Qualifying Bodies

Part of Clause 12 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th July 1976.

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Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone 12:00 am, 8th July 1976

I have no intention of discussing the Common Market, Mr. Deputy Speaker, as you well know. I say to the right hon. Member for Down, South in a passing reference that throughout the debates on the Common Market he used to appeal to us, with the approval of many hon. Members on both sides of the House, that Parliament ensured the liberty of all subjects. For the right hon. Gentleman not to be in the forefront in defending the rights of coloured subjects and immigrants like all other British subjects is a great disappointment to me and many other hon. Members.

At this stage it is of crucial significance that this legislation should be supported by a large majority. It cannot be ignored by those who happen to be in the Chamber tonight that the official leadership of the Conservative Party is not opposing the legislation on principle. There is room for honourable disagreement on some of the details, but I regard it as a positive fact that on principle the legislation is not opposed officially. Those who are opposed on principle can only help those who wish for an unhappy conclusion to the policies we are trying to put forward for all people, whatever their colour.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has reasonably said that he will consider the point made by the hon. and learned Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle), who was a Home Office Minister. However, but for the fact that the underlying factor of race is involved—and there are many hon. Members involved in these debates whose attitude on race is not democratic and not what it should be—there could be much more agreement. [Interruption.] Let the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) laugh as much as he likes. He will be ashamed in years to come at the attitude he took tonight, and so will the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). I name the hon. Gentleman deliberately. He will be ashamed of the attitude he has taken today. In a shameful story, he has told us about teaching other people our language—as if we did not know what he meant. He wants to appear as a racialist, which he is indeed.

When considering the amendment there may be room to look at the text, but let there be no pretence that those who want to create an atmosphere of bitterness against overseas immigrants are using semantics for purposes that they will not admit to themselves or to the House.