Have inquiries been made by the Department into the very serious allegations against enforcement officers of this Department made in an article which appeared in the "Spectator," in regard to an incident in Devonshire?
Yes, Sir; but careful search through all cases brought by the Department in and around Devonshire has revealed no evidence confirming the alleged incident. My hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. H. Nicolson), who wrote the article, has explained to me that he accepts no responsibility for the authenticity of the report of this incident. He quoted it in his article as it had been repeated to him only as an example of an incredible story which he did not and does not believe.
In view of the wide publicity given to the allegation, will the Minister take steps, in fairness to the officers of his Department, to see that the widest publicity is given to his reply, and will he ask the editor of the "Spectator" to publish in the next issue of the paper the statement which he has just made?
My hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester was unwilling to give me details of the location of that particular incident. We are therefore making exhaustive inquiries to try to trace it to the ground. As soon as that is done, I will communicate with my hon. and gallant Friend.