Oral Answers to Questions — Black Market (Penalties).

– in the House of Commons on 29th January 1942.

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Photo of Sir Jocelyn Lucas Sir Jocelyn Lucas , Portsmouth South

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider interning, under Section 18B, consistent traffickers in the black market in controlled foods, etc., who have been previously convicted, in that their operations are detrimental to the war effort?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

While I am in full sympathy with the view that rigorous action should be taken against these offenders, whose offence like many other offences, are detrimental to the war effort, I cannot agree that it would be right to use Regulation 18B for this purpose. These offences can be dealt with by the courts, and provision has recently been made for an increase of the penalties which can be imposed. The exceptional powers of Regulation 18B ought not to be used in cases which can be dealt with by criminal proceedings in the courts of law.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore , Ayr District of Burghs

Is it not the case that the profits that these people make are ten times the amount of the fine and that the fines are totally inadequate?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I can only repeat that the penalty to be imposed is a matter for the courts. The administration of the regulations and the institution of proceedings are matters for the appropriate Ministers and not for me.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Will not the right hon. Gentleman see that these men are put up against the wall?