HC Deb 12 October 1916 vol 86 cc214-6W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the recent prosecution of employés of the Army Clothing Department and the judge's comments thereon, he has set up any inquiry into the administration of this department which will prevent a repetition of such practices as were recently made public?


My right hon. Friend dealt with this matter in Debate yesterday. Any changes which, after inquiry, are found to be necessary in connection with the Army Clothing Department, will, of course, be made.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has noticed that on 12th September Mr. Muir, when opening the case for the prosecution of L. W. Asseling, an Army viewer, said that it might or it might not surprise the jury to know that the Royal Army Clothing Department did not receive the suggestion of a prosecution with enthusiasm, and that it was very difficult to get information; whether the men who tried to shield this criminal are still employed by the Department; and what steps are being taken to put an end to the corrupt practices which appear to have been very general therein?


I have noticed the statement by Mr. Muir to which my hon. Friend refers, but my hon. Friend has failed to notice the further statement made by Mr. Muir at a later stage of the case to the effect that his remarks in opening the case applied only to the men who were accused along with Asseling and who might have had, or were supposed to have had, some knowledge of the facts. The suggestion contained in the second part of "the question is therefore erroneous. My right hon. Friend dealt in Debate yesterday with the point raised in the last part of the question.


asked the Secretary of State for War if the firm of Hindes, Limited, and other firms implicated in the frauds recently exposed in the Law Courts are still on the Army Office list of contractors; and if any steps are being taken to bring them to justice?


The firms concerned—Messrs. Turner, Son and Company, Ltd., Hindes, Ltd., and H. H. Soar and Company—have all been removed from the War Office list of contractors.

The Director of Public Prosecutions does not propose to institute criminal proceedings against these contractors, as their evidence as witnesses for the Crown was essential for the conviction of the Government officials in each case.

Any moneys due to the firms are, however, being withheld pending decision by the legal advisers of the Department as to their liabilities under the Bribery Clause in their contracts.