HC Deb 07 December 1953 vol 521 cc1614-5
47. Mr. Wood

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will postpone the introduction of the Orders in Council required to implement the Visiting Forces Act, 1952, until he has taken steps to amend the Act so as to provide machinery for the enforcement of affiliation orders made against members of visiting Forces.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth)

This is not a matter that could be dealt with by amending the Visiting Forces Act, 1952. Discussions are at present taking place on this point with the American authorities, and my right hon. and learned Friend hopes to be able to announce the outcome before the Act is brought into force.

Mr. Wood

Will my hon. Friend state, briefly, what are the difficulties in the way of providing the machinery asked for in the Question?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

The courts have jurisdiction to make affiliation orders against American Service men, but American Service men enjoy the same immunities from processes of enforcement of affiliation orders as are conferred on British soldiers by the Army Act. My hon. Friend will have to wait until my right hon. and learned Friend can make the statement to which I have referred.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does the Under-Secretary realise that the time has now come when in this, as in many other matters affecting visiting Forces, they should be on exactly the same footing as any other British subject or any other foreigners resident in this country?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I think that that falls outside the scope of this Question.