Rawlinson
Obviously, the hon. Gentleman is confusing speeches. I never even referred to Lord Mountbatten.
§ Mr. Thorpe
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is himself confused. He asked about five questions, most of 149 which were improper, and wanted a reply from the Home Secretary, suggesting that these ought to be matters specifically inquired into. The implication, as he will see if he reads his words, is that Lord Mountbatten has not the competence.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman will recall his own legal prowess as Solicitor-General in a room downstairs. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman suggested that the Home Secretary was inadequate for his task, he might perhaps suggest to himself that at the time of the Profumo cross-examination he was inadequate for his task.
I believe that the Mountbatten inquiry is perfectly competent to go into the specific events relating to Blake's escape. It will be open to them to produce an interim report on that matter. If the Home Secretary can hold out hope on both those matters, he will meet the point raised last Monday by the Opposition and they therefore have no right, unless they are being hypocritical, to divide the House.
There are already four inquiries afoot in regard to these matters. There is, first, the report which is made on each escape which is made to the Home Secretary. I would like to ask the Home Secretary for that to be published. There is, secondly, the review of the allocation of prisoners between prisons. Thirdly, there is Mr. Richard Lewis, who has been looking into the question of security generally. Will that run parallel with the Mountbatten report? There is, finally, the Mountbatten report itself.
I believe that the Mountbatten inquiry will produce an interim report on the situation relating to Blake's escape. I believe that they are competent to do so. The Motion of the Opposition not only contradicts what they themselves asked for on Monday last, but is thoroughly hypocritical and I wish the Home Secretary luck.
§ 9.6 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)
It must be almost without precedent—it is certainly very rare—that a right hon. Gentleman against whom a Motion of censure has been moved should sit through virtually the whole of a three-hour debate without either himself seeking to reply or any of his colleagues 150 replying on his behalf, so that the House is unable, during the debate, to consider the defence he has to offer.
That reticence and reluctance on the part of the Home Secretary has been characteristic of his behaviour throughout this whole matter since the events of 22nd October. When he came to this House a week ago it was perfectly clear that the one point in the whole investigation to which he did not attach particular importance was the very event which had given rise to his statement.
The right hon. Gentleman told the House, for instance, thatit will certainly be perfectly competent for theMountbatteninquiry to look into the circumstances".Again, the right hon. Gentleman said:Lord Mountbatten and his inquiry can look into any matter, including the escape of Blake",as though that were a minor, incidental matter, a question of take it or leave it. The right hon. Gentleman had no intention, he told the House,of excluding anything which Lord Mountbatten wishes to look into in relation to the Blake case or any other case.Finally, in reply to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), he said:This can certainly be done".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1966: Vol. 734, c. 650–5.]The whole attitude of the right hon. Gentleman throughout those questions and answers a week ago was that there was nothing special, nothing which called for any special inquiry or notice in the circumstances of the Blake escape. Even when, as night had fallen, the right hon. Gentleman produced the terms of reference of the Mountbatten inquiry, it was still perfectly obvious that he had failed to recognise the special, separate and overwhelmingly important character of the matter into which the Motion asks for an inquiry.
Even in the terms of reference—To inquire into recent prison escapes, with particular reference to that of George Blake, and to make recommendations for the improvement of prison security"—the accent was upon the general problem. The whole purport of it was a refusal to recognise the special problem, 151 the special nature of what had taken place. I must tell the right hon. Gentleman that the public are not so incurious as he is. They will want enlightenment—even if that enlightenment does not bring reassurance—as to what happened and why it could happen. For this event was the climax of a crescendo of events which had given rise to mounting public anxiety.
It was in May, 1961, that Blake went to prison. From that time, until the spring of 1964, he passed out of public ken, and, so far as I know, out of very much reference in public discussion. In May, 1964, however, in connection with the exchange of Lonsdale with Wynne, allegations were made, and were made publicly, that Lonsdale had improperly, and unwisely for security, been in contact with Blake at an early stage in his incarceration. This was a matter which the right hon. Lady the Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) took up—quite properly took up—in this House with considerable vigour.
The then Opposition probed the question whether, in fact, this security risk, even three years earlier, had been incurred. I do not know whether they were satisfied, but at any rate one would have assumed that one point on their agenda on coming into office five months later, a point on the right hon. Lady's agenda, would have been to satisfy themselves as to the security arrangements relating to that one of this pair of spies and traitors who still remained in prison.
Then, in August of 1964, there was the Winson Green Gaol break, engineered from outside, which must have alerted—we have heard from my right hon. and learned Friend this afternoon that it did alert—the Home Office to the danger of prisoners, particularly long-term prisoners, being rescued by machinations from outside. It certainly alerted the public to that danger. I presume that it alerted hon. and right hon. Members opposite who are in office today. I shall come back presently to what the Foreign Secretary had to say upon that.
§ Mr. Powell
By the following year, by 1965, it had become obvious, and a 152 matter of general public comment, that the level of prison escapes in general was running at numbers far above those which had been experienced in the past. For example, the totals in 1964 and 1965 were roughly double what they had been in 1962.
But this was merely a general background. There were special warnings to be alert about Blake and about Wormwood Scrubs. In March, 1965, a discharged prisoner made circumstantial statements about plots and contrivances to secure the escape of the prisoner Blake. I understand that the fact that these were brought to the attention of the authorities, and were indeed investigated, is not in dispute, but, whether investigated or not, and whatever was the result of the investigation, the then Home Secretary in the present Administration, as well as the public, were alerted to the fact that this exceptionally important long-term prisoner in Wormwood Scrubs was bound to be the object of attempts to organise his escape.
On top of this, in July, 1965, came, during the period of office of the right hon. Gentleman——
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but he did say "in 1965". I take it that, in step with his right hon. and learned Friend, he meant in 1964—in March, 1964.
§ Mr. Powell
I had in mind allegations which were published in the Press on 7th March, 1965, and which, I understand, were the subject of an investigation. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman can check that, but the number of occasions and the volume of evidence of the risk are such that one or two could easily be jettisoned or overlooked without the strength of the case being affected materially.
It was in July, 1965, under the present Administration, that a gaol break took place from Wandsworth Prison, again involving one of the long-term prisoners concerned in the train robbery. Here again, if it were needed, was a warning to the Home Office and to the prison service of the special dangers attaching in contemporary circumstances to long-term prisoners, even those who were not so dangerous or of such a character as the prisoner Blake.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon rose——
§ Mr. Powell
I have very little time. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not give way.
Then, in the early months of 1966, a remarkable event occurred. It occurred during the course of the investigation by the Press Council of a report which had been published in July, 1965. by the Daily Sketch concerning a letter and a prison magazine emanating from Wormwood Scrubs. In a letter to the Press Council dated 21st April, 1966, the Home Office produced its account of the way in which a prison magazine of which one page was forged—and I will come to the word "forged" in a moment—had been produced and sent out of the prison with a covering letter to an organ of the Press.
This is the Home Office letter to the Press Council:It appears that the perpetrator must have recovered the stencil of page 20 after the official issue of the magazine had been run off"—[Laughter.] Hon. Members will not chuckle in a moment—and, with access to the magazine office in which the typewriter, duplicating and stapling machines, and spare copies of loose pages are all available, he has been able to produce a copy of the magazine with an amended page 20 but in all other respects identical to the official issue.The material point which, I presume, cannot have escaped the attention of the Home Office is that in this piratically produced copy of the prison magazine there was one page only in which there occurred any difference, and that difference consisted only of the substitution, for the words, "By the Humanist Group", as the by-line of an article entitled "Knaves and Fools", of the name "George Blake".
Someone in Wormwood Scrubs had been able, and had thought it worth while, to take all the danger that was involved, in order to produce a copy of the magazine in which the sole difference was that the name of George Blake appeared on page 20, and send it out of the prison under cover of a letter which drew specific though, apparently, incidental attention to just that page 20.
It would be a curious Home Office and a curious prison service which such a discovery as that did not give furiously 154 to think, and did not draw attention to the fact, if they had needed attention to be drawn to it, that there was in that prison a man serving a 42-year sentence, a traitor and a spy who was an escape risk.
But then it went on. In June, 1966, on top of this, from this very prison, Wormwood Scrubs, four prisoners escaped. Even the uninquisitiveness of the right hon. Gentleman was a little shaken by that. He actually went to the prison and suggested certain measures which might be taken to render the prison more secure. Alas, none of these had been taken—not even those which could have been taken almost instantly had been accomplished, or, so far as we yet know, even started—before 22nd October, when George Blake escaped.
But this climax to the crescendo concerned no ordinary man. It did not concern some long-term prisoner whose interest in getting out was presumably to enjoy his ill-gotten gains as far as possible in peace, or to pursue his ordinary criminal activities outside again. No, this time it concerned a man who had been consigned to prison for 42 years by the courts of this country as a most dangerous enemy of his country, a man whose object——
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon rose——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to give way, he does not have to do so.
§ Mr. Powell
It concerned a man who would have only one object if he escaped from prison, and that would be to damage this country to the utmost of his ability, and who, even if it be true, as the Prime Minister said this afternoon, that in matters of specific information he had no more to give, nobody can deny is a dangerous and damaging enemy of this country to have at large.
Within a day or two of those events we were able to read that "on the instructions of the Home Secretary the location of all prisoners undergoing sentences in connection with activities against the State has been reviewed, and as a result of this review several transfers have been made". Nineteen sixty-four, 1965, 1966, the mounting crescendo and 155 then the climax, and after the climax the Home Secretary—[An HON. MEMBER: "Anti-climax?"] yes, indeed, an anti-climax—institutes a review as a result of which these prisoners whose danger, whose liability to escape has been known throughout this period on mounting evidence, are rearranged.
What the public want to know, and they want to know it in relation to this case, and in relation to this course of events, is how this thing could have happened. It is utterly inadequate, it utterly fails to comprehend the anxiety in this country, for the right hon. Gentleman and the Government to try to tie it up with a general inquiry into prison escapes.
When the escape of the train robber from Winson Green took place in August, 1964, a comment was made on that event by the right hon. Gentleman, then speaking for the Opposition, who is now the Foreign Secretary. He made clear then in what mind the party opposite would be on entering into office if it won the then election. He said:Just a few years ago almost any one of these messes "—referring, amongst others, to that gaol break—would have been regarded as sufficient of a scandal for the Minister to take personal responsibility.The right hon. Gentleman has frankly and candidly admitted his personal responsibility. But his right hon. Friend went on to say what it would mean to take personal responsibility for such an event as that—one far inferior in its danger and importance, to the one we are considering tonight. He said:That would have meant the offer of his resignation.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Charles Loughlin)
It has been said before.
§ Mr. Powell
It will bear saying a good many more times. We are not at this moment asking for the resignation of the right hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.]—not as yet, but we are asking for the very least that can satisfy the legitimate demands of the public and of the nation. That is that there should be a separate, specific and urgent inquiry into the course of events which first pointed to 156 Blake as a risk and pointed to Wormwood Scrubs as a risky place of incarceration for Blake, and into the supine incurious-ness on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, of his Department, and of the Government, which has resulted in a disgrace that will long redound to the discredit of this country and its administration.
§ 9.28 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for The Home Department (Mr. Roy Jenkins)
This Motion has been described by The Times as "somewhat trumped up", and by the Spectator as "not very sensible", and has been treated even by the Daily Telegraph with a good degree of scepticism. After listening to the debate tonight I can add another comment, namely, that the Motion is extraordinarily badly drafted—a typical product of the Parliamentary ineptitude of the right hon. Member for Bexhill (Mr. Heath)—so badly drafted that the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) was forced to make almost the whole of his extremely long speech well outside its terms. That has applied to a great part of the debate that we have had so far.
I propose to deal first with those points which are a little outside the direct terms of the Motion, and then go to the direct issue of the Motion in the latter part of my speech. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, who indulged in a good deal of hyperbole, particularly in the latter part of his speech, excelled himself when he said that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had exposed this country in a way which was without comparison under the previous Administration. I have in my hand a list of security scandals so long that it would take me most of the rest of the debate to read them. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about Blake?"] I will come to Blake, and I shall deal with him in great detail. I shall also deal with the other points that have been raised.
I start with the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys). He—and to some extent, the right hon. and learned Member for Epsom (Sir P. Rawlinson)—implied, as he did last Monday, that I was personally responsible because my policy on capital and corporal punishment had produced low numbers and unwillingness to do their duty on the part of prison 157 and police officers. First, on numbers, the premise is simply untrue. Of course, we could do with more in both services, but recruitment in both services has been running well.
In the police, for the first nine months of this year, recruitment less wastage was 1,313. For the first nine months of 1964, the last period when right hon. and hon. Members opposite had responsibility, recruitment less wastage was 382. For prison officers, for the first nine months of this year, recruitment less wastage was 238. For the first nine months of 1964, it was 219.
Secondly, there is the less precise but more serious implication that these officers are not doing their job properly. What is the charge—that I did not confirm the birching sentence on Maxwell or that Parliament has abolished capital punishment? Let us look briefly at what is involved.
First, I had a unanimous report from four doctors—three in the prison service, one visiting—who examined Maxwell, who said that he was a psychopath and that birching would do him no good and might well make him worse. Is it suggested that I should have completely ignored those reports? I had not the slightest doubt that my duty was to act on them. But, apart from my own clear judgment, I had a letter from the right hon. Member from Bexley urging me to take no action until I had considered these reports. I presume that he was urging delay, not for the sake of delay, but in order that I might act on the reports. Therefore, I hope that he will make his position clear.
§ Mr. Sandys rose——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The right hon. Gentleman knows that if the Minister does not give way he must not persist.
§ Mr. Sandys
Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that he has completely lost the confidence of the police and the prison service?
§ Mr. Jenkins
That is a typically disgraceful and totally unfounded suggestion. Totally unable to sustain his case in argument, the right hon. Gentleman resorts to slur without anything to substantiate it.
Still dealing with the right hon. Gentleman, I turn to the more serious proposition 158 about capital punishment. My own views are known to the House. But it is no personal policy which I am carrying out. I am carrying out the law of the land as passed by both Houses of Parliament within the last year. If the right hon. Member for Streatham thinks that the House has changed its mind, he will have his opportunity to test the matter on 23rd November. But to suggest, in the meantime, that a body of public servants will not do their duty because they do not like the law is, in my view, a contemptible slander on these officers and a constitutional doctrine of frightening irresponsibility.
§ Mr. Sandys rose——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. It is clear that the Minister does not intend to give way. The right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) must, therefore, not remain on his feet.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I certainly have no intention of giving way, merely to enable the right hon. Member for Streatham to repeat, in a slightly more offensive way but in even less convincing terms, what he said before.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am coming fully to Blake in a moment, but I surely have the right to deal with the points made by the right hon. Member for Streatham.
§ Mr. Sandys rose——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. For the right hon. Member for Streatham to remain standing will not make the Minister give way.
§ Mr. Jenkins
If that is to be the constitutional doctrine, we will have foreign policy made by generals and defence policy made by arms manufacturers; and this House might as well give up any attempt at being a deliberative assembly or any of us believing in the sovereignty of Parliament. I cannot for a moment believe that the Front Bench opposite accepts this point of view, and if the right hon. Member for Bexley were not so frightened of his right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham he would get to his feet—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Jenkins
If the hon. Members opposite will give up their tribal bleating I will immediately come to Blake. I turn straight away—
§ Mr. Jenkins
I turn immediately to what I have been trying to deal with for the last couple of minutes and would have dealt with but for the interventions. I come to the question of whether Blake should have been kept at Wormwood Scrubs, a central though not directly relevant issue to the Motion. I do not approach the House with any desire to argue that everything has been perfectly ordered in the past, either in my time or during the terms of office of my predecessors. Clearly, with the benefit of hindsight every one of us would wish that Blake had been kept in another prison.
If that were not my view I would not have taken the steps which I thought necessary this week; to re-allocate the other spies we have in custody. Nor would I have undertaken an urgent review of all security prisoners, and that review is nearly complete. I am bound to say, however, that if I am to listen to lectures on this subject, the last source from which they should come is from representatives of the Conservative Party. [Interruption.]
What is the history of this matter? The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone challenged some of my facts and tried to give some more of his own. I will, therefore, deal with this matter, and I must deal with it in some detail. On 3rd May, 1961, Blake was received into Wormwood Scrubs and, in accordance with the normal practice for prisoners serving long sentences, was at first located in the hospital. On 29th June he was allocated to Wormwood Scrubs as a star prisoner—that is, a prisoner with a long sentence but without a previous criminal record—and was moved to the local wing and placed on the escape list. On 3rd October of the same year he was taken off the escape list and moved to D Wing, where he remained until nine days ago.
160 Those decisions were all taken at a time when, for reasons which will be obvious to the House, the loss of Blake would have been considerably more damaging from the security point of view than can be the case today. They were all taken when Lord Butler was Home Secretary. Were it not for the violently partisan terms of several of this evening's speeches, I would not have thought it necessary or desirable to underline that point but, in the circumstances, I most certainly do.
Further, I saw last week that Lord Butler had announced from Cambridge that Blake ought to have been in Parkhurst. I always read Lord Butler's reflections in retirement with great interest, and often with admiration, but I must say on this occasion that if Lord Butler thought that Blake should have been in Parkhurst it is a great pity he did not put Blake there.
I now go on a little from Lord Butler's time to the time of his successor, Lord Brooke, as he now is. In the autumn of 1963, the question of Blake's possible transfer was raised by the security service, but it was decided, after full consultation with that service, that it was better to leave him where he was. I should say that, contrary to certain allegations that have been widely made, there has throughout been the fullest contact between the prison department and the security service about Blake's location.
Then, in April, 1964—and I cannot help feeling that the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) was a little confused about his dates here, but the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone was not—a possible plot to rescue Blake was disclosed to the Governor of Wormwood Scrubs by another prisoner—in April, 1964. That plot was investigated and was held to be without foundation but, as a result, Blake's location was again discussed with the security service, and at that stage came to the personal attention of the Home Secretary of the day.
§ The question was then raised whether Blake should be moved, but it was decided, after full consultation, that he should be left where he was. The decision was taken in June, 1964. He was left where he was. He was not put back on the escape list——161
§ Mr. Jenkins
—and to suggest in view of that clear history, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman did, that because Mr. Brooke subsequently wrote it would be a pity if Blake escaped, he had thereby made bold decisions for the future seems to me to be a most extraordinary proposition——
§ Mr. Hogg
I do not want to interrupt the Home Secretary—he is extremely courteous to give way—but will he confirm or otherwise what I said in my opening, and I thought that I had announced these facts with perfect candour, and tell the House whether it was true that at the time when Mr. Brooke made his decision to put Blake under a constant watch? What I asked the right hon. Gentleman was when that was relaxed, and why the question of his location had not been reconsidered then.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I was coming to precisely that point. I cannot tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman when the special restrictions imposed in 1964 were relaxed, for the very good reason that there were no special restrictions.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am glad that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has at last been able to deliver one sentence—[Interruption.]—even directly relevant to the Motion. I am coming to this point, and I am answering precisely the right hon. and learned Gentleman's question. There were no special restrictions imposed in 1964, even when the escape plot was investigated, and when the question of Blake's further location was discussed and brought up to the Home Secretary personally, but when no move took place.
Blake accordingly remained at Wormwood Scrubs, entered his fourth, fifth and sixth year of confinement and continued to gain—no doubt with design as we now see—the reputation of a model prisoner. No further allegations relating to a Blake escape were discovered by the 162 authorities. However, it would be quite wrong to assume that this led to any slackening of the restrictions. There was no tightening in 1964 and no slackening afterwards. The special restrictions continued to apply to him relating to visits and correspondence and a change of work this year resulted in slightly greater supervision during working hours. That was the only change.
That is the history, but there is one further aspect of the case with which I should perhaps deal. It is the suggestion that the escapes from Wormwood Scrubs in June—this was put by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West—created a new situation so far as Blake was concerned and that these in themselves made the need for a move obvious. But these were not the first escapes from Wormwood Scrubs. There were six in 1961 the year when Lord Butler allowed Blake to be sent there, and there had been no fewer than 12 from Wormwood Scrubs in 1959. There was another escape in 1962, three in 1963 and two in the early part of 1964. These last escapes applied over the exact period when Blake's case was being reviewed by a previous Home Secretary in the last Government who decided not to move him. The June escapes therefore were not a new factor.
Let me put the prison escapes of recent months into proper perspective. There are far too many in my view and we must give top priority to the question of reducing them. That is one reason why I have given the Mountbatten inquiry its wider remit and have appointed an electronics expert to serve on this inquiry. I was impressed by what I saw in the United States last month of how modern methods can make a big impact here, but this is not a question of the last few months; the problem has been with us for some time. From closed prisons, which is what really counts, prisoners who succeeded in escaping numbered in 1961, 114; in 1962, 56; in 1963, 71; in 1964, 93; in 1965, 79; and in the first 10 months of 1966, 67. The striking change is not in the figures, but that we are now doing something about them.
I come to the exact issue posed in the Motion which, for somewhat understandable reasons in view of the way in 163 which it was drafted, has figured singularly little in the debate. The Leader of the Opposition and his right hon. Friends have used the somewhat portentious weapon of a personal Motion of censure because, as they say, I have refused to set up a specific inquiry to report as a matter of urgency on the escape of George Blake. That is the complaint in the Motion. I am not at the moment concerned with the other reasons which the Opposition have trumped up in the last week, although it is interesting to see their constant change of ground as reported in the Press. The complaint in the Motion is that the inquiry is not specific and not urgent. There is no truth in either limb of that attack. The Mount-batten Inquiry is specifically, although not exclusively, charged with investigating the Blake escape. That is made as clear as it can be in the terms of reference.
I ask the House to consider for a moment what the Opposition would have said if last Monday in the House I had announced two inquiries. Would that have satisfied them? What talk there would have been of government by inquiry, a shuffling off of responsibility, a multiplicity of bodies being set up.
As for urgency, the Mountbatten Inquiry has already begun work and is dealing first and specifically with the Blake escape. Lord Mountbatten and his assessors are already considering the preliminary reports. They will be at Wormwood Scrubs on Wednesday of this week and they will follow up with complete determination to uncover everything that can be uncovered, and they will not hesitate to apportion blame to any system or person, whether they be Ministers or officials, to whom they think blame attaches. If they think a separate and earlier report is called for, they will produce one; and it will be published. But in any event, they plan to complete their whole task by the end of the year, and it will be one of the most urgent independent investigations on record.
Ought we to have used the tribunal of inquiry procedure? That is not mentioned in the Motion; it is purely an afterthought on the part of the Opposition, but it has been mentioned in the debate tonight several times. There are several reasons why I do not think this 164 would have been appropriate. First, it is a procedure which is open to many objections, as was recognised by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition last week, while accepting that it had nevertheless to be used in the case of the Aberfan disaster. It is a procedure which should certainly be used only sparingly. Mr. Harold Macmillan made it quite clear in November, 1962, that he came to use it in the Vassal case only when allegations that a member of the Government was planning to assist the defection of Vassal came to his notice. We are confronted with no remotely comparable situation here.
Secondly, the procedure is by no means an expeditious one. A great deal of preliminary work has to be done. The Vassal Tribunal took five months. The Mountbatten Inquiry will do the job far more quickly, by the end of the year, and will be much more urgent.
As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in his statement this afternoon, Blake's escape should not result in further damage to national security, but should any point touching national security be uncovered in the course of Lord Mountbatten's work the issue would be dealt with separately.
The Prime Minister, as he indicated this afternoon, would discuss with the Leader of the Opposition the most appropriate mechanism. Equally, if it emerges in the course of Lord Mountbatten's Inquiry or in the course of the police investigation that somebody has committed a crime in assisting Blake in his escape, then it will be for the police to prepare a case and to bring it before the courts for trial.
On grounds of both urgency and specificness, therefore, this Motion, as the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) said, is one of the thinnest ever to come before the House. So thin is it, indeed, that we are bound to ask some questions about its genesis.
At approximately 3.55 last Monday afternoon, the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone asked me for an assurance that Blake's escape could be made an integral part of the Mountbatten Inquiry. I told him I thought that could be done. Within a little more than two hours, at the earliest moment at which Lord Mountbatten could reach London, I agreed the terms of reference 165 with him. They fully met the point of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Without waiting for the end of my meeting with Lord Mountbatten, I had those terms of reference published. They went out from the Press Association at 6.56 and were on the tapes at 7.12. They were presumably available to the Opposition within a few minutes.
But the Leader of the Opposition was determined to press a niggling party point. At the end of the exchanges in the afternoon, he had suffered a complete Parliamentary humiliation. He had drafted in his own hand a most egregious Adjournment Motion. He then sent his right hon. and learned Friend to Mr. Speaker as the messenger of his folly. He might at least have gone himself. Two hours later he was still smarting under this humiliation; so much so that he either could not or would not understand that his right hon. and learned Friend's point had in fact been fully met. So he insisted on tabling this Motion which, in so far as it means anything at all, is about as much of a vote of censure on his own Shadow Home Secretary as it is upon me; for it complains of my
§ having done exactly what the right hon. and learned Gentleman asked me to do.
§ I therefore ask the House to reject this trumped up Motion. The Blake case is of course a most serious matter. Nobody can know that better than I do. We certainly have on our hands a real problem of prison security. I believe that this problem will be met by the constructive measures we are taking, and taking quickly; but it will not be met by that combination of procedural incompetence and petty partisanship which is the constant characteristic of the right hon. Gentleman's Parliamentary style.
§ Sir Charles Taylor (Eastbourne) rose——
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Silkin) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 230, Noes 331.169
|Division No. 191.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Cordle, John||Grant, Anthony|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Corfield, F. V.||Grant-Ferris, R.|
|Astor, John||Costain, A. P.||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Grieve, Percy|
|Awdry, Daniel||Crawley, Aidan||Gurden, Harold|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Balniel, Lord||Crouch, David||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Crowder, F. P.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Batsford, Brian||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Bell, Ronald||Currie, G. B. H.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Bennett, Or. Reginald (Cos. & Fhm)||Dance, James||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere|
|Bitten, John||Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Hastings, Stephen|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Hawkins, Paul|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hay, John|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel|
|Blaker, Peter||Doughty, Charles||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Body, Richard||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Drayson, G. B.||Hiley, Joseph|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Hill, J. E. B.|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Eden, Sir John||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Braine, Bernard||Elliot, Capt Walter (Carshalton)||Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Brewis, John||Errington, Sir Eric||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Eyre, Reginald||Holland, Philip|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Farr, John||Hordern, Peter|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Fisher, Nigel||Hornby, Richard|
|Bryan, Paul||Fortescue, Tim||Hunt, John|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)||Foster, Sir John||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Burden, F. A.||Gibson-Watt, David||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Campbell, Gordon||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Glover, Sir Douglas||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Glyn, Sir Richard||Jopling, Michael|
|Clark, Henry||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Clegg, Walter||Goodhart, Philip||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Cooke, Robert||Goodhew, Victor||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Cooper-Key, Sit Neill||Gower, Raymond||Kimball, Marcus|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Murton, Oscar||Scott, Nicholas|
|Kirk, Peter||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Sharples, Richard|
|Kitson, Timothy||Neave, Airey||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Knight. Mrs. Jill||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Lambton, Viscount||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Smith, John|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Nott, John||Stainton, Keith|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Onslow, Cranley||Stodart, Anthony|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Talbot, John E.|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Longden, Gilbert||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Loveys, W. H.||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|MacArthur, Ian||Peel, John||Temple, John M.|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Percival, Ian||Thatcher. Mr. Margaret|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain||Peyton, John||Tilney, John|
|McMaster, Stanley||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Pink, R. Bonner||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Maddan, Martin||Pounder, Rafton||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Maginnis, John E.||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Marten, Neil||Prior, J. M. L.||Wall, Patrick|
|Mathew, Robert||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Maude, Angus||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Webster, David|
|Mawby, Ray||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Whitelaw, William|
|Maydon, Lt-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Wilts, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Mills, Stratum (Belfast, N.)||Ridsdale, Julian||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Mlscampbell, Norman||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Monro, Hector||Roots, William||Worsley, Marcus|
|More, Jasper||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Royle, Anthony|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Russell, Sir Ronald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mott-Radcliffe, Sir Charles||St. Jahn-Stevas, Norman||Mr. Francis Pym and|
|Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Mr. R. W. Elliott.|
|Abse, Leo||Butler. Mr. Joyce (Wood Green)||English, Michael|
|Albu, Austen||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Ennals, David|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Cant, R. B.||Ensor, David|
|Alldritt, Walter||Carter-Jones, Lewis||Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)|
|Anderson, Donald||Chapman, Donald||Faulds, Andrew|
|Archer, Peter||Coe, Denis||Fernyhough, E.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Coleman, Donald||Finch, Harold|
|Ashley, Jack||Concannon, J. D.||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Corbet, Mr. Freda||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hns. Alice||Crawshaw, Richard||Floud, Bernard|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Cronin, John||Foley, Maurice|
|Barnes, Michael||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)|
|Barnett, Joel||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)|
|Baxter, William||Cullen. Mrs. Alice||Ford, Ben|
|Beaney, Alan||Dalyell, Tam||Forrester, John|
|Bence, Cyril||Darting, Rt. Hn. George||Fowler, Gerry|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Fraser, John (Norwood)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)|
|Bessell, Peter||Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Gardner, Tony|
|Binns, John||Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Garrett, W. E.|
|Bishop, E. S.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Carrow, Alex|
|Blackburn, F.||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Davies, Robert (Cambridge)||Gourlay, Harry|
|Boardman, H.||de Freitas, Sir Geoffrey||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)|
|Booth, Albert||Delargy, Hugh||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Boston, Terence||Dell, Edmund||Gregory, Arnold|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Dempsey, James||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. Herbert||Dewar, Donald||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)|
|Boyden, James||Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.|
|Braddock. Mr. E. M.||Dickens, James||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.|
|Bradley, Tom||Dobson, Ray||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Doig, Peter||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Driberg, Tom||Hamilton, William|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Dunn, James A.||Harper, Joseph|
|Brown, Bob (N "c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Dunnett, Jack||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Brown, Rt. Hn, George (Belper)||Dunwoody. Mr. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Hart. Mrs. Judith|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Haseldine, Norman|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Eadie, Alex||Hattersley, Roy|
|Buchan, Norman||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Hazell, Bert|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Ellis, John||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Henig, Stanley||Marion, Peter (Preston, S.)||Rose, Paul|
|Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Hilton, W. S.||Manuel, Archie||Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)|
|Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Mapp, Charles||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Hooley, Frank||Marquand, David||Ryan, John|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Mason, Roy||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Horner, John||Maxwell, Robert||Sheldon, Robert|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mayhew, Christopher||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Mellish, Robert||Shore, Peter (Stepney)|
|Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Mendelson, J. J.||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N 'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Howell, Dens (Small Heath)||Mikardo, Ian||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Howie, W.||Millan, Bruce||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Hoy, James||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Molloy, William||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Moonman, Eric||Slater, Joseph|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Snow, Julian|
|Hunter, Adam||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hynd, John||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Moyle, Roland||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Stonehouse, John|
|Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Murray, Albert||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Janner, Sir Bamett||Neal, Harold||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Newens, Stan||Swain, Thomas|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Norwood, Christopher||Swingler, Stephen|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St. P'cras, S.)||Cakes, Gordon||Taverne, Dick|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Ogden, Eric||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||O'Malley, Brian||Thornton, Ernest|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Orbach, Maurice||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Orme, Stanley||Tinn, James|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Oswald, Thomas||Tomney, Frank|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Padley, Walter||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Kelley, Richard||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Kenyon, Clifford||Palmer, Arthur||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Kerr. Mr. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Wallace, George|
|Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Pardoe, John||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Park, Trevor||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Ledger, Ron||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Weitzman, David|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Lee, John (Reading)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Pavitt, Laurence||Whitaker, Ben|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||White. Mr. Eirene|
|Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Whitlock, William|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Pentland Norman||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Lipton, Marcus||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Loughlin, Charles||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Luard, Evan||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Lubbock, Eric||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Price, William (Rugby)||Williams. Mr. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Probert, Arthur||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|McBride, Neil||Rankin, John||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|McCann, John||Redhead, Edward||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|MacColl, James||Rees, Merlyn||Winnick, David|
|MacDermot, Niall||Reynolds, G. W.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Macdonald, A. H.||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|McGuire, Michael||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Woof, Robert|
|McKay. Mr. Margaret||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Yates, Victor|
|Mackie, John||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'cas)|
|Maclennan, Robert||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Rodgers. William (Stockton)||Mr. Charles Grey and|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Roebuck, Roy||Mr. George Lawson.|
|MacPherson, Malcolm||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|