Orders of the Day — Nayland Sanatorium

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1949.

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Photo of Commander Harry Pursey Commander Harry Pursey , Kingston upon Hull East 12:00 am, 28th July 1949

My object in balloting for the Adjournment tonight is to expose to the Minister of Health, the Press and the public, particularly those who support the annual £1 million Poppy Day appeal, one of the worst British Legion "rackets," and what I trust is the worst tuberculosis hospital scandal in Britain, namely, the Ex-British Legion Women's T.B. Sanatorium at Nayland, Suffolk, not far from Colchester.

I am fortified in doing so by letters from both patients and visitors, British Legion documents and also my own personal observations. Moreover, as the result of Questions which I put to the Minister a fortnight ago, three patients have written to the local paper, the "Essex County Standard," Colchester, defending the sanatorium but corroborating practically all the points made in the Questions.

The whole story, which I cannot relate fully tonight, is reminiscent of the worst times of Sarah Gamp as described by Charles Dickens. Yet since the three questions were published in the Press, the National Executive Council of the British Legion have decided to hold a private drumhead court martial which, today, I am informed is to be held in Church House, Westminster, the scene of the Lynskey Tribunal into the Sydney Stanley case, on Wednesday, 17th August, for the purpose of considering my position under their charter. The clause referred to states The National Council shall have power to suspend for a period, or expel, any member whom in their opinion, after proper inquiry, they shall consider to have acted disloyally or dishonourably towards the Legion. This, I submit, is an attempt by a political organisation closely associated with and practically dominated by active Tory Party members, with the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Lonsdale (Sir Ian Fraser) as the "stooge" president, a position he ought never to have accepted, to muzzle an hon. Member of this House in his public duties in this House and in the country.