HC Deb 07 March 1939 vol 344 cc1921-2
81. Mr. Parker

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that Mr. Harper W. Poulson, an American student at London University, has recently acted as unpaid editor of "Student Forum"; that on 1st February, 1939, he was told he must surrender his connection with this undergraduate paper or leave the country; and whether he will make it clear that foreign students will in future be allowed to play a full part in all undergraduate activities?

The Undersecretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

An application was made in August last to engage the whole-time services of Mr. Poulson as managing director of "Student Forum," Limited, and editor of the paper "Student Forum" at a salary of £200 per annum, and it was represented that Mr. Poulson had been a sub-editor, had sold advertising space and had technical knowledge of printing and publishing. As it appeared that this appointment was similar to an ordinary commercial appointment, and as Mr. Poulson had been admitted to this country as a student and not for purposes of employment, the application was refused. When it was found this year that Mr. Poulson was nevertheless acting as a director and editor, he was warned that it would not be possible to allow his stay in this country to continue. Subsequently, however, information has been received to the effect that the earlier proposal of running this paper with a paid staff has been abandoned, and that Mr. Poulson's position is that of a student giving voluntary assistance to a student publication. If this be so, there will be no objection to Mr. Poulson continuing such activities as are consonant with his position as a student.

Mr. Harvey

Are we to understand that it is the Under-Secretary's view that foreign students at universities are free to give unpaid help to student magazines?

Mr. Lloyd

Broadly speaking, I think that is so, but, of course, each individual case has to be considered on its own merits.

Miss Wilkinson

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether in the present condition of affairs his Department could not find something far better to do than fussing about a matter of the pocket-money of students?

Mr. Lloyd

This appeared to be a genuine commercial application and if it was a genuine commercial application we had to consider the interests of our own people who might have been employed.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Are we to understand from the previous answer given by the Under-Secretary that there are certain circumstances in which foreign students would be prevented from giving voluntary help to student papers?

Mr. Lloyd

What I said was that the original application had been for a managing director of "Student Forum," Limited, and editor of the paper "Student Forum" at a salary of £200 per annum. In that case, the employment aspect of the matter naturally had to be considered.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Do we understand that foreign students in general are to be prevented from giving voluntary service?

Mr. Lloyd

I did not say that. I gave a broad generalisation, in reply to the hon. Member for the English Universities (Mr. Harvey), but I added that each case had to be considered on its merits.

Miss Rathbone

Will Mr. Poulson be permitted to remain in this country to the normal end of his university career?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir.