HC Deb 24 February 1955 vol 537 cc1440-2
34. Mr. Cooper-Key

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he now has an announcement to make regarding passports for day trips by steamer to the Continent.

37. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now in a position to reply to the representations made by the deputation from Brighton and other South Coast towns concerning the abolition of passport requirements for day trips across the Channel.

57. Sir C. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now able to make a statement about passport-free day trips to France from Eastbourne and other South Coast resorts.

Major Lloyd-George

As I explained to the members of the deputation introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for the Pavilion Division of Brighton (Mr. Teeling), the difficulties in the way of authorising the resumption of no-passport excursions are serious, since the passport remains the only effective instrument of control for immigration and security purposes, and I could not contemplate authorising the running of such excursions on the basis of the pre-war system which was entirely inadequate for present conditions.

As at present advised, I could not agree to the introduction of any new arrangements at those ports which are not approved for the purposes of the Aliens Order, but I propose to arrange for officers of my Department to discuss with representatives of the shipping companies the possibility of introducing, in the approved ports, alternative arrangements on the lines proposed by the deputation which I received. In the light of these discussions I shall, in consultation with my colleagues, give urgent consideration to the proposals.

Sir C. Taylor

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether it is possible for new arrangements to be made for this season, for next year, or when they can be made?

Major Lloyd-George

We are still discussing very important details and I cannot say yet when any change will be possible. My aim is that if it can be done it shall be done this year.

Mr. Wilkins

Is the Home Secretary aware that we appreciate the efforts which he has been making to try to re-establish the pre-war arrangement for day trips to the Continent? Is he aware that in those places where security arrangements were available it is a fact that the services which have been provided for upwards of 55 years by Messrs. P. & A. Campbell, Ltd., do not now possess security arrangements? Unless some sort of alternative may be come to, the company will have wholly to withdraw the services. Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the possibilities—[Hon. Members: "Speech."] This is an important matter; I make no apology for the length of this supplementary question. May I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman if he will give consideration to the possible use of the security ports for the return voyage—that is, that the services may start from one port and return through the other?

Major Lloyd-George

As I said, my officers will be discussing the matter with the shipping companies very soon. There are difficulties about applying a control only at the entry port. Often the departure port is also very important.

Mr. Teeling

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend let us know how soon we are likely to hear the announcement, as for places like Brighton, Eastbourne, and Hastings, plans for the whole of the summer season have to be made in the very immediate future?

Major Lloyd-George

I will certainly do everything I can as soon as possible. I know how important it is to get the matter decided quickly, as the season will soon be starting.