Oral Answers to Questions — Passports.

– in the House of Commons on 26th July 1922.

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Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

1.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under what Statute he refuses passports to British subjects, against whom no criminal proceedings are pending, who may desire to leave the realm for foreign countries with which His Majesty is at peace upon their lawful occasions?

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

No statutory authority exists for the grant or refusal of British passports, which are matters within the discretion of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, exercising the Royal prerogative in this regard.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Who gave those powers to the Secretary of State? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this practically means that he has power to prohibit British subjects going abroad if he wishes? From where does he derive those powers?

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

They are powers inherent in the Royal prerogative.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I think we need some further explanation. Is this not giving power to some officials in the hon. Gentleman's office to prohibit people from travelling on their lawful occasions? Is it not out of the question to talk of the Royal prerogative? It is a matter for Parliament, surely.

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is misinformed.