Oral Answers to Questions — Prisoners.

– in the House of Commons on 26th November 1936.

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Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will direct that the Churchill rule (1910) concerning political prisoners be made operative?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

The rule to which, I think, the hon. Member refers still forms part of the Code of Rules for the Government of Prisons, but I must point out that it contains no reference to "political prisoners" and indeed the law does not recognise any such class of prisoners.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is not the Secretary of State aware that this failure to recognise political prisoners is based on a fiction, and is he not prepared to consider removing this fiction and applying the Churchill rule to political prisoners?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

We could not deal with the matter by using such a question-begging phrase.

Photo of Mr Campbell Stephen Mr Campbell Stephen , Glasgow Camlachie

Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider introducing a rule for dealing with political prisoners?

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

asked the Home Secretary whether he will discontinue the practice of compelling young prison officers to witness the flogging of prisoners?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

If this question implies that any officers are required to attend except those whose presence is necessary for the due carrying out of the punishment, there is no truth in the suggestion.

Photo of Sir George Benson Sir George Benson , Chesterfield

Does not the Home Secretary think it desirable that this country should be brought into line with every other civilised country, and abolish flogging?

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is not the Secretary of State aware that a definite statement has been made to this effect by one who has had the experience of seeing young officers witnessing flogging?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

Then I hope that the definite statement I have made with will be duly asked the Home Secretary the number of convicts in His Majesty's prisons who have been at one time inmates of Borstal institutions?

Photo of Mr John Simon Mr John Simon , Spen Valley

I could not give particulars for the present date without obtaining a special return, but a return obtained last February showed that there were then in prison under sentence 688 men who at some previous date had been in a Borstal institution. The total number of men who have passed through the Borstal institutions is over 13,000.