Arrested Miners

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons on 11th September 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that three miners, each of whom was fined £5, with a month to pay, during April, were taken from bed and arrested, about 5 a.m. on Friday, 28th August; that this action on the part of the police authorities was the cause of a stoppage of work in three collieries; and will he take steps to dismiss the official who was responsible for ordering the arrest of these miners at such an hour in the morning?

Mr. Chapman:

The three men in question were fined £5, with the alternative of 30 days' imprisonment, for a contravention of the conditions of the Employment and National Arbitration Order, 1940. They had been given repeated opportunities over a period of more than four months to pay their fines, in instalments if they wished, and as they had failed to do so the alternative sentence of imprisonment had to be enforced. The arrests were effected at the hour at which I understand the men would normally have risen to go to work; and the men were given as much time as they wished to dress and breakfast. The fines were paid the same day, and the men were at once released.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is the Minister aware that these men were three out of 20 who were fined? The police knew their daily habits of going to and coming from work. Can the Minister justify this continual practice of the police, of going in the early hours of the morning and taking ordinary workers out of bed to prison? As this is causing the bitterest possible feeling, will action be taken to stop it? If I am not to have an answer, I must give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment. It is a very serious question. I had a question before about a girl—