HC Deb 26 June 1958 vol 590 c607
Mr. Grimond

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any statement to make on the circumstances in which a refugee escaping from the Russian Fishing Fleet off Shetland was pursued by Russians across British soil.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

The information in my possession is as follows.

A man named Erich Teayn, stated to be an Estonian, came ashore in the Shetland Islands early this morning from the Russian fishing vessel "Ukraina," one of three Russian trawlers anchored in a bay at Walls. He made his way to a crofter's house and indicated that he did not want to go back to the Russian vessel. He was followed by a party of Russians, said to number about 30, who landed from two small boats in pursuit of him. He was taken into custody for interrogation under the Aliens Order. Three Russians subsequently called at Lerwick police station and sought access to him. This was refused.

Mr. Grimond

While expressing my pleasure that this man has been taken into safe custody, may I also ask whether, if the facts as stated are confirmed, and he is a genuine political refugee, immediate protest will be made to the Russians about this incident?

Mr. Butler

First, we have to examine the case. If this man asks for political asylum, it will certainly be considered. Secondly, the question of any protest will arise after we have concluded our investigations. At the moment I can say no more except that this man will be given every consideration.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it possible that this gentleman was anxious to join the Liberal Party?

Mr. Ede

What happens with regard to the other 30 Russians? Did they have permission to land?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. They landed illegally and they have now gone away.