Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of these people who are interned are preparing an action against his predecessor; is it not natural, but perhaps foolish, that they imagine that their interviews with their legal advisers are being supervised for a special reason, and would it not be wiser to allow them to put their cases to their legal advisers, who, after all, are solicitors above reproach?
I hope that the last point is right. I agree that my hon. and gallant Friend raises a fair point, and, in order that persons who are taking or contemplate taking legal proceedings against the authorities may not feel that they are liable to be prejudiced, arrangements are made in such cases to allow confidential instructions and replies to be passed between a solicitor and his client if the solicitor gives an undertaking that no other communications will be received or passed by him without sanction. I think that meets the essence of my hon. and gallant Friend's point, and I am afraid that I cannot go further than that.
Most of the persons detained under this Regulation are now in a camp in the Isle of Man. The number who are willing to undertake work is limited, and for most of these work is found in the camp services, such as cooking, cleaning, clerical, and other duties. Some of them also go to outside employments, such as work on farms. Generally speaking, the payment for their services ranges from 6d. to a 1s. per day. The daily hours do not exceed eight save in exceptional circumstances, such as harvesting, when extra payment is made. Of the men detained under this Regulation at Brixton Prison only one at present elects to work. He is employed on making mail bags at which 3s. a week can be earned. For the women at Holloway Prison laundry work, needlework and cleaning are available. The daily hours of labour are about 5¼ and the rate of payment is 6d. a day.
Is not the rate of payment based on the allowances granted to prisoners, and ought there not to be some differentiation in the case of untried persons who have been detained and who have no means of support?
I hardly think so. It must be remembered that we are maintaining them at the public expense. In the bulk of the I8B cases they do not wish to work, and we do not compel them to do so.
Would it not be possible to furnish these people with more useful and remunerative work, or even compel them to do more useful and remunerative work, so that they can support their families outside?
I doubt whether that is practicable. As to the point whether we should compel them to work, I think the House has taken the view that because of the nature of these cases we ought not to impose compulsion upon them. I wish they were all willing to work, but, as I have said, in the majority of cases they prefer not to work.