Sir George Benson: It is possible to take the problem of juvenile delinquency much too seriously. In the Chamber today are 15 to 20 hon. Members and, in one way or another, each one of us has been a juvenile delinquent of a sort. Honesty is something that must be learned. One is not born honest. One is merely born with the capacity for becoming a social individual. Which hon. Member can honestly say that he or...
Sir George Benson: Light penalties appear to be as effective as heavy penalties for the individual. I will not speak of the effect on the general public, but there is effective statistical evidence to show that light penalties are just as effective.
Sir George Benson: One
Sir George Benson: The expenditure of Government money expended by the University Grants Committee on buildings can come within our orbit if we wish. We had a great battle some years ago with the U.G.C. and established our right.
Sir George Benson: We have never claimed anything except to have some say on building costs. We have never suggested that we should interfere in the academic exercises.
Sir George Benson: The function of the Public Accounts Committee has been raised today, and I had better say that it is an extremely narrow one. It is concerned with the expenditure of money by Government Departments. Its first purpose is to see that that money is spent according to the Appropriation Bill which allocates the money for certain purposes, and its second is to see that the money is spent...
Sir George Benson: Do we ever hear a note of satisfaction?
Sir George Benson: Some years ago the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) and I defeated a proposal to abolish the Prison Commissioners. Tonight, I propose, rather regretfully, to support the proposal. The Prison Commissioners have a long and honourable record and I shall be sorry to see them go, but I do not think that any question of principle is involved. The final responsibility for the administration of...
Sir George Benson: When I visit a prison, invariably I have a meal with the prisoners and I have found the "grub" exceedingly good.
Sir George Benson: No.
Sir George Benson: Two questions have been asked in the debate to which I think I can give the answer. The first is the question of the appointment of the Comptroller and Auditor General. His is a Crown appointment. It is an appointment by Royal Warrant and he is dismissable only by Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. The idea of this limitation on his dismissal is to make sure that he is entirely...
Sir George Benson: Surely there is no evidence that detention for long periods in approved schools is any more beneficial than detention for shorter periods?
Sir George Benson: What reason is there for anybody carrying firearms at any time of the day or night?
Sir George Benson: But not in public streets.
Sir George Benson: Before any change is made in the method of annunciation, will the right hon. Gentleman take the opinion of Members of the House as to which they prefer?
Sir George Benson: Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the proposed saving is trivial compared with the satisfaction which hon. Members get out of the present annunciators?
Sir George Benson: I think that we are entitled to be proud of our system of justice of which the Home Office is the custodian. We are entitled to be proud of the care taken to protect the rights of an accused person and to ensure that there is fair trial. It is true that, on occasions, miscarriages of justice have occurred, but every hon. Member would agree that they are extremely rare. The finding of guilt is...
Sir George Benson: I should, first, like to thank the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) for his very kind reference to myself and also my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) whose remarks, I regret very much, I was unable to hear. I am afraid that despite the unanimity of the Public Accounts Committee—and it is a united body—it has another side; it is an extremely querulous body. I...
Sir George Benson: May I interrupt the hon. Member to say that this is a document which picks out the Ministries that require criticism? That is done by the Public Accounts Committee with the advice of the Comptroller and Auditor General. Any body which is not mentioned is more or less guiltless.
Sir George Benson: Not necessarily.