HC Deb 23 May 1940 vol 361 cc297-300
22. Mr. Parker

asked the Home Secretary whether the position of Dutch and Belgian refugees is being properly investigated to safeguard against the entry of Nazi sympathisers?

29. Mr. Ralph Etherton

asked the Home Secretary whether it is practicable adequately to check the bona fides of refugees now reaching this country; whether any restrictions are placed on their movements; and what steps are taken to ensure that they do not include persons who have been acting as enemy agents or fifth columnists in Holland, Belgium, Denmark or Norway?

Sir J. Anderson

I am fully alive to the dangers referred to, and these refugees are being carefully examined at the ports of arrival. As an additional safeguard I have made an Order, under Article 11 of the Aliens Order, 1920, the effect of which is to require war refugees from Belgium and Holland who are aliens to comply with restrictions similar to those imposed upon enemy aliens by Articles 6A and 9A of the Aliens Order. I can assure the House that every practicable step is being, and will be, taken to safeguard this country against the entry of enemy agents.

31. Mr. Mander

asked the Home Secretary why the recent tribunal at Birmingham for refugees was presided over by Mr. Wallington, K.C., who had the task of reviewing a number of his own decisions; whether a similar practice has been carried out elsewhere; and whether he is aware that permission was refused for the liaison officers between the tribunal and the local refugee committee appointed by the Home Office to take any part in the proceedings in spite of their willingness to do so, and their experience of the problem?

Sir J. Anderson

I presume the hon. Member refers to the Regional Advisory Committee appointed for the Midland Civil Defence Region, of which Mr. Wallington is Chairman. In selecting the Chairmen of these Regional Advisory Committees, every effort was made to avoid appointing as Chairmen persons who had presided over local tribunals which had dealt with cases in the same area. The fact that the areas of the tribunals were much smaller than those of the Advisory Committees was held to justify such an appointment as that of Mr. Wallington as an exceptional measure where no other arrangement could conveniently be made. As regards the last part of the Question, I have no information at present, but I am causing inquiries to be made and will communicate with the hon. Member.

Mr. Mander

May I ask whether this was the only case where an appointment of this kind was made for a man to review his own decisions?

Sir J. Anderson

I would point out that he does not sit alone for that purpose. I think the number of cases is exceedingly small. I am not sure whether this is the only case, but I know there are very few.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it is in principle desirable that the liaison officer should, if possible, be heard?

Sir J. Anderson

I agree.

59. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health whether he will reconsider the billeting of Dutch and Belgian refugees in London and other large cities as this influx is discrediting the Government's own evacuation scheme and persuading parents to bring back their children from reception areas?

Mr. M. MacDonald

It would not be possible to receive war refugees from Holland and Belgium in the numbers for which it may be necessary to provide without making use of the accommodation in large towns. This course does not imply that the areas to which it is proposed to send refugees are considered safe from air attack. The purpose is to provide what shelter we can in this country, if necessary, for allies who have been rendered homeless.

Mr. Crowder

Will my right hon. Friend consider discussing with the Dutch and Belgian Governments the possibility of getting these refugees evacuated in due course to the Belgian and Dutch Colonies?

Mr. MacDonald

We are in touch with the Belgian and Dutch authorities on all relevant matters.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Will my right hon. Friend consider the great possibility of many of these refugees, especially female refugees, being used in domestic service, and therefore killing two birds with one stone?

Mr. MacDonald

The question of making the best possible use of these refugees, both male and female, from the point of view of employment, is receiving very active consideration.