Orders of the Day — Commonwealth Immigrants Bill

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th February 1968.

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Order for Second Reading read.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Before the debate opens, I wish to announce to the House that I have not selected any of the six Amendments on the Order Paper. The views expressed in those Amendments will, no doubt, he spoken of during the debate, I would also observe at this stage, before the debate opens, that at least 40 hon. and right hon. Members wish to speak. It will help the Chair and the debate if speeches are reasonbly brief.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

We are about to discuss one of the greatest issues of our time, an issue which can tear us apart or unite us. I think it is true to say that, excluding the extremists, it is possible for men who are seeking the same ends to have honest differences of opinion about the way in which those ends should be achieved, and I therefore approach the debate in that spirit.

What are the ends? The Government, Parliament, all parties in the country, are fully committed to the development of a multi-racial society in Britain—a society which will be diverse in culture and will be equal before the law; a society in which all communities will have respect for each other; a society in which there will be unity in purpose and common allegiance. Those are the aims, as I see it, of the great debate that is now overtaking the nation, as well as Parliament, on this issue. But this ideal of a multi-racial society, to which all of us except the extremists are committed, will not happen of its own accord. It is something that has to be worked for. Our policies must establish the ends that we will. We have to look to the long term and not Just to the issue or to the group of people who face us today or whose problems we may be considering at a particular moment.

Nor can we look at only one aspect of the problem. We have to consider the Common wealth as a whole. We have to consider our own citizens, and our own citizens in this country are not least in this matter. We must have trust in all the difficulties we confront, and I believe many hon. Members in this House and people outside are finding that everyone is having to argue this problem out for himself.

The tensions and strains showing between the parties are just a reflection of the great issues which men and women are having to discuss and argue between themselves at the present time. We must trust the instinctive sense of fair play of the British people. Our policy, if it is to endure, must be acceptable to them and to their sense of fair play. I cannot separate, in this connection, those who come into the country and the treatment we afford to them after they are here.

This Bill, however some may regard it, must be considered at the same time, and in accordance with, the proposal of the Government to introduce a Race Relations Bill which will establish in this country equality of treatment in the very sensitive areas of housing and of jobs, which is to be introduced by the Government during the next six weeks—certainly before Easter. Both these Bills are, in my view and my judgment, essentially parts of a fair and balanced policy on this matter of race relations. I do not discern much tendency to call names. As I have said, everyone is concerned about this issue, and it was no easy decision to introduce a Bill of this sort.

I seek to approach this debate in a sprit of understanding of the emotions of many hon. Members who may find difficulty in accepting what the Bill contains. I hope that they will acknowledge that the others of us, too, are trying to approach this problem honestly and with a view to the achieving of a multi-racial society in all its aspects, and I hope they will acknowledge—if I may pick up a phrase used on the editorial of one of the powerful newspapers this morning—that it is possible that the origin of this Bill lies neither in panic nor in prejudice but in a considered judgment of the best way to achieve the idea of a multi-racial society.

Before I deal with the particular issue on which all the attention has been focused, namely that of the treatment of the group of Asian citizens in East Africa and especially in Kenya, I would like to point out to the House that Clauses 2 to 5 deal with a number of issues which are important in themselves and they should not be included in the general discussion that is taking place. These issues contained in Clauses 2 to 5 apply to the Commonwealth as a whole and not merely to the group upon whom the discussion has been focused. They contain matters that for the most part have been ripe for legislation for some time.

The issues that Clauses 2 to 5 cover have been considered by a number of interests who are particularly concerned about racial questions, and I think it is fair to claim that no great disagreement has arisen over them. Nevertheless they are important and, with the consent of the House, I feel I should spend some time commenting upon them before I deal with Clause 1.

Clause 2 makes a number of changes. Under existing legislation there is no power to require medical examinations for the dependants—that is the wives and the children under 16—of voucher holders who are already here or who are arriving here. It is a strange anomaly that the voucher holder can be medically examined indeed he may be refused entry on medical grounds—but his dependants may not. This is an obvious gap which should be filled in the interests of the immigrants themselves and for the sake of public health generally. I have laid before the House in the form of a White Paper, draft instructions to immigration officers dealing, in paragraphs 5 and 6, with the exercise of this power.

The only point I would emphasise at this stage is that where the head of the family is admitted there will be no right of refusal of entry to dependants on medical grounds. There will simply be a power to require them to report for medical examination. I commend this to the House.

Clause 2 also provides—this is a more contentious matter—that the right—and I emphasise the right—of entry of a child under 16 to join a single parent here is to be restricted to the case where that parent is the sole survivor. I will explain why. There will, of course, be discretion, as opposed to a right, given to immigration officers to admit a child to join a single parent in cases of special family circumstances and to meet cases of special hardship. These details are set out in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the draft instructions. The reason for these new instructions, and the legislation from which they follow in Clause 2, is that considerable evidence has been accumulated that the existing provisions are being abused. A substantial proportion of the children now joining a single parent in this country, almost always the father, are brought here at about school-leaving age when they go straight on to the labour market. They come here too late to learn our language at school, and those concerned with the matter report that there are serious difficulties about finding suitable employment for them. It is, in a sense, an evasion of the voucher system. Many of these boys live in all-male households. In many cases the mother does not come here at all. As I understand the original intention of the 1962 Act in reading the debate, the purpose was to promote family unity, to enable children to join parents, but for a child to leave his mother overseas and come and join his father for work does not unify the family; it merely splits it in another way. It is an evasion, and the White Paper which I have laid embraces this particular point.

Clause 3 makes an important change in the law about clandestine immigration. Under the 1962 Act there is no power, as the House has become aware in recent months, to require a Commonwealth passenger to submit to examination if he is not so examined within a period of 24 hours after his arrival. Because of its very nature, there is no precise evidence about the amount of clandestine immigration, although some cases have been well-publicised and proven. But it seems wrong that a man who at present applies lawfully to enter may be refused admission or admitted conditionally while the clandestine immigrant has only to evade examination for 24 hours to be able to stay here indefinitely without restriction and without challenge. Accordingly, under Clause 3 it will be an offence to land here without examination by an immigration officer. On conviction for such an offence, there will be liability to imprisonment for six months or a fine of £ 100, and it will be open to the court to recommend deportation.

Coupled with this is Clause 5, which makes it an offence, punishable on indictment with up to two years imprisonment and a fine, for the master of a ship or the captain of an aircraft who smuggles in immigrants in evasion of the Act, and anyone who aids and abets the operation will be similarly liable. When I announced this some time ago, I believe that there was general agreement in the House that there should be no profiteering in this kind of human cargo.

Clause 4 provides that the period after landing during which a person can be required to submit to examination shall be extended from 24 hours to 28 days. The purpose of making this change as well as making entry without examination illegal is so that we can return illegal immigrants summarily when the case is clear without the requirement of keeping them in this country, arranging for prosecution and making a recommendation for a deportation order. It would be wrong, in my view, for this summary procedure to be adopted in other thin clear cases, and the longer a man is here the less clear the case is likely to be. I am therefore issuing instructions that, unless the issue is clear-cut and it is evident that the illegal entrant has landed within the preceding seven days, there is to be no return to the country of origin under this provision without instructions by me personally or by a Minister authorised to act on my behalf. I should emphasise again that the provisions which I have been discussing so far apply to entrants from all parts of the Commonwealth. I distinguish between this part of the Bill—Clauses 2 to 5—and Clause 1, because the matters in Clauses 2 to 5 have been the subject of very considerable discussion and consideration and have been very widely accepted.

Photo of Mr Charles Mapp Mr Charles Mapp , Oldham East

May I raise a point on Clause 4 and Clause 3, in particular, and my hon. Friend's explanation about the 28 days? I wonder whether he has made inquiries of the police forces in the North of England, who feel that 28 days is by no means a sufficient time to bring to book those who may have illegally come into this country. I speak of a town which has some experience of this matter.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

I have not had representation particularly from police forces in the North of England, but I have had representations on this matter and I should be willing to consider it again in Committee. Whether it should be 28 or 56 days is a matter of opinion. This is a matter which is particularly suitable for argument in Committee. Perhaps I can be excused from going into it further at this moment.

I come to Clause 1, upon which all the discussion has turned and which is the most difficult to accept. As the House well knows, it is concerned particularly with the problems of the Asians in East Africa, but it has very much wider repercussions than this. I do not think that it would be fair to the House if I were to leave it under the impression that we are discussing only the problem of Asians in East Africa. Various estimates have been given of the number of Asians in East Africa involved. It is not possible to make an exact count, but, having looked at many figures, I am for the purpose of this Bill taking the figure of at least 200,000 in East Africa as a whole.

In addition to that number, there are at least 1 million persons living in various parts of the Commonwealth overseas who are able, or potentially able, to come to these islands free of control. Most of them, in addition to being citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, have also local citizenship. To that extent, they are different, and I differentiate between them and the Asians who have not local citizenship. But their right, or potential right, to come here exists. The House has undertaken a liability to admit well over 1 million people to these islands without control of any sort.

Human beings being the same the world over, I would assume that, given settled political conditions in their own country, given an absence of persecution, and given the right to worship and work, the overwhelming majority of these 1 million citizens will never seek to come to these islands but will continue to live, work and enjoy their lives peaceably and quietly where they are. Nevertheless, there is a contingent liability on our part to admit them, and we should not act as if we may never be called upon to fulfil that contingent liability, although it needs little effort of the imagination to envisage the consequences if the right of uncontrolled entry at any time in any numbers were to be envisaged for these groups if political conditions in their countries became unsettled.

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York

Would my right hon. Friend give way?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

Not at the moment. I am in the middle of an argument.

We are dealing with a problem potentially much larger than that of the Kenya Asians. It includes all the Asians in other parts of Africa and this very much larger number of citizens totalling 1 million or more.

I come to the argument put many times that we are legislating too hastily, in a panic. I believe that it would be irresponsible not to legislate on this vast issue of whether this country could afford in any circumstances to envisage the prospect of an invasion of a size which I have indicated, even though it is not likely. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I believe that we must face the facts. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] We have got into trouble in the past for not being willing to face them. We have given pledges to people which, if they were carried out because of great political turbulence and commotion in a particular area, could result in the services of this country being placed under far greater strain than they are at present.

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York

Would my right hon. Friend say how many of these 1 million people would be excepted from any restrictions by reason of the substantial link with this country as defined in the Bill?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

As defined in the Bill, most of these people would not be excepted. I should like to come to the circumstances underlying the 1962 Act, because Parliament was then legislating for an entirely different situation from the present situation. However, if I can develop the argument in my own way, I shall return to the point later.

I was dealing with the question of hasty or panic legislation. I should like to put the House in possession of some of the facts. A steady number of Asians—we do not know exactly how many—were arriving in this country from East Africa during 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966. The real increase in the flow did not begin until last summer, following the passage of the Kenya Immigration Act and the Trade Licensing Act. When the Kenya Government put these Measures on the Statute Book, emigration from Kenya began to increase and the British Government, because of the nature of the statistics, quickly became aware of what was taking place. Therefore, last October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations visited Kenya for a number of purposes, one of which was to discuss with President Kenyatta the consequences of this emigration.

It would not be proper for me, of course, to go into the details of that conversation, but I am entitled to say that my right hon. Friend specifically raised this question months ago with the Kenya Government. It is also fair for me to say that when he returned he concluded that the Kenya Government's policy towards the Asians who had been born and bred in that country was based on decisions that had been firmly taken by them and which did not seem open to question.

However, so far from acting in panic, the British Government still did not take action at that time—some people might say their action was belated; I would not accept that—although the Government began to prepare for legislation which they held in reserve hoping that wiser counsels would prevail and that changes in the situation would make it unnecessary for Parliament to legislate. I believe it was right to have this delay, to try to allow wiser counsels to prevail, for people to have second thoughts, and not to act in a panic, as we certainly have not done. But unfortunately that hope did not materialise. The flow of immigrants continued and, after a slight hesitation, increased substantially.

Finally, as the House will know, Mr. Malcolm Macdonald paid a further visit to Kenya 10 days ago, before we introduced legislation, but he was unable to find any ground upon which we could base the hope of any developments that would make this legislation unnecessary, for example, by reducing the flow of immigrants to the kind of level that had previously proved capable of absorption. The Government, therefore, are not proposing legislation in haste. They have held their hand for many months.

I come to the background of the immigration control introduced by the 1962 Act. The Home Secretary of the day was Lord Butler. I have read his speech and most of the debates which followed. What was the objective of the 1962 Bill? Lord Butler was quite clear. He told us what the objective was, and it was not what a number of commentators think it was. He said that the objective of the Bill was to exempt from immigration control—here I quote his words: person who in common parlance belong to the United Kingdom". That was his intention. I beg very great leave to doubt whether at that time in 1961– 62 Parliament's eyes were fixed on what the situation might be in the event of Kenya or other countries securing independence at a later date. If, as I believe, it was the objective of the 1962 Act to control everyone except those who, "in common parlance belong to the United Kingdom", it was not achieved. So it is that we have the present position. I think it is partly that the size and nature of the problem which could arise was not fully appreciated in 1962, and partly in consequence of independence Acts since then, that there has been a substantial increase in the arrival of a large number of holders of United Kingdom passports who do not, "in common parlance belong" to this country. Lord Butler was quite clear about what he meant by "belonging to this country". He meant people who were born and lived here—I am interpreting his words, but I hope that hon. Members will read the debates if they have not done so—large numbers of citizens whose ancestors had been horn here, whose forebears were born here, and who had lived here for a number of years. Those were the very people whom the Bill was to exempt from immigration control.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Croydon South

Mr. David Winnick (Croydon, South) rose

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

I cannot give way for the moment. I am making a difficult case and I should like to make it in my own way. [Interruption.] I hope that no one thinks that these decisions were arrived at easily or that there is anyone here who does not care about freedom and the question of liberty.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

If my right hon. Friend is finishing that point, surely he ought to give way.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) is an old friend of mine and, although he is usually wrong, I can never resist him.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that very charming way of giving way. Although it is perfectly true that this may not have been immediately contemplated by Lord Butler in 1962, when we came to the Kenya Independence Act and when we promised Asians that they could retain their British citizenship as protection, surely it was fully recognised?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

If my hon. and learned Friend had waited for the next paragraph he would have found that I do recognise this. When the Commonwealth Immigration Act was passed in 1962 the inhabitants of Kenya—all of them, including Asians—became subject to our control. The Asians—became subject to control at that time, but when Kenya became independent in 1963 people born in Kenya and whose fathers were born there, among others, obtained local citizenship automatically and ceased to be citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. A number of Asians obtained citizenship under that provision. The remainder had a right to citizenship on application within two years, but many did not apply. After the expiry of two years there is provision for the grant of local citizenship at discretion, but there is no right to it. The effect of these provisions has been that a large number of Asians in Kenya, either through choice or through inadvertence, did not acquire Kenya citizenship and in consequence retained their citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

Is it not a fact that the very option which the British Government gave those Kenyan Asians was the reason that they did not take up Kenyan citizenship? We have broken our promise.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

That is the reason.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

My hon. Friend advances a reason which may well be true, but other reasons have been advanced. It is not for me to say that that is the reason. My hon. Friend clearly has a right to advance that as a reason as much as he likes, but it is not for me to say why they did not take up British citizenship at that time. Their status changed from Independence Day. They ceased at that day to be subject to immigration control although they had been before and they then became eligible for United Kingdom passports.

The recent upsurge in arrivals from East Africa has been most carefully considered by the Government in the light of a great many reports that have been received about what is likely to happen and what the effect is at the present time. Careful consideration—yes—because to impose control on holders of United Kingdom passports, even though they have not had a direct connection with this country, is no light matter. Nor is it a light matter, if the House agrees, to impose a similar control on the large number of other citizens, over one million in number, who still have the right to come although so far they have shown no sign of exercising that right.

It has been suggested that this is a racialist conception. That is not so. It is true that Clause 1 does not apply to Australian, or New Zealand or Canadian citizens because all of them are already subject to control. The test that is adopted is geographical, not racial. Those who, or whose fathers or fathers' fathers, were born, naturalised, adopted, or registered in the United Kingdom, will be exempted whatever their race. We now have a large community of Commonwealth citizens in this country. Their children born in this country will be free of control.

Further, if they themselves, after they have registered here—as they have an absolute right to do after five years residence—and have acquired a United Kingdom passport, then go abroad, they may come and go freely. If they have children who are born overseas, they too will be exempt from the control, both while travelling on their parents' passports and subsequently if they obtain United Kingdom passports for them- selves. It is a wild exaggeration to refer to this legislation as racialist. It is not the truth, nor does it help the cause of racial harmony.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

I turn to a question with which all the Amendments are concerned in one form or another and which has caused me a great deal of disquiet because they all refer to it—the question of appeals. The Committee under Sir Roy Wilson, which was set up to consider the matter of appeals, recommended a detailed system which the Government accepted in principle. Its purpose was to apply across the whole of the Commonwealth scene. It will involve lengthy and difficult legislation—it is not easy legislation to draft—as well as a considerable number of staff and substantial cost. In the economy cuts made in January it was decided that there was unlikely to be time for legislation in this Session. There are a number of very important Bills, including the Race Relations Bill, to go through. Therefore, in deciding priorities, no provision was made in the Estimates for the current year. I told the House last week that this was the position.

Nevertheless, despite what some may say, I am not an unfeeling man nor am I unconscious of deep feeling when it is genuinely held by others. Indeed, I am capable of it myself, as the House will know, from time to time. Because I am deeply conscious of the feeling in the House and outside on the question, I have been considering whether it is possible to do something to assist in the interim period. I repeat the undertaking that on the Wilson Report as a whole it is the Government's intention to legislate to set up appeals machinery. But we have the problem in the interim period of the special nature of the Asian immigration from East Africa.

I propose to set up a specialad hocmachinery to meet appeals by that group of United Kingdom passport holders. I have discussed the matter with my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor and asked him if he will appoint two independent lawyers who could fly to Niarobi to consider appeals in East Africa on the basis of the principles laid down by the Wilson Committee. If necessary—and I hope that it will not be—they could go elsewhere in East Africa as well. The Lord Chancellor has agreed to do this, and we intend to operate the machinery as soon as possible.

I give the House the assurance, because I think that this will meet the doubts of many people who feel that immigration officers are not fully seized of the problem, that I will undertake to accept the decision of the tribunal or of the lawyers acting individually on all cases referred to them. In fairness, I should at this stage remind the House of what I said before, that there was no great dissent by the Wilson Committee from the view that the immigration officers are doing their job fairly at present, and that the great majority of cases are properly decided. I should say that on behalf of those who are carrying out a difficult and distasteful job.

I have told the House of thead hocmachinery that I am willing to establish, and it will be set up as soon as possible. The House will understand that in setting it up I am not prejudging the final nature of the appeals system that will be introduced, or the extent to which it will coincide with the Committee's recommendations. That is a separate decision. In order that there should be no misunderstanding I should like to make clear what the appeals will he about. They will be based on the Wilson Committee's proposals. That is, they will not be against decisions not to grant one of the vouchers because, as I shall explain in a few minutes, that would be an appeal against a decision of the High Commissioner, and could only be an appeal for a higher place in the queue.

An appeal would lie against any decision within the Home Office field, that is, within conventional immigration control. For example, there would be a right of appeal against a decision that a person was within the extended scope of the control; a decision not to allow an entry certificate as a student or a visitor, including a business visitor; or a question as to whether a person who has come under this control is a dependant of a resident in the United Kingdom, or of someone intending to come to the United Kingdom. These are the principles set out in the Wilson Report. From the kind of illustrations I have given, the House will see that I am trying as far as possible to follow the proposals it laid down.

I hope that the House will feel that with this machinery I have tried to meet the views which have been expressed very strongly in the House and outside, and which I share, in anticipation of legislation on the broader front.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

While I am grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's concession, could he explain exactly what he means by "ad hoc"? How long would this special tribunal last? Would it be permanently abroad?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

It is my expectation that it would persist until the full legislation came into operation, and then I hope that it would be superseded and overtaken by that legislation. I have so far been more concerned with setting it up than considering the point at which it should expire. It is not my intention that it should be a short-lived or short-run affair, but that it should last until there is legislation that overtakes it.

Photo of Miss Joan Quennell Miss Joan Quennell , Petersfield

The right hon. Gentleman is making a very important statement. He said that the tribunal would consist of only two lawyers. Does he expect those two individuals to be able to deal with hundreds of appeals? Will that number really be adequate?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

In my view it will be. We have taken advice on the matter, and I doubt very much if it will be necessary to have a larger number. We do not yet know how many appeals will have to be considered. I am not saying that we shall have that number for all time. It may be only one, or we might need four or five. We do not know. I am quite flexible about that. I want to get the machine going, and I give an undertaking that there will be no undue delay in considering the appeals.

Photo of Dr Maurice Miller Dr Maurice Miller , Glasgow Kelvingrove

Is my right hon. Friend saying that the people involved, if they are successful in appeals, will still come within the total numbers who will be admitted?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

Yes, Sir. If they establish their case they would naturally form part of the total quota. That must follow. They do not come in in addition to the normal quota. Otherwise I could consider all sorts of possibilities that might arise. But we can discuss this further at the Committee stage.

I now turn to the number. It has been widely reported and assumed that because 1,500 vouchers will be issued, 1,500 people a year will be coming here. That is not true. There will be 1,500 vouchers for heads of households. Every head of household can bring his entitled dependants—wife, children under the age of 16, aged parents. Probably—I can only make a guess—this means 6,000 to 7,000 people a year, and that is the rate at which immigration was flowing before we had the large upsurge beginning last summer.

In addition, there will be the entitled dependants of those already here who have not so far joined them; for example, all those who have come during the past year or two, especially the great influx during the last few months. The House must take this into account in considering the rate of absorption. In addition there will be bona fide residents, visitors and persons of independent means who will be admissible just as are persons from other parts of the Commonwealth.

On the allocation of the 1,500 vouchers for heads of households, I have consulted my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, and we have decided that the allocation shall be on a special basis and not on the lines of the existing scheme for the allocation of employment vouchers for the rest of the Commonwealth. We are dealing with a very different situation in East Africa, and the existing system of Category A and B employment vouchers, administered by the Ministry of Labour and related to the employment needs of this country, is clearly not appropriate.

Accordingly, these vouchers will be allocated on the basis of special and flexible criteria. The objective of the legislation is to regulate the flow of these people to the United Kingdom—that is, to form an orderly queue—and in view of this we have decided that the allocation of these vouchers is best made on the spot by the High Commissioners in the countries concerned, who will keep closely in touch with the changing situation and will best be able to assess priorities in terms of human needs.

In determining the priorities between applications for vouchers, the High Commissioners will take fully into account the personal circumstances of the applicant and his family and also their status under the law of the country from which they seek to emigrate. We hope that in this way we shall be able to operate the system with the greatest flexibility and that it will prove to be responsive to the needs of those concerned. The rules for the admission to this country of the dependants of those who receive vouchers will be as they are at present.

Photo of Mr John Mackintosh Mr John Mackintosh , Berwickshire and East Lothian

Before my right hon. Friend leaves the point about the total number of absorptions in this country, may I ask how he explains to Mr. Ian Smith that a community of 45 million people can only absorb 6,000 a year when we are asking the white Rhodesians to have a multi-racial society and admit far greater numbers to equal citizenship? How can we maintain such a stand now?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

I do not think that my hon. Friend is either statistically or factually correct. There are not 6,000 people coming to this country every year. Far more than that come from many parts of the Commonwealth. Something like 50.000, or 60,000 or 70,000 come in each year and the argument that we are not creating a multi-racial society within our own country is quite irrelevant to what we are discussing—how many we should admit to our country. I propose now to come to the matter of a multi-racial society because Parliament cannot just leave this at the negative point of denying admission or controlling immigration. We must say something about the arrangements for the reception of the immigrants.

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

My right hon. Friend says that 1,500 vouchers are allocated on the basis of need. Suppose, on the basis of any normal human considerations, the need for vouchers for these Kenya Asians is more than 1,500. Does he propose to raise that number, or will he leave it as it is?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Treasurer, Labour Party

We must be flexible in our approach to this problem. It is not helpful to try to anticipate a situation which has not arisen and which I trust, with the co-operation of others, will not arise in this matter. I look and hope for co-operation in this matter, but the Government's approach must be flexible in regard to the number of vouchers issued. We should not, of course, issue 1,500 vouchers immediately. They would be related to need and distributed over a period of time within the next 12 months.

Perhaps now I can finally come to the important question of the immigrants who arrive in this country, because I am not sure that the House is fully aware of what is happening or what is being done. A number of voluntary bodies are playing a very full part in helping with the settlement of those arriving, and I thank them for their hard work and the efforts they are making in this very necessary task. I propose to meet some of them and ask them to continue their efforts. What they are doing through their efforts is making special provision for the arrival of citizens whose language and customs differ entirely from those of the rest of the community.

The Government have a dual responsibility. The first is to establish the conditions under which people arrive. The second is the Government's responsibility for these people during the settling-in period, especially in relation to the needs of the areas where they wish to go. We all understand, and we have heard and seen, the great strain placed on local services in the areas where these new immigrants settle. Over two years ago, the Government announced their intention of giving special financial help towards expenditure in these areas.

This help is over and above the grants that are given in respect of services such as schools. Local authorities in such areas are able to claim the cost of engaging extra staff where they are needed to undertake exceptional commitments in order to ease pressures on the social services which arise from the differences in language and cultural background and to deal with problems of transition and adjustment.

For example, the grant is payable—and I want to emphasise this so that the House and those local authorities who may not be aware of the position understand it—to local authorities which have to engage interpreters, specially appointed teachers, ancillary helpers in schools, staff employed in local authority children's homes, health visitors in respect of visits to immigrant families in excess of the norm for the community as a whole, and public health inspectors for visits to multi-occupied houses. I give this as an illustration of the way in which the Government are making finance available to the local authorities.

The general rule under which the Government are operating is that authorities with more than 2 per cent. immigrants in their area have a prima facie claim for grant. So far, 57 authorities have submitted claims in respect of expenditure totalling over£ 3 million. The grant is limited to 50 per cent. of the approved expenditure and I make it clear that the Government will continue to watch this situation in a positive manner as it develops in order to assist with the integration of immigrants into the community.

There is one further and vital point in relation to our attitude. I have said before that it is not proper to isolate one aspect of this difficult problem and to treat it separately from the rest. It is essential to consider this matter in relation to the rest of the Government's programme and policy—indeed, of Parliament's policy as a whole. I have emphasised before and do so again that it is essential that, after our immigrants arrive, they should be treated in every way as equal before the law, and it is to fulfil this principle that the Government intend to introduce within the next six weeks, a Bill that will define racial equality in this country in a number of important issues, especially in the vital areas of jobs and homes. In this way, by having a fair and balanced policy, I believe that we shall be able to fulfil the obligations that all of us feel towards these new citizens who have come among us and to help to avert the tensions that racial disharmony would result in.

I regret the need for this Bill. I repudiate emphatically the suggestion that it is racialist in origin or conception or in the manner in which it is being carried out. In the light of what I have said, in the light of the full policy the Government are pursuing, which tries to do justice as between citizens overseas and citizens in this country and to those citizens overseas when they come here, I commend the Bill to the House.

4.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

No one who has listened to the Home Secretary would or could doubt the sincerity of every word he spoke. He began by saying that this had been a difficult decision for him and for the Cabinet to take, and I do not think anyone will doubt that that is true. Perhaps the House will also not doubt that we on this side make no pretence of finding things easy or obvious in this difficult and explosive matter. It is clearly my duty to explain, as objectively as I can, the views held on this side of the House, but above all, because I do not wish to take refuge behind any of my hon. or right hon. Friends, to express my own feelings, which I hope the House will take as sincere.

Since I have been speaking of home affairs on this side of the House, I have tried to achieve two main objects. The first was to take any emotional steam out of the subject that I could, not because I do not care, but precisely because I know that people care so much. I belong to a very quarrelsome race, the Irish, and I suspect that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has some Irish blood in him too. This teaches me, as perhaps it does not some of my more purely English compatriots, that a careless word sometimes leads to bloodshed. Therefore let us be as objective and calm as possible, not because these things do not matter, but precisely because they matter so much.

My second main objective has been, as I suspect it has been the objective of every hon. Member on either side of the House, to assist in building at home a homogeneous society of which all of us can be proud, and which will command the allegiance of everyone dwelling within it. We desire no second-class citizens, we desire no race discrimination, we desire no dilapidated areas, housing different communities from the majority. It is precisely because all of us desire to see that in this country—and speaking for home affairs, it must be my overriding interest—that one needs to approach this question with very great care, although no one can approach it happily.

We spoke of this when things were in a much more relaxed state last November on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. I venture to remind the House of what we said then, precisely because the situation was then more relaxed. I remember saying that we had achieved over the last two or three years, not more, a bi-partisan approach to this problem, based upon two propositions which were repeatedly affirmed on both sides of the House on that occasion. The first was that we should keep a tight control on immigration and the second that we should treat persons lawfully in this country on the basis of absolute equality.

It is through no fault of ours at all that I can see, nothing that we have done wrong, nothing that the right hon. Gentleman has done wrong, that this bi-partisan approach has come to be jeopardised by new problems which we were already foreseeing when we spoke about it, but which had not then assumed their acute importance. On that occasion, and it is there to be seen, I urged the then Home Secretary to look at and to act to deal with four main problems. There was the problem of illegal immigration, the 24-hour rule, which was manifestly absurd, and the question of the importation of children, sometimes without their mothers, at approximately school leaving age.

There was also what I ventured then to call the Sword of Damocles, that was the phrase I used to describe a situation in which: All over the world, and particularly in East Africa, there are people of various origins, some with and some without roots in this country. They can, I understand, come to this country otherwise than under the Act. They have an absolute right of entry because they have, for historical reasons of one sort or another, a British passport. Quite obviously, like the customers of a bank, if they all entered and asked the bank for payment of their outstanding balance at the same time, they would cause a run on the bank."—[OFFICIAL RFPORT, 15th November, 1967; Vol. 754, c. 448.] I do not think that it is our fault that this has happened. We have to deal with the situation whether it is our fault or not. I do not conceal from the House the fact that I view the idea of devaluing a British passport with the utmost abhorrence. Although I do not wish to enter into a dispute as to what assurances, if any, were given in 1963, I have always regarded the tenure of a British passport as something of which people can be proud and can be sure. I do not think that anyone would feel otherwise about it.

I must say this. After anxious thought my own feeling is that the Government have been right to legislate. I could not honourably say otherwise after making the speech that I did, which I have sought to describe. If they are to legislate at all, then I am sure it is right for them to legislate quickly. This is because, and I say this sadly, and I hope sincerely, if the events to which I drew the analogy took place, and there is a run on the bank, what does an honest man do? Does he go on trading, hoping that the run will not be too much? If so, he is straight on the way to the Old Bailey. He will undoubtedly find that sooner or later he will be caught out and will do an injustice to the very people whom he wants to protect. The first thing that he does is to take control of the situation and then if he finds that he can relax that control—and this happened at the beginning of the two great wars that I have lived through—he relaxes the control to the extent that he finds it humanly and humanely possible to do so.

I do not want to waste a great deal of time arguing about the number of details on the Bill. We shall have an opportunity tomorrow to put Committee points. If one comes to the conclusion that I have come to, which is that we cannot honestly remain at risk, on the numbers which the right hon. Gentleman has given us, even though we may believe as I believe, and hope as I hope, that they will not all wish to come—and I am told that the Asian community in Kenya estimates actual arrivals at something infinitely less than the total possibility—then it is my honest conviction that we must act to take control of the situation, rather than to remain at risk, with an open-ended commitment.

I say nothing at all about the extent to which control will be required. It is a great mistake to think that consciences exist on one side of the House and not on the other. On both sides of the House, and both sides of the question, consciences are deeply stirred by these issues. It must be recognised that those who want to take control are every bit as conscientious as those who do not.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

I do not want to introduce any polemics into this, because I greatly appreciated the quality of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech last autumn. However, would he not agree that it is a matter of capital importance that at this stage of the debate we must carefully establish, whatever view we take of the Bill, what kind of undertaking the previous Administration gave to the Asians in Kenya when they were in office?

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

That is very fair, and I shall give to the House what little help I can, but no doubt there are other hon. Members, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), better qualified to deal with that aspect than I am. I was concerned with different aspects of policy, although I do not shirk whatever degree of responsibility my membership of that Cabinet involves.

Following a slightly personal line, may I try to develop how I see the situation arising. The point of departure which I would take is the British Nationality Act, 1948. That is where it started. I well remember the debate on that occasion when Commonwealth citizenship and citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies were introduced in place of the pre-existing situation. Of all the Prime Ministers whom I have known, the most friendly outside the actual polemics of party politics, was Mr. Attlee. I remember him teasing me outside the Chamber about being a member of a great imperial party when he was creating this wonderful new citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and my replying, "Well, there must be some emotional unity as well as a legal unity to create a citizenship."

But the point about that conversation that I remember most clearly today was that neither he nor I had the smallest conception in 1948 of what we now call the immigration problem. How could we? We thought that there would be free trade in citizens, that people would come and go, and that there would not be much of an overall balance in one direction or the other. I can remember Mr. Bevin saying his characteristically vigorous but slightly ungrammatical way, "My idea of a foreign policy is to buy a ticket at Victoria Station and go where the hell I like." We all thought that in those days. It was a fine statement of British idealism in a slightly concrete form. It was not until much later that we came to realise that, if we have a standard of life in this country which is much greater than that commonly experienced in the rest of the world, particularly in the Commonwealth, we need to have only an unrestricted right of entry and it will act as a magnet to which people will come because they are poor, because they are frightened or because they are persecuted. Although one would like to welcome them with open arms, irrespective of race or colour, there comes a point at which one must say that this country is not manifestly under-populated and that we must try and control our own social problems.

So there came the 1962 Act, which is the next great milestone along this road. I remember with the utmost poignancy the anxious discussions that we had in the Government. At that time, the Commonwealth passport gave an unrestricted right of entry, and the passport of the British subject who was a subject of the United Kingdom and the Colonies also gave an unrestricted right of entry whether it was issued in Gibraltar by the Governor, in Mauritius or in Fiji, or issued by the British High Commissioner in Australia, India or any of the independent territories. We went through all the agonies and qualms of conscience which we are going through today, because we devalued the British passport then and we hated doing it. It may be that some think now that we did it too late. We have often been accused of doing it too late, but, like the right hon. Gentleman, we delayed until we felt there was no other course.

To anyone whose conscience in the matter lies on the other side to mine, I would only say, "If you intend to vote against this Bill on conscientious grounds, make sure that you endure to the bitter end. Make sure that you are prepared to face the ultimate consequences, because, if you legislate too late, getting over your scruples when most of the situation that you wish to avoid has happened already, you will get an element of the worst of both worlds, and that is not an honest thing to do".

That is the experience through which I have lived and, although I cannot tell the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) exactly what happened at the next stage or what assurance was given, I do know what happened then, because then came the independence of Kenya. I do not say a word of reproach on the other side of the fence, but I would say this in confirmation of what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

The right hon. Gentleman soon intends to legislate in this House to prevent discrimination in employment between lawful residents of the country of different colours. I heard Mr. Tom Mboya on the wireless recently claiming that it was lawful to discriminate between residents of a country if they were of a different nationality from one's own. I ask myself, when does discrimination become respectable? The answer appears to be when it is called Nationalism and is done by someone else against a third party's race. I ask myself what we have done wrong and why the right hon. Gentleman should be accused of being a racialist, when all that he is trying to do is to cope with a situation which he did not create.

Photo of Mr Stanley Henig Mr Stanley Henig , Lancaster

There is one point in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument which I have not followed. He mentioned the fact that Mr. Mboya is passing legislation to discriminate against certain people, and it appears from his argument that he is saying that, because they are being discriminated against in Kenya, we should keep them out. But where are those people to go? What is to become of them?

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

Clearly, the hon. Gentleman is not following me. I was not making that point. I said that we were trying honestly to deal with a situation which was not of our making and that, if accusations of racialism or discrimination could be made against anyone, it was not against us.

I want to go on from there, because I am certain in my heart that, if we were threatened suddenly with a potential influx of 1 million Scandinavians, Italians or French, even if we thought that the majority would not come, we should not be called racialists if we sought to control the situation.

The right hon. Gentleman was quite right. At the moment, we are letting in and treating increasingly as equals a very large number of people of the very races who are most affected by the Bill. It must be added that a number of people of unblemished white descent will be covered by its provisions. There are plenty of white inhabitants of Kenya whose grandfathers were not born in the United Kingdom. Then there are naturalised people. I do not want to give a confidence away but, before I began my speech, I was stopped by one of my hon. Friends who asked me to make the point that there were hundreds of people caught by the Bill who come into the category that I have just mentioned. If their grandfathers were born in Australia or South Africa, they come under the Bill.

This is not a racial Bill. Before we begin talking passionately about the racial issue, let me say that I have read in the Press what was said about the preference given in the Bill to those whose grandfathers came from the United Kingdom.

What do we mean by discrimination? All the great nations of the earth have what the Jews call a Diaspora. The Jews have it, the British have it, the Irish have a Diaspora, the Chinese have an enormous Diaspora, so have the Arabs, the Indians and the Pakistanis.

I do not believe that it is racial discrimination in any offensive sense if one says to people in that relation to oneself that we recognise some special and residual obligation towards them when they come to our own country. It is not offensive to take this attitude. Any other would not be realistic.

I object to duality of standards. If the Lebanese can do it to the Lebanese who return from Brazil, we are entitled to do it to people who have this kind of relation with us. I do not see anything offensive in it.

Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman acknowledges that there are these differences: that this situation arose, in the first place, from the break-up of our own Empire; secondly, that it is a derogation of our own grant, and we are virtually making these people in Kenya stateless?

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

I agree with the first part up to a point, but not the second part. They are not stateless and it does them a bad service to suggest that they are. I am not making my argument with any kind of relish. I am asking the House to realise the consequences of the new situation in which we find ourselves and not necessarily to think it is unconscientious if we say in advance that we are only able to do what we can, but we will do our best.

Having said that, I want to endeavour to rehearse some of the thoughts which have gone on in the minds of my right hon. and hon. Friends. I found that there was almost universal dislike to devaluing the British passport. That I think we all share. I am sure that it meets with sympathy opposite. People thought that we had a special obligation to these particular Asians over and above those from any other Commonwealth country. Many of my right hon. and hon. Friends have felt that the 1,500 figure was a low one and they will have been glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman talk in terms of flexibility. Others would say that we make our situation unduly difficult—though I know what the Under-Secretary said to me three or four weeks ago—by counting as part of the total Commonwealth voucher system immigrants from Australia when we know that there is a net outflow of Australian citizens. When I say "Australia" I cover other countries where there is a net overflow irrespective of race.

I know, for instance, that my right hon. and hon. Friends are deeply concerned about the question of appeal. We were putting down, and shall put down, an Amendment on rather different terms from what the right hon. Gentleman told us this afternoon. We had determined on that course before we heard him. Therefore, I do not wish to condemn what he said without consideration. Equally I hope he will not condemn what we say. I was not as friendly towards the Roy Wilson suggestions as I think the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor was. I thought that questions of compassion and policy must ultimately be for the House and the Home Secretary. I do not like Ministers—I shall use a phrase which is not intended to be offensive, but may sound it—who try to get away from that responsibility by saying that they will always take the advice of somebody else. The idea of our Amendment was to be that there would be at this end, whatever one may do at the other end, some right of appeal to the courts on justiciable issues, not on issues which are not justiciable. I was hoping that this would be the basis if not of agreement, at any rate of amicable discussion.

I do not wish to take up the time of the House on what is obviously a difficult matter upon which many hon. Members desire to speak, but it will be apparent—

Photo of Mr Benjamin Whitaker Mr Benjamin Whitaker , Hampstead

The right hon. and learned Gentleman speaks of the problems caused by these immigrants. Would he agree that it is not the numbers of these immigrants, because there is a net deficit from this country, and there has been for some time? The problem is racial prejudice in this country which is unfortunately played up by some elements, but not by the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

I am grateful for those last words. I regard these as wholly distinct problems. The brain drain, the net deficit from this country, has to be looked at in different terms and judged by different criteria from the social problems we are discussing. If one were to accept, which I do not wholly, that there are a number of mass effects of prejudice against which most of us are prepared to struggle in one way or another, the hon. Gentleman must never forget that at its worst—and it can be very vile indeed—racial prejudice is often based on insecurity, and insecurity is largely the result of want of control, and want of control is precisely the thing which the Government are trying to get rid of by what admittedly is a measure which none of us like.

That leads me to plunge into my final sentence. It will be apparent from what I have said that, although there can be no question of an Opposition whipping in support of a controversial Government measure, I shall go into the Lobby with the right hon. Gentleman if this matter is pressed to a Division. If hon. Members are persuaded by my argument, I hope they will do so too.

5.17 p.m.

Photo of Mr Dingle Foot Mr Dingle Foot , Ipswich

Like the right hon. and learned Gentleman the anxious consideration to the Bill, but Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), all of us in this House have given some of my hon. Friends and I have come to precisely the opposite conclusion. It seems to us that the fundamental issue is a very simple one: are we now to tear up the obligations which we quite deliberately assumed in 1963, which we have recognised ever since, and upon which those concerned have relied?

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) the other day referred to a loophole in the law. There is not, and there never has been, anything which can properly be described as a loophole in the law. We are not dealing with a draftsman's error to be put right through subsequent legislation. In 1963 the Government knew perfectly well what they were doing. In this respect we can rely upon the testimony of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser).

But the matter does not end there, because Commonwealth immigration was again very carefully considered by the present Government in 1965. That was when they produced their White Paper setting out the number of immigrants who would normally be allowed to enter each year. At that time no one had any doubt about the position. In 1965 the Government knew perfectly well that once these people, with whom we are now concerned, had obtained British passports, they would have unconditional entry to this country. At that time the two years had not run out and it would still have been open to the Asians concerned in East Africa to opt for Kenyan citizenship as a matter of right. But they were given no warning whatsoever.

The position was accepted by the Government in 1965. Indeed, there were various communications between Her Majesty's High Commissioner in Nairobi, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, and leaders of the Asian Community. The position of both Europeans and Asians was discussed, particularly in relation to the British Nationality Act. It was made clear to the Asians that their position remained unchanged. That is the position on which they have relied, and have been entitled to rely, until Thursday of last week. What the House has to decide is: are we entitled to repudiate these obligations simply because their fulfilment has become more onerous than was at first contemplated?

I submit to the House that this is a most retrograde step in the sphere of international law. For the past 25 years one of the aims of our Government—the Coalition Government, Tory Governments, and Labour Governments—and, indeed, of the Governments of other countries, has been to make private right a matter of international obligation. When, in 1945, we drew up the Charter of the United Nations at San Francisco, we did not merely set up peace-keeping machinery. The aims went further than that.

If hon. Members will recall the Preamble, it includes these words: to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human persons, in equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. That was followed in 1948 by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 15 of which assures the right to nationality, a right which in these cases we are now in effect taking away. I recall what was said by a British judge at the International Court, Sir Hersch Lauterpacht, after the passage of the Universal Declaration. He said: The individual has been transformed from an object of international compassion into a subject of international right. Then there was the European Convention on Human Rights and the setting up of the Commission and Court at Strasbourg. In 1966 one of the achievements of the present Government was their acceptance of the two optional clauses in the Convention which provide for the right of petition to the Commission on Human Rights and the acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court. Only last summer, when I was a member of the Government, as one of the Law Officers of the Crown I went to Strasbourg to appear for the first time on behalf of the British Government in reply to two individual petitions. In 1963, just before they left office, the party opposite signed the fourth protocol to the European Convention. This provides, and it is extremely material to the Bill, that no one shall be deprived of the right to enter the territory of the State of which he is a national. This was intended to become international law. It has not become so yet, because there has not been a sufficient number of ratifications, but I want the House to understand that this was some- thing which we intended to be carried out. If we pass this Bill we never shall be able to ratify that protocol.

The conclusion which I draw is that in this year of all years, in Human Rights Year, we are not expanding human rights, but taking them away. We are taking away rights which were assured to the people concerned, and upon which they have always relied.

What will be the position of these immigrants, or would-be immigrants, if this Measure becomes law? They will remain technically citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. They will have the obligations which go with that status, but they will not enjoy the rights. They will still owe allegiance to the Crown. Let us suppose that one of them was to enter into a plot against the Crown in some other part of the Commonwealth. He would be liable to be tried and convicted in this country. This may be called a technicality, but it is a technicality on which a man was hanged only a few years ago. I am referring to the Joyce case. In that case the citizen betrayed the State. We are now asked to pass a Measure under which the State will betray the citizen.

Let us consider what the position of these people will be. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary referred to the million people who might be entitled to come here. But a great many of these people have dual nationality. They can choose on which nationality they will rely. They can, if they choose, remain in their countries of origin where they have the rights of citizenship. We are here dealing with people who have no rights of citizenship now in the country in which they live. They will not be able to come here if this Bill is passed. It may be that it will be impossible for them to maintain themselves, or earn their living and maintain their families, in the country in which they now are. In effect, we are creating a whole new class of stateless persons. We are transforming these British citizens into refugees, and the most pathetic kind of refugees, refugees with nowhere to go.

I think it was in 1963 that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister came to the Temple to address the Society of Labour Lawyers. I had the privilege of presiding over that meeting. My right hon. Friend said, among other things, The individual citizen must never be made to feel helpless before the great juggernaut of the modern State. Nobody will be quite so helpless as these Asian citizens if we pass this Bill.

I do not intend to keep the House for more than a moment longer. My right hon. Friend said that this was not racialist legislation. It may not be racialist in intention, but it will certainly be racialist in effect. Of course there will be the odd case such as that described by the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone of the European settler in Kenya, or in one of the East African countries, whose ancestry is not in this country. But in the great majority of cases the father or the grandfather will have been born here, and the effect of this legislation, inevitably, will be that the great majority of Europeans who have not elected for Kenya citizenship will be able to come here. The overwhelming majority of Asians will not.

It is for those reasons that I feel that I have no option but to vote against the Bill today, and to oppose it at every stage. I say this with the deepest regret. The Ministers on the Front Bench were my colleagues for three years. Nearly all of them are my personal friends. I have a very high regard for them all. Certainly not least for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Nevertheless I believe that now they are guilty of a tragic error.

In closing I remind my hon. Friends of what was said during the Second Reading of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill by Hugh Gaitskell. These were his closing words: Even so, I beg the Government now, at this last minute, to drop this miserable, shameful, shabby Bill. Let them think, consult and inquire before they deal another deadly blow at the Commonwealth."—OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 803.] This Bill is even more shameful, shabby, and miserable, and I ask the House to reject it.

5.29 p.m.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I support the Bill. I believe that it is necessary and right. In order not to take up too much of the time of the House, I shall confine my remarks to the main issue, namely, the proposal to restrict the right of entry into the United Kingdom of Asians from East Africa. All of us in all parts of the House, I am sure, feel sincere sympathy for the Asian community in Kenya, who are undoubtedly deeply worried about their future. We all regret the need for this Measure—[HON. MEMBERS: "Really."]—certainly—and no one more than I who was so closely concerned with the arrangements for Kenya's independence.

At the same time, I believe that most of us recognise that some action of this kind is now unavoidable. The purpose of the Bill is simply to give the Government power to deal with a situation which could otherwise quickly get out of control. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) said, this issue arouses strong emotions, to some extent conflicting emotions. But I believe that the most useful contribution which I can make to the debate is to address myself quite dispassionately to the three main questions which are everywhere being asked. First, are we constitutionally entitled to withdraw the right of entry? Second, did we pledge ourselves not to do so? Third, even if there was no pledge, is it morally right to do what is now proposed? I think the House will agree that I am facing up squarely to the issues.

I will deal first with the constitutional aspect. The Government are proposing to amend the Commonwealth Immigrants Act. No one will dispute the right of Parliament, which is sovereign, to amend its own laws. However, it has been said in the newspapers that there is no precedent for depriving citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies of their right to enter the United Kingdom. It is said that the Bill will devalue the British passport and will create two classes of United Kingdom citizens, those who have the right to enter the United Kingdom and those who have not.

There is, of course, nothing new about that. As my right hon. and learned Friend frankly admitted, that principle was established, rightly or wrongly, when Parliament passed the Commonwealth Immigrants Act in 1962—

Mr. S. John-Stevas:

Will my right hon. Friend allow me?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The House knows that I have been strongly criticised—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and I hope that they will allow me to deploy my argument without interruption—

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The hon. and learned Gentleman will no doubt have the opportunity to speak later.

What I have said, which is, I think, perfectly correct, is that there was nothing new about the principle of withdrawing the right of entry into the United Kingdom from United Kingdom citizens. That is a fact which I do not think anyone will dispute—

Photo of Hon. Sam Silkin Hon. Sam Silkin , Camberwell Dulwich

Mr. S. C. Silkin (Dulwich) rose

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

No, I will not give way.

That is an undeniable fact—

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

Mr. St. John-Stevas rose

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

No, I would be here all night if I gave way to all who wish to intervene—

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

The Commonwealth Immigrants Act covered Commonwealth citizens who had an alternative citizen-ship. It did not cover anyone with a British passport and no alternative citizenship. That is the difference.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

Of course it did not just deal with Commonwealth citizens outside. It deprived all those who lived in British Colonies all around the world—I see the Home Secretary nodding in agreement—of right to come to the United Kingdom except under the controls of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act—

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham


This fact is perfectly well known. The Commonwealth Secretary wrote me a letter, which was published in the newspapers, only a few days ago confirming this position. We should waste no more time on that.

Moreover, it is worth pointing out that Parliament, since 1962—that is to say, since the passing of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act—has already once extended the controls of that Act to persons who were originally exempted. I am referring to the Southern Rhodesia Order of 1965, which withdrew from Rhodesian holders of United Kingdom passports their previous right of unrestricted entry of Britain. I am dealing with the point that there is no precedent for doing what is now proposed.

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

Did you vote for that Order?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I wish now to deal with the suggestion that if we pass this Bill we shall be dishonouring a pledge given at the time of independence. For me, that is the crucial issue. It is said that, as Colonial Secretary, I gave an undertaking to the Asians in Kenya that they would always have the right to come to Britain. Put in more precise legal terms, it is alleged that I gave a promise that the British Parliament would never at any time or in any circumstances exercise its right to extend immigration control to United Kingdom citizens in Kenya. That is what it amounts to, if that pledge were given.

Apart from the fact that Ministers have no power to tie the hands of Parliament, I can assure the House that no such pledge was given, either in public or in private—

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

Just in legislation.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I am coming to the hon. Gentleman's point. Some people hold the view that the Kenya Independence Act in itself implied an undertaking to grant unrestricted entry to all holders of United Kingdom passports in Kenya—

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

With all respect to those now expressing this opinion, I believe that this interpretation is somewhat of an afterthought—

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

No, I asked you about it and this was in 1963.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

Does the right hon. Gentleman wish to intervene?

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

In answer to the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion that it is an afterthought, if he will look at the Second Reading debate on 22nd November, 1963, he will see that, since the Minister of State had not answered this partcular question when I asked him, I asked the right hon. Gentleman himself whether this meant free entry for Asians who either had United Kingdom passports or had not yet opted for Kenyan citizenship. The right hon. Gentleman said that that was a question of which he had not been given notice: in other words, that he did not know the answer.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I have here the reference to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, and if he will look at it he will sec that I was referring to quite another matter—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—I was. I am not going to waste the time of the House on this. The reference is col. 1394 of HANSARD on 22nd November, 1963. I was dealing with the question, as is clear from the Report, of the right of European citizens in Kenya who had taken out Kenyan citizenship to reacquire British citizenship if they subsequently left Kenya—

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

That is not what the question was about.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The right hon. Gentleman asked: Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with the point about immigration? Do I take it that they"— that is, I presume, the people to whom I had just referred— would still be subject to the operation of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act… "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1963; Vol. 684, c. 1394.] If there was any misunderstanding about the right hon. Gentleman's question, nobody can say that I gave an assurance—

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

What about my question?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The right hon. Gentleman's question is not the relevant point. The question is whether I gave an assurance to the House which could be interpreted in any way as a pledge, as is now suggested.

It is being said that the nationality provisions in the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, when that Measure came before the House, were put in for the express purpose—this has already been said by the right hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Sir Dingle Foot)—of enabling the Asians in Kenya to come to Britain if at any time they wished to leave their country. That is just not correct. Those provisions were common form to all recent independence Measures and were not inspired by any political motive or by any anxieties about possible future developments in Kenya.

It is being said that we conferred United Kingdom citizenship on the Asians and that we are now taking it away. The fact is, of course, that at the time of independence most of them—in fact, all of them at that time—already possessed United Kingdom citizenship but without the right of free entry into Britain, since they were subject to the controls of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

Mr. Thorpe indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The right hon. Gentleman must do his homework before holding up the House. I hope that he will have an opportunity later to express his views, but I assure him that he has got his facts wrong.

The Kenya Independence Act merely assured them that the United Kingdom citizenship which they possessed would not be taken away unless they acquired Kenya citizenship. The Act did not affect their position under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act one way or the other. The liability to immigrantion control was determined by the kind of passport which was subsequently issued to them. That was the legal position.

In this connection, I think it worth noting that the coastal strip, including Mombasa where a substantial section of the Asian community lives, was part of the dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar right up to the moment of Kenya's independence. Before then, the inhabitants of that area were for the most part subjects of the Sultan and "British Protected Persons." Thus they did not—and this is most important—before independence possess United Kingdom citizenship; and the Kenya Independence Act did not confer United Kingdom citizenship upon them. It preserved their status as it was, no better and no worse. In other words, they remained British protected persons without any right of entry into Britain, and that is their position today. This was made clear to the House during the passage of the Kenya Independence Bill.

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

Is there any other group of ex-British colonial subjects who are in a similar position? These are 130,000 people with only one citizenship and not dual citizenship, with only one passport, and they are being denied entry. Is there any similar category?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I gave way to the hon. Gentleman because I though that he wished to intervene on the question of the coastal strip and the status of British Protected Persons, which is an important point. I wish to develop this point. I mention it because it provides further proof that the nationality provisions in the Kenya Independence Act were not designed to provide a special right of entry into Britain for the Asians in Kenya. If that had been the intention, the Asians on the coast would obviously have been accorded the same privileges as the Asians living in other parts of Kenya.

While I firmly deny the suggestion that any pledge was given, I recognise that there is a wider issue to be faced. We must also consider whether, even if there was no pledge, we have a moral duty to allow the Asians of Kenya to come here in unlimited numbers. There can be no doubt that they have considerable anxieties about their prospects. It is too soon now for us to decide how far those anxieties are justified.

Their future depends almost entirely on the policy which may be adopted by the Kenya Government. I appreciate that hon. Members in all parts of the House have misgivings and anxieties about the policy of Kenyanisation. It must however be made clear, in fairness to President Kenyatta, that he has always emphasised that Kenyanisation is not the same as Africanisation, although I agree with those who say that it is an extremely restrictive policy.

Whatever changes there may be in the policy of the Kenya Government, we must face the fact that in the end there may still be many Asians who, for one reason or another, will wish to leave Kenya. The question is: where should they go? My conclusion, after much thought, is that it is not reasonable to expect us to open our doors to a vast number of people who have no direct connection with Britain and who do not in any way belong here.

Several Hon. Members:

Several Hon. Members rose

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I consider that, if they wish to leave Kenya, they should return to their countries of origin—[HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"]—India and Pakistan, which certainly would not refuse them admission.

As the Home Secretary explained, there are very large numbers of people outside Africa who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and who hold, or are entitled to obtain, passports which. would give them a right of entry into Britain. These people include about 1 million Chinese in Malaysia and about 40,000 people in the West Indies. As the Home Secretary knows, I have been aware of these figures for some time. In order not to cause excitement—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—I have been aware of these astronomic figures for quite a long time—and for the reasons I have given, and the Home Secretary knows them, I have refrained from quoting them in public.

What is more, we must bear in mind the problem which will arise when our other remaining Colonies become independent. It would, I suggest, be very difficult to refuse similar rights of entry to racial minorities in, say, Mauritius or Fiji. What would we do when our lease of the mainland territories in Hong Kong expires, or when Hong Kong as a whole becomes independent? This could easily lead to a massive exodus of Chinese refugees from that area. It is obvious that we could not contemplate receiving them all here. [HON. MEMBERS: "What do you contemplate?"]

We have to face the fact—and this is one of the inevitable consequences of the process of dismantling an empire—that once we have granted independence to a Colony we are no longer in a position to look after the interests of its inhabitants as we did before. It is just a fact. Having given liberal constitutions to the new nations, we have to trust the successor Government to fulfil their obligations. All too many Commonwealth countries have torn up the constitutions we gave them. [An HON. MEMBER: "You are tearing up ours."] But Kenya is not one of these. Her Government have shown a sense of responsibility and moderation. There is, therefore, every reason to hope that now that this problem has arisen in an acute form they will do their utmost to find a just solution. [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

So far I have considered our legal and moral obligations towards the Asians in Kenya. But a British Government have a first obligation towards the British in Britain. The continuing influx of immigrants in recent years has created considerable tension, and as the numbers go up the tension increases. Faced with this situation, it is our clear duty in the interests of all, and not least in the interests of the immigrants themselves, to prevent the growth of an unmanageable problem.

5.53 p.m.

Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West

At the end of the day I shall be in the same Lobby as the right hon, Gentleman, but I wish I were in better company. Everybody who speaks has a right to be believed, and undoubtedly the hon. Gentleman spoke the truth as he sees it, but he will have to reconcile many of the things he said with his right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod). In view of the things he has said, if the hon. Gentleman is speaking the truth he has been the subject of a most malicious campaign against him.

Punch this week referred to Duncan Sandys wanting Britain to welsh on promises given to the Kenyans in 1963. It said that after all it was his promise. That is the opinion that is general outside this House. The right hon. Gentleman, of course, has recourse in the courts against a statement such as that.

The right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Duncan Sandys) and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Sir Dingle Foot) dealt more with the legal aspects of this case, with which I do not want to quarrel. I speak with as much sincerity as they did on the practical implications of this Bill. Nothing that appears in the Press causes much surprise these days, but a week or 10 days ago there was a terrific campaign in the Press accompanied by photographs, and on television, of the hoards of Asians coming into this country at an alarming rate. Many simple-minded folk, particularly in the constituencies affected, might have had reasonable cause for alarm. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman may say this afternoon, his speech and that of his right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) stimulated that apprehension and alarm.

I know what he has said this afternoon. He warned the previous Home Secretary a long time ago, and he has remained silent. If that is so this Government cannot be accused of approaching this matter with great haste. What is apparent to the hon. Gentleman must have been blazing daylight clear to the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. Nobody would suggest that he is duller in comprehension than the hon. Gentleman, so he must have known this, and the Government, as the Home Secretary has said, must have been negotiating all this time. It would have been better if we had maintained the basis on which we could negotiate. I deplore the speech made by Tom Mboya. The emerging African nations are far too nationalistic. The curse of the twentieth century was not as Karl Marx imagined it, but the nation State. The nation State and its mentality is now beginning to affect the whole of Africa.

The fact is that this island cannot afford to assimilate, at the speed we have seen, people from other parts of the world. The facts of life, apart from the academic argument and the forensic fancy points, are to be seen in the Midlands in the constituency of Wolverhampton, which has been referred to. Nobody would accuse my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renée Short) of being intolerant in this way, but it is remarkable when she finds herself so close in opinion to her Conservative colleague for that borough. This fact is seen in Wolverhampton. Though this is riot particularly the case in my constituency of Leeds it has affected Bradford which is nearby.

The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) used the analogy of a call on the bank, everybody taking out at the same time, but, as any lawyer will agree, when one caters for the rights of minorities under administration one does so on the assumption that only a minority of that minority will use it. This is seen in the Education Act, where parents, theoretically, can opt for the school of their choice for their child. In fact they cannot do so, because if too many people took advantage of that it would make nonsense of the education system.

The other point is that a large number of my colleagues have espoused the cause whether we ought not to pull in from the Empire, from the far ends of the earth, and come home. I suggest that this country cannot take upon itself the whole legacy of the Empire. Of course it is a question of colour, and indeed hon. Gentlemen would not have taken this line had it been Rhodesia. Imagine hypothetical circumstances in which Mr. Ian Smith was overthrown and was a fugitive. Of course, this country would have opened its gates to the lot of them and there would not have been a squeak, rebels though they may have been. That is the species of hypocrisy at the root of the Conservative Party.

I would face up to that, because we must consider the ethnic groups which come within these islands and the fact that their whole way of life is entirely different from ours. It is said that ' Across the world' there may be as many as 1 million people holding passports as ' citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies'". My hon. Friends have tended to think that this was an exaggeration and rather a caricature of an argument. It is estimated that in Uganda there are 30,000 Asians and in Kenya 100,000 Asians holding British passports, and that in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania combined there are 230,000. One never knows whether the nationalistic feeling and the demand for Africanisation will sweep through all these places to the detriment of minorities.

I was in Ghana and the three regions of Nigeria in 1956. I had conversations with Nkrumah and people now dead who were in command, if that is the word, in Nigeria. One knows what has swept across that country. This House should long ago have debated the present position in Nigeria, but it has not done so. This sort of nationalistic instability is sweeping across the continent. Nobody can say that the Prime Minister of Northern Nigeria was not slain on racial grounds. Of course he was. Nationalism is rampant there.

If I may be the devil's advocate for a moment, one of the great difficulties of the Left of the Labour Party in dealing with Rhodesia is that the Rhodesians have seen such a degree of instability all around them, such as the trouble in the Congo, and it has blurred the argument and strengthened their case. Do not let us suggest that this is a farcical argument, because it is not. My trade union had to get rid of 19,000 members in South Africa simply because they embraced the philosophy of South Africa which was not in tune with that of my own trade union, which goes back to the eighteenth century. It may be a sort of apartheid.

These are difficult matters, because they have given a colour to the whole of Africa. If we want to find reasons for the actions of the President of Kenya, we might consider his feelings during his incarceration many years ago and the Mau Mau atrocities. Yet we still delude ourselves that we can export something like the Westminster pattern of democracy to these places.

Bringing the matter nearer home, it is often said, with some truth, that colour prejudice is a working-class vice. It has to be because these people come to working-class places. When the immigrant is a labourer, there is not much said as long as nobody else wants to do the job. There is not much said when he is a bus conductor, and nobody else wants to do the job. Make him a bus inspector, and what happens at Oxford? This concerns a company of which my brother used to be general manager and which I know well. Let us face the fact before we cast stones that there is not one coloured bus inspector on London Transport, and everybody knows why. Speaking as a member of the A.E.U., I have yet to see a coloured man as a shop steward, let alone a foreman.

We have had enough trouble in this country concerning the craft unions and not allowing a person to go above being semi-skilled and becoming fully skilled. It is usually when the immigrant impinges on working-class standards that there is so much intolerance in the working class. If a coloured person has addressed a university seminar or if a student has come over here from the professions, he is treated with the greatest courtesy. Any amount of them come here, and within a year or two they become "blue blazer and brass button" boys. They become lionised by people who want to give the impression that they are liberal-minded. I am afraid that we must have better tests than that.

May I ask in all humility of all those who will vote against the Bill how much entertaining of coloured people they have done in their homes. How much hospitality have they given? How much of a hand have they held out to them? I am not even speaking of immigrants of the social classes walking round the Midland cities today. We know that this matter is very deep-seated indeed. Quite recently, a house near to where I live was up for sale, and the degree of apprehension in the neighbourhood had to be sensed to be believed. The working-class people of this country see the immigrants, however ignorantly, as an increased pressure on housing, schools and the Health Service and additions to the unemployment figure of 600,000. The situation may very well get worse.

A friend of mine who is probably one of the greatest campaigners for equal rights in the United States, Martha Ragland, recently gave a lecture. I should like to quote something which she said which will come home to this country, although we should transpose the words: Most negroes see very little difference in their lives. They still attend criminally inferior schools (and largely still segregated). Negroes are not competing for traditional 'white' jobs—… the negro unemployment rate is twice that for whites and the teenage rate is four times that of whites, and most employment is in menial, low-pay jobs as always. The lily-white suburbs are thriving, with much federal subsidy. The black ghettoes in our inner cities are contained and festering. Negro housing is a national disgrace, and white America is making it clear that they prefer this to having 'them' live next door. Rural negroes live lives of bleak despair". Then she says this: Why is this—after all we thought we had done to redress injustice? I think that basically the answer is that legal action unsupported by a genuine commitment of the people will never build a truly democratic society". I say from personal experience that we will never understand coloured people unless we have loved at least one of them. This is something which is settled on a personal level. In exactly the same way as we choose our friends as white people, at the end of the day we have to choose individuals among the coloured people.

I realise there are others who wish to speak—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear.")—I am sorry about it, but I feel as strongly as anyone, and I do not want all virtue to be thought to be on the side of those who will go into the Lobby against the Bill.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Dick Crawshaw Lieut-Colonel Dick Crawshaw , Liverpool Toxteth

I have listened with interest to the last part of my right hon. Friend's speech, which impressed me considerably. Should he not have left out the first part and said quite bluntly that there is racial prejudice in this country and, therefore, he feels that he ought to support the Bill because of that?

Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West

No one who knew me rather better than my hon. Friend does would suggest that I should make a speech in the way he wanted it.

This is not the Bill which will settle the matter. The real test of feeling will come when we have the Race Relations Bill a little late, when we decide how we are to deal with the people who are already here, when we have to face up to questions of housing accommodation and all the rest. My plea is that we had better behave rather better to the people already here before we take on this extra-commitment. The strain is far too great at one time. We shall have a sort of civic indigestion if we try to digest all this lot at one time. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, who is as humane as any right hon. or hon. Member and who, as Member for one of the Cardiff constituencies, has seen as much of it as anyone here, spoke of a queue of people and of bringing them in at a level at which we can reasonably absorb them. This is what I am concerned about today.

There must be any number of immigrants already in this country, striving to make a living and trying to get better housing, who will be rather grateful at the end of the day for the passage of this Bill. It will help to prevent their chances being stopped when the time comes. Let us see that we behave properly to those who have been fellow citizens of ours for some years, and then take people in as humanely as we can.

In 1966, the Leader of the Opposition—if I may say so, his conduct was exemplary at that period, in the light of what had happened in 1964—took a good stand. As I understood his stand was that we should let people in at a rate at which we could absorb them but that, once here, they should have complete equality before the law. I am not satisfied that all my colleagues, on either side of the House, see the matter completely in that way. A good many of us ought to get a great deal of personal guilt out of our own minds before we take on this other liability, which, I believe, could ruin a great deal which has already been done and is still being done.

6.12 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I begin by referring to the discussion which has taken place about the legal situation under the Kenya Independence Act, 1963. As I said earlier, I take issue with the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) and with the Home Secretary on one point which they both made, that the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962, removed the right of free entry into this country of people of the Asian and African communities in Kenya. This is just not so. It was the amendment in 1965 to the 1962 Act which did that.

The Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962, did not apply to a person born in the United Kingdom or a person who held a United Kingdom passport and was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Up to the Independence Act of 1963, people in Kenya were issued with passports bearing the designation. "British subject—citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies". It so happened that, when I became old enough to acquire a passport, I was living in Kenya, and I was issued with that sort of passport. I held it for 10 years till it expired. There is no question that, right up to 1963, those passports carried the full rights of British citizenship, and it was only in 1965, with the amendment, that the rights of people living in the Colonies were made subject to the Commonwealth immigrants legislation.

In 1963, we were negotiating independence for Kenya. The Government of the day decided to give the Asian community a choice. They said, "For two years, you will have an option; you can either opt to become a citizen of Kenya or you can retain your British nationality status, with all the rights which that involves". If it was the intention of the right hon. Member for Streatham to withdraw the right of free entry from the Asian, African and the European populations—the African population were automatically Kenya citizens—it should have been made clear beyond doubt in the 1963 Act that these rights of citizenship were being withdrawn.

During the debate on the Second Reading of the Kenya Independence Bill, my right hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) intervened in the opening speech of the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, then the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby), to ask: If a Kenyan is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and has not yet decided to opt to become a Kenya citizen in the interregnum, do I take it that he is subject to the Immigration Act unless his passport has been issued in this country, or is he allowed free access? The direct question was thus put to the Minister in charge of the Bill. His reply was: If the hon. Member will allow me, I shall leave points about immigration and others which might come up at this stage because otherwise I might get involved in a rather lengthy argument covering other aspects."—(OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1963; Vol. 684, c. 1332– 3.] In other words, there was no answer. At the end of the debate, when the right hon. Member for Streatham was winding up for the Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Devon. North asked the same question: Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with the point about immigration? Do I take it that they would still be subject to the operation of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act unless their passports had been issued to them from within this country? The right hon. Gentleman replied: I should like notice of that question, but, with reservations lest I make a mistake, I would think, once they have acquired a Commonwealth citizenship and have given up their United Kingdom citizenship, they would be treated as citizens of the Commonwealth countries to which they belong. That is true, there being the option to take Kenya citizenship. The right hon. Gentleman went on: But they may for a period still have United Kingdom citizenship before they opt for Commonwealth citizenship."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1963; Vol. 684, c. 1394.] The right hon. Gentleman did not answer the question about what happened to those who did not exercise the option at that time.

My case is that there was a clear obligation on us in 1963 to say, if we meant it, that we were withdrawing rights of free entry into this country, and the fact that we did not say it meant that these rights were retained, as they have been retained in practice right up to the time when this Bill came before the House. That was the position in 1963, and it is the position now.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The whole of what the hon. Gentleman says is based on the assumption that, before independence, there was a right of free and unrestricted entry accorded to all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies in Kenya. For all the people of Kenya, unless they were foreigners, held United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship.

The hon. Gentleman is totally wrong in his facts. This is not just my view about it. The matter was raised in a controversy in the newspapers only the other day. I shall, if I may, read one sentence from a letter published in a newspaper which the Commonwealth Secretary addressed to me: The Commonwealth Immigrants Act applied before Kenya's independence to the citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who derived their citizenship from Kenya. That is absolutely clear, and it is exactly the opposite of what the hon. Gentleman is saying.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I do not know what those words mean. I maintain that the Home Secretary made the same mistake today.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

Everyone is wrong except the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I am dealing with the Queen's English—that the Act does not apply to a person who holds a United Kingdom passport and is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies". I produce my passport to prove that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read on."] We shall have to agree that we differ about this. All I am saying is that in 1963 we should have made it clear if we intended that their option was not a real option and that they would not have British citizenship status if they did not opt in favour of Kenya citizenship status. That is my point. We never made that clear.

Now that the two-year period has expired and a number of people have decided to retain the status of "British citizen", we are saying in the Bill, "Having given you the option, we are now taking away the choice which you decided to make at that time". That is what I regard as indefensible as the basis for this legislation.

One must refer to the recent reasons for the flood of immigrants to this country from Kenya. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) did not intend to suggest, although some have interpreted his speech as saying, that there was racial legislation in Kenya. I dare say that in Kenya, as elsewhere, there is an element of racial feeling and discrimination, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman will, I think, accept that the legislation recently introduced by the Kenya Government distinguishes between citizens and non-citizens. It applies to citizens whether they be of European, Asian or African descent. The whole of the legislation about work permits and the rest applies to the distinction between a citizen and a non-citizen. Legislation of that kind is not unusual. We do it in this country. We distinguish between aliens and our own people in terms of employment and other things.

I would be the first to make a plea to the Kenya Government to slow up the process of Kenyanisation, but nobody can dispute their right to give priority in terms of home employment to their own citizens, because all countries do this.

I believe, however, that the principal reason for the recent flood of Asian immigrants in the last two or three months is the fears which were raised in Kenya about the possibility that Kenyans would be stopped from coming to this country. Those fears were raised—I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has left—substantially by the right hon. Member for Streatham when, particularly in December, he announced that he intended to introduce, or was thinking of doing so, a Private Member's Bill along the lines which we are now discussing.

The effect of that in Kenya was catastrophic. The people in Kenya do not distinguish the subtleties of Parliamentary procedure. They do not know that although a Bill might be introduced under the Ten Minute Rule, it might never be heard of again. What influenced them was that a former Commonwealth Secretary was introducing legislation in the House of Commons. That caused considerable panic in the minds of the Asian community, who started then, and the movement has continued since, to leave Kenya arid to take the chance to get into this country now.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

Mr. John Hall (Wycombe) rose

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I have a lot to say and I cannot give way again. Therefore, the right hon. Member for Streatham cannot escape some responsibility for the present situation, quite apart from the past situation in 1963.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

The hon. Member is not right. Will he give way?

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I am sorry, no. [HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."] I am willing to give way, but that will only mean that I take longer.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

The hon. Member is attributing to my right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) something which is not his responsibility. If the hon. Member looks at the figures, he will find that the mounting wave of immigration from Kenya started long before my right hon. Friend said what he did in December.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I am not disagreeing. I did not say that it started then. I am saying that the recent flood—that was the word I used—was caused by that action.

I believe, too, that it was encouraged by the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), who took the same line. In a speech in Glasgow before the 1964 election, outlining his own version of economic planning, or the lack of planning, the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West said: Let economic forces operate freely and the workers will be forced to migrate to where there are jobs. That is what has happened in the right hon. Member's constituency. It is what has happened with the immigration problem. It has never been tackled. Immigrants have simply congregated without any economic planning in various parts of the country. This has caused serious social problems.

We cannot pass the Bill without referring to the lack of any positive immigration policy over many years. Every time that we have immigration legislation in this House—whether in 1962, 1965 or now—it is always negative legislation. The attitude is always to say that we will deal with the problem by putting up another block. There is no positive legislation.

When I look back to 1961 and the debates which took place then, I see that my right hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) was one of those who argued strongly against the Bill on that occasion because it contained no positive proposals to deal with a special housing programme or health or education matters for coloured immigrants.

The Government of Holland have been extremely successful with a positive immigration programme in a much smaller country. They have introduced a higher percentage of immigrants from their ex-colonial dependencies than we have done. They have done it by a positive social programme of meeting immigrants at the ports, seeing that they are put into residence, having control over housing allocations so that they are dispersed evenly throughout the country and devising a special programme of education.

We have never done any of that. We have built up a series of disasters for ourselves which will not be solved by legislation against racial discrimination. I am all in favour of that—it will help—but unless we tackle the serious social problems, we will not dispel the racial feelings which are beginning to grow in this country. Every time that there is a child in a class where a large number of children are unable to speak the language properly, every time an immigrant family is moved into slum property and the property deteriorates, we increase racial feeling and tension and we build up the problems. I hope, therefore, that whatever happens to the Bill today, we will at least pay attention from now on to the problems which should have been dealt with over the last 10 years or so.

The Government have been lax in not making clear to our people that the problem of immigration is not quite as vast as it has appeared in some of the more alarmist Press. It ought to be said time and time again that even the number of vouchers which we allow—8,500 a year—are not taken up. Last year's figures was something like 5,000. There is, therefore, a gap of 3,500 in the allowed number of vouchers which will not be met even by the figure of 1,500 which has been put upon the Asian community from Kenya.

I say in all seriousness to the Government that faced with the panic feeling in Kenya, the way that we should have tackled the problem was to say, "We will not withdraw your rights of entry to this country. That is absolute." That should have been the first step. The Government should have said, "If necessary, we will cut back on the 8,500 voucher figure because those people all have citizenship status, and we will deal with the problem of the Kenya Asians."

Apart from anything else, if the Government are justified in what they are doing because of social problems in this country, there is no doubt that the kind of immigrants whom we get from the Asian community in Kenya are the kind who will be much easier to deal with. They are used to living in a British society. They are reasonably educated. Some of them have a considerable amount of money. They are not the kind of unskilled people whom we bring in from India, Pakistan, the West Indies or some other countries. If we have to make the distinction, they are more desirable immigrants than those from some other countries.

Photo of Mr William Molloy Mr William Molloy , Ealing North

Does the hon. Member realise that what he is saying is that his high morals can be affected according to the ability and commercial standing of people who come to this country? We are concerned about the rights of people to come here irrespective of their commercial status, even irrespective of the language they speak. If they have the authority to come here, that is good enough.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

That is not what I am saying. I am saying that I recognise that a serious social problem has been built up through lack of policy and that we must tackle it. I do not say that we should open the doors to all and sundry. Every one of the vouchers which we give to a Commonwealth immigrant is at least given to someone with citizenship status. We are telling the Asian community that they will have no status at all under our legislation. Therefore, I would opt for the lesser of two evils. That is all I am saying.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

The hon. Member will realise, because he mentioned the number, that only 4,700 voucher holders came from among those already controlled by the Commonwealth Immigrants Act. If he is to deal, in terms of numbers, with the problem, which he recognises exists, is he suggesting that we should cut down on the number of dependants?

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

No. I was pointing out the difference between the 4,700 who came in and the 8,000 which comprises Government policy. If the Government said that the number would be 5,000, which is more than came in last year, that would still allow for 3,500 adult male voucher holders, which is more than the Government are proposing to allow in. I recognise that the number of dependants has been the main problem over the last year, but it is a diminishing problem. Those dependants generally are dependants of the principal 1962 intake, which came at a time when we had no control over immigration. They have now settled down for a few years, made some money, and wish to bring their dependants over here. They are the dependants of the large numbers who came in then, but since the controls came in—as we saw last year there were only 4,700—the dependants problem will diminish over the next few years.

It should also be realised that there is a net outflow from these islands and that we are r not an overcrowded island as is so often supposed. All these things should be put in the balance in order to reassure the public mind about the state of immigration. I recognise that there are loopholes, for instance, the extension of the period of 24 hours in which people can be examined and if necessary sent back. These provisions will be widely welcomed, but the Government made a serious mistake in not announcing that they would maintain the rights of citizens to come here. By announcing that they would introduce the Bill, they have caused an extraordinary situation by reason of which Asians have been flooding into the country who previously had no intention of doing so.

The Government have aggravated the problem by this Bill. They have caused very severe human misery and suffering, as scenes at Nairobi Airport have shown, apart from the great financial losses which many have suffered through selling their possessions at about 10 per cent. of their value. The whole policy has been disastrous, and the way in which the Government have handled it has also been disastrous.

There are about 65,000 Asians in Kenya eligible to come who would wish to come to this country. In terms of our total immigration from Eire and other large countries, that is not a large number when phased over five years. If the Government had said, "We shall assure you your rights of entry, but, because of our appalling problems, we may have to introduce some regulation and control the rate of entry at which you come in", I think they would have accepted that. Does the Under-Secretary wish to intervene?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

I am sorry to intervene again, but the hon. Member has spoken of a phasing over a five-year period. How does he think the Government could in any way influence the numbers of those who could come in from East Africa unless we had the right to deny anyone entry at any moment?

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I would accept that, if the Government asked for powers to deny people in what the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone called a bankers' flood for a temporary period, we must have some regulation. We are not being unreasonable, but by saying that the number must be 1,500 and no one will be allowed in unless he comes within that number the Government have caused the situation to get out of hand. I do not see how the Bill will operate in practical terms. I will give way to the Under-Secretary if he can answer this question. What are the Government to do to an Asian citizen in Kenya who, with a British passport, leaves Kenya—as he is perfectly entitled to do—goes to Paris and, after staying in Paris for a short time, comes on an Air France plane to London Airport? I will give way if the Under-Secretary will answer that.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

I will deal with it in my reply to the debate.

Photo of Mr David Steel Mr David Steel , Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire

I shall be pleased to hear the reply. People will come here who are British citizens and have British passports. We are morally and legally responsible for them and we cannot shuffle off that responsibility to anyone else.

We on this bench will divide the House on this Bill. I am always reasonably suspicious when I hear demands for a bipartisan approach on a particular problem which appears to be some sort of cover up operation. I do not say that this is so and I believe that those who support the Bill are sincere in their views, but we believe that we ought to divide the House to demonstrate our strong opposition to the breaking of clear pledges undertaken to British citizens in Kenya. I hope that there will be at least a substantial number of hon. Members of other parties who will join us in the Lobby tonight.

6.36 p.m.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

I am delighted to follow someone with whom I find myself very frequently in agreement on affairs which touch human rights or the protection of rights.

I entirely accept, and with a constituency interest I should make it clear, the need for some sort of quota system based on the perfectly reasonable argument that we should absorb no more than our resources, economic and social, can take in. That is an aspect of planning which I accept in an ordered society. I know from my constituency the problems that the arrival of a number of people of a different culture pose, and I know the reactions which are usually more emotional than rational. Human nature is not so generous as perhaps 2,000 years of Christian teaching might lead us to hope would have been inculcated, but we have to take notice of human factors just as we take notice of social and economic factors.

Because of these factors, I accept the need for quota controls on immigration, but this new piece of legislation introduces an entirely new point into the argument, the abrogation of the rights that recipients of British citizenship had always presumed to be their own. These have never been denied before. It is sad in a Socialist Government to witness another small death in the great traditions of British liberalism. It is all the sadder when this Bill is the result—it is no good the Government denying it—of panic reaction to a situation which the Government have allowed to develop. They have allowed it to develop by letting the campaigns of certain unscrupulous and calculating politicians and an hysterical Press force their hand.

Panic measures are not conducive to good legislation or good Government. They yield validity in this case to the arguments of those whipping up racialist sentiment. This Measure makes racialism respectable, and the situation in which it is presented makes its discriminatory nature even clearer. From Home Office records we know that the exodus of emigrants from this country is about twice the number of immigrants to this country. We should remember that when we hear people talk about the overcrowding of these islands.

It was stated by the previous Home Secretary in November, 1967, that in 1966 only 5,461 of the 8,500 vouchers were taken up. In 1967 the number was even fewer, fewer than 5,000 were taken up. Yet in this context we have this absolutely minimal figure of 1,500 for Kenyan Asians and other East African Asians. This does not tie in with the supposed liberality of this radical Government. The reference in the Bill to people with substantial connections with this country—for example, by birth or parentage—makes that superbly clear. It is no good the Home Secretary pretending that this is not an element in the disturbance we all feel about this subject. It means white emigrants who might want to return. The phrasing could not be more explicit nor more discriminatory.

In the fairly near future we are likely to see the quite illegal declaration of a Southern Rhodesian racialist republic. One must presume from the evidence of their support for the rebel Smith that most of the Europeans will accept citizenship of that republic. What will happen to them when, as is inevitable, the Africans liberate themselves and establish the State of Zimbabwe? Shall we then adopt a Measure of similar discrimination against a quarter of a million Europeans scrambling to get on our drawbridge? It will be interesting to see the reaction of certain hon. Members to that new situation. It will happen, perhaps sooner than most people think, so we had better turn our minds to the problem.

I am deeply disturbed that this Government, of which I am a loyal and proud supporter, shows rather less concern with fighting prejudice than with rushing this Measure through the House. It has been whipped into the House and it will be whipped through it. If they can rush this ill-conceived and ill-motivated Measure through, why have they not been equally urgent with the Race Relations (Amendment) Bill? This Bill panders to the racialist Lobby; it goes along with its arguments. The Government should have acted much more decisively and expeditiously to show that prejudice based on colour is totally unacceptable in our community. They have not done so. They must speed the introduction of really stringent legislation against any and every form of discrimination based on race.

In the Measures we are considering, the sticking point for me was the ques- tion of an appeals board. If the Government had persisted in their refusal to establish one, there would have been no alternative for me but to vote against the Bill. I think that I am entitled to claim that in my case loyalty is a pretty tough tissue, but it has been stretched fairly fine. There comes a point when it becomes so tenuous that it is bound to break, and on that matter I would have reached that breaking point. The statement of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary the other day that he had neither the funds nor the staff to man an appeal board was a sad revelation of a Home Secretary who needs reminding that justice must be seen to be done. I am glad that the Government are to yield on the point of the appeal board.

I am also relieved at the Government's intentions to press ahead with plans to provide financial assistance for housing, welfare and education in areas such as mine in Smethwick, where immigrant communities are concentrated. That is the most effective means both of helping to solve a real problem and taking the steam out of the racialist campaign that is being built up.

I want to examine what I consider to be the culpable factors in this very unhappy situation, the campaign and the acceptance it is receiving in far too many quarters of our community. First—and I say this very calculatedly—there is the attitude of the Kenya Government to the Asians in their midst. They are understandably introducing a policy of Kenyanisation. What is not so understandable to me is the speed of the process, considering that the Kenyan economy has been considerably helped by the skill and diligence of the Asian members of the community.

Pressure is now being put on them in various unacceptable ways. Some of them are denied employment permits; holders of temporary work permits are being required to leave Kenya within three months of their expiry; stallholders in markets and small traders are denied new licences; exorbitant sums are being charged for new permits to open shops, and, worse still, to attend school. That illiberalism of the Kenya Government grieves me no less than ours. That is a comment that needs to be made, and since I am known for my sympathy for Africans, for Africa, and most African Governments, I think that I am entitled to make it.

The other culpable factor—and I am sorry that the two Members to whom I wish to refer are not present. [An HON. MEMBER: "They should be."] I agree. Perhaps they will be summoned. I should be delighted to have them hear my agreeable comments on them.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

I am here at any rate. How does the hon. Gentleman reconcile his justification of the Kenyanisation policy of the Kenya Government with his support of a multi-racial society here? He cannot have it both ways.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

I accept the Kenyanisation in Kenya because the President has accepted that people not of his own African race are perfectly entitled to become members of the Kenya community. That is surely the creation of a multi-racial society. I do not see the hon. Gentleman's point. I was not going to pass any comment on him. On this matter he is much more blameless than many of his mates.

Much more blameworthy are the politicians—two in particular—who have totally and irresponsibly used this opportunity for propagating racialist prejudices. We do not know whether they did this from consideration of electoral gain or from psychological motivations over which they have little control. It is immaterial to us. It is no doubt the frenzied fever of leadership animosities that impels the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys). The only person who can have been delighted with his miserable performance tonight must have been the Leader of the Opposition, for it considerably diminished his chances in that struggle. The particularly nauseating thing about that gentleman—and I wish that somebody had brought him in—is that the man responsible for the Kenya independence arrangements and the promise of citizenship to the poor people we are discussing should now use that very issue both to propagate his own chances in the leadership stakes and bolster his party's short-term chances.

The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) worries me even more, because one can only guess at the agonies of mind that impel this knight of the sad countenance, the childhood traumas that must have caused his animadversion to any social generosity. Perhaps it is a case of too severe anal training in youth, but it is unfortunate that the people of this country should have to suffer from it. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman needs pity rather than revulsion.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Smethwick

I shall not give way—not to the hon. Gentleman.

I am far from happy about the introduction of the Bill. That a Socialist Government should be responsible fills me with shame and despair. Have the Government forgotten that this is Human Rights Year? I beg them to remember it. This is not the way to commemorate it.

6.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frederic Harris Mr Frederic Harris , Croydon North West

As is customary in the House when one is discussing matters in which one has close interest, I want to divulge my own. Like all hon. Members, I am very worried about this extremely humane problem. For 21 years I have had a very close connection with Kenya. Apart from personal farming interests there, I have considerable business interests, including the employment of about 1,200 people, 200 of whom—at any rate until now—have been Asians. I also have a son and two daughters who live and work in Kenya and a son-in-law who is a Kenyan citizen.

Every hon. Member who has spoken in the debate is very conscious of the 101 problems arising from even the present normal rate of immigration into this country and the difficulties we all face in absorbing such immigrants into our various communities, making work available, and providing houses and proper comparative standards under great difficulties. But to understand the problem correctly we must also appreciate the Kenya Government's point of view.

It was always expected that, subsequent to the Kenya Independence Act, 1963, there would be an ever-increasing African population becoming more educated and more able as the years went by and that this in itself would bring constant pressure to place them in new em- ployment much of which was previously undertaken by Asians. Quite naturally, Kenya is following a policy of Kenyanisation. But Kenya still needs skilled and semi-skilled Asians—blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, mechanics and others—and also needs to retain those who are ably running businessess in which they themselves are large employers.

Understandably, it is too early in many cases for Africans to be able to fill these gaps, for they are not skilled in sufficient numbers. Such a major exodus as we have been experiencing in the last few months could well create an extremely serious economic problem for Kenya. We must also remember that Kenya's population in 1967, according to the last return in the mid-year statistical abstract, was 9,048,000. Some people believe that it must be over 10 million. Of this population about 192,000 were Asians, but that was still an increase of 4,000 over the previous return.

So, even with the rate of emigration, which was going on even at that time, the numbers in Kenya were increasing and not reducing. It has not been mentioned in the debate yet that Kenya has a real unemployment problem, and this is underlined at the end of each term when African youngsters leave school, well-educated. The Government have to try to find work for them, but there are not sufficient jobs. No such unemployment basically arises in the neighbouring countries of Tanzania and Uganda. That is why the pressure in those two East African countries will not be nearly as strong as it has been in Kenya.

Accordingly, therefore, it was quite understandable that the Kenya Government moved towards work permits. It is not true to suggest that they suddenly did so. This was happening some considerable time back. These work permits also require the support of very expensive bonds—not bonds just for the individual worker himself but for the whole of his family.

The Government have also been working towards trading licences. These issues were covered by the Immigration Act and the Trade Licensing Act of the Kenya Parliament. The Immigration Act requires that all expatriates in future will need a permit to live or to work in Kenya. There are various kinds of such permits. The Government have begun processing those grades in which they feel their own Kenya citizens may soon be able to get employment, such as clerks and salesmen and, to some degree, mechanics and building operatives.

For salesmen and clerks, the Kenya Government have been issuing permits only for six months or a maximum of a year, and this cannot be acceptable to employers who have to back the employment of those concerned with such very expensive bonds for them and their families. The others are given two-year permits but, as this means no long-term future, employers and employees have obviously acted accordingly. However, it is expected that some of these two-year permits will be renewed.

The Trade Licensing Act seriously affects the Asians who are retail traders, particularly in the up-country districts, which means that their days are numbered. They feel that they should leave the country, and the sooner the better. There is also now the Transport Licensing Board, covering "B" and "C" licences, as we do here, and as the Asians have been the main transporters in Kenya, they are materially affected here because the licences are being very selectively given. All these moves, coming at the same time as extreme actions and speeches, regrettably by some of my own colleagues, have created the present semi-panic situation, forcing the need for this kind of legislation. Many of these Asians, if they came here, would make excellent working citizens and a sense of proportion has to be exercised.

I can well understand the Government's hopeless dilemma and the decision for urgent legislation to try and control this very difficult situation. But what I cannot understand, with the first-class relationship between the British and Kenya Governments, is why it was not possible, with our able High Commission in Kenya and our Special Representative in East Africa, Mr. Malcolm Macdonald, it was not foreseen that this situation would arise. I cannot understand why it was not foreseen a long time ago. Indeed, the preceding Government should have seen it right from the time of independence.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) was Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations at the time of Kenya's independence and I was surprised to hear him take the line he did in his speech tonight because, if he did not understand that this problem was going to arise, everyone in Kenya did. Surely the two Governments should have got together and tried to plan the thing out without letting this appalling situation arise.

Kenya has done an outstanding job since independence, gaining stability and confidence and making progressive development. One would have wished dearly that this problem could have been avoided at all costs. Where does the fault really lie? It was absolutely implicit in the understanding of the Kenya Independence Act that those who wished to take British passports could do so, with all that that implied, particularly if the very circumstances we are discussing should subsequently arise. Unfortunately, in what we are doing today, we are blantantly breaking that faith.

Three broad categories of Asians are affected: those who still hold British passports, those who hold Indian or Pakistan passports, and those who have no passports at all. It can only be hoped that the Indian and Pakistan Governments will show compassion and will issue passports to those who wish to return to their countries, because they cannot do so at the moment. Our own action will be unprecedented for people holding British passports because they will be denied admittance to this country—possibly, I would stress, for ever.

Now I want to turn to a vitally important point which puzzled me last Thursday when the Home Secretary, who presumably should be so knowledgeable about these matters, was announcing this legislation. In a supplementary reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. James Griffiths), the Home Secretary said that people placed in this position were still able to apply for Kenya citizenship. I did my utmost to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, in order to correct the Home Secretary's mistake, because his statement was utterly untrue.

Kenya gave two years' grace for applications to be made for Kenya citizenship, and this expired in December, 1965. It is just possible that a few applications are still permitted, but they are certainly not permitted on any general basis. One would certainly have hoped that more Asians, particularly those born in Kenya—and many of the families go back for generations—would have applied for citizenship. Many were absolutely relying on their British passports, and that is the crux of the matter.

If they had had no alternative, they would have gone ahead happily, as many of their fellow citizens did, applying for Kenya citizenship. They thought that there was something miraculous in having a British passport, Some 50,000 Kenya citizens took Kenya citizenship and they will continue to play a major part in the development of that country. A further 10,000 are still awaiting approval, properly applied for before December, 1965, and the Kenya Government have promised that they will expedite approval of the applications. It would appear that there are still 100,000 to 120,000 remaining. Their numbers will increase by this Bill. We are to restrict the total, including dependants I suppose, to approximately 7,500 a year, of which the larger proportion will presumably be available to Kenya. Bearing in mind all the calls made from the other territories, and maybe even tragically, from the Far East, as we have been reminded today, to restrict the entry to only 1,500 annually—and this heads of families—is surely being far too drastic.

This will do little more than cope with the normal increase in population that will be going on year by year. The remainder will be virtually stateless and jobless. In these circumstances cannot Mr. Macdonald, if he is so highly regarded by President Kenyatta and his Ministers, do everything possible to put forward to the Kenya Government the point that they might now consider reopening, for a limited period, applications for Kenya citizenship? What about the possibility of Kenya naturalisation? The Kenya Parliament reassembled yesterday, and I am sure that all of us are anxious to know what it is thinking. I trust that it will he thinking on these lines. It will have noted that President Kaunda of Zambia and President Nyerere of Tanzania have both advised their Asians to take up citizenship. Could not Kenya take compassion, and once again accept fresh citizenship applications?

Undoubtedly if they do a considerable number of Kenya Asians would again apply. The present position is one in which the co-ordinated Commonwealth, if necessary, must play some speedy part to relieve this appalling distress which is already bad and may get much worse. As for our own country, we are littering the world with so many broken promises, such as the guarantee of the maintenance of the £ sterling. Now that the British passport is no longer an enduring document our word is being devalued everywhere.

The House will undoubtedly approve this legislation, because we have got ourselves into the predicament, and in fairness to our own people excess immigration must stop. Not one of us can be proud of what we are doing, for we passed the Kenya Independence Act and we gave the implicit understandings in that Act. We can only appeal to the Government to be more reasonable in the proportion. I was delighted to hear that they are to consider a right of appeal. Likewise we appeal to the Kenya Government for a more moderate attitude 'towards these very unfortunate people, particularly regarding the renewal of citizenship applications. There is no long-term solution in the Bill.

As to my own vote, while naturally wishing to hear the remainder of the debate, I find that I am in a very disturbing and distressing situation. On the one hand, with immigration problems over here, I obviously cannot feel that I can vote against the Bill. On the other hand, I feel that when a country has shown a complete lack of imagination in handling this problem from the very time of independence and has now gone back on its undertakings, it is quite disgraceful. I find it very difficult to support the Bill. It would appear, unhappily, that the only alternative left is one that I have never believed in, and one which I have never used in 20 years in this House. It is that of deliberately abstaining, but as I say I have no alternative.

7.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr Roland Moyle Mr Roland Moyle , Lewisham North

As the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Frederic Harris) was the hon. Member who followed me when I made my maiden speech in this House, and since this is the first chance that I have had of following him in a debate I should like to take the opportunity of returning his compliments by saying that we have listened to a very moving and well-informed speech. The House is very grateful to him. It has helped us tremendously.

In spite of all the hysteria which has preceded this debate, it seems that there is a lot more common ground on this issue than one would have suspected. I cannot follow the hon. Member's arguments, because he spoke from a great wealth of knowledge and experience of the Kenya situation which I lack. It seems that the real issue before the House is not that there should be a quota system for the control of immigration, but there is an issue between those who are more impressed by what one might call the external arguments and those more concerned with the arguments as they arise within this country.

There is no doubt that from the point of view of most of my hon. Friends, today is a very sad day indeed. When one thinks back to the proud hopes of 10 or 12 years ago, the thought that we could let them all come, the thought that the British people were mature enough to absorb all the immigrants, the thought that we could treat everyone on the basis of equality—all these proud hopes are now dimmed. Never have they been so effectively obscured as they have been by this Bill.

It is a sad day for many hon. Gentlemen opposite. The right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) has taken a very honourable stand in the Spectator, and as a man of honour he could do little else. I feel that if he reads the debate that has taken place today and feels less firmly committed to the stand he took, he can fortify himself by the fact that the people to whom he traditionally appeals for support would not be asked to pay the price for adopting his particular standpoint as an attitude in national policy.

It is very noticeable that the opposition to the Bill has been concentrated in the journals of informed opinion which are read by the better-off sections of the community. I appreciate that many of my hon. Friends are very much opposed to the principle in the Bill and the way in which it has been introduced. These views are held sincerely and with conviction but they should ask themselves whether they are not supporting a policy the price for which, if it is implemented, will be paid by others than themselves. This is a crucial issue which we have to consider. I have lived with this problem very closely for three years, ever since I became a prospective Labour candidate for my constituency, which has a very large and substantial minority of Commonwealth immigrants, mainly West Indians, but including Indians, Pakistanis and a smattering of Africans. It is my belief that the majority of those who voted in the General Election of March, 1966, voted for me. I turn aside only to commend them for their percipience and to say I will continue to look after their interests with all the power that I possess.

Having said that, I think that the fundamental standpoint of the Bill is right and, therefore, I shall support it in the Division Lobby. What might almost be described as our laissez-faire attitude towards immigrants in the 1950s has blinded us to the fact that there are very serious practical problems involved. Where peoples of different cultures and races meet, there are bound to be tensions and, although a great deal of the difficulty is expressed in racial terms, primarily it is a social and economic problem. It is totally unrealistic to talk of net inflows and net outflows of immigrants and emigrants. It is wrong to try to compare the whole population of the country with the numbers who are to be let in.

Due to our hamhanded handling of the problems in years past, we have a not very great number of areas where immigrants have concentrated and put tremendous burdens upon the social services and upon the tolerance of the indigenous population, for reasons which we must investigate, analyse and, above all, bend our national efforts towards solving. I know that if there is a large influx of immigrants, a very substantial proportion will come to the area of London which I represent, and particularly to my constituency. That situation will further exaggerate the problems which we are having to meet within the borough. There are many hon. Members whose constituencies would be hardly affected by the problems which we are considering.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

I agree with what the hon. Gentleman says, but, on the point about emigration, it means that a large number of our own flesh and blood are moving out, while we are taking in others from outside. As a result, such problems as the brain drain arise.

Photo of Mr Roland Moyle Mr Roland Moyle , Lewisham North

That side of the problem does not impress me, if it means that the hon. Gentleman is afraid that the population will gradually change in colour. All I would say is that we must keep within the country a sufficient number of skilled people to maintain our services and to give us the standard of living to which we have become accustomed.

There are practical problems where the races meet. The relationship between the indigenous and the immigrant population on London Transport has always been very good, but it would be beyond human nature as we know it if some London busmen had not at some time thought that if there were not so many immigrants, their wages would be higher than they are. Having made that reflection, it would be remarkable if they did not feel slightly bitter.

Then there is the matter of education. There are schools in my constituency where the number of immigrant children is rapidly approaching a very high proportion. When it reaches a certain proportion there is no doubt that the character of the education begins to change. No longer is one trying to produce British children for the British way of life. The whole system of education is becoming distorted in the direction of trying to accommodate children, many of whom cannot speak the language, to the British way of life.

There is the problem of housing, and probably the matter shows up more sharply here than anywhere else. In warmer climates it is possible for more people to live in a house than is convenient or possible in this country. If houses are purchased by immigrants in residential areas, they tend to become overcrowded. Less regard is paid to domestic living. It may be that one house begins to deteriorate, and people around are afraid that the value of their properties will decrease. To someone who finds that the value of his house is likely to deteriorate, this is a serious problem. An investment in the purchase of a house is probably the largest single transaction undertaken by the majority of people.

Many immigrants have been encouraged to take out mortgages to purchase residential property in areas as a way of keeping them off the council housing lists. In this respect, they have been encouraged to take mortgages beyond their financial capacity to bear. This again leads to problems and tensions. On the other hand, it is difficult to eradicate the impression among the indigenous population that a lot of immigrants deliberately overcrowd their properties so that the local council will have compassion and re-house them. Personally, I do not think that that is true, because they tend to inhabit their houses more thickly than we do because that is the way of life to which they have become accustomed in warmer climates. But it is difficult to convince British citizens of that point of view, and that again causes trouble.

In my borough there is a waiting list of between 8,000 and 9,000 families for council houses. If more people come into the country and want to settle in Lewisham, they will be added to the list, and there will be a natural reaction amongst many local British citizens that competition for houses is difficult enough as it is without people being allowed to come from overseas to intensify the position and make it more difficult.

Basically, we do ourselves a great disservice if we ignore those problems. If we believe in racial equality, they must be solved before we allow the doors of our country to be opened wider to let in more coloured immigrants and people from the outer Commonwealth, with their different ways of living.

I appreciate the risk that I am running in supporting the Bill along these lines. It means that I am saying that these people are different from us. I accept that that is the basis of the racialist case. I appreciate that in supporting the Bill, I may be thought to be contributing to increased racial feeling. On the other hand, I would be less than responsible if I did not look at the other side of the coin and realise that if we allow an uncontrolled influx of immigrants, the racial situation may be sharpened and intensified and made far worse than it would be if we support the Bill and strengthen the principle of control which we introduced in 1965 and have maintained fairly firmly ever since.

However, the matter cannot be left there. I was very encouraged by some of the remarks made by the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West and by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel). When one can travel from Mombassa to London as quickly as one can from London to Edinburgh if one chooses the right form of transport, it is living in cloud-cuckoo-land to think that people in this country can carry on living in complete isolation from the other races of the world. As the years go by, more and more will they be forced to mix with the populations of other races and climes, whether they like it or not, and we had better start getting ourselves acclimatised to the idea now.

That is one of the reasons why I find the public utterances of the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) so obnoxious. He strives to give the impression that we can insulate ourselves from these forces by legislation. Not only is it obnoxious, but totally unrealistic. Legislation may provide us with insulation for a time, but we shall have to face the problem more and more as the years go by.

I want to join with other right hon. and hon. Members in saying that the country's reaction to the problem over the years has been less than satisfactory. For some years we have a period of inertia in which the immigrant problem builds up into the ghettoes in our cities. Then something takes place and we have a panic reaction, or the impression of a panic reaction, with the introduction of legislation of a negative kind to stop up a particular loophole. Then we have a further period of inertia. We cannot go on doing this sort of thing. We must set up within the Home Office a planning department on racial problems. We must consider the problems. We must try to study the social problems of dispersing these ghettoes and spreading the coloured and immigrant population around the rest of the country so that they can be assimilated and get used to the different aspects of our way of life.

Having decided to be firmly paternalistic in the way in which we have admitted people into this country, we should be very paternalistic possibly after they have come in. I should like to see assimilation courses to the way of life here. I should like to see, as they have in Holland, planned dispersal of the immigrants throughout the country to lessen social tensions. If this were done, before many years passed I believe that we could assimilate a great deal more of the immigrants and accommodate them with less strain and be well on the way towards producing a multi-racial society.

The impression I got—and perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary can give me a different impression—is that there is no long-term planning, research and forethought in the Home Office on these tricky subjects. I admit that we have set up various racial councils, semi-public and semi-private, but they appear to lack the resources and power to deal with the problem in a modern scientific fashion.

There are two ways in which the Bill could be improved. Section 2, for instance, as I read it, means that the child of an unmarried mother could not be admitted into this country by right if the mother had preceded him. An Amendment to the Bill making the entry of the child a right, would be a considerable improvement.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for having acceded to the real concern for an appeals procedure. We often attack hon. Gentlemen opposite for being in favour of economy in general and expenditure in particular. I must confess that on this issue I am in favour of restrictions in general. Yet in almost every individual case with which I have to deal, I find the restrictions very hard indeed and I wish to break them down. Therefore, an appeals procedure is absolutely essential and I thank my right hon. Friend for giving us some hope that we may get it before very long.

7.23 p.m.

Photo of Sir George Sinclair Sir George Sinclair , Dorking

I start by paying tribute to the opening speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), coupled with the opening speech of the Home Secretary. They both made important contributions to the development of opinion in this country at a time when we are contemplating a far-reaching extension of the Race Relations Act. That is a prize of great worth and a lot of strain should be tolerated across the House in the search for a consensus in the run up to the Bill.

I have taken a deliberate step in helping to frame a reasoned Amendment to the Bill. I feel strongly on two issues. The first is the need for control. This is an obligation that we owe to all the people in this country, including the immigrant who have come to stay among us. The Bill seeks to produce controls, which could, I believe, be effective. For that reason I shall find it difficult to vote against the Bill. However, there are features of the Bill to which I and a number of my right hon. and hon. Friends, who may decide differently from me when they are considering their votes, take the strongest objection.

It is not pleasant for anybody in the House to take part in a retreat from pledges which we have made in the grant of British passports and the undertakings we gave to communities in Kenya at the time of independence. It is difficult at short notice to know what to propose instead. Anyone who has been part of nationalism working its way out in newly independent countries of Africa will understand the pressures upon the President of Kenya to make room for autochthonous Kenyans and to find them employment in the whole range of the economy of the country. When, as a consequence, Asians in Kenya, who have been there for two or three generations, are under great pressure, we have to give special consideration to implementing the rights we granted with their passports and the pledges which we gave.

I was impressed, as no doubt other right hon. and hon. Members were, by the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Frederic Harris) who has long experience and close association with these matters in Kenya. I find myself in much the same dilemma. I also speak from a background of having worked for 20 years in Africa.

First, I cannot contemplate taking part in actions which would expose to threat all the work that has been done in Britain during the last two years to improve race relations—hard work done in difficult circumstances by people from all sections of our community. Great progress has been made since the Race Relations Act was passed two years ago. I look forward to a consensus, or as near as we can get to it, for the extension of that Act. But, if we allowed a large increase in the present rate of Commonwealth immigrant inflow, we should be jeopardising the prospects of willing co-operation from people in the areas most affected by intense settlement of immigrants. We should not allow that situation to develop.

Second, I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider how far he can go to meet a demand, that has been made from all sides of the House, that those who hold British passports should be given some priority for the rights which we have granted them.

I hope also that he will look again at the figure that the Home Secretary mentioned—the 1,500 Asian heads of families which the Government proposed as an initial step to admit in addition to the ordinary quotas.

I have said before in this House that I believe we should reduce the total flow of immigrants into this country. I still believe that to be true. I believe that we should make a substantial reduction in the number of voucher holders well below the 5,000, give or take a few, who will come in this year. We ought to do this because of the situation which has arisen in Kenya, and I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to go some way to meet us by offering to reduce, in favour of Kenyan Asians, the number of those from elsewhere who are without passports but who are seeking vouchers to come and work here.

I shall find it difficult to vote for the Bill tonight because of the depreciation of British passports, and the going back on pledges that we have given. I do not believe that the Home Secretary's undertakings have gone far enough to meet, in a reasonable way, the obligations that we have to Asians in Kenya. I do not believe that they have gone as far as our situation and our manoeuvre room allow us to go. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will give us some assurance on these two points.

7.31 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Mahon Mr Peter Mahon , Preston South

I believe that the Government have been placed under ignorant and pernicious pressures to introduce this Bill. Sadly, the Government have succumbed, and I cannot support them. In my opinion the Bill is white man's treachery.

These people have no rights recognised by the Governments of India or Pakistan. They are British citizens, carrying British passports issued by the British High Commissioner. Our end, then, is to deprive citizens of fundamental rights. What is worse, we are breaking our word. It is a shameful betrayal, and yet the real horror of the Bill lies far deeper.

This small island once prided itself on being the home of the free. Are we now supposed to be proud of a Britain which scrambles into this sort of legislation in the second month of a year dedicated around the globe to the recognition of human rights? Let these victims of Africanisation bang at the door of the European Human Rights Commission, or the International Court, for if we approve the Bill they will become the victims of a wicked repudiation.

With easy lip-service to the honour and freedom of Britain, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and particularly the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), and the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. Powell), have whipped our country into a state of unparalleled prejudice. How right these people in Kenya were to rush to the booking office as right hon. Gentlemen opposite spouted their race-ridden, race-laden theories. The number of would-be immigrants to this country has been maliciously exaggerated to support their arguments. Every hon. Member knows that the number of East African Asians involved is considerably less than the 200,000 figure which has been bandied about in support of the Bill.

Let us reflect, let this Labour Government in particularly reflect, that these people are coming here because they now believe that Britain can help them and their families. I was brought up to believe that the betterment of the individual and his family was the root premise of Socialism, but the Government would have us believe that the rivers of Socialism, which I had hoped were more plentiful, as did my father before me, are already drying up.

If the decision to introduce the Bill was based on ignorance alone, we would be forgiven. By allowing ourselves, as we are, to be rushed into legislation according to savage Tory prejudice, we can never hope to be forgiven. After this the Britain of high principle and of international decency and decorum is solemnly deceased. The whole world has learned that we have virtually closed our door to the black man.

To be prejudiced is always to be weak. It no longer becomes us to sugar that prejudice with further hypocrisy. Instead of asking the nation to adapt itself to the existence of a half million-, or three-quarter million-strong coloured community in Britain, the Government now propose to feed us with their own official brand of discrimination and prejudice.

We are told that we cannot cope with more coloured immigrants, that there are not enough schools for them, that there are not enough houses, that there are psychological problems, that there are ghettoes, that there are too few jobs, and that they cannot mix. These are the excuses for the exile of the twentieth-century immigrant.

My forefathers were nineteenth-century immigrants to this country, and there were no schools, no jobs, and no houses for them. The Irish, driven from their own land by famine, moved in droves and lived in ghettoes, but they made their way. They improved the lot of their families. They learned to love and to defend the land of their adoption. Nothing has changed. In the light of present-day legislation, if the skins of the Irish had been green instead of white, they would have met a similar reception as the Asians are meeting today.

  • "Through the night of doubt and sorrow,
  • Onward goes the pilgrim band,
  • Singing songs of exultation,
  • Marching to the promised land."
That is no longer to be the fate of the twentieth-century immigrant. This promised land no longer approves of the ebony skin, and with this Bill that is official.

The theory of Britain for Britons is a retogressive doctrine which flies in the face of history and must be opposed head on. The Bill is a deplorable concession to racialism. Unscruplous men have used this issue to trigger public anxiety. Good people's legitimate fears and prejudices have been wickedly fed and exploited.

I believe that as every hon. Member is being forced to face this issue now, the time has come for all people to examine their consciences on the issue of colour. I ask the House to bear with me as I pursue shortly a hypothetical, but not an impossible analogy.

If the initial offenders in this sad sequel had been not the Government of Kenya, but the Government of Spain, and if the victims of ruthless measures had been not the Asians of East Africa, but the people of Gilbraltar, and if to a man it was 30,000 sun-soaked Gibraltarians who now sought entry to Britain, can we honestly believe that the Government would have resorted to this sort of legislation? The question at stake on this Bill is Britain's present and future stance on the issue of colour. There is no escaping this. There are two paths. We can opt for bans, restrictions and controls, call them what we will, or, as a Government, we can ask every man and woman, black or white, in this country to face up to his innate and hidden prejudices. We can ask them to be of good will and to show lavish generosity and make difficult sacrifices. We face primarily a moral issue and we are being urged by our own Government to pursue an immoral course.

The immigration policy which this Government should have pursued was the regionalisation of our newcomers. There are still dozens of towns and even cities in Britain where the immigrant population is a long way short of one per cent., and most are in the South and the Midlands. There are scores of cities and towns whose official policy is to exclude immigrants from the right to a place on a council housing list. If there are social tensions in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Notting Hill, Britain has made them. I have come to the conclusion that the Bill is not only morally wrong and legally untenable but also politically inept.

The East African Asian is the very person who we should at this stage of our history be welcoming. Unlike many Indian and Pakistani immigrants who have made their homes in Britain, they are English-speaking townspeople, many of them educated to secondary school level and beyond. If our present immigrant community has in many ways so far failed us, it is in this respect. From among their own members, they have failed to produce enough men and women who were prepared, whatever the cost, to go it alone. We need more pioneers among our immigrants, people who are equipped and willing to move from the traditional centres to new towns and cities. I believe that many of these people from East Africa are of that fettle. The evidence available to the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants supports this.

The Clause which curtails the right of dependent children to join a single parent is alarmingly merciless. This Bill, gushing racialism as it does, will lose the respect of more people around the world than any legislation undertaken by this or any other British Government this century.

7.44 p.m.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

I find this speech one of the most difficult which I have ever had to make in my 15 years as a Member of the House. For that reason, I hope that the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Peter Mahon) will forgive me if I do not follow him, because I do not want to be tempted into controversy if I can avoid it nor to have to answer some of his points with which I fundamentally disagree.

I never thought that the day would come when I would find difficulty in supporting a Measure introduced by a Government designed to regulate the rate of entry of immigrants to this country. I have lived with this problem in my constituency, as have many other hon. Members, for a number of years and I have seen the problem developing. One hon. Member opposite gave some examples of the problems and tensions in constituencies to which the flow of immigrants, from whatever source, is too great for the community to assimilate.

The House will recall that I recently tabled an Amendment to the early day Motion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) explaining in some detail why I thought it necessary at this stage to slow down the rate of immigration. This was supported by hon. Members from both sides who live with this problem and see it from day to day. We sometimes debate matters as if we lived in a hothouse, isolated from the rest of the country. We must take into consideration every time that we debate a Measure of this vital importance the feelings of the people whom we represent throughout Britain. I have been very struck by the keen interest which the general public have displayed in the Bill.

I would tell the House of an experience of mine today. My agent telephoned me to say that, throughout the morning, constituents had been calling at and telephoning the Conservative office in High Wycombe to ascertain my views on the Bill. Never, in all my experience in the House, can I remember this happening before. One or two people might have tried to contact me about a piece of legislation, but never before have I known this number of inquiries on a Bill of this kind. It did not happen before the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill was debated, although at that time about 8 per cent. of the population of High Wycombe was composed of immigrants. It has not happened during our various debates on this matter under the Expiring Laws Continuance Acts.

Why has it happened now? Because my constituents see day by day all the effects of the recent flood of immigration concentrating in certain parts of the country. If it was spread all over the country, the problem would be by no means as great, but the immigrants concentrate on certain towns and areas. Whereas, when I spoke on the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill of 1962, indeed, when I spoke in November, 1963, on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, High Wycombe had a population of under 50,000, of whom 8 per cent. were immigrants; now, the population is 55,000, of whom between 10 and 12 per cent. are immigrants. I do not have to tell hon. Members what this means.

It would be the same if they came from Yugoslavia or Poland. I mention those two countries in particular, because High Wycombe experienced this problem in the days immediately after the war, when a large number of Poles, the survivors of General Anders' army, and a number of Yugoslavs settled in High Wycombe. They created similar tensions, but these tensions have now gone and the people have been assimilated, because the immigration did not continue. After two or three years, no more came in. They could be integrated very easily with the population, they intermarried, and people got used to them. Also, the numbers were very small by comparison with those coming in now—[Interruption.]—as the hon. Member says, and it is a very good point, one of the problems of such groups who form a new community in a town is that, if they are easily identifiable, they come constantly to the notice of the community.

People from European or near-European stock are not so easily identifiable. The Irish who come here to live, particularly in certain areas, are not easily identifiable compared with those who come from Asia and the West Indies. Wherever they live, the local inhabitants can identify them. This tends to become impressed on people's minds, who then say that there are a number of strangers in their midst. They say that a number of immigrants are coming into the town. They fear that they will be overwhelmed by them. Wrongly or rightly, these views are held and we must be aware of them.

When 50 per cent. or more of immigrant children make up classes in local primary schools, there is bound to be agitation, and this particularly applies when immigrant mothers get priority in maternity hospitals, particularly with the pressure that exists for hospital accommodation. By the nature of things, immigrant mothers are bound to have greater priority for maternity beds because the conditions in which they live make it necessary for them to be taken into hospital for their confinement. This causes all sorts of pressures and tensions which we have been trying desperately for years to avoid.

For some time in my constituency we have had a consultative committee on which there are representatives of West Indians and other immigrant peoples, along with spokesmen for the various welfare organisations in the town. The purpose of this committee is to tackle the problems as they arise and before they get out of hand. Up to now the committee has had a great deal of success and has promoted a reasonable amount of good will between all sections of the community. However, if immigration goes on at the present rate, I do not think that this good will can be held. There is bound to be an explosion among the indigenous population, who feel that they are, in a sense, being overwhelmed in their own town and country. This view may be illogical and irrational, but we must accept that it exists and accept that human beings are what they are and not what we want them to be.

For these reasons I am tempted to support the Bill. I say that with a heavy heart, because what we are doing is devaluing the British passport. One can enter into all sorts of legal arguments about this—about whether or not the passports were intended to give a right of entry into Britain—and while it is important to discover the true legal position, and what the Asians in Kenya thought that they were getting when they opted to rely on the British passport rather than opt for Kenyan citizenship, I support the plea that the Government must reconsider their whole handling of the matter.

The first right of entry into Britain, if right there be, should go to those who hold British passports. If we are to restrict the amount of immigration—and throughout my career in the House I have been calling for such restriction—let us restrict it to those with entitlement, but we must restrict the number of vouchers that are issued. This is the point that Liberal Party spokesmen have been making.

However, in taking these steps, do not let us kid ourselves that we are completely solving the problem. We have been playing with the issue for far too long. Even if we pass this Measure—as I am sure we shall—and even if we to some extent restrict the number of immigrants and their dependants who will come here—remembering that, despite the restriction, a large number of people will continue to come in—we will not solve the problem which faces not only us but the world in general.

A large number of people, for various reasons—including poverty, a desire to improve their condition of life, fear of a lack of security, a desire to find religious or political freedom—want to leave their homes and live elsewhere. Apparently most of them are, for one reason or another, attracted to these islands. With the best will in the world, we cannot absorb all these people and, for this reason, other countries must play their part.

It is against this background that we must consider what part the Commonwealth can play. What other Commonwealth nation gives the sort of right of access to immigrants that we give? Should not other nations be asked to make a contribution, particularly those with much more room to accommodate an influx of population?

Photo of Mr William Molloy Mr William Molloy , Ealing North

Will the hon. Gentleman impress on his right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), who has argued that the Bill is necessary to prevent a flood of Asians coming here from Kenya, that the Act for which he was responsible did not give such an authority and that it is that sort of argument that is causing much of the problem and anxiety among the Asians in Kenya?

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

I am finding it hard enough to make my own speech, without having to answer for my right hon. Friend.

There are certain things that the Government should consider. Even if we pass the Bill, we will not pass the problem. It will still remain to be solved. An inquiry is being conducted into the economic implications of immigration. On several occasions I have asked about this inquiry but have been told that its report is not yet available. That report should be made available as soon as possible so that we may debate it.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) tabled an Early Day Motion drawing attention to some of the population problems which will arise in Britain in the coming 30 years. With that in mind, we should consider how many immigrants we can reasonably take, giving them all the facilities and help necessary in the next quarter of a century. However, that still will not deal with the main problem of the desire of so many people to leave the countries in which they live to go elsewhere. For this reason, I urge the Government to consult other Governments with a view to obtaining help to solve this problem.

We cannot overwhelm ourselves with the large numbers of people who, however worthy, are alien, have alien cultures, different temperaments, totally difference backgrounds and habits and different ways of life. If we allow them to come in at a rate which is faster than we can absorb them, we will create a growing fear in the minds of our own people who, rightly or wrongly, say that before the end of the century there will be large minorities of alien people in various parts of the country, and they fear that the British way of life will change. That fear exists in the minds of many people and, for this reason, entry must be regulated. We must realise the pressures that exist and, in consultation with other countries, see what can be done to solve this in terms of a world problem.

I want to see preference given to those with British passports because we do not want to devalue our word any more than it has already been lowered in the world. I want to see the Government taking measures which will prevent racial tension from being created in this country. I appreciate that this is a difficult human problem. Those of us who know anything about it must have the greatest compassion and sympathy for the many thousands of people who feel desperately unhappy about their present lives in the countries in which they are living and want to live elsewhere. However, we must feel the same compassion for those who fear what might result if there is completely free entry. We accept that those who wish to leave the countries in which they are living must feel a tremendous fear in their desire to move, but our first duty must be to our own people and to the future of this country, including the immigrants already here who are making an excellent contribution to our future. I hope that the Minister will reassure us on some of the points that have been made so that we may support the Bill with clearer consciences than some of us feel at present.

7.59 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

A notable feature of the debate has been that, with one or two exceptions, it has been conducted in a calm and dispassionate manner. However, that is no reason why we should not speak our minds frankly and express the views which we sincerely hold. It is an hon. Member's responsibility to put not only his own views but those of his constituents and to express the problems of his constituency. For that reason I admit frankly that the Bill, distasteful though it may be in many ways, is not only necessary but essential.

The Ministry of Labour and the Home Office officials know that in the three and a half years I have been a Member of the House I have been unceasing in my efforts on behalf of West Indians, Indians, Pakistanis, Yugoslavs, Poles, Cypriots and Greeks, many of whom live in my constituency. I have managed to persuade the various Government Departments on a number of occasions to allow people and their dependants to enter this country, and I shall continue to do so, to the best of my ability, but I must face realities and the facts of life as they are in Huddersfield.

Certainly the transport system, the hospital services and the night shift in the woollen mills in the West Riding of Yorkshire would collapse if we did not have these people from the West Indies and from India and Pakistan. We are a town of 150,000-odd that has from the early 1950s absorbed immigrants from Eire, Poland, Hungary and many other parts of Europe, and we have managed to create a pretty good relationship between the various communities.

Before 1958 there were very few immigrants from the Commonwealth in Huddersfield, but following 1958 we were the first place in the country to set up a special school for the education of immigrant children. There is a book called "Spring Grove—the Education of Immigrant Children", written by the headmaster Trevor Burgin, which discusses how best to handle the problem of immigrant children. In April, 1968, Mr. Burgin takes on the job of organiser of immigrant children in Huddersfield. But the schools are just not there to deal with the tremendous problem we have at the moment. We are trying by all the means at our disposal to meet the increasing demand with the resources we have, and I appeal to the Government to recognise that in places such as Huddersfield and others the local authority is called upon to bear tremendous expense for special classes, special teachers, special books and all the special equipment required.

In this constituency or county borough of 150,000 there are between 14,000 and 15,000 immigrants of all races. About 10,000 come from Commonwealth countries. In answer to a Parliamentary Question, it was stated that in the whole of Wales there are only 10,000 immigrants from the Commonwealth, and yet there is that number in the Borough of Huddersfield representing 7 per cent. of the total population.

I am finding—and this is borne out in many other constituencies—that once there is a movement of people from India and Pakistan to Britain one gets a migration of a community, a movement of people from one particular part—the Punjab in the case of Huddersfield—and they move virtually en bloc over a period of time. I am concerned with the impact this movement makes, not only on the British child but also on the immigrant child itself. In the County Borough of Huddersfield at the moment there are just over 21,000 children in school, and when I asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science for the number of immigrant pupils as a percentage of all pupils the figures in January, 1967, showed that Huddersfield was higher than any other county borough in the West Riding of Yorkshire—7· 2 per cent. That was in January, 1967, and it has increased to 10 per cent. by 1968. The figure for infant classes was 12 per cent. I am told by the chief education officer that we have now over 2,000 immigrant children in our schools—just over 1,000 Asians and just over 1,000 West Indians with a normal weekly intake of 10 new pupils. In the last fortnight this has been running at the rate of 26 new pupils per week from Commonwealth countries.

Let me indicate how this problem has grown in intensity and why I feel I am in honour bound to support the Bill. In 1963 the percentage of immigrant children in schools in Huddersfield was 1· 8 per cent.—350 children. By 1964 it had gone up to 3 per cent.—600 children. By 1965 it had risen to 4· 4 per cent.—or 900 children in the schools. Now in 1968 we have over 2,000 children in the schools—about 10 per cent.

Photo of Mr Frank Hooley Mr Frank Hooley , Sheffield, Heeley

Would my hon. Friend indicate whether he is including in his immigrant children those born in this country?

Photo of Mr Ken Lomas Mr Ken Lomas , Huddersfield West

This has been borne in mind. The point I wish to make is that we expect this to increase. We are dealing with entry into primary schools. Some children were born of English-speaking parents; some were born of parents who cannot speak much English and attend classes which the local authority runs for them. We expect the intake to increase by at least 500 a year over the next six years, to a level of 5,000 immigrants in schools by 1974. This is a problem we must face if we are to ensure that all the immigrants born in this country or coming to this country to join their parents, and the British children, are to have a decent education.

There is a language problem, and the West Indians in many instances who speak a Creole language—a bastardised form of English—are the most difficult to whom to teach English. We have done all we can as a local authority to combat this. My hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Board of Trade—the hon. Member for Huddersfield, East (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu)—many years ago was agitating for a liaison officer, and only recently has the local authority appointed one. We have special committees set up to try to integrate these people into the life of the town, but because of the housing shortage—this has been referred to in other speeches—they are going as a group into one or two particular quarters of the town and those areas are becoming ghettoes. I am talking of a town where one in four of the houses has no bath and one in five no toilet.

We are fortunate in the borough in having an unemployment rate of something like 1· 3 per cent. If that level of unemployment rose by any substantial amount there would indeed be racial tensions on a very big scale indeed. This is something we all wish to avoid. I am also concerned to avoid that these people who are coming to our country and whom we are wishing to integrate shall be treated not as second-class citizens—because they are that already in the West Riding of Yorkshire since they are doing the jobs which the white people in the West Riding will not do—but that, if more and more come, they will become not second-class but third- and fourth-class citizens. We hope to try to stop this in some way. At the moment they are doing jobs the white people will not do.

Play has been made about the number of people who come into this country as voucher holders. In HANSARD on 19th February, 1968, the statement was made that 4,978 voucher holders came into Britain in 1967, among a total of 61,377, including students. It worked out at about 52,000 dependants of the 5,000 voucher holders.

But it was not the true picture; it was quite misleading information. If we were to stop the voucher holders coming into this country tomorrow, there would be an appreciable inflow of dependants for the next three, four or five years. Every month at my "surgery" people ask me if I can persuade the Government to allow their dependants in or to tell me they intend to send for their dependants as a right. These people have been settled in the area since 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964. Therefore, this is the backlog, and a ratio of ten to one is not accurate, but it indicates that this is a problem which will be with us for some time.

Both parties when in power misjudged the situation. In 1948, the present position was not conceived, and in 1958 it was not a problem. Only as the years have rolled on through the 1960s have we realised that this is a problem of integration. I agree with the spokesman of the Liberal Party that there should have been a more positive approach to the problem of immigration and of settling these people in this country. The answer to the problem is not just this Bill. I believe that when people from the Commonwealth want to come here they should register the number of dependants whom they intend to bring to this country so that we can plan for the number of people likely to come here. There should be a time factor by which they can do this so that we know when they will come here.

I am glad that the Home Secretary announced that an ad hoc committee is to go into the question of appeals. But there should be proper machinery for this because justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. What the Government and the country must do—and this goes for hon. Members on both sides of the House—politics apart—is to recognise that we cannot have people moving from communities in India, Pakistan, East Africa and other places and coming to a particular community in this country without some control. A way must be found to ensure that when people land in this country they can be spread throughout the country. In that way, they can be absorbed and integrated. But a distribution of 23,000 in Scotland, 10,000 in Wales and 10,000 to 11,000 in Huddersfield is not fair by any standards. The Government must take the problem in hand and try to do something about it.

In my view, the Bill, although distasteful and one which I do not like and which I feel has been forced upon us, is necessary and essential if we are to stop racial tensions getting out of hand. It is the fault of both parties when in power. I hope that we shall recognise that we cannot continue without contingency planning. The pure in heart in the House and outside it will brand people like myself as racialists and goodness knows what else. That is not true. Many people who hold my view have worked as hard as anyone else on behalf of people, no matter what their colour, race or creed. The Liberal Party can pose as the great moralists and pure in heart if they like. But does this problem exist in any one of the twelve constituencies which Liberal Members represent? I doubt it very much. They can be as pure as the driven snow if they live in areas which are not affected by this problem

What I hope the Bill will do is to give a breathing space and a chance to local authorities throughout the country to build the schools, hospitals and houses needed and to give us time to make preparations for the friends and the people whom we know wish to come here and are entitled to come here. Time is not on our side at the moment, and that is why we must have this Bill and why I shall go through the Lobby in support of the Government tonight.

8.15 p.m.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

To me, Clause 1 is both obnoxious and ineffective—so obnoxious and so ineffective that I must object to it on three grounds. It is so obnoxious and ineffective that it discounts the good which will be done by the later Clauses.

My three grounds for objecting to it are these. First, it erodes further the value of the British passport already partially devalued by the 1962 Act, but now to be further debased and in an objectionably selective manner. Secondly, its intention is racial discrimination. If these people were Channel Islanders of French extraction who were being forced to come here because of some political pressure, not one word of protest would be heard. Thirdly, it will not be effective.

We have heard talk of quotas and a figure of 1,500 immigrants a year has been mentioned. We are only too well aware of all the loopholes and subterfuges of the past, some of which the later Clauses to which I have no objection aim to block. So long as the law is partial and hedged about with conditions and exceptions so complex that they are difficult to administer, there will be channels through which the clever and unscrupulous will find a way. We have seen plenty of this in recent years. In any case, if a quota of 1,500 immigrants a year with their dependants were to be scrupulously observed, it would gradually build up a racial group or augment an existing one. Continuing quotas of people not of British extraction, from wherever they may come, are altering the nature of our race and creating centres—some newspapers and some hon. Members today have already designated them as ghettoes, with all that word's horrible connotation—where people who are not the same as the rest of us in colour, in racial origin and sometimes in religion hang together.

I have here my youngest son's passport. Like any current British passport, on the front is printed British Passport United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". The preamble inside includes the words request and require in the name of Her Britannic Majesty to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance". On page 1 his national status is designated as: British subject: citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies". It so happens that when his former passport expired my son was serving in the Royal Navy in Singapore. His passport was given on 15th November, 1966, at Singapore and is signed for and carries the seal of the British High Commissioner in Singapore.

The early part of my life was spent in the Royal Navy. Had it not been for the war, my son could very easily have been born outside the United Kingdom—for example in Hong Kong or in Malaya. I was born in South Africa. It so happens that my father was born in Britain, but he might well have been born in South Africa, as was my mother. If that were the case, my son's standing with his present passport, if the Bill were passed, would be on all fours with that of these people of Asian origin coming from Kenya which the Bill, among other things, sets out to exclude. If this were so, on his next return from service abroad, my son might be excluded from entry into the United Kingdom under this amendment to Section 1 of the principal Act if these simple and by no means unusual circumstances were the case. Under subsection (2A) of this Clause, was he, was his father—that is me—was his father's father—that is my father—born in the United Kingdom? As I have shown, the answer to all three of those question could be, no. Under paragraph (b) the next question is, were or are any of the three of us naturalised in the United Kingdom? Although we all three have or have had British passports none of us at any time took out naturalisation powers. Under paragraph (c), none of us was adopted in the United Kingdom. Under paragraph (d) none of us has ever been registered under previous Acts. I need go no further to demonstrate the silliness of the proposal in Clause 1.

I am one of the few—I believe perhaps the only—Member of this House who supports and believes in apartheid in South Africa, but I am not what the Americans call a racist. Conditions in South Africa are very different from what they are here. Pressures exist there which, so far, are not apparent in Britain. It may, then, seem strange to hon. Members that I oppose racial discrimination in any form in Britain. Clause 1 of this Bill is intended to legalise a racially discriminatory measure. What may be right for South Africa is not right for Britain, and vice versa. We have in this country, quite correctly and logically I believe, because of our Commonwealth connection, chosen an integrated society where all our residents have equal rights and equal obligations. That being so, we must abide by it, and not indulge in hypocrisy to suit the expediency of the moment.

Both the Government of which I had the honour to be a member and the present Government have faced an awful dilemma in this matter of immigration, and both have tried to trim their sails to the winds of popular clamour. Both have been wrong, and if this Bill goes through both will continue to be wrong. I fully acknowledge my share in that guilt.

We in this House must realise that we are dealing with human beings. Politics is the stuff of human nature. One of the regrettable features of human nature is discrimination against those who differ from the majority, and it leads to nationalism in minorities. In past history the greatest manifestation of this flaw in the human character was religious discrimination. Today it is racial discrimination, particularly as regards colour.

In recent years we in this House have welcomed—and I sincerely mean welcomed in a personal sense—a Welsh National hon. Member and a Scottish National hon. Lady—I fear I see neither of them here—

An Hon. Member:

That is not surprising.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

—which only goes to show that the old unity between the three parts of the Kingdom is breaking down and nationalism is rearing its head. Without any discourtesy to either hon. Member or to those whom they represent I say that that is bad for Britain as a whole, because nationalism can, and often does, become racialism.

In the same way we must face up to the fact that racialism with regard to colour is here and cannot be eradicated overnight or swept under some convenient carpet just by passing another Bill in this House. There is a colour bar in parts of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and many other cities in the Kingdom. Nothing we can do will alter that fact. It is a fact we have got to face. If we allow the immigration of people of differing colours and races to continue at its present rate, and reduce it only in the small degree this Bill sets out to do, then this problem will be aggravated, and feelings in those teeming cities will get worse. This Parliament can pass measures which prevent and punish racial discrimination till we are all blue in the face, but that will not stop it. In our hearts, I believe, we all know this, but many of us will not admit it. I am really scared that unless the Government put a final stop to immigration of even moderate numbers of people of races differing from our own we shall soon be faced with a situation as bad as that which obtains during the hot summers in New York, Chicago and, more recently, in Detroit.

My solution is a simple and a radical one. Withdraw this Bill, bring in one which will restrict most severely all immigration from whatever source, irrespective of colour or race. We are already a crowded island. I have heard people on both sides of the House disputing that, but we are a crowded island, and demonstrably in present times we have insufficient resources to support ourselves in the world. We lavish sums we cannot afford on many idealistic projects, without ensuring first the earning of the money to be spent. Immigration of men and women, unless they have very special skills, constitute a further burden.

I could make three simple, easily administered exceptions to my Cessation of Immigration Act. First, anyone of reputable character could enter the United Kingdom for a visit of up to six months. Second, authentic students with qualifications justifying courses of education or apprenticeship here would be given permits with a time limit. Third, men or women whose work or business was of particular merit to our industry or economy would be allowed to enter on a permit limited in time but renewable under reasonable conditions. No one else would be allowed in under any pretext whatsoever.

I acknowledge that this would cause dismay to a large number of people. I can visualise Australians and Canadians objecting strongly, but I would remind them that their immigration laws are fairly stringent, and they have vast, sparsely populated areas with raw materials of value and tremendous development potential, whereas we are a group of tiny islands which, in my opinion, are considerably over-populated.

Those are the reasons I shall vote against this Bill, because of the inadequacy and injustice of it, particularly Clause 1. I acknowledge the need for the later Clauses. I entreat the Government to pay heed to enacting laws of the nature of the alternative I have described.

My theme is that if we are constrained to dispense rough justice—and Clause 1 does that; it is justice so rough that it ceases to be justice—we must dipense it consistently for all and not for one.

8.30 p.m.

Photo of Mrs Renée Short Mrs Renée Short , Wolverhampton North East

The hon. and gallant Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon) complains about the injustice of the Bill and then makes a speech that would create great injustice without making any proposals for dealing with our responsibilities and the injustices that would be created by the policy that he would like to see pursued. It is not enough to say that one is against the Bill; from hon. Members opposite we expect to hear what they are for and how they would deal with the problem that has arisen largely from legislation and actions of the Conservative Government in the 1950s and in 1962.

In the run-up to this debate we have had a great deal of hypocrisy in the Press. The Government have been attacked for introducing the Bill. I suspect that if it had been introduced by a Conservative Government we would not have seen those articles in the Press. Nevertheless, a great deal of feeling has been stirred up, to which hon. Members opposite have contributed.

I suppose that everyone knows the name of my constituency—at least, they know the name Wolverhampton. There is often a good deal of confusion as to which hon. Member represents which seat. I find this extraordinary. I do not know how anyone could confuse me with the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). The right hon. Gentleman never makes a speech about this problem in the House; he makes his speeches outside, and he always manages to do so before a General Election or a local election. His speeches are always reported widely in the Press, especially the local Press.

His latest effort was a speech made in Walsall. I think that he was speaking in the constituency of the hon. Member for Walsall, South (Sir H. d'Avigdor-Goldsmid). There he spread alarm and despondency about the numbers of immigrant children in Wolverhampton schools. I agree that many Wolverhampton schools have a high percentage of coloured children. In his Walsall speech the right hon. Gentleman said that a constituent of his had complained to him that her child was the only non-immigrant child in her class. Challenged to mention the name of the school so that the facts could be investigated, the right hon. Gentleman has consistently refused to do so.

There are always two sides to every problem. The school concerned has over 80 per cent. of coloured children, but I find that of the 352 children on the roll, although there are about 230 coloured children, only 52 are immigrant children. All the rest are British born and bred, and proud of it, I am told. They are just as entitled to go to school in Wolverhampton as the right hon. Gentleman's children would be to go to State schools there if he chose to send them and chose to live in his constituency.

This pernicious and malicious stuff that we have had from the right hon. Gentleman has made things extremely difficult in Wolverhampton. Recently the Sunday Telegraph contained an article on Wolverhampton, entitled "The Town That Lost Hope".

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

No. wonder ! [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

On a point of order. This is vastly entertaining to all of us, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but does it bear on the issues raised by the Bill?

Photo of Mr Sydney Irving Mr Sydney Irving , Dartford

Nothing that I have heard the hon. Lady say as yet has been out of order.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

Will the hon. Lady allow me?

Photo of Mrs Renée Short Mrs Renée Short , Wolverhampton North East

No, she will not. It is not correct to say that Wolverhampton has yet lost hope. To say that it has is an insult to the teachers who are trying to cope with this problem and to all the organisations and bodies and I agree that there are not enough of them—which are really trying to integrate our immigrant communities.

This is a difficult problem. I agree with those hon. Members who have pointed out the problems of housing and education. They are acute problems. Unless Wolverhampton receives some relief in respect of the constant numbers that are coming into the town it may well lose hope. It has not yet done so, but it may well do so unless there is some relief. That is one reason why I welcome the Bill.

We have nearly 400 children in Wolverhampton—and most of them are immigrant children—who are not able to get into our schools. Thousands of immigrant families are living in the seedier parts of the town—in the old, terrace houses, two up and two down, which ought to have been bulldozed years ago, which are 80 or more years old, and in which immigrant families live in very grossly overcrowded conditions. I cannot think that it profits anyone to bring families into such conditions.

If children of secondary school age—12 or 13 or 13½ years—are brought into a town in which school places cannot be found for them, those children have to wait for places. The present school leaving age is fifteen years, so those children may have only a few months at school. What are they to do when they leave school? They will perpetually be the people who do the dirty jobs which no one else wants. A racial discrimination Bill, which I very much hope will be brought forward by my right hon. Friend, will not change that position at all.

What is needed is a tremendously energetic Government programme to give far more help than has so far been given to those towns and those parts of the country where these problems exist. It is quite natural for immigrants from India, Pakistan, Kenya, or anywhere else to go to those parts where they have friends and relatives; they know that there they have a welcome. What help has been given so far by the Government is just chicken feed, and has not even attempted to start to deal with the problem. I hope that from the Treasury Bench we shall have a pledge that the Government will probvide money for housing, and money to build schools for these children who are not at the moment able to get any educa- tion. That position affects the immigrant children and, obviously, children born in the town, too.

When I press my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science for money for schools in the priority areas, on the lines of the Plowden proposals, I am told that the money is not there; it is not forthcoming. When I press for nursery education in those areas, so that at least the tiny children may be got out of unsatisfactory and often insanitary home conditions and children, white, and not white, can learn to live together and play together, I am told that we cannot afford it. We must be able to afford it—there is no argument about it. Unless we do afford it, we shall find that we create very serious problems making for more racial tension than now exists in many parts of the country. I make an urgent plea to my right hon. Friends to deal with this urgent problem now.

It seems quite incredible that the Conservative Government in 1962 left this loophole in the legislation, and it is quite incredible to me that no one ever spotted it until fairly recently, when we have had illegal attempts to evade the Act. The provision about apprehension within 24 hours was an open incitement to people to try to dodge the Act—and to those unscrupulous people who made money out of forging papers and organising the whole miserable traffic of illegal entry.

The Bill proposes to change the time lapse from 24 hours to 28 days, but I do not think that that will alter the position very much. Indeed, I wonder why it is necessary to have a time limit at all. I should have thought that if it were a criminal offence to enter the country illegally, to give an amnesty after a period of 24 hours or 28 days was not the solution. I ask my right hon. Friends to look at this provision again.

I am concerned about the position of people coming from Kenya or any other country who may be coming here seeking political asylum because of persecution. There may already be cases of that sort coming from Kenya, or it may well be that cases will arise in the near future which come into this category. Will my hon. Friend give an assurance to the House that he will take powers to admit those persons over and above any quota number the House decides upon as a result of this Bill? I do not want those people to be part of the quota. They should be admitted whenever the need arises. I also ask my hon. Friend to look at the problem of those white Kenyans who may now be entitled to British passports but who are not of British origin. Will they be subject to the same regulations as Kenyans of Asian origin?

The Bill makes certain proposals on health grounds. To relieve the problem of large numbers of people waiting at the ports of entry to be seen by the port doctors and to prevent the overburdening of health services in towns such as Wolverhampton—which is under-doctored and where we have not enough general practitioners for the population—it would be better if medical certificates could be required to be obtained in the country of origin. Certain doctors should be authorised to provide those certificates, or it could be done through the medical staff in the High Commissioner's Office.

I emphasise that I am very concerned about the conditions to which we are bringing more immigrants into towns where we have a large immigrant population. We need to be much more energetic about finding long-term solutions for this. We need to have very much more consultation among Members of Parliament who are involved and the local authorities and the Ministries concerned. We have not enough of this exchange of information and experience. We need to do very much more.

We need to have a Commonwealth conference so that other countries of the Commonwealth may accept their share of responsibility for dealing with what fundamentally is a Commonwealth problem. It is not only our problem; other countries of the Commonwealth should find it possible to make a contribution. [An HON. MEMBER: "Including the Kenyan Government."] Including the Kenyan Government, I agree. I should like a Commonwealth conference to be called to discuss ways and means of channelling some of the displaced persons from Kenya and other parts of the Commonwealth to other Commonwealth countries where there is a high standard of living, countries which can afford to offer better hospitality to their less fortunate members.

8.43 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frederic Bennett Mr Frederic Bennett , Torquay

I hope the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renéort) will not think me too unkind when I say that, having sat through this debate, I have found it immensely interesting and that I enjoyed the speeches until she made hers. With reference to her attacks on my right hon. Friend the Member for the other Wolverhampton seat, surely she knows by now that an Opposition Front Bench spokesman always speaks on his subject, in precisely the same way as a member of the Government speaks on his or her subject from his or her Front Bench.

When it comes to learning something about conditions in Wolverhampton, I only say that the hon. Lady has taken the precaution of living in Hertfordshire while my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) has a house in Wolverhampton. [An HON. MEMBER: "Disgraceful."] She does not appear to be in the best possible position to make that criticism. [Interruption.] The hon. Lady showed little willingness to give way. If she makes attacks on hon. Members on this side of the House, she must expect us to hit back and not regard it as disgraceful. If the hon. Lady wants sex equality, she must at least put up with that aspect of it.

On the general topic of the debate, I have learned a great deal, particularly listening to hon. Members opposite who live in some of the constituencies where the problem is very real, I pay a genuine compliment to the right hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) who painted a picture of some of the conditions that exist but are unknown to many of us. He did us all a considerable favour.

I would add only one very personal experience. When I represented another constituency before going to Torquay, where I make no pretence that a great racial problem exists, I helped to guarantee the mortgage of a young couple who came to me for help in buying a house over 20 years for about £ 1,700. Because of conditions for which they are not responsible, the area in which they live has had a massive immigrant element injected. The last time I heard from them I learned that when the husband, nearing the end of his working life, wanted to sell his house, the highest offer he could get was £ 450 from one immigrant, despite rising property values over the past 15 years.

These are facts which no amount of talking about one's conscience will alter. It is unreal to deny that this sort of thing exists. We all know many more such examples, which are the real causes of the tension which many of us know. I am only too well aware that such racial tensions do not exist in my constituency not because of any high moral character down in South Devon but precisely because such conditions do not impinge day in and day out on those who live in that part of the world.

Personal confessions seems to be in order today, and I admit that my overriding political interest ever since I entered the House—

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's point, but why does he believe that because there is an injection of what he called immigrants into an area that of necessity creates racial tension? For his information, in the street in which I live there are coloured people, Chinese, Jews, myself and just about everyone else in creation. Yet we have no racial tension.

Photo of Mr Frederic Bennett Mr Frederic Bennett , Torquay

I do not think that that intervention was particularly helpful. I know as well as the hon. Gentleman does that the only reason the Government are reluctantly being driven to introduce the Bill, and the Opposition are reluctantly giving their consent, is that at the present rate of immigration racial tensions are being caused. Whether or not the hon. Gentleman can think of an exception about the street in which he happens to live is irrelevant.

My overriding interest has always been in the concept of maintaining a non-racial—prefer that word to multi-racial—Commonwealth. That is because I believe that the greatest danger we face is no longer ideological wars but racial conflicts, which are not only unfortunately based to a large extent on one colour against another but on the fact that on the whole it is the white faces that are the rich, the haves, and the others the have-nots. At present, the only forum in the world where there is any measure of sitting down together and trying to ameliorate racial tensions is the Commonweath. I do not count the United Nations here, because whatever else it is it is not united on this matter. If there were no other reasons for keeping the Commonwealth in being this would be ample justification in the second half of the 20th century. Therefore, I have found it all the more difficult to make up my mind about my attitude to the Bill.

I came here to listen and genuinely to try and make up my own mind. I must say that the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) did a great deal to help me to decide where my duty lay on the widest possible consideration. First, while we should obviously have concern for moral obligation, for Commonwealth ideals, for non-racialism and the rest, as M.P.s in a genuine democracy we have a duty as elected representatives not deliberately because of our own particular feelings to create a society contrary to the wishes of the majority of the people who live in this country. It is not our job to over-rule people simply because we may wish to pursue ideals of our own, paying no regard to the sort of society in which the majority of our people wish to live.

I do not think that we should be too paternalistic on this subject if we are genuinely trying to carry out a democratic duty. I have had interesting support on this in the last few days from a large number of immigrants already here. It is wrong to believe that the immigrants already here are opposed to the Bill. I have had a number of letters from immigrants and their view is unanimous that their future chances of absorption into our society lie in the pressures not being built up further than they are now.

If immigrants already here, although they will not say so too publicly, are actually pleading for their difficulties not to be made greater by stepping up the rate of absorption to a point at which they know friction will be cause, the lesson to be drawn is that we must pay serious heed to their view if we claim to have in mind the interests of the present immigrant population.

My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon) advocated a total cessation of immigration. For me, that would be going a great deal too far, but I would say that, if anything, the present rate is too great if we are not to run into the risks of racial conflict such as those which we have seen disfiguring other parts of the world. Do let us remember that, if there is an outbreak of racial pressures and tensions, turning into violence on however limited a scale, even when it is over the scars remain and these help to create further tensions in their turn. Every time there is an outbreak of violence, even if those who cause the trouble are imprisoned, whatever their race, some people think they are unfairly imprisoned for too long and fresh areas of conflict are then created.

So we have an enormous responsibility to do our best to ensure that the safety valve is not invoked at too high a rate and does not build up to undue pressure. Suggestions have been made that the figure of 1,500 which the Home Secretary said might be flexible should be increased—presumably in order to help salve some of our consciences in that it would expand the total Kenya immigration quota.

I have no particular objection to this, but we cannot very easily find a sensible solution and we will not help the problem in East Africa by increasing from 1,500 to 2,500 the number of people allowed in. We cannot seriously imagine that we are making a contribution to removing the antagonism that some people overseas and here feel towards this Measure. We have a very long-standing obligation, which we would find difficult to halt, to allow in a substantial number of Maltese. We have an overwhelming obligation towards Gibraltarians, which is the only part of the Commonwealth ever actually to vote for union with us, and not because of colour. Anyone who has been to Gibraltar knows that there is a very mixed racial composition there.

In New Zealand, Australia and Canada there must remain a degree of reciprocity because they accept so many immigrants from this country. We cannot close the door without betraying an even greater trust. If we add up all these existing obligations and take the figure which has been mentioned of 4,700 as the total number of work permits issued last year, and say that any increase over Kenyas 1,500 must be taken out of the 4,700, there is not an awful lot left to help us over our difficulties.

It would be dishonest if we did not realise the dangers when we break pledges, as we have done in two instances over the question of citizenship of this country, in successive years. We must appreciate that tonight we may be setting another precedent if we permit this situation in which 1,500 or more are allowed to come in because of an obligation to those people we are now thinking about in East Africa. Are we looking forward to what could happen on a substantial scale in Mauritius? Have we forgotten the racial tensions in Fiji? Have we in mind the problem that can easily break out in Malaysia when we might have to come to the aid of some of their people? What about the leased areas in Hong Kong, many of whose inhabitants are there because they do not wish to live under the Chinese régime? If we are being honest with ourselves we cannot make up our minds about this Bill by saying, "Does it really matter if we have a few more from East Africa?" We are setting a moral precedent in precisely the same way as other moral precedents have been set up—which it is said we are now flagrantly breaking.

What are we doing about the passports of the Kenyans and others? Are these still being issued, and will they be issued in other dependent territories? I cannot help feeling that there is almost a fraudulent element in the light of what we have learned, to continue to issue passports which we know in our hearts will not be honoured when the time comes, except on a quota system, which in the case of some of the larger territories would be meaningless because it would take hundreds of years to fulfil our obligations on the basis of a small annual quota.

This is something that has to be looked at not only in the context of tonight's debate, but in regard to the wider future problems about which I have spoken. For all the reasons which I have mentioned, not only because it is right for our own people, but for the immigrant society here, because I would loath the idea of this country becoming racialist in its outlook, I shall have no hesitation, without any sense of guilt, in supporting the Government in the Lobby tonight.

9.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Whitaker Mr Benjamin Whitaker , Hampstead

This is a miserable Measure, and certainly I shall not support it. In such circumstances, it is customary to move that it should he introduced again in six months' time. In this case, the Measure should have been laid five years ago, and certainly prior to October, 1964.

The objectionable and unacceptable feature of it is that every hon. Member knows that, if the impending influx of people had been white, the Bill would never have appeared. It is no use hon. Members saying that it is not they who are prejudiced, but the public. On this matter, as on all others, Parliament should give the lead. One of the problems of prejudice in this country is that one can never meet an anti-black: such people always shelter behind their neighbours. If hon. Members are to mirror the lowest common denominator of public prejudice, what is the point of being in this House? If the Labour Party is to mirror the prejudice of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, why should there be a Labour Party? All political parties exist to try and change society for the better.

The only creditable feature about the Bill is the evident shame with which the Government have introduced it, in contrast with the unholy joy with which it has been greeted by the Monday Club. I believe that Britain will become a lesser nation if it is passed.

It is not the situation which has really changed since these people were given a legal pledge by Her Majesty's Government at the time of the independence of Kenya. The only change which has taken place is in the campaign which has been whipped up by certain interested politicians. It is not the people against whom we are discriminating tonight who are the problem in this country. It is the prejudice which has been directed against them for certain motives. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) spoke about the situation being like a run on a bank. One might ask him who caused the run on the bank. Was it the immigrants, or the people who began the pernicious campaign which has led them to try and come here before the door is closed?

If we were debating yesterday the Cecil King Appeasement Bill, we are debating tonight the Alf Garnett Appeasement Bill. The real authors who have contributed towards it are three hon. Members, and I have given them notice that I intended to refer to them. The first is the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), whose long-sustained campaign against immigrants and their dependants makes it evident that he is unaware that, when families are united, that is the best factor for them forming the most law-abiding sectors of society.

The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) in a very inflammatory speech, which was referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renée Short), spoke about a class in a Wolverhampton school which had only one white child. An enterprising national newspaper did some research in every school in that constituency, and the minimum found in any class was five white children. The right hon. Gentleman has declined to name the school that he has in mind.

I come finally to the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys). I think that hon. Members on both sides of the House feel that he is the real author of the situation which has given rise to the present predicament. I find it unacceptable and intolerable that he now seeks to make political capital out of the situation, just as he did out of the crisis in the South Aden Federation, which was again his own creation.

As I have said, it is not the immigrants who are the problem. The problem is the prejudice which certain people in this country attempt to arouse. Let us not delude ourselves that there is not racial prejudice in all the political parties. However, we must come to recognise that some prices are too high to pay for electoral popularity or even for survival: Pandering to racial prejudice is one of them.

We are here tonight as prosecutor, judge and jury of people who are not present. There is no Asian representative in this House. What crimes have these people ever committed to justify our inflicting this penalty upon them? It is not they who are racially prejudiced. They owe their situation to the fact that their ancestors put their trust in the words of Mr. Winston Churchill, as he then was, who sought by his policy to make them come from India and settle in Kenya. Following that, they then trusted his son-in-law at the time of Kenya independence. The only charge that this House can bring against them is the accident of their physical appearance, which is no more relevant and no more their own fault than if they were tall, red-haired and red-faced.

It is on such grounds that Britain is asked tonight to break a solemn legal pledge which is likely to be condemned at the European Court of Human Rights, at the International Court at The Hague, throughout the Commonwealth, and at the United Nations. But some of this criticism will undoubtedly be sanctimonious.

One asks what representations the Commonwealth is making to Australia, whose all-white policy contrasts strongly with their urgent pleas for more immigrants to occupy their thousands of unoccupied acres. They seem to forget their all-white policy only when coloured people with cricketing talent arrive. Canada has also got unoccupied land. I ask the Government to initiate a concerted Commonwealth programme to take immigrants in the emptier parts of the Commonwealth.

I oppose the Bill for the following reasons. First, Clause 1 is barely disguised white preference. Secondly, the appeal system which has been offered as a concession goes nothing like as far as what was recommended by the Wilson Committee and accepted by the previous Home Secretary. If the cost and absence of civil servants is the real objection, why cannot the appeals be brought through the magistrates' courts and the High Court of this country? This would occasion no extra staff. The machinery is ready to go into action tonight.

In the long term we must seek to get away from the idea of a quota concept in dealing with immigrants, who are human beings. How do the Government arrive at their figure of 1,500? What are the criteria on which they estimated this figure? Or is it completely arbitrary and insubstantiable? Surely the criterion for admission to this country should be the availability of employment. That is the reason why people come. They do not come because of Britain's climate. But, more immediately, the Government should be setting up special reception arrangements for these unhappy people who have been driven by political forces not of their own making to arrive at Gatwick Airport in the middle of a British winter. What arrangements arc being made to receive them?

The total of the Kenyan-Asian to whom we owe a legal obligation is roughly only twice the normal Commonwealth annual intake. That is the size of the problem for which we are breaking our word in this unprecedented fashion tonight. Why are not the Government saying in a louder voice that the numbers of people coming into this country are still much much smaller than the numbers leaving? For this reason, it is not overcrowding which is the problem: it is racial prejudice.

Finally, leprosy in fact is neither an infectious nor an incurable disease; but if the people who should be trying to heal leprosy lie down and simulate the illness, what hope is there of curing it?

9.8 p.m.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I agree that this debate, as the subject befits, has been one of high quality and the contributions made by hon. Members on both sides have been uniformly sincere, informed and impressive, though in many cases they have differed in their reaction to the Measure that we are discussing.

I want fairly briefly, because I know there were many hon. Members still wishing to speak, to restate the arguments, stated earlier by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), why I intend to vote in favour of this Measure, and I hope my hon. Friends will do the same.

The main problem is that of Asians coming from Kenya. The basic problem, stated quite simply, is that these people have quite undeniably been given certain rights. Equally, if they all exercise these rights, or seek to do so, at the same time, serious consequences will follow for everyone, including the Asians themselves. I think that these are the two propositions before us.

There is no doubt about the rights which these people possess. When they were given these rights, it was our intention that they should be able to come to this country when they wanted to do so. We knew it at the time. They knew it, and in many cases they have acted and taken decisions on this knowledge. I am certain that there can be no going back on those simple facts.

Equally, there is no doubt about the problem which can, and will, be created if the rate of immigration goes ahead too rapidly, a problem just as serious for the immigrant communities as for the rest of us. I believe that this country has handled the racial problem very well. It may be that succeeding Governments could have done more in many ways, more about the dispersal of some of the more concentrated communities, more about the provision of better facilities, and more about encouraging integration within the existing society. Despite that, our record compares extremely well with the record of almost any country in the world. But even here there is bound to be a flashpoint. Let us make no mistake about that. There is bound to be a flashpoint somewhere, and if the flash occurs everyone will be burned, and probably seriously burned.

I think that in discussing this Measure we must not be in any way hypocritical about the racial nature of the problem that underlies it. This clearly is a racial problem, a problem of potential racial tension which everyone on both sides of the House wishes desperately to avoid. The problem arises quite simply from the arrival in this country of many people of wholly alien cultures, habits and outlook; people incidentally, as well, who tend to concentrate in their own communities. As my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall) said, if they were spread throughout the country the problem would be entirely different, but because they concentrate in certain areas, and because their outlook, their habits and their cultures are so different from ours, they create a very serious potential danger.

Much has been said about Clause 1. It has been argued by several hon. Members that this Clause is racial in intent. I do not think that this is so. I accept the Government's argument that it is based, as the Home Secretary said, on a concept that certain people belong to this country, a concept which, as the right hon. Gentleman said, Lord Butler as he now is introduced some years ago. This is an acceptable and not a racial criterion.

Equally, it can be argued that the action being taken by the Kenya Government is not racial because it is based on citizenship, and because countries are entitled to say that they will treat their own citizens in some respects differently from people who are not citizens. Although I accept these arguments, formally at any rate, I must warn the Government, and I would like to warn the Government in Kenya as well, that this is not what it will appear to many people. Certainly with regard to Clause 1 the fact is that the vast majority of those who will benefit will be people of European extraction. If, as I accept from the Government, their intention is not to have a racial criterion, they must make this crystal clear from the outset.

Turning to what is happening in Kenya, although what they are doing is based on citizenship, the fact is that so many speeches of leading Kenyans refer to Africanisation, and this is really a racial concept. I appeal seriously to the people in Kenya. I think that perhaps I have a certain claim to do so, because I presided over the Conference at Lancaster House, as a result of which Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ngala took over the Government of a self-governing Kenya. I appeal to Mr. Kenyatta, whose record as a leader of his country has been outstanding, to think again about what he is doing to his country in this way. Kenya needs these people, just as much as they need Kenya, and by insisting on pushing them out in the way that is being done, by repriving them of their livelihood, something is being done to the future of Kenya which will benefit no one and may harm many.

The problem of racial antipathy is one of the worst in the modern world, and it is not enough merely to deplore it. We must try to solve it. To condemn racialism is not, and should not be, to ignore the real social difficulties, or the need both of effort and of time to achieve integration between immigrants and an existing society.

Racial prejudice is a basic human instinct; one cannot legislate it away but can only legislate to ensure that the damage which it does becomes less and less as the years pass. I suppose that it is difficult to trace the origin of racial prejudice. My own belief accords with that of my right hon. and learned Friend, that it is largely based on fear—fear of the unknown, fear of the unusual, fear, sometimes, of domination by a community more clever, more skilled or more active than oneself, fear of lower standards of health or housing being introduced, fear of competition in jobs, above all, fear of the strange and the unknown, which can only be overcome by patience, time and conscious effort.

When we talk of racial tension and problems, we tend sometimes to think too much in terms of conflict between black and white. This is not the whole story, by any means. In many countries, the tension is between black and brown rather than black people and white. The tension between Indian and African in many of our territories and ex-territories, between Arab and African, between Malay and Chinese in the Far East—all these are examples of the tension between racial communities which is the curse of the modern world.

Our job as a Parliament is obviously to pursue the objective of demolishing the barriers to understanding between the races. Time is essential, and in many cases it may be a long time. But, above all, we must preserve our home base of tolerance and acceptance of the multiracial ideal. If we do not maintain it, we cannot be of service to anyone else. There is in some sense an analogy in the economic field. We want more imports from the developing countries so that we can help them with their development, but we cannot help unless our own economy is strong and sound. Equally, I am certain that we can never actively help over these racial problems unless we can maintain our tolerance in this country which, to our credit, we have so far succeeded in maintaining.

Therefore, if the entry of immigrants is too rapid, all will suffer, and it is for this reason that I certainly accept the principle of the Bill. There is no doubt of our obligations to the people concerned in Kenya. We granted them legal status, which included the right to come here. We did it deliberately, but if all of them were to come at once, all of them would suffer as a result. We accept, unhappily—as I am sure the whole House accepts unhappily—the need for regulation in this case. Therefore, I support the Bill.

However, we have not been happy about the handling of this by the Government. I do not want to embark on controversy, which is not really appropriate to the tone of this important debate, but it is fair to say that this problem has been emerging for some time past. The Home Secretary went out of his way to stress how long it has been developing. Therefore, far more could have been done by negotiation and discussion with other Commonwealth countries to prepare for this Measure. In the absence of preparation, many difficulties will clearly arise in practice, many of which have been raised tonight and not yet answered.

There are the problems of people arriving without vouchers and of what their fate will be, and of people who come not direct from Kenya but through other countries. If they are turned back from here, where do they go? Do they shuttle to and fro indefinitely? Obviously not, but what provision has been made for this?

There is the position of India and Pakistan. Many of these people were originally of Indian and Pakistani origin, although several generations back. What is the position of the Indian and Pakistani Governments if these people want to go back to the countries of their origin? Has this been discussed with these two Governments? Do we know what line they are taking and, if so, would the Under-Secretary give a clear statement of what their attitude will be, since the reports in the newspapers have been rather conflicting on this point?

The most serious point which I want to put to the Under-Secretary is, what happens to those who can no longer work in Kenya but who are not allowed to come here? This is really the most serious problem of all.

As has been pointed out by my hon. Friends, many people did not apply for Kenya citizenship because they relied on their British rights. They will now find themselves—certainly this is so in many cases—unless some change takes place in the policy of the Kenya Government, in a position in which they cannot work in Kenya and will therefore try to come here, but maybe prohibited from doing so. The Home Secretary was right to say earlier that this is not a question of them being stateless. However, it is a question of them being jobless and, in many ways, homeless and, possibly, without help and protection. The irony of it is that they will have rights under British citizenship which they can exercise in every country except here.

We must, therefore, press the Government hard on this issue of what is the position about Kenya citizenship for these people. Is the door really closed? The Home Secretary seemed to suggest that there was still an opening, but our impression is that the door has been fairly firmly closed after the two-year grace period. We must have a clear statement about the position, about what the Government intend to do to try to persuade the Kenya authorities to liberalise their policy in this matter, and, above all, what they believe to be the proper fate of those who may be denied the right to work in the country in which they live or go to the country to which they belong.

This brings me to the question of the size of the quota. Several of my hon. Friends have drawn attention to this matter. We stated in our statement last week that we accepted, in effect, the need for some regulation. However, we said that at the same time we' recognised that these people have rights and that what should be done was to phase the use of these rights. In other words, they cannot all come at once, but some provision must be made whereby, over a period of time, they can come. However, with a quota as low as 1,500 for heads of families, many of these people will probably never be able to come here. This is very difficult to reconcile with the recognition, which the Government claim, of the ultimate right of British citizenship which these people possess.

Several of my hon. Friends have drawn attention to the question of priorities. Given that there must be some limitation on the number of immigrants, which of them has the greatest claim on us? I have no doubt that the Asians in Kenya, of whom we are talking, have the greatest claim. It is not entirely a matter of them fitting into our community more easily than people coming from other countries with less education, less skill or less knowledge of our customs. The real reason, it seems, why they have a basic claim on this country is because we made them citizens, gave them these rights and because they are in an exceptional position. This position must be recognised by wherever possible giving them priority over other would-be immigrants. I have the impression, from listening to the speeches made this afternoon, that this argument commands a great deal of support on both sides.

I am glad that the Home Secretary has yielded on the question of an appeal procedure. I believe that a great deal of the damage done by this Measure—and psychological damage has, of course, been done—would have been mitigated if the right hon. Gentleman had, from the very beginning, accepted the need for an appeal procedure. It is somewhat strange, as we know the Home Secretary to be a humane man, that he did not from the very start make the provisions which now, under political pressure, he hay sensibly made. However, whether or not these provisions are adequate is hard to say, and, frankly, I am in some difficulty in understanding precisely what the right hon. Gentleman is proposing. I hope, therefore, that when the Minister replies to the debate he will explain this matter clearly.

Apparently there is to be a tribunal which will operate mainly in Kenya hearing appeals. I do not know on what criteria the tribunal will judge them, and nor do I understand how a tribunal operating there can deal with appeals and decisions made by immigration officers operating in this country. I understand that one complaint has been that immigration officers have an extremely difficult task to perform and that while they perform that task well, in view of the complexity of the instructions and the manifold nature of the cases with which they must deal, they cannot always be right. It is sensible to have some form of appeal procedure, but how can the appeal procedure be in Kenya when the immigration officers are in this country? It is probable that I over-estimated the intentions of the Government on the appeal procedure, and I would be grateful if the Minister would deal with this with some care.

There are other points which arise in the Bill of a rather minor character. Some we very much welcome. The idea of a medical examination is a good one, though we would think, as the hon. Lady the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renée Short) said earlier, it would be a good idea if the medical examinations were held in the country of origin rather than waiting until arrival in this country.

The 24-hour rule is to be extended to 28 days. Why limit it to 28 days? If people are coming in illegally, why give them a run of 28 days?

There is the question of the new obligations to be put on pilots and masters of ships not to carry people in certain circumstances. How can this be done in practice? I see great difficulties in aircraft captains and masters of ships complying with this new provision. They are subject to severe penalties if they do not comply.

How will the vouchers be allocated? The number of people asking for them in Kenya will be far greater than the number available. It is said this would be done on the basis of personal circumstances and special criteria. This is vague, and it is most important that the Government shall make clear the criteria upon which they will ask officials to proceed. We have a number of other suggestions. It would be a good thing to have some provisions to make financial aid available to immigrants who want to return to their own country. There is a strong case for checking voucher holders and dependants in their own country rather than when they arrive here. There are a number of other points on the detailed control of immigration.

In discussing this serious conscience-searching problem of the Asians in Kenya I believe the Government have both a problem and an opportunity. The tradition of the open door in this country is deep and great. Almost passionate speeches on this theme have been made in the course of this debate but to leave the door open to the world, to all those potential 1 million who might claim the right to come here, could give rise to racial tensions which would be self-defeating. The Government must exercise control not only with flexibility but with imagination. A great deal of imagination as well as flexibility will be needed if great injustice and harm and suffering are not to be imposed on individuals who can claim the protection of this House.

We feel, reluctantly and unhappily, but nevertheless with conviction, that the principle of imposing some control is right, and for that reason on this side of the House we will support the Second Reading.

We say four things. First of all treat this as a Commonwealth problem and bring into consultation as much as possible all the other Commonwealth countries who can help in achieving a solution. Secondly, recognise that the limitation of 1,500 heads of families is very severe and very difficult to reconcile with the rights of the people concerned. Thirdly, accept that the Asians in Kenya holding British passports have a claim to priority in our consideration over other would-be immigrants. Finally, make the appeals system really effective. If the Government are prepared to do all these things I believe that they will have succeeded in doing the best that can be done in an unhappy and even tragic situation.

9.29 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

This has been a good debate. From the Press reports over the last few days, one might have imagined that it would be a debate of far greater bitterness and intensity than it has been. Strong feeling has been expressed by my hon. Friends and by hon. Members opposite. I do not believe that anyone in the House could have wished or hoped for the sort of legislation which we have been bound to bring forward. During the debate there has been a consciousness by almost all who have spoken of the acute dilemma faced by the Government, by Parliament and, in fact, by the nation.

The debate has not been on party divisions; thank heavens that it has not. There is no point in seeking to divide for the sake of division. There has been agreement between my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), who, I thought, made a most genuine and humane speech. The two opening speeches set the tenor of the debate, and the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) maintained it. There are some in the House who, though they are still deeply distressed, are less distressed than they were before coming to the House today because of things said by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Very few points have been raised on Clauses 2 to 5. There has been a general recognition that it was necessary to take action to stop illegal entry and to provide penalties for those responsible for this sort of smuggling of human beings. There has been some question whether it is right to make the extension from 24 hours to 28 days, and this is the point which my right hon. Friend would like to consider in Committee. There has been general agreement about medical checks and the need, in the interests of family reunification and of avoiding social problems, that action should be taken to stop the flow of young boys to this country to live in all-male households and to join single parents.

I turn to the main subject of controversy—the decision to extend the Commonwealth immigration control to United Kingdom citizens holding United Kingdom passports but having no substantial connection with this country. I do not wish, any more than the right hon. Member for Barnet, to hide behind the argument that this is a matter of "tidying up an anomaly"—a term used on one occasion by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys). He said on another occasion that It was certainly never intended to provide a privileged back door entry into the United Kingdom. I believe that the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) was nearer the truth when he said in the letter which he wrote to the right hon. Gentleman We did it. We meant to do it and in any case we had no other alternative". That was the view taken by the right hon. Member for Barnet.

As has been said, the constitution on which Kenya independence was founded was detailed and exact. Those who did not automatically obtain Kenyan citizenship were given a right to claim a British passport and thus to be exempt from immigration control. It is disingenuous to suggest that those who were involved in the negotiations for Kenya independence did not know the consequences of the decisions which were taken. It is true that they did not imagine that so few would opt for Kenya citizenship. They hoped no doubt that many more would do so. They hoped that this would be an interim measure. But the rights are there, and it would be wrong of us to pretend that we are doing less in this Bill and in Clause 1 than we are doing.

We cannot lightly dismiss the expressions of concern such as came from my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Sir Dingle Foot) and bodies like the United Kingdom Committee for Human Rights Year, the United Nations Association and the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants. They are responsible bodies. Our reasons for taking this action must be sincere and convincing. The provisions of the Bill and its implementation must be seen to be fair and humane. To depart in any way from the undertaking given is a very serious matter. It is done by this Government—I know that this applies to the Front Bench opposite—with a very heavy heart. In deciding to change these rights, the Government must present powerful and convincing reasons. I believe my right hon. Friend did so.

This country has absorbed roughly 1 million immigrants from many parts of the Commonwealth in the last 10 or 15 years. These new citizens have made a significant contribution to the British way of life, economically and socially. Most hon. Members on both sides of the House have no time for those who decry the contribution made to our country's wealth by citizens of Commonwealth origin. Over the centuries our country has been enriched by the flow of successive waves of immigrants. I believe they will continue to play an increasingly important part in our national life. It is important to see that there are no obstacles put in their way. But for immigrants, from wherever they come, to come to Britain too rapidly in large numbers without any measure of control creates real problems. Those who live in areas of Commonwealth immigrant concentration are fully aware of those problems.

Many hon. Members have spoken from experience in this debate. The hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall), my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) and the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Frederic Harris) have spoken very movingly from their own experience. My hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) and my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renée Short) have spoken from experience of the problems which exist in housing, employment and education. If there are hon. Members who do not know of these problems, the local education authorities do know of them. It is fair to pay tribute to the work of local authorities in trying to tackle the problems which inevitably emerge.

Over the past 15 years immigrants from the West Indies, India, Pakistan and parts of Africa have come to Britain, have taken work and have settled here. They are entitled to see their dependants join them; wives and children should continue to be reunited with fathers here. While it is right that we should take all responsible action to stop illegal entry or evasion and to prevent the social problems resulting from teenage boys coming straight here into all-male households and going on to the labour market, we ought not to give in to the pressures to stop family reunification. Those who repeatedly make demands for the rights of dependants to be slashed do not realise the insecurity and uncertainty they create in the minds of Commonwealth citizens here. They have their human rights. It would be very wrong to tackle the problem of those who come here from East Africa at the expense of those who are living and working here, integrated with us and with the rights they have had by Act of Parliament to be joined by their dependants.

Photo of Mr John Page Mr John Page , Harrow West

Would the hon. Gentleman consider that people coming in future should be given permits on the understanding that they should not expect to bring their dependants to this country at a later stage?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

I would not contemplate that for one moment. In this connection only today I received a letter from a man of Indian origin who came from East Africa some years ago and was a leading figure in a national organisation dedicated to the improvement of race relations. He argued that restriction was necessary but that in order to admit all who want to come to Britain from East Africa we should suspend all other immigration, including dependants of those who are already here. I profoundly disagree with him. But it shows the dilemma in which we are placed and which he faces as one of those who have come here.

On top of the natural flow of dependants has been superimposed the very substantial increase in the flow of families from Kenya. Until a few months ago they were coming in in reasonable numbers—between 6,000 and 7,000 a year. With their skills and knowledge of English, they were assimilated without great difficulty, but the rapid increase of the last few months of 1967 and increasingly in the early weeks of 1968 has created a new situation which the Government had to face. The numbers arriving in January were eight times those that arrived in January last year.

It is easy to understand why there has been this rush from Kenya, and blame, if blame be the word, must be shared. First, I suppose that the British Government, by permitting the retention indefinitely of United Kingdom citizenship for those who did not opt for Kenya citizenship or acquire it automatically, removed the incentive for genuine integration. But there is no point in going back over whether we had to do that or not. The fact was that, since they could look over their shoulders, in many cases they did not become integrated in the life and affairs of the Kenya nation.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

I shall not give way at the moment.

Second, it is a matter of regret that not more of those of Asian origin opted for Kenya citizenship and threw in their lot with the Kenyan nation.

Third, it is also to be regretted that the actions of the Kenya Government led to uncertainty and insecurity mounting rapidly almost to panic.

But it cannot be denied that the rush was accelerated by fears that the doors might be closed to them by Britain. Those fears did not come from any statements made by British Ministers but from the widely publicised demands for restriction by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), first in my constituency on 18th October and more recently in my home town of Walsall on 9th February, and by other speeches, including that of the right hon. Member for Streatham. There is no doubt that they must bear some share of the responsibility for the degree of panic we have witnessed. But it would be wrong to say, as some of my hon. Friends have done, that all the blame must be pointed in any one direction. Blame must be shared—

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

The Minister refers to speeches made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) and others on this side of the House. Is it not a fact that the previous Home Secretary, in the debate on the Expiring Laws Continuance Act last November, announced for the first time the very big increase in the influx of Asians from Kenya, and that it was happening before anybody made any speeches from this side of the House?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

My right hon. Friend announced the figures in November, but he did not make any suggestion that the Government would legislate. It was the demands for legislation that made their contribution. The British Government, which had been watching the growing influx over the months, were inevitably faced with a serious and mounting dilemma.

It was suggested by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) that a reassurance should have been given that rights would never be denied. I fear that had this been done it might have encouraged the Kenya Government in actions which might have stimulated the exodus. In any case, it would have been a grave risk to take, and any such pledge would not only have affected those in East Africa but would have had to cover those in a similar citizenship situation in other parts of the world, such as my right hon. Friend referred to. Had we decided to do nothing the flow would have continued, and we should have been rightly accused of letting the situation get beyond our control. Faced with an influx that could have reached 100,000—who can know what the figure might have been?—and which because of its speed could have created very serious social problems, the British Government decided regretfully that they must intervene. It was not an easy decision to take and it was reached only after great heart-searching.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Croydon South

Even if one accepts my hon. Friend's argument, is not Clause 1 a form of discrimination in favour of white people which must, by the nature of things, cause a great deal of resentment and bitterness? Can my hon. Friend give an assurance that, in Committee, the Government will look at this Clause again?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

My hon. Friend must be patient. I am going to deal with precisely that point.

It was also suggested that there should have been a longer period of warning as to what might happen. I do not think that this bears examination. Had we said that we might have to legislate in such and such a time, we would have had an even greater rush than that of the last few sad days. I must say to some hon. Members that we could not achieve the phased entry which they say we should have had instead of legislation without denying the automatic right of entry on one hand and granting permission to come at a regulated speed on the other. The only way in which there could be a phased entry was by legislation. There is no other way.

This was not a panic decision. The possibility of legislation had been under consideration for several months, although the Government continued to hope that they would not have to intervene. There were, of course, discussions with all the other countries involved in the Commonwealth. None of these discussions could be made public and it is not for me to speak on behalf of the Indian or Pakistan Governments. They have shown some understanding of the difficult problem we face.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich and my hon. Friends the Members for Preston, South (Mr. Peter Mahon), Smethwick (Mr. Faulds) and Hampstead (Mr. Whitaker) have accused us of pursuing a racialist policy. This is quite untrue. I respect the integrity and the sincerity of many of those who have made that charge and it is true that Clause 1 does not apply to the Irish, the Canadians, the New Zealanders and the Australians, but they are already covered by Commonwealth immigration control.

Clause 1 applies only to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies holding United Kingdom passports, and the fact that it tends to exempt from control people of British ancestry is geographical and not racial. Those who were born in this country, or whose fathers or fathers' father were born here, will be exempt whatever their race. It has been argued that, to prove that this is not racialist legislation, we should remove the provision excluding from control those who have a parental link with Britain. Surely it is right that those who, regardless of race, have close links with Britain should not be excluded. To do otherwise would make this legislation more restrictive and it does not make sense to propose it.

Hon. Members should remember that the children of citizens now living here, wherever their parents came from and whatever their colour, will be exempt from control. The new measure of control in fact affects groups of people of British origin who left Britain for parts of Latin America generations ago and who have faces as white as ours. It is not race or colour which count but links with this country.

But the main point is that the Bill is not inspired by motives of racial discrimination and anyone who says that it is knows that this really is not true. We have a heavy responsibility to do everything in our power—and this is a responsibility shared by most hon. and right hon. Members in the House—to promote good race relations in Britain. We are determined, as an article of faith, that all citizens in Britain shall have equality, not only before the law, but in opportunities for education, housing, employment, social security and the rest. We are determined to avoid the situation which has developed in the United States, where patterns of prejudice and discrimination have created an under-privileged indigenous minority, many of whom react violently against what they conceive to be second-class citizenship.

This must not happen here, and it is part of the responsibility of the Government and the House to see that it does not. Some hon. Gentlemen have under-estimated what has been done to promote racial integration in Britain. This is not the occasion and there is not time to deal with it in detail, but mention should be made of the work of the local education authorities. Many of these authorities find new classes of new arrivals almost every week, many with children who speak no English, and this requires the dedication and commitment of teachers in bringing them up to standard. There have to be many special courses for teachers and special preparation of materials through the Schools Council. Supplementary teachers have to be called in to cope with the problem. The work of various Ministries and local authorities in housing and employment should be given credit.

The recent cuts in public expenditure have not affected any of our work in race relations. There have been no cuts in expenditure on the Race Relations Board. on the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants and among the voluntary liaison committees. Nor has there been any reduction in the grants made to local authorities for the appointment of specially trained people to deal with the problems arising from commonwealth immigration. Under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 £1,409,000 has already been paid by the Home Office in grants to over 50 local authorities. Expenditure in 1968– 69 is likely to be substantially higher.

Furthermore—and this is in support of my argument, which I believe is accepted by almost every Member of the House, that the purpose of our legislation is not racial—there will be the presentation, within a comparatively few weeks of the new Race Relations Bill. The hon. Member for Smethwick said we must rush it forward. If we are to have an Act that is to be effective it must be a sound Act. I can assure my hon. Friend that a tremendous amount of work has been done in the preparation of the Race Relations Bill, and I hope that many of those who may have been critical of this Measure will back to the full the Bill when it is presented. It will declare racial discrimination to be an offence—it will be an historic step forward on the road to ensuring total equality for all people in Britain, regardless of colour, race or national origin.

It will be welcome in all sections of the House, but it would be folly to pretend that an uncontrolled flow of immigrants, whether from East Africa or any other part of the world, in addition to immigrants coming here by right, would not greatly aggravate community problems in Britain. The process of settlement requires patience, care and planning, and it would be a tragedy if the predicament of those of our citizens in East Africa should somehow or other become involved in the cut and thrust of party debate. Sometimes things have been said that can be thought to be racialist, which have stimulated ill-feeling among large sections pf our population. I want to direct some of my remarks to those who have condemned this Bill on grounds of human rights, especially those who have accused the Government of a racialist policy. With sincerity, I believe that the Government have been right in their decision, whereas those to whom I have referred believe that they have been wrong.

I have myself been involved with many of the organisations now challenging the Government over their present policy. I understand and deeply respect their sincerity, but I have a right to appeal to them. Some may vote against the Government tonight. I hope that they will be few in number. Some may challenge Clauses in Committee tomorrow. But the Bill, amended or otherwise, will go through to the Royal Assent. My plea to them is that they should then call it a day. They should weigh their words with great care. They should consider the effect on community relations in Britain not just of this Measure but of their own words and actions.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

Before the hon. Gentleman concludes, will he answer some of the questions that I put to him?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

Yes, I will. I am just making an appeal which I hope is a fair one. The right hon. Member for Barnet has asked a number of questions, with some of which I have already dealt. I want to say that we have not only got some wounds in this country which may have to be healed. We have some wounds in Kenya, too. We must sympathise with those who will now have to wait their turn to come to Britain. We must hope that many of those who have had their eyes on Britain will settle down where they are and that the Kenya Government in particular will be generous in issuing certificates for trading and employment. I endorse the plea made by the right hon. Gentleman in that connection. It cannot be in the interests of the Kenya Government to see too dramatic an exodus of their population. But the British. Government must be generous and compassionate, too. There will be far more admitted to Britain than the 1,500 vouchers which have been announced already. Wives and children and aged parents will be able to come—

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

Will the hon. Gentleman answer some of the questions which have been put to him?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

I want to answer the question about the appeal—

Hon. Members:


Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

All hon. Members will welcome the announcement by my right hon. Friend that the recommendations of the Wilson Committee, though perhaps not exactly as proposed, will be introduced as soon as possible covering all those controlled by Commonwealth immigration, and his announcement that there will immediately be established in East Africa, based on Kenya but able to operate in other parts of East Africa, a small team of lawyers who will act as an appeal tribunal. This, of course, will cover those wishing to come in with entry certificates, students, and others who want to come to this country. My right hon. Friend has said that he will almost certainly accept the recommendations that it makes to him.

I believe that the Bill is one that no one in this House would willingly have wanted to introduce. However, the Bill is necessary, and I believe that its provisions will be carried out by the Government with sincerity and humanity. Many points which still have to be considered can be debated in Committee tomorrow.

It is a Measure which will command wide support in the House. It will command support in the country, and it should be seen as part of the whole programme of the Government for good community relations in Britain. I believe that, in that spirit, it will be accepted by the House.

9.59 p.m.

Photo of Mr Charles Grey Mr Charles Grey , City of Durham

Mr. Charles Grey (Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household)rose in his place and claimed to move,That the Question be now put.

Question,That the Question be now put,put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly,That the Bill he now read a Second time:—

The House divided:Ayes 372, Noes 62.

Division No. 70]AYES[10.0 p.m.
Abse, LeoCarr, Rt. Hn. RobertFoley, Maurice
Albu, AustenCary, Sir RobertFord, Ben
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Channon, H. P. G.Forrester, John
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Chapman, DonaldFoster, Sir John
Alldritt, WalterChichester-Clark, R.Fowler, Gerry
Allen, ScholefieldCoe, DenisGalbraith, Hon. T. G.
Anderson, DonaldColeman, DonaldGalpern, Sir Myer
Archer, PeterConcannon, J. D.Gibson-Watt, David
Astor, JohnConlan, BernardGiles, Rear-Adm. Morgan
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)Cooke, RobertGilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)Cooper-Key, Sir NeillGinsburg, David
Bacon, Rt. Hn. AliceCorbet, Mrs. FredaGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Cordle, JohnGoodhart, Philip
Balniel, LordCostain, A. P.Goodhew, Victor
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyCraddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Batsford, BrianCraddock, George (Bradford, S.)Gourlay, Harry
Baxter, WilliamCronin, JohnCower, Raymond
Beaney, AlanCrouch, DavidGrant, Anthony
Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.Crowder, F. P.Grant-Ferris, R.
Bence, CyrilCullen, Mrs. AliceGreenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodCurrie, G. B. H.Gregory, Arnold
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Dalyell, TarnGresham Cooke, R.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)Dance, JamesGrey, Charles (Durham)
Berry, Hn. AnthonyDavidson, Arthur (Accrington)Grieve, Percy
Bitten, JohnDavies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Lianelly)
Biggs-Davison, JohnDavies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Gurden, Harold
Binns, JohnDavies, Harold (Leek)Hall, John (Wycombe)
Bishop, E. 8.Davies, Ifor (Gower)Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Blackburn, F.d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryHamilton, James (Bothwell)
Blaker, PeterDean, Paul (Somerset, N.)Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)
Boardman, H.Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Ashford)Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Body, RichardDelargy, HughHannan, William
Booth, AlbertDell, EdmundHarper, Joseph
Bossom, Sir CliveDempsey, JamesHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Boston, TerenceDobson, RayHart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurDodds-Parker, DouglasHarvey, sir Arthur Vere
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. JohnDolg, PeterHarvie, Anderson, Miss
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir EdwardDoughty, CharlesHaseldine, Norman
Braddock, Mrs. E. M.Drayson, G. B.Hastings, Stephen
Bradley, TomDunnett, JackHattersley, Roy
Braine, BernardDunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)Hazell, Bert
Bray, Dr. JeremyEadie, AlexHeald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel
Brinton, Sir TattonEden, Sir JohnHeath, Rt. Hn. Edward
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir WalterEdwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret
Brooks, EdwinEdwards, Robert (Bilston)Hiley, Joseph
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Edwards, William (Merioneth)Hill, J. E. B.
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Hilton, W. S.
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)Hirst, Geoffrey
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Ellis, JohnHogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin
Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)Emery, PeterHoughton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Bryan, PaulEnglish, MichaelHowarth, Harry (Wellingborough)
Buchan, NormanEnnals, DavidHowarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Errington, Sir EricHowell, Denis (Small Heath)
Buck, Antony (Colchester)Evans, Albert (Islington, 8.W.)Hoy, James
Burden, F. A.Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)Huckfield, Leslie
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesEyre, ReginaldHughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Cant, R. B.Farr, JohnHughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Carlisle, MarkFinch, HaroldHughes, Roy (Newport)
Carmichael, NeilFitch, Alan (Wlgan)Hunter, Adam
Hynd, JohnMitchell, R. c (S'th'pton, Test)Sharpies, Richard
Iremonger, T. L.Molloy, WilliamShaw Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Irvine, Sir ArthurMonro, HectorShinwell, Rt. Hn.E.
Irvine, Bryant Godman(Rye)Montgomery, FergusShore Peter (Stepney)
Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)More, JasperShort, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Janner, Sir BarnettMorris, John (Aberavon)Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton N E)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy(Strechford)Mott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesSilkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptfword)
Jennings, J. C. (Burton)Moyle, RolandSilverman, Julius (Aston)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, s.)Mullcy, Rt. Hn. FrederickSilvester, Frederick
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughSkeffington, Arthur
Johnson smith, G.(E. Grinstead)Murray, AlbertSmall, William
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Murton, OscarSnow, Julian
Jones, Dan(Burnley)Neal, HaroldSpriggs, Leslie
Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.Neave, AireyStainton, Keith
Jonea, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Noble, Rt. Hn. MichaelSteele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W)
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)Oakes, GordonStewart, Rt. Hn. Michael
Kenyon, CliffordOgden, EricStewart, Rt. Hn. Michael
Kerby, Capt HenryOnslow, CranleyStodart, Anthony.
Kershaw, AnthonyOrr-Ewing, Sir IanStonehouse, John
Kimball, MarcusOsborn, John (Hallam)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)Swingler, Stephen
Kitson, TimothyOswald, ThomasTapsell, Peter
Knight, Mrs. JillOwen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)Taveme, Dick
Lambton, ViscountOwen, Will (Morpeth)Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Lancaster, col. C. G.Page, Derek (King's Lynn)Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Lawson, GeorgePage, Graham (Crosby)Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Leadbitter, TedPage, John (Harrow, W.)Temple, John M.
Ledger, RonPalmer, ArthurThatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)Pannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesThomas, George (Cardiff, w.)
Legge-Bourke, Sir HarryPark, TrevorThomson, Rt. Hn. George
Lever, Harold (Cheetham)Parfcer, John (Dagenham)Thornton, Ernest
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)Tinn, James
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Lonias, KennethPeart, Rt. Hn. FredUrwin, T. W.
Longden, GilbertPentland, Normanvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Loughlin, CharlesPercival, IanVarley, Eric G.
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, 8.)Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonPeyton, JohnWainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
McAdden, Sir StephenPink, R. BonnerWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mac Arthur, IanPowell, Rt. Hn. J. EnochWatkins, David (Concert)
McBride, NeilPrentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)
MacDermot, NiallPrice, Christopher (Perry Barr)Weatherill, Bernard
McKay, Mrs. MargaretPrice, William (Rugby)Webster, David
Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)Probert, ArthurWellbeloved, James
Maclennan, RobertPym, FrancisWells, John (Maidstone)
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)Ramsden, Rt. Hn. JamesWhite, Mrs. Eirene
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, c.)Randall, HarryWhitelaw, Rt. Hn. Willflam
McNamara, J. KevinRawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir PeterWhitlock, William
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Rees, MerlynWilkins, W. A.
Mallalieu, j.p.w.(Huddersfleld.E.)Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir DavidWilliams, Alan (Swansea, w.)
Manuel, ArchieReynolds, G. W.Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Mapp, CharlesRhodes, GeoffreyWillis, George (Edinburgh, E.)
Marks, KennethRidley, Hn. NicholasWillis, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Marples, Rt. Hn. ErnestRidsdale, JulianWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Marsh, Rt. Hn. RichardRippon, Rt. Hn. GeoffreyWilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Mason, Rt. Hn. RoyRobinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Maude, AngusRobson Brown, Sir WilliamWoodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Maudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Mawby, RayRodgers, William (Stockton)Woof. Robert
Maxwell, RobertRogers, George (Kensington, N.)Worsley Marcus
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Ross, Rt. Hn. WilliamWyatt, Woodrow
Mayhew, ChristopherRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Wylie, N. R.
Mellish. Rt. Hn. RobertRoyle, AnthonyYates, Victor
Mills, Peter (Torrington)Russell, Sir RonaldYounger, Hn. George
Miscampbell, NormanSandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Scott-Hopkins, JamesTELLERS FOB THE AYES:
Mr. John McCann and
Mr. Ernest Armstrong.
Bessell, PeterGilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Jackson. Peter M (High Peak)
Black, Sir CyrilGlover, Sir DouglasJeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n& St. P'cras,S.)
Crawshaw, RichardGray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)Johnston, Russell(inverness)
Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire,W.)Grimond, Fit. Hn. J.Kelley, Richard
Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)Hamling, WilliamKerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Heffer, Eric S.Kerr, Russell (Feltham)
Dickens, JamesHenig, StanleyLee John (Reading)
Dunn, James A.Heseltine, MichaelLestor, Miss Joan
Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)Higgins, Terence L.Lubbock, Eric
Ewing, Mrs. WinifredHobden. Dennis (Brington, K'town)Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Fisher, NigelHooley FrankMackenzie Alasdair(Ross & Crom'ty)
Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)Hooson, EmlynMackintosh, John P.
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)Maclead, Rt. Hn. Iain
Fortescue, TimHunt, JohnMahon, Peter (Preston, s.)
Marten, NeilOrme, StanleyWalden, Brian (All Saints)
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Paget, R. T.Whitaker, Ben
Mikardo, IanPerry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)Winnick, David
Miller, Dr. M. S.St. John-Stevas, NormanWinstamcy, Dr. M. P.
Newens, StanScott, Nicholas
Norwood, ChristopherThorpe, Rt. Hn. JeremyTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Nott, JohnVickers, Dame JoanMr. David Steel and
Orbach, MauriceWainwright, Richard (Come Valley)Mr. John Purdue.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. McCann.]

Committee Tomorrow.


Queen's Recommendation having been signified


That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to amend sections 1 and 2 of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962, and Schedule 1 to that Act, and to make further provision as to Commonwealth citizens landing in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any increase attributable to the said Act of the present Session in the sums payable out of moneys so provided under section 19 of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962.—[Mr. Harold Lever.]