Kenya Asians

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th April 1970.

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Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South 12:00 am, 16th April 1970

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in view of the recent official Indian offer to take approximately 30,000 Kenya Asians with British passports, what reassessment he has made overall of Kenya Asians immigrating into Great Britain.

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

United Kingdom passport holders in Kenya are able to enter India under an arrangement agreed with the Indian Government. There is no restriction on numbers under this arrangement, but I am not aware of any recent statement by the Indian Government in the terms suggested by the Question.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South

Are not the Kenya Asians, many of whom want to come to this country, somewhat hostile to the idea of being repatriated to India? Would not it be sensible for the Home Secretary to cause the Foreign Office to initiate conversations in India, with a view to offering inducements to the Kenya Asians to return there rather than to come to the United Kingdom?

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

There is constant contact between the Indian Government and the British Government on this as on other issues. The hon. Gentleman refers to repatriation. This is the correct term, because over half of those at present in Kenya, according to the registration I have seen, were born in India and later left for Kenya to join in the prosperity of that country at that time.

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

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that we are dealing here with people who, having been disowned by their own country, were betrayed by this country? Having regard to the shortfall in general immigration, cannot we now offer greater help to these people many of whom have skills which would be useful to us?

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's view is not shared by the great majority of the House, who voted overwelmingly that we should take the line of action that we did in 1968. The people concerned have been asked to wait in a queue for admission to this country but, as the Indian Government have made clear on several occasions, they are free to go to that country whether or not they were born there. As I have pointed out, a great many were born there, and their period of sojourn in Kenya has been relatively short.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to keep the House informed of any developments in this difficult and painful situation? Is he aware that we should be glad of any information he can give us from time to time?

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 am constantly questioned about this. I have no alterations in policy to propose as long as I have the support of the House in this matter.