§ (1) Every former enemy alien who is now in the United Kingdom shall be deported forthwith unless he shall within two months after the passing of this Act make an application to the Secretary of State in the prescribed form to be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom, stating the grounds on which such application is based, and unless the Secretary of State shall grant him a licence to remain: Provided that this Sub-section shall not apply to such former enemy aliens as were exempted from internment or repatriation on the recommendation of any advisory committee appointed after the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and eighteen, and before the passing of this Act.
§ (2) The Secretary of State may, if he is satisfied on the recommendation of the advisory committee hereinafter mentioned that there is no reason to the contrary, grant such licence, subject to such terms and conditions (if any) as he shall think fit.
§ (3) The committee may, unless satisfied by reports from the naval, military, air force, or police authorities that there is good reason to the contrary, recommend the exemption from deportation of a former enemy alien on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:
- (a)That the applicant is seventy years of age or upwards;
- (b)That the applicant is suffering from serious and permanent illness or infirmity;
- (e) That the applicant has one or more sons who voluntarily enlisted and served in His Majesty's Forces or the forces of one of the Allied or Associated Powers:
- (d) That the applicant has lived for at least twenty years in this country and married a British-born wife;
- (e)That the applicant came to reside in the United Kingdom when he was under the age of twelve years;
- (f)That the applicant has served in His Majesty's Forces during the War or resided in the United Kingdom for not less than twenty years, and has rendered valuable personal services to this country during the War;
- (g) That the applicant is a minister of religion.
§ (4) The committee may also where the application for a licence is made on any ground other than one or more of those above specified, if satisfied that owing to the special circumstances of the case deportation would involve serious hardship to the applicant or to his wife or children, or owing to the special technical 560 knowledge or skill of the applicant, would involve injury to any British interest, recommend. his exemption as aforesaid.
§ (5) In granting a licence under this Section, the Secretary of State may include in the licence the wife of the applicant and any child or children of his under the age of eighteen.
§ (6) A list of the persons to whom such licence is granted shall, as soon as may be after the granting of the licence, be published in the Gazette.
§ (7) Any licence so granted may be at any time revoked by the Secretary of State.
§ (8) If such licence is not granted or if, having been granted, it shall be revoked, the Secretary of State, shall make an Order (in this Act referred to as a Deportation Order) requiring the alien to leave the United Kingdom and thereafter to remain out of the United Kingdom for a period of seven years after the passing of this. Act. The Secretary of State may, by a Deportation Order, require the alien to return to the country of which he is a subject or citizen.
§ (9) The provisions of this Section shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other provisions of the principal Act or this Act, or any Order in Council made thereunder, providing for the deportation of aliens.
§ (11) This Section shall not apply to a woman who was at the time of her marriage a British subject.
Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (1) leave out from the word "Kingdom" ["now in the United Kingdom"] to the end of the Sub-section. and insert instead thereof the words
and to whom this Section applies shall be deported forthwith unless the Secretary of State on the recommendation of the advisory committee, to be constituted under this Section, shall grant him a licence to remain.
§ Lords Amendment read a second time.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
I shall propose that there should be inserted at the end of Sub-section (1) the words "or to the wife or to the children under eighteen years of age of any such alien" Perhaps I might explain here exactly what the position is with regard to Clause 9. That Clause has been entirely remodelled since it left this House and went to the House of Lords. There were moved in the House of Lords certain Amendments standing in the name of Lord Finlay. The Government to-night ask the House to disagree with the Amendments passed by the House of Lords, and to restore the Clause as it was before it left-this House subject to this: That we shall introduce into it to-night the Amendments which were moved in the House of Lords by Lard Finlay. They meet some of the 561 main objections which were expressed in the House of Lords and many of them also expressed in this Rouse also, but at the same time they do preserve in its main principles the Clause which this House accepted on an absolutely free vote. It was not a ease of its having been forced through with the aid of the Government Whips, or anything of that kind—it was a free vote of this House. The House determined on a Clause with categories in it, and that, subject to those categories, the Advisory Committee should be able to recommend the grant of an exemption in accordance with those categories. In addition to that, freedom was given to the Secretary of State to impose conditions. That was the decision of this House on a free vote. Therefore, on behalf of the Government, I ask the House to disagree with the Lords Amendment substituting a, merely general Clause in the place of the Clause we had sent up, and to substitute for the categories which were in the Clause as it left this House the categories which were suggested in Lord Finlay's Amendments.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I rise to express, as far as I can, my very hearty agreement with what the House of Lords has done in this Amendment. On this, and, indeed. on some other occasions in this Session I say thank God for the House of Lords. I am glad that that Chamber has on this and on other occasions acted, in my judgment at any rate, far more in accordance with the traditions of British justice than a majority of this House has. The House of Lords has turned the Clause round, and instead of these categories being conpulsory upon the Home Secretary they have empowered him, acting on advice duly submitted to him, to grant exemptions. I have had a long, personal and very strenuous experience of the operation of these Advisory Committees under the Act. I was a member of the first Advisory Committee set up in 1915, and I acted on the subsequent Committee and was on the point of acting on a more recent one, but for reasons which were probably very sound I did not proceed. The majority of this House, in the action they took, have gone against the very careful experience of both the learned judges who presided over those Committees and, with one exception, I think, that of the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Butcher) every one of the members of those Committees.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
On what ground does the right hon. Gentleman say this was against the opinion of Mr. Justice Sankey?
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Perhaps as he has not expressed any opinion in public I ought not to have said that. I ought not to say I know it is true.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The real, effective point I wish to press on the Committee is this: No such generalisation as is laid down in the Statute here can be enforced with reasonable justice. I will give one example, which is in my own experience borne out again and again in the work of the Committee. Let us take such a case as this: You have an enemy alien of long residence in tins country, with a British-born wife, a family of children, and sons serving, prima facie, that carries with it almost the unqualified right of exemption from any of the restrictions laid down in this Bill. Over and over again the Committee have found in such a case as that, that, although every One of these conditions were in the case, they did not constitute by themselves justification for exemption from internment during the War. The Committee examined these cases.
I have several cases in my mind where the father and husband of such a family as that., with sons actually serving in the War, was interned, because we found from the evidence that it was overwhelmingly our duty to deprive that man of his personal liberty during the War. Take a further case of a man of comparatively short residence here—five or six years—a man who was not married even to a British-born wife, and whose avocation was a useful one. We had information laid before us, first, from the reports of the police and then from a more reliable and valuable source than the report of the police—the reports of the Secret Service of the War Office, coupled with other information which we always asked for, and invariably got; and over and over again we found that in such a case as that the enemy alien was no danger to the State and would be justifiably exempt from internment. That is the kind of case on which I base my claim that the existing system, to which the House of Lords has substantially returned, is the right one. It worked well during the War, and that it worked well is proved by the fact that there was no case during the whole period of the War 563 in which there was any act of violence or destruction of property which could be directly or indirectly brought home to any of these persons who come within the scope of this measure. If that was the case during the War, working under the conditions which prevailed during the War, how much easier should it be in peace, when the numbers are enormously reduced? Three times the comb has been put through these enemy aliens, and I do think that it is wrong for this House. after the War is substantially over, when passions should be dying down, and, in spite of all efforts, are dying down, to go back 100 years to get legislative opinion as to what our policy should be.
I cannot tell what is passing in the mind of the Home Secretary or of the Executive, but I cannot help coming to the conclusion that they must have felt that there was very considerable force in the arguments which have been addressed on the lines I am putting to the House, otherwise, as guardians of the public safety, they would not have dared to take off their Whips and leave it, as they did, to the free vote of the House. In the House of Lords, too, it was left entirely free and open to their Lordships to take what action they liked, and there was no Division at all. They came to the conclusion that this was all that was necessary for the safety of the Realm. That is the point. We have nothing to do with any other reason than the safety of the Realm. The safety of the Realm was amply secured during the War when we were working under extraordinarily difficult conditions, by committees meeting within the ambit of these walls. Now that the War is over, what case can be made out to show that the safety of the Realm requires that the Clause should be in the form to which the Government propose to put it back? There is no case at all for it on the merits, and we have no right to legislate for racial prejudices, if we are really to be true to the traditions of our great British race. From time to time we have fought the most determined enemies all over the globe, and the w ay we have maintained our moral leadership is this. When we have beaten our enemies, as we have beaten them to the dust, we recognised that the fighting was over and we have got back to normal conditions as speedily as we could, and that is the only way to win back the human 564 race to peace, while by passing solemn Acts of Parliament appealing to hatred and prejudices you are going to deal one of the most deadly blows at the League of Nations. I appeal to hon. Members to act m the spirit of the noble traditions of the House of Commons despite the views and prejudices of certain members. That is the note on which I ask the House of Commons to address itself to the consideration of this problem. I shall certainly vote that we agree with their Lordships in their Amendment.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
The issue which we have to decide to-night is very simple. It is whether a decision deliberately taken by this House, after two days' debate, by a majority of 226 to 116, on a free vote of this House is to be over-ruled by the views of another place who have shown very little Comprehension of the issues involved. I was a member of Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee, and my right hon. Friend and I got on very well together. Unfortunately he has departed from the views on which he then acted and I have not.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
With great deference to my right hon. Friend's view I maintain my opinion. May I summarise the effect of the Clause as it left the House of Commons, as compared with the Clause as it left the House of Lords? The reason the Clause was inserted by this House was this At the time when Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee ceased to work, there were some 18,000 or 19,000 former enemy aliens whose cases had never been examined by that Committee, and who still remained uninterned. My right hon. Friend (Sir D. Maclean) will not challenge that. The Committee was appointed in 1918 to revise the cases of these former enemy aliens and to see who should be interned and who exempted. The Committee revised 3,000 or 4,000 cases. They ordered internment or repatriation in several hundred cases and exempted the rest. There were still 17,000 or 18,000 which had never been examined. It was to examine these cases that the Committee we proposed to set up by this Clause was appointed. That is the reason of the Clause. The principles upon which Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee gave exemption or ordered repatriation are substantially continued in this Clause, with the exception that the exemptions are on a 565 more liberal scale as provided by this Clause than they were by Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee.
On a point of Order. May I ask whether we are now discussing the Clause as it stood when it left the House of Commons, or whether we are to take notice of the Amendment which was, I believe, moved by Lord Finlay in the House of Lords, and is, I understand, to be adopted by the Government? The hon. and learned Gentleman is discussing the Clause as it left the House of Commons.
I do not think we have reached that stage. The Question is to disagree with the Lords Amendment, which proposes in Sub-section (1) to leave out from the word "Kingdom" to the end of the Sub-section, and to insert "and to whom this Section applies shall be deported forthwith unless the Secretary of State, on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee to be constituted under this Section, shall grant him a licence to remain" That is the only Amendment we are now discussing.
May I ask, with great respect, how we are to omit these words if the House is not cognisant of the terms of the Amendment which the Home Secretary intends to move?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
May I suggest, Mr. Speaker—subject to your ruling, of course —that it would be for the convenience of the House as all the Amendments hang together, to have a general discussion on this Amendment?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
We have not had the Amendments which, I understand, Lord Finlay moved in another place, and I think it is very germane to this discussion that we should know what the Government proposals are. The question before us is whether we disagree or not with the Lords Amendment, and it hangs very largely on what the Government recommendations are. I am utterly ignorant of them.
I share the hon. and gallant Gentleman's ignorance. I have not the faintest idea about Lord Finlay's Amendments. I have never heard of them until now.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I was trying to explain the Clause as it left the House of Commons. There were some 16,000 or 18,000 former enemy aliens whose cases 566 had never been examined by Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee, owing to the coming of the Armistice, and we propose by this Clause to continue that examination and to give large and liberal exemptions in the case of old age, infirmity, meritorious service of men who had sons serving in the War, and in the large and important case of any serious hardship involved by deportation. In all these cases exemption would be granted, and it would be only in other cases that deportation would result. That was our Clause. What is the Clause as amended in the House of Lords? I say without fear of contradiction that the Clause as it comes back to us is skilfully designed for the purpose of giving every former enemy alien now in this country complete exemption from deportation. What is the framework of the Clause? It says, in effect, that no former enemy alien shall be deported unless two things happen. Someone has to come forward as an accuser or informer. He may or he may not be honest. He has to formulate the charge, giving full particulars, against the former enemy alien whom he desires to have deported. Then that charge has to be brought before the Advisory Committee and decided by them whether it is well or ill founded. Is it not possible that men may come forward and make a charge for the purpose of blackmail? They may come and say to some perfectly innocent former enemy alien, "I am going to make a charge against you before the Advisory Committee. I am going to try and have you deported. Give me £20 and I will let you off." Let me point out a further defect in the Clause. Supposing the charge is perfectly bond fide, what is to happen? The accuser will have to go and hunt about and get witnesses, and he will have to prefer his case as if he were preparing for a lawsuit. He will have to bring these witnesses up to London at his own expense. There is no provision for paying their expenses. I challenge anyone to point to any such provision. More than that, there is no provision for compelling witnesses to attend. He cannot Subpcena witnesses. Supposing lie can get witnesses upon payment of their expenses, then he will have to go before the Advisory Committee, possibly with counsel and solicitors, and try and prove his charge. Is it reasonable and fair to suppose that any man would go to the expense of £50 or £100 or more in order to get a certain former enemy alien out of the country? Is it not certain that in every case, although the 567 accuser might have plenty of material to show that the continued residence in this country of the former enemy alien was undesirable, he would say, "This is the business of the State. It is not for a private accuser to go to large expense in order to prove his case; it is a matter for the State." Supposing anyone says, "Very well, let the Advisory Committee act," I would reply that the Advisory Committee have no machinery to embark upon such investigation. They have no funds at their disposal and no machinery by which they can collect witnesses. Therefore I say you are substituting an absolute farce in this Clause, which was skilfully drafted in a way which would occur to no one except some ingenious Gentleman in another place who has more sympathy apparently with Germans than with his own people. Therefore I say on the merits of the Clause there is no comparison between the two, and I say unhesitatingly that the Clause deliberately passed here by a majority of 110 after a long Debate is a Clause we should stick to, and no reason has been shown to the contrary. The action of the House of Lords in this Clause was accompanied by certain statements on the part of Noble Lords which were not only remarkable, but which, I am glad to think, were very novel in that or any other Assembly discussing the action of the House of Commons. In the House of Lords there were assembled Lord Parmoor, Lord Buckmaster, and a name I regret to mention in this connection, Lord Newton. As regards Lord Parmoor, we all know him and when he makes a speech we generally pass by on the other side, and rightly so.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
He had not Lord Parmoor to consider. I am not going to weary the House with Lord Parmoor. Lord Buckmaster is, or ought to be, a more responsible person. When I look at the speeches he made on this Bill on Second Reading and Committee stage, I find some things to regret. In Committee on the Bill Lord Buckmaster said:When this Clause is examined it will be found that it has been considered in another place with great carelessness, that the Clause itself had been thoughtlessly prepared and that it was quite unthinkable that any body of 568 Englishmen who realised what the Clause did would ever have consented to its passage in. an English House of Commons.11.0 P.M.
It will be remembered that amongst those who voted for the Clause was the Home Secretary, the Leader of the House of Commons, the Lord Privy Seal, the Solicitor-General, and 216 Members of this House, and, I venture to think, not the least important Members. When Lord Buckmaster tells us that no reasonable person would vote for this Clause, all I can say is that it is a degree of intellectual superiority and mental arrogance which is extremely offensive. This assumption of infallibility on the part of a Noble Lord who has left this House, and ought to know better, is extremely inappropriate when it is applied to 216 Members of the House of Commons, and in this particular connection. which we are now discussing it is additionally unfortunate, because it appears to be the kind of arrogance which would only be expected from the All-Highest himself, who, no doubt, would be much gratified if this Clause of the Lords were passed into law. Lord Buckmaster, in Committee of the House of Lords, wound up by saying:I can never believe that another place ever understood the provisions of this Bill—The same exhibition of superiority and infallibility!and my reading of the Debates confirms me with confidence in that belief. I only wish that it were within my power to make your Lordships understand what I regard as its real meaning. I feel bitterly about it. I regard it as a Bill the passage of which will do eternal shame and dishonour to our legislation.We in this House claim to be as good judges of honour as Lord Buckmaster, or any of those who think with him, and we do not intend to be instructed in our standard of honour by Lord Buckmaster or to take his advice. There is only one other word I wish to say, and that is with regard to an unfortunate remark which fell from the Mover of this Clause, Lord Newton. It was pointed out by Lord Newton that a very large number of Members of this House, including the present Prime Minister arid the Lord Chancellor (then Attorney-General), had given pledges at the time of the General Election—pledges which we in this House were under the impression that Members who had given them, and on the strength of which they obtained their election, were bound to honour—a view which I have held, and shall continue to hold, 569 whatever advice and suggestion I may receive from another place. Lord Newton, en the Second Reading of the Bill, said—I am abbreviating the phraseology—It has been openly admitted that this campaign was not prompted by any danger to the country, but by the necessity of carrying out promises made during the election and in order to maintain what I may term the policy of hate. With reference to the first of these reasons—That is the reason to be bound by our pledges:I think that, on the whole, the less we talk about election promises the better.And then he goes on to make some rather foolish observations about hanging the Kaiser. This is the view that is put forward by the supporters of this Clause, and if that is the view—I cannot believe it is—that is held by any large number of supporters of Lord Newton in another place, I can only say that, speaking for myself, and I hope the large majority, if not all, of the Members of this House, we repudiate the suggestion that we are at liberty to throw our pledges to the wind. Lord Newton, is possessed of a caustic wit, and —
I really fail to see what this has to do with the Amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman is entering upon an attack on the Lords for their observations on the Second Reading of the Bill. It has nothing to do with this Amendment now before the House. I might also remind the hon. and learned Gentleman that entering into a debate on what is said in another place is quite contrary to the courtesy generally shown in this House towards the other. The hon. and learned Gentleman is quite entitled to make any arguments against the line the Lords have taken, but it is quite novel to select certain Peers for personal attacks.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
I have endeavoured to quote these observations of the Noble Lords which were made in support of this Clause in order to meet and to answer them. As regards the speech of Lord Newton to which I was referring, when he was challenged as to these pledges, he gave the reason for supporting the Clause then under discussion—that the pledges need not be adhered to. I desire to bow to your ruling entirely, and I will not further refer to that observation of Lord Newton beyond saying, if I may, that, notwithstanding his advice, I believe we in this House will still adhere to the old Parliamentary custom by which Members 570 who have given pledges to their constituents at the time of the General Election, will adhere to those pledges, and in this connection the matter has special relevance because a great number of those who supported the Clause when it was down here were bound by pledges, and we intend, as I believe, to adhere to them.
Under those circumstances I say that not only is the Clause as passed by this House preferable to the Clause as it came down from the Lords, and which is purely nugatory and means nothing, but when we examine the arguments by which the Clause substituted by the Lords is recommended, we find in it expressions of views that were never accepted in our Parliamentary history, and which I trust will not now for the first time be accepted by this House.
§ Major O'NEILL
My hon. and learned Friend in the spirited and vigorous speech which he had just delivered referred in terms of some contempt to the observations of a Noble Lord in another place, which were to the effect that, in his opinion, this House had not properly understood the Bill. That is not the case. This House, I am quite sure, understands the Aliens Bill. What I do say is that while it is possible to understand it, it is a much more difficult proposition to understand all the difficulties and intricacies of the way aliens were dealt with during the War: who were interned, who were allowed to remain, and so on. I do honestly believe, if I could explain to the House, and make hon. Members understand the position as regards former alien enemies now here, and if the Whips were taken off, they would endorse the opinion at which the House of Lords has arrived. I need hardly say that I do not approach this question on the grounds of any friendship for Germans, or—I would go so far as to say—of creating an atmosphere of goodwill to our former enemies. I have no friendship with Germans. I have no great desire to create an atmosphere of goodwill to the enemy who treated us so atrociously in the War. The principal reason why I support the action of the House of Lords is because I believe it is based upon nothing but common British justice. It is because I believe that this House should support the principal of common British justice that I find myself speaking upon the side I am.
The Amendment which the House of Lords has inserted in the Bill does not in 571 any way do away with the deportation Clause of the Aliens Bill. It is necessary, of course, to have the power to deport aliens. Everybody agrees that to deport undesirable aliens, after all we have suffered in the War, is a primary necessity of the Government in the future. That power is still left in the Bill as passed by the Lords. It is really merely a question of machinery. The House of Lords say, "Deport the man who is an undesirable alien, but allow the man to stay who has proved himself innocuous" The House of Commons has said, "Deport every former enemy alien unless he can show that he has some special grounds for remaining."
§ Major O'NEILL
In accordance with the Bill as it left the Lords, you confine to the Advisory Committee to certain definite and specific rights. You say to that Committee, "You can exempt a person if he comes within certain categories." I am speaking as a member of Mr. Justice Sankey's Committee. I spent many hours during the summer investigating at great pains and great length the individual cases of thousands of former enemy aliens who claimed to be exempted.
Those hon. Members of this House who have taken the trouble to read Mr. Justice Younger's Committee's Report will remember that we stated that it was utterly impossible to decide the cases of these men by any cast-iron rules as regards categories. We found that you must deal with every individual case upon its own individual merits. As the right hon. Gentleman opposite said quite rightly, you may find one man who on the face of it, has every claim to stay in this country. He may have had two or three sons serving in the War; he may have a British wife and children; there may be all sorts of perfectly good reasons why he should remain, and yet there may he something against that man which makes it impossible to allow him to remain. And the reverse may be the case.
As the result of my experience on that Committee, therefore, I am convinced that it is impracticable and inexpedient in the last degree to bind and fetter the Committee that is going to be set up by any categories put into the Bill, and that the only proper way is to allow the Committee, as we surely ought to allow any Committee of fair-minded Englishmen, free judgment 572 as regards every individual ease which comes before them. That is what the House of Lords, by their Amendment, propose to allow. No Committee which was-set up during the War was ever bound by categories as to what aliens they should allow to remain in this country and what aliens they should deport. My hon. Friend the Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) told us on the Report stage of the Bill that the Committee upon which he sat did in fact. act according to categories, but I venture to assert that there were numerous cases in which the Committee allowed people to stay in this country who did not come within those categories, and that there were people who were deported who equally did not come within the categories—
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
The Sankey Committee granted exemptions not only in the case of old age, infirmity, meritorious services, and so on, but also in all eases where serious hardship would result from deportation.
§ Major O'NEILL
If you act, not upon the categories, but upon the part of the Bill which renders the categories nugatory, surely it is better to have no categories at all. I do not know whether the House realises that the people who. will be dealt with by this Committee are all of them people who were never interned at all at any period during the War. Half, or more than half, of them, I believe, are women. They are people who, while hostilities were in progress, at a time when, as my hon. Friend is constantly reminding us, the Germans were perpetrating their barbarities and, by their appalling submarine campaign, were sinking our ships day by day—even at times like that, these people, whom it is now proposed to deport out of hand, were allowed to stay unhindered in this country. Not a single person who would be hit by-this Clause was interned during the War. These people could have been deported during the War. The Home Secretary-had every power he required to deport every one of them during hostilities, and yet so little injurious were they to the country that he never took advantage of his powers to deport them, but allowed them to stay free and uninterned. Those, and those only, are the people with regard to whom this Bill as it left the. House of Commons would enact that they should be deported out of hand surely it is a principle of British justice worthy, at any rate, of consideration by 573 this House, with its great traditions, that you should think twice before deporting in times of peace those who in war time you considered so harmless that they were not even worthy internment. If I may, I would like to quote a few lines from a speech by Lord Lincolnshire the other day, which seem to put the position very aptly. Lord Lincolnshire is a peer who from the inception of this question has taken a very strong line against former enemy aliens. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for York will agree with me that Lord Lincolnshire, from beginning to end, has supported the view which he himself advocates in this matter, and has been in the other House one of the strongest of those peers whose whole attitude bas been extremely hostile to former enemy aliens. The Noble Lord said in the course of the debate—This Amendment gives complete protection against undesirable aliens and at the same time avoids the reproach of dealing unfairly with men against whom nothing is known.Lord Lincolnshire, the anti-alien protagonist, thus expressed his opinion in favour of the Clause we are now considering. I should also like to quote to the House in this connection an answer received by my hon. Friend to-day from the Home Secretary to a question which had appeared on the Paper but was not reached at Question Time.
The question was—whether the Home Secretary had any information regarding the introduction into the Chamber by the French Government of a Bill dealing with aliens; and if he can state whether such Bill contained provisions for the expulsion or exclusion from French territory of German end other former enemy aliens?In answer the Home Secretary said:I understand that a Bill dealing with aliens was introduced into the French Chamber of Deputies by the French Government in June of this year and has been referred to a Committee. From a copy of the Bill which has been received at the Home Office, it appears that it contains no special provisions for the general deportation or exclusion from French territory of former enemy aliens. It does, however, reserve power to the Minister of the Interior to prohibit aliens from entering or remaining in districts to be prescribed by the authorities, and the object of this provision, according to the Memorandum prefixed to the Bill, is to enable access to the devastated regions to be forbidden, where necessary, to certain aliens whose nationality might render their presence there provocative of disturbance.The latter part of that answer has the approbation of my hon. Friend opposite. I entirely agree that you must have absolute power to deport undesirable enemy aliens, and to control their movements. I 574 submit, however, that the French Chamber was right in not putting in what we are asked to insert in this Bill—a general Clause deporting every formal enemy alien in this country. Surely if the French who, as we know, are not separated from their former enemies by any stretch of sea, and whose feelings of hostility and bitterness against the Germans are probably greater and more profound, and indeed with greater cause than we ever entertained—if they pass a Bill which does not provide for general deportation of enemy aliens, it would be a very retrograde movement for this. House with all its great traditions were to pass the Clause now in the form in which it appeared before it was amended by the House of Lords? My hon. Friend. has referred to the question of election pledges. I agree that any pledge given at an election should be fulfilled up to the hilt, both in the letter and in the spirit. But I do say there are a number of Members of this 'House who never gave any pledges with regard to aliens, and I would ask those Members—and I think they are many to act as they feel the demands of justice in this matter require.
The letter which my hon. and learned Friend wrote to the "Times" a few days ago practically confined the question entirely to the necessity of supporting his election pledges. He did not argue the question on its merits, because on its merits there is not, on the question of the undesirable aliens, any difference between us. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are all undesirable."] Those pledges were given on the strength of the pledges of the Prime Minister, in spirit and in words, in favour of the exclusion of undesirable aliens.
§ Major O'NEILL
If hon. Members consider that their pledges for the immediate deportation of every former enemy alien are binding, let them stick to their pledges and vote for the Clause as it left this House, but I appeal to those who did not give any pledges—and they are many—to support the Amendment which the-House of Lords has introduced.
§ Sir E. WILD
I did not understand Mr. Speaker to rule that it would be out of order to refer to what took place in the, other House, but that it would be out of order to make any attack upon the speakers who took part. Although this is a matter of great importance, I do not 575 intend to go over the ground traversed at such length by this House, both in Grand Committee and on Report. We are faced with a position which raises certain important principles. There is first the question of the safety of the Realm; then there is the question of the constitutional position of the House of Commons, and there would have been, if the Home Secretary had not taken up the attitude we expected of him, the question of the good faith of the Government. The only new fact that has been elicited in this Debate is the belated expression of gratitude to Providence by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) for the existence of the House of Lords I propose to see whether anything transpired in the Debates in the other place which should cause this House to alter the view to which it deliberately came by a large majority on a free vote. The position is this: It is admitted not only by the "Times" leader, but by Lord Phillimore himself that the effect of the Amendment of the Lords to our Clause is entirely to revolutionise that Clause. Lord Newton said that this Clause was passed by a policy of hate which received the approval, not of soldiers, but of lawyers. Included in the Members who voted in that free Division—226 to 116—there were 83 sailors and soldiers on our side and only 22 on the 'other. Lord Phillimore said:I hope that when the Bill comes into Committee, Clause 9 will disappear, and if it dock not, it will be so changed that its authors will not know it.That is precisely what has happened. It was pointed out by the Lord Chancellor—which is an answer to the argument of my hon. and gallant Friend (Major O'Neill) —that this Clause does not apply to those who have been through the Committees of 1918 and 1919, and there was general dissatisfaction in the country at the proceedings of the Committee of 1915. He also pointed out that it does not apply to naturalised persons. He also referred to the German mentality, and instanced their conduct with regard to Scapa Flow, and we might also notice the very curious coincidence of the number of enemy merchant vessels in New York and also London. Then Lord Cave, who had been Home Secretary, and certainly cannot be said to have erred in his administration in the way of being too stringent with regard to the enemy, expressed the whole point that is before the House in these words: 576Shall a former enemy alien who comes within the Clause be allowed to remain unless someone makes a report about him, or shall it be the duty of such a man himself to apply for exemption?That is the whole issue. Lord Cave went on to say:I think they should be called upon to make application themselves.Really this Amendment as it comes from the other place, is absolutely futile. In my belief the deliberate intention of the people who drafted it was to keep all former enemy aliens in this country, because it says a statement in writing has to be signed by a credible person to the effect that the continued residence in the United Kingdom of that alien is, for reasons relating to the alien, undesirable in the public interest, and giving particulars of the allegation upon which such reasons are based. Of course it could not be done. It could not be done during the War. If this Debate had taken place before the War, and we had said these things about the spies who were proved afterwards to exist in our midst, we should have been regarded as lunatics, and been howled at by the benches opposite. It is impossible, even with regard to the people who have since been proved to be spies, to say with the particularity of an indictment, "I know this man to have been hostile to the country, and I put down in black and white, a, b, c, el, the things he has done." It could not be done. This was all done by lawyers, and it is by this ingenious legal device, because the draftsman knew it could not be done, that this thing has been brought about. It could not be done during the War, and it cannot be done after the War. Take the ease of these ships. I was talking to-night to a man connected with the docks, not only as a working man, but as an owner, and he says there is no manner of doubt that these cases of conflagration are due to Germans. Supposing you suspect certain enemy aliens who are lurking about the docks to be incendiaries. According to this Clause you have to bring your allegation against them with such particularity that a jury would return a verdict of arson. You wait until your ship is fired and then fire out the incendiary. It cannot be done. There is one other point that I venture to press upon the House. I say that our people have a right to get rid of the Germans and the enemy aliens unless they are proved to he good fellows by coming under any of these categories of exemption. I do not understand 577 the mentality—I must not mention a Noble Lord's name, but there are plenty like him here in this House—of those who seem to want these people to be among us. I say that, after the way they have behaved, a way not comparable in any war in history, our people are entitled to what they demand, namely, to be able to say "Out you go"—exactly what the Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellor, and other Ministers said— "unless you can bring yourself within any of these very liberal categories." The Government and those who have been supporting the Government met the opposition in the most conciliatory spirit. If I here be any fault in these categories, they err on the side of being too liberal. We even put in a general category on the ground of serious hardship, and we are prepared to support the Government hereafter in accepting Lord Finlay's Amendment, which would meet the case of women even better than the Clause as it left the House of Commons.
The question of pledges has been thrashed out again and again in the course of the Debates, but some months ago I did Fee upon my breakfast table an interesting prospectus of an unlimited company. It was called "The Future." The Prime Minister was the chairman of the board of directors, and eight other Cabinet Ministers were directors. It purported to express not only what the Government were going to do, but also what they had done. I read what they said that they had done, and among the contracts that they said they had made was this: "A Record Output; Drastic Regulations for Aliens." tan anybody say that the Clause, as amended in the House of Lords, is a drastic regulation for aliens? It is simply a device to keep every enemy alien in this country. There is just one other point. Are we not up against the constitutional position of this House? I am perfectly certain that my right hon. Friend (Sir D. Maclean), with his great admiration for our position and our traditions, would never try to secure a mere party advantage because just for once the other place happened to agree with the views which he so admirably and so consistently expresses. Speaking as a new Member, but as a student of constitutional history, it seems to me that we are the representatives of the people, and the real use of the other place is to prevent us carrying legislation that the people have not had time to consider. We bring up something that has not been before them. The use of the 578 other place is that they can say: "No, we will act as a drag upon the wheel in order that this matter may be submitted to the people." What is the position here? We fought our election, the great majority of us, upon this specific pledge. We get our majority upon this pledge. In Grand Committee we debated this thing for eight days, and this Clause for two or three of them, and then we came to this House and debated the matter for six hours. We argued it out, and we endeavoured to meet the other side in every reasonable way. Time other place, in an irresponsible afternoon, sweep away all that we have done. They do it deliberately. I do not think you will say that I am transgressing your ruling. I make no attack upon the bonâ fides of any one of the Noble Lords, any one of the quartette, Lords Parmoor, Phillimore, Buckmaster, and Newton, who are responsible for this catastrophe, but I am entitled to say that their views are not popular in the country, and are not views that would allow any one of them to be returned as a Member of this House. I respectfully say to my right hon. Friend, and those who support him, that as far as this House is concerned it is what we lawyers call a res judicata The people have spoken. We have spoken. I was not speaking of myself. I was talking of the House of Commons. The question is—and it is the only question to-night—has anything occurred in another place to cause us to change our mind? Nothing has occurred, and it is not only consistent with our duty as representatives of the people, but also with our realisation of the position which we take in the Constitution that we shall remain firm, and send this Clause back to the House of Lords with such Amendment as my right hon. Friend may think fit.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Those who are opposed to the House of Lords Amendment have said a great deal—not always, as you, Sir, have pointed out strictly in accordance with the Rules of this House, in criticism of the Debates in that House. My hon. Friend who has just sat clown has laid down the theory that the House of Lords should do no more than delay the coming into force of legislation passed in this House, and that it has no final right of revision. That is a very respectable opinion, and an opinion which is embodied in the Parliament Act. I spent a great deal of time and energy in opposing the Parliament Act, and I am 579 certainly not going now to be led into supporting it simply because my hon. Friend and other hon. Members, in a fit of foolish passion, think it not unbecoming of their reputation as Conservative Members to attack the House of Lords for exercising its normal, reasonable, and constitutional function.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
May I assure my Noble Friend that I made no attack on the House of Lords as such? My attack was limited to two very unfortunate speeches which were made, and which I thought established a principle which we could not pass by in silence.
§ Lord H. CECIL
The House of Lords with virtual unanimity—there was not a single voice raised against the Amendment except that of the Lord Chancellor—thought that the observations which the hon. Member thinks so contemptuous were perfectly deserved, and that he and his Friends fully deserved the contempt that was brought upon them. That was the unanimous opinion of the House of Lords and I suspect that it was a just opinion. When criticism of the House of Lords comes from Liberal and Labour benches it is consistent with their point of view. We have two Chambers and the other Chamber may be very bad and incompetent, but we have to work the constitution as it stands. We cannot work a constitution of two Chambers unless we have respectful regard to the other Chamber. While it is there we must pay attention to what it says, instead of having this silly nonsense of standing on our dignity, because we are the House of Commons and because the people have pronounced—like Roma locuta est—because this House has spoken in the name of the people of England, because it is the House of Commons. Putting aside appeals to prejudice and fear and taking the question on its merits we have to work with the House of Lords and make reasonable-concessions to meet its opinion, and we ought to address ourselves therefore to the sort of things with which its criticism is concerned. What is the Amendment they made? The Amendment that they made was that whereas, as this Clause left the House of Commons, all enemy aliens were to be excluded unless within certain categories, they made an alternative suggestion that only those should be excluded who the Advisory Committee 580 thought ought to be excluded. I am not surprised that the Lords made that suggestion.
What is the history of this Clause! This is a matter on which the Government of the day, advised as they are by the police and military and naval authorities, are necessarily much better informed than anyone else. The Bill as it was introduced did not contain this Clause. It was moved by the hon. Member for York, the protagonist of Conservatism. It was moved by him in Committee upstairs. It was opposed by the Government and it was carried against them. When it came down to this House the Government gave notice of its rejection, but before the Clause was read, the Government were defeated on a wholly different line—the question of alien pilots. Thereupon negotiations took place between the hon. Member for York and his friends and the Government and their friends. Nobody else had anything to do with it. But as a result of the negotiations the Government accepted this exceedingly absurd and vile Clause. Would any Second Chamber that respected itself have left without substantial alteration a Clause so produced! Would it be worth while having a Second Chamber if it submitted to treatment of that kind? What we really want to do is to create as little friction as possible, consistently with maintaining the public safety. We want, of course, to keep out everyone who is an enemy of the country. My hon. Friend—I was amused to think he was a lawyer—instanced the difficulty of enforcing this Clause against the undesirable alien. There are difficulties, of course. But they are the same difficulties as arise in enforcing the law against any criminal in the country. You have to prosecute, to call witnesses, and so forth. My hon. Friend dilated on the extraordinary difficulty of making complaints and obtaining witnesses. You have to do that to prosecute a thief.
§ Lord H. CECIL
Any constable can act, anyone under the direction of the Home Office. If that is all the amendment that is wanted, we can put it in without any discussion at all. The point is whether we ought to presume that every alien is a public criminal until the contrary is proved, or whether you are going to assume that he is an honest citizen until 581 you prove that he is undesirable. That is the reality. I want the House to consider what an intolerable evil this deportation inflicts on a person who does not deserve it. It breaks up his home. How cruel it is, if you have lived for years and years in a country that all your life should be torn up by the roots, and that in late middle age you should be sent to earn your living, if you can, in another country!
§ Lord H. CECIL
Are you going to allow them to be naturalised? Why should you inflict on any human being all this cruelty, unless it is necessary in the public interest? Let the Committee decide. You appoint your Committee; you trust it. It decides who is desirable and who is not. Hon. Members speak as if a great mass of undesirable aliens who did an immense lot of mischief in this country were well known to the police and, through the negligence of the Government, had not been dealt with. I should very much like to know what the facts are. There was a certain number of spies in this country—ten or twelve. But is it the case that the Government were hampered in conducting the War because there were aliens they could not lock up? I have never heard the shadow of evidence of it. I believe it to be a huge legend due to the insane hatred in which some hon. Members have wallowed. I love my country, but that is no reason why I should hate all sorts of people. You love your country none the less if you are not consumed with hatred of the people of other countries. Really, we ought to be free from the insanities of war by this. After the period of war it is time we returned to a sane state of mind.
If these arguments do not please hon. Members, let me revert to another argument. Supposing you do not agree to this Amendment, what are you going to do if the Lords insist upon it? It is open to them to insist upon it. Are you going to wreck the Bill? Is the hon. Member for York going to wreck the Bi11? Surely he would not agree to that course. I hope the Lords will insist upon it, because it is just and reasonable. If they do, think what a silly position you are putting this House in to-night, when two or three days hence you may have to accept it, if the Lords have the good sense to stick to their guns.
§ Lord H. CECIL
That is not the law of Parliament. I earnestly hope that the House will agree with the Lords, thereby saving the Bill, shortening the Session, and, above all, adhering to the strong, old-fashioned English principle that a man is assumed to be innocent until he is proved to be guilty, and burying in a grave from which they ought never to be resurrected the insane hatreds that the War excited, and returning to the normal principles of British justice which have made this country the greatest in the world, and have enabled us to overcome those enemies which had much lower standards—the standards of the hon. and learned Member for York. The hon. and learned Member for York is out of place in this House. His proper place is in Prussia.
§ Mr. REID
I would not have ventured to detain the House at this late hour if it had not been that I have had considerable experience of the method of dealing with enemy aliens. I was for the last two or three years secretary of the Civilian Internment Camps Committee, which deal with the scrutinising of the camps for enemy aliens. In that way I became familiar with the work done by the various committees. I do not want to speak from the German point of view; after three years contact with the interned German I detest the Huns much more than I did before. I want to speak from the point of view of the British taxpayers. There are 19,000 uninterned Germans, who were exempted by the 1915 Sankey Committee, people who have been at liberty during the War, and have been all the time under the supervision of the police and of the military intelligence authorities. Not one of these people showed the slightest symptom of disaffection or had the exemption withdrawn. All these people have gone through the mill, having been exempted by the first Sankey Committee and passed the supervision of the police and the military intelligence authorities. If you set up an advisory committee and ask them to examine these cases, can any hon. Member say how long the job will take? It would certainly take two years, and probably longer. Some time ago I asked a question of the Home Secretary as to what it would take to do this, and he said it would require a staff of twenty five, and if the work could be done in six months it would 583 cost about £15,000, without allowing anything for office accommodation or police or outside expenses. Hon. Gentlemen have only got to multiply that by the time it will take in order to get the total cost. The Amendment made in another place puts this work, I suggest, on a reasonable basis. The hon. Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) spoke of the difficulty of bringing witnesses. If the House will only look at the Lords Amendment they will see it provides—This Section shall apply to any former enemy alien… as to whom there shall be delivered to the Secretary of State within two months of the passing of this Act a statement in writing signed by any credible person to the effect that the continued residence in the United Kingdom of that alien is for reasons relating to the alien undesirable in the public interest, and giving particulars upon which the allegation is based.(4) The Secretary of State shall refer all such statements to the Advisory Committee.Under that it is only necessary to bring the particulars before the advisory committee, which can then call on the alien to clear himself. It is not necessary for anybody to establish any allegation. All that is necessary is for the person who
§ makes the complaint to produce some sort of prima facie case on his own authority sufficient to induce tile committee to proceed further. If the Clause, as it left this House, is carried, I venture to say that the advisory committee will exempt 95 per cent of the people they deal with. Why should we go to all this trouble and expense in order to lay hold of a very small number? Therefore, I ask the House to agree with the Lords Amendment.
§ Captain W. BENN
This Clause was not proposed by the Government, but by a private Member, and when it came before the House the Government left it to a free vote. In the other place the Lord Chancellor announced that it was to be left to a. free vote, and I would ask if the Government can see their way to leave it to a free vote now?
§ Mr. SHORTT
Having regard to the fact that there was a free vote in this House before and in the other place, it ought to be a free vote now.
§ Question put, "That this House doth disagreee with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 128; Noes, 66.585
|Division No. 164.]||AYES.||[11.58 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Captain C.||Foreman, H.||Lorden, John William|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. William James||Forestier-Walker, L.||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut. -Colonel Martin||Foxcroft, Captain C.||M'Lean, Lt.-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. F. W.||Ganzoni, Captain F. J. C.||Manville, Edward|
|Atkey, A. R.||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. C. (Baa'gstoke)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Mason, Robert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gilmour, Lt.-Colonel John||Matthews, David|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Glyn, Major R.||Mitchell, William Lane-|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Goff, Sir Park||Moles. Thomas|
|Barnston, Major H.||Gould, J. C.||Morden, Colonel H Grant|
|Bell, Lt.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Grayson, Lieut.-Col. H. M.||Morrison Bell, Major A. C|
|Betterton, H. B.||Greame, Major P. Lloyd||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Greene, Lt.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.)||Nelson, R. F. W. R.|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Greer, Harry||Nicholson, W. (Petersfield)|
|Berwick, Major G. O.||Guest, Capt. Hon. F. E. (Dorset, E.)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hacking, Colonel D. H.||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry E.||Hailwood, A.||Palmer, Brig. -Gen. G. L. (Westbury)|
|Brown, Captain D. C. (Hexham)||Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham)||Parker, James|
|Bruton, Sir J.||Hanna, G, B.||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Butcher, Sir J. G.||Hanson, Sir Charles||Perring, William George|
|Campion, Colonel W. R,||Hennessy, Major G.||Pinkham, Lieut. -Colonel Charles|
|Casey, T. W.||Henry, D. S. (Londonderry, S)||Pollock. Sir Ernest M.|
|Cayzer, Major H. R.||Hilder, Lt.-Colonel F.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hood, Joseph||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|Plough, R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Ramsden, G T.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Raw. Lt. -Colonel Dr. N.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Horne, Sir Robert (Hillhead)||Rtes, Sir J. D.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Howard, Major S. G.||Rogers, Sir Hallewell|
|Colvin, Brig. -General R. B.||Hudson, R. M.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)||Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H,||Hurd, P. A.||Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur|
|Davies, T. (Cirencester)||Jephcott, A. R.||Seager, Sir William|
|Dean, Com. P. T.||Johnson, L. S.||Seddon, James|
|Denison-Pender, John C.||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-7., W.)|
|Dixon, Captain H.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Simm, M. T|
|Doyle, N- Grattan||King, Commander Douglas||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Kinlech-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)||Steel, Major S. Strang.|
|Falcon, Captain H.||Lindsay, William Arthur||Stewart, Gershom|
|Talbot, Rt. Hon. Lord E. (Chichester)||Weston, Colonel John W.||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)||Wheler, Colonel Granville C. H.|
|Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Whitla, Sir William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Sir|
|Townley, Maximilian G.||Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)||Ernest Wild and Colonel burn.|
|Waring, Major Walter||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Hayday, A.||Rodger, A. K.|
|Barnes. Major H. (Newcastle E.)||Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Inskip, T. W. H.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Benn, Captain w. (Leith)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Seely, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. John|
|Breese, Major Charles||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Shaw, Hon. A. (Kilmarnock)|
|Cape, Tom||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.|
|Carr, W. T.||Lewis, T. A. (pontypridd, Glam.)||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Carter, W. (Mansfield)||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hen. Lord H. (Oxford Univ.)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Chadwick, R. Burton||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Coot, Colin R. (Isle of Ely)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Ward, Dudley (Southampton)|
|Cape, Major W. (Glamorgan)||Malone, Colonel C. L. (Leyton, E.)||Williams, A. (Consett, Durham)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University)||Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Edge, Captain William||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Hold'neest)|
|Edwards, C. (Bedwellty)||Neal Arthur||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Elliot, Captain W. E. (Lanark)||Newbould, A. E.||Wood, Major Hon. E. (Ripon)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)||Wood, Major Mackenzie (Aberdeen, C)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Young, Lt.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Young, William (Perth and Kinrose)|
|Gang, E. S.||Pratt, John William||Younger, Sir George|
|Green, J. F. (Leicester)||Reid, D. D.|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Richardson, R. (Houghton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Major|
|Grundy, T. W.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||O'Neill and Mr. Acland.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Words so restored to the Bill: At the end of Sub-section (1) insert the words "or to the wife or to the children under eighteen years of age of any such alien."—[Mr. Shortt.]
§ Lords Amendments: in Sub-section (2), after the word "the" ["recommendation of the Advisory Committee"], insert the word "said."—Disagreed with.
§ In Sub-section (2), leave out the words. "hereinafter mentioned." — Disagreed with.
Lords Amendment: Leave out Sub-sections (3) to (9) inclusive, and insert instead thereof the following new Sub-sections:
(3) "This Section shall apply to any former alien enemy now in the United Kingdom (not being a former enemy alien exempted from internment or repatriation on the recommendation of any advisory committee appointed after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and eighteen, and before the passing of this Act.) as to whom there shall he delivered to the Secretary of State, within two months after the passing of this Act, a statement in writing signed by any credible person to the effect that the continued residence in the United Kingdam of that alien is, for reasons relating to the alien, undesirable in the public interest, and giving particulars of the allegations upon which such reasons are based.
(4) The Secretary of State shall refer all such statements to the advisory committee to be constituted under this Section, and the committee shall thereupon require each alien affected to make to the committee within one month, in a form prescribed by the committee, an application to be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom, stating the general grounds on which the
application is based, and the answer of the alien to the allegations made in relation to him, and the committee shall examine into suck allegations and in the result may:—
(5) In grantng a licence under this Section, the Secretary of State may include in the licence the wife of the applicant and any child or children of his, and such inclusion shall, not withstandng anything in this Section, have the same effect as the grant of a licence.
(6) A list of the persons to whom such licence is granted shall, as soon as may be, after the granting of the licence, be published in the "Gazette.
(7) Any licence so granted may be at any time revoked by the Secretary of State.
(8) If such licence in not granted, or if, having been granted, it is revoked, the Secretary of State shall make an order (in this Act referred too as a deportation order) requiring the alien to leave the United Kingdom and thereafter to remain out of the United Kingdom so long as the order remains in force. The Secretary of State may by a deportation order require the alien to return to the country of which he is a subject or citizen.
(9) The provisions of this Section shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other provisions of the principal Act or this Act or any Order in Council made thereunder.
§ Lords Amendment read a second time.587
§ Mr. SHORTT
I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
In moving to disagree with the Lords, I am merely carrying out what the House has agreed to by its last vote. Instead of these Amendments, we desire to rearrange the Clause as follows: To leave out from the beginning of Sub-section (3) to the end of Sub-section (9), and insert instead thereof the following new Sub-sections:["Deportation of a former enemy alien on the following grounds, namely:—]We desire, in Sub-section (5), after the word "eighteen" ["age of eighteen"], to insert the words, "and such inclusion shall, notwithstanding anything in this Section, have the same effect as the grant of a licence." In Sub-section (8), to leave out the words "shall be" ["shall be revoked"], and insert instead thereof the word "is"; and, in the same Sub-section, leave out the words "for a period of seven years after the passing of this Act," and insert instead thereof the words "so long as the Order remains in force." In moving these alternative Amendments to the Bill, as it left this House, I am merely doing what I indicated I would do. It gives a wider and more generous form to the Clause. It gives greater freedom to the advisory committee, and I think in every way it is possibly an improvement, therefore I ask the House to accept it.
- (a) Old age;
- (b) Permanent illness or infirmity;
- (c) Service during the present war (whether by the applicant or by any son of the applicant in His Majesty's forces or the forces of any allied or it associated Power;
- (d) Residence in His Majesty's dominions either from early youth or for a long period;
- (e) Valuable personal service to this country or any part of the British Dominions or to any allied or associated Power during the recent war;
- (f)The possession of valuable technical or industrial skill;
- (g)Proved sympathy with the cause of the Allies;
- (h)The fact that deportation would involve either (1) serious hardship to the applicant or his wife, children or dependants, or (2) injury to any British interest;
- (i) The fact that the mother of the applicant is a natural-born British subject.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The list that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just read out—is it in substitution for, or in addition to, the existing categories?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I am not going to address the House on the merits of this proposition. I have had no opportunity to read it over. I understand this list of Amendments came down some time ago, and I think it is treating this House, I will not say with discourtesy, but not reasonably, that we have not had these Amendments in our hands. We have had a long list of important categories just read out. I do not know whether the House has seen them.
§ Sir H. NIELD
On a point of Order. The hon. and gallant Gentleman is reading from a paper, which is nothing more or less than the list of Amendments which I myself handed to him.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
That observation rather reinforces my point. When at the Vote Office I looked carefully round, after getting the list of Lords Amendments to the Bill, and apparently the only copy of the present Amendments is the copy that the Home Secretary has just read. This example is not a good one. I have only been for a short while in this House, but if this is the way previous Parliaments legislated I do not wonder at- some of the things passed through in former years. I think I have reason to make this protest, and I hope it will not occur again.
§ Captain W. BENN
I submit to the House that my hon. and gallant Friend is perfectly right. I take a great interest in this subject, and I came to the House tonight totally ignorant as to what form of words the Government now propose to insert. It is a mistake to suppose that the Lords Amendments circulated in the Vote Office gave us the text which the Home Secretary read out. What has happened is that, on the Motion of the Government, the House has struck out the Clause inserted by the other House, whereupon the Home Secretary has moved to insert a Clause which was never even moved in that House. It was proposed to be moved by Lord Finlay, but he never moved it, because the other House inserted this Clause which we have now rejected. I have not the least desire to detain the House, or to put hen. Members to any inconvenience, but when a new Clause is proposed with no less than nine Sub-sections, I propose to exercise the ordinary 589 rights of a Member of this House and to debate the Clause; and I should like to ask whether I should be in order in moving Amendments to this new Clause which the Government propose to insert. It is based on a system which was condemned by Mr. Justice Younger as being unsuitable for dealing with these cases.
The Government have decided to adopt the category system, and propose nine separate categories. We have had no sort of opportunity of examining these categories to find out whether they are any less fatuous than those originally proposed by the hon. and learned Member for York (Sir J. Butcher). We must, surely, have some opportunity of doing that. I do not know whether it would not be a good thing if the Government were to circulate this new Amendment to-night in the Votes, and let us consider it to-morrow. At any rate, that would give the House some opportunity of exercising its undoubted rights arid proper functions of criticism, and would, it seems to me, be quite reasonable. I do not know whether other hon. Members value their self-respect as much as we do, but at least it is due to us to know what it is that we are proposing to put in. I did not see this Amendment until ten minutes ago. I managed to secure a copy of the text by getting the Debates of the House of Lords, and I suppose it is the same, although I have no reason to know that it, is.
The first category is old age. What on earth is old age? Some people are old at a certain age according to their birth certificate, and others never get old at all. Then the second category is permanent illness or infirmity. Paragraph (f) speaks of the possession of valuable technical or industrial skill. Suppose a man is a great artist. He would not be able to come in under paragraph (f), because it might be said that, while technical or industrial skill was valuable, artistic skill was not. With regard to the matter of proved sympathy with this country, what constitutes sympathy with this country? It is quite impossible to make a coherent investigation into all these Sub-sections now, and I do not propose to attempt it, because I do not intend to put the House to inconvenience; but I direct the attention of the House to the fact that we are inserting in this Bill, which is one of prime importance, a Clause which, so far, has never been submitted in its details to the Members of the House for their consideration.
§ Sir H. NIELD
With reference to the remarks of the last speaker, if he, occupying a distinguished position on the Front Opposition Bench, thinks it hardly worth while to make himself acquainted with what was happening in another place, those on the Back Benches could not be expected to do so. Some of us did, and from day to day obtained the Amendments about to be moved until the Bill was begun in Committee in another place, and thus made ourselves acquainted with the various alternative suggestions which Noble Lords were making. Therefore, when the Government on the Committee stage stated, through the mouth of the Lord Chancellor, that they proposed to take the Amendments down in the name of Lord Finlay, and those Amendments were discussed together with the Motion to insert the Clause we have just disagreed with, it was perfectly clear to everybody who chose to follow the proceedings what were the contents of Lord Finlay's Amendments. Having disposed of the technicalities and fine arguments advanced against Clause 9 as it originally stood, to make it more common sense from the point of view of equity, is the last thing of which this House ought to complain.
§ Lord H. CECIL
Everyone, including probably the Government themselves, will agree that the position in which the House finds itself is an inconvenient one, but it is only fair to the Government to say that so far as my recollection goes what they have done does correspond with the ordinary practice in dealing with Lords Amendments, namely, to move Amendments to the Lords Amendments without having put them on the Paper. That happens because Lords Amendments are dealt with usually in rather a hurry towards the end of the Session, and there is no time to put Amendments on the Paper. I understand that the Bill came back to this House yesterday, therefore the Government would not have had time to put Amendments on the Paper unless they had further postponed the consideration of the Lords Amendments, which might have been inconvenient. I agree that we are in an exceedingly inconvenient position. The assent we give to the Government's proposals has hardly the weight of a reasoned and deliberate assent. We prefer the Government's Amendment to the Clause as it left the House of Com- 591 mons, and I hope we may not divide again, but support the Government in the course they now propose.
§ Amendments made in the words so restored to the Bill: Leave out, in Sub-section (3), paragraphs (a) to (y), and Subsection (4), and insert instead thereof the words
- "(a) Old age;
- (b) Permanent illness or infirmity;
- (c) Service during the present war (whether by the applicant or by any son of the applicant) in His Majesty's forces or the forces of any allied or associated Power;
- (d) Residence in His Majesty's Dominions either from early youth or for a long period;
- (e) Valuable personal service to this country or any part of the British Dominions or to any allied or associated Power during the recent war;
- (f) The possession of valuable technical or industrial skill;
- (g) Proved sympathy with the cause of the Allies;
- (h) The fact that deportation would involve either (1) serious hardship to the applicant or his wife, children, or dependants, or (2) injury to any British interest;
- (i) The fact that the mother of the applicant is a natural-born British subject."
§ At end of Sub-section (5) add the words "and such inclusion shall, notwithstanding anything in this Section, have the same effect as the grant of a licence."
§ In Sub-section (8), leave out the wards "shall be" ["it shall be revoked"], and insert instead thereof the word "is."
§ Leave out the words "for a period of seven years after the passing of this Act," and insert instead thereof the words "so long as the Order remains in force."— [Mr. Shortt.]
At the end, insert the following new Sub-section:
(11) This Section shall not apply to any subject of the Ottoman Empire who holds a certificate issued by a police authority, or by or under the direction of the Secretary of State, granting exemption from any provisions of Part II. of the Aliens Restriction Order in fore. on the first day of January nineteen hundred and nineteen, applicable to alien enemies."