HL Deb 06 July 1967 vol 284 cc758-9

3.10 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can make a further statement about the continued detention in St. Kitts of a British subject, Mr. James Milne-Gaskell.]


My Lords, the British Government representative has continued to press on the Government of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla the view of Her Majesty's Government that a United Kingdom citizen should not be detained except for the purpose of bringing him to trial on a specific charge. We have made clear our view that Mr. Gaskell should be released, or charged, or deported. Meanwhile, there has, I am informed, been an aplication for a writ of habeas corpus in respect of Mr. Gaskell. The decision of the court was expected yesterday or today.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that reply. Since the case is sub judice there are just two questions that I should like to ask him. First, can he assure us that Mr. Gaskell has been visited by the British Government representative? Secondly, can he also assure us that he has had, and still has, the assistance of his lawyer in the preparation of his case?


My Lords, the British Government representative has certainly seen Mr. Gaskell on two occasions, if not three; and when he learned that the case was to be heard in court this week he proceeded straight away to St. Kitts. He will be there to-day for the case, if, as I rather think, it was postponed from yesterday.

On the question of legal representation for Mr. Gaskell, there has been some slight difficulty over this since Mr. Gaskell's first choice lawyer has been required to leave the country, because of the expiry of his labour permit. A protest has been made about that by the British Government representative. But I understand that Mr. Gaskell has the advantage of the services of two other competent legal advisers.