Government planned to deport Mosley Churchill was told of plan to deport Mosley

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A startling revelation from newly released, 50-year-old state papers is that Churchill's government planned to deport Sir Oswald Mosley and his wife after their arrest under the 18b Special Powers Regulations for securing potential traitors, writes John Crossland.

Sir Oswald was arrested at his London home on 23 May 1940, his British Union of Fascists was dissolved and, together with many of his supporters, he was placed in Brixton prison.

An anonymous security memorandum dated 10 July, 1940 told the prime minister: "Lord Swinton and his executive [of the Special Warfare Executive] are very anxious if possible to deport overseas certain leaders of the British Union of Fascists, including Mosley and his wife.

"The chief reason is that it has come to their certain knowledge that Mosley and these leaders fear deportation to quite an inexplicable degree, unless they believe there to be some plot on hand to liberate them from jail for the purpose of starting serious trouble.

"At present 400 of these fascist organisers are held together in two jails where the warders and police are understood to be unarmed. It has already been represented to the Home Office that this seems an undue risk to be run. These people are just nasty gangsters who will stick at nothing and who, if they were arrested by gangster methods, would doubtless be rounded up in due course. They might do a great deal of damage and would certainly cause a grave scandal in the meantime.

"It is hoped that the War Office will shortly arrange to take these persons over and keep them under strong military armed care. Even so, it would be better to remove them from the country, especially as this is clearly the last thing they want to happen.

"The trouble is that the law of the land as it stands prohibits the forcible deportation of any British subject. The Home Office have been invited to examine the legal position and put forward a recommendation for sufficient alteration of the law to permit the deportation of Mosley and company ..."