Offences (Informers)

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14 December 1949.

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Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth 12:00, 14 December 1949

asked the Minister of Food if he will instruct food officers to give, when required, the names of informers through whom investigation into alleged food offences has been made, and in cases where the allegations have been found subsequently to be without foundation.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I cannot lay down any general rule binding my Department to a particular course of action in hypothetical circumstances. Any such case would be considered on its merits.

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth

If any hon. Member gives a definite case where this has occurred, can the right hon. Lady assure the House that she will allow her officers to give the name where the honesty and integrity of the citizen has been wrongly questioned.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I should not like to make any categorical statement. I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman realises that if we discover that information which has been given to us is unfounded or has been given for malicious reasons we should give special consideration to what our action should be.

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth

As the effect on the citizen is the same whether it be unfounded or malicious, can the right hon. Lady say whether any difference is going to be made between the malicious and ordinary informers who do it by mistake? Is the attitude of the Ministry that this should not be done?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I think that every case must be considered on its merits.