Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th June 1991.

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Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Southend East 12:00 am, 6th June 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has been notified of any directives stemming from the EC which are designed to affect the way in which Her Majesty's Government controls and manages its admission and immigration policies.

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

I have not been notified of any such directive, though we are considering with our EC colleagues an intergovernmental convention on external frontiers. We have made the importance of our immigration frontier controls clear to our EC partners.

Photo of Mr Teddy Taylor Mr Teddy Taylor , Southend East

Does my hon. Friend agree that a convention on the mutual recognition of visas could have devastating consequences on the ability of the United Kingdom Government to control entry into this country? Given the great importance of that, does my hon. Friend agree that it would be helpful if hon. Members were told what was involved in the convention and had an opportunity to discuss it and vote on it before the Government agree to undermine our control of visitors?

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

The House will have an opportunity to know what is in the convention before the Government sign it. I emphasise that it deals not with entry for settlement but with short-term visitors. We are insisting on the safeguards that are necessary to ensure that our frontier controls are as effective as we know that they should be.

Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

The Minister must know that there is a spate of proposals from Europe which will have a radical effect on frontier controls in Europe—including, possibly, the United Kingdom. More than that, the proposals will radically affect the right of certain people living in Europe, including the United Kingdom, to move around the EEC after 1992. Does he agree that a statement by the Home Secretary is essential and that there should be a debate in Government time so that all of us can have a chance to express our concerns and views before the Government reach a deal in secret on any intergovernmental convention or enter into any secret deals as a result of Trevi or Schengen discussions? Will the Minister give the undertaking for which I have asked? If he does not, he can be assured that there will be a great deal of concern both inside and outside the House.

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

It would be silly to have such a debate until the Government have a clear view of what is on offer and know what they think that they can sign. The hon. Gentleman is quite right—there are a number of issues under consideration. They deal with the visitors from outside the Community, not those coming for settlement, and with easier movement of those from the minorities settled in EC countries who wish to move around the Community. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, and even his noisy hon. Friends, would support that.