§ MR. W. P. BYLES (York, W. R., Shipley)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he is aware a Russian sailor named Victor Ivanovsky, now resident in London, was stopped in broad daylight, and in the high road, at Hammersmith, on the 26th March, by two detectives in plain clothes, was interrogated, searched and threatened with arrest, although his behaviour was perfectly peaceful and orderly; and whether, seeing that Russian residents in this country are entitled to the same liberties and the same freedom from police molestation as other citizens, he will take such measures as will prevent the recurrence of incidents similar to the one referred to?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I have made careful inquiry into the circumstances of this case, with the result that I am satisfied that the information on which my hon. Friend's question is based is in many respects misleading and exaggerated. All that happened was that Ivanovsky was asked his name and address, which he gave without demur, and produced an envelope which he had in his pocket in verification of his statement. He was not searched nor was he threatened with arrest. The officers had no warrant for his arrest, nor any ground for taking him into custody. Russian residents in this country who keep within the law, are entitled to the same liberties as Englishmen, and every care is and will be taken that their freedom is not molested. Nothing was done in this case which might not and would not under similar circumstances have been done to an Englishman. It would not be expedient in the public interest that I should state the reason which led the officers to ask this man's name and address, but if my hon. Friend wishes for further information I shall be happy to communicate with him privately.