The Great Incarceration Begins

A. W. Brian Simpson

in In the Highest Degree Odious

Published in print November 1994 | ISBN: 9780198259497
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681974 | DOI:
The Great Incarceration Begins

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On May 22, Parliament passed the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, which formally conferred on the executive the powers appropriate to a totalitarian state at war; it could now, by regulation, ‘make provision for requiring persons to place themselves, their services, and their property at the disposal of His Majesty as appears to him to be necessary or expedient’. That evening, the Privy Council passed the new Regulation 18B (1A), to be enforced on May 23 as a secret law, for it had not then been published. Its text formed a concise ‘Statement of the Case’ against the British Union (BU); though Sir John Anderson in the House of Commons on May 23 referred to organisations in the plural, the party was to be its only victim; it was not used against the Right Club, the Communist Party of Great Britain, or any other group. Many members of the BU thought that it was the peace campaign which led to their executive detention. Sir Oswald Mosley himself was arrested on May 23, followed by more arrests.

Keywords: Emergency Powers Act; totalitarian state; Regulation 18B; British Union; Oswald Mosley; executive detention; Communist Party

Chapter.  14575 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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