HL Deb 23 May 1944 vol 131 cc833-4

My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, whether they are aware of a number of cases in recent months of young officers and other members of His Majesty's Forces visiting London on short leave being sold, in so-called night clubs, intoxicating liquor of so poisonous a nature that they have been made seriously ill, have had to enter hospital and have been made unfit for duty for considerable periods up to a month; what steps have been taken, or are being taken, to bring the vendors of this harmful liquor to justice; and whether, in addition, special measures have been taken to warn all ranks of His Majesty's Forces of the existence of this traffic in harmful liquor.]


My Lords, whilst no doubt there is a danger that ill effects will follow the consumption of deleterious liquors, my information is that neither the War Office nor the Air Ministry nor the Customs know of any case of the kind to which the question refers, and the Metropolitan Police say that they have no record of anyone being taken to hospital as a result of a serious illness attributable to the consumption of intoxicating liquor of a poisonous nature. I might mention that the manufacture or sale of illicit liquor would render the persons concerned liable to penalties under the Spirits Act of 1880, the Food and Drugs Act of 1938, and other provisions of the law. If my noble friend has any particulars of any cases such as are referred to in his question I should be most grateful if he would let me have them.


My Lords, is my noble friend aware that the Government's information is incomplete on this subject? I can give him the names of three night clubs in the West End of London where at least eleven Air Force officers have been badly poisoned, and also particulars of other cases and of the medical officers who attended them. I should therefore like to ask whether he is prepared to take this matter further.


I should be very glad to have that information if the noble Lord will be so kind as to send it to me.