Colonial Prisoners (Ankle Irons)

Oral Answers to Questions — Kenya – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th December 1954.

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Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire 12:00 am, 8th December 1954

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in which Colonies and Protectorates it is the practice to attach chains to the ankles of prisoners, and to what categories of prisoners this treatment is applied.

Photo of Mr Henry Hopkinson Mr Henry Hopkinson , Taunton

In 1952, the attention of all Colonial Governments was drawn to the very strict Regulations governing the use of mechanical restraints on prisoners in the United Kingdom. They were invited to bring local practice as far as possible into conformity with United Kingdom practice. The replies so far received show some measure of conformity but my information is still by no means complete. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind, I shall be glad to look into it.

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

Surely the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the report in the London "Star" of 5th November, quite clearly indicating that prisoners are being chained—that there have been attempts to escape after these chains had been filed from prisoners' ankles. This smacks of the methods of the Inquisition. Will he not do something really worth-while about it?

Photo of Mr Henry Hopkinson Mr Henry Hopkinson , Taunton

I have already said that we have had replies from a certain number of our Territories. In fact, of under 20 from whom we have had replies, ankle chains are being used in only nine. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] But let me point out that those are Territories in many cases—both in West Africa, East Africa and the West Indies—with a very high degree of self-government, Territories such as Nigeria, in which we must be very careful how far we interfere.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Plymouth, Devonport

As the Question on the Order Paper was to ask the Minister in which Colonies and Protectorates this practice of using mechanical restraints is still being employed, should he not have given an answer to the Question, instead of saving the number for a reply to a supplementary question? Should he not now publish the names of the Colonies in which this practice is going on?

Photo of Mr Henry Hopkinson Mr Henry Hopkinson , Taunton

We are waiting until we get a complete list of all our Colonies. As soon as we do so, we shall circulate a complete analysis.

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree to publish the names of the nine where he does know that ankle chains are still being used?

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

May I ask the Minister why he is holding back? If he knows a certain number of Colonies in which they are being used now, why should he not say so? We could have a complete list later.

Photo of Mr Henry Hopkinson Mr Henry Hopkinson , Taunton

I am quite prepared to do that, and I have just said so.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

On a point of order. Is it in order for the Minister to deceive the House?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Order. The hon. Member should not accuse another Member of this House of deceiving the House.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

I am sorry, Sir. Is it in order for the Minister to mislead the House? He invited my hon. Friend to submit instances to him, but he later said he knew of nine.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I am afraid that that is not a point of order for me.