Oral Answers to Questions — Immigration and Supply of Labour

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1965.

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Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South 12:00 am, 29th June 1965

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the co-ordination existing between Government Departments on Her Majesty's Government's policy regarding immigration and the supply of labour; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Yes, Sir; and, as I promised the House on 15th June, a full and detailed statement will be made in due course.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Is the Prime Minister aware that it is apparently the view of the First Secretary that we would be mad to limit immigration because we need the extra manpower? Does not the Prime Minister agree, on the contrary, that the right way to provide extra manpower which some of our industries need is not by mass immigration but by eliminating the overmanning inside this country? Will he endeavour to convert his right hon. Friend to that point of view?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I recognise that the Question was put down by the hon. Member many weeks ago and I recognise his difficulties in this respect. As far as the statement made by my right hon. Friend in Sheffield is concerned, there have been a number of answers in the House about it and I ask the hon. Member to await a further statement to be made when we have studied Lord Mountbatten's Report.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Will the Prime Minister be more specific about "in due course"? When will the statement be made? Is he aware that every day there are statements and articles in the newspapers suggesting that the Government are completely reversing their previous policies? Is not it essential that this matter should be clarified very soon?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The position is that we have had the very valuable mission led by Lord Mountbatten and we had a report from him a few days ago. This will be studied and then we shall state what Government policy is.

Photo of Mr David Renton Mr David Renton , Huntingdonshire

Meanwhile, bearing in mind that a junior Minister is responsible for co-ordinating the efforts of Cabinet Ministers who are responsible in this field, will the Prime Minister say what authority the junior Minister has for securing that co-ordination?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

My hon. Friend, who is an extremely active junior Minister, is co-ordinating—[Interruption.]—the late Government had no one doing it at all—and he is responsible, as I have told the House before, for co-ordinating the problem to which hon. Members in all parts of the House have given attention. He is responsible for co-ordinating in the problem of assimilation and integration and the conditions in the big towns and cities where there is large immigration. He has no responsibility for immigration controls which, as I have said, are being considered in the light of the Mountbatten Report.