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Political Refugees

Volume 529: debated on Monday 21 June 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have applied for, and been granted, political asylum in Britain in each year since 1932; and how many such requests have been refused.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the policy of Her Majesty's Government in granting political asylum to those aliens who apply for it; and from what authority the power to grant or refuse such asylum is derived.

Her Majesty's Government follow the traditional practice of United Kingdom Governments in granting political asylum in appropriate cases. The normal criterion for deciding whether a foreigner is entitled to be regarded as a political refugee is whether there are good grounds for thinking that his life or liberty would be endangered because of his political opinions if he were required to leave the United Kingdom. It is the right of any sovereign State to grant asylum: the power to refuse to allow a foreigner to remain in the United Kingdom is derived from the Aliens Order, 1953, made under Section 1 of the Aliens Restriction Act, 1914, as amended by the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act, 1919.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many aliens resident in Britain are stateless; how many such persons have been accepted for permanent residence in each of the years from 1945; and what principles govern the policy of Her Majesty's Government in accepting such persons for permanent residence.

On 31st December, 1953, 1,398 aliens were registered under the Aliens Order as stateless, but this is not necessarily the number of aliens resident in the United Kingdom who are actually stateless: since an unknown number of others may have lost their nationality since registration. I regret that the figures requested in the second part of the Question are not available. Apart from persons in strictly defined classes, including stateless people who are treated in the same way as others who are allowed to enter on compassionate grounds, foreigners are not normally admitted to the United Kingdom for permanent residence in the first instance. Stateless persons who have been resident for some years may, as may other foreigners, have conditions limiting their stay to a fixed period. removed.