Press Notice 33, Session 2005-06

28 March 2006

PASC welcomes widening of the ex gratia scheme for civilians interned in the Far East in the Second World War

The Chairman of the Commons Public Administration Select Committee, Dr Tony Wright, today welcomed the Parliamentary Statement by Don Touhig, Veterans Minister, announcing that the ex gratia scheme for those interned in the Far East in the Second World War would be widened to include those with 20 years residence in the UK. The MoD's review had followed reports by the Parliamentary Ombudsman which found maladministration in the operation of the scheme, and a subsequent inquiry by PASC. The Ombudsman's calls for a review of the operation of the scheme had been resisted by the MoD until officials preparing for the PASC hearing became aware of inconsistencies in earlier statements. The subsequent review revealed that errors had indeed been made.

Responding to the statement by Mr Touhig, Tony Wright said:

"It is too early to say whether the MoD's proposals will meet all the Committee's concerns, but I welcome the MoD's direction of travel on this issue. I am delighted they have now changed the scheme to include those like Professor Hayward, who had previously been told that, despite being interned during the second world war, and a distinguished career in this country, they were not British enough to qualify for ex gratia payments. The Committee will reflect on the detail of the statement and may wish to clarify some matters with Mr Touhig in due course. I pay tribute to Ann Abraham, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, for pursuing this case in such a robust manner".

The Public Administration Select Committee's report, A Debt of Honour, is available on our website at


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)

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