HC Deb 26 November 1906 vol 165 cc1236-7
SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the collision which was narrowly averted last week between the constabulary forces of Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire, in respectively endeavouring to defend their several counties from the invasion of the band of foreign gipsies recently admitted to this country; and if, having regard to the expense thus imposed upon the ratepayers, and the exposure of their property to depredation owing to the detachment of so many rural police for the circumvention of these alien immigrants, he will send down an officer of the Criminal Investigation Department, speaking Romany, to assist the gipsy chief with money and counsel to realise his alleged project of leading his forces to Hull and thence embarking them for home; or, failing this, to take steps against members of the band, in conjunction with the police, for one or other of the following offences: for having no visible means of subsistence (Aliens Act); for wandering abroad and lodging in any cart or wagon (Vagrant Act); for placing themselves in a public place to beg alms (5 Geo. 4, c. 83); for causing boys under fourteen or girls under sixteen to beg (57 and 58 Vic. c. 41); for pitching upon the highway (5 and 6 Will. 4, c. 50); for unlawfully taking and carrying property with intent permanently to deprive the rightful owners thereof (24 and 25 Vic. c. 96); or for overloading and working their horses in an unfit state (12 and 13 Vic. c. 92).

The following Question was also on the Paper:—

MR. FELL (Great Yarmouth)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has arranged for the deportation of the large band of gipsies who have caused so much expense and trouble in the country; if so, who is going to pay the expenses of such deportation; and whether he has given or will give instructions under the Aliens Act to prohibit the landing of foreign gipsies in the future at any of our seaports.


The accounts of the police incident referred to were, as I have already said, exaggerated. I have no power to deport the gipsies wholesale, nor have I any power under the Aliens Act to prohibit the landing of gipsies at the seaports; but I am endeavouring to see whether those now in the country cannot be induced to leave it. For the present I must ask to be allowed to limit my statement to this.


Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed that hon. Members who are so anxious to get rid of these gipsies are equally anxious to keep the Chinese coolie in South Africa?

[No Answer was returned.]


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the German gipsies during their transit across Montgomeryshire put the district and county authorities to expense and inconvenience for police escorts, and in other respects; and whether he will take such steps as are possible to prevent further invasions of this description in future.


Yes, Sir. I am aware that Montgomeryshire was in August and September last visited by gipsies in the same way as other counties. As regards the last paragraph I can only refer to the Answers I have already given to similar Questions.


Is my right hon. friend aware that these impoverished aliens to the inconvenience of the lawful inhabitants drank all the hock in Welshpool?