§ 9. Mr. HOLT
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any power to forbid the mortgage of British ships to foreigners; and, if not, whether, seeing that the mortgagee can easily possess the real control of the ship, he will take powers to forbid the mortgage to foreigners, if he thinks desirable, during the War?
There is no statutory power at present to forbid mortgages to foreigners, but every case is reported and, when necessary, is inquired into. I would remind my hon. Friend that so long as a ship flies the British flag it is subject to British law and British Government control.
If a foreigner forecloses a mortgage, I understand that it will involve a transfer to a foreign flag, and that course, as the hon. Member knows, is forbidden at the present moment.