HC Deb 26 July 1916 vol 84 cc1679-82
63. Mr. BOOTH

asked if any naturalisation certificates have been cancelled when former enemy aliens have proved themselves unworthy of British citizenship; whether the Government have power to abrogate the citizenship of any alien who has abtained naturalisation by fraud and misrepresentation; and whether the Gov- ernment intend to take powers to deal with naturalised aliens who break the laws and favour the enemy by restoring these aliens to their former nationality?


The only power which the law confers of cancelling naturalisation certificates is in cases where they have been obtained by misrepresentation or fraud. The British Government has powers of dealing with British subjects of enemy origin who have shown themselves hostile to this country, but it is not within the power of any Government to restore a person to a foreign nationality.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of a case recently where at the beginning of the War the grant of naturalisation was given to a German; and is he aware that the Ministry of Munitions have asked that that man should be interned, that the Government have refused to intern him, and allow him to keep his naturalisation certificate?


The naturalisation certificate was not granted by me, but by my predecessor. I answered a question on the subject the other day.

65. Mr. R. MCNEILL

asked the HOme Secretary if his attention has been called to the conviction at the London Sessions on 18th July of Ernest Lindner, a German of military age, for an offence against the Defence of the Realm Act for which he was sentenced to four months' imprisonment; whether Lindner and his father were both interned at the beginning of the War and Lindner was afterwards released and was several times given travelling permits; and if he will say, in view of the declaration by the Prime Minister on the 13th May, 1915, that all enemy aliens of military age were then to be interned, for what reason Lindner was released and allowed facilities for travelling about the country?


asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been directed to the statement of counsel for the Crown prosecuting at the London Sessions one, Ernest Robert Joyce Lindner, a German engineer, sentenced to four months' imprisonment in the second division for not notifying his change of address, for travelling more than five miles from his residence without a permit, for having military handbooks, and for entering a prohibited area; that Herr Lindner had been interned for two days at the beginning of the War but, on the representations of influential friends, the Home Office had given him exemption from internment; and whether, having regard to the fact that this alien enemy, described as a man of means with three motor cars, on whose account an officer who made his acquaintance has been arrested, has been at large in this country for upwards of two years through the patronage of influential friends, any and what steps will be taken to secure that there should be no differentiation in treatment between alien enemies and British subjects of alien associations in good positions in society having influential friends and alien enemies and British subjects with alien associations who are poor and without influential friends?


Lindner, who is the son of a German father and Scotch mother, was brought to this country at the age of ten years, has been educated here at an English public school, and has not since been back to Germany. In 1912 inquiry was made on his behalf whether he could be naturalised, as he wished to obtain a commission in the Territorial Army. Naturalisation was, however, refused by the Home Office because he was a minor. In October, 1914, he was arrested and interned, but was released on sureties shortly afterwards, on the recommendation not of influential friends, but of the police. Last year, in pursuance of the policy announced by the Prime Minister on the 13th May, 1915, he was notified that he would be reinterned unless exempted. His application for exemption was granted on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, in consideration of his English upbringing and connections with this country, and in view of an exceptionally strong recommendation from the Chief Constable of the district where he resided. His father applied for naturalisation at the beginning of the War, but was refused. He was also refused exemption from internment, and was interned in September, 1915. In view of the conduct which led to Lindner's conviction and sentence, I propose to direct his internment on his release from prison.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware from this and other questions, of tie spread of Germanphobia or German fever; whether a lot of persons are affected with it in this House, and that it creates extraordinary delusions such as war babies, channel tunnel, and other crazes; and whether he can take prompt steps to check it; if not, will he fumigate this side of the House, so as to allay the effect upon our nerves?

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