I would only observe that Celts seem to get in everywhere.
I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 5, leave out subsection (1).
The purpose of the Amendment is to provide an opportunity to debate immigration. Recalling and re-reading these debates over the last five years at least, it is clear that they have been a valuable occasion for discussing one of the major issues of the day and the wider issues of immigration control for aliens and for Commonwealth citizens. The present Lord Chancellor—we shall miss him very much from these debates—observed in 1967:
I hope that that consensus remains. I think that great public advantage derives from the fact that, as matters stand at the moment, neither side of the Committee … feels disposed to exploit what is potentially an emotionally charged atmosphere … I shall seek to retain that consensus which, it will be remembered, depended on two propositions: first, that it was desirable to restrict immigration to this country; and, secondly, that persons lawfully within this country should be treated on the basis of the universal declaration of human rights, that one person should be treated in the same way as another in respect of dignity and human rights".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1967; Vol. 754, c. 441.]
This is the spirit in which we approach immigration and race relations in opposition.
We believed then, as we do now, that this does not mean sweeping problems under the carpet or running a muted discussion. There are real social problems arising from immigration which are not due just to immigration but which, because of conditions here in this country as well, we should be very foolish to ignore. In any event, leadership cannot come out of muted discussion. In this respect I applaud the statement of the Prime Minister, reported in the July, 1970 Bulletin of the Runnymede Trust:
The aim of our policies on immigration and race relations is full equality for the immigrant in the life of Britain.
That statement of the Prime Minister should not be muted.
Since last year, it is not just that there has been a change of Government but also that the new Government have promised a new Immigration Bill. Much depends on its extent and depth, but I presume from the Press discussion—which is sometimes wrong in detail, but rarely persistently so—that a new long Immigration Bill is on the stocks and that soon, possibly in the New Year, we shall see it in its full form.
Therefore, I hope that we shall be able to hear the Government's thoughts on the Bill today. Surely, at this stage, first thoughts is not too much to ask. In any event, as was suggested in the last issue of the Sunday Times:
It is a measure which would greatly benefit from public discussion before the prestige of the Government is committed to every detail of it.
It went on to suggest a prior White or even Green Paper. I ask the Government seriously to consider this suggestion, because discussion in this field is vital.
I make a further suggestion to the Government, that the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration be brought into the discussion—not to replace the Executive or to do the job of the Government, but to join in the discussion and comment on the White or Green Paper which would be issued. The Select Committee considered immigration control last Session, but, because of the General Election, did not complete its work. But the minutes of evidence at least have been invaluable, and the analysis and summary made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middles- brough, East (Mr. Bottomley) and the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair), where the information was used and analysis made, has been of great value.
In brief, I ask that the right hon. Gentleman should consider publishing a White or Green Paper for public discussion and using the Select Committee as part of this public discussion. At the least, the Government will have realised, since 18th June, the complexity of the detail of immigration control and the danger of ill-thought-out proposals.
The Conservative policy generally was set out in the party manifesto "A Better Tomorrow", the major part of which stated:
We will establish a new single system of control over immigration from overseas. …. We believe it right to allow any existing Commonwealth immigrant who is already here to bring his wife and young children to join him in this country. But for the future, work permits will not carry the right of permanent settlement for the holder or his dependents. Such permits as are issued will be limited to a specific job in a specific area for a fixed period, normally twelve months. There will of course be no restrictions on travel. These policies mean that future immigration will be allowed only in strictly defined special cases. There will be no further large scale permanent immigration.
This theme of the existence of large-scale immigration was echoed in the Home Secretary's speech in the debate on the Address in July, when he said:
… we believe that any further large scale immigration will be bad for everyone here.…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd July, 1970; Vol. 803, c. 210]
This itself only echoed the all-pervading spirit of the speech made at York by the Prime Minister on 20th September, 1968, when he said:
What therefore we need is not a complete ban on all immigration but a strict limitation and effective control.
Certainly, at that time in particular a popular view would have had it that large numbers of Commonwealth citizens were flooding into this country, but political mythology is no basis for thought and action on such a complex matter.
The key to the rate of Commonwealth immigration is the number admitted on employment vouchers, which are different from work permits. The relevant figures, which have been published from time to time in HANSARD, show that in 1963 there were 30,000-odd employment voucher holders admitted to this country, and that on average we have found since that approximately—it can be no more than approximate—each employment voucher holder from the Commonwealth brings in three dependants with him.
But the 30,000 figure has fallen to about 4,000 and has been about that number since 1966—for the last four years. That is a great fall in the number of employment voucher holders. Following that, this scheme is obviously the regulator of the number of dependants who are admitted here under the terms of the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act. The figures published by the right hon. Gentleman's Department show that the number of dependants rose from 1963 to a maximum of nearly 53,000 in 1967. They fell by 10,000 and by 15,000, and they are down to about 20,000 this year. There must be a further fall next year because they follow the fall in employment vouchers but at a time period of about four or five years.
It would have been easy at the time of the Prime Minister's York speech—the keynote speech, as it was said to be, on immigration policy of a future Conservative Government—in view of the bulge in the number of dependants, to have stopped further immigration of dependants of people already here. The then Government set their face against this and were supported by the then Leader of the Opposition, and it is in the manifesto. My first question is: is this still the policy of the new Administration? There is no large-scale immigration, and it is not out of control, and I am sure that the Government, having looked at the books, must realise that. I have looked very carefully at the Government's proposals as a whole. How do the Government view them now?
In the past the Government have put some weight on the need to place immigration control on a permanent basis, both for aliens and for Commonwealth citizens, and to get away from what is an admittedly unsatisfactory system of annual parliamentary control. There is no difference between the parties on this point. What matters is, when and on what basis? However, when we have legislation which will not have to be renewed annually, I hope that some means will be found between the parties whereby immigration and race relations will be discussed every year.
The Government have stated that they wish to treat Commonwealth citizens as aliens. In my view, this overlooks a fundamental difference between the two types of entry. Basically it overlooks the fact that historically we have always treated people from the Commonwealth in a different way from people from a foreign country and have given them certain privileges. Commonwealth citizens come here for settlement. Aliens predominantly come here for temporary purposes. In recent years between 40,000 and 50,000 alien workers have been admitted annually on work permits. I want to return to this difference between work permits and employment vouchers.
In 1969 nearly 48,000 aliens came here on work permits. Over half of aliens on work permits leave within a year, and of the remainder, at the end of four years, about 10,000 only remain here in permanent employment. Those figures are readily available from information provided from the Home Office. Together with their dependants, the total number of aliens admitted to permanent settlement here had recently been about 20,000 a year. That is all that remains permanently from a total inward traffic which last year amounted to 4½ million people coming in for different purposes.
A great deal of anxiety arises, not so much from the worker who comes here, but from the dependent relatives he is likely to bring here. In my hon. Friend's period of office, did the policy of the Home Office make any fundamental difference to family unity in the case of alien workers?
That is an important point. Perhaps I can deal with it at what I consider to be a more relevant stage.
By contrast, Commonwealth workers come here seeking permanent settlement and, although fewer workers are admitted, the total number settling each year, including dependants, has been between 50,000 and 60,000 out of a total inward traffic of less than 500,000. The two different systems of control reflect their different characters. The main difference between the work permit for aliens and the employment voucher for Commonwealth citizens is that the permit is firmly regulated by the needs of the labour market and the voucher is issued only when it can be proved that there is no local labour available. But it is also basically a form of control of numbers coming here for settlement. That is implicit in the 1962 Act. Otherwise the numbers of Commonwealth citizens would be much larger because the numbers of aliens are, to a large extent, determined by the influences in the home market. Re-reading the reports of the discussions which took place in 1962, when I was not a Member, it seems to me that one of the arguments between the parties was whether it should be left to economic forces to iron out the situation over the years.
A simple change from vouchers to permits would mean either a great increase in the number of Commonwealth citizens entering the country or a great decrease in the number of aliens. There is no justification for this. As the Government seek closer relations with the European Economic Community, this projected course needs to be thought out far more carefully. Are the Government able to give us their view on what would be the effect on aliens with their permits or Commonwealth citizens with their vouchers if we went into the Common Market, and, in particular, what about the complication that E.E.C. nationals should have priority in jobs under Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome?
The proposed equation of Commonwealth employment vouchers with alien work permits will mean the limitation of the former to a specific job, employer, and place. But about 50 per cent. of employment vouchers are in category B, which are in respect of a particular skill rather than a job—such as doctors and teachers—where interview precedes appointment. Therefore, the alien registration system would bite only on category A vouchers for manufacturing industry, amounting to under 2,000 vouchers per annum, compared with 47,000 alien workers admitted subject to employment control. In view of the Government's own arguments about numbers, the change would not be worthwhile. Therefore, what case is there for making it?
In the Conservative Party manifesto the categorical statement was made that for the future work permits would not carry the right of permanent settlement for the holder or his dependants. But work permits do not carry that right now. Aliens bring their families if they wish to do so, and they come in large numbers. In practice, there is no difference between the two. If there was an error in the Conservative Party manifesto and the word "permit" should be altered to "voucher", then, given the ease with which aliens bring in their dependants now, the same will apply to Commonwealth citizens. What, then, is the purpose of the proposed change?
Do right hon. and hon. Members opposite recall the statement made by the Prime Minister in his York speech that:
… to prevent a man's wife and children from joining him in this country leads to social problems in the community which place the burden of maintaining unwanted children on the local authorities. This, too, the city and borough councils recognise. The only way to prevent this is to allow the family to be reunited. After all, it is only common humanity to do so.
Numbers would not be affected by this change. What would be affected would be people's right to bring in their dependants.
If the 12-month rule were introduced for Commonwealth citizens, it would raise many practical difficulties. It may work for aliens but, as the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) will recall writing,
aliens are less mobile and easier to trace than a Commonwealth immigrant. The latter can become a needle in a haystack.
Certainly, on my experience, given the fundamental urge of Commonwealth citizens to settle, which I fully understand, I would not relish the resulting court cases and evictions which would occur at the end of 12 months or any longer period which is given. Given also the steps that have been taken quietly by the police over the years, the liaison committees in the provinces and the special Race Relations Branch at New Scotland Yard, the aim of which is to work with the new communities in this country, if the police are given other immigration control work to do of that nature, the slow community relations steps will be effectively halted.
The confusion of permits with vouchers—and they are different—occurs again in the York speech, when the Prime Minister said:
Permits for those who come to work in Britain will have to be obtained from the
British Representative in the country of origin.
That is the case now for Commonwealth A vouchers, the manufacturing vouchers. It is true in most cases for the B vouchers. Work permits for aliens are sometimes issued in this country if aliens have entered as visitors with no denial to the immigration officer of their intention to work. Would this right be given to Commonwealth citizens or, alternatively, if there is an equation, would it be taken away from the alien?
Health checks, so the Prime Minister said,
may be demanded before such permits"—
I presume that he meant vouchers—
That is already done for voucher holders. The more one looks at the statements which have been made in the past, well-intentioned though they may be, the more one is led to ask the Government that when their full proposals are ready, we should have a chance to discuss them.
There is concern about the concentration of immigrants in certain parts of the country. When we debated this matter on 3rd July, I said that this could not be dealt with easily. My view, which I still hold, is that dispersal will be a pipe dream for a very long time.
The Prime Minister believes that the proposals of his party, when in opposition, will enable entry to be refused to any who propose to settle in the already congested areas of our great cities. The number of new arrivals on work vouchers in any one area is very small. In 1968, for example, the last year for which I have been able to obtain figures, 194 employment voucher holders entered for work in the whole of the West Midlands. What now matters more and more—I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) feels this; we have discussed it—is not the new arrivals. It is the movements from, perhaps, the West Midlands to Slough, or from Slough to the West Midlands. There is a movement often in search of marginally higher pay, particularly when residence in an area has been relatively short and there is not the strength of staying in an area that there is with people in, perhaps, the more affluent West. What matters is the internal movement of those who are already here.
Again, in considering this proposal, the right hon. Member for Ashford said:
In theory (but not in practice) it would steer new arrivals away from concentration areas.
In opposition, it is possible to be theoretical. In government, one needs to consider reality.
Another proposal was the registration of students and visitors. I found that liaison with schools and colleges was good I was never made aware of any large-scale abuse. There was abuse in some private institutions, and most of those cases are in the hands of the police, but the Select Committee reported that the great majority of visitors and students were genuine and did not settle here illegally. That was certainly the advice that was given to me when I had a responsibility.
In general, the Government's proposals are misconceived. It may be that some of them are to dropped. Since the new Government came to power, I have sought to ascertain their policy. Before the election, the Prime Minister could say that
it remains an important part of our policy that those Commonwealth immigrants who wish to return to their countries of origin will be able to receive assisted passages from public funds. This should not be limited as at present to those who are destitute
Early in the life of the Government, on 23rd July, I asked the Prime Minister
which Government Department is responsible for the repatriation of Commonwealth citizens.
The reply came:
No such responsibility exists. Financial assistance to those who wish to return to their country of origin may be made available in special cases of need by the Supplementary Benefits Commission."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd July, 1970; Vol. 84, c. 230.]
No change. In any event, the question of citizenship comes in on repatriation whether under the Supplementary Benefits Commission or not. I understand that under the existing citizenship law, anyone who has been here over five years may not have registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. If such people were to take money to go out of the country, they could come back on the next boat because, as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, they would have every right to do so. Any children who were born here would have that right. I ask the Government, because
there is concern about it, what is their view now on repatriation?
In general, it may be that the Government have discovered weaknesses in control which need to be dealt with urgently. I was not made aware of any in this category, but certainly the previous Home Secretary acted from time to time on certain abuses under the heading of fiancées and children under the age of 16, for example. I was responsible—my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has stated this in the House, so I am not abrogating to myself delusions of grandeur—for the institution also of compulsory entry certificates for dependants—a necessary change, not to stop abuse, but to prevent human problems at the port of entry.
I notice that the analysis of the Select Committee stated that fears that compulsory entry certificates might prove an additional restriction had been shown to be unfounded. I can only hope that all those experts at the time who misread my motives and looked forward to the results have noted that. On the basis of declared Government intentions, no case for change has been made because of mass immigration. There is no lack of control.
A further reason for inaction at the moment, of which I was very aware, is the current implementation of the Immigration Appeals Act, which received Royal Assent in 1969. When is that Act to be fully implemented? On 1st July, the arrangement which we had made before the election was that approximately half of that Act had been brought into being to deal with people already in this country. I ask that question because we had taken on staff for the full implementation of the Act. It is important that we should know the Government's thoughts on this. Adjudicators and Tribunal members have been appointed and accommodation has been provided. Already, decisions are being taken by the adjudicators and by the Tribunal which are beginning to make a body of administrative case law, some of which has raised problems for the Home Office. In my view, before any piecemeal changes are made in the existing system, it is important to see the full results of the working of the Act.
It is not simply a case of closing loopholes revealed by decisions, but already there has been criticism of the two updated sets of rules, Cmnd. 4295 and Cmnd. 4298. In our view, there is no need for speedy action on immigration control. The time has come to look at the background to control and to the wider aspects of immigration. Our manifesto said:
We now propose to review the law relating to citizenship.
Over the almost two years that I was responsible for immigration control at the Home Office it grew on me daily that what is required is to look at the basis underlying the rules which have been built up over the years. This review of nationality and citizenship must be done on a Commonwealth basis. There must also be an investigation into the economic and—particularly—employment implications of immigration.
I am glad to see the Minister of State for the Department of Employment here, because just as citizenship is the basis of the books of rules so employment vouchers and work permits colour the use that we make of the rules based on citizenship. The whole question of nationality and citizenship is complex, as Lord Butler observed in 1962. Legal concepts, such as "British subject", "British protected person"—there are many of those in East Africa—"British subjects without citizenship", "allegiance", and so on, are not easy to define or to understand. The philosophy behind the question of nationality changed during the period of Empire, as former Colonies achieved Dominion status, and the British Nationality Act, 1948, was an attempt to equate nationality and citizenship with Commonwealth.
The immediate need for change was due to the nationality changes in Canada. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference of 1946 decided on an official investigation by Commonwealth experts under the chairmanship of Sir Alexander Maxwell, then Permanent Under-Secretary to the Home Office. The British Nationality Act was based on that.
What is sometimes forgotten is the fact that each independent Commonwealth country was to have its own citizenship. Citizens of this country and the residual colonies were to be classed as citizens of the United Kingdom and
Colonies, and all were to be Commonwealth citizens. As Mr. Nicholas Deakin wrote in his perceptive article in the July 1969 issue of "Race"—an article entitled
The British Nationality Act of 1948: Brief Study in the Political Mythology of Race Relations."—
and this is the basis of our argument—
There are those who believe that this Act was the decisive event in the post-war development of the issue (immigration). The verdict on the consequences of the British Nationality Act must surely be that it neither accelerated nor delayed the introduction of control over immigration—rather, the Act determined the rather complex form that control assumed when it came.
I accept that view. It determines the form.
The 1948 Act introduced a new freedom of entry from the Commonwealth. It is because the Act determines the form of immigration control that there is need for another Commonwealth Conference on citizenship, and I believe that Singapore in January would be the right place and time for this.
The hon. Gentleman will agree that if the 1948 Act had not been passed and had not produced the change in our citizenship law that he has described, as each part of the former Empire became independent and republican, entrance, as it has occurred in this country, would automatically have fallen under alien legislation.
I know the great interest of the right hon. Gentleman in this subject, but I am not convinced that that is the logic of the Act of 1948, because the situation before it was passed was not firm enough, in law, to be able to deduce a clear concept of "British subject". In the Palmerstonian sense of the term, in my view—I am not a lawyer—it was capable of a very broad interpretation.
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his courtesy in giving way again. Surely the case of Burma is relevant. That applied before the 1948 Act. Surely that made the point fairly clear?
In the sense that if the result had been after 1948 and all former Colonies had taken the steps that Burma took—if the right hon. Gentleman is arguing that that would have been the logic of what would have happened, he is right. But my argument is that that is not necessarily what would have happened. I discovered that immigration control in each Commonwealth country is a matter for each Government. That view is strongly held, and any control suggestion would prevent discussion beginning. It is the question of citizenship and nationality that the Commonwealth should be asked to discuss.
Some interesting ideas on possible changes in the law of citizenship were put forward in the valuable "Colour and Citizenship. A Report on British Race Relations", published in 1969 for the Institute of Race Relations. As far as I know, that was the first time that anyone had put his mind to this aspect of the question in recent years. I see weaknesses in the analysis made in the book, but they deserve discussion.
Yes, Mrs. Butler. I am arguing that if the Government are going to seek a basis of immigration control it should be pointed out that immigration control is determined by the laws of citizenship. In the circumstances perhaps I should say that my belief is that the time has come to consider the laws of citizenship. I am under the impression that Canada is considering changes. It was Canada that sparked off the changes in 1946.
The other matter connected with immigration control is the question of employment vouchers for Commonwealth citizens and work permits for aliens. In my view the Government should reconsider this question from the point of view of labour needs. This evidence would be invaluable to a wider economic in vestigation. In 1965 the number of employment vouchers was reduced to 8,500, and the C voucher system ended. There are special arrangements for Malta and citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
The employment voucher scheme and the work permit scheme need to be co-ordinated with industrial training schemes. Industrial training is part of manpower planning. Are the numbers of vouchers fully co-ordinated with the needs of industry? A claim by employers, verified by the local Department of Employment that there is a shortage of local labour, is not enough. These permits and vouchers are part and parcel of immigration control. It is not enough just to ask the simple question whether there is a shortage of local labour. There are wider questions about the amount of labour being trained here.
Much of the evidence given on this point in the Select Committee—by London Transport, A.E.C. Ltd., Southall; and J. Lyons and Co. Ltd.—on 12th March, 1970, was of great interest in determining the number and scope of employment vouchers and work permits.
The use of foreign labour involved here—1 million-plus people—is no different from the 1 million-plus foreign workers in France, the 1 million-plus foreign workers in Germany and the far larger numbers in Switzerland, where two-thirds of the construction workers are foreigners. In this country, or in Europe as a whole, we are all busy working the employment voucher scheme and the work permit scheme—whatever we say about it—in the light of self-interest. Is it to the advantage of this country? Is it to the advantage of the relevant country in Europe?
Looking at the question of immigration policy, why is the B voucher scheme in this country so much more helpful to citizens from the Commonwealth? It is because we want professional and qualified persons, and are therefore bending the rules under the B voucher scheme. It would be more helpful to gear our intake to help the Commonwealth. Self-interest is very short-sighted, and the needs of rural Asia should have precedence over our needs. The terrible tragedy that has recently occurred in Asia illustrates the nature of life there. Yet we carry on milking that society of some of its best brains. There should be Commonwealth discussion on this as well.
It is in the context of employment vouchers that lies one solution to the need to increase the number of citizens of United Kingdom and Colonies—mainly in East Africa—who come to this country. We have greater obligations to this group than to Commonwealth citizens, although we have great obligations to citizens of United Kingdom and Colonies in dependent territories who have been under control since 1962. Such a change can be made, without increasing overall immigration, by increasing the number of employment vouchers to East Africa. The fact that the special vouchers were not special but were the only vouchers had an effect on the young. I think three employment vouchers were used in East Africa.
There are rumours about citizens of United Kingdom and Colonies under the 1968 Act and I hope that today the Government will give us their views on this. I have also had representations about rumours that the Irish, who are neither Commonwealth citizens nor citizens of United Kingdom and Colonies, are to be brought under control, or at least that work permits—which I presume is the correct title since the Irish are aliens in law—are to be introduced for them. The whole question of employment vouchers and work permits needs to be reconsidered and not just reshuffled. Only when we have done that on the side of citizenship and on the side of vouchers can we get immigration control right.
When we do this, I hope that we shall be able to concentrate on what matters far more, namely, race relations in this country. From our side we offer co-operation and consensus and we hope that the Government in their new Bill will not reject this offer. I would like to think of us building on what happened in the last Parliament, and working together to get an immigration control system that meets the spirit of the words of President Kennedy, speaking in another context:
Immigration policy should be generous: it should be fair: it should be flexible.
I hope that the Bill from the new Government will meet that criterion.
The hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) has made a most interesting speech covering a wide range. I cannot say that I necessarily agree with all he has said by a long way, but I appreciate the spirit in which he spoke. I share entirely what he said at the end of his speech about the need for everyone to work for the improvement of community relations. I regard immigration policy as secondary to community relations; it is a facet of dealing with a serious problem that exists.
This debate is traditional in its form but differs from all the debates that have gone before because it is the last of the series, and that makes a great difference to our discussions today. Until now succeeding Governments and succeeding Home Secretaries have said that it would be a fine thing to get away from the annual renewal of Acts dating back to 1919 and to put the whole law about entry and settlement from other countries on a new, simple, unified, statutory basis. This is precisely what we intend to do, as we said we would. I shall, therefore, be presenting to the House of Commons within a few weeks comprehensive proposals to cover the whole question of entry and residence. I am sure the Committee will agree that it is right to do so and to get away from this annual situation which is not satisfactory. The Bill we are discussing today will have only a limited life. It merely holds the position until the implementation of our new comprehensive Bill which is based on the propositions in our election manifesto to which the hon. Gentleman very fairly referred.
It is not sensible for me to comment in detail on what the Bill will contain when it appears, for two reasons. First, it is more satisfactory for the House of Commons to await the actual proposals before debating them. Secondly, the proposals must be seen as a whole. They will be a balanced whole, designed for a permanent structure, and they should be looked at on that basis. To pick out particular aspects and discuss them now would only give rise to confusion. As the hon. Gentleman says, this is a complex subject and therefore I think it should be treated in the round and not piecemeal.
The hon. Gentleman said that because the subject was complex we should consider the possibility of a White Paper or a Green Paper. I do not think that this would be right. We have made absolutely clear what our proposals are in principle. We put them before the country at the election and they were accepted. The right procedure is to go ahead in the normal way with the Second Reading and to give plenty of time in Committee to discuss this large and complex Bill. That is the most practical way for us to proceed.
The proposals will be based upon the passages from our manifesto which the hon. Gentleman was kind enough to read out. I confirm that this is what we stand by, this is what we intend to do, and we certainly stand by and regard as fundamental the sentence which he referred to about the right of a Commonwealth immigrant already here to bring his wife and young children to join him in this country.
I would like to say a word or two about the principles on which our policy should be based, and on which the Bill should be based when we lay it before Parliament. When considering the whole question of the admission of people from other countries, whether temporarily or permanently, our first concern must be for our own people and the health of our own society. That is not, of course, our only concern. We have moral obligations going far beyond this country, but we must look first to what is needed for the health of our own society. It would be no good to anyone in this country, including above all the immigrant population already here, if racial tension were allowed to grow. We have a very fine record of which we can be proud both in the matter of the admission of people from other countries and in our community relations. We must keep it so, and one of the conditions for keeping it so is to give people, particularly those in areas where immigrants are very numerous, confidence that the system of control works in practice. That is why I attach so much importance to the proposals in our Bill being seen in the round.
We have also a fine tradition of liberality in the admission of aliens generally, not merely Commonwealth citizens. This I am sure has been of benefit to this country over the years and has certainly been of benefit to the people who have come here. I want to see that tradition maintained, and I want to see the tradition of political asylum maintained, but we must at the same time recognise our obligations to our own people. Our own country, which is so attractive as a haven to many people from other lands, must be safeguarded and protected against the social tensions which are such a sadly frequent feature of modern life in many countries. Those are the principles on which our legislation will be introduced. It would not be right or sensible for me this afternoon to discuss or argue about the proposals in the Bill which we have not yet presented. However, I wish to deal with some of the practical facts which may be of interest to the Committee in considering the practical problems of immigration control today.
In the last 12 months there has been an enormous increase in the number of people entering and leaving this country. I find the figures surprising. From 1st October, 1969, to 1st October, 1970, there were about 29½ million arrivals and departures, an increase of 16 per cent. on the previous year. This shows what a remarkable task the immigration services have to perform.
In the short time that I have been at the Home Office, I have been enormously impressed by the work they do, faced with a volume of traffic of this magnitude. Occasionally they make a mistake, but considering that they are handling 29½, million cases, it is not surprising that a mistake will occasionally occur. In any event, the appeals machinery is picking these up.
I pay tribute to the patience, understanding and sensible work of the immigration services in handling a problem which is growing in volume. This is particularly so with the arrival of people aboard, for example, Jumbo jets, which means that it is also growing in intensity.
The appeals system was introduced in the last 12 months, and although it has not been operating to its full extent, it is in being to a large extent. I think my predecessor was wise not to push ahead too fast with this system, simply because of the numbers, to which I have referred. We should, therefore, proceed as we have been going so that we have an opportunity of seeing how the system is working.
I have an opportunity, which I am taking in the course of preparing the Bill which I shall be presenting to Parliament, to look at the way in which the appeals system has been working. Hon. Members will, I am sure, take the opportunity when discussing this Measure to consider the working of the appeals machinery.
In coming to the question of Commonwealth entry, I am able to give the Committee the latest figures, and they are of some interest. The numbers of Commonwealth citizens admitted for settlement, excluding United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa, were down in 1969 to 36,000 from 53,000 the year before, a drop of 31 per cent. Dependants accounted for about 80 per cent. of those figures, and the decline in the number of dependants was greater—about 33 per cent.
We have the figures for the first nine months of this year, and they show that the total has fallen to 22,000 compared with 29,000 last year. The figure for voucher holders has remained about the same, but the figures for dependants has been reduced in the first nine months of this year compared with 1969 by about 27 per cent.
An interesting feature among the number of people using the employment vouchers is the increasing proportion of them being taken up by the old Commonwealth—Australia and New Zealand, for example—and the figures in this sector have roughly doubled between 1969 and 1970. There is this clear trend, but I do not know what the reasons are.
There seem to be three main factors and it is difficult to work out the relative importance of each. There is, first, the continuing effect of the marked reduction in the level of vouchers. Secondly, there is the result of the decision in 1969 to make entry certificates mandatory for dependants. This is having a continuing effect. The third is the question of the number of certificates issued which do not seem to have been taken up.
The hon. Gentleman referred to mandatory entry certificates for dependants and said—and I agree—that they were designed to facilitate the entry of people who are authorised to enter and not to create a new barrier. It has been working out very much as he said. The system of compulsory entry certificates is also working well.
I have the figures, and the numbers are running at about the same consistent rate. The number of United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa was 732 in the first nine months of 1970. There were 16 employment voucher holders, 131 special voucher holders, 497 dependants and 88 others. Taking the absolute figures, I do not think that they are particularly large. As for compulsory entry certificates, we believe that this system is working well, and evidence of this is given by the fact that the number of people who have had to be refused entry is very much lower than it was.
There is a mystery which puzzled the Select Committee and which puzzles me. It is the fact that 38,000 entry certificates have been issued and that only 23,000 of them have so far been used. This is a problem which has baffled me, but since it also baffled the Select Committee, I have a good excuse for saying that I do not myself understand the reason for this trend.
I join the hon. Member for Leeds, South in saying how valuable it is to have the publication of the evidence which was given to the Select Committee and the analysis which has been done as a result of that evidence. Both the evidence and the analysis are of tremendous value to us in considering this whole matter.
I do not think the hon. Gentleman referred to a point which is of considerable importance on the social side, and that is the question of illegal entry or evasion. Obviously, if people enter illegally they will make our problem of community relations all the more difficult to solve. Some wild figures of illegal immigration have been bandied about recently. Naturally, I cannot give a figure of the number of people who have entered this country without my knowing. By definition, that would be difficult, to say the least. However, I do not believe that the numbers are anything like those that are often supposed.
Our means for dealing with illegal immigrants—those who come in in small boats or who slip through unnoticed—are, first, through the activities of the police, in co-operation with the Customs and coast guards and with the authorities of other countries. Secondly, we operate through the machinery of the law; and I intend in the forthcoming Bill to deal with the question of penalties in this sphere of illegal immigration, particularly in respect of those who are making a profit out of trafficking in illegal immigrants, often at the cost of considerable human misery.
The third category is that of control, and here we have the problem of those who come to this country on one basis and then slip away unnoticed, such as the person who comes as a student and then disappears, never to be found again by our authorities. It is, of course, difficult to give an exact figure for this category of people, but if one compares over the period 1962 to 1969 the number of Commonwealth citizens admitted here for all purposes with the number who re-embarked, together with the number admitted for settlement, plus the few who had their conditions revoked, the totals, of about 3 million in both cases, are nearly the same, and this is the best evidence that I can give today.
It suggests that although there is a good deal of evasion of conditions of entry, the scale is nothing like what is sometimes suggested. Naturally, people who stay here in breach of their conditions are simply cheating on their colleagues. In other words, if they jump the queue by staying here, they are doing something which another person from their country of origin who follows the rules is not able to do.
We are, therefore, right, for the general maintenance of the credibility of immigration control, to ensure that those who stay here in evasion of their conditions of entry are dealt with suitably and are required to leave the country.
The hon. Gentleman referred to United Kingdom passport holders. I ask him not to believe rumours, even in the most respectable newspapers—especially in relation to Ireland. I have learned that already. I agree that there have been some rumours about United Kingdom passport holders, but I have no announcement of policy to make on this subject today.
I have told the House previously that I am considering this very serious problem. In this connection, I will do what I rarely do in the House, which is to quote from my own speeches However, in
1968, during the passage of the immigration Bill of that year dealing with the question of United Kingdom passport holders—it was my view then and it is my view now—I said.
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 can be no doubt about the problems that 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 well … 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."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1968; Vol. 759, c. 1345.]
That was how I saw the problem then and that is how I see it now. Hon. Members on both sides will realise the complex factors. This is a tragedy in the true sense of a clash not of right and wrong but of right and right.
The right hon. Gentleman will agree that when we look at the British Commonwealth as a whole some very special considerations apply to the East African States. Therefore, should not one of the earliest items of business of the new Select Committee be to look at this aspect and come to a considered judgment, perhaps even sending a sub-committee, as was done in the case of Pakistan, Cyprus, India and the West Indies, to appreciate the realities of Africanisation and to make consequential recommendations on that basis?
I shall not now comment on that proposal, interesting though it is, but I may tell the Committee that I welcome wholeheartedly any helpful advice on this very difficult problem.
My right hon. Friend commented on the fact that so many existing vouchers are not being taken up. Would he not accept that this state of affairs gives him some flexibility in dealing with the very special problem of the East African Asians to whom we have this very special obligation?
I have heard that interesting argument advanced, but the concern here is the actual and not the possible rate of arrival. Incidentally, the figure I gave of United Kingdom passport holders was for September, not for the year.
I think that I have dealt with most of the points that have been raised by the hon. Member, save with his argument about what was wrong with proposals we have not yet produced—
My right hon. Friend alluded en passant to citizens of the Republic of Ireland. Are we to take it that the right of entry to the United Kingdom of citizens of the Republic of Ireland will not be affected by forthcoming legislation?
It is difficult to deal with that matter now because we are dealing with a Bill of very short duration indeed. I have resisted the temptation to argue about the provisions of the Bill before it comes forward, but I know that when it does come forward it will be considered in an atmosphere designed to help towards a solution of the problem of community relations of which that subject is a necessary adjunct.
Although the right hon. Gentleman stressed the importance of immigration control I was disappointed to hear him put community relations in the second position. Both are equally important, as I hope, on reflection, he will agree. He has told us that the Government intend to introduce legislation, so we now have an opportunity to comment on how the present controls are working and to consider whether changes are needed.
British immigration policy and practice has been the subject of much criticism in recent years. Some people believe that the controls are too restricted, and cause hardship to genuine applicants. Some have suggested that they are enforced harshly, unfairly and inefficiently. On the other hand, there are those who believe that too many Commonwealth immigrants are being allowed in, that the controls are too liberal and that there is too much evasion of them.
The Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration sought to examine these criticisms and to ascertain the facts. As a result, more facts are now available than in previous years. The Committee studied all aspects of immigration control, and we regretted that it was not possible, because of the General Election, to produce a full and considered report. However, reference has been made to the publication to which the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) and I contributed. The thanks of the Committee are due to the Runnymede Trust, which asked us to prepare this analysis and summary of evidence.
I want also to thank the officials of the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of Employment and Productivity, and other witnesses who came before the Committee for their very willing help. It is pleasing to see present now so many who were members of the Select Committee. I am personally grateful to them for the way in which they applied themselves to our work. It was one of the best committees with which I have had the pleasure to work in what is now a long parliamentary experience. I know that the Committee would wish me also to thank the Clerk of the Committee: we could not have had better assistance than we had from him.
Our inquiry enabled us to get both the home and the overseas facts, and I now have an opportunity to give some personal views. Immigration controls should be fair and efficient to ensure that those who have a right of entry face as little difficulty as possible on entering; and that there is no evasion. Fair and efficient controls ensure the confidence of both immigrants and the indigenous population, thus making for good race relations.
In any future policy there is need to preserve three features of the present policy, and this should present no difficulty as the three main parties have already accepted them. The first concerns the right of entry of a certain number of Commonwealth citizens for settlement here. Second, once they are admitted they should have the same rights and responsibilities as other Common- wealth citizens. Third, those who are admitted have a right to send for their families.
At present we limit, by the employment voucher system, the number of Commonwealth citizens coming in. Because the numbers wishing to come here exceeded the number of vouchers, a rationing system became necessary. The present rationing system is based on possession of valuable skills, those of professional people, such as doctors, whose services we want. We give priority to those who have jobs waiting for them. We thought that the system seemed to be working both fairly and efficiently: fairly, because it gave equal treatment to all Commonwealth citizens of all races; efficiently, because we found that the waiting lists and delays had been considerably reduced.
The immigrants possess a very wide range of skills; they are by no means all unskilled peasants. Many of us know this from what we see in our constituencies and in the country. Many hospital services would break down and many of our transport services would be badly manned without these immigrants. We found little complaint from employers about immigrants. On the contrary, in the main we found satisfaction. If there was a complaint from employers it was about the working of the employment voucher system. The main complaint was that the stricter controls meant that only about half of the 8,500 vouchers a year that are available are used.
Perhaps the Home Secretary, in his consideration of this matter, is contemplating a re-allocation of unused vouchers. If so, let it be remembered that the United Kingdom passport holders in East Africa are British citizens to whom we owe a special duty. By issuing them with United Kingdom passports we promised them that they could come to Britain. In any reallocation of vouchers the claims of these British subjects should be considered.
Consideration should be given to the claims of those from the Commonwealth who have traditionally looked to Britain as their home. In this category I think especially of the West Indians.
Any proposal that immigrants with employment vouchers should be restricted to certain jobs and certain places for a period is neither fair or efficient. It is not fair because some would be allowed to stay and others would be forced to return to their country of origin. There is a danger of discrimination here. As British subjects, they all ought to have equal rights. They should not be treated as aliens. New immigrants would be uncertain of their future. They would not know whether to bring their families or leave them behind. It would cause difficulties, anxieties and untold trouble.
It would be inefficient to restrict immigrants to certain jobs for a given period, because economically it would not be to our advantage. Economically we want mobility of labour to get the best service possible. It would be costly to check that immigrants did not change jobs without permission. It would require an elaborate system of registration and inspection. Anyhow, this would be alien to Britain and could be a dangerous precedent.
There would be the difficulty of identifying new immigrants and distinguishing them from earlier immigrants. Earlier immigrants would be allowed to change jobs without permission. All of this would encourage the evasion of controls, to say nothing of the difficulties of finding and deporting those who were not allowed to settle here. The Home Office witnesses before the Select Committee said that to try to restrict immigrants to certain jobs for a given period would be costly to enforce and, even then, likely to be ineffective or would be harmful to community relations.
The present system for the control of entry and settlement of adult workers appears to work reasonably well. The numbers now entering are small. For these reasons, I think it better not to change the system. I have no doubt that a change would upset the Commonwealth and it would upset the confidence of the immigrants here; and all for no good reason.
In the earlier debate the Select Committee which was then in being was asked to consider the entry certificate system. The Select Committee thought—I think I can speak for all my colleagues who are present—that this system had been justified. Much depends upon the appointment of sufficient good entry certificate officers overseas.
We saw some entry certificate officers at work in overseas countries. We watched them interview applicants. Where there were good officers, the system was both efficient and fair. The entry certificate system has eliminated the tragic and damaging practice of turning away women and children on arrival at British ports. Once an entry certificate is granted, dependants can come to Britain without difficulty. The result has been far fewer detentions at London Airport.
By far the largest number of immigrants coming to Britain today are dependants. The original reason for these immigrants coming here was that employers wanted them to do particular jobs. Many of these men came over with the knowledge that they could get employment and get some security and then bring their wives, children or other dependants to join them. It would be wrong to deny men who have made a contribution to our economic development the opportunity of having their families join them.
Ninety per cent. of applications by dependants are granted. That is a very good thing and shows that there is not fraudulent behaviour on the part of the majority and that the entry certificate system has not proved a further restriction on the rights of dependants. For those who have not been successful in entering there is an appeal system which affords them some protection. I repeat that the system is efficient because cases are more carefully considered by men on the spot rather than at London Airport.
We were told that the vetting of applications overseas is also a more effective way of detecting bogus dependants, but both fairness and efficiency depend upon having a sufficient number of entry certificate officers of the right quality, of the right attitude, and with the right training and experience. On our visits we found that some entry certificate officers appeared to have insufficient understanding and inadequate knowledge of the customs, conventions and family patterns in the countries in which they had been called upon to work. There is a need for better training to ensure sympathy and understanding as well as skill in handling cases.
We recognise the speed with which the entry certificate officers had to be recruited and the pressures there are upon them. There is a need for more staff in some places to reduce delays and facilitate more training. It is invidious to pick out anyone in particular, but we were all agreed that some officers, judged by any standards, were outstanding.
The Home Office itself appeared to be responsible for some of the delays in considering the granting of entry certificates. Whatever the reason, there is certainly a need for a speedier consideration of cases which are referred from overseas territories to London.
However fairly and efficiently the scheme is administered, some genuine dependants will still have difficulties. Some do not have the necessary documents. They have to undergo an oral examination. It must be acknowledged that there are many bogus relatives. We saw families being examined at length and in detail about their private affairs, and children being examined without their parents being present. Many were clearly genuine, but they were puzzled, frightened and dismayed by their experience. We concluded that this had to be done because of attempted evasion, and, as so often happens, the innocent as well as the guilty had to suffer.
There are some problems arising on the rules governing the issue of entry certificates. I want to draw attention to one or two which struck me particularly. The two-parent rule is hard on West Indian mothers. They want their children to join them. There appeared to be many cases of real hardship. A general direction to entry certificate officers that they should deal with these cases most sympathetically would be useful.
Then there is the system of arranged marriages in Pakistan and India. This, too, causes problems. I suggest that genuine fiancées might be admitted a little more freely, either for marriage or for settlement—in the case of settlement by granting an employment voucher.
The entry certificate system for controlling the entry of dependants operates fairly and efficiently in most of the places which we visited. It could be made to do so everywhere. There must be the right staff in sufficient numbers to achieve this. They have a difficult and delicate task. The Home Office staff generally deserve our thanks for their humane and sympathetic handling of the most difficult problems of immigration.
We ought not to be panicked by Commonwealth immigration. We have a long tradition of absorbing strangers. That is how our nation has been built. If we maintain fair, efficient and flexible controls, if we work hard to improve community relations among all who are now here, I think we have nothing to fear.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has reminded the Committee that this is the last of these annual debates which will be taking place. As so often happens with a temporary institution, it has proved to have a substantial value—as an opportunity for survey in many directions, of which already in this debate all who have taken part have availed themselves.
Indeed, it would be absurd if we were to conduct this debate in the light simply of the events and the figures of the previous 12 months, since these are dwarfed by the past and even more by the prospective future, and since it must be in the light of that prospective future that we judge what is happening now and form our views on policies for the future.
Nevertheless, I want to begin by looking at what has actually been happening in the last few years. The impression has been widely given and frequently reiterated that there has been a steady and rapid decline in immigration from the New Commonwealth. This is not so. I accept, of course, the importance and interest of the figures of voucher holders and their dependants, which have been referred to already by right hon. and hon. Members on the Front Benches; but for the future of our population and our society to which my right hon. Friend referred the significant figure is net immigration from the New Commonwealth.
This, of course, would not be so if net immigration were somtimes positive and sometimes negative; but in the actual situation, in which net immigration is constantly and substantially positive, it must be the figures of net immigration year by year which are of the long-term significance. I need not labour this point, because the authorities themselves, the late Government, and I dare say their present successors, in contemplating the future size of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population, have always used net immigration as the relevant factor.
Net immigration this year, despite the impression which was given month by month by announcements and articles in the earlier part of the year, will not be down on 1969. In fact, I can tell my right hon. Friend—breaking the rule about never using the future tense—that net immigration in 1970 will exceed net immigration—from the New Commonwealth of course—in 1969. By August—my right hon. Friend has the benefit, which I have not, of the September figures—the net immigration total had already almost reached that for the same point in the year in 1969, and it was, as he well knows, in the latter part of 1969 that the fall-off in that year took place.
What we are seeing this year, as last year, is a net immigration of between 40,000 and 50,000. It is true this is lower than the very much higher figure, including United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa, of 75,000 or thereabouts in 1967 and 1968. But it is a reversion to the approximate levels of the mid-1960s.
The true picture, therefore, is that net immigration from the new Commonwealth ran during the middle 1960s around 50,000 a year on average it jumped in 1967 and 1968 to a much higher figure; and it has fallen back last year and this year to the approximate level of the middle of the last decade.
I have no doubt that the legislation which my right hon. Friend will introduce will substantially further reduce net immigration, but the immediate point which I want to emphasise is that there is no such large, continuing, downward trend in the figures of net immigration as would justify us in loosening control, and, indeed, that we shall look to the new legislation to achieve a sharp reduction in what hitherto has been the normal level of net immigration under the previous legislation.
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. If this figure of net New Commonwealth immigration—which I think is the precise point—differs, as the right hon. Gentleman says, from the figures which have been given from the two Front Benches referring to the vouchers and to the dependants, and his figures are therefore greater, would he help me by explaining what groups of people make up this difference?
Yes. Naturally, what is happening for the most part is that those admitted initially as students, visitors or in other ways eventually remain in this country, as well as those who are initially admitted for permanent settlement. Therefore, I repeat, while the figures of those initially admitted for permanent settlement are interesting and significant, it is the net figure—in minus out—year by year which builds up the future population and to which we should look when we pay attention to the future.
Each year that we have this debate one can measure the change in outlook, and even more the change in information, which has taken place during the previous 12 months. There have been striking changes in information during these last twelve months. We have learnt what we did not know 12 months ago—how the official estimates of the rate of natural increase of the coloured population compare with the facts.
May I pause here for a moment to say that I am using the word "coloured" purely for brevity, as a circumlocution for a definition consistently used in these statistics by the authorities and by the Government namely, persons born in the New Commonwealth, not of European descent, and children, born here, one or both of whose parents was such a person born in the New Commonwealth. I think the Committee will appreciate the necessity for having some brief expression for so complex, though I believe agreed, definition.
The hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Bidwell) was not listening. From this definition, which I am using exactly as it is used by the authorities in computing the future population, there are excluded what are sometimes called "White Indians", that is to say, persons of European descent who were themselves born in the New Commonwealth. These figures exclude, or endeavour to exclude, those persons and their children born here.
We were able, as it so happened, to compare the previous Government's estimate of the rate of natural increase of that coloured population with the facts in the year 1969. There is no question here of projections of the future. We are comparing what the Government thought was happening in 1969 with what we know was actually happening in 1969. What we discovered was that the Government's belief was a gross underestimate of what was actually happening. I remember very vividly, in the corresponding debate last year, the face of the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees), then the Under-Secretary, when I told him that their figure was an underestimate. But I confess that when I told him that I had no idea how severe an underestimate the official figure was. It was believed that the net increase in the coloured population in 1969 was 30,000, obtained by deducting 5,000 deaths from 35,000 births. In March 1970, we learned from the publication by the Registrar-General of the figures for the two middle quarters of 1969, that the true figure for births was at least 50 per cent. greater than the Government had believed.
Since then, two further pieces of information have become available. We have the Scottish figures—for it was a Great Britain estimate—for the first quarter of 1970, which throw some light upon the figure for Scotland. We also have some facts—the right hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) was good enough to supply me with them—for deaths, which indicate that the estimate for deaths was substantially too high, that probably the relevant deaths were something like two-thirds of what had been assumed in the official estimate. These adjustments bring the figure up not to 50 per cent. but to 66⅔ per cent. above what the Government at the time believed.
But that is not all, because the calculations themselves embodied a number of underestimates; in particular, they certainly underestimated the coloured element in illegitimate births. I need not trouble the Committee at length with the calculations which underlie that conclusion because I laid them in a paper before the Institute of Population Registration in May of this year, and that paper is available in the Library of the House. But we have now, as we had not hitherto, the fact that the coloured population of this country is increasing much faster than had been officially believed. It is increasing at a rate something like 75 per cent.—that is a modest assessment—faster than was believed.
This is an immensely significant figure. There are three factors in any such assessment. The first is the rate of net immigration. There, there is no difficulty, because the facts are available year by year. The second is the base figure which was taken in arriving at the 1969 estimate. The third is the rate of natural increase. It follows that hitherto either the base figure—the number of coloured persons already in this country at some previous date—or the rate of natural increase, or both, have been severely underestimated. It follows by the same token that all official projections for future years have to be revised, have to be revised drastically, and have to be revised upwards.
I should be the first to admit—here I find myself in entire agreement with the hon. Member for Leeds, South—that, large though the eventual total figures in the Kingdom may be which are implicit in the revised official estimate for current numbers and rate of growth, it is not there that the dangers, to which my right hon. Friend referred, to the future health of our own people and society primarily lie. They lie in concentration. They lie in the effects in areas where a large proportion of the total number is concentrated.
I noted with entire agreement what the hon. Member for Leeds, South said: "Dispersal is a pipe dream". Indeed it is. Much the contrary, as the numbers increase, so far from dispersal of the coloured population occurring, what we shall see—what indeed we are seeing—will be the outward movement of the indigenous population, which will necessarily accelerate the growth in the coloured proportion, and all the consequences of concentration.
In this debate last year I drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that it was possible, within fairly narrow limits of conjecture, to form a reliable picture of the future make-up of the population in a number of our great towns and cities. I pointed out that this could be done, without relying upon theoretical assumptions over long future periods about intake and birth rate, because we already had in existence the facts of the size of the coloured population up to age 15, and therefore by a projection of births for a further 10 years, which only allows of a certain play and argument one way or the other, we were already in possession of the facts about the size of a whole generation of the coloured population, wherever the figures for births during the last five years and for the school population were available. I then, and subsequently in the paper which I have already mentioned, took in detail the figures for Birmingham, in order to show how much we already know about the future of these towns and cities.
Where the first five years of the generation are concerned—the births of the last five years—the facts are available in cities like Birmingham which have kept the figures for many more years past than the last five. Unhappily, the figures for the schools have hitherto been provided in a form which for this purpose is totally misleading and, indeed, dangerous; for the definition applied in the count organised by the Department of Education and Science is such that one counts only children who arrived from the New Commonwealth within the last 10 years or children both of whose parents arrived from the New Commonwealth within the last 10 years, with the grotesque result that a school where the coloured proportion is constantly rising can appear in the statistics as one where it is constantly falling, as the 10-year rule cuts out one section of children after another, and the same children are counted one year but not the next.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is to be congratulated on having at last decided that this basis shall be altered. She tells me that from January, 1972, there will at last be instituted in the schools a true count; that is, a count on the same basis as the figures which we are, by common consent, discussing. In view of the importance of having these facts, I hope that she will impart sufficient urgency to the change to bring it about in January, 1971, so that in a year's time we shall have the actual figures of the coloured population in the schools. At present, one is faced with the necessity of adjustment.
Working with the Birmingham figures, I arrived at the conclusion, which I argued in detail, that eventually one-fifth of the population of Birmingham would be coloured. I have to confess that I was guilty of an error. It was not an error of fact or of calculation; my facts and calculations were accurate. It was an error of judgment. When I said that one-fifth of Birmingham would eventually be coloured, I presented a result into the calculation of which there had been built a whole series of most grotesque underestimates.
I assumed, for example, that there would be no further immigration at all. I assumed that there would be no emigration from Birmingham or from the country as a whole. I assumed that the rate of reproduction of the coloured population would be exactly the same as that of the indigenous population, an assumption which, so far as I know, no one has seriously made when working on this question. Thus, what I was presenting was not a genuine attempt to arrive at the likely future of the City of Birmingham. It was a grotesque underestimate, by which, I confess, I sought to protect myself against being accused of exaggeration.
I was wrong. I ought not to have given currency to a figure which so little represents what is to come. I ought to have taken my courage in both hands and told the country and the City of Birmingham what was my judgment as to the probable—not the grotesquely improbable—minimum proportion of the coloured population.
Fortunately, my fault has been made good by others. A gentleman in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Southampton, Mr. Clifford Thomas, has studied in the Journal of Biosocial Science the future make-up of the population of this country. He did it on the basis of the figures adopted before it was known how wrong, how low, the official estimates were. He took the figures which, broadly speaking, were used in the book to which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, South referred, "Colour and Citizenship". Moreover, he was working on a definition of the coloured population more restrictive than the official one.
Mr. Thomas instituted a series of careful studies and calculations, on various assumptions both as to rate of increase and as to inflow, to arrive at estimates of the make-up of the population in future years. He se this estimates out from one extreme to the other, but he made clear what his own view of the probability was. He said:
By the year 2000 3 million to 4 million"—
that is, of coloured population as defined by him—
is all that seems likely".
In arriving at that figure for the year 2000, he was roughly in line with a number of projections and estimates which have been made by a series of academic workers on this subject. Indeed, I think it might almost be said now that 3 million to 4 million is the orthodox figure for the coloured population at the end of the century. Mr. Thomas then went on to see how, on those same assumptions, the situation in Birmingham would develop, having for Birmingham, as I have reminded the Committee, a series of birth figures which made such a calculation possible.
The Committee will wish to know what the result was. The Committee will wish to know what was the calculated future make-up of the population of Birmingham which corresponded with, and used the same projections and assumptions as what I have ventured to describe as the orthodox estimate of 3 million to 4 million in all for this country at the end of the century.
On that basis and in correspondence with that estimate, Mr. Thomas arrived for Birmingham at an eventual—by "eventual" I mean in the early years of the next century—at an eventual coloured population of between ½ million and ¾ million. Thus, even if the total size of the City of Birmingham is assumed to have grown by then to 1½ million, the proportion of the coloured population would be not one-fifth but two-fifths or one-half.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), in a most interesting and helpful article which was published today, concluded by imagining what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister might say on this subject at the
next Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in January.
His message to them
my right hon. Friend wrote, might be that,
having secured a relative breathing space, the United Kingdom, in its own interest and that of the Commonwealth, proposes to consolidate".
We now know, unless we refuse to know—we now see, unless we refuse to see—what "consolidating" means for the City of Birmingham. Indeed, for the reasons which I mentioned earlier, when we talk about a Birmingham which will be one-half coloured in the early part of the next century, that is unrealistic—in the sense that, before that proportion was anywhere near reached, there would be an outflow of indigenous residents which would send the proportion up more rapidly still. That is the future of their city which the people of Birmingham face; and the calculation, the reasoning, the prospect, is a corresponding one for other towns and cities, from Inner London to—let us say—whichever town one likes to choose in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
The right hon. Gentleman paints a horrific picture but says not a word ever in his speeches, not a word in his speech tonight, about those who are here. Would he say something about community relations? Would he say how those people are to be given a message of tolerance by the people of this country?
What does the hon. Gentleman think I am talking about but community relations? What does he think is implied in a Birmingham one-half coloured but the future of our society? What did he think my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary meant by the danger to our society in the future? This is the very essence of the matter of community relations, and those who blind themselves and blind their fellow citizens to these facts do the gravest crime—
I will not give way. I will finish. Those people do the gravest crime not only to their fellow countrymen but to those immigrants in this country whose interests they profess to have at heart.
The question which has now to be asked, which cannot any longer, now that we have thus much knowledge, be burked is this. Is this the future which the people of Birmingham want for their city? Is this the future which the people of this country want for this counrty? But before that question can be asked, let alone answered, something else has first to happen.
The hon. Gentleman will have his chance in a moment.
We can no longer pretend that we do not know. Authority can no longer pretend that it does not know. The truth must be told. The Government must tell the people the truth—they must do it themselves. The people have the right to know. They must know.
I shall make only two comments on the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). First, with the exception of his last few sentences, in response to interventions, we listened at least to a cool appraisal of what the right hon. Gentleman understood to be the situation. There were no rivers of blood running through the Chamber. That sort of language is apparently kept for the halls outside. It was a welcome change. This is a subject which we should be prepared to discuss at least on the level at which the right hon. Gentleman conducted the greater part of his speech.
But the right hon. Gentleman's technique of building up the figures as he went through was most interesting. An assumption which was made very early on and was explained to us after the intervention of the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) very quickly, a few sentences later, became an established fact. The phrase "grotesque under-estimate" was used constantly as though that had now been established by the mere assertion of the definition which the right hon. Gentleman himself used.
If the right hon. Gentleman is to base so many of his conclusions and facts and researches on the figure of net increase in immigration, he must explain to us why he differed so strongly from both the previous and present Administrations on the figures of immigration that they gave. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but he has a duty to the House to explain and not just to make that assumption. Is he really saying that the number of students and the like who come in will settle in this country in large numbers and that the Home Office and the police forces are in grave dereliction of their duty because those are people who should not be staying here but are? Is the right hon. Gentleman really suggesting that as a significant factor in the immigration figure, or is he merely picking out from the statistics the fact that we have a large and possibly growing number of people coming here from the New Commonwealth for higher education?
If that is the fact that he is asserting, then of course no one will contradict him. It is self-evident that with the development of independent nationhood in the New Commonwealth throughout the 1960s, and particularly with the increased demand for higher education facilities, it may well be the case that the number of people wanting to come here from the New Commonwealth for higher education of all kinds will be on the increase. But it is wholly wrong to include that figure in the figure of immigration for settlement and then build up a series of hypotheses on that.
I shall leave the Government, who are responsible for the Registrar-General, to answer that. What I am saying is that the right hon. Gentleman cannot simply take a figure for students and the like and assume—that is the basic assumption which he has made—that they must be included as part of the permanent population, a permanent part of the scene. That is where the fundamental disagreement lies between the right hon. Gentleman and successive Home Secretaries.
Will the hon. Gentleman reflect on this? It is not a question of the argument that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) might have with successive Home Secretaries. It would seem to be an argument between those like the hon. Gentleman—and presumably he is not implying that the Front Benches agree with him—and the Registrar-General, because it is the Registrar-General that is taking the figure of net immigration. Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the Registrar-General is guilty in making his projections?
The hon. Gentleman is a faithful disciple of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. He has just made precisely the same point as the right hon. Gentleman made in his intervention a moment ago.
I have not answered it. I did not answer when the right hon. Gentleman asked. I am not here to defend the Registrar-General. I am questioning the assumption made by the right hon. Gentleman in his speech.
Would the hon. Gentleman allow me to make the comment that the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) in his logical way has put his mind to the figures, and now the right hon. Gentleman's friends are suggesting that the projections which he is using for 20 to 30 years' time are those of the Registrar-General, whatever process the Registrar-General uses? I recall very clearly that after the changes that were made on the new assumption of fertility rate during last year the disagreement between the right hon. Gentleman's projections and those of the Registrar-General was still very great, so that although the right hon. Gentleman points out an error it would not be right to say that the Registrar-General's projections are those of the right hon. Gentleman. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman was arguing this, but I think that his hon. Friend was.
I want to move on to the general matter of the debate and to return to a point made very early on by the hon. Member for Leeds, South on how we are to conduct the debate on the new legislation which the Government promise. I should like the Home Office Ministers to reconsider very carefully whether or not we should have a White Paper or a Green Paper in advance of the Bill. The debate has got off to a very good start, and I hope that we might continue the debate in this spirit when we discuss the legislation. But it is not good enough to expect other bodies, whether other political parties or bodies outside the House interested in community relations and immigration to submit a critique of what should be the new Government's policy based simply on a few paragraphs in the Conservative Party manifesto. My party would very much like to have in advance of the actual legislation a much clearer statement of intent in detail on the very complicated problems which we face in immigration.
The Home Secretary said that it will be a large Bill. It is almost bound to be, and I make no criticism of that. All the more reason, therefore, why we should have an authoritative Government publication in advance. Although I accept the generosity of the Home Secretary's remarks about Amendments in Committee, I think that the Government always feel themselves to a certain extent to be restricted once they have actually produced a Bill based on their own thinking. It is much easier to make representations to the Government in advance of a Bill being published.
I want to turn to a particular aspect and not discuss immigration in general. Only passing reference has been made to citizens of United Kingdom origin. Nothing has been mentioned at all so far in the debate about the problem of dual nationality—of the people throughout the world, estimated at possibly 3 million, who have citizenship of this country and citizenship of another as well. I have lone, regarded this as an anachronism and I presume that it will disappear under the new legislation. But I raise it in the context of the future of United Kingdom citizenship because the whole subject of dual nationality bedevilled the question of what we should do with the United Kingdom passport holders in territories overseas.
The House will remember the agonising debates of 1968, when the then Home Secretary talked about 1 million people who had the right under previous legislation to come to this country. By the time the then Bill went to another place that number had been inflated to about 2 million. It is essential to have a clear statement of what is to happen to the status of dual nationality and whether the problem is to be tackled.
Then we come to those who do not have dual nationality but have our citizenship for historical reasons, good or bad. We cannot rewrite history. This applies particularly in the East African territories, and the latest figures we have are that there are 150,000 of them—90,000 in Kenya, 40,000 in Uganda and 20,000 in Tanzania, while no doubt there are some in other territories.
How many of these are waiting for applications under the terms of the 1968 Act for the 1,500 annual vouchers? The figure was given in evidence to the Select Committee on Race Relations in May this year of 7,000 people waiting in the queue for vouchers. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham gave a figure of 9,000 last month. Assuming that these are 9,000 individuals applying for vouchers, in terms of the numbers in families, then presumably about 36,000 people are waiting in the queue to get vouchers to exercise their rights of citizenship to come to this country. Despite the fact that I am talking about numbers in the queue, the queue is defined as being composed of those who have been called for interview at the British High Commissions and there may well be others who have made application or who wish to apply but do not appear in the official figures of those who are at present waiting for vouchers.
Surely the important matter is not so much how many people are in the queue but how long one has to wait. Can the hon. Gentleman give any guidance as to how long a time normally elapses between a Kenya Asian applying for a work permit and his being admitted to this country? In my experience, only a few months elapse.
The hon. Gentleman may well be right in some cases. I understand that a quota is given out more or less monthly. In some cases, it may indeed be a very short time. The criterion is need and not length of time in the waiting list. It must be a very difficult decision to make. I understand that some people are lucky and have to wait only a few months. But the hon. Gentleman is wrong in trying to suggest that that is typical of the picture, because unfortunately many have waited a very long time—not months but years, if I may warp a now emotive saying in the House.
I have seen in letters, which have been widely made known, circulars from the High Commissions in the territories concerned stating, last June, that the application has been considered but the High Commission is not yet able to give a voucher. The same circular has gone out to the same individual in November. So the average wait is not just a question of a few months.
This brings me to the problem that separates citizens of United Kingdom origin from the other citizens of the new Commonwealth or anywhere else. I am devoting my speech to this problem because it is important not to lose sight of this distinction in the legislation to come. I was a little disappointed because, although our hopes had been perhaps unwittingly built up outside, the Home Secretary had no announcement to make on that question.
The main reason why some of us are still concerned with the matter is precisely the wait to get here and the hardship this causes. These people are applying for vouchers to come here because they have been deprived of their right to work in the territory in which they are living. It may be possible to criticise the Governments concerned for the speed with which they produced their internal legislation which has had this side effect, but it is not really possible to criticise them in principle because they are doing what we have always done—that is, regulating the employment of non-citizens and the amount of time during which they may occupy positions in those territories. In developing economies it is understandable that this policy has been pursued, although it is possible to criticise the rate at which it has been brought into being.
The result is that these people are deprived of their right to trade or of their appointments and are left resident in those countries with no income and no means of subsistence except the capital they have accumulated. Some of them were fairly well off. Some were quite wealthy traders. I remember well the particular sections of the city of Nairobi where very substantial homes and properties have been built by this affluent section of the community. But that was a minority.
The great majority were ordinary wage earners or small business men who have been severely afflicted by the fact that they have had their means of subsistence removed but have not been able to get out of the territory and exercise their right of citizenship to come to this country.
The basic reason why I ask for this matter to be treated separately is the direct personal hardship caused to people to whom we have an obligation as a result of the 1968 Act. If hon. Members wish further details, there is an excellent report produced by the Rev. David Mason of a recent visit to Uganda. I saw the beginnings of this hardship myself when I visited Nairobi and went among the community concerned eighteen months ago. It has accelerated greatly since then. In one or two cases not only has destitution resulted but people have been sent to gaol because they had ignored instructions to leave the country. But they were unable to leave the country because no voucher had been given. This is a matter for the conscience of the House. It is a separate question from the general one of immigration as a whole.
The previous Home Secretary used to tell us that he hoped that no one would encourage persons in that situation to jump the queue. No one would, but let us be honest about it. If we were placed in that position ourselves, with our means of livelihood taken away, and saw our bank balances drop and drop and ourselves dependent on the charities which exist and which have done a great deal to help, would we not be tempted to leave the country, as we would be legally entitled to do, and enter the shuttlecock process? I understand that since the 1968 Act more than 1,000 people have endured the shuttlecock process of being moved over to this country and then back to and round the airports of the world.
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that one of the gravest risks is the rising tide of bitterness among the young, who are losing their chances of education because of the decreasing assets of their families, who will eventually become citizens of this country as of right, but who will come here in the most bitter mood?
That is true. There is not only bitterness of mood, but if eventually we are to take these people in any case it is preferable that they should be able to bring with them at least the minimum amount of money to establish themselves in the community here, so that we do not have to take into our community thousands of paupers whom we have created paupers.
Not only have we caused this hardship to these individuals, but we have damaged some of our relationships with other countries who have been involved in the shuttlecock process—the Swiss, the Dutch, the Germans and the French, who have all been involved in having these people sitting around at airports. We have entered an obligation with India which has been most helpful in agreeing to take numbers of these United Kingdom citizens into its territory on the understanding that they will be allowed to come to Britain if they later wish to do so. I understand that that agreement has not always been honoured in the letter as it should have been, and the result of that has been some friction between ourselves and the Government of India, as well as with European Governments.
A further reason for reconsidering the whole matter is that what some of us predicted in 1968 has happened and we have been found to be in breach of the Declaration on Human Rights, of which we are a signatory. We have lately been before the Human Rights Commission and I understand that the case has been referred to the courts. It has been clearly declared, as some of us said it would be, that our legislation of 1968 runs completely counter to the basic right of the citizen and as such is not defensible. The hon. Member for Leeds, South uttered a sentence which I wrote down. He said that citizenship must be the basis of our law. I could not agree more. The trouble is that we ran counter to that principle when we passed the 1968 legislation.
I hope very much that in the immediate future the Government will agree to an increase in the 1,500 vouchers which are now allowed. But not even such an increase will be adequate when the Bill comes forward. Even an increase from 1,500 to 2,500 will enable only a slight alleviation of the hardship which we have created. The Home Secretary said that the numbers of immigrants had fallen from 53,000 in 1968 to a figure which I have projected from nine months of 1970 to the whole of 1970 at approximately 29,000, a reduction of some 24,000 in the two years. With that sort of reduction there is scope for a considerable review of the policy which has been pursued since 1968.
The figure of 150,000 is the total conceivable commitment, not all at once but over a period. It must be remembered that many of these people will continue to live and work in East African territories because, as with our immigrant population here, they hold jobs which are valuable to the territories. There is therefore no question of their having their livelihoods removed, and of those who remain many have expressed the desire to go to other countries, such as India, and they are prevented from doing so because no other Government is prepared to accept them into its territories so long as we do not acknowledge their basic right to come to his country.
My last plea, therefore, is that in considering the Bill the Government will pay special attention to the problems of these United Kingdom citizens, problems which we have ourselves created.
I shall comment later on what the hon Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) said about the Kenyan Asians, but I should like first to revert to the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell).
We now have three matter before us—the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, which is a mere device by which we practise the debate; the Bill which will shortly be forthcoming and on which the Home Secretary was very reserved; and the projections offered by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West.
I will say of my right hon. Friend's calculations and projections that I have the greatest respect for my right hon. Friend as a statistician and I respect the calculations which he makes. As he did me the honour of quoting one passage from something I wrote on the subject, I hope that he will also acknowledge that in the same article I agreed with him that the books were not what they appeared to be. That is an important fact.
The accounting system, as the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) knows as well as I do, is deficient. Unless the new Bill can provide us with a more satisfactory basis for accounting for those who are here, those who are coming and those who are going, leaving out those who may be here in the year 2,000, the Bill will be on a false basis.
I accept that, as some of us on the Select Committee discovered more than a year ago the change in calculating the number of immigrant school children in the country was inexcusable. There is never an excuse for obscuring from ourselves the facts of the case. Put at its lowest, these figures are needed to provide the authorities particularly concerned with the problem with the materials upon which they can ask for the requisite resources. If we for our own reasons, and not very good reasons, obscure the true figures, leaving aside the calculations of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, we directly harm the authorities carrying most responsibility. Unless the new Bill incorporates some better way in which to calculate these figures, the truth will be obscured and policy will be vitiated. In that sense, I entirely accept the tone in which my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West spoke.
I appreciate the Home Secretary's view that there was not much which he could say before the prospective Bill appeared. On the other hand, there is a certain amount which hon. Members can usefully say before this prospective legislation is finally drafted. We are not to have a White Paper, perhaps understandably, and therefore this is the last rehearsal before the Bill appears, and before the final touches are given to it we should make one or two comments.
I wish my right hon. Friend the best of luck with the new Bill if we are to fulfil our undertakings. Some evidence came to us—and this is now recorded and I am therefore entitled to quote what was said to the Select Committee—that my right hon. Friend's own officials saw great disadvantages and difficulties in the proposals. They were reserved about the advantages, but rather more explicit about the disadvantages. They may have changed their minds, but it would be foolish to conceal from ourselves some of the difficulties which the proposed scheme entails.
The longer I work in this subject, the more I become convinced that the gap between theory and practice is wider than with most other aspects of public policy. Between what may be hoped and what is actually attained there is often an alarming difference.
Let me take one practical example. The effective control of all aliens and immigrants entering the country resides at Princetown House. There we have a central traffic index and all the landing and embarkation cards, amounting to 5½ million each year with half a million Commonwealth immigrants. The cards are tiled and matched. We have been trying for six years to get this enormous register on some sort of computer, but I am informed that we have failed. We shall have to do better. No single system of control with the numbers involved will be feasible with manual methods such as those which are now employed.
The right hon. Gentleman is right—no doubt he was involved in this in the Administration before last—but it is not just a question of finding a computer which will take the information: it would need a regiment of civil servants to prepare the forms to feed into it, at which the mind would boggle. So it is more than techniques; it is bodies as well.
I know about the difficulties, but if, as I believe, implicit in this policy is the need for more exact accounting, the difficulties must be overcome. We cannot lie down and say that we cannot account for this. Somehow, we must.
There is another difficulty which our unified proposals may offer. It is readily, I think wrongly, assumed that under a single system of control we shall have the effect of tightening up on Commonwealth immigrants, because the control on aliens is more rigid. But this is not necessarily so. The conditions may be more stringent, but the categories in many instances are less stringent for aliens than for Commonwealth citizens.
For example, children of aliens are admitted up to 18, children of Commonwealth citizens up to 16. But parents of aliens are admitted up to 60, parents of Commonwealth citizens up to 65. So there are areas in which unifying the system will confront us with the need either to tighten up on aliens or to relax on Commonwealth citizens. That should be clearly understood before we accept the premise that a unified system necessarily means stricter control of entry.
If we accept that, then we are going in for a series of very difficult differentials. We must have at least four differentials—aliens and Commonwealth immigrants of the past, up to vesting day of the Bill, aliens and Commonwealth citizens of the future, when the Bill comes into operation, which will present certain difficulties. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary dwelt on the weight of numbers and the weight of traffic, and referred to these 29½ million people, including our own citizens, who move in and out of this island every year. I am sure he is right to weigh that heavily in our new proposals.
I have come to the general view that our present system of external control, even with the entry certificate—with the introduction of which the hon. Member for Leeds, South had a lot to do—has a limited life. Some of us have seen this system working in the countries of origin. I would follow the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) in paying tribute to the many officials whom we have abroad who are now trying to make the entry certificate system work. Their numbers are also formidable. The machinery which is needed in the various countries to implement this proposal, although it is an improvement, is pretty ponderous. It may be said that the weight of this machinery may taper off as numbers fall, as they may, if, say, fewer dependants come and need entry certificates.
If we check the figures of Commonwealth entry for 1969—this matter has not yet been referred to today—we find that one sort of movement is being replaced by another. The long-term traffic for entry may or may not be in decline—it may be equal to 1969 or just below or just above it—but the short-term traffic for entry for periods of up to six months is increasing rapidly. This is hardly surprising, since if we have 1 million,1¼ million or 1½ million immigrants here, their links with their country of origin mean that this traffic must increase. We must accept that funds will be available for such movement.
In India last year, for example, short-term visits were double the total number of voucher holders and dependants from that continent. It was 22,000 visits of under three months, compared with just under 10,000 from all India. That figure bears very close inspection for more than one reason. We shall find it increasingly hard to run a viable system, which means a just system, on the present lines. The people of this country would resent and resist a means of internal control such as other countries use, which would involve identifying everyone. I am not dwelling on this, but such an internal system carries at least one advantage; the immigrants know that it is universal and that it cannot conceivably be discriminatory.
It is also arguable, of course, that the real distinction between immigrants is not whether they are aliens or Commonwealth citizens, whether they are black or white, but whether they have come for temporary or permanent residence. Here, I would take issue with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, because my findings on visiting the countries that these people come from are that the intention varies very widely with the country under discussion. For example, the intention to settle is much stronger in India than in Pakistan. The hon. Member for Leeds, South and I have had some experience of this. The number of male breadwinners from Pakistan greatly exceeds the number of those from India, and many of these intend to have a temporary stay here, to win what fortune they may, and then perhaps to return. This is a very difficult future to predict; yet it is one which is most relevant to any calculations for the future such as my right hon. Friend undertook today.
I understand that it is our intention to make some distinction of this kind, because our policy says that for the future work permits will not carry the right of permanent settlement for older or dependants. So we shall have two classes of immigrants—those who are here and those who are to come. The old will be free and the new will be tied. That may present certain difficulties. Without very elaborate machinery, the concept of the tied immigrant will present us with considerable difficulties. Some say it works for aliens. It does, because, with small exceptions, they do not concentrate as Commonwealth citizens do, and they are much easier to trace. However, that is for the future.
Bluntly, I am convinced that the A voucher in its present form must go. There is nothing to be said for a system which brings in indiscriminately unskilled labour, unable to speak our language, often unable to read or write. Small though the numbers may be, this is not conducive to good race relations, and those who know most about it in this field accept that tacitly, even if they do not declare it publicly.
On the other side of the coin, we shall have to revise priorities for whatever the equivalent may be of the B voucher. I will not rehearse the muddle about the doctors, but there has been a muddle. From 2,000 doctors a year from India—a matter on which some of us protested a year or two ago: my hon. Friend the Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) certainly made a speech on this not long ago—we have dropped in the first eight months of this year to the astonishing figure of 350. That, of course, is because—I believe rightly—the former Secretary of State for the Social Services put a stopper on it, but his stopper was at 2,000, and we have fallen to 350. That is why many of our hospitals are suffering unexpected difficulties.
For the future, of course, we can limit the period of training here, but what we cannot do is determine that these immigrants, when trained, return to their country of origin. The loss to India will still be as great even if we limit their time here for training, because they may well move elsewhere. No immigrant training here can be tied to returning to his country of origin. I doubt whether these conditions could be met.
I do not want to rehearse the arguments about Kenya Asians, only to ask two questions. Have we formed an impression of what the effect will be if we raise the quota on the internal policy of the African countries concerned—Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania? Would any concession here be followed by an intensification of Africanisation policy? It is very difficult to quantify, but it is a crucial question in the context of our debate. We are dealing with a very large number of people in terms of any policy which might be intensified against them. That is something which the Committee must bear in mind.
A most esoteric point is this: does the undertaking which we gave to India to accept residual responsibility for these British citizens in return for India's readiness to take British citizens of Indian origin forced out of Asia still stand? That undertaking is an important integral part of the bargain we are discussing. The Committee would like to have, if possible, an up-to-date account of how matters stand with India.
I am sure—and here I differ from my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary—that the Government, in their new Bill, will have to take increasing cognisance of the pattern of settlement here. The situation is disturbing and, I believe, dangerous. We are talking not of ghettoes to come but of ghettoes which already exist in some areas. By that I mean the intense concentration of Commonwealth citizens in an area with no one else there at all. It is not simply a matter of housing programmes; it is a matter of industrial dispersal. I take issue with my right hon. Friend here. I do not share the view that industrial dispersal is a pipedream. Dispersal of people is, but, as we have found since the war, it is industry which holds the whip hand. Industry determines where people move. People will go to places where jobs are to be had. This has been proved by our own well-intentioned and often thoroughly defeated town and country planning policy.
If there is to be dispersal, it must be industrially oriented. That is the only chance. It cannot be controlled by legislation. A great industrial effort will be needed if it is to happen. That means that discussions must be held with employers and the T.U.C. about what contribution they can make.
Are we ready to think on these lines? To me, dispersal is the key to racial peace. We have totally neglected this subject since the movement began. If we neglect it any longer we shall have cause bitterly to regret it.
It is always a pleasure to follow in debate the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) whose knowledge of and work on this subject, particularly in the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration, are well understood. His words of wisdom tonight should be heeded by those on the Government Front Bench.
I have already expressed in an intervention in the Home Secretary's speech my concern about the East African Asian problem, and some of us put our names to an Amendment to the Bill which, if accepted, would have meant that we would have had a separate discussion on the 1968 Act. I understand why the Amendment was not called.
This problem has caused widespread anxiety throughout the country. There is a great spirit of fair play in Britain, particularly among the indigenous working class population, as I suggested in my speech on this Bill last year. This is a section of the population which the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) does not really understand. If he did understand it he could not present this problem as a simple equation of black and white. I have never met an intelligent worker—not the occasional writer of obscene anonymous letters which we get from various parts of the country, although very seldom from people in our own constituencies—who simplifies the problem as being one of the pigmentation of the skin. This is the fundamental error in the calculations of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West.
I have repeatedly said that if we were facing a similar growth in an alien population which was not coloured the problems would be as great and might even be greater.
The right hon. Gentleman knows full well that the indigenous population is not conscious of immigration save in small pockets. It is a question of an identification of colour and immigration. The right hon. Gentleman knows that that is the way in which most people think. As with all system of logistics, which the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West is very skilled in presenting in this Chamber on this and other matters, there must be some truth in what one is saying in order to gain a hearing, otherwise one is simply laughed to scorn. I have listened to the right hon. Gentleman on economic matters and military conjecture and I find that his system of logistics makes a great deal of sense up to a point. But his calculations on this subject reduce the matter to an absolute absurdity.
The concern is not about colour at all; it is about social squalor. The average working class person is concerned about a reduction in his standard of living, over-crowding of houses, and pressure on the social services in certain parts of the country.
Changes are taking place, and it is right to draw attention to the changes in content of population. There is a totality of concern about the changing nature and composition of the nation. But we must be concerned not only about people who come here to work to gain a livelihood, from wherever they come, but about people who want to leave this country and make a livelihood. There cannot be an absolute ban on people coming here if we value our kind of society, and there can never be an absolute ban on people leaving the country. That is attempted in some countries, but they are not societies of the kind which we admire or hope to sustain in this country.
The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West has it wrong. He has spoken of his great concern about the numbers of coloured people in this country, which are tending to recede. With regard to the impact which he had in the sensation-seeking speeches which he made outside the House of Commons, my score sheet in participating in debates on this admitted problem and the question of immigration and community relations is better than his. If he starts off on the wrong foot, he is not likely to travel the right road.
In the areas of coloured immigration concentration there is a continuing anxiety, as, of course, there must be. I have asked Questions in the House, and I have exhibited that anxiety that equal opportunities should present themselves to a great number of my constituents who are doing lowly-paid jobs—which determine how and where they live—that they should have opportunities to go into new town areas and opportunities consistent with their abilities and the skills that they acquire in this country. I wanted them to get a fair crack of the whip.
That was why the Race Relations Act, 1968, was passed and why, when I first came to the House, not thinking that we needed it, because of the stories of gross discrimination against coloured people which, I thought, were extremely dangerous, I ended up by supporting that gentle enactment of conciliation, because I wanted to see a development by which we moved away from the ghetto.
I must say to the right hon. Member for Ashford that "ghetto" is really the wrong term. I wrote a letter to The Times. I left school at 14, and in so far as I have had education, it has been in the trade union movement. I looked up the word "ghetto" because it was used so frequently and in a colour context. People would speak of coloured ghettoes. I can think of more white ghettoes than coloured ghettoes in Britain. Strictly, of course, the word "ghetto" stems from "borghetto", which was a Jewish concentration in Italy centuries ago. As many of my hon. Friends on both sides who are Jews will know, Jewish ghettoes were wards or parts of cities which people could not leave. They were not only a concentration of people of similar religion and ethnic origin; they were areas from which people could not get out. Strictly speaking, that is not the position at which we have arrived in Britain.
If this is the great concern of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, I am equally concerned. No less concerned am I about this problem, because Southall is my birthplace and the man who has no feeling about his birthplace has no soul. In my constituency, the indigenous population are still numerically greater than the people of Asian origin, although the right hon. Gentleman drew attention some time ago to the position in the old Southall borough, which is not the whole of my constituency. There is no Southall borough today; it is part of the London Borough of Ealing, which, in percentage terms, has fewer coloured immigrants than other boroughs. However, most of the immigrants of the London Borough of Ealing are concentrated in my constituency. They are still a minority. They are still a minority of the voters and a minority of the Labour voters. Obviously, I was astride a bridge, as it were, during the 1966 General Election campaign, and during my membership of this House I have necessarily been up to my eyes and ears in the problem the whole time.
I do not see the future and the general consequences in the light in which the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West sees them. I heard him become fervent and passionate in seeking to chop down my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) in a most indignant way, but he soon lost that frenzied part of his characteristics.
The right hon. Gentleman's appreciation of the problem has been seen to be absolutely false. If one asks children about colours in classes at school, they are unconscious of the colour or the pigmentation of the skin of the children next to them. They are conscious of whether other children have a long nose or other physical features. They are sometimes conscious of cultural attributes and the like.
We cannot drive a thin line between immigration and community relations problems. They are tremendously intertwined. If, however, we are to discuss the problem intelligently, we have not only to identify statistically as the Department of Employment and other inevitably must. As I said reluctantly before the Race Relations Select Committee, if we are anxious about where coloured people are in this country, where they are working, where they are educated and whether they are receiving their fair share, one must have certain labelling in order to do it, and I do not know how one can have statistics without labelling. I agree with the Chairman of the Race Relations Board that statistics are neutral. It is the way in which they may be used that makes the difference. This is an inevitability, because we have the identification of social squalor and second-class citizenship with colour. Already there are signs that it is fading.
I have described the general problem. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West and his many friends who dote on the problem should pay attention to some of these words. They must agree that I know something about the problem. I describe it as a moving escalator. It is very slow moving, but it is moving in an upward direction because so many people have got used to each other.
As I said a year ago, I do not know how one can have this obsession of like or dislike on the basis of the colour of a person's skin. It is right to identify correctly population trends and the movement of people in and out of this country, and in that sense the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West has stimulated much closer attention to the problem and, to some extent, a much greater degre of accuracy. He then goes on, however, to speculate.
Figures do not only reveal: they also conceal. There is an old story of Southall, that years ago, before there was a coloured face in the place, there was a burst of population because in the summertime the engine drivers had to blow their whistles when passing through Southall station. I was a railway worker at one time. They would blow their whistles, often early in the morning, and wake up everybody round about. The suggestion was that on summer mornings parents were woken very early and this led to a serious increase in the population of the district. I cannot tell whether that still applies and how far the Asian and the few West Indian and Pakistani people in my constituency are likely to multiply. I cannot put a figure to that. I would suggest that parents usually come round to the conclusion that a family is nice to have but a big family is not, and it seems that the general social habits concerning family size usually prevail. Consistent with the ages of parents, however, there must obviously be a bigger ratio among immigrants, and it is, therefore, correct that 60 per cent. of the children now born in the old Southall borough are coloured.
I am not concerned about the colour of those children. Some Indian people are near white and others are of different hues. I am concerned about their health and whether they will get a decent opportunity in our country. Some of their parents still wear turbans and saris, but the children are Cockneys. If one asks them whether they are British or Indian, they sometimes say both. Some say that they have no desire to go to India. Others ask me what India is like, because I have been to India in recent years and I know more about it than they do. I am able to tell them what the countries of origin of their parents look like.
I now move on to the realities of the immigration control system. The Home Secretary has necessarily not been very forthcoming because he has not yet presented the new Bill on immigration. It means a movement in the system of Commonwealth immigration control towards the system of alien control. I share many of the views expressed by the right hon. Member for Ashford. It is no accident that my arguments run along lines similar to those put forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley), who was Chairman of the former Select Committee, and the right hon. Member for Ashford, who was vice-chairman of that Committee.
I ask the Government to pay particular heed to this consensus because I thoroughly endorse the view expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) that this is a matter not for consensus politics or consensus party politics but for national consensus. There is no better place to achieve that than in discussions of this kind, in such a debate as this and in the proceedings of the Select Committee which is endeavouring to discover the facts. As I hinted in a speech on procedure in the presence of the Leader of the House, the Select Committee found that the C.B.I., the T.U.C., the officials from the Home Office and those from other Government Departments had no enthusiasm for the kind of change that proferred in the Queen's Speech and in the Tory General Election programme.
I ask the Government to think seriously whether we can have a system of virtual direction of labour based on colour. There will be no citizens' rights as in the case of aliens, because only after four or five years will full citizenship be achieved. When these matters were brought up before I recollect my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) asking, "If you had had a worker here under the new arrangements, I assume that you would not wish his family and his children not to join him. I assume that you agree that family unity should be preserved. If, after 12 months—or even six months—that man's employer said that he did not want him any longer, would you ship him out with his family?"
In all the circumstances the Government should delay bringing in their proposed Measure. It seems that they are delaying it in any case—that the sheer logic of events is tending to delay its introduction. Although many Tories at the General Election said that this was a matter of great urgency we are apparently not to have it until after Christmas.
I believe in unification, provided it is on a liberalistic basis. We have not yet wound up the Commonwealth. If we enter the Common Market it could happen that Continental workers could enter this country more freely than Commonwealth citizens, because we would not be able to impose restrictions on them. We obviously do not want to end up in a position—because we would have to give equal treatment to white Commonwealth citizens as to black Commonwealth citizens—in which we were restricting New Zealanders, Australians and Canadians much more than workers from the Continent.
I do not apologise for the time that I have taken. This is a question of work pattern and employment opportunity. Everything else stems from those factors. We have to get this right, including the possibility of more people coming from Kenya. In a debate in 1968 I said that this could prove a blessing in disguise, because there are now generally higher educational attainments, greater skills and a greater degree of capital ownership—although perhaps the last has faded drastically, as suggested earlier by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel). Perhaps we should have done more about that. We ought to have been able to do it within the compass of the 8,500 vouchers. That is why I did not vote for the 1968 Act.
I do not know whether immigration and community relations go together. The Minister in charge of immigration is a member of another place. I have met him and I have a great respect for him. I have a greater respect than previously because I have discovered that he was in the minority in the other place who voted against the 1968 Act. I hope that the Government will heed the words I have used tonight and those which I have used in an article which will appear in the Race Relations Institute Journal in December, which will accuse the Government of putting the cart before the horse by their proposals to make a fundamental change in the law on immigration before allowing the Select Committee to make an expert examination of the situation and perhaps make recommendations for the future.
I am concerned about immigration movements. I am concerned about social squalor. I am not concerned about colour. I have many coloured friends and I have many white friends. If I lived in Birmingham and had two coloured friends and people bandied about the sort of figures that we have heard today I might get three coloured friends out of it, or perhaps even four. But if I did not get any white friends out of it I should be seriously worried. I hope that we can work this out. I believe we shall do so, because I have tremendous faith in the ability of the British people.
Perhaps it would be wise to recognise, first, that there is a close relationship between immigration policy and race relations. Only when the public feel that the immigration question is settled will they accept the need for more effective race relations policies.
That point has been recognised by successive Governments. The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) told the Select Committee on Race Relations that part of the improvement that had taken place was due to the recognition by people that the numbers of immigrants were more under control. If that point is accepted, the control of immigration is a question that assumes crucial importance. It should persuade us to take seriously any alleged defects in the system or in the enforcement of the system and to look carefully at the kind of immigration which is permitted.
I know no more than anyone else about the extent of illegal immigration. All the publicity goes to the boats that are bringing their loads of would-be immigrants to the shores of the South Coast, but the chief danger must come from the bogus visitors or students coming to the airports or seaports. Our defences against illegal immigration are centred upon the point of entry, the airport and the seaport. This places a very heavy responsibility on the immigration service. I have looked at the immigration service at London Airport and I add my tribute to the efficient and humane way in which that service works. But no one pretends that this system is foolproof. The trouble with having defences on the border is that the checks inside are fewer, and this certainly happens in Britain. One trouble is that there is no problem in an illegal immigrant finding a job.
This raises large questions which my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) touched upon. The changes that he was discussing would require the deepest consideration, but one thing which could be done would be to extend the time limit on prosecution, which stands at six months. I see no logical reason why someone who has successfully evaded the police for six months should be immune from prosecution although he would not be immune from deportation. I welcome what the Home Secretary said about putting teeth into the new Bill to deal with illegal immigration. On whatever scale illegal immigration occurs it does a great deal of damage to community relations, it arouses suspicions and it is extremely unfair to people who have entered the country legally.
The number of A and B vouchers has now fallen to 4,000 a year, although it should be remembered that the entitlement that goes with these vouchers brings up the number to between 15,000 and 20,000 a year. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford, I have the greatest doubt about the value of this immigration, particularly the immigration on A vouchers.
The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said in his evidence to the Select Committee on Race Relations:
In some ways the A voucher is a hangover from the days when there was free entry. I do not think we are trying to do positively
anything very much in this field. There are some territories where the A voucher has a significance, for example in Barbados, but in relation to such problems as the need for employment for India it is clearly a drop in the bucket and is meaningless.
I recognise that the right hon. Gentleman did not go on from there to argue that the A voucher should be abolished, but that argument could be put with a great deal of force. The only value of A vouchers is that they act as a symbol, but I cannot see much meaning in them in practical employment terms. It is reasonable to wait to see what are the Government's proposals and how they affect this point.
A rather disturbing memorandum was put to the Select Committee on Race Relations by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Bombay. This showed that out of 100 who came to Britain on A vouchers in 1969 half could not speak any English. Admittedly, one is dealing with a small number there, but this raises a serious problem of race relations. Although it is small in a national sense, it has important local effects, and I urge my hon. Friend in winding up to pay attention to that point.
There is one issue regarding the law in practice which might have an effect upon race relations, and that concerns the police. In view of the criticism that has been made of the police, it is worth saying that anyone who has studied this matter will agree that the police are making an outstanding contribution. They are doing so mainly by their traditional function of impartial enforcement of the law, and they are doing so at times in spite of considerable sniping from the flanks.
I will give an example which received a great deal of publicity. On 6th August concern was expressed about relations between the police and the coloured people in London. In particular, a statement was made by Mr. Jeff Crawford, a well-known West Indian leader, which received extremely wide publicity. Mr. Crawford said that unless something was done it was possible that a policeman or policemen might be killed. He added, according to The Times of that date:
It is the training a copper gets that makes him behave the way he does. He becomes a kind of human robot.
This remark again received a great deal of attention. It is no exaggeration to
say that it aroused concern and indignation because of the way in which it was said. What is so extraordinary is that only a year before, in April, 1969, Mr. Crawford had said something entirely different to the Select Committee on Race Relations:
One area in which a lot of progress has been made in the field of police/immigrant relationships.… In my opinion the Metropolitan Police are the most progressive section of the white community in this country in the field of race relations. Not only have they been listening, they have been learning, they have been implementing.
This is a most extraordinary turnabout. Even if one accepted that there were differences between areas of London, this quite patently has nothing to do with training, because the training of Metropolitan Police is exactly the same for all areas. Such statements are not only irresponsible; they are unfair to the police. We should recognise that the police have a very important part to play in community relations, and it is vital that no gulf should develop between coloured people and policemen. This places a responsibility on immigrant leaders and on the Home Office in what it asks of the police.
I am concerned about the capability of an immigrant already here to maintain some dependants who want to come, and whether the right kind of accommodation is available. I understand that what are called home circumstance inquiries are still carried out mainly by policemen. This is a job which is inappropriate for policemen and, quite unnecessarily, brings them into potential conflict with immigrants. In view of their other responsibilities and importance in community relations, I should have thought that this job could have been removed from them. I appreciate that there are difficulties in finding others to do the job, but the Select Committee had evidence before it to indicate that the immigration service had set up local offices and that local authorities were considering taking over this work. What progress has there been in relieving the police of this job?
I conclude as I began, by emphasising that the policies on immigration and race relations are closely related and that, therefore, the scope and effectiveness of the immigration controls should be the subject of very serious study indeed.
I agree with the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Fowler) that race relations and immigration control are closely connected and that the sort of policies we have on immigration control will determine the type of race relations we build up.
I noted with interest the Home Secretary's remarks about race relations now being one of the central issues of community relations. I was disappointed therefore to read a Written Answer today in which the right hon. Gentleman said that no extra money would be allocated to the Community Relations Commission for the United Nations year against racial discrimination in 1971. I hope that hon. Members who wish to see good race relations established will press the right hon. Gentleman to change his mind.
The Home Secretary and others have said that we will have an opportunity, either later this year or early next year, to debate the Government's proposals for an overall immigration policy. It is difficult to comment at this stage about what is likely to flow from that policy, although a remarkable amount of information has already appeared in the Press.
I have said consistently that one of the biggest tragedies in this country began with the 1962 Act, because whenever we have discussed immigration we have tended to talk of it almost entirely in the context of colour. This has been a mistake. It has led to the unfortunate situation in which most people in Britain believe that every coloured person is an immigrant and that every immigrant is coloured.
The Government are taking on a task of monumental proportions in trying to work out a unified immigration policy. Naturally, we must wait for their proposals. However, I thought that the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) put his finger on it in his interesting speech. When this matter was discussed during the last General Election it was not said, certainly in my constituency, that the Tories might be liberalising our immigration policy towards Commonwealth immigrants. The right hon. Member for Ashford rightly pointed out that many of the conditions applying to the entry of aliens are more liberal than those applying to some people from the Commonwealth.
For example, aliens' dependent elderly relatives may come in five years younger than their counterparts from Commonwealth countries, although those from Commonwealth countries have an expectation of life which is usually shorter than that of aliens. There are also somewhat easier rules applying to settlement for dependent children, dependent fiancées and so on. However, Commonwealth immigrants have an overriding advantage in respect of permanent settlement.
Exactly what was said during the last election? Were we told that there would be a new policy which would reduce the number of coloured immigrants coming in? That was certainly the impression given in my constituency. However, if one is to have an overall policy, one must remove the ceiling applicable to the number of people who may come in from the Commonwealth. And if the ceiling is removed, that could mean an increase in the number of coloured immigrants.
If that is the intention—and I do not think for a moment that it is—we can consider the matter further. But if it is not, and if the ceiling is to be kept on, it cannot be an overall policy. I appreciate, however, that we must await the announcement of the policy. My only comment at this stage is that, considering the history covering alien and Commonwealth entry, it will be extremely difficult to arrive at a policy which brings a degree of equality to all.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) spoke of the work voucher system and said that it could not be controlled from the point of view of sending people to work in certain areas. The idea that immigrants could be channelled to certain areas was put in my constituency by my Conservative opponent, who I am glad to say was not successful. It is said that if one could stop people taking jobs on work vouchers in towns which already have a high percentage of immigrants one would stop the flow of immigrants identifiable by their colour to those areas.
In my constituency we have a large number of immigrants who are identifiable by colour, plus a large number who are not known to be immigrants because they cannot be identified by colour. Indeed, only 16 people from India, Pakistan and the West Indies received work vouchers in 1969 for Slough. This proves that any policy of trying to channell people via work permits is a non starter. One cannot control the area in which people go to work because it is clear that people go to, for example, Slough, because there are jobs there for them.
If one finds it disagreeable to have a large number of coloured people in an area—and I personally do not—then what the right hon. Member for Ashford says has some relevance, for one must persuade industry to move out, not merely because the areas in which industry is established are overcrowded, but because a number of areas could do with and would probably welcome new industry going to them. It would also help to persuade people not to live in overcrowded communities.
The more industry moves out, the more the problem of race relations will be solved because people generally will have a higher standard of life, particularly in relation to housing. I trust that I have said enough to show that to try to control this problem by the work voucher system is a non-starter.
What about the so-called ghettoes? I believe that hon. Members who have said that it is unlikely that we shall get dispersal to any great degree over the next few years are right. However, it is important that there are no artificial barriers to dispersal. We must not, by whatever policies we may have, prevent people moving throughout the community. Some of the areas in which there are real social difficulties suffered from them before ever the immigrants went there, and in them one needs to do something to improve the social fabric. That is why the urban aid programme, which deals with areas of social difficulty, was a step in the right direction. I hope that we shall built on it. The problem in Harlem is not that the people are black, but that they are deprived and desperate and happen to be black. That is what makes the problem there a problem connected with colour, although it is really connected with social opportunity and deprivation.
What we have been discussing is not so much immigration as race relations. Even if we stopped immigration tomorrow we would still have speeches of the kind we have heard from the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, who, I am sorry to see, is not now with us. He talks not of immigration but of the colour of the people who are here today. That is the crux of the matter.
That is one of the tragedies of people who are hung up on this colour thing. In 1962—and in fairness to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West I must say that he was not making that sort of speech then—people said that there were too many immigrants and that their numbers must be reduced. The next thing was that they must be stopped from coming at all. The next stage was that they should be sent back—
No, I have just been giving the sequence. The last stage is that we say they should be sent back because they are having black babies. Black people cannot have white babies, and they will go on having black babies—
I realised it a very long time ago. People like the hon. and learned Gentleman and the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West and others put up this argument about black babies and the rest, but none of us can alter the fact that in some areas large numbers of coloured people will have babies, some of whom will be black and others lighter. Incidentally, I do not know why when a black person marries a white person their baby should be considered coloured, and therefore more black than white. Nevertheless that is a fact of life.
I want to contract out of the grotesque argument about the size of the future coloured population because it is an argument that one cannot win, nor is it worth winning. Its purpose is to instill fear in people. It is not connected with immigration but with colour. A person's colour cannot possibly be important. I will discuss with anyone problems connected with culture, language, education, and many other subjects, but I cannot follow anyone who just says, "She's going to have a black baby". What matters the colour of a baby? If we stopped immigration tomorrow we would have to face that matter. Until people do face it and accept that it is not so bad after all, I do not think that we shall ever get out of what I believe to be a rather foolish and stupid argument. It also has a bad effect on coloured children in this country.
The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West said that the people of Birmingham had a right to know what was likely to happen there in the future. Who are the people of Birmingham? I am the Member of Parliament for Slough, and I represent the people who live there. Some of them are immigrants, and I include them in my concepts of equality. They have the right to my services. They are not separate from the rest of the people in Slough. The more we divide people into immigrants and non-immigrants the nearer we get to fulfilling the right hon. Gentleman's prophecy. This is what will happen, because people will be divided and will think of the "them" and of the "us". People who are coloured and non-white and who are born here and whose children are born here will be affected by the propaganda; they will feel that they do not belong here. Speeches like that will make them feel outsiders. Thus we go on and fulfil our own prophecy.
By all means let us have immigration policies that are sane, sensible and fair. Let us not, if we care what happens in terms of community, get ourselves into a situation where we refuse to talk about policy and start talking about the complications of the fact that people are coloured. That cannot be the problem. Many of the other matters may cause problems, but colour in itself will not be a problem unless people want to make it so.
I was interested this afternoon in the exchanges which took place on the statement about the Common Market negotiations. Unfortunately, I was not successful in catching Mr. Speaker's eye. If we should be accepted as a member of the European Economic Community, we must consider the relationship of people from Commonwealth countries who are already in Britain qua acceptance as Community workers.
If we create a situation—we already have it—where some are acceptable and some are not, where some are citizens of Britain and some are not, and where some have dual citizenship—we have not cleared that one up yet; to what extent are they acceptable as Community workers?—we shall encounter grave difficulties.
I hope that when the Government present their immigration policy they will have discussions about the relationship of any future immigration policy to the whole concept of Europe and the relationship of Community workers and mobility of labour, because this will be a problem if—I say it reluctantly—we enter Europe.
I endorse what the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) said about the question of the East African Asians. One of the unfortunate ways in which Britain is now seen is that she presents people of her country who have British citizenship and no other in a way in which they are shuffled from airport to airport in a sort of obscene square dance because we, the country of which they are citizens, say that they are trying to jump the queue.
I agree with the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles that the question of the number of special vouchers available to East African Asians must be considered, and I hope that it will be considered in the context of a future immigration policy, because I believe that the number available is not meeting the demand, which has accelerated recently.
We must also look afresh at the situation and see whether it is right, because I do not believe that it is right, that holders of British passports can be classified as immigrants. This is a wrong and unwise classification.
I agree with the Home Secretary that the question of race relations is of paramount importance for the future. It is a great pity that community relations in Britain have come to mean race relations. For example, we tend to think of the Community Relations Commission in terms of dealing with problems arising from race relations rather than problems arising from community relations.
We should serve ourselves better if we recognised that within a community people who have come from different countries to settle have special problems, but in many instances the problems affecting all people within a community are much the same. They are the problems of living together, of housing, of education, and other local problems.
Community relations involves much more than just race relations. If we could widen our whole concept of community relations and the Community Relations Commission and talk more about community relations than about race relations, we should take the emphasis off the question of colour and bring it to a greater extent on to the question of community.
I hope the hon. Lady the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) will forgive me if I do not follow her in her remarks.
We have had a much more restrained debate today than we had at a similar time last year. The hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Bidwell) made a very long speech today, and I hope he will forgive me if I say that it seemed to me to be about the longest speech that I have ever heard. There was a very different approach in his speech tonight compared with his speech last year.
Perhaps the most important feature in this debate has been the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). It was an extremely powerful speech. My right hon. Friend has come in for a great deal of abuse. He has been attacked by hon. Members opposite for stirring things up. My right hon. Friend said what needed to be said, and I think that is vitally important.
Before my hon. Friend made his speech in Birmingham in 1968, many people in this country believed that somebody had to say what they themselves felt. There were many people who felt then, and perhaps still feel, that Parliament it out of touch with the people. Resentment was building up, and I think my right hon. Friend performed a public service because he took the lid off and opened up a conversation, so that people were able to talk freely about something which previously they had been frightened to discuss. [Interruption.] If the hon. Member wants to interrupt me, let him rise to his feet and do so.
In that case, perhaps the hon. Member will not do so.
After my right hon. Friend had made that speech, both major parties in this country took a much tougher line on the question of immigration because they realised from the reaction of the public the strength of feeling in the country. I have been disgusted by some of the attacks that have been made by hon. Members opposite on my right hon. Friend—from people who pride themselves on being the champions of tolerance but who have no tolerance at all for any views which are not in accord with their own.
Most of the abuse of my right hon. Friend has come from members of the party opposite. It certainly is not my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister who tries to prevent my right hon. Friend from speaking at meetings. That is done by supporters of the party opposite.
Parliament now recognises that large-scale immigration in this country causes problems, and I think both major parties accept this. I cannot help reflecting on the difference between now and 1962. I remember those days, when I represented a different constituency in this House, and the number of times we were kept up night after night and had very bitter debates. Why?—because in 1962 the then Conservative Government wanted to bring in a measure of immigration control. At that time there were threats by the Labour Party, who were in opposition, that if the Commonwealth Immigrants Act went on the Statute Book they would repeal it whenever they won a General Election. They won the 1964 General Election, but when they came into office the responsibility of government made them change their mind. Never again was there a threat by the Labour Party to repeal this legislation.
This afternoon the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) talked about a consensus. I cannot help feeling that it is a great pity that we did not have a consensus in 1962. If that had been forthcoming in 1962 and if we had had a bipartisan policy on immigration, a great deal more could have been done. Today we would not have quite the same problems. I am delighted to hear from my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that the new legislation that was promised in the Conservative Party's manifesto will soon be presented.
Unlike the hon. Lady the Member for Eton and Slough, I believe that the new legislation will prevent further concentration of immigrants in areas which are already overcrowded. This vital point was emphasised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. From 1959 to 1964, I represented a constituency on Tyneside. We had no immigration problem there. In an electorate of about 48,000, there were about 300 Pakistanis. They were very good citizens. There was complete integration. One never received any complaints. They were buying their own homes, and everything was fine. But it is easy to integrate 300 people into an electorate of 48,000.
Since 1967, I have represented a West Midlands constituency, and here I notice the difference, because in the West Midlands we have a concentration of immigrants, as the hon. Lady has in her constituency. There are reasons why these people move into such areas. The hon. Lady was right when she talked about jobs being available in Slough. That is why the immigrants who initially came here after the war, particularly in the 1950s, moved into certain areas of the country, not to Tyneside, Merseyside or Scotland.
There are not many jobs available in Tyneside now, after five and a half years of Labour Government. I do not know what the hon. Gentleman is making such a fuss about. Initially, the immigrants lived in areas of high prosperity and high employment. When their relatives and friends came to this country later, they did what was natural and moved to the areas where they had relatives and friends. That is understandable. If I were to emigrate to another country, I should try to move to where—
I thought that the hon. Gentleman had emigrated to this country.
I emigrated to this country? I am sorry, but that is too profound for my brain. I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman means. It is no wonder that he is sitting on the Opposition benches if he is capable of that sort of remark.
It is understandable that immigrants moved to the areas where they had relatives and friends. But by their doing so—we have to be honest about this—problems have been created. There are problems of housing, education and hospital beds. These cause tension if nothing is done. Therefore, I hope that the Government will provide more money to spend in these areas to provide the facilities which will remove the causes of tension. It is vital also that we do whatever we can to prevent a further movement of immigrants into the areas where we already have overcrowding. I hope that that will be tackled by the new legislation.
Figures for immigrant population have been mentioned a great deal during the debate, and I must admit to a sense of bewilderment. My right hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton, South-West and for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) both concentrated on this. Their speeches introduced a sense of realism, compared with some of the head-in-the-clouds stuff we have had from the Opposition benches. As my right hon. Friend has constantly said, numbers are the essence. When, originally, he made his projections as to what he thought the immigrant population would be, he was jeered at. But it has now been proved that the figures which he gave were an underestimate and that he had understated the situation. When my hon. Friend winds up, I shall be grateful if he gives us some idea of the total immigrant population. None of us can be sure.
Part of the County Boroughs of Wolverhampton and Dudley are in my constituency. If I try to find out what the immigrant population is in either of those county boroughs, I am given an estimate based on the number of immigrant children in the schools. It cannot be accurate, and it likely to be an underestimate.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary touched on the question of illegal immigrants. I am sorry that he did not say more about the present position. Obviously, we cannot maintain accurate figures of how many illegal immigrants there are, for it should be our job, if we know that there are illegal immigrants, to see that they are told to leave the country. However, I should be interested to know whether the Home Office has an estimate of the number of illegal immigrants. Also, I hope to hear an assurance that there will be tough penalties imposed on those who trade in bringing illegal immigrants to this country for large sums of money.
My right hon. Friend was chided by the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davies) for saying nothing, about immigrants who were already here or about community relations. I can only assume that the hon. Gentleman just did not get the message. He does not realise that to continue admitting more and more immigrants makes difficulties for the immigrants who are already here. The hon. Gentleman would be surprised if he knew how many immigrants support my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West.
A very large number. Let the hon. Gentleman look up the election result in Wolverhampton, South-West on 18th June last. My right hon. Friend's constituency has the bulk of the immigrant population of Wolverhampton; it happens that they live in the South-West constituency.
No. I invited the hon. Gentleman to intervene earlier, and he did not take the opportunity. I am telling him now to go and look at the figures, which showed conclusively that the people of Wolverhampton, South-West support my right hon. Friend's views. It is supposed to be one of the reasons for our being Members of Parliament that we represent the views of people in our constituencies, and the result on 18th June proved conclusively, despite all the abuse which has been hurled at him, that my right hon. Friend represents the people of Wolverhampton, South-West.
Miss Harvie Anderson. I clearly meant—and it was understood by everyone except the hon. Gentleman. I am sure—that you were the "belle of the ball".
Now we all know why the right hon. Gentleman was once Home Secretary.
In the interests of the indigenous population as well as the interests of the immigrant population, it is necessary that the Government have a tough immigration policy. We have the problem of integrating the immigrants who are already here. We have a duty and responsibility in that respect. If we know the size of the problem, we can, I believe, cope with it and find a solution. If, on the other hand, the problem worsens all the time because the immigrant population in certain areas is growing rapidly all the time, the solution will be much more difficult. Therefore, I await the Government's new legislation with interest, and I earnestly hope that it will measure up to the problem which confronts us.
I do not propose to deal with the somewhat trivial speech of the hon. Member for Brierley Hill (Mr. Montgomery), who seemed to think that this was a useful occasion to act as an apologist for the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). That seemed to be his sole contribution tonight.
Racism is a corrosive evil which can well endanger our society. The contribution which has been made on this subject by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West is not of advantage in promoting racial tolerance in this country, despite what has been said by the hon. Member for Brierley Hill. That is why I oppose, and will go on opposing, what he has to say.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman has a morbid preoccupation with his desire to achieve power, but that view is mild compared with what his own Prime Minister said about him, when he referred to him as un-Christian. He uses this issue as a vehicle for promoting his desire for power and not for seeing racial tolerance practised in this country.
Until the right hon. Gentleman spoke, a balanced view was presented by both sides of the House. The Home Secretary illustrated the present position by saying that in his view—and these were his figures—there was a drop in Commonwealth immigration. He was not alarmist about illegal immigration, and, most important, he stressed the value of building up proper community relations. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor), I wish that this could be backed up with rather more financial resources, but we can at least welcome the realisation that the positive aspects of community relations are important.
It is no use just talking about community relations in the very narrow sense of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. We must look at the matter in terms of conciliation, education and all the work being done day in and day out by community relations councils all over the country. That is something we do not hear about from the right hon. Gentleman. He would do well to stress it from time to time.
Why is it that community relations officers are thrown into a state of despair by what the right hon. Gentleman preaches all too often? I know from my own community relations officer in the London Borough of Hackney how appallingly difficult his task is made whenever the right hon. Gentleman preaches the sort of thing he said tonight, but perhaps even more hysterically when he addresses meetings of the Conservative Party in certain parts of the country.
What is the right hon. Gentleman really arguing? What does he want to do about the problem? There is a problem. We know that it exists in housing, education and many other respects. What does he propose to do about those people who are here now? Does he say that those who have not got their families here should not bring them over? I do not know, because he does not spell it out.
More to the right hon. Gentleman's shame, because nothing could be more inhumane. I can understand quite well why his Prime Minister describes him as un-Christian, because to tear families apart in the way he wishes is totally un-Christian. It is something he should feel bitter remorse about saying, and not be proud of it.
What does the right hon. Gentleman say about vital workers who are needed here? Are they not to come? He would put an absolute blanket ban on such immigration. He would have no more at all.
What is much more important is the question of how we deal with those immigrants who are here. That is what the Select Committee was all about. Its members went to boroughs all over the country. My right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) came to my constituency when I was mayor. We went into the problems of industrial relations and conciliation in great depth, and I pay my tribute to my right hon. Friend for the work he did. I saw at first hand how he operated. My hon. Friend the Member for Southall (Mr. Bidwell) was there, as were certain hon. Members opposite. That was a valuable task because it underlined what needed to be underlined—that serious politicians are concerned to treat this matter on a serious basis and to try to teach tolerance instead of despair.
In Hackney we have a large immigrant community. In Stoke Newington and Hackney, North the figure is estimated at about 14 per cent. and in my constituency something over 10 per cent. But we have an atmosphere of tolerance. I suppose this has a good deal to do with the fact that in East London we are used to immigration on a substantial scale. We had it in the early part of the century. My own grandparents came over during that period.
I was interested to read the debates which took place in 1905. The same sort of arguments were made then as the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West makes now. They were not anti-semitic, just as he is not anti-colour. They were talking then in terms of the East London air being polluted by immigration. But I suggest that the contribution that many of those immigrants made has been of substantial value to this country.
Hackney was in the forefront of the fight against intolerance in the 1930s which was exploited by the Fascists. That is why I believe we can still be tolerant in Hackney, and I must say to the credit of most of the Conservatives on the local council—there are a few who follow the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West—that they have illustrated their desire to build up the work of the Community Relations Council. It receives overall party support. What it has done positively is to promote play groups and to hold educational meetings, and it has placed great emphasis on and has had great success in conciliation, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East will recognise.
Order. I am reluctant to interrupt the hon. Gentleman because, as I have said before, I realise that the debate has been very wide-ranging. But I hope that he will come back to the real subject of the Amendment, which is to deal with matters related to the Bill rather than the aspect of the matter which he has been dwelling on up to the present.
Order. I do not want to restrict the hon. Gentleman more than I need. I assure him that I realise that the debate has been wide-ranging, but I think that he is just stretching it rather far, and I would be grateful if he would return to the subject of the Amendment.
I accept your stricture. Miss Harvie Anderson.
The rôle of the police has been mentioned, and it is a point of great substance in relation to the part which the police can play in building up a proper relationship with the immigrant community within all our boroughs and constituencies. I am proud to say that in my constituency this opportunity has been exploited magnificently. I believe that this is the way forward and not the talk of despair which we have heard from some hon. Members opposite. We have had a valuable contribution, as so often, from the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), who spoke, quite properly, about questions of industrial dispersal which are so germane to everything we are discussing.
I want to turn from this to underline the problem of the Kenya Asians. There are 9,000 on the waiting list, and we are told by the Secretary of State that he has not quite made up his mind. But these people can ill afford to wait. Their situation is dire. They are without employment and they are suffering great humiliation, hardship and deprivation. I beg the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary to reconsider the situation with great rapidity. This is a matter in which the country has been humiliated by the European Commission on Human Rights, and surely we must deal with the matter with great expedition if we are to do justice to these unfortunate people.
Hatred can only poison our society and only degrade our people. That is why I and many of my hon. Friends will take every opportunity to rebuke those who preach hatred, despair and fear.
I am glad to follow the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) for several reasons, and not least because I happen to represent a very large proportion of the Jewish people who came from Hackney and East London and who moved into the Borough of Redbridge, into Ilford. I was very interested in what he had to say. It was perfectly true. Reading the debates of the early 1900s and the Report of the Royal Commission on what even then was called immigration, it is salutary to see exactly the same arguments, the same rationalisations, the same sneaking, sly, sanctimonious justifications. What the hon. Member said is something to which the Committee should listen, and I should like to congratulate him.
I know that the hon. Member spoke with sincerity, but had he spoken from a tactical motive I would have congratulated him on adopting a sound political tactic—"If you want to be noticed, attack someone big". He was attacking my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). There may be force in what the hon. Member says and I would say to my right hon. Friend that there is a question as to what we do with those immigrants who are already here. Whether my right hon. Friend expands on that is a matter for him.
But the hon. Member should not underrate the value of what my right hon. Friend has done, for he has spoken in the House and outside for the feeling and the heart and the guts of the people of the country, right or wrong, in a way in which others were afraid to speak. Since he spoke, whatever view one might take of what he said, millions of people have had a renewed sense of confidence in the validity of Parliament and parliamentary representation. We should not underrate the value of my right hon. Friend's contribution.
I do not wish to take the time of the Committee unnecessarily, but I would not like this occasion in this Committee to pass without recording that this is the first debate which the Committee has had without the present Lord Chancellor, and we are much the poorer for the loss of Quintin Hogg from this House. He was a Member who rarely touched any subject in which he did not both make a practical contribution and raise the argument to the plane of nobility, in which hon. Members are sometimes a little deficient. I can safely say that because his scope for patronage is now sufficiently limited for me to be able to afford to voice my respect for his parliamentary memory.
The debate gives us an opportunity to restate our position on immigration and for the Committee to say what its object is. I submit that our object should be to secure as far as we are able through the law and the Administration that the peace is maintained. I do not think that we should be too hopeful about what we can do beyond that, but it is our duty to see that the peace is maintained at the very least and to ensure that all the Queen's subjects have and are seen to have equal rights under the law and, so far as we can, to ensure decent attitudes towards strangers who are lawfully in our country and whose children will be lawfully here and whose children will not want to feel themselves strangers. There is an obstacle to that objective of maintaining peace and decent attitudes. The obstacle is fear. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West has pin-pointed this fear. It is not right to pretend that it is not there. There are very real fears. There are practical fears, although most practical arguments are really only rationalisations.
I am obliged. I am sure that if the hon. Gentleman were to be making my speech he would make it much better than I. But at the risk of detaining the House, may I resume my own halting way unassisted by him?
I was trying to say that there are real practical fears, and maybe they are declining. Anyway, I think that practical fears are rationalisations. There are fears about housing and education and resentment at the use of the social services, and the less real justification there is for them the more I am certain that they are rationalisations of something which is much more real than anything practical. I believe that it is rooted deep in human society.
This territorial concept is fashionable now. It is not for nothing that the tallest column in this country has Lord Nelson at its top. He is there in Trafalgar Square because he stopped the invader coming to our shores. There is a deep sense of insecurity within every community and it extends, I am sure, to the nation. I am sure that the people of our country have a deep, unconscious fear of being over-run and of losing their identity. They resent the presence of strangers and foreigners, especially those whom they can identify by their colour.
I am not saying that this is a good thing, but I am saying that it is a reality. If we do not recognise it they do not respect our right to try to speak for them. We should not ignore it or under-rate it. The first duty of a politician is to listen. People hear nothing but what they want to hear, and many politicians do not want to hear what the people are saying to them. Our people are saying to us, "We do not like this, we are badly frightened." I think that the people of this country are more than frightened, they are in panic.
For that reason—not because I think that it is particularly necessary for its own sake—it would be wise to go much further than I think my right hon. Friend proposes to do in any legislation that he has in mind, and—whatever the technical details may be—he should Put a total stop to future immigration for permanent settlement, except on a reciprocal basis—not because, as I say, I think that it will have an enormous practical effect, but because it would steady the nerves of people. What is more, I do not think that it would do any harm.
Whom would it harm if we never had one more immigrant in this country for permanent settlement? If it did do harm, who could calculate it? It would be a somewhat abstract argument. So I should like to see legislation such as would absolutely stop permanent immigration. It would then very much better become us, and lie much better in our mouths, if we presumed to lecture our people in the way that many high-minded and well-meaning people do lec- ture them. Their attitude in lecturing them is nothing but admirable.
I should like to say one word on an aspect of this immigration policy matter which I do not think—I apologise for being obliged to be out of the Chamber for an hour or so—we have heard much about, and that is repatriation. I should like to say at the risk of incurring the displeasure of those whose pleasure I normally court that talk about repatriation is utter humbug. I love the way in which the word "voluntary" comes into it. If it is voluntary repatriation and the people are going anyway, what is the point of paying them? If it is not voluntary, how soon will we say, "We will provide urinals in the cattle trucks; it will not be as bad as all that"?
I have even heard of "humane" repatriation from the more naïve advocates of it. Why should it be necessary to say "humane"? What is meant by "humane repatriation"? Does it mean that we shall twist their arms only halfway up their backs? Repatriation should be either voluntary, in which case we should let it take its natural course, or it should be eschewed, and people who want it should confine themselves to writing "Blacks go home" on walls. It is not worthy of the dignity of the House of Commons to consider it, and I am glad that I am the only one mentioning it.
I should like to say a few words about the sick fringe, or the sick fringes. There are two sick fringes. One is the fringe which calls itself the patriots. I should like to know on what patriotic virtue those who oppose black people being permanently settled in this country pride themselves. I always find it a little difficult to identify with them, although I am grateful that most of them vote Conservative. But let me assure the Committee that if I had a Fascist candidate standing against me in my constituency, which I would dearly like, he would take equally people who would normally vote for me and people who would normally vote for my opponent. That is the truth, and we know it. The patriots can "dree their own weird".
But there are mischievous sick fringe elements on the extreme of what one might call the liberal side, the criminal, paranoid, psychopathic black power kind of enthusiasts who are far more dangerous to those with liberal views than the other sick fringe is to the saner elements in the political spectrum.
I should like to read a letter in the national Press—the Daily Telegraph—which I thought was the first really sane and constructive contribution made to this continuing debate for many years. It appeared at the end of August this year, and it read:
I am an African lady, married and settled in the United Kingdom for the past five years. During that time I have found that the British people are more than willing to offer help and friendship to a foreigner, coloured or otherwise, providing that he or she in turn approaches them without surliness but with a cheerful smile and a sense of humour. Alas, that was so until recently when for the first time a stranger in the street shouted after me, 'Get out of Britain, go home, and take your mate Malcolm X with you'"—
I would not presume, Miss Harvie Anderson, to construct the elaborate argument which I could construct to demonstrate, I would hope, that my remarks were entirely within order. I will move from this point of my argument, which is simply to say that for every mischievous black power troublemaker in this country there are 100,000 decent, ordinary people who have no desire to go around calling British policemen "pigs", which is a totally "phoney" phrase brought from heaven knows where—some barbaric place across the Atlantic, where they may call their policemen "pigs". I am sure that it is a thoroughly unjustified attitude towards American policemen. It is not only an unjustified attitude towards British policemen but it is an attitude which we have never had in this country. We have never used the word "pigs". People, black or white, who go through London calling out "pigs" after policemen do not know what they are talking about. They are absolutely "phoney" and they should be disowned, as I think they are, by their fellow immigrant settlers.
I am not pessimistic. I do not believe that we are bound to have the same kind of trouble in this country that the United States has had. Our whole social and historical background is entirely different. I am certain that the question which the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) chided my right hon. Friend for not answering—whether or not they go, and however many may stay, what do we with those who stay?—is the real question. I am quite sure that in 10 or 20 years' time, the fact that over the years we have been so anxiously debating how we come to terms with the black minority in this country and the anxiety of those who think that present fears will be justified and grow worse, will seem as paltry and lacking in confidence in the quality of our countrymen as now seems the anxiety which was expressed 70 or 80 years ago about the influx of Jewish people, who have followed the traditional rôle of the Jewish people of first thoroughly upsetting and then enormously stimulating every society which they have graced with their presence.
I do not necessarily rise to complete the debate—that is not in my power—but I should like to offer some observations to the Committee and to thank the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Ire-monger) for his usual stimulating speech. We always listen to him with great interest. Perhaps some of his own side listen to him with a certain amount of apprehension. In view of the hon. Member's animadversions about the patriots of this country, if I had to describe him in not too offensive words I would say that I regard him as the typical patriotic eccentric. His views are always informed by his love of the country. But they are, if he will allow me to say so, rather like one of those unguided missiles about which we have been hearing so much recently.
I want to say how much I agree with the hon. Member about Quintin Hogg. I would not necessarily go all the way in the encomium, but on race relations and immigration there is no doubt that Lord Hailsham faced opposition in his own party with a very great deal of courage. Those of us who heard him speak on the subject in the House know that he never shirked the difficult task—and sometimes it can be difficult when one is on the Front Bench—of defending his point of view and expounding it irrespective of the criticism which came from behind him. There were occasions when he had a very difficult time.
I entirely agree with the hon. Member that Quintin's departure is a loss to the House. He is, apparently, still behaving himself in his normal way in the Upper Chamber. I suppose, however, that I would be out of order in referring to that, and I shall not do so. Nevertheless, I should like to hear what went on in the Cabinet when Lord Jellicoe and Lord Hailsham met each other on the morning after the economic debate. I say no more about that.
I regret that I did not hear the speech of the Home Secretary. If he would like to get out of order by telling us about the last remark, I am sure that we would be delighted to hear it. The debate started so late that I had to leave before I could hear the right hon. Gentleman, and I apologise to him. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) has, however, kindly given me some notes of what the Home Secretary said, and I am grateful to him.
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman in what I understood him to say was the great exaggeration on the subject of illegal immigration. I also agree with him in his tribute to the immigration service, which does its task with very great skill and in an extremely fair-minded way. We put very great burdens on the immigration service. The Home Secretary proposes to put additional and very difficult burdens upon it if his legislation which has been foreshadowed comes to pass, but, no doubt, we shall discuss that later. On those two points, I am certainly in full agreement with what the right hon. Gentleman said.
I have attended many of these debates over the years. As my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) said, they have changed their character. There was a time when we used to discuss only aliens. Now we seem to discuss only Commonwealth problems. Both are important.
Because, like other hon. Members, I shall spend most of my time on the question of Commonwealth immigration, I want to mention the case of Rudi Dutschke. I am forced to do this by the Home Secretary's handling of the case. We shall have to return to the question, no doubt when the tribunal has declared itself, because it is not definitive in this matter; it is advisory to the Home Secretary. He will have to take the final decision on Rudi Dutschke, although he has already declared his own view on the matter.
I should like some guidance from the Minister of State about what will happen if the tribunal reaches a conclusion different from that which the Home Secretary has reached. I should like to know whether the Home Secretary will feel himself bound by the tribunal. I should be glad if I could have an answer on that point. Unless the Home Secretary says, "Well, despite my previous views, I am ready to accept what the tribunal says on this matter, although it is acting only in an advisory capacity", there would seem little point in asking the tribunal to deal with the question. I do not see why we should waste the time of four or five eminent gentlemen if the Home Secretary, irrespective of what they say, intends to adhere to his original conclusion.
It may be argued that the case is sub judice, and that therefore nothing should be said about it. But it is not sub judice in the sense that the tribunal is an advisory body, and the Committee is surely entitled to make its view clear. I want to make my view clear. I do not know that anything that Rudi Dutschke has said appeals to me. I doubt whether he would agree with me about very much, either. Whatever view I take about him, I am not concerned about his views. There are many other people in this country whose views I do not like and who have just as little title to be here as he has. I am not sure how far the Committee has taken that fact on board.
There is a section—I believe it is section 8—in the instructions to immigration officers which provides that if a person wishes to come to this country, is of independent means and will make no call upon the services of this country, he may be admitted for a period which can be extended, and extended, and extended, and extended. Many such people living in this country today have been here for a long time, people of independent means, making no call upon our services, people whose views I do not say I find distasteful in a political sense but who in my opinion add no more to the country than does Rudi Dutschke. They are not turned out.
The Home Secretary has great arbitrary powers in this matter. They are almost dictatorial powers, except that he has to account for himself to the House. I tell him, in no menacing way, that he will have to account for himself to the House on this matter in due course, when the tribunal has given its view, and when I shall certainly want to ask him whether he proposes to use his arbitrary powers in the case of this gentleman, who has made no call upon our services.
I have refreshed my mind with the facts, and I find that Rudi Dutschke's solicitors undertook that he would seek private medical advice whilst here, and would pay for it. He has not been any charge on our health service. He has lived here quietly, studying, and the Home Secretary will have to be very careful about the way in which he exercises the dictatorial powers with which he has been charged by Parliament.
This case is the subject of an appeal, and because of that I have scrupulously avoided putting my side of the case. The right hon. Gentleman is putting his side of a case that is the subject of an appeal.
That is the right hon. Gentleman's own opinion. If he chooses not to put his own side he cannot complain if others want to know the reason for it. In my view, he has taken refuge behind the reference of this case to the appeal tribunal. He should have given us his reasons for the decision that he has taken. I hope he is not suggesting that I am doing anything improper in expressing my view about the manner in which he should conduct the inquisition into this gentleman's case.
I cannot accept that from my predecessor. I took a decision in this case which I think was right, the gentleman concerned then appealed, and I was advised that once an appeal had been lodged it was wrong for me to discuss in public the merits of a particular issue, and I do not intend to do so.
The right hon. Gentleman quite misunderstands his position. Of course he is entitled to discuss his own decision on this, and to give his reasons. He should already have given his reasons on a matter of this sort. It was he who took the preliminary decision that the man should leave the country. If he was questioned on that he should have given his reasons at that stage for requiring the man to leave the country, instead of taking refuge in Section 9(1) of the Immigration Appeals Act.
I am not prejudging the results. I cannot do so because I do not know the facts. Only the Home Secretary knows what security considerations are involved since 18th June. I certainly know what considerations were involved before 18th June, but I have no knowledge of any since then. I do not know and cannot say what evidence he has that the rest of the House of Commons does not have on this matter, but if it is shown that no security considerations are involved, the right hon. Gentleman will have to give a very full account of himself and not take refuge behind the appeals procedure because he does not like the views or opinions of the man concerned. I hope he will do so. On the basis of information and evidence that I have seen about this man, irrespective of the man's views, the Home Secretary is behaving and has behaved in a way that has not been applied to a great many other persons of independent means living in this country and admitted under my aegis, my predecessor's aegis or even his aegis. That is all I want to say at the moment, but we will return to it later.
Once again, I think this is a very unfair use of the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman must know very well that this is an important case. I had to reach a decision, and I reached a serious decision, but once it went to appeal I have been inhibited. No one else has been inhibited. Everyone else has been talking about it. I do not intend to put my case until I am told that it is proper to do so. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman, with his knowledge and responsibility as previous Home Secretary, should indulge in these tactics.
It is absurd for the Home Secretary to take this view. He knows as well as I do that not even the comforting cheers of the claque behind him will convince people about this. He took a decision, and he was entitled to say, and should have said, at the time of taking the decision what were the reasons for his decision. He did not have to, but if he is challenged he should do so, and he should have been prepared to do so. There is nothing to prevent the right hon. Gentleman from giving those reasons at this time. He cannot now shout "Unfair" as a means of protecting himself and say that it is an unfair use of the House of Commons. It is a perfectly proper use of the House of Commons, and he knows it. I shall insist and I do insist that we shall need a very full explanation from the right hon. Gentleman.
Why did we not have it in the first place before Mr. Dutschke appealed? The right hon. Gentleman was questioned about it then. He gave no answer. He merely said "I have reached my decision".
The matter is not sub judice now. The matter has gone to a strictly advisory body. Now that the right hon. Gentleman has interrupted me on three or four occasions, perhaps he will kindly answer my question, which is intended as a perfectly straight one. Will he accept the decision of the advisory committee? I will willingly give way to allow him to answer. [Interruption.]
Are we not to have an answer? What does this mean? Does it mean that if the advisory committee agrees with him the right hon. Gentleman will go on, but that if it disagrees with him he will still hold himself free to eject this man?
I assure the Under-Secretary that the Home Secretary does not need his assistance. Indeed, I doubt whether he welcomes it, such as it is.
The Home Secretary is putting himself in a difficult position if he is unwilling to answer this straight question. After all, he referred to this matter to the advisory committee. What was the point in doing that if he does not intend to accept that body's decision? It is, in my view, incumbent on him, if he dis- closes evidence—he may have different evidence; it is not open to the rest of us—to this distinguished body of people and they decide that in their view this man should not go, to explain what justification he would then have for saying, "Nevertheless, I insist on his going".
Does the right hon. Gentleman have any such justification now? The refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to answer my straightforward question follows the pattern of his previous conduct in this case. He bought a little cheap popularity with the Wolverhampton, South-West hon. Members of the House of Commons on a political basis—[Interruption.] That is what he tried to do. He has since been trying to justify it by going further and further down the slope away from the way in which any Home Secretary should behave on an issue of this kind.
Like the right hon. Gentleman, I know the antecedents of this case. I do not know what has happened since 18th June, but even if this man were the worst man in the world, he should still be entitled to have the normal standards applied to him. The right hon. Gentleman has not applied them in this case, and I promise him that I shall return to this subject later, when we have the view of the tribunal and when the Home Secretary intervenes in a lordly way and explains what has happened since 18th June to make him take his present view and why he has refused to give a straight answer to my question about whether or not he will accept the view of the advisory committee. He should have thought about this when he first referred the matter to that body. He is now on extremely weak ground.
It would be helpful to the Committee if the right hon. Gentleman would qualify this point: either the process to which the question has been referred is a judicial one or it is not. Does the right hon. Gentleman see this as being a judicial process?
That is a difficult question to answer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I am not sure exactly what the words "judicial process" mean in this connection, but these are certainly not judicial proceedings. This is an advisory body, and no more than that. To that extent, therefore, the matter is not sub judice, and for this reason anybody is perfectly entitled to express his view on the matter.
Had I been out of order, I have no doubt that the Chair would have called me to order, because the Chair is always careful on issues of this kind. I do not wish to involve the Chair, except to the extent that I would have been called to order had I referred to any matters to which I should not have referred.
It will be the Home Secretary who in the last resort will take the decision, and that is why this is not a judicial point. He has said, in effect, "I will seek somebody else's advice." When that advice is finally given to him he will have to account to us, to the House of Commons, for his conclusion. By refusing to answer my question about whether or not he will accept the advisory committee's decision he is saying that he intends to reserve to himself, irrespective of what the advisory committee says, the decision in this matter.
I ought perhaps to move to the question of Commonwealth immigration. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members opposite may indicate their impatience but, as I pointed out earlier, when some of them may not have been here, these debates always used to be wholly about aliens and it is only in recent years that we have decided to make them wholly about immigrants. Nevertheless, we are including both Acts in our discussion this evening.
It is most difficult for a man to get repatriation even if he wants it. I have constituents desperately anxious to go back to the West Indies, where they wish to rejoin their children. I have asked for help on their behalf from the Supplementary Benefits Commission without any possibility of success at all. I saw these people at my interviews only last Saturday morning. Repatriation is most difficult even when people like this want to go back.
The reply I have had, and I am sure that it is in accordance with the rules laid down by the Government, "Agreed that the man is unemployed and cannot possibly find his fare: nevertheless he could probably get employment again and may do in the months to come, so we cannot agree to repatriate him." That is the simple answer I have had. Whether it makes sense or not, hon. Members must decide for themselves.
What is the purpose of the Government's new legislation? I have heard two glosses put on it this afternoon. I was told that this was to be a liberal Measure, but are the Government trying to make it easier for people to come here or are they trying to make it more difficult for them? Which leg are they standing on?
I can understand their deciding before the election what they should say in order to get elected. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell} gave them a very considerable tawdry advantage in that matter for which they have never adequately repaid him. There is no doubt that he had a tremendous impact in the Midlands, and I think that he influenced a good many people, as his Sancho Panza sitting beside him said—[Interruption.] The pronunciation may not be very good, but if the right hon. Gentleman is Don Quixote what can his hon. Friend the Member for Brierley Hill (Mr. Montgomery) be? The right hon. Gentleman has been tilting at windmills for years, and is still tilting at them. I would not care to say who the Rosinante is—perhaps the Prime Minister.
As the right hon. Gentleman has referred to me now directly, I take the opportunity to say that just now he has treated this Chamber to the dirtiest performance that has been seen here for many years.
The right hon. Gentleman is, of course, a very good judge of that. I would certainly accept that, coming from him, because no one knows better than he how to dish it out in a dirty way. But if he thinks that it is a dirty performance to stand up for the rights of a foreigner living here, who is extremely unpopular with 90 per cent. of the people, including most of his own back benchers—if he thinks that is dirty, I am willing to accept it. I do not claim any great heroism in this, but it is important that we should be able to speak up for people who are unpopular, and whose views are unpopular, when the whole weight of the State is being directed against them. If that is dirty, I accept the charge. I will return to the right hon. Gentleman later. As I was saying, the Tory Party owes the right hon. Gentleman a rather squalid debt, which it has failed to repay, for what he did.
But it is important that we should be clear about the purpose of the Government's policy. There are coming in at this moment only some 4,000 voucher holders a year, as I understand. Will fewer be coming in under the new policy, or will there be the same number, or will more be coming in? What is the purpose? What the Measure will undoubtedly do will be to create a vast bureaucratic machine. It will undoubtedly increase the number of civil servants. It will undoubtedly increase the task of the police in these matters, and it will undoubtedly make heavy calls on the immigration service. We are therefore entitled to know what all this bureaucratic structure is being erected for. I ask, but I think that I know. As the right hon. Gentleman said this afternoon, it is to satisfy the Tory Government's electoral pledge.
This is a gimmick. It is deceiving people in Britain, because it pretends that when this legislation has been passed there will be a substantial curtailment of the number of people coming here. Is not that what it is about? Is not that the lesson which was preached on the doorsteps by Conservative canvassers throughout the country for months before the General Election? Of course it is.
I say now, as I said in July when we debated this issue, that I doubt whether the passage of this legislation will make any difference to the numbers entering Britain. I ask the Minister of State to give us his estimate of the reduction in the number coming to Britain as a result of the passage of this legislation.
It is commonly believed, and certainly sedulously spread by Conservative propagandists, that the great number of coloured people who came to this country came during the period of the Labour Government. I do not know whether it is a matter of congratulation, but it would be as well to put the figures on record. In fact, the great bulk of immigration of coloured people came not during the lifetime of the Labour Government but during the lifetime of the Conservative Government. Taking figures of immigration into Britain since records have been kept, I estimate that whilst the Conservative Party was in power well over 600,000 people came to Britain from the Commonwealth. During the Labour Party's period of office I estimate the figure at about 280,000—certainly less than half.
I do not know that I would bother to make this point, because I do not know that there should be much of a competition about it, if only hon. Members opposite would stop their canvassers from sedulously spreading these profound untruths throughout the country. Therefore, I put the figures on record. The right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members who discuss these things will no doubt want to get it right when they are discussing the matter with their constituents in the future.
We know that this will create a vast bureaucratic machine. We know that it will not save anybody coming into Britain. The numbers coming here will be just as great as they have been in the past. What, then, is its purpose; and why is the legislation being delayed? Is its introduction being delayed because—I would hope this is not the case—the Government want to put it first to the Commonwealth? I ask the Minister of State quite directly what consultations are taking place with the Commonwealth. Have proposals gone to the Commonwealth? Have they been communicated to the Commonwealth and what response has there been to the proposals that the Government wish to put into force?
Always, one of the issues which were very much in the minds of those concerned with this was the impact on the Commonwealth. Since the Government blundered into their South African arms misfortunes as a result of a quick decision taken after the General Election, they must be more sensitive to the impact of Commonwealth opinion. I therefore ask the Minister of State to tell us whether consultations are taking place. If so, may we know what form they are taking and what response they are getting? If consultations are not taking place, I would certainly regard it as a grave dereliction of the Government's responsibility.
If consultations are not taking place, is it the Prime Minister's intention to discuss these issues at the forthcoming Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference at Singapore, because this will alter the whole basis of citizenship in the Commonwealth? It is a very drastic step that is being taken.
I always try to argue as straightforwardly on these issues as I can. I want to make it quite clear that I can see the case for an amalgamation of legislation on these issues provided that it is not to be against the background of trying to create a different kind of citizenship and in relation to cutting down numbers. On immigration grounds we know that that argument is unfounded.
I have always said—I have no desire to retreat now that I am in opposition—that there is a case for considering this. However, in considering it, it would be foolishness in the extreme to change the basis of Commonwealth citizenship without putting the proposals first to the Commonwealth Governments, getting their reactions, having a discussion on the matter at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference at Singapore, and then returning here and saying, "The Commonwealth understands the proposals we are making. It has objections on this, that and the other. We think that we can meet certain objections but we think that the other objections are unfounded". To proceed upon any other basis would be to bring upon the Government a storm as great as the South African arms storm. I say this to them in advance, not in any spirit of good will, not because I care about them, but because I do care about unnecessary rows between Commonwealth Governments and the Government who represent the United Kingdom for the time being. I press very strongly indeed that this should be put to the Commonwealth Governments.
Indeed, I would sum up what I have to say about this in the words—I cannot better them—of the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), in an article in, I believe, the Daily Telegraph of 11th August, writing about this legislation. He represents my view exactly. He said:
In sum, the plan for a small number of immigrants will be administratively costly, probably ineffective and certainly damaging to race relations.
I could not make a better epitome of it myself.
That is the legislation which we shall have to face and for which, no doubt, hon. Members opposite will be voting. It will have no impact on numbers, which is their prime concern. It can have a potentially damaging impact on the Commonwealth. It can have, I agree with the right hon. Member for Ashford, a damaging effect on race relations in this country.
Another question that we think the Government ought to be ready to answer now—though I doubt that they are, in the light of other experiences tonight—is whether they have a view about the Irish and the immigration of the Irish. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West expressed his view clearly, that the Irish should be excluded—a very popular view.
Yes. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that. I understood him to say that he thought the Irish should be put on the same basis as aliens in the matter of immigration. Is that not so?
I see. If the objection is to the word "excluded", I readily accept that. He said that they should be treated on the same basis as aliens, which means a substantial curtailment in their numbers—a very popular view among many people in this country. It is said that the right hon. Gentleman always picks upon unpopular views, but do not let anybody be deceived. He is at the head of the popular gang. There are a lot of people who support him on this. Here again, I think we are entitled to ask the Minister of State whether the Government have reached any conclusions about the Irish.
I beg the right hon Gentleman's pardon. I apologise for that. That must have been a point in the debate that was not included on the note which was handed to me. I will leave the point immediately. I do not know in what way the right hon. Gentleman made it clear, but I will pass on, and I beg his pardon.
We must he in a limbo until this new legislation arrives. I have expressed my view that it is unlikely to meet the expectations that hon. Gentlemen put before their constituents when they were seeking election. I should have liked the right hon. Gentleman to agree that the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration might have hammered out these proposals. This is one of the reasons why I originally proposed them and why Lord Hailsham, as he now is, accepted them. We hoped that controversial issues of this sort could go to that Select Committee which was working without regard to party, so that we could get a consensus view. I understand that the Home Secretary—I hope this has been correctly reported to me—turned down that proposition.
The right hon. Gentleman also turned down the proposition that there should be a White Paper setting out proposals for discussion before they reached this House. It looks as if we are to be faced with the Bill and that we shall have to fight it, although I hope there will be a number of points upon which we can agree, and certainly we shall try to agree on as much as we can. There will not be opposition for the sake of it.
I turn lastly to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough and by the hon. Member for Ilford, North. It is not a question which I expect the Minister necessarily to answer, but it is a question for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, who, as I have said before, has the ear of the country—although not as much as he did, I am glad to say. The first wave of hysteria has passed over. He has never really caught another issue that managed to sway the people quite as much as that, and no doubt that is why he returns to it time after time.
The right hon. Gentleman still has never faced this question to the full extent. I do not know what proportion of the populations of Birmingham or Cardiff will be coloured in 20 or 30 years' time. What I do know is that they will be people born here, who will have been living here, but who will be of different colour. He has always failed to make clear, and he was asked again tonight, what his attitude is to those people of different colour. There are 1 million-plus, and there will be more, as he constantly tells us. Does he think that his attitude is helping? Does he care? Yes, I give him credit for that. I assume that he cares, whether or not his attitude is helping. Does he accept—I can see no other alternatives—that these people will continue to live here? Does he intend forcibly to repatriate them? Or will they be sterilised so that they do not have black babies? Is that the end of it? He really must accept, some time or other, that there will be 1 million-plus living here.
It is many more. In that case, the question becomes even more pertinent. That is what I was trying to lure the right hon. Gentleman into saying. If there are 2 million, 3 million or 4 million, whatever figure he puts on it—there is no exact number, and everybody knows that—if it is more, then he has a double responsibility in this issue. He knows it, and he knows that that is the weakness in his case, and he has never faced it.
The right hon. Gentleman is an honourable man. I do not wish to be personally offensive to him, I promise him that. I have too much respect for his intellect and his capacity to see these things. But does he not realise—I say this as seriously and meaningfully to him as he has said things to us—that the creation of the kind of atmosphere which he has created—he says, "I am only representing what people feel in this country; I have been their voice"—could in the end lead to the excesses—I hardly like to utter the words—the disasters we saw in Nazi Germany before the war? It could do that. If the good sense of the House and of our people did not resist the logical conclusions of the fears he is expressing, we could find ourselves fighting the battles of the 'thirties all over again. I hope and believe that if that happened the right hon. Gentleman would be on our side. But he would have created the mischief as a result of his own speeches.
I beg the right hon. Gentleman to recognise once and for all that whoever had the responsibility, whether his own Government or my Government, or whoever it was, the people are here, they are not going home, and it is our job to ensure that they live here, not only for their sakes but for our sakes, in conditions in which peace and tranquillity can be assured, and in which we say, "Here is this new problem of these millions of coloured people living among us, and we have to ensure for ourselves and our children that we all live together peacefully."
We shall ask leave to withdraw the Amendment in due course, I want to make that clear. It has been a worthwhile debate, and I am grateful to the Committee and particularly the Government benches, for the way in which they have listened.
I take it, Sir Robert, that it will be your intention in a minute or so to interrupt our proceedings so that a business Motion may be put. It is not my intention, as it was not the intention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), to cut the debate short at this stage. I imagine that the House will accept the Motion that the rule be suspended so that it will then be open to other hon. Members who have not yet succeeded in doing so to catch the eye of the Chair and continue the debate.