HC Deb 30 May 1916 vol 82 cc2575-6

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to statements that German bakers are being released from internment with the result that German bakeries in London are flourishing while English bakers are being taken into the Army; and whether he will say how many German bakers have been released since the first Military Service Act was passed?


My attention has been drawn to an article in the current number of the weekly paper, "John Bull," to which the hon. Member may be referring. The article states that somebody is freeing German bakers from the places in which they have been incarcerated. It quotes and endorses a letter to the effect that, if anyone wishes to employ an interned German baker, all he has to do is to write to the Home Office and they would release him; that presumably the guilty person is myself, but that it is quite certain that Quakers are acting in accord with me, if not in actual collaboration. There is no truth in any of these statements. Not one German baker has been released, according to the Home Office records, since the first Military Service Act was passed—the date to which the hon. Member's question refers—or since I became Home Secretary. A very few were released last year on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, but in every instance this was done on such special grounds as long residence and British wives, or sons in the British Army. In no case had the exemption anything to do with the alien's trade or employment.


Is it to be the practice of the Government to reply to statements in "John Bull" by Private Notice questions?