The unsatisfactory position to which the hon. Member refers results from the continued operation of the Liverpool and Area Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society, whose certificate of efficiency has been withdrawn, concurrently with the activity of the new society to which a certificate of efficiency has been granted. I share the hon. Member's regret at this unsatisfactory state of affairs, and I would welcome any step that could be taken to bring it to an end. I am not, however, prepared to review my decision to withdraw the certificate of efficiency from the Liverpool and Area Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society, and I regret that there is no action that I can take to remedy the existing situation.
Is not the Minister aware that the secretary of the newly-formed Prisoners' Aid Society has already resigned office, giving as his reason that he was misinformed at the time of his appointment as to the true local circumstances? Cannot he take some positive action to clear up this very unsatisfactory position?
The matter has been carefully considered, and I withdrew the certificate after most careful considera- tion. If the local people, with good will among themselves, can get together and clear up the matter I shall be glad, but I cannot restore the certificate of efficiency which I thought it right to withdraw.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the difficulty is to get the officers of these two bodies together? Cannot he do something to bring them together and patch up differences?