HL Deb 20 June 1951 vol 172 cc195-6

2.38 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government what facilities, if any, are given for men or women to proceed through countries hostile to us to a country with which we are at war, and then to return to this country to carry on the propaganda of the enemy country; and to inquire whether, if such conduct is condemned, any punitive measures are applicable.]


My Lords, since the abolition of the exit permit system there have been no general restrictions on British subjects wishing to leave the United Kingdom. Their movements cannot be controlled once they are in a foreign country. Where the conduct of any British national is treasonable, a prosecution may be undertaken. The decision whether or not to prosecute is, of course, a matter for the Attorney-General.


My Lords, the matter being sub judice, I should naturally not dream of pressing it further today. When it ceases to be sub judice, I should certainly be very grateful if a certain amount of bewilderment in my mind could be relieved, and if we could have explained to us what exactly is the moral difference between this case and, let us say, that of "Lord Haw-Haw."