HC Deb 25 October 1916 vol 86 cc1136-7W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been directed to the hardship to Russian subjects and others consequent on the arbitrary exercise by the Customs of the powers conferred on the Customs and Excise under Section 207 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876; and whether he will consider the dossier in the case of the Attorney-General v. Mnuchin with a view to the removal of just ground for dissatisfaction?


I find on inquiry that the case quoted by the hon. and learned Member relates to certain diamonds seized as having been imported without licence contrary to the Royal Proclamation of 28th July, 1915. The proceedings are not due to any arbitrary exercise of power by the Board of Customs and Excise, but to the action of the defendants themselves in making formal claim to the diamonds under Section 207 of the Customs Consolidation Act, thus leaving the Board no option but to take proceedings for condemnation. The Board inform me that they will be quite ready to consider the question of a compromise, if the defendants will, on their part, withdraw their claim, thus admitting a breach of the law and acquiescing in the seizure.