Detainees.

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence. – in the House of Commons on 4th June 1942.

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Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

asked the Home Secretary what period usually elapses after receiving the findings of the Committee considering the cases of persons detained under Regulation 18B before his decision is announced to the detained person?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

For the reasons which I explained in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr. Touche) on nth November last, these cases differ in character, and to specify any particular period as normal would be misleading. Every effort is made to avoid delay, but the time taken to reach a decision necessarily varies according to the circumstances.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

asked the Home Secretary whether any money allowance is made to persons, without any personal means, who are detained under Regulation 18B?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

The general principle in this matter is to provide work by means of which interned or detained persons who are without means can earn some money. If work is not available or the person is unfit for work, a small grant of pocket money would be made from the Camp Welfare Fund, which is derived mainly from canteen profits. In the case of the women detained under Regulation 18B in the women's camp or the married camp, a grant of pocket money from public funds has been made in a very small number of cases as the welfare fund of these camps, where there are no canteens, are insufficient for this purpose.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any information as to the kind of work which men detainees do in prison?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

No, Sir, not without notice.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Will the right hon. Gentleman try to let me have that information?

Photo of Mr Thomas Harvey Mr Thomas Harvey , Combined English Universities

Have any arrangements been made regarding the rates of pay for prison work undertaken by detainees?

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a detenue under Regulation 18B at Holloway Prison wrote a letter on 3rd May to the hon. Member for Croydon, South; that this letter was not passed by the censor at the prison until 13th May and was not posted until 22nd May; and whether he will take steps to ensure that letters written by detenues are posted more promptly in future?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

The letter to which my hon. Friend refers was one of a collection of over 200 identical communications sent out by some of the women in Holloway Prison for the purpose of making representations against their continued detention under Defence Regulation 18B, and purporting to give their collective views on that Regulation and its administration: and the Prison Authorities felt that they ought to submit for my decision the general question whether the facilities given for letters to M.P.s were intended to cover circular communications of this kind. As the despatch of the letters did not appear to be a matter of immediate urgency, posting was held up pending my decision. In the ordinary course letters are posted without any delay.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Am I really to understand that a person in prison who writes to her Member of Parliament can have the letter examined by the Censor on the 13th and then have that letter sat on until the 22nd before it is posted?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

In the ordinary way, no, Sir, but this started a new process in which circulars on a large scale and on general issues were involved. The Prison Commissioners took the view that a point of principle arose on which a decision was necessary. That was the reason for the delay. I did sanction the posting of the letters.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

asked the Home Secretary how many of the 62 persons detained under Regulation 18B, against the advice of the Advisory Committee, are British subjects not of hostile origin; and whether he now proposes to give such persons any opportunity to justify the recommendation of the Advisory Committee?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

Twenty of the 62 persons referred to are British subjects not of hostile origin, and at the present time I am not satisfied that their release can properly be authorised having regard to the interests of national security.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Does my right hon. Friend propose to adopt any measure by which these persons can, at some time, at any rate, remove the stigma which their internment places upon them?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

It has always been open to persons detained under this Regulation to apply to be reheard by the Advisory Committee. These applications are always given the most careful consideration.

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

But these persons have already been heard by the Advisory Committee, and the right hon. Gentleman refuses to accept the decision.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I assume that they have already been heard by the Advisory Committee, but Parliament holds me responsible for the security of the State, and I cannot be responsible to Parliament unless I use my own judgment in this matter.

Photo of Mr John McGovern Mr John McGovern , Glasgow Shettleston

Has the case of Cahir Healy been considered?