Hola Camp

Oral Answers to Questions — Kenya – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1959.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North 12:00 am, 23rd July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further action he has decided upon in connection with the Hola deaths, following the Report of the disciplinary tribunal.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the disciplinary findings arising from the deaths of the 11 Africans at Hola Camp in Kenya.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

Copies of the Command Paper containing the Governor's recommendations and my conclusions on the Report of the Disciplinary Inquiry will be available in the Vote Office later today.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recall getting somewhat indignant last week at suggestions that the publication of this Report, which he has now had for more than three weeks, has been unduly delayed? If he is really anxious not to evade his responsibility to the House, will he please answer Question No. 36 now and tell us what action has been taken?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

No, Sir. I should have thought that even the hon. Member would have preferred to read the paper before asking questions about it.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

Has the Colonial Secretary reconsidered his own position in relation to this matter, in view of the fact that he declined inquiries into these camps that might have prevented this tragedy; and that the coroner criticised both the Cowan Report and the misleading statements of the Kenya Government, for which the right hon. Gentleman is responsible?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

If hon. Members opposite wish to debate this Report, no doubt they will have a chance to arrange it through the usual channels. As to any charges against myself, I have nothing to add to what I said on the matter yesterday.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

But why is the Colonial Secretary so coy about this? Why is he not ready now to tell us what action he is taking? It is, of course, possible for us all to read the Report, but is he still not aware—and by his grimaces he apparently is not—that this is one of the most serious charges that have ever been made? Does he not think that he owes it to the House of Commons now, if he has reached conclusions, to say what action he is taking in connection with these disciplinary charges?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

It is precisely because these are serious charges that I think that it would be most unwise to attempt to summarise the matter. The hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members can read the Report and challenge me on it as much as they like next week.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

This is really an impossible situation. Is the Colonial Secretary taking any action against any other officers arising out of the disciplinary inquiry against Messrs. Coutts and Sullivan, senior officers of the Administration? That is a simple question.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

All that will be shown in the paper, which will be available very shortly—today. It will contain the Report of the Disciplinary Inquiry, a Despatch from me to His Excellency the Governor, and two Despatches from him to me. It will be found that they cover the matter fully, and I think that the hon. Gentleman will be well advised to read them.