HC Deb 12 April 1965 vol 710 cc129-30W
Sir A. Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why he maintained in his letter of 24th March to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough that passports had not been refused to members of the Slough beat group known as Jimmy Bond and the M.I.5; if he is aware that the letters from the Chief Passport Officer to the members of the group dated 23rd February constituted a refusal to issue passports without prior evidence of a contract approved by the relevant union; and if he will compensate members of the group for the loss of the contract offered to them by the Hamburg Star Club in consequence of the refusal of passports.

Mr. George Thomson

Passport applications were received from four members of the group known as "Jimmy Bond and the M.I/" who wished to take up a professional engagement abroad. The Passport Office advised them that they would like to see evidence that they had standard contracts approved by their professional association. This is the general practice in the case of young artistes and stems from a recommendation adopted by the League of Nations in 1923. It is not a mandatory requirement for the issue of a passport, but merely a piece of sound advice given in their own interests to guard against possible exploitation, unsatisfactory working conditions and repatriation.

No reply has been received from any of these young artistes and therefore their passport applications are held in abeyance It is quite untrue that passports have been refused. No question of compensation from public funds can arise out of the failure of the individual members of this group either to respond to the advice given them by the Passport Office or to pursue their applications.