I regret that the figures for which my hon. and gallant Friend asks are not available. I should, however, like to take this opportunity of informing the House that the Metropolitan magistrate whose remarks have no doubt prompted this Question and whom I have seen has assured me and has also stated publicly that he had no intention of reflecting on girls coming to London from Wales as distinct from other parts of the, United Kingdom. He was dealing with the case of a girl found stranded in London who had run away from a respectable home and in impressing upon the probation officer the importance of trying to get her back to her home the magistrate referred to the dangers to which she would be exposed if she remained friendless in London as illustrated by his experience of other cases. The girl with whom he was dealing happened to come from Wales, and if in the course of his remarks to the probation officer the magistrate gave the impression that girls found in such a plight in London are mainly or frequently Welsh girls he greatly regrets the use of words capable of creating such an impression. He had no such intention and is most distressed that he should have been betrayed into casual and ill-chosen expressions which misrepresent his real views.
While I am sure that all sections of the House will welcome the statement which my right hon. Friend has made, may I ask whether the House is to understand that it is quite clear that on Monday last, when these unfortunate observations were made, no official statistics were available on which such a statement could be made?
That is so. I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that I had a very suitable conversation with the magistrate yesterday. He is not a magistrate who is accustomed to making rather wide observations, as I am bound to admit some magistrates are. He is very regretful, and in view of his attitude of complete withdrawal and regret, I think that my hon. Friends from Wales can feel satisfied.