Kenya (Deportation of British Journalist)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1964.

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Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Kettering 12:00 am, 3rd December 1964

(by Private Notice)asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations he is making to the Prime Minister of Kenya concerning the 24 hours' notice of deportation served last night on Mr. Richard Beeston, a British citizen who has been living in Nairobi with his wife and three children.

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

Our Acting High Commissioner in Nairobi has seen the responsible Kenya Minister on behalf of Mr. Beeston. He has drawn particular attention to the shortness of the notice given. The Kenya authorities have, however, informed the Acting High Commissioner that they cannot alter their decision.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Kettering

Is my right hon. Friend aware that on the only other occasion that a British journalist was ordered to leave at 24 hours' notice, after representations the Government concerned changed their mind and gave him longer time? Can the Secretary of State hold out any hope, in view of the hardship which 24 hours' notice gives to a man with a family out there that at least the period will be extended?

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

It is our hope that Governments, in exercising their rights of deportation, will always pay due regard to the personal circumstances in each case. As I have said, our Acting High Commissioner has already raised with the Kenya Government the short notice given to Mr. Beeston.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

Would the right hon. Gentleman represent to the Kenya Government that when we consider the freedom, not to say licence, with which the Kenya Press comments on events in this country, the Kenya Government risk making themselves a bit ridiculous if they take such very drastic action against a correspondent of great repute known to many of us on both sides of the House?

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

It would not be right for me to speak for the Kenya Government. The British Government, as is well known, firmly support the principle of freedom of speech and of the Press.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

Will the right hon. Gentleman represent this point to the Kenya Government through the Acting High Commissioner?

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

I do not propose to add to what I have said.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

Is not this the feeblest protest made by any Government for a long time? Will not the right hon. Gentleman at least give an assurance that on future occasions his Government will stick up for our citizens abroad, be they in the Commonwealth or elsewhere?

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

I have already said that our Acting High Commissioner has made representations to the Kenya Government.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Surbiton

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us why Mr. Beeston has been expelled from Kenya? If he does not know, will he inquire, because on the face of it there seems to be no good reason why this correspondent has been expelled.

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

As I have said on another occasion in the House, the question of deportation is one for the Government concerned, and we do not interfere.