HC Deb 12 August 1919 vol 119 cc1112-3W

asked the Secretary of State for War what will be the position of soldiers serving courts-martial sentences of imprisonment for offences against Army discipline when the Military Service Act expires; whether they will be pardoned and automatically re leased; if not by what authority can they be retained in imprisonment beyond the period they may by law be kept in the Army; and will he take the necessary steps to secure to all those who may have committed such offences a pardon or reduction of their sentences as they become eligible for demobilisation under the Instructions now issued?


In answer to the first and third parts of the hon. Member's question, I would refer him to Section 158 of the Army Act, which is the statutory power for retaining in prison or detention men sentenced by courts-martial who have ceased to be subject to military law. With regard to the second part of the question, as was stated in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull on the 5th June last, after very careful consideration the Cabinet decided not to adopt the course suggested. As regards the last part of the question, all cases of men undergoing sentences of imprison- ment in this country, awarded by courts-martial, for military offences are being reviewed and dealt with on their merits by commutation, remission or suspension without regard to their eligibility for demobilisation.