Personal Case

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th October 1946.

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Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford 12:00 am, 8th October 1946

asked the Secretary of State for War for how long 5292930 Private H. Johnson, of the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry, has been under close arrest; what is the reason for keeping him under arrest for so long and for the delay in his trial; and what difficulties have prevented the War Office from giving a detailed reply to the request for information concerning his case sent to them by the hon. Member for Oxford City.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

A full report on this case has been called for from India. As soon as it has been received and examined, I will write to the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this soldier has been under close arrest awaiting trial in India since the early months of this year—March or April, I think—and that I wrote as long ago as July, but still no report from India has come? Is not this quite intolerable, and a case which should be examined further?

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Yes, Sir. I admit there has been some considerable delay in replying. That is the reason why I am sending a special cablegram demanding a reply with expedition.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what degree of expedition he can expect from a special cable to this Command?

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

I know that the writ of the Secretary of State for War does not run to the full extent in India as it does in other Commands, but I hope, at least, that my representations will have some effect when they are received there.

Photo of Mr Cecil Poole Mr Cecil Poole , Lichfield

Could the Minister, without notice, tell us what is the maximum period in accordance with regulations during which a man may be kept under close arrest without trial?

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

I should like notice of that question.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Will the Minister look into the practice of the War Office in this matter? Surely, it should not be possible for a matter to lie in this state so long without some action being taken by the War Office, quite apart from representations by hon. Members.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) wrote on 23rd July, and a report was called for by letter from G.H.Q. on 2nd August. A "hastener" was sent by cable on 18th September, and I regret to say that a reply has not yet been received.