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Deportees, Brixton Prison (Disturbance)

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 November 1945

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17.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make a statement respecting the recent disurbances among deportees in Brixton prison; and what were their alleged grievances.

On the evening of 22nd November, 13 aliens of various nationalities detained in Brixton Prison pending removal from this country, barricaded themselves in their cells as a protest against the delay in their deportation. Arrangements had in fact been completed the day before to remove nine of them; but when this was made known to them they refused to abandon their positions or to permit two of their number who were due to go immediately, to come out. They were allowed to stay where they were over night; but as they remained obdurate next morning, the Governor took steps to restore order, and after due warning the fire hose was used with the desired effect. The men made it clear that they were protesting not against prison conditions but delay in deportation. Less than half of the men had in fact been awaiting removal since dates earlier than October. Such delay as occurred in removing them is due primarily to the difficulty in obtaining passages and to negotiations with the men's national authorities for their transportation and reception.

Did any of these men use violence or threaten to do so? Does the right hon. Gentleman consider there were any other means than those taken to try to restore order?

No, Sir. I think that in the difficult circumstances with which he was confronted, the Prison Governor acted ex- peditiously, and, I think, with reasonable mercy.

Might I ask the Home Secretary whether he would reply to the first part of my supplementary question, in which I asked whether they used violence?

I have no information that they used violence, beyond barricading themselves in their cells.

Will the Home Secretary, in view of the behaviour of the Opposition on the Finance Bill, consider a judicious use of the hose?