HC Deb 15 March 1923 vol 161 cc1778-9
80. Captain O'GRADY

asked the Home Secretary whether, having regard to the unprecedented unemployment among music-hall artists, he is aware that coloured people. have been engaged to come into this country to perform in a revue at a West End theatre of varieties; whether Article 1 (3) (b) of the Aliens Order, 1920, has been observed, which lays down that applicants for a permit must state that no labour in Great Britain will be displaced by the engagement of aliens; if so, will inquiry be made into the matter; and, if satisfied that wrong information has been given, will steps be taken to cancel the permits?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir Montague Barlow)

I have been asked to reply. Permits under Article 1 (3) (b) of the Aliens Order, 1920, have been issued in respect of a troupe of 33 American men and women, including a negro orchestra. The troupe is required for a period of six weeks only, to give a special entertainment lasting about 20 minutes, as a part of a revue at a theatre in London. I am assured that it would not be possible to find substitutes in this country who could give an entertainment of the kind desired. The question of displacing British labour does not, therefore, arise. The permits were issued upon the condition that the troupe give a stage performance only. They will not play dance music without obtaining the prior consent of the Minister of Labour.

Captain O'GRADY

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept from me a record of the Variety Artists' Benevolent Fund, from which a large amount of benefit is given to variety artists who are out of work in this country at the moment?


I think the general arrangements with regard to the admission of aliens to play music in this country, with which I shall have to deal presently on another question, will, when the hon. Member hears them, be in his opinion satisfactory.


Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what is the nature of this performance that no one in this country can do it?


Is it the "shimmy"?


Upon whose assurance is the right hon. Gentleman so convinced that English artists cannot give a similar performance?


Will the right hon. Gentleman arrange that a performance shall be given in this Chamber?


There is one every day.