HC Deb 06 March 1946 vol 420 cc319-20
29. Sir Ronald Ross

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that there are still exiles from Gibraltar in Northern Ireland and that the situation is unsatisfactory for all concerned; and what arrangements he is making for their return to Gibraltar or removal to a more appropriate place than Northern Ireland.

Mr. Creech Jones

My right hon. Friend is fully alive to the fact that some 2,700 Gibraltarian evacuees remain in Northern Ireland. With regard to their return to Gibraltar I would refer the hon. Member of the reply which he gave to the hon. Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) on 24th October last. The possibility of moving them back to this country was carefully reviewed recently in consultation with the Ministry of Health, but was found to be precluded by the housing situation. I regret that for the present, there is no suitable alter native arrangement but the question has my constant attention.

Sir R. Ross

Is the Under-Secretary aware that it was understood they were coming for only a couple of months and they seem to have been nearly a lifetime, and Northern Ireland, except as regards strategic matters, is very unlike Gibraltar?

Mr. Creech Jones

One is conscious that the climatic conditions are very different, but the problem of bringing these people back to Gibraltar is one of great difficulty because of housing and health problems in Gibraltar.

Mr. Stanley

Might I ask whether it was found impossible, as a result of inquiries, to do anything in the way of temporary settlement in the Tangier area?

Mr. Creech Jones

The most careful consideration was given to that proposition, but the difficulties were such that we could not proceed with it.