HC Deb 05 August 1914 vol 65 cc1987-90

(1) His Majesty may at any time when a state of war exists between His Majesty and any foreign power, or when it appears that an occasion of imminent national danger or great emergency has arisen, by Order in Council impose restrictions on aliens, and provision may be made by the Order:—

  1. (a) for prohibiting aliens from landing in the United Kingdom, either generally or at certain places, and for imposing restrictions or conditions on aliens landing or arriving at any port in the United Kingdom; and
  2. (b) for prohibiting aliens from embarking in the United Kingdom, either generally or at certain places and for imposing restrictions and conditions on aliens embarking or about to embark in the United Kingdom; and
  3. (c) for the deportation of aliens from the United Kingdom; and
  4. (d) for requiring aliens to reside and remain within certain places or districts; and
  5. (e) for prohibiting aliens from residing or remaining in any areas specified in the Order; and
  6. (f) for requiring aliens residing in the United Kingdom to comply with such provisions as to registration, change of abode, travelling, or otherwise as may be made by the Order; and
  7. (g) for the appointment of officers to carry the Order into effect, and for 1988 conferring on such officers and on the Secretary of State such powers as may be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the Order; and
  8. (h) for imposing penalties on persons who aid or abet any contravention of the Order, and for imposing such obligations and restrictions on masters of ships or any other persons specified in the Order as appear necessary or expedient for giving full effect to the Order; and
  9. (i) for conferring upon such persons as may be specified in the Order such powers with respect to arrest, detention, search of premises or persons, and otherwise, as may be specified in the Order, and for any other ancillary matters for which it appears expedient to provide with a view to giving full effect to the Order; and
  10. (k) for any other matters which appear necessary or expedient with a view to the safety of the realm.

(2) If any person acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any provisions of any such Order, he shall be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months, and the Court before which he is convicted may, either in addition to or in lieu of any such punishment, require that person to enter into recognisances with or without sureties to comply with the provisions of the Order in Council or such provisions thereof as the Court may direct.

If any person fails to comply with an Order of the Court requiring him to enter into recognisances the Court or any Court of summary jurisdiction sitting for the same place may order him to be imprisoned with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding six months.

(3) Any provision of any Order in Council made under this Section with respect to aliens may relate either to aliens in general or to any class or description of aliens.

(4) If any question arises on any proceedings under any such Order, or with reference to anything done or proposed to be done under any such Order, whether any person is an alien or not, or is an alien of a particular class or not, the onus of proving that that person is not an alien, or, as the case may be, is not an alien of that class, shall lie upon that person.

(5) His Majesty may by Order in Council revoke, alter, or add to any Order in Council made under this Section as occasion requires.

(6) Any powers given under this Section, or under any Order in Council made under this Section, shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other powers with respect to the expulsion of aliens, or the prohibition of aliens from entering the United Kingdom or any other powers of His Majesty.


Is it quite clear that the Home Secretary can make different regulations with regard to aliens of different nationalities?


Yes, Sir, that is quite clear, and it is the object of the Bill to draw a distinction between alien friends and alien enemies.


Is it decreed that these aliens are to come out after six months? War might not be over and they might give an immense amount of information.


We can always expel them.


As one acquainted with many German subjects, some of whom have been resident in this country for many-years, and are much more British in sentiment than German, I should like some assuring words from the Home Secretary that some regard will be had for those persons. There is a very great deal of apprehension amongst such persons at the present time, and I think a few words from the Home Secretary would be very useful.


Alien enemies against whom there is no reason whatever to suppose that they are secretly engaged in operations against this country will be subjected to nothing further than registration and the provision that they may not live in the prohibited areas.


I want to ask a question of the Home Secretary with regard to this Bill—namely, whether attention will, at this time, be given to the question of alien pilotage. I think this is a most important question. I want to know whether the Government will give particular attention to this question with a view of preventing alien pilots from gaining a knowledge of the estuaries and ports of this country.


I do not think that question arises on this Bill.


No, it does not arise.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.


I beg to give notice that I shall put a question to the Prime Minister on this subject to-morrow.

Bill reported without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."


Although I recognise that this is a time of great crisis and emergency, yet I suggest to the House that by this measure we are putting a very dangerous power into the hands of the Home Secretary. [An HON. MEMBER: "Sit down."] I think the House would be well advised to act seriously in passing the Third Reading of this measure. I rise to ask whether there is any duration mentioned in the Bill, and whether the power which is given under it endures until the House of Commons takes it away again. [An HON. MEMBER: "During the war."] I think we ought to know this in giving such exceptional powers to a single Minister, because we may not always have the present Minister dealing with it, and therefore we ought to safeguard the duration of this power in some way.


Owing to the circumstances under which this measure is introduced we do not really know the terms of the various Clauses, and I should like to ask if we are to understand that this Bill is primarily meant for dealing with spies in time of war. If that is so, I want to know whether there is any power taken to shoot spies, and, if not, why not?


That would not come under this Bill. This measure applies only to a state of war existing between this country and a foreign power when a grave national danger or grave emergency has arisen. Under those circumstances this Bill provides for certain things, and the measure prescribes the limits of the Order in Council which may be issued. The Order would cease to have effect as soon as the war has ceased or a state of national danger or grave emergency no longer exists.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.