HC Deb 22 October 1919 vol 120 cc125-8

(1). No former enemy alien shall be entitled, either in his own name or through the intervention of a trustee, to acquire or to hind any land or interest in land in the United Kingdom, or to carry on, either alone or jointly with any other person or persons, any business in the United Kingdom which may from time to time be certified by the President of the Board of Trace to be a Key industry, or to hold any share or shares in any company carrying on such business, or in any company owning a British ship or ships.

(2). Any land or interest in land, and any such business or share in any such business as is mentioned in this Section, and any share or shares in such company as is mentioned in this Section which are at the time of the passing of this Act or may hereafter be held by or in trust for a former a ten enemy shall, upon an application being made to the Court in the prescribed manner, be vested in the Public Trustee and shall be dealt with by him in such manner as may be determined by Parliament.

(3). The provisions of this Section shall not apply to any former alien enemy who may be certified by the Secretary of State to be a member of a nation or race hostile to the `States recently at war with His Majesty and to be well disposed to His Majesty and His Government.—[Sir J. Butcher.]

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

The Home Secretary told us just now that he had drafted a new Clause dealing with this matter. That Clause, which is to carry out the pledge given in Committee, has not been put on the Paper, and we have not seen it. I do think that this House should legislate on what is an important question, namely, former enemy aliens holding shares in shipping companies or owning land. But as we have not seen what the proposals of the Government are I would suggest that the difficulty might be got over in this way: that this Clause should be adjourned until to-morrow, when we shall have the Government Clause on the Paper, and we shall be able to consider it, and my Clause will be where it is, and we shall have both Clauses. In order to be able to take the Government Clause to-morrow, or mine, it would be necessary for the Home Secretary not to go beyond the new Clauses tonight, because if he does so and begins a consideration of the Amendments on Report, we cannot go back to the new Clauses.


The suggestion I would make to my hon. and learned Friend is this: It is quite true that if we go on to the Amendments we cannot go back to the new Clauses, but what we can do, and what I intend to suggest to the House can be done, is that we should go right on with the Amendments, and then, when we complete the Amendments, I would move to commit the Bill to a Committee of this House, for the purpose of considering the Clause which my hon. and learned Friend has put down and my Clause, so that we need not waste any time on the matter.


Subject to anything that may be suggested in other quarters of the House, I think that course would be a way out of the difficulty. This Clause is somewhat separated from other parts of the Bill, and, therefore, possibly we could go on with the other Clauses without interfering with this one. Formally, I ought to move to ask leave to withdraw the Clause, for unless I withdraw it we cannot discuss it later.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)

The only Motion the hon. Member can move is that further consideration of the Bill be now adjourned.


I will move accordingly.


That is a very drastic step. It seems to me that the course suggested was the wiser one, rather than that we should have the trouble of a recommittal of the Bill. If this had been in the bad old days of pure party government some of the older Members of the House would have whipped up so many other matters and details that in a full House the Government would have wished they had done nothing so foolish as to recommit the Bill. Surely the better plan would be to postpone this Clause until after the remaining Clauses of the Bill have been taken. I would like to move that the consideration of this Clause be postponed until the end of the new Clauses.


There is no Motion to postpone the new Clause. The correct Motion is that further consideration of the Bill be now adjourned.


If you go into the Amendments to the existing Clauses to-night you can recommit for the definite purpose of this Clause, and nothing else would be raised in the Committee stage. It would be perfectly safe, even if there happened to be obstructive tacticians in the House. I would suggest that the hon. Member for York withdraw this Clause, or, at any rate, not move it at the moment. If we do not get beyond the new Clauses to-night it will be down as a new Clause for discussion to-morrow. If we do get beyond the new Clauses I will move to recommit the whole Bill with regard to this particular Clause.


I will not resist further.


Upon that statement I beg leave to withdraw the Motion I have made.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.