§ 25. Mr. Tilney
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by what method consulates overseas inform next-of-kin of British subjects who have been arrested.
§ Mr. Padley
When reporting cases of the arrest and detention of British subjects, consular officers state whether the detained person wishes a relative to be notified. If so, the Foreign Office passes on the news as quickly as possible.
Not all cases of detention are brought to the notice of consuls, nor does everybody in such circumstances wish relatives to be told. In all cases consular officers take appropriate action to assist the person concerned, but in minor incidents, when no action is called for in this country, an immediate report is not sent.
§ Mr. Tilney
Is the Minister aware that the father of one of my constituents, who was arrested in Majorca, only heard about this through the Press, and that he has still not heard anything from the consulate in Palma? With so many young people now going to Western Europe, would the hon. Gentleman look again at possible means of expediting the transmission of information?
§ Mr. Padley
Yes. Miss Clegg, the hon. Gentleman's constituent, was arrested on 8th July. The consul sent an interpreter to the court, which was on the 9th July, and a consular officer visited her the next day. A report was dispatched to the Foreign Office by airmail on 10th July. Miss Clegg was provisionally released on 12th July but is not yet free to leave Palma. So far as I am aware, no request was made for the next-of-kin to be informed.
§ Mr. A. J. Irvine
Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in the case of my stituent, Alan Chesworth, who was recently arrested and brought to trial in Spain, the services provided to assist him by the consular and other officials in Madrid and elsewhere were admirable and efficient in every respect?
§ Sir J. Langford-Holt
Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House what is the position of those British subjects who, for some weeks on end, have their passports withdrawn, which passports remain the property of the Government, and who are not brought to trial, neither are their passports returned? Will the hon. Gentleman look at Question No. 44 if he is in doubt of the circumstances?