PASC CALLS IN MOD OVER ‘DEBT OF HONOUR’
PASC - the Public Administration Select Committee - will take evidence on 1 December from the Defence Minister , Don Touhig, on the Government’s decision that British citizens interned by the Japanese in the Second Word War but with no ‘blood-link’ to the UK are not eligible for compensation. The Committee will also question the Minister on why the MoD failed to accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation that it should reconsider. Other witnesses will include former internees and Ann Abraham, the Ombudsman.
In November 2000 the Government announced that it would be making one off ex-gratia payments of £10,000 to, among others, British civilian internees but those without a parent or grandparent born in the UK were subsequently turned down for the scheme. In her report investigating their complaints published in July, the Ombudsman, Ann Abraham concluded that the Government should:
review the operation of the scheme;
fully reconsider the position of the complainants and those in their position; and
apologise for the distress caused and consider whether to express that regret tangibly.
The Minister has now apologised and expressed regret, offering a payment of £500 but, unusually, has refused to accept the Ombudsman’s main recommendations.
The evidence session will begin at 10:00 and take place in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House. The witnesses will be:
10:00: Ann Abraham (Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration) and Ian Ogilvie (Investigation Manager);
Approx 10.20: Professor Jack Hayward, Ron Bridge (Chairman ABCIFER - Association of British Internees - Far East Region) and Ann Moxley (all three are former internees);
Approx 11.00: Don Touhig MP (Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans), Alan Burnham (Chief Executive of the Veterans Agency) and Jonathan Iremonger (Director of the Veterans Policy Unit).
The Ombudsman’s Report ‘A Debt of Honour’ (HC 324) was presented to Parliament on 5 July 2005.
The Committee was nominated on 13 July 2005. Its terms of reference are to examine the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen, and to consider matters relating to the quality and standards of administration provided by Civil Service departments, and other matters relating to the Civil Service. The Membership of the Committee is as follows: Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), Julia Goldsworthy (Lib Dem) (Falmouth & Camborne), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Grant Shapps (Con) (Welwyn Hatfield), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)
Media Enquiries: Jessica Bridges-Palmer, 020 7219 0724/07841 737349, email -
Chairman: Dr Tony Wright may be contacted for press inquiries on 020 7219 5583
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:
House of Commons Committee Information Line: Tel 020 7219 2033 for information regarding forthcoming meetings including venues and times (updated daily).
Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 702 3474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk