Mr. David Duke

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th April 1978.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East 12:00 am, 6th April 1978

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief officer of police on the steps taken to apprehend Mr. David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan leader, who is subject to a deportation order.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , Newham North West

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now cause an investigation to be made to ascertain how and why it took the authorities 14 days to serve a deportation order on Mr. Duke, in view of the fact that he was known to be freely available for interview with representatives of the media.

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

Mr. Duke, who has now returned to the United States of America, was not subject to a deportation order but to a variation order curtailing his stay. I am satisfied that the police took all reasonable steps in the case, bearing in mind that a variation order must be served personally and carries no power of arrest. I see no reason to call for a report.

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East

Does not this incident, however, involve an important matter of principle—namely, what criteria the Home Secretary of a democratic State should apply in using his discretion in deciding which visitors from abroad should be allowed entry and which should not? Why, for instance, should members of the Ku Klux Klan or the Scientologists be banned, and yet others who might be a more serious threat to the security of the State, such as Marxist revolutionaries or subversive agents, be admitted freely?

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

This matter raises problems for a Home Secretary, as to whom he deals with in this respect. The hon. Gentleman has called in question the methods that we use. A man arrives in this country as a normal tourist. There is no way of telling what his views are. What has happened should not be a reflection on the immigration service or the police. I took a judgment—it is a judgment that I have to take—that the way in which the man behaved when he came here showed that he was not someone coming to visit, in terms of the way in which he proceeded to go around the country, to have his picture taken outside the Home Office and outside the House. It was a question of the way he behaved. The man was better off in the United States. He arrived in Washington the other day while I was there, but no one seemed to take any notice.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Birmingham Handsworth

How long did it take before my right hon. Friend made up his mind that this man should not stay in this country? How much did it cost to chase him? Finally, will my right hon. Friend say whether there is a list of Ku Klux Klan members supplied to the immigration authorities to enable them to intercept them in the future and to prevent anything like this happening again?

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

My hon. Friend must reconsider the way in which he has put this question. It would be impossible to get a list of people who had been in the Ku Klux Klan, to get a list at the ports, and to have them checked. I put a stop on one man who was a leader, but given the number of people coming in and going out of the country, which increases every day, it is impossible to put this burden on the immigration service.

If the man concerned had come here and had behaved just as a tourist and minded his own business, no one would have bothered. It was only when he did not that I took a judgment. As for the cost, it would be impossible to tot that up.

Photo of Mr Emlyn Hooson Mr Emlyn Hooson , Montgomery

Am I right in thinking that the criterion that the Home Secretary applies in such cases as this is whether the person who has come in is misusing the hospitality of this country, as it were, and that that applies whatever his political views are?

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

The operative words are "conducive to the public good". I was agreeing with the hon. Gentleman who raised the question. I believe that any Home Secretary ought to be careful as to the degree to which he uses this power, particularly in this country, where, on the whole, we can bear people coming here with political views and it does not hurt the country. I took a judgment with regard to this man and the way in which he behaved in the current situation. But the criterion is contained in the words "conducive to the public good".