HC Deb 17 December 1919 vol 123 cc595-6

Nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as imposing any restriction or disability on any duly accredited head of a foreign diplomatic mission or any member of his official staff or household.

Lords Amendment: At the end insert the following new Sub-section: (2) The Secretary of State may exempt from any of the special provisions of this Act as to former enemy aliens any consul or vice-consul to whom His Majesty is pleased to grant an exequatur and the wife and child of any such consul or vice-consul.

Lords Amendment read a second time.


I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


Would the Home Secretary be good enough to explain the meaning of this addition? It may be all right, but I do not quite follow it at the moment. It is really to this effect—that it permit Germans and others to be appointed in certain cases Consuls and Vice-Consuls, and remain in this country, if they are not already here. Perhaps the Home Secretary will explain under what circumstances that is desirable?


It simply gives the Secretary of State the power, where it is considered advisable, to extend to Consuls and their families the same privileges which are extended to the accredited heads of foreign diplomatic missions or any member of their official staff or household. It makes nothing obligatory at all, but simply gives to the Home Secretary the power to extend those privileges to the Consul when it is thought desirable that it should be done.


The alteration which was made in this on Report in another place has made all the difference in the world. As originally moved, and as adopted by the Government in the Committee stage, it did leave an opportunity for a great abuse, butt sec that the words "and their family and their servants" have been withdrawn, and I cannot imagine that His Majesty would grant an exequatur to any Consul or Vice-Consul sinless he was perfectly satisfied on the advice of his Ministers, that the person was a fit and proper person to hold it.