HC Deb 04 February 1943 vol 386 cc1044-5
59. Mr. W. H. Green

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that numbers of friendly aliens, engaged in business in the City of London, escape duty under the Business Premises Fire Prevention Order, leaving the City each evening for the country; and will he consider bringing them under the terms of the Order?

Mr. H. Morrison

It is proposed to render certain classes of aliens liable for compulsory fire-guard duties, subject to certain conditions. An Order will be issued as soon as the necessary consultations have been completed. In the meantime, aliens may volunteer for fire-guard duties.

Mr. Green

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the widespread feeling in the City, among those who are patriotically doing their duty, at these people being able to shirk the issue? Will he take steps as expeditiously as possible to bring them into line and compel them to do their duty?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware of some feeling to that effect, and, believe me, I am anxious to do what I can to meet it, but there are international considerations involved. In the meantime aliens themselves can easily put the matter right by volunteering for service.

Mr. Cluse

Is it not the case that this applies all the way round and that it is not a question of aliens who have recently come to this country but of thousands of aliens who were born in this country and not naturalised? Are they all outside the regulations of the Fire-Watching Order?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, many aliens are outside the Fire-Watching Order. I agree that there is much truth in what the hon. Member has said.

Miss Rathbone

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are a great many aliens who would like to volunteer but that the regulations of curfew and so on have made it difficult for them to do so?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir, that is not true.

60. Mr. W. H. Green

asked the Home Secretary whether he is now in a position to say whether leaders and captains of street fire-guard groups can be exempt from the Business Premises Fire Prevention Order?

Mr. Morrison

Provision will be made in the forthcoming amendment to the Business Premises Order for the exemption of fire guard street captains (in future to be known as sector captains) and fire guard party leaders.