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Immigration Rules

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st February 1973.

Alert me about debates like this

8.25 p.m.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I beg to move That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control on Entry (H.C. 1972–73 No. 79), a copy of which was laid before this House on 25th January, be disapproved. I understand that it will be for the convenience of the House if at the same time we discuss the following motions: That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control after Entry (H.C., 1972–73 No. 80), a copy of which was laid before this House on 25th January, be disapproved.That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control on Entry (H.C., 1972–73 No. 81), a copy of which was laid before this House on 25th January, be disapproved.That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control after Entry (H.C., 1972–73 No. 82), a copy of which was laid before this House on 25th January, be disapproved. The last time we debated the new immigration codes, on 22nd November last year, the Government suffered a resounding defeat. They proved too much not only for Opposition stomachs but for many on the Government side of the House. A substantial number of Conservative Members could not support the Government's proposals and they were rejected at the end of the day, even after the Foreign Secretary had been wheeled into action. The Government were defeated by a decisive vote of 35. I recall these events, as the starting point in examining the new orders that are before us today, to focus the attention of the House on the extent to which these new drafts have taken account of its wishes and to see whether they are, in their new form, more acceptable to us.

The Government have made some changes. I shall say more about that later. Their nature and inadequacy is best evidenced by the Government's own decision to divide the codes into two, and in their wish—as I understand it—to take them on separate occasions, no doubt in the belief that the House would find it easier to swallow the pills one at a time rather than to down the lot in a single gulp. But to consider these orders separately would have been wrong, because we cannot begin to make sense of our immigration policy, which these codes outline, unless we debate them as a whole. When we do, it immediately becoms clear that the new orders reaffirm the pattern of preference in access to jobs and residence in Britain that appeared in the codes the House rejected last November. That pattern of preference established a hierarchy of privilege, dividing immigrants into three broad categories. I am aware that there have been more sophisticated minds at the Sunday Times and elsewhere which have described six and not three categories, and others have described 10 separate categories of would-be immigrants to this country. For my purposes, three will do.

First, there are the 200 million non-British people in Western Europe who stand at the apex of the new system. Second there is a limited group of Commonwealth citizens of British origin, now widened from the second to the third generation. Third, there is the great bulk of Commonwealth and other peoples who are to be rigidly controlled, both as to the numbers admitted and their conditions once they are here. I submit that that pattern of last November remains substantially unchanged.

In particular, I note that Commonwealth immigrants—leaving aside the question of their continued tight numerical control—after entry into the United Kingdom, and in spite of the many criticisms made of them by a number of speakers in last November's debate, are still to be subjected to discriminatory treatment, certainly as compared with those who enter from the EEC. It is very marked.

The Home Secretary has made some concessions, but I have to put it to him that whereas people from Western Europe will be able to come here to search for work without the need for any other permission to be granted to them, no Commonwealth immigrant can enter Britain without a work permit attaching him to a particular job and employer. Again, whereas the EEC worker can bring in his children under the age of 21, his parents and other dependants, the new Commonwealth immigrant is much more restricted in this respect. Since we are dealing with what, under our present tight controls over numbers, can amount to only a few new immigrants a year, these restrictions on their access to work and on their dependants—which are clearly discriminatory when viewed in the new context, particularly, of the EEC regulations—cannot be justified.

The next thing that we note since last November, although it is not mentioned in the codes, is the volte face of the Home Secretary on the question of British passport holders in East Africa and elsewhere. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) will catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and will conclude the debate from this side of the House, when she will say more about this.

I do not begin to understand how the Home Secretary can argue, with great eloquence, one policy in October 1972 and an entirely different one in January 1973. In October he told his own conference that he had made it absolutely categorically clear that if those passport holders of ours were expelled and so became refugees with no other country to go to, we would have an obligation to take them in in their time of need and we would honour that obligation. I think that was a very difficult decision. It was a brave decision and it was the right decision, although I wish the Government could have mobilised more pressure against the odious Amin to try to deter him at least from the pursuit of these very evil policies.

But if the right hon. Gentleman was right then, and if it was a matter of honour and compassion, then, as the Prime Minister himself said in a speech on 1st December, when he described what would have been the sight presented to us on our television screens night after night this Christmas"— of refugees held in camps in Uganda— I cannot believe that anyone in this country would have regarded such an outcome as acceptable. All I can say is that if that was right then, and those views were held, I do not see how it can now be said—indeed, whether it is even sensible to say, as tit,: right hon. Gentleman did on 25th January, that The Government consider that to have a similar burden thrust on us again would impose unacceptable strains and stresses on our society …."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th January 1973; Vol. 849, c. 655.] I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what has moved him to make those radical changes of stance when he replies to the debate.

The last change which I note from the codes before us last November is in the proposals affecting citizens from New Zealand, Australia and Canada. We have considerable objection to the grandparent formula which the Government have used, but we recognise the need for a special link with citizens of those three countries. There are many reasons for that, and several were advanced by hon. Members on both sides in our debate on 22nd November.

For myself, the most important reason is that whereas it is reasonable to expect the descendants of British emigrants to a foreign country to become part of that country and to recognise the fading out of their British connection, it is not reasonable to expect that of those British people who have over so many years gone to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It is not reasonable to expect it, because they have gone not to foreign countries but to countries which were, and still are, self-proclaimedly and overwhelmingly British—British in their population, British in their language, their institutions, their customs, their loyalties, and even in the acceptance of our Monarch as their Sovereign. This is a connection which no other European country has with any other country in the world. It is a unique connection which arises out of the unique character of our own history.

The flow of people from these islands to New Zealand, Australia and Canada has not stopped. Two million have gone since the end of the war, and, clearly, we would wish it to continue. But, apart from that, it seems to me right to acknowledge that a special relationship exists. But it is a pity that a better and more acceptable formula than the one chosen by the Government could not have been found—more acceptable not only to opinion here and elsewhere in the Commonwealth but to New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

I have pointed to certain changes which have taken place—some good and some bad—in these codes, but the pattern of preference remains essentially as it was last November, and I turn now to the most important feature of the pattern, namely, the preference granted to nationals of the Common Market.

It is the most important feature for several reasons. First, it gives the nationals of the EEC countries a special position and a larger access than is afforded to the peoples of any other country. They leap in status from the undifferentiated category of alien to a new privileged category almost indistinguishable from that of the British people themselves. Whatever one may think of that, the magnitude of the change should not be in dispute.

Second, in numerical terms it involves a remarkable and unprecedented opening of the national gate. Nearly 200 million people, at a stroke, have been granted the right to enter, to seek work and to reside at will anywhere in this island.

Third, and most important of all, we have abandoned the right to close the door should our circumstances at some stage demand it. We have abandoned it to agencies outside this country and outside the jurisdiction of the British Government and Parliament. Therefore, when I say that this is by far the most important aspect of the code I am guilty of no exaggeration.

Of the 72 pages of White Paper prose now devoted to the immigration rules, just over two are devoted to this immense change, and these pages are bedded deep in the body of the rules.

The second point is that the January codes are, in dealing with the European Economic Community, identical to those rejected in November. The Government, in spite of their resounding defeat, have made no change at all in the central matters of the codes in their treatment of the Community. We all know why.

The Government have no alternative but to disregard this House and the wishes of the elected Members in it. They cannot change the codes in respect of the Community because they are no longer masters in their own house. They have subjected themselves to a superior jurisdiction—a jurisdiction of Community law and Community courts. The reality of what is involved in our new relationship in Europe is not to be found in the two compressed pages of the text in these codes but in the text of the Treaty of Rome and, in much greater detail, in the 48 articles of the Euro-Law 1612 of 1968 and in the further 14 articles of the Community directive of that same date.

Ministers have not been frank with the House or with the nation about what is involved. I do not think that they have even been frank with themselves; otherwise I do not understand how the Home Secretary failed to recognise, last November, that he had opened the door to a quite unparalled extent but instead solemnly assured the House, at the moment he was doing it, that he had carried out resolutely the Government's intention of closing the door more firmly than ever. When challenged on them, he falls back on well-worn arguments. He says that no one in Europe would want to come here. I shall not go into that now, except to say that anyone who bases his view on short-term trends has no right to be taken seriously when we are considering changes which are supposed to be of a permanent character—changes in the immigration law which, unless that law is changed again, will be in operation many decades ahead.

Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman says that if people from Europe did wish to come he would not hesitate to use what he calls the "safeguards" in the Community Treaties. In November he said: If the free movement of labour were to result in, to use the Community's term, disturbance of our labour markets in this country, this Government would make full use of all these provisions"— the safeguards— were the need to arise."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November 1972; Vol. 846, c. 1356.] He did not say what those provisions are. I will tell the House. They are that he can request the Commission to suspend the free movement articles, but The Commission shall decide on the suspension as such and on the duration thereof …". If he does not like that, he can try to get the Council, either acting unanimously or by a majority vote, to annul or amend the Commission's decision. It is all there in the secondary legislation of the Community.

The fact of the matter is that the safeguards machinery will no longer be in British control. I am sure that the Commission will behave almost certainly in a reasonable and enlightened way. But if the right hon. Gentleman made a request to shut the door it would respond only if the continuing influx of labour were taking place into Britain against a background of our own high unemployment. It would not suspend free movement for social and other reasons, and certainly not because it took the view that the right hon. Gentleman likes to advance when restricting other immigrant workers—that we are an over-populated island.

The right hon. Gentleman has not been entirely frank with himself or with the House, and in this context I must refer again to what I conceive to be highly misleading language in the text of the immigration codes. Paragraph 51 says: When an EEC national is given leave to enter, no condition is to be imposed … on his entry into the United Kingdom. The use of the words "given leave to enter" clearly implies that we have the right or the power to withhold such leave. But surely that is not the case. Indeed, paragraph 52 partly corrects that statement when it tells us that anyone from the EEC … who wishes to enter the United Kingdom in order to take or seek employment … is to be admitted without a work permit or other prior consent. Perhaps the Home Secretary will explain how by paragraph 52 an EEC worker is to enter without prior consent yet by paragraph 51 he has to be given leave to enter.

Photo of Sir Albert Costain Sir Albert Costain , Folkestone and Hythe

I am listening with great interest to what the right hon. Gentleman is saying. Can he explain how these rules have altered since he was a member of the Cabinet which sought to have us join the Common Market?

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

I will answer the hon. Gentleman at once. We are now discussing the actual text of regulations made in 1968, and as the hon. Gentleman will, I think, understand—and I will return to this question a little later, as it is important—there was in that year a very important change in the whole law affecting the free movement of labour.

I have asked the Home Secretary to explain this matter. If he has any doubt who is to control I should like him to read the words of the Community legislation itself and, in particular, Article 3 of the directive of 15th October 1968 which says: Member States shall allow the persons referred to in Article 1"— who are those nationals of the Common Marketto enter their territory merely on production of a valid identity card or passport The same article states that No entry visa or equivalent document may be demanded and to remove any possible misunderstanding the directive helpfully provides, in an annex, an eight-line document which is to be given to would-be immigrants authorising entry to the United Kingdom or any other member country.

I know that the right hon. Gentleman makes much of the alleged requirement of EEC nationals to report to the police but again—and I do not know whether he has checked this item—I find it difficult to believe that that requirement is consistent with Community law or would stand up to challenge in the European Court.

That brings me to what was said by the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain), which is a related legal point of some importance—the conflict that exists, as I see it, between the Euro-regulation passed in 1968, which now underpins our new immigration code, and the actual provision of the Treaty of Rome itself.

The Home Secretary will recall that during the debate on 22nd November last his hon. Friends the Members for Peters-field (Miss Quennell) and Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) drew attention to this very point and quoted Article 48(3)(a) of the Rome Treaty which, his hon. Friends will recall, says that freedom of movement … shall entail the right to accept offers of employment actually made. Further, Article 48(3)(b) says that people shall have the right … to move within the territory of the Member States for this purpose"; That is to say, to take offers of jobs actually made. That is clearly not the same thing as the right to go in search of work in Britain, which is embodied both in the 1968 regulation and directive and in the codes now before us.

There is not much doubt that the intention and language of the treaties have been stretched well beyond the original intent, not of course, by the British Government alone but by the Governments of the Six. To answer the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe, we are dealing with matters and laws agreed after the application made by my right hon. Friend in 1967.

Having established some at least of the facts, let me now explain to the House how we regard these proposals. We are perfectly prepared to see a mutually beneficial, controlled movement of people between our country and Europe and vice versa. While we are fully aware of the benefit we have gained from immigrant groups from Europe, we are not prepared simply to abandon control over entry to the United Kingdom from Western Europe. We do not believe that the Government are right to do that, or that they have the right to do it, certainly not without first obtaining the consent of the British people to all that is entailed in membership of the EEC. It is too serious a matter, too great an alienation of the power of a British Government, for them so lightly to embark on it without first having obtained the consent of the British people.

We do not accept the open door with Europe for another reason. Complete free movement of labour is acceptable only in a genuine political union. It is part of a federal purpose. It is right and natural that the peoples of the separate States of the United States of America should move freely within the United States, because they are one State and one people. But while we have allies and friends in Western Europe, with whom I hope our relations will grow closer in the future than they have been in the past, we delude ourselves if we believe that we are one people with them now.

Nor is it necessary for the effective functioning of the Common Market for such provisions to be made. Indeed, in certain circumstances the provisions could be dangerous. It is no accident that the Common Market has a fully developed system for enabling workers to move around Europe in search of work while it lacks even the beginnings of a European regional policy. The whole emphasis is wrong. There is far too much stress on the worker moving to where the work is and far too little on bringing work to where the worker resides.

As the Home Secretary well knows, there is a growing crisis in Europe caused by the uninhibited free movement of labour into and within it. Admittedly, the principal cause now is not the movement of people between the six founder States but the attraction into the Community of millions of people from lands that border the Mediterranean, including the two associated member States—Turkey and Greece—which before many years have passed will become full members of the EEC.

We cannot accept a system which, both as to the numbers who have the right to come and the conditions which they enjoy, clearly places people from the EEC countries in a position of marked advantage over the peoples of the old and new Commonwealth with whom we still have, in the view of many—in the view of most on the Opposition side—stronger ties.

For all those reasons, I urge the House to reject the rules.

8.53 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

As we would have expected, the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) has devoted a major part of his speech to the European Economic Community. If I may say so, I think that in some respects he went wider in what he said about it than is perhaps justified by the rules we are discussing, though they do bear on it.

When the right hon. Gentleman spoke about the special privileges attaching to citizens of the Community countries he overlooked one or two points. For example, when he compared them with Commonwealth citizens he overlooked that no EEC citizen will enjoy the same civic privileges as Commonwealth citizens have always enjoyed and will still enjoy under the rules and the 1971 Act. These civic privileges—participating in our democratic system as voters and candidates; the right to join our public services, both armed and civil—are no mean privileges. They are still reserved to Commonwealth citizens and are not given to any aliens, even our new friends and partners in the European Community. That is one very big difference.

The right hon. Gentleman said with some truth that membership of the European Community gives new privileges to large numbers of people living in Europe which they did not have before. That is undeniable. To that extent, the comparative benefits of Commonwealth citizenship qua these aliens are reduced. Therefore, I suppose that to that extent it can be argued that EEC membership has, within that narrow context, discriminated against the Commonwealth.

What would the right hon. Gentleman and his Government have done? After all, the right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Cabinet when the Labour Government were committed in principle to entry into Europe. Were they intending to relax Commonwealth immigration control—to confer more privileges on and have less control over Commonwealth citizens entering? If so, I do not recollect their saying so. At the very time when the Labour Government were committing Britain in principle—I fully agreed with it—to seeking membership of the European Community, far from relaxing control on Commonwealth citizens they were, in fact, tightening it.

The right hon. Gentleman spoke a number of times about credibility. He cannot stand at that Dispatch Box with any credibility and make the case he sought to make, because he knows, as we all know, that one of the basic principles of the Community, not negotiable, was that its members should form together a free travel and a free work area. This was and always has been a basic principle. The right hon. Gentleman knew it when he was a member of the Cabinet.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

Has the right hon. Gentleman followed what I said? I dealt with this point specifically. I say seriously and specifically that when in 1967 my right hon. Friends embarked upon this exercise of negotiation this law did not even exist. It was a much more specific control—[Interruption.]—we did not negotiate in 1970; no negotiation took place. No hon. Member has any right to infer what the decisions of a Labour Government would have been.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

I think that the right hon. Gentleman is forgetting one important point. The right to come to jobs offered laid down in Article 48(3) of the Treaty of Rome was modified in 1968, by a decision of the Council of Ministers, to having the right to come and seek work. So for two years when the right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Labour Cabinet his Government went on committing themselves in principle to membership of the Common Market, knowing that this right of free work area had been extended, as it was by the 1968 decision. That happened in 1968, not in 1970 or at any subsequent date.

The right hon. Gentleman contrasted paragraph 51 of HC No. 81—Statement of Immigration Rules for Control on Entry—which speaks about When an EEC national is given leave to enter"— with paragraph 52, which states: An EEC national who wishes to enter the United Kingdom in order to take or seek employment … is to be admitted without a work permit …". There is no contradiction between those two. An EEC national cannot enter this country without leave. He must have a passport or a visa, and we have a right to refuse entry on a number of grounds, just as we have a right to refuse entry to those coming from other countries. We can refuse entry on medical grounds, on a criminal record, on grounds of personal undesirability and on conducive grounds. On all those grounds entry of an EEC citizen can be refused, just as it can be refused to a citizen of any other alien or Commonwealth country. When they have got that basic permission to come and work here, they do not require work permits. They can seek work and do not have to have it before they come. There is nothing contradictory about those two paragraphs.

The right hon. Gentleman said that in his view the provision that EEC nationals had to report to the police would be inconsistent with Community law. I am advised that that is not so. It is pointed out to me that all the existing Community countries—not just the new ones—have similar provisions in operation and have had for a long time. Unlike the British practice, their practice has been to exercise immigration control by means of an internal control and not a control on entry at their ports. We are asking here only for what has been fairly common practice in one form or another in all the old Community countries.

If there are any other particular points which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, I am sure that my hon. Friend will deal with them in winding-up the debate. I wish to come to one or two general points made by the right hon. Gentleman before I explain briefly the nature of the changes that we have introduced.

I wish particularly to take up what the right hon. Gentleman said about United Kingdom passport holders. Essentially, he said that if it was right for the Government collectively and for me personally to say what we did last October, it is wrong for me personally and for the Government collectively to be saying what we are saying now. I suppose that this will remain a matter of opinion, but I simply do not accept that.

I have no doubt that we had an obligation to take those citizens from Uganda when they were expelled. I said publicly, and I repeat, that I would not have remained a member of a Government that did not accept that obligation. But, equally, we have a duty to this country, not least to those who came to this country in the first place as immigrants. Having accepted that burden, as we did, I do not believe that it would be right for any British Government again to accept a similar burden to that which we accepted last summer. I do not regard it as dishonourable, as an act of Government policy, at a time when we have just accepted that burden and where none of our citizens anywhere in the world is under a similar threat, to make the statement that we could not again accept a mass exodus of that kind. The vital qualification is that I would not say what I have just said without at the same time accepting absolutely an ultimate responsibility to take in our passport holders in a controlled and orderly manner under the voucher system. For this country to give that notice at a time when none of our people is under that threat is right in our interests and in theirs and is in no way dishonourable.

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

What would be the Government's policy in the unfortunate and unlikely event of another expulsion?

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

I think that we have made our position absolutely clear. I do not believe that I assist the cause of anybody, least of all the people of this country or the people abroad about whom we are thinking, by indulging in hypothetical speculation. We have said that we have given notice to the countries where this might happen—where, thank goodness, there is no sign of it happening—at this time of relaxation, that if they were to think of moving on those lines they could not assume that there was the easy option that perhaps President Amin was able to assume. I believe it is right in the interests of those people there, and right in the interests of all people in this country, not least our own immigrant population.

We have also given notice to the whole international community that if such a mass exodus were to be brought about again we would require substantial help from the international community. Although we will honour our responsibility, we must have full, ample time to do so, because the number of new people we can accept into this country year by year is strictly limited, not least in the interest of maintaining decent community relations. If hon. Members opposite disagree with that, it is perfectly proper for them to do so, but let them not be mealy-mouthed about it: let them say quite clearly they do disagree with it.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

Does the right hon. Gentleman, then, accept the proposition which was advanced by the Attorney-General in these terms: There is a clear obligation in international law that when citizens of the United Kingdom are being expelled we should take them into this country, unless other countries are prepared to accept them"? What happens if there is simply not the time he expects there to be?

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

That is exactly what I am saying. There was certainly no time last July or August, but by making a statement of policy now we ensure there is time, and we believe it will be influential in greatly reducing the risks of such another tragedy being thrust upon the whole population. I am quite sure that when that pledge was given, to accept people being expelled, the pledge given by the Labour Government of the day and endorsed by the Conservative Opposition of the day, we were thinking in terms of individual people and not whole populations.

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

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York) rose——

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

The hon. Member will be able to speak for himself. If he says it is not so, I fully accept that, but, whatever may be said about arguments in the past, in view of our situation in this country at the moment I am sure that what I have said is in the interests of the long-established British stock in this country and even more in the interests of the immigrant population in this country, because I do not believe we could maintain the sort of decent community relations which are of overriding importance to our society, and particularly our urban society, if such a thing were to happen again, and we would be failing in our duty if we did not say so.

I must pass on, because vitally important though that is, and, no doubt, more important than these rules, it is, nevertheless, these rules we are here to discuss tonight.

First of all as to the form. The House will see, what the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned, that we have published the rules in two sets, one for Commonwealth citizens and the second for EEC and other aliens. The reason for splitting them is threefold. Providing them in these two sets emphasises the importance placed on the Commonwealth connection. Incidentally, it also reverts to previous practice. It had been our practice hitherto to have two sets of rules. So we are reverting to previous practice. It also helps to destroy the myth which was growing up that we were wishing to treat Commonwealth citizens as aliens. Thirdly, separating them in the way we have done makes it easier to alter the Commonwealth rules, if we wish to do so, without having to disturb the whole lot.

This is important, because one of the points made in the last debate in November was the need for consultation with the Commonwealth to see whether we should seek to find a new basis for any ex- changes of population. Indeed, I, and my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary in more specific terms in winding up the debate, gave an undertaking on that account.

I was glad to hear the right hon. Member for Stepney, while rejecting a grand-parental connection as a qualification, say he believed it was right to have some special relationship recognised with those countries in the Commonwealth which are peculiarly British. I do not admit that it is in any way racial or prejudicial to admit openly what is a clear fact. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that. I was hoping that he would have gone on to say what sort of connection this might have been, because that is what we all ponder and, so far, ponder without much flash of enlightenment. This is what we promised to explore.

Since those pledges were given my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has had discussions both in this country and in Canada with the Canadian Prime Minister.

Concerning Australia and New Zealand, officials from the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office went to Australia and New Zealand in the second half of January to have talks at official level in preparation for the visit at the beginning of February of my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, who discussed these matters with the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia and, of course, other Ministers particularly concerned in their Governments. I should also make clear that there have been diplomatic contacts on this subject with other Commonwealth countries.

The upshot is that the subject—when I talk about the subject, I include discussion of reciprocity which, although it can have different meanings, was one sort of special recognition which hon. Members were suggesting in the last debate—has only just been opened up, and we have not by a long way carried these explorations to finality. I cannot, therefore, give any firm, let alone final, report. However, it is fair to point out that each of the three countries—Canada, Australia and New Zealand—see considerable difficulty in coming to bilateral or even multilateral reciprocal arrangements on this subject. It would be misleading the House to pretend that there is no difficulty or to let it think that if there is difficulty it is particularly on the United Kingdom's side. All three countries have considerable difficulty in this matter and we shall be pursuing it with them further.

One reason for presenting the rules in this way is that if discussions with Commonwealth countries lead to a desire or an agreement to change them it is more easily done with them in this form than all together in one set of rules.

I turn now to the changes in the rules to which I particularly want to draw attention. In considering what changes I could make, following the debate and the views expressed by hon. Members on both sides of the House in November, I had to be governed by two guiding principles.

First, I had to recognise—I am sure that the House will accept this—that since the 1971 Act was on the Statute Book I could work only within its provisions. Some of the matters raised by hon. Members—for example, where could the right of appeal be exercised?—are laid down in the Act and were therefore not open to me to alter by any change in the rules.

I will explain the second principle which has guided me. I felt that, subject to one overriding proviso, I ought to seek to make these rules as flexible and, above all, as humane as possible. The overriding proviso is that since this is a crowded island since, as far as we can see at the moment and for the prospective future, we have an ample labour force, entry for permanent settlement in this country must be small in number and strictly controlled. Therefore, however much we would wish otherwise, on individual humane and personal grounds, we must have stiff barriers against areas and sections of people from which great pressure for permanent settlement comes as a matter of fact. Equally, I saw no need to maintain stiff barriers against areas from which no pressure—or no significant pressure—comes or is to be expected. That was the overriding thought in my mind as I approached the changes that I should make.

I should like to draw attention to a few of the changes. First, there is family deportation. I hope that the House will agree that the rules dealing with this matter—No. 45 in House of Commons paper 80 and No. 52 in House of Commons paper 82—provide considerably greater flexibility and, in particular, list various factors which appeal to tribunals and the Home Secretary must take into account when considering whether to require wives and dependants to leave when the husband is to be deported. This was a matter to which the Opposition and a number of my hon. Friends drew attention. I hope that the new rules will give greater flexibility and express more clearly the desire that wives and children should not be deported with husbands unreasonably or harshly.

As regards parents, I said earlier that the terms of the Act limit my freedom of manoeuvre pretty tightly. But it will be seen that any possible difference in the treatment of aliens compared with Commonwealth citizens has been removed. It has been removed by an equality of misery rather than an equality of preference. But the House felt that there should be absolute equality in the matter, and that is now achieved.

In terms of dependants, it has not been possible to maintain the need for strict control over permanent settlement and to go as far as many hon. Members wish. In the new rules we have been able to make some changes on dependants which I believe will be welcomed. The rules now make it clear that grandparents of Commonwealth citizens are to be treated as favourably as parents and automatically allowed in if they are over 65. The new rules also make it clear that parents under 65 will be admitted in the same compassionate circumstances as other relatives. That was a matter raised by the hon. Member for York (Mr. Alexander W. Lyon). It was never our intention that parents should be treated less compassionately than other relatives. The rules now make clear our intention on that.

As regards visitors, the changes that we are making—certainly in terms of the Commonwealth and probably wider—are of great importance. The more that I thought about the complaints that we had, the more I came to realise that a large proportion of them concerned people from the Commonwealth coming here to visit rather than people coming here to stay permanently. I hope that the changes which have been made in the rules will be helpful. We now make it specific that six months shall be the normal minimum period and that longer periods will be freely available to those visitors who ask for them. The right to do that had existed before but now, having stated it explicity in the rules, immigration officers on receiving people know explicitly that that is the entitlement of those visitors and that that is how immigration officers are expected to act. This is much clearer and alters the balance, the emphasis and the presentation both to immigration officers and to incoming visitors in a way which is important and which I believe will be helpful. If we can tie that up with improved procedures at our ports of entry, visitors coming here should lose any feeling of somehow being unwelcome or that we are trying to stop them coming in.

Next we have managed to make substantial improvements in the working holidaymaker scheme for Commonwealth citizens. There are two main changes. The first again concerns the initial period. The rules now state explicitly that 12 months shall be the normal minimum visiting period, and they go on to say that the maximum period shall be extended from three years to five years and that the right to go on from 12 months to five years shall be made clear to working holidaymakers as they come in. This change of emphasis is important. It brings out the welcome that we wish to give to those young working holidaymakers in clearer way if for no other reason than that there is now a separate rule whereas before it was necessary to thumb through the rules to see whether any, and if so what, reference was made to them. I hope that we have both improved and made more obvious the welcome that we give to these people.

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler , Nottingham South

I appreciate the aim of my right hon. Friend in doing this, but it is, of course, clear that the five-year working holidays apply not only to Australian and New Zealand young people coming here but to other people from the Commonwealth as well. There is no sign of any abuse at the moment, but would he keep this under review and perhaps think in terms of some restrictions on the numbers of permits granted in this way?

Mr. Can:

Of course, the working holidaymaker opportunity is available for all Commonwealth citizens. Historically, it is a right which so far has been taken advantage of in the majority of cases—not entirely—only by young people from New Zealand, Australia and Canada. There have been a number from other countries, but the essence of this is that it is a temporary visit.

I assure the House that I shall always be watching this carefully, because if it ever became a backdoor way of achieving permanent settlement, contrary to our policy of control, it is a privilege which we should, regretfully, have to restrict. However, I am glad to say that there is no sign of this being abused at the moment, and I am sure that all hon. Members would wish the privilege to be maintained just so long as there is no sign of abuse. Of course, I assure the House that we shall keep our eyes open.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

Could my right hon. Friend say whether the period of up to five years under this rule would count as residence for the purposes of acceptance as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies?

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

If I have mistaken my right hon. Friend, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will deal with this when he winds up. My right hon. Friend may have in mind a point which I have not taken, just quickly listening to his intervention.

The reason why I have felt able to extend the three years to five years is this. Prior to the coming into operation of the 1971 Act, once any Commonwealth citizen had been here for five years he automatically achieved registration in this country. Now under the 1971 Act, although he has the right to apply, the Home Secretary has the right to refuse. Therefore, whereas before it was not safe, to put it in crude language, to let people stay to the point at which no one could remove them, it is now right to allow them to stay up to five years because they do not have this right automatically. If my right hon. Friend had more than that in mind, perhaps my hon. Friend will be able to deal with it.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

My right hon. Friend has indeed taken my point, but I think that he will appreciate that a difficulty may well arise in that a person not admitted for permanent residence but present only as a visitor is very difficult to distinguish and discriminate against for the purposes of registration as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

My hon. Friend, who deals with these matters from day to day, tells me reassuringly that he thinks that there is no difficulty about this and that he will explain to my right hon. Friend in more detail when he winds up. We will deal with the point.

The last change to which I want to draw attention is the exemption from work permits for anyone with a grandparent born in this country. When we introduced this, the Government did so because we thought it right to recognise that anyone with close and recent family connection should be free to come and work and settle here if he so chose. As the House will know, it was our original intention to include this in the Act itself but the House in its wisdom decided against us.

What I want to make quite clear now is that, although the number potentially able to come in under this relaxation is very large—probably a further 8 million people—we see no sign at all of the actual numbers doing so being of a significant size. They have not done so hitherto, and we do not believe that they will do so in future.

However, as I said in my statement on 25th January, this is something which we shall watch carefully. I make no bones about it—since we simply cannot have large-scale permanent settlement in this country from any source—that if there were a sudden change in this position we should have to review the rule. Because it is now in a rule and not in the Act, it can be easily reviewed and easily changed if circumstances were, in the opinion of the Government and Parliament, to demand it.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

; My right hon. Friend told us earlier the reaction of Canada, Australia and New Zealand to any suggestion of reciprocity. Will he now tell us what their reactions were to this grand-parental rule?

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

It is no secret that when we first thought of this idea some two or three years ago it was not unanimously and warmly welcomed by those countries, and I do not believe that it is altogether welcomed today. As I think I have admitted, I am not claiming that it is a perfect recognition of the special connection between our countries. Indeed, as I have said, this is one of the troubles.

I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that it was right to have a special connection and to recognise it. It is much more difficult to say what that special connection should be and how it should be recognised. So I shall certainly not claim to my right hon. Friend that all are happy about it, because they are not. But, on the other hand, a lot of people are happy about it, and this is important, both in this country and in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. At least the people who are unhappy about it are fewer in number than they were previously. So at least I can tell my right hon. Friend that I have been decreasing unhappiness in the world, and I cannot often do that.

The new rules now, as we see it, complete an overall policy for future immigration into this country. As we see it, they are based on three principles. The first principle is the recognition that Britain is a crowded island with a labour force which, for the moment at least, appears ample for her needs, and, therefore, that there must be restriction of all permanent immigration to what I described in my statement on 25th January as the "inescapable minimum", and we must have the establishment of effective controls to achieve this.

The second principle is to recognise, within this overall need, a continuing responsibility to those in various parts of the world who remain entitled to United Kingdom citizenship. Hence the decision to reserve for these people as large a proportion as possible of the limited numbers we are able to admit year by year, and to do so in a controlled and orderly way.

The third principle is the recognition that it is both right and natural to give easy access to Britain to all those with close and recent family ties with this country, provided that they create no significant pressure for permanent settlement.

Those three principles hang together to create an immigration policy which, within our overall need to limit severely permanent settlement in this country, is reasonably humane and reasonably and responsibly treats individuals, but also recognises our obligations to other countries.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Stepney

The right hon. Gentleman has stated his guiding principles, but will he now, or at some stage during his speech, tell us how he reconciles them with the new and open-ended commitment into which he has entered in relation to the European Economic Community?

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

The House will be delighted to know, even if the right hon. Gentleman will not, that I thought that I had concluded my speech. The right hon. Gentleman is obsessed with this. We have never denied—as far as I know, when the right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Labour Cabinet he never denied it—that the decision to apply for membership of the European Community carried with it the fact that we would become a member of a very much larger free travel and work area. That was one of the basic principles of the Community. The right hon. Gentleman supported it, and he had better not forget it.

9.30 p.m.

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

The Home Secretary seems to have adopted what is fashionably known as a low profile approach in presenting these changed rules to the House. It is a long time since we heard a Minister justify his proposals by saying that he hoped that at the end of the day fewer people would be unhappy about them than before. It is a low level of ambition, but I suppose it is a change of policy.

Any of us who at any time have voted for the principle of joining the Common Market must have known that we were supporting the principle of the Common Market regulations in respect of the free movement of labour. That has never been an issue between my colleagues and myself and the Government in discussing these rules, but it is fair to say that the biggest single change that the Home Secretary has made in the rules since they were last discussed in the autumn is the change in the grandparent rule. The effect of this is to give a virtually automatic right of free entry and a right of abode in this country to a further 8 million people. It is important that we should be aware of the effect of this change, because the Conservative Party likes to go round the country saying that it is in favour of stricter control of immigration.

It was interesting that the Home Secretary went on to say that if he discovered that a substantial number of that 8 million were taking advantage of this change in the rules they could be changed back again so that those people could not then benefit from them. This is an Alice-in-Wonderland situation. It means that a change has been made to meet the wishes of part of the House but that if people in appreciable numbers seek to make use of it we shall revert to the original situation. That is a curious way of proceeding.

As a member of the Committee that considered the 1971 Bill, I have another reservation about this change. The Government appear to be seeking by executive action to reverse a legislative decision of the House. The Home Secretary cannot ride off on this one. An amendment was passed by the majority of the Committee which the Government were entitled to reverse on Report if they had wished to do so, but the Government decided not to try to reverse it, nor did anybody else. Therefore, the Bill became law without the grandparent clause. It is no good saying that these people are allowed to come here only if they get entry clearance. I repeat that what the Government are doing by executive decision is to reverse the legislative decision of this House. We should be clear about the implications.

I voted with the majority of the Committee to take this provision out of the Bill. I do not believe that the criterion of having one grandparent born here establishes, in law, the principle of free entry for those with close family ties in this country. I have worked out, without exaggerated arithmetic, that this would give free right of entry to somebody one of whose grandparents left this country as a babe in arms in about the year 1800. One cannot honestly say that people in that category have close family ties with this country. There are others with much closer family ties. Although it is difficult to try to define this in law, if one is seeking to give people outside the country a right of entry based on close family ties it should be on a judgment of what family connections they have in this country. That ought to apply right across the board to members of any Commonwealth country.

I contrast this generosity to the 8 million people who come under the heading of "close family ties" with the treatment of 247 heads of households who at present are in camps in Europe and whose wives and children are United Kingdom passport holders who came here during the Uganda exodus. If there are people with strong claims of close family ties they are surely those 247 people.

I do not know whether the Home Secretary read the report in last week's Sunday Telegraph under the head, Refugee boy died pining for father It is a blot on the humanity of this country that we are unable to deal with the problem of the relatively small number of people who have their families here and who, at the moment, according to our rules are unable to enter the country.

This brings me to the main criticism that my colleagues and I have of the regulations as they remain unaltered from those which were presented to the House earlier, and of the Government's attitude to United Kingdom passport holders. It formed an important part of the Home Secretary's statement when he presented the rules, though, as he rightly reminded us, there is nothing in the rules on the subject. But what is his attitude towards those who are under a legal requirement to leave the country in which they at present have their abode?

This problem arose some time ago with a few individuals in Kenya who landed in prison because they had been required to leave the territory but had not been granted a voucher by the British High Commission. Fortunately, this problem does not arise currently in Kenya, but it does in Tanzania, and I wonder whether whoever is to conclude the debate from the Treasury Bench will give us the numbers of our citizens who are at present imprisoned in Tanzania—if there are any—because they have quite correctly, under the law of that country, been required to leave after their work permits expired, but have been unable to do so because they have not been granted vouchers. They have a very good claim to be allowed in.

I want to take issue with the Home Secretary on what he said in his statement on 25th January and repeated tonight. He repeated the British Government's view that they had an obligation to admit United Kingdom passport holders, and said that he wanted to exercise this by admitting them in a controlled and orderly manner, through the special voucher scheme. He said last month that this is as much as it is reasonable and realistic for us to do if good community relations are to be maintained in Britain. I make this statement now so that the Governments and individual people concerned may be aware of the exact nature of Her Majesty's Governments policy in this matter".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th January 1973; Vol. 849, c. 656.] Frankly, it is the exact nature of the policy that is entitrely up in the air. If the Government are attempting unilaterally to repudiate an obligation which earlier they had accepted and which had always been accepted, we are entitled to press the question: what is the Government's policy in the event of an unfortunate—and, I hope, unlikely—mass expulsion of our citizens from elsewhere? It is not useful to conduct a public debate on this sensitive issue but it was not those who object to the Government's policy who raised the matter; it was the Home Secretary himself. Quite apart from the principle which he raised, which I believe to be utterly wrong, it is also politically inept to raise this matter at a time when we must hope that the voucher system is proceeding perfectly in the other East African territories and when there is no prospect on the horizon of the repetition of the Ugandan tragedy. We all hope that it will not occur again.

When the Home Secretary repeats his concern for good community relations in this country I remind him of what New Society said in an editorial which has been quoted with approval by the Race Relations Unit of the British Council of Churches, namely, that There is a serious danger that the phrase 'for the sake of good community relations' will become devalued if it alone is used as the justification for racially discriminatory immigration policies. I am afraid that the statement—left in the air as it was on 25th January and repeated again tonight—that we are, in effect, anticipating a breach of obligations in international law, will cause great concern to our citizens in the East African territories, and will cause entirely unnecessary political difficulties within this country.

During the Ugandan crisis the Prime Minister made it quite clear that we have a moral and legal obligation. The Home Secretary told the Conservative Party Conference that the obligation was no accident. He was reported as saying: We did it deliberately. We knew quite well what we were doing. He said that he would not have remained a member of a Government who dishonoured that obligation. That obligation is still there. It is not disappearing, and I do not believe that it could be made to disappear by a unilateral statement by a Minister. We are right this evening very carefully to probe what is meant. As the Sunday Times said in a leading article in the week of that statement, the Home Secretary assumed that by making this kind of assertion, Britain can persuade, even compel, governments there not to expel British passport-holders. But if such expulsions occur it will hardly matter to Kenya that Britain has said she will not take them. From Kenya's standpoint, and in the view of international law, they are unambiguously a British responsibility. On the whole, the chances seem greater rather than smaller that this kind of pre-emptive declaration will actually increase the pressures on the Kenyan Government to expel the Asians whom, however deplorably, many Africans see as a menace. When I was last in Kenya, in October, talking to African politicians and Asian leaders, I got the impression that things were settling down and that the voucher system was working reasonably well. The Minister should be frank with the House in telling us the apparent arithmetic. According to my calculations, if the present voucher system continues to operate smoothly during the next three or four years the problem will have largely been overcome—but I should like confirmation of that from the Government.

When the 1971 measure was introduced the House was told that it was to fulfil a pledge by this Government to introduce a unified system of immigration control. Whatever else may be said it cannot be pretended that this ragbag of regulations provides a unified system of immigration control. Until we get down to framing a citizenship law and having one system of immigration control, my colleagues and I will continue to vote against these regulations.

9.41 p.m.

Photo of Mr Alastair Harrison Mr Alastair Harrison , Maldon

It would be churlish if one did not welcome any concessions from a Government who have taken back some orders which the House has rejected. I must welcome the concessions that have been made, particularly the apparent increase in flexibility in the application of some of the regulations to Commonwealth people.

I think we would be very foolish if we did not realise how much damage has been done to the relations between Britain, Australia and New Zealand in particular by the introduction of the combined rules, lumping, as it were, aliens and Commonwealth citizens together. After all, it should have been obvious that the aliens were not going to say with great delight "We are all being treated as Commonwealth citizens." It would have been equally obvious that the Commonwealth citizens would have said "Look, we are now being treated as aliens." There was very strong feeling.

I asked in Australia recently one of our Deputy High Commissioners whether he had had any objections to these rules and his comment to me was "Come up into my office for a moment and I will take my shirt off and you can see the lash marks." Feelings ran very high, and I think we should do everything we can to mend the bridges that have been broken. It was doubly unfortunate that these rules came out just at the time when there were changes of Government in Australia and New Zealand, and I think they have had quite an effect on some of the policies that have been introduced recently.

These rules tend to point out the change—an historical change—of our turning more towards Europe, and we must also realise that in other countries like Australia and New Zealand we shall see an increasing turning towards countries around the Pacific. For that reason it is very important that we make concessions to keep the links between the countries—Canada, Australia and New Zealand—which are in particular orientated round the Pacific.

I am very glad that the instruction on the working holiday has been laid down as one year to begin with, and then the concession extended to five years rather than three. I really cannot believe that there is any justification for a working holiday of more than five years, although in certain cases I know that three years has been insufficient time for people to get the required experience and see what they want to see both in Britain and in Europe.

I greatly regret that the patrial or grandpatrial concept is still being used. When I was in New Zealand at the same time as my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Defence was there, it was obvious that this was causing a lot of trouble, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand made a statement to the effect that New Zealand was trying to bring about integration. I think it probably true that New Zealand has been one of the most successful nations of the world in integrating two races, the Maoris and the European settlers, and I am sure that the patrial concept has tended to divide the people there, accentuating the difference between the Maoris and the rest of the people now settled in New Zealand.

I should like clarification on two matters. I take, first, the position of business men. More and more Canadian, Australian and New Zealand companies are working or establishing subsidiaries over here, and it is far from clear, as I read the rules, in what circumstances representatives of those companies will be able to establish themselves and stay working in the United Kingdom.

The other question relates to the concession in regard to husbands which was asked for but which does not seem to have been made. The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) took this up with reference to one specific category. In the last debate, hon. Members pointed out that, very often for family reasons, perhaps to take up responsibilities in looking after parents, a daughter will have to come back to the United Kingdom. It is still not clear whether husbands will be allowed to come in if they are not patrials of one kind or another.

Now that we have separate rules for Commonwealth immigrants, I hope that discussions will be pushed ahead firmly with the other Governments and that arrangements giving still greater concessions for Commonwealth citizens coming from the older Dominions to the United Kingdom will be made.

In short, I welcome the concessions which have been made. I am sorry that they have not gone far enough, but one must accept what has been done, and for this reason I can support the rules on this occasion.

9.48 p.m.

Photo of Miss Joan Lestor Miss Joan Lestor , Eton and Slough

From a study of the rules and the speech of the Home Secretary, it seems to me that the main concession as compared with the rules which were thrown out last year is that 8 million people from Canada, New Zealand and Australia are now free to come to this country as workers. The Home Secretary added, however—and this was of great significance—"We do not expect that they will come", and went on to say—I hope that I do not misquote him—"If an event occurred and it was likely that we should have a large number of these people wanting to come in, the House can be assured that we should not hesitate to take action about it".

We should not be in the position we are in now over the East African Asians if promises of right of entry had not been given and then, the moment they tried to exercise that promised right, the very people who were the authors of the concession—the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) and others—said, "But we did not mean it. We were only kidding. We do not want you to come". Yet that, in effect, is precisely what the Home Secretary said tonight.

The right hon. Gentleman suggests that we will be generous. He says, it effect, "All of you may come here but do not try it, because if you do we may stop you". I have not misrepresented him. He had to say it, and I will tell the House why. As the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) said, some of us in the General Election fought opponents—some now in this House—who said that the Conservatives would cut immigration and not allow any more people to come to this country. So the right hon. Gentleman had to say what he did tonight, otherwise he would have had to say, "Yes, we said that, but now we are opening the door to another 8 million people".

When the right hon. Gentleman makes his submission about the Kenyan Asians on the ground of good community relations here, he should extend it to the argument he has used tonight. As the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles also reminded him, many of us thought that all immigration was to come under one heading—that everyone was going to be treated the same. But in the last debate my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) pointed out that there were five categories of Commonwealth immigrant alone. I do not know how many we have now, because I am confused as to what the rules mean. Times have certainly changed since the General Election. It will have been noticed by those to whom we are making concessions in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

We are in terrible confusion on immigration in that British passport holders who do not live here have fewer rights than EEC nationals, according to the different rules, and fewer rights than those whose grandfathers were horn in this country but who themselves do not live here. I am not objecting to the rights extended to nationals of the EEC countries. It has never been part of my case against British entry into the EEC that I dislike white Europeans as much as some hon. Members dislike all foreigners and do not want us to have anything to do with other people. One of the decent things about the EEC is that it is likely to bring people closer together.

It is a strange situation. Community nationals coming to this country to work will have the right to bring their families. That is a good thing. I believe—and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman believes—that if a man comes here to work he should have the right to bring his family and dependants with him, and have a stable abode. But it does seem odd that when we have made a concession, which we may or may not mean, to 8 million people, and when we have to allow EEC nationals to come here to work and to bring in their families, we apparently cannot allow in 300 men whose families are already in the country, being British passport holders. I am referring, of course, to the Asian heads of families now excluded from taking up residence here.

I do not understand the logic of the rules. Indeed, they are utterly illogical. The right hon. Gentleman is adopting a generous attitude to Australia, Canada and New Zealand and to our Community colleagues. I ask him to be a little generous to the 300 men whose wives and children are in this country but who are themselves barred from entering. I do not fear the reaction of the British people to a decision to allow these men in. I believe that they would understand if the right hon. Gentleman opened the door to these men and allowed them to join their families and begin to maintain them—which is very important—and to set up a stable relationship. It is not much to ask for that concession.

Then there is the question of discrimination against women. In 1969, discrimination was written into the immigration rules. We have moved a long way since then. We have had legislation on the guardianship of infants, on domicile, and on equal pay, and we have had our recent victory on the anti-discrimination law, which at least has some relationship to women. Here again, in view of the numbers to which the right hon. Gentleman referred he could be a little more generous to women. He could grant them rights that he has granted to men immigrants.

More than anything else, or as much as anything else, he can be more generous than he has been to the wives of deportees. It is true that there are rights of appeal, and that some concessions have been made, but we have reached a situation in which women have the right to stand as independent individuals and must not be made to suffer for the sins of their husbands.

The Home Secretary has said that before Christmas we were morally and legally right to accept the entry of the Ugandan Asians, who were in great difficulties. I was one of the first on this side to support him in that view, and I have continued to support him, but if it was morally and legally right at the season of good will surely it must be right after that season has passed.

I am fully aware of the right hon. Gentleman's difficulties in this respect. I understand the pressures put upon him and the problems he foresees among people on his side and elsewhere if he says that the same rights should apply to these people in Kenya as applied to those who were thrown out of Uganda in similar circumstances. Unfortunately, he cannot leave the matter there. Either he has to say that in no circumstances will the people from Kenya be admitted to this country, and that we wash our hands of the whole affair, or that despite the difficulties involved in their expulsion this country will accept responsibility for them, and will do so in discussions with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and with others, to ensure that they are found homes. If the countries that previously made offers cannot now honour those offers, the problem is still our responsibility. If that is not his case, let the right hon. Gentleman say so, and we will all know where we stand.

Some of us who have taken part in these debates over the years have seen the House and the Conservative Party move from concession to concession, but always, it seems to me, to the detriment and not to the enhancement of race relations here. I believe that the first big mistake on immigration was made in 1962 when, with the passing of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, the whole country was pushed into the situation of discussing immigration always in the context of colour and never in the context of anything else. That is why the Home Secretary, tonight, is able to say, "Yes, we will open the door to 8 million people, most of whom will be white, but will close it firmly to large numbers of people who may have the right to come here but are distinguishable by colour."

That is what the whole argument is about, and what it has always been about. I have never changed my view that until we get an immigration policy—EEC entry notwithstanding—that bases itself not on colour but on skills and needs of people, perhaps the needs of the country from which those people come, and our economic needs, we will be for ever damaging race relations at home and abroad. I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles. Members of my Front Bench have said time and again that we need an overhaul of the citizenship laws, and we are still a long way from having it.

We told the East African Asians "You are free to come here. You may have a British passport." But the moment they wanted to come, we said "We did not mean it." Two hon. Members who are now present have said that over and over again. Having endorsed that, how can the Home Secretary say tonight that we shall open the door to 8 million people from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but we reserve the right to stop them coming to this country if they ever try to exercise their right?

10 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Deedes Mr William Deedes , Ashford

I very much hope, no less devoutly than my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, that we shall approve the rules tonight. But I must add, though it seems ungracious to do so, that for my own reasons I have certain reservations and doubts. They are not the same as those just expressed by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor).

First, one thing we have clearly learnt since 1962 is that the pattern of immigration changes much more rapidly than we can legislate for or prescribe rules for. The amended rules may, as my right hon. Friend said on 25th January, reflect the Government's determination to ensure strict control of immigration, but I am much less sure that they will reduce the level of immigration. There are aspects of them that may have a contrary effect. For example, though I appreciate that it is done to bring us into line with Europe, the raising of the age of children as dependants from 16 to 18 will have an opposite effect.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

That was done in 1962. My right hon. Friend may have forgotten that.

Photo of Mr William Deedes Mr William Deedes , Ashford

But our policy since then has had many modifications that have enabled us to consider 16 as the normal and 18 as the exceptional. That has been the application of the policy.

The extended working holiday will also have an opposite effect. It is causing a certain amount of misgivings to some of our posts overseas that will have the task of administering the rule. It will be very well used by a number of people, but it lends itself to certain abuses and will be difficult to control. Although I appreciate the reason for my right hon. Friend's introducing it, so will making the term of six months for visitors the normal rather than the exception.

I understand that for every visitor who is allowed to stay for more than three months, 20 are restricted to three months or less. Therefore, a change to six months as the normal will make a big difference, particularly if the six months does not carry with it, as I think it does not at present, the use of embarkation and disembarkation cards so that the visitor can be checked on arrival and departure.

That is the first area of my doubts. Secondly, while I wholly share the feelings of my right hon. and hon. Friends, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Brian Harrison), who felt that we had dealt harshly with the old Commonwealth under the former rules, especially when combined with our EEC arrangements, I am very doubtful whether the changes that have been made will produce the results that they hope for. It is a remarkable fact, which I think has escaped notice, that in each of the past six years there has been a substantial exodus from this country of Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders. That cannot be taken as a comparison of visitors entering and leaving in one year compared with another. It is a continual process.

I do not pretend to know the reason, but the House should have the facts. For example, in 1972 the net outflow was 70,000, 36,000 of them Canadians and 24,000 of them Australians. Over the six years the total net outflow has been 66,000 Australians, 146,000 Canadians and 31,000 New Zealanders—a total over the six years of not far short of ¼ million. Therefore, it seems that the pressures in a sense are not towards us but away from us. In view of some of the things that have been said in some places earlier, this fact should be noted. We are opening a door through which people are departing, not arriving. In doing so, we are creating certain fresh difficulties for ourselves.

My last area of doubt is whether the new rules in the longest term reflect the priorities we should have in mind. One of the most anxious areas—it has been repeatedly referred to in the debate—is East Africa. I do not have to explain why this is so. Aside from my right hon. Friend's generalised warning of 25th January, we have taken certain other precautions. We must hope that they will avail, but we cannot be sure.

What we can be sure of, and what the House and the country should be aware of, is the position of the Government of India in all this. Some of us have had recent experience of this and can speak with a certain amount of authority. The position of the Government of India in all this is far from unhelpful. It is also crucial. There is no need to enter into details, but the country should get the general drift.

It is assumed far too widely that India and the Government of India encourage immigration to this country. They do nothing of the kind. The Government of India cannot stop immigration into this country, but they do not like it. They are well aware of our difficulties and are not disposed to be critical of restrictions that we impose, provided that they go right across the board and do not appear to discriminate against Asians. I think that I have stated the position fairly and correctly. It is important that it be realised.

If we are realistic, this is where the new rules put us in some difficulty. Whatever interpretation we may put upon them here—I do not agree with the hon. Lady the Member for Eton and Slough; I do not accept that they are of a discriminatory character—they will be seen and are seen in India as discriminatory. It is the one area of our new approach about which doubts are felt very strongly in Delhi. The new rules will be so seen by many in Congress in that light. Indian Ministers will be attacked on that score, and they know this, and will be urged strongly by members of Congress to take counter-action against us. That makes them anxious, and it makes it harder to Ministers to assist us in what may be yet a critical situation in East Africa and elsewhere. It makes it harder for Indian Ministers to do what the country and the House should know that they are anxious to do.

I must say bluntly, dealing with facts, not with emotions, that it should be borne in mind that the Government of India have certainly in respect of Uganda—I suspect that they might do the same if the situation arose in Kenya—done considerably more than the Governments of what we call the older Commonwealth countries. Those will be unwelcome sentiments to some of my right hon. and hon. Friends, but we should be aware of the realities.

I am persuaded that prolonging a discussion over these rules would not be in our interests and would not assist the considerations I have mentioned. Our best course is to let them go through quietly. I hope that when fresh rules come before us, as they surely will, and we shall have a succession of them in the months and years ahead, they will accord a degree more closely to the realities of immigration now and our wish to restrict it.

10.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr Sydney Bidwell Mr Sydney Bidwell , Southall

The House is indebted to the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), who is hot foot from India and is also Chairman of the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration, so what he has to say is wisdom born of experience. He has pre-empted one or two things which I wanted to say, so I will underscore the parts of his speech which I like and to which the Government must give serious attention.

I was with the right hon. Member for Ashford on a previous trip to India. What he has said is not new. The Indian leaders understand that we have to have a restrictionist policy of entry into this country which has to be based primarily on work opportunities. They must see our policy in the world setting as free of ethnic, racial or colour discrimination. By introducing a concept of patriality the Government have upset people here and abroad and have made matters worse.

In their election manifesto the Government said that they would stop further large-scale immigration. That policy was included in the Queen's Speech and the Government were stuck with it, although large-scale immigration had already been substantially stopped before the 1971 Act. Now the Government have to try to produce a set of rules to fit the 1971 Act which was entirely needless.

That is borne out by the activities of the Home Secretary on the question of patriality. By the efforts of that unholy alliance of the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel), the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) and the Opposition, patriality was cut out of the 1971 Immigration Act. That took us one step forward—not a magnificent stride—towards the concept of citizenship which is what the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West wants and what every other hon. Member seems to want. It cannot be dodged for much longer.

I wish to refer to the plight of the Ugandan Asian British passport holders who are separated from the breadwinner of the family—I think there are 247, but I am not sure about the number. The breadwinners are in three countries in Europe. The position was acceptable in the early stages when the Home Secretary was dealing with a critical situation. Wives and children who were British passport holders were admitted whereas heads of families who were not British passport holders were not. Many people cannot understand how this has come about. We were obliged to give shelter to British passport holders but not to those who did not hold British passports. That might have been a valid situation to sustain for a brief while, but it is the time factor which is at work here, and in the conscience of this country with all its traditions of humanity that cannot be sustained for very much longer.

I, along with the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles, share a sense of disappointment that the Home Secretary has not seen fit to use the occasion of this debate to make an announcement on this score. I promise the Home Secretary, and the Under-Secretary of State who is the immigration Minister—to whom I write, I think, daily—that he will have to deal with Members of Parliament who are continuously affected and coming under pressure not only from the people originating from Uganda, not only from immigrants who have been here a long time, but also from other people concerned with community relationships, people of all colours, creeds and political beliefs, who are equally concerned about it. So the Government must be in a crunch situation where they must make some move. Failing their ability to get the families suitably settled in other countries, it seems that those families will have to become settled here.

With my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) I applauded the Government for the immediate plans they made in setting up the Uganda Resettlement Board, but there is one thing I wish to take the opportunity of this debate to raise.

It appears that once the people are out of the camps, and there is no compulsion on them to remain in the camps, they scatter and many of them live in very unsatisfactory housing conditions, as a number of them currently do in my constituency. There seems, after that occurs, no responsibility on the Uganda Resettlement Board thereafter to seek to do something about those families' housing situation.

This is of very great importance if we are to relieve the indigenous people of anxieties which inevitably arise out of the arrival of the newcomers amongst them, because it is pressure on housing which is the effect most acutely felt of all. In areas such as my constituency, which is grossly overcrowded, what we look forward to is a betterment of the situation and not worsening of it.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

It may help the hon. Member if I say that I am looking forward to going to his constituency to see this problem for myself next Wednesday.

Photo of Mr Sydney Bidwell Mr Sydney Bidwell , Southall

I thank the hon. Gentleman very much, but he cannot see it properly unless he sees it with me. I think suitable arrangements may be made.

It seems to me that much of the 1971 Act was needless because the Government could have made changes by regulations. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition set up the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration. It seems to me that that Government and this Government bought a pretty expensive dog, and it seems to me that this Government have bought a dog but want to do the barking themselves. What they should have done was charge the all-party Select Committee, with its collective experiences, its trippings abroad, and seeing the immigration and race relations problems as they affect us here, with the task of going effectively into questions of all immigration, and not only Commonwealth immigration.

My major quarrel with the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West is over his apparent concern about colour. He has, of course, said that he would be equally concerned if there were a big increase of people who were yellow or non-black or non-brown, but he constantly refers to it. I ask him to understand what effect that has on people who are friendly with coloured people, on people who are coloured themselves, and on people who have children. He has talked about the wide-grinning piccaninny. I wonder what effect he thinks that has on, for example, a mixed colour family with a thick-lipped child—the wide-grinning piccaninny about whom he spoke. That is the right hon. Gentleman's disastrous attitude to this problem. He has not got a constructive thought in his head about it. I do not think that many working people, if they are serious and intelligent, are any longer led astray by the right hon. Gentleman. We must get beyond thinking of people as the lumpen proletariat of Marxism.

The Government have made a mess of things. This is not the end of the road. As has been said, we have complicated the matter. We have this great diversity of immigration control affecting different countries. Time does not allow me to go into the control system affecting Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They have different methods. We certainly could not build a reciprocal system with Canada on the basis of patriality.

Australia and New Zealand are openly talking about requiring people emigrating from Britain to those countries taking New Zealand and Australian citizenship. They are proceeding towards the problem which we must necessarily face. We have the historic oddity of having been connected with the Commonwealth. In the Nationality Act 1948, almost starry-eyed, we designated practically the whole Commonwealth as British citizens. We cannot make such people British citizens and then deny them the opportunity of entering this country.

I have always adopted the view that we should exercise a control policy which is seen to be fair. The best way would be to base it on work opportunity here. I do not believe in the kith and kin idea. It can go as far as one generation. However, I do not see why a rogue from Australia should have absolute free entry and unfettered right of settlement here while we are obliged under the rules to turn down worthy people from other parts of the world who are likely to make a great contribution to our economy and society.

The Government have missed out. They stated as a preamble to the 1971 Act that they wanted a situation free of discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin and colour. The Labour Government, in the 1965 and 1968 Race Relations Acts, wished to have a similar situation internally. That cannot be done if it is not seen to be operating on an international scale.

The present rules, which have to be attached to the 1971 Act, do not do that. They cause great anxiety among coloured people here. We are putting new Commonwealth worker entrants non-patrial on the same basis as aliens, despite what the Home Secretary said. It is no wonder that someone at the India High Commission Office, when the 1971 Act was passed, said "Does your Government want coolie labour?" Whether that is correct or not, that is how it is seen by people whose pigment of the skin is different from ours.

The Government have missed out again. They have gone over towards trying to placate the pressures within their own party, which happily the Labour Party does not have in great substance.

Photo of Mr Sydney Bidwell Mr Sydney Bidwell , Southall

People are not worried about the colour of the skin. They are worried about social pressures, unemployment, overcrowding and housing particularly in our great conurbations and cities. That has nothing to do with immigrant people who make a contribution to our economy far greater than the indigenous people in terms of the younger generation, and so forth. That is a fact of life. It has been discovered to be so, and it should be said to be so again and again.

As I said to the Home Secretary about the tragic incident at the Indian High Commission yesterday, our Select Committee found that people of Asian origin in this country were more law-abiding than the rest of us. I do not know whether the Home Secretary gets other impressions. One imagines that only one type of correspondence comes into his office and that it does not necessarily portray the genuine and humane feelings of the British people.

In the end, we shall get it right. We have not got it right in these rules because we did not get it right in the Act in the first place.

10.25 p.m.

Photo of Miss Joan Vickers Miss Joan Vickers , Plymouth, Devonport

I hope that the hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Bidwell) will forgive me if I do not take up any of his points. Instead I wish to raise one specific matter related to au pairs and domestic workers.

For a number of years I have been trying to establish some real organisation of these girls. I have been trying to get the Government to sign the European Convention on au pairs which would give them full protection. Now the door will be opened even wider.

Au pairs used to be people who came to this country to learn English. The original idea was for an exchange both ways between two countries, a country not speaking English and an English-speaking country—in other words Great Britain.

The term au pair is a misnomer. To a certain extent, it is now a paid occupation.

These rules say that an au pair must live as a member of a resident English-speaking family. However, an English-speaking family may not be a British family. A great many Indians are English-speaking, for example. What is more, is it the intention to allow girls to come here to work, because I am certain that they will be used more as domestic servants? Then what is the point of the rules covering Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders who already speak English? Surely they should come under another category.

The rules also say that where an immigration officer is satisfied that an au pair arrangement has been made a girl will normally be admitted for up to 12 months. However, it is quite impossible for an immigration officer to be satisfied about that. Girls come in without contracts. Most of them carry letters saying "To whom it may concern: My daughter would like a job as an au pair and would like to go into a family." No inspection is made. They very seldom report to the police. Day in and day out The Times and the Evening Standard carry advertisements for au pair girls. That is not the original intention of the arrangement. The idea was for exchanges between families to be arranged.

I hope that consideration will be given to this problem. It is reaching great proportions. At one time there were about 40,000 foreign girls in this country, though there are considerably fewer at present. But what is worrying is the fact that many girls come great distances from countries like Japan, the Philippines and from behind the Iron Curtain. They are not used to this type of life. I have mentioned this before in the House and I make no apology for doing so again. During the postal strike, a number of Japanese girls were paying £3 a week to work. The postal strike prevented money reaching them from their homes and they were unable to work as a result.

I want to see difficulties of this kind avoided. Unless I receive a really satisfactory answer, I am afraid that I shall have to abstain if the House divides on this matter. I have raised it on the Adjournment and we have discussed it in the Council of Europe. We must have some kind of contract.

Now that the Private Member's Bill, debated last Friday, will ensure that employment agencies will be licensed, that should help. At the moment, anyone can set up an au pair employment agency. I know of several run by a not very desirable type of person. In desperation, I got this agreement with the Norwegian Government on the lines of the European Convention on au pairs. It has been very successful. At that time I was asked by the then Government not to approach any other embassy to get a similar agreement. But, having tried this system with the Norwegians, I suggest that it works very well. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friend, whom I have been to see about this—I have seen three Home Secretaries and four Under-Secretaries, and have also led five deputations to different Ministers—will concede that it is time that some action was taken.

On the question of the textile firms, I would like to thank my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Employment, who now says that these workers will be debarred from being recruited from this country in future. He says in his letter to me "We shall stick to our line." I hope that on this occasion we shall stick to our line, because there are so many instances of this abuse.

However, when I read further in the letter I became worried again. Dealing with the domestic workers and the skilled workers allowed under the rules, which, my hon. Friend said, meant "not a craftsman or an operative", he went on to say that foreign workers from distant countries take unskilled work in hotels and the catering industry, and added: These workers are admitted only for the season—March 1st to October 31st. We think that it is unlikely that they earn enough to pay their fare home at the end of the season. That is unrealistic. One knows what wages these people can earn. I should have thought that this should be stopped. I am told that the domestic workers whom I am concerned about are scattered throughout the country.

These are the two points that I am concerned about. This is not the first, second or third time that I have mentioned them, and I hope that this time we shall get some action. I regret to say that there is a considerable racket going on—although this is not so in every case—in the employment of these girls, particularly those coming from long distances. Tonight, unless I get a satisfactory answer, I shall be forced to abstain.

10.33 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington

The Home Secretary has managed to achieve what would have appeared impossible. He has managed to make the present immigration rules even more confusing than they were before. We now have no fewer than eight categories of people all with various procedures relating to their entry to this country. The first are patrial passport holders. The second are non-patrial passport holders. The third are patrial Commonwealth citizens. The fourth are the new privileged élite, non-patrial Commonwealth citizens with a United Kingdom grandparent. It follows from that that we have a new set of under-privileged and deprived people, those unfortunate, non-patrial Commonwealth citizens without a United Kingdom grandparent. Then there are the citizens of the Irish Republic, other EEC nationals and other non-Commonwealth nationals.

This is pretty impressive: no wonder our immigration laws are in a hopeless and disgraceful mess. The right hon. Gentleman has done it by an administrative decision. He knows full well why he has done it, and what the effect of it is. He knows that what he has done is to allow the possibility of entry to 8 million people, most of whom he well knows will be white, and most of whom he intends should be white.

What the right hon. Gentleman has also done is to ensure that those people have preference over United Kingdom passport holders towards whom Britain has a legal and moral obligation but to whom, in his announcement, he wagged his finger and told them in no uncertain terms that they would not be welcome.

The Home Secretary showed considerable courage and compassion when he said, at the Conservative Party conference and elsewhere, that this country had a legal and moral obligation towards those who had United Kingdom passports. If that was right then, the Home Secretary well knows that it is right now. It is no good saying "You have the right but you cannot come in." If he is saying that they cannot come in, will he alter the law to make it impossible for them to come in? Words mean what they say, and the Home Secretary should use words very carefully.

If the Home Secretary or the Government were so concerned about what I would loosely call kith and kin, about allowing people who have had what the hon. Gentleman calls a family connection with this country to come in, when the clause dealing with grandfathers was defeated in Committee—like the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel), I was one of those who voted against it—why did not the Home Secretary introduce a clause on Report so that hon. Members could debate it and vote? He did not do that, so at that stage, apparently, he or the Government did not feel sufficiently strongly about it.

The right hon. Gentleman has not had the courage to do it. The Government have sneaked it in in the rule and hoped to get away with it. They sneaked it in because they knew that they were under pressure from their backbenchers. They should have the guts to say so.

There were parts of the previous rules which I found objectionable, and those parts are still in these rules. If the Home Secretary can juggle around and alter the Committee's decision about the patriality rule, why does he not juggle, with the same sleight of hand, and re- move the objectionable rule about family deportation. It is no good him saying that it was in the original Act, because the grandfather clause was taken out of the original Act. He can now take out the family deportation clause, too.

The right hon. Gentleman may think that I am being very harsh with him, but I know his difficulty. None the less, when so few people are likely to be affected, perhaps no more than three or four a year, why is it necessary to retain a rule that means that two, three or possibly four women who have themselves done no harm are to be slung out of the country because the breadwinner has committed a crime? It is not necessary. It certainly will not clutter up the country anything like as badly as the 8 million people the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to allow in. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, as a reasonable man, will think this out again.

I hope that at some stage, coming out of these rules, we shall have a sensible law about citizenship. We cannot go on and on adding to the categories, adding to the list of confusion and making life that little more intolerable, difficult, confusing and complicated for people who want to enter this country. I hope that when we next debate this very important subject, some Government—preferably comprised of my right hon. and hon. Friends—will introduce a sensible and sane law on it.

10.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

In the debate on 22nd November last year, which is the reason why tonight we are debating a new version of the immigration rules, the chief consideration which operated on the minds of many hon. Members, certainly on this side of the House, was the sense of intolerable anomaly between the rights which would be enjoyed by citizens of the old Commonwealth countries and those which accrue to citizens of the countries of Western Europe under the European Economic Community.

I gladly recognise that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made great attempts to bridge that gap and to reduce that anomaly; and he has told the House tonight that he hopes to make further progress in doing so. It must be recognised that we have placed ourselves in the hands of the laws and rule of the EEC. That pole at any rate cannot be moved. So there is no stage at which my right hon. Friend would be able fully to meet what I believe was the desire and instinct of the majority of Members of this House. Nevertheless, so much effort has been made to meet those wishes that it would be wrong for the motion to reject these rules to find support tonight. There are, however, certain causes for anxiety that I wish to put on record.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) drew attention to the fact that these rules, not for the first time, virtually extend the definition of a dependant from a person aged 16 and under to a person aged 18 and under, and that whereas the statutory definition ceases at 16 years, this has been raised to 18 by administrative process under the rules. I believe this was wrong when it was originally done in 1962 and that it is wrong still. The fact that it is of 10 years' duration is no reason for maintaining it. The would-be immigrant of 17 or 18 is nearly always a fully adult working person, in no way different from those who require vouchers in order to be admitted to this country. He is also a person outside the scope and period of compulsory education. These, then, are people who, if they are to be admitted at all, should be admitted on the same grounds as full adults, and by means of voucher. I hope that this point will be looked at again.

However, the major point is that which has repeatedly recurred in this debate: the re-introduction of the qualifying grandmother, if I may so describe her. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary can say with justice that the context is not precisely the same as that in which the qualifying grandparent first appeared in the 1971 Immigration Bill. Nevertheless, what is happening in substance is that these rules are being used to overturn a decision taken by Parliament; for the proposition placed before this House in the 1971 Bill was that a distinction should be drawn between two classes of Commonwealth citizen, otherwise identical, according to whether they had or did not have at least one grandparent born in the United Kingdom. The decision of the Committee was against this, and that decision was accepted by the Government in not seeking to amend on Report or at any later stage of the proceedings.

It seems to me constitutionally objectionable that rules should be used in that way to reverse a decision of principle by this House. I realise that my right hon. Friend can say—indeed, he has implied—that it is very convenient that there should be the flexibility which the rules give. He has even held out the prospect that at some future time this concession might be withdrawn, and pointed out that it would be easier to do so if it is only contained in rules. That is an argument which would be valid if, in the Act, that matter had been left open. In fact, it was a point which was decided in the course of the legislation, and I do not think that the Administration is entitled now to go back and by the use of a rule reverse that decision.

I fear that we shall find that the practical results of the reversal are unsatisfactory. We shall find that the distinction in the Old Commonwealth countries between those who have a grandparent born here and those who have not is totally unreal and unsustainable and is felt to be so by the people of those countries. After all, all of us acquainted with Australia or New Zealand know that there is no substantial difference in outlook and sentiment between families originating in this country who have lived in Australia for two, three or four generations and those where there happens to be one grandparent born in this country. To do as we are doing will not be seen, when time goes on, as something designed to meet the claims of sentiment, but rather as an affront.

I noticed that there was marked agreement, explicit agreement, between the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) and the Home Secretary, in that they both wished to recognise the special status, the special relationship, of the three Old Commonwealth countries. If we want to do that, there is only one way to do it. That is, to take the citizens of the Old Commonwealth countries as being the people whom those countries regard as their citizens and not try to pick and choose between them.

I fear that even in the context of the Old Commonwealth we shall not find this distinction sustainable. But perhaps my right hon. Friends do not realise that this question of the qualifying grandparent is not a matter restricted to the Old Commonwealth countries. This rule will have a very important bearing for citizens of the New Commonwealth countries. For example, these new patrials are to have special concessions for husbands joining wives and for male fiances joining those whom they are to marry. I believe this will put great additional pressure on what are already sensitive points in the control of immigration from the New Commonwealth countries. It will create new anomalies between the treatment of Old Commonwealth citizens and New Commonwealth citizens, which will be resolved, or will tend to be resolved, by an increase in the total numbers admitted.

What is much more important—and I wonder if it is realised—is the large and increasing reservoir in the New Commonwealth of persons born in the United Kingdom. Every year there return to the countries of the New Commonwealth families with children——

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

—families who may have stayed only briefly in this country but with children who were born in the United Kingdom. The result is that there will be built up under these rules a new privileged category, eventually very large in numbers, which will be able to claim virtually automatic rights of admission to this country. That seems to me to illustrate one of the unintended, almost unsuspected, difficulties into which we get by tinkering upon tinkering upon tinkering with these definitions.

I conclude therefore by saying that I hope we can regard these rules and the legislation which lies behind them as something temporary and transitional. One of the more encouraging features of recent months has been the fact that whenever there has been mention from the Front Bench of the desirability of a new law of citizenship, each time it has been mentioned with a slightly increased sense of urgency, a slightly increased sense of reality.

I believe that more and more hon. Members are coming to realise that we shall not be clear of these tormenting difficulties until we at last address ourselves to that task and realise that it is not a task which can be left for years, to Parliaments of the future. It is a task to which we have to address ourselves now with all the energy at my right hon. Friend's command.

10.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

It is not often that I agree with the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), but during his observations in Committee on the "grandfather clause" and during his speech today he pointed out the absurdity of these provisions. He spoke of an affront to the old Commonwealth. But I tend to agree with the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) that the affront to the new Commonwealth will be felt much more on this issue.

The trouble with these rules is that they are based on an irrelevant Act. It was an Act founded on a false premise in 1971 that this country was then faced with mass immigration. That was simply not true. It was an Act passed with enormous haste. We had to have it by Whitsun 1971. Now, nearly two years later, it has not been fully implemented. An irrelevant Act inevitably produces ill-conceived rules, and who can doubt that these rules are ill-conceived? However much the Home Secretary may apply his sympathetic style to the support of the rules, he remains totally unconvincing because there are not principles enshrined in these rules—just prejudices.

The situation is bewilderingly complex, as has been pointed out by a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House. This complexity is bound to create injustice in respect of the appeals machinery and the rest.

The most offensive aspect of these rules is that they are racially biased. This is particularly discreditable because of the pretence that the policy is free from racial bias, for the Home Secretary says that this is written into the rules. That, in my submission, is absolutely irrelevant.

There is a revival here, by Statutory Instrument, of the "grandfather clause" to which a number of hon. Members have referred, which is, I think, a constitutional irregularity. It also leads to patent absurdities—the absurd distinction, to which the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West has addressed himself, between individuals within the old white Commonwealth as to their entitlement to come here; the patent absurdity of the proposition that the rules have been changed to enable those who fought for their country to come here. Did not Indians and Pakistanis equally fight for this country in its time of trial? Are they not much more likely to be excluded as a result of these rules?

Then there is the absurdity of the family tie—that an old Commonwealth citizen with one English grandparent is allowed in while an Asian whose wife and children live here is excluded. Who has the closer family tie in those circumstances?

The rules are unquestionably biased against women. A woman is accorded a somewhat demeaning status when we take into account the debates that we had in this House recently. There is a complete disparity drawn between the way in which a man and a woman are treated under the Act and under the rules. This has led to the absurd situation that we now have concerning the Ugandan Asians, where, because a woman patrial is not accorded a right of abode or a right to work in her country the husband cannot join her here at the present time. This should be a right and not a privilege accorded at the discretion of the Home Secretary.

These rules are patently unfair because they will create enormous power in the hands of unscrupulous employers. The Commonwealth citizen with a work permit in this country for a probationary period of a year must stay with his employer. Tacitly he must satisfy that employer. Complaints, as far as he is concerned, are out. He cannot complain about his wages and conditions of work. If he does, he is captive in the hands of that employer, who must provide a reference to the authorities. He may be turned out of the country at the end of the probationary period.

The rules are far too rigid. That is exemplified by the case of Dumont, reported in the Immigration Appeal Report, 1972, in which an English woman was married to a Canadian. The adjudicator said: The evidence, presented with great honesty, paints a picture of a serious, introvert family grouping, self-contained, devoted, unadaptable, far more likely to wilt than to respond vigorously to the challenge presented by family separation and life in a strange country. In my opinion serious hardship and harm would be likely to result to the family. Yet the tribunal held that this did not constitute a sufficient degree of hardship to prevent expulsion. Rigidity of that kind brings the rules into contempt and does not accord with the principles of natural justice.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

The hon. Member is quoting a case in 1972, when the rules in force were those of his Government.

Photo of Mr Clinton Davis Mr Clinton Davis , Hackney Central

I have never supported those rules, because I believe they are too rigid. I have felt for a long time that those rules needed revision, and the mere fact that they were made by the previous Labour Government does not matter. No doubt the Home Secretary approved of them. Does he approve of them today? Perhaps we will hear from his hon. Friend.

The appeals procedure is completely inadequate. There are many miscarriages of natural justice, and appeals authorities take a very narrow view of their powers to overrule decisions of the Home Secretary. We shall have an increasing number of miscarriages of justice.

There is no right of appeal in all sorts of cases: for example, the refusal of the Department of Employment to issue work permits or employment vouchers. All this is wrong. These are infringements of the rules of basic justice.

A further infringement is that people are not always permitted to attend their appeals or to be represented. How can justice be done in these circumstances? The Act, coupled with these rules, creates an unpleasant and disgraceful episode in the history of this country and if the House passes them today it should be ashamed of itself.

10.59 p.m.

Photo of Mrs Shirley Williams Mrs Shirley Williams , Hitchin

We heard earlier in this interesting debate an Orwellian description of the present rules from the Home Secretary. He said that the first object was to restrict entry into this country in a severe way. Yet, if the rules are passed, 213 million more people will be able to come in than could before.

The Home Secretary said that we were embarked on rules which would give a special priority to British citizens, but in a speech on 25th January he indicated that we would put British citizens on a lower level of priority than those who are patrial, those with grandparents born here, and those who have not been citizens for several generations. He said that he would pay great respect to close family ties, but this appears not to apply if they are ties between Ugandan Asians rather than between Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders.

When the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) said that we were seeing a move further away from what was wanted—clear citizenship rules—he reflected a remark in the Sunday Times on 28th January which said: The fear remains that these further changes will merely add another chapter in the continuing chaos. I tell the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West that those of us who agree with him that what we need are clear citizenship rules would accept his protestations rather more easily if, when he talks of citizenship rules, he were willing to include those of our citizens who are brown and black and not so clearly to attempt to exclude them.

The first major issue in the debate is the "grandfather clause"—the clause that was defeated in Committee in this House during the consideration of the 1971 Act and defeated again in the House of Lords, but which has been brought back by the Home Secretary under the guise of a change in the rules. It does not satisfy New Zealand; it is not making Australia happy; it has been rejected by Canada on the ground that it is divisive between her citizens.

One of the great difficulties about the "grandfather" rule is that it does not in the least please those very countries which hon. Members opposite have been seeking to please. The reason is obvious. Australia's policy, both under her present Government and their predecessors, is to weld together the old Australians and the new Australians—the Australians of British descent and the Australians of descent mainly from Western Europe, but we are making a distinction by this rule.

The hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Brian Harrison) has pointed out—and he has reason to know—that one of the major policies of New Zealand is to integrate the Maori people with the large English majority. The rule makes that more difficult.

One of the main tasks of Canada—and this has been particularly remarked upon by the Canadian Government—is to attempt to integrate citizens of French descent with those of British descent. This new rule militates against that policy as well. Indeed, hon. Members opposite should think very carefully about whether, in the change that has been made by the right hon. Gentleman, they are pleasing those they sincerely and honourably wish to please.

The second major change is not, in fact, a change in the rules—alas, they have stayed the same—but a change in what has increasingly been the philosophy in the House. It relates, as has been pointed out, to the position of women. It is fair for the right hon. Gentleman to say that some of these restrictions were imposed under the 1968 Act. They were. But a great deal of water has gone under the bridges in the last five years.

In the last five years, this House has passed the Equal Pay Act and we have had the Second Reading of the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Bill and the Second Reading of the Guardianship of Minors Bill. All these measures are intended to remove disabilities of women. Our immigration laws are now almost the only place in which we declare, in effect, that women are still a kind of chattel—that where they live, where they move, whether they are deported, depends not upon themselves or their choice or their behaviour but upon the simple fact of the domicile and the nationality of the men they happen to be married to. One does not need to read these rules in detail to see how incredibly obsolete their philosophy is about the equal treatment of the sexes—a philosophy looking more absurd month by month and year by year as the House clearly moves in a very different direction.

Some of my hon. Friends and some hon. Members opposite have pointed to one of the most extreme tragedies involved in this distinction—the continued separation of the 300 Ugandan Asian families. Hon. Members on this side recognise the right hon. Gentleman's difficulties. It is fair to say that we have not pushed him hard in the past. But he has now seen the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and has established what is the position in countries abroad, and we must ask him in how many cases among the 300 he has exercised the discretion he has given himself under the immigration rules to allow families to reunite in circumstances of hardship. How can there be much more severe circumstances of hardship than the death of a child in a family? Yet even in those circumstances we have not seen that family reunited.

I turn next to two perhaps more detailed matters, both of which seem to me to be important. One was dealt with by the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dame Joan Vickers). It concerns the possibility of the abuse of work vouchers. I do not need to tell the House that these have been abused, and badly abused in the past already. The story of what happened to the Philippino girls who went to Rochdale is not one of which the country can be proud, and the hon. Lady deserves some credit for having prevented, in her constituency, a repetition of what happened in Rochdale. Yet all the time, as a recent answer to a Parliamentary Question revealed, the number of work contracts going to these girls increases. They have doubled in the last year.

The Home Secretary must insist that until such time as the Employment Agencies Bill is passed to bring some regulation into this sphere we do not repeat here the worst features of the system of work contracts that exists in some countries. There is no doubt that many people on work vouchers are being exploited, misled and abused as a result of commercial transactions of a highly dubious kind. And it is wrong that in the case of the Philippino girls they have to repay—on a bond from a very low wage and on constant prices—the airline fare in such a way as to become virtually indentured labourers.

I ask, therefore, for the right hon. Gentleman's assurance that the Department of Employment will insist on proper standards of wages and conditions, and on no bonding, for people being brought here under a work voucher system, until such time as the abuses by some employment agencies can be cleared up, because it is doing our good name no good at all.

There is also an anomaly in the visiting rules. The Home Secretary said that six months' visits would normally be allowed, and that where persons could indicate that they were bona fide visitors capable of paying for themselves there would normally—I think I am right in saying—be an extension. Many of us, alas, on this side—and no doubt some hon. Ladies and Gentlemen on the Government benches who have Indian and West Indian constituents, find that the rules of visiting seem curiously biased; that it is much easier for some people to visit this country than it is for others; that it is much easier for dependent relatives of some people in this country to come in than it is for the dependent relatives of others. I must again, therefore, ask the Under-Secretary whether the statement that the rules will be carried out without discrimination as to race, creed or religion is meaningful. Is there any form of appeal based on that statement, and, if so, to whom does it lie, and who will settle it? I am not satisfied that the rules are being administered without any form of discrimination.

I come now to what in many ways has been the crucial centre of the debate. The Home Secretary has said—and it was very fair to say—that Opposition Members should not be mealymouthed about it. I refer to the rather strange qualification that the right hon. Gentleman made on 25th January in respect of the position of United Kingdom passport holders in East Africa. I share with my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) and various other hon. Members who have spoken in the debate a great respect for the Home Secretary's honour, and for the courage he showed over the Ugandan Asian issue. I regret having to press him on this matter, but I must, because the right hon. Gentleman himself volunteered a very disturbing statement—although I am glad to say that he has today once again reaffirmed this country's clear legal and moral obligations to its citizens in East Africa and elsewhere. I shall not press the right hon. Gentleman to give precise answers tonight, but I shall take very seriously his restatement of our obligations—obligations that he could not have stated in clearer terms than he did to the Conservative Party Conference last October.

Because the Home Secretary is an honourable man, he will stand by that obligation, but I very much doubt his judgment when he made the statement he did on 25th January. Kenya has been relatively moderate in her imposition of an Africanisation policy. Her law was passed in 1967. Since then she has phased out the Asian British passport holders but she has not acted with the viciousness, violence and extremism that was shown by President Amin in Uganda. Yet I doubt whether the Home Secretary's statement helped in the very thing he wanted to achieve. The Nairobi Sunday Post commented that it was a wholly unwarranted interference in Kenya's sovereign discretion". Those of my right hon. and hon. Friends who were in Kenya then are bound to say that the reaction there was not favourable, that it looked as though matters would be made not better but worse by the right hon. Gentleman's statement.

Will the right hon. Gentleman now seek to repair the damage, in part—as he has done today—by reasserting our obligations before trying to discover the kind of support and assistance he would get from other countries, if this country shoulders its obligations as it must and will? At the time when the Ugandan Asians entered this country the Home Secretary said: I want to emphasise that this international co-operation was possible only because the world saw Her Majesty's Government immediately and unequivocally accepting their responsibilities in this matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th October 1973; Vol. 843, c. 262.] He was right when he said that. I believe that there will be the same international response if this country is seen to be accepting its moral and legal obligations in this matter.

I am as aware as any other hon. Member of the scale of the pressures that exist with regard to the settlement of immigrants. Many of my hon. Friends who have spoken, including my hon. Friends the Members for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) and Southall (Mr. Bidwell), are not unaware of the scale of the problems. But there are two things to say about them.

One was said very wisely by the right lion. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), whose remarks I commend to the House. It is that the way in which the House accepts its responsibilities will have a major effect on the way in which certain countries that are willing to assist us decide whether they can do so. Like the right hon. Gentleman, I have just returned from India. It is clear that India understands our difficulties and is willing to help. But it is also clear that India will be greatly disillusioned if it appears that this country is not willing to accept its legal and moral obligations. She will accept a moral obligation to help, but she cannot relieve us of what are first and foremost obligations that we have, and that three successive Home Secretaries have accepted.

Secondly, there comes a point at which one cannot modify or compromise any further. I believe that we have reached that point. We must make a clear distinction between our responsibilities to those who are our citizens, whatever the colour of their skin—however much we call upon other countries to assist us, as I have no doubt they will—and our responsibilities, which are less, to those who are not our citizens. I repeat that many right hon. and hon. Members have found that it is not by constantly giving way that one necessarily best resists the pressures of racialism, that there comes a time when we must dig in, and then sometimes it is the racialists who begin to give way.

11.14 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

This has been a useful and constructive debate. I am only sorry that it will apparently end in a Division in a few minutes.

I shall cover as thoroughly as I can in the time available the many points that have been raised, some general and some detailed, and do my best, afterwards, to write to those hon. Members whose points I cannot cover.

The debate was opened by the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore), but I need say no more about that than that the right hon. Gentleman built on his usual foundation of humbug a structure of exaggeration and distortion, and waved again the usual bogy we have heard from him of a flood of entrants from the EEC. In this the right hon. Gentleman was wholly unrealistic, and he was well dealt with and shown up by my right hon. Friend.

During the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) I could not help feeling that if she were standing here carrying the responsibility of my right hon. Friend she would not be operating rules and procedures in any marked degree different from those we are commending to the House tonight.

We have mainly been discussing rules, but I stress that we attach just as much importance to the procedures by which the rules are operated, to their smooth working, and to their understanding. We are, as my right hon. Friend said on an earlier occasion, taking fresh steps to ensure that our procedures are well publicised overseas, particularly in countries where there may have been doubts and misunderstandings in the recent past.

I remind the House of the magnitude of the job that must be done by the immigration service. We make mistakes—I sometimes, my staff occasionally, immigration officers occasionally—but we have to deal with a total of more than 35 million individuals moving each year either in or out through our ports or airports. This movement is governed and controlled by no more than about 1,000 immigration officers. I pay tribute to the work they do, often in conditions of great difficulty.

Our control must be strict, sometimes even tough, but we are determined also that it shall be courteous and welcoming to all those who have the right of entry and who arrive in our midst, from wherever they come.

I want to reassure immigrants who are already settled in this country that they have no reason for apprehension as a result of the Act or of these rules, and their rights in this country are unaffected.

I come next to the question of United Kingdom passport holders. I have nothing in general to add to the very clear re-statement of our position which my right hon. Friend made earlier this evening. I will try to clear up one or two details I was asked, particularly by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) about Tanzania. Last week the total number of United Kingdom passport holders in Tanzania in prison for any offence was seven. Vouchers are still being issued under the regular system for those people who come from Tanzania and we are watching developments very closely.

The hon. Gentleman also asked how long it would take to work through the United Kingdom passport holders in various East African countries. I cannot give a definite figure of years. It will obviously depend on the demand and the level of vouchers available at any one time. It may take very slightly longer than the time the hon. Gentleman had in mind.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) rightly reminded us of the crucial position of the Government of India. I acknowledge what he said. We are all grateful for the great help we have had from the Government of India over the last few difficult months. We are keeping their position very closely in mind.

Several hon. Members—perhaps more on this problem than on any other—have reminded us of the desperate human situation of the split Ugandan refugee families. The progress of resettlement in this country has now reached a point where there are fewer than 5,000 refugees left in the centres. That is a reflection of the good work and progress that has been done by the Uganda Resettlement Board and by local authorities, particularly those which have had to bear the brunt of the resettlement. The position on these few hundred split families is that we have been in touch for some time with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and his staff to see what more can be done to speed up the resettlement and the reunion of these families. All I can add tonight is that tomorrow morning my right hon. Friend is to have a meeting with the High Commissioner to review the latest position.

To come to the rules, the grandparent arrangement has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Hitchin, my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Brian Harrison) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). We felt that it was right to offer this new facility of entry to acknowledge the close and recent family ties with a large number of people in Commonwealth countries. I know there has been criticism of moving to a different point the so-called line of discrimination among citizens of those countries. But the important thing is to offer this facility. I am certain that it will not be used on a large scale. There is no particular pressure from these countries, but we felt it was right to do this. If we find that the numbers coming in through this change in the rules are higher than we expect, as my right hon. Friend said when announcing them we shall not hesitate to change the rules and to explain what we are doing. We have said this from the start, and there is no mystery about it.

The position of dependants has been mentioned by my right hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton, South-West and Ashford. They are doubtful about the age limits under the present rules. They believe that the under-18 facility should be restricted to under-16. This system has been working since the control was established in 1962—when my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West was a member of the Cabinet responsible—and in maintaining the same arrangement under these rules we shall apply the rules very strictly. The fringe dependants—the possibly bogus dependants—are one of the biggest headaches we have to cope with in immigration control, so we shall watch them particularly carefully.

My hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dame Joan Vickers) mentioned au pair girls. We still believe the balance of advantage and disadvantage here is a narrow one. My right hon. Friend is looking at this whole matter with a fresh mind since he has taken over responsibility, and he and I will be pleased in the near future to discuss further my hon. Friend's proposal about the European agreement if she wishes to do so.

I will, of course, give the hon. Member for Hitchin the assurance for which she asks on work permits. In the particular cases and trades the hon. Lady is worried about the Department of Employment will watch closely how the work permit system is operating for women. We share her anxiety on this, and we shall be look- ing carefully at it under the new arrangements.

The position of women under the rules has been referred to. We are not contemplating returning to the pre-1969 position, because there would be serious risk of the control being breached, just as it was before 1969, by men from Commonwealth countries marrying their way through the controls. The hon. Member for Hitchin acknowledged on 2nd February in the debate on the anti-Discrimination Bill that this was a common feature of immigration control systems virtually thoughout the world. It is not simply a British problem.

My hon. Friend the Member for Maldon asked what will be the position in future. In the case to which he referred there will be no difference from the previous rules unless the husband who wishes to come in has a grandparent who was born here; in that event he will be admitted under the new facility because his grandparent was born in this country. Aside from that, we will continue to look with compassion at the circumstances of these cases.

A number of questions were asked about working holidaymakers and visitors. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West asked whether the time that a working holidaymaker was here counted towards registration as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. It does count, but, as my right hon. Friend made clear when he answered his intervention, in future we have discretion to register or not. So we are entitled not to grant applications for registration if someone has merely been here for five years as a working holidaymaker and we feel there is not a fair case for him to be granted registration.

The hon. Member for Hitchin asked about visitors and discrimination. I assure her that there is no discrimination in judging applications for visitors. It is again a difficult part of the total control where evasion would be rife if we were not vigilant. There is a right of appeal against refusal of entry as a visitor. In exercising that right of appeal the individual could bring out anything that he or she wanted. If he or she felt that there had been discrimination that could be brought out as well.

I repeat, the paramount aim of our policy is that there should be no further large-scale permanent immigration. Overwhelmingly this is the wish of the country and it is now widely accepted in this House. The 1971 Act gives us the most effective and far-reaching control over immigration that any Government have ever had. We are determined to use this control to keep down to a tolerable level the numbers of new arrivals. The rules have to be strictly drawn so that the control will be effective—I stress this—at the points where the pressure is significant and to enable us to maintain a strong defence against those who seek to evade our control. The rules can and will be made still tighter if this proves necessary in the light of experience.

At the same time we realise the importance of our day-to-day procedures in administering control. We are dealing not with numbers, but with people. We shall look for ways of improving the procedures. We shall do our best to combine strictness with courtesy. We will continue, I hope, to apply these rules with compassion and understanding of people's individual circumstances.

I think that right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House are

agreed that there must be strict control and that it must be exercised without regard to race, colour or religion. Both sides of the House are committed to the maintenance of harmonious community relations in Britain, which is one of the purposes that immigration control is designed to serve. Nevertheless, the Opposition seem determined to divide the House. I believe that the argument they have advanced is inconsistent and unconvincing. The changes which they appear to advocate would, in our judgment, mean a loosening of control and would tend to increase the level of immigration.

In the revised rules we believe that we have struck the right balance between firmness and fairness, between strictness and humanity. I commend them on this basis and ask the House to reject the Opposition's motion.

Question put,That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control on Entry (H.C., 1972–73, No. 79), a copy of which was laid before this House on 25th January, be disapproved.

The House divided: Ayes 240, Noes 283.

Division No. 63.]AYES[11.30 p.m.
Abse, LeoCunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)Gilbert, Dr. John
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)Dalyell, TarnGolding, John
Ashley, JackDarling, Rt. Hn. GeorgeGourlay, Harry
Atkinson, NormanDavidson, ArthurGrant, George (Morpeth)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Barnes, MichaelDavies, G. Eifed (Rhondda, E.)Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Davies, Ifor (Gower)Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Baxter, WilliamDavis, Terry (Bromsgrove)Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Deakins, EricHannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Bidwell, SydneyDell, Rt. Hn. EdmundHardy, Peter
Blenkinsop, ArthurDempsey, JamesHarper, Joseph
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Dormand, J. D.Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Booth, AlbertDouglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurDouglas-Mann, BruceHeaiey, Rt. Hn. Denis
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)Driberg, TomHeffer, Eric S.
Broughton, Sir AlfredDuffy, A. E. P.Hooson, Emlyn
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Dunn, James A.Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)Dunnett, JackHowell, Denis (Small Heath)
Buchan, NormanEadie, AlexHuckfield, Leslie
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Edelman, MauriceHughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)Edwards, William (Merioneth)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Cant, R. B.Ellis, TomHughes, Roy (Newport)
Carmichael, NeilEnglish, MichaelHunter, Adam
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)Evans, FredIrvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)Ewing, HarryJanner, Greville
Clark, David (Colne Valley)Faulds, AndrewJay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Cohen, StanleyFilch, Alan (Wigan)Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Concannon, J. D.Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Conlan, BernardFoot, MichaelJohn, Brynmor
Corbet, Mrs. FredaFord, BenJohnson, Carol (Lewlsham, S.)
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)Forrester, JohnJohnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Crawshaw, RichardFraser, John (Norwood)Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Cronin, JohnGalpern, Sir MyerJones, Dan (Burnley)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyGarrett, W. E.Jones.Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)Mulley, Rt. Hn. FrederickSilverman, Julius
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)Murray, Ronald KingSkinner, Dennis
Judd, FrankOakes, GordonSmall, William
Kaufman, GeraldOgden, EricSmith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Kelley, RichardO'Halloran, MichaelSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Kerr, RussellO'Malley, BrianSpearing, Nigel
Kinnock, NeilOram, BertSpriggs, Leslie
Lambie, DavidOrbach, MauriceSlallard, A. W.
Lamborn, HarryOrme, StanleySteel, David
Lamond, JamesOswald, ThomasStewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Latham, ArthurOwen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Leadbitter, TedPadley, WalterStonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Lestor, Miss JoanPalmer, ArthurStrang, Gavin
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Parker, John (Dagenham)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Lipton, MarcusParry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Lomas, KennethPavitt, LaurieSwain, Thomas
Loughlin, CharlesPeart, Rt. Hn. FredThomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff.W.)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York)Pendry, TomThomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)Perry, Ernest G.Tinn, James
Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonPrentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.Torney, Tom
McBride, NeilPrescott, JohnTuck, Raphael
McCartney, HughPrice, William (Rugby)Varley, Eric G.
McGuire, MichaelProber), ArthurWainwright, Edwin
Mackenzie, GregorReed, D. (Sedgefield)Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Mackie, JohnRees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Maclennan, RobertRhodes, GeoffreyWallace, George
McNamara, J. KevinRichard, IvorWatkins, David
Marks, KennethRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Weitzman, David
Marquand, DavidRoberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)Wellbeloved, James
Marsden, F.Robertson, John (Paisley)Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Marshall, Dr. EdmundRoderick, Caerwyn E.(Brc'n&R'dnor)White James (Glasgow Pollok)
Mason, Rt. Hn. RoyRodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)Whitlock, William
Mayhew, ChristopherRoper, JohnWilliams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Meacher, MichaelRose, Paul B.Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Mendelson, JohnRoss, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Millan, BruceRowlands, TedWilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Miller, Dr. M. S.Sandelson, NevilleWilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Molloy, WilliamShore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)Woof, Robert
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Short,Rt.Hn.Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)Mr. Ernest Armstrong and
Moyle, RolandSillars, JamesMr. James Hamilton.
NOES
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Churchill, W. S.Fortescue, Tim
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Clark, William (Surrey, E.)Foster, Sir John
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianClarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Fowler, Norman
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)Clegg, WalterFox, Marcus
Astor, JohnCockeram, EricFraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)
Atkins, HumphreyCooke, RobertFry, Peter
Awdry, DanielCoombs, DerekGardner, Edward
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Cooper, A. E.Gibson-Watt, David
Balniel, Rt. Hn. LordCordle, JohnGilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Bell, RonaldCormack, PatrickGilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Costain, A. P.Glyn, Dr. Alan
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Crouch, DavidGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Benyon, W.Crowder, F. P.Goodhart, Philip
Berry, Hn. Anthonyd'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryGorst, John
Biffen, Johnd'Avigdor-Goldsmid.Maj.-Gen.JackGower, Raymond
Biggs-Davison, JohnDean, PaulGrant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Blaker, PeterDeedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Gray, Hamish
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Digby, Simon WingfieldGreen, Alan
Body, RichardDixon, PiersGrieve,Percy
Boscawen, Hn. RobertDodds-Parker, Sir DouglasGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Bossom, Sir CliveDouglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir AlecGrylls, Michael
Bowden, AndrewDrayson, G. B.Gummer, J. Selwyn
Braine, Sir Bernarddu Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardHall, Miss Joan (Kelghley)
Bray, RonaldDykes, HughHall, John (Wycombe)
Brinton, Sir TattonEden, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnHall-Davis, A. G. F.
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherEdwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Hannam, John (Exeter)
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne.N.)Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Bryan, Sir PaulEmery, PeterHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M)Eyre, ReginaldHaselhurst, Alan
Buck, AntonyFarr, JohnHastings, Stephen
Burden, F. A.Fell, AnthonyHavers, Sir Michael
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Fenner, Mrs. PeggyHayhoe, Barney
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn)Fidler, Michae'Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward
Carlisle, MarkFinsberg, Geoffrey (Hempstead)Heseltine, Michael
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertFisher, Nigel (Surblton)Hicks, Robert
Chapman, SydneyFletcher-Cooke, CharlesHiggins, Terence L.
Chichester-Clark, R.Fookes, Miss JanetHiley, Joseph
Hill, John E. B (Norfolk, S.)Meyer, Sir AnthonyShelton, William (Clapham)
Hill, Jamas (Southampton, Test)Mills, Peter (Torrington)Shersby, Michael
Holland, PhilipMills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)Simeons, Charles
Holt, Miss MaryMiacampbell, NormanSinclair, Sir George
Hordern, PeterMitchell,Lt.-Col.C. (Aberdeenshire,W;Skeet, T. H. H.
Hornby, RichardMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Hornsby-Smith.Rt.Hn.Dame PatriciaMoate, RogerSoref, Harold
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Relgate)Money, ErnleSpeed, Keith
Howell, David (Guildford)Monks, Mrs. ConnieSpence, John
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)Montgomery, FergusSproat, lain
Hutchison, Michael ClarkMore, JasperStainton, Keith
Iremonger, T. L.Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.Stanbrook, Ivor
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Morrison, CharlesStewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
James, DavidMudd, DavidStodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Murton, OscarSloddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Jessel, TobyNsave, AireyStokes, John
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Nicholls, Sir HarmarStuttaford, Dr. Tom
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Noble, Rt. Hn. MichaelSutcliffe, John
Jopling, MichaelNor man ton, TomTapsell, Peter
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithNott, JohnTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Kaberry, Sir DonaldOnslow, CranleyTaylor,Edward M.(G'gow.Cathcart)
Keilett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineOppenheim, Mrs. SallyTaylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Kimball, MarcusOrr, Capt. L. P. S.Tebbit, Norman
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Osborn, John
King, Tom (Bridgwater)Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)Temple, John M.
Kinsey, J. R.Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Kitson, TimothyPage, John (Harrow, W.)Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Knight, Mrs. JillParkinson, CecilThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Knox, DavidPeel, Sir JohnThompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Lambton, LordPercival, IanTilney, John
Lamont, NormanPeyton, Rt. Hn. JohnTrafford. Dr. Anthony
Lane, DavidPink, R. BonnerTrew, Peter
Langford-Holt, Sir JohnPounder, RaftonTugendhat, Christopher
Le Marchant, SpencerPrice, David (Eastleigh)Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Proudfoot, WilfredWaddington, David
Longden, Sir GilbertPym, Rt. Hn. FrancisWalder, David (Cliiheroe)
Loveridge, JohnQuennell, Miss J. M.Wall, Patrick
Luce, R. N.Raison, TimothyWalters, Dennis
McAdden, Sir StephenRamsden, Rt. Hn. JamesWard, Dame Irene
MacArthur, IanRawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir PeterWarren, Kenneth
McCrindle, R. A.Redmond, RobertWeatherill, Bernard
McLaren, MartinRees, Peter (Dover)Wells, John (Maidstone)
Maclean, Sir FitzroyRees-Davies, W. R.White, Roger (Gravesend)
McMaster, StanleyRenton, Rt. Hn. Sir DavidWiggin, Jerry
Macmiilan.Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonWilkinson, John
McNair-Wilson, MichaelRidley, Hn. NicholasWinterton, Nicholas
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Ridsdale, JulianWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Maddan, MartinRippon, Rt. Hn. GeoffreyWood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Madel, DavidRoberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Maginnls, John E.Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)Woodnutt, Mark
Marples, Rt. Hn. ErnestRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)Worsley, Marcus
Marten, NellRost, PeterWylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Mather, CarolRoyle, AnthonyYounger, Hn. George
Maude, AngusSt. John-Stevas, Norman
Maudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldSandys, Rt. Hn. D.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mawby, RayScott, NicholasMr. Victor Goodhew and
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)Mr. Paul Hawkins.
Question accordingly negatived.
ADJOURNMENT
Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Humphrey Atkins.]