HC Deb 24 July 1947 vol 440 cc1599-600
76. Mr. Bramall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a party of members of the Polish Socialist Party, invited to this country by the Fabian Society, were detained by the immigration officers at Folkestone until after the departure of the last train at night, on the ground that they were Communists and the Fabian Society was a Communist organisation; and what steps he has taken to ensure that such events do not occur in the future.

Mr. Ede

From the inquiries I have made I have been unable to discover any grounds for these allegations. My information is that none of the party was detained, that the ship berthed at 7£55 p.m., and that they had all passed through the Immigration Control before 8.20. As regards the allegation that the immigration officer suggested that the members of the party were Communists, or that the Fabian Society was a Communist organisation, it is not the practice of immigration officers to make inquiries about the political affiliations of visitors, and I cannot understand what has prompted the allegation. I am having further inquiries made with a view to trying to discover whether anything was said by an immigration officer which might possibly have given rise to some misunderstanding. If my hon. Friend has any information which would assist me in my investigations I should be obliged if he would let me have it.

Mr. Bramall

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the reason why these allegations were made was because this was the report which these Polish Socialists gave; can he give us any explanation why they should have missed the train if they were cleared by this time; and if I bring forward evidence from a Member of another place and from other people connected with the Fabian Society, will my right hon. Friend pay serious attention to this, and not accept the excuses of reactionary officials?

Mr. Ede

I have asked my hon. Friend if he will let me have any information which will assist me in investigating this case. I cannot say why anybody misses a train. I have done it too often myself. If I can get reliable information I will have the matter investigated. My investigations up to the moment have been hindered by the fact that the official who, I think, interviewed these people is at the moment on holiday on the Continent.