HL Deb 03 November 1955 vol 194 cc290-3

3.36 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DROGHEDA in the Chair]

Clause 1 [Provision for civil employment of aliens]:


had given notice of three Amendments to Clauses 1 and 2, the first of which was, in Clause 1 (1), after the first word "in," to insert, "Section three of." The noble Earl said: The first three Amendments on the Marshalled List all deal with one point, and if it is convenient I will deal with them together. Their object is to clarify the position of a British a protected person. This point was raised by the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, in the course of the Second Reading debate. The purpose of this Bill is to allow, in certain circumstances, the employment of aliens by the Crown. An alien is someone who is neither a British subject nor a British protected person. But in providing for the employment of aliens there is just the shadow of a question as to whether or not we should make proper provision for a British protected person, or whether the position is, in fact, covered by the terms of Section 3 of the Act of Settlement. The somewhat archaic language of that Act might possibly raise the slenderest doubt whether it did, in fact, cover a British protected person. I am bound to say that the employment by the Crown of British protected persons has never been questioned, but at the time when the Act of Settlement was passed there was no such thing as a British subject, let alone a British protected person.

The first Amendment specifies the part of the Act concerned and is really no more than formal. The second Amendment (that to page 1, line 16) makes it clear that disabilities imposed by the Act of Settlement do not apply to British protected persons; and the third Amendment is purely consequential. The effect of making the Amendments will be that the certification for aliens will not apply to British protected persons, who will be entirely on the same footing in respect of employment by the Crown as a British subject or a Commonwealth citizen.

There was one other point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, and perhaps it may be convenient if I deal with it at this stage. He raised the question of what would be the position in a protectorate of a British protected person in comparison with the employment by the Imperial Government of some alien. I went into the question of whether the British protected person was in a position of advantage or disadvantage. I think the noble Earl will concede to me that the circumstances are a trifle remote. None the less, I want to give him what I think is the answer. First of all, there are administrative arrangements which would Rive preference in those circumstances to the employment of British protected persons. But secondly, in the event of any competition, and in the unlikely possibility of the Imperial Government bringing in an unnecessary number of aliens, it would, of course, in proper circumstances, fall to the local Government to make representation. I have no doubt that they would make energetic and successful representations if ever such a situation arose. I hope that answers the noble Earl's point, and that the Committee will agree that that slight emphasis on "British protected persons" is an improvement of the Bill, if ever there was any doubt. I beg to move the first Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 5, after ("in") insert ("section three of").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)


I should like to express our gratitude to the noble Earl for having introduced this Amendment, which seems to have removed a doubt, even if a remote one. I am not familiar with the British Nationality Act, but it occurs to me that a British protected person keeps his status wherever he is domiciled for the present. Is that so? Surely a British protected person from a protectorate would retain his status if he moved to another part of the Commonwealth. He would still be safeguarded in the same way as if he had remained in the country of his origin.


This Bill deals only with employment. I am not dealing with the wider question of status. So far as employment is concerned, I think that is clear.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move the second Amendment, which is formal.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 16, at end insert ("and so much of the said section three as imposes disability for employment in any such capacity shall cease to have effect in relation to British protected persons.").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2 [Supplementary provisions]:


This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 17, leave out ("has") and insert ("and 'British protected person' have").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.

In the Title:


I am given to understand that this Amendment to the Title is a very narrow point, but on balance it has been decided that the Title should be extended. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— In the Title: after ("aliens") insert ("and British protected persons").—(The Earl of Selkirk.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Title, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.