HC Deb 20 March 1918 vol 104 cc957-8

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a passport applied for by the late Gordon H. Calder, of Tayport, to enable him to proceed to South Africa was refused in October last, although the applicant produced to the passport office medical certificates showing that he was suffering from tubercular consumption which rendered residence in this country dangerous to his life; whether the passport which, after repeated applications to the passport office, was granted at the beginning of March, reached Mr. Calder only two days before his death; whether the applicant was detained in this country because it was considered, notwithstanding medical evidence to the contrary, that he could undertake work of national importance; and whether inquiries will be made into the causes of the delay, extending over a period of five months, in the issuing of a passport to this medically unfit man?


Mr. Calder's original application was refused, at the instance of the Ministry of National Service. In December last he forwarded medical certificates as to his state of health, on the strength of which the Ministry of National Service withdrew their objection. Mr. Calder, however, wished to take his wife and infant child with him, which, under the Admiralty regulations restricting women and children from travelling overseas, could not be permitted. It was only on 21st February that a letter was received from him stating that he would travel alone, and a passport was then issued, and dispatched to him on the same day.

Colonel Sir H. GREENWOOD

Will the right hon. Gentleman sympathetically consider other cases of men suffering from tuberculosis who wish to leave this country for one of the Dominions, and whose lives may be prolonged by the change?


I do not quite see how that arises out of the question, but the present case indicates that those responsible for the issuing of passports to consider the condition of health of those who apply for passports. I do not know whether that supplies the answer to the question that the hon. and gallant Member has just asked.