§ Leave shall not be given to an alien to land in the United Kingdom unless he complies with the following conditions, that is to say:
- (a) He is in a position to support himself and his dependants in a reasonable condition of comfort;
- (b) He is not a lunatic, idiot, or mentally deficient;
- (c) He is not unfit from a moral, social, or educational standpoint to be a useful and proper inhabitant of this country;
- (d) He is not the subject of a certificate given to the immigration officer by a medical inspector that for medical reasons it is undesirable that the alien should be permitted to land;
- (e) He has not been sentenced in a foreign country for any extradition crime within the meaning of the Extradition Act, 1870;
- (f) He is not the subject of a deportation Order in force under the Aliens Restrictions Acts, 1914 and 1919, or any Order in Council thereunder, or of an expulsion Order under the Aliens Act, 1905;
- (g) He has not been prohibited from landing by the Secretary of State;
- (h) He fulfils such other requirements as may be prescribed by any general or special instructions of the Secretary of State.—[Mr. Hopkins.]
§ Brought up, and read the first time.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HOPKINS
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."
It seems to me extremely desirable to insert a proposal of this kind in the Bill, because there is no Clause which deals with the admission of undesirable aliens into this country. As to the desirability of keeping these undesirables out of the country there is no difference of opinion, but the Home Secretary thinks it would be better done by Order in Council, whereas I submit it would be better done by legislation in this House. Practically I have taken the wording of my new Clause from the draft Order in Council which it is proposed to issue if this Bill goes through, and therefore my proposal is in the Government's own wording, and it is the sort of restriction they desire to impose. The only difference I have made in the wording as set forth in the proposed Orders in Council is that the intending immigrant should not only be in a position to support himself, but also his dependants if he brings any with him. Another alteration I have made is that an immigrant presenting himself for admission to this country should not be an unfit person from a moral, social, or educational standpoint. I do not know that I need to go through the rest of the debarring proposals, because there is no difference between us and the Government on those points. I cannot imagine that any number of arguments or any long speeches are required to recommend this Clause to the House, because it is only a question whether you keep the undesirable alien out by an Act of Parliament or whether you leave it to be done by an Order in 102 Council at the will of the Home Secretary for the time being. There can be no. possible doubt both from the point of health and morality that it is desirable to keep out the undesirable alien.
This Clause will not prevent anybody from coming into this country who conceivably may be a good or useful citizen from an industrial or any other point of view. It does not deal with the question of enemy aliens as enemy aliens. Personally, I sympathise with those who are in favour of keeping them all out, but that is not the question in this Clause. This is merely a question of keeping out the admittedly undesirable alien, and to-day there are more reasons than ever for keeping out this undesirable element, because every civilised country all over the world is to-day strengthening its legislation in this direction. Up to comparatively a few years ago many of the most undesirable aliens bred in European society went out to South America, but now I believe every country in South America has passed a law keeping these undesirables out, and, where they are not naturalised, turning them out. In a South American paper a few weeks ago I read a discussion as to where the undesirables were to go if they were turned out, and the paper pointed out that the only civilised country in the world to which these undesirables could go was this country. I have no desire to see them come here, and I do not think, if this Clause were put into the Bill, that it would excite any hostility or jealousy of any sort on the part of any other country, because every foreign country has similar legislation, though much more strict and much more strictly applied. The United States and every one of our own Dominions have stiffened their legislation, and it is evident, if we are the only country who do not protect ourselves, that we shall run an increasing risk of getting this undesirable element. I do not know whether the Government are going to accept this Clause or not. If the only difficulty in their way is the little difference in the wording of the Clause that I propose and the wording of the draft Order in Council, I certainly shall not stand on my particular wording, although I think it somewhat strengthens the Clause. I do, however, very earnestly press upon the House that this restriction upon the immigration of undesirable aliens should be enacted by legislation by this House and should not be left to the mercy of the Department.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
I beg to second the Motion, and, in doing so, I wish to address myself more particularly to the objections that were raised to the Clause by the Home Secretary in Committee. The loose wording of the Clause—"Moral, social, or educational"—was really the fundamental reason which he gave for refusing to accept it. We are not aware whether he is himself prepared to propose the necessary Amendments to attain the object which my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Hopkins) and myself have in mind, but, if he is prepared to do so, and will say so now, I will content myself by merely seconding. If not, then I must state further the reasons that I have in mind for doing so. Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept the Clause and propose Amendments?
§ Mr. SUGDEN
Then I shall endeavour to show that unless this Clause is included in the Bill the whole of the labour situation in this country will become chaotic. We have had our labour difficulties, and we have had our differences as to the position and place that labour should occupy in relative juxtaposition one and the other in the nation, but there is this to be said about British labour, that during the time of our late great trouble there was no bloodshed in this country. I put that down to a considerable extent to the fact that aliens have been kept out of our trade unions. But they are now coming in, and those who come from the textile districts know that great textile producing countries like Austria will in due course deport many to our shores, in fact, the parliamentary leaders in Austria have desired permission so to do. At present there is some unemployment amongst the minders in the cotton spinning section of the industry. In the constituency which I represent there was in one week three times the number unemployed in one section compared with 1913, and from Austria there may come six times that number in this trade to flood our shores unless this special Clause is inserted. I do, therefore, suggest that the Clause is most important. There is also the moral consideration. It has been my honour to sit upon a Committee dealing with defective children, and it is common knowledge that it is very mainly the children of aliens and cross-breeds who become the special care and consideration of the local authority in this 104 country. It is, therefore, vital and essential that this Clause should be included in the Bill. It may be suggested that the medical officers and inspectors at the ports are able to deal with this matter, but I suggest that these mysterious oriental diseases that obtain in our great seaport towns are the result of the admission of undesirable aliens in the first stage of the disease. Further, some arrive with disease in its early stages, which only mature months after admittance into the country. Those of us who were compelled to be in the hospitals in London during the air raids know that the people who were to be found in the tubes seeking shelter were the undesirable aliens, and those who were on night duty know the tremendous menace that they were. I therefore plead with the Home Secretary to accept this Clause in its entirety, and I think I may say, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras as well as on my own behalf, that if certain parts the wording is not acceptable and the right lion. Gentleman is prepared to suggest another form of words, we are quite willing to meet him, but we are not prepared to leave it to the caprice of any Home Secretary, when we think that it should be on the Statute Book in its entirety as we have proposed it here.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I should like to support this Clause. I do so because I have had considerable experience with regard to the aliens in this country and because I know that for the last thirty years we have had coming over here aliens who are unable to support themselves and who have been a burden to the State. Many boards of guardians in their reports have suggested from time to time that our legislation in regard to aliens should be strengthened. I regret to say that the last Act was not strong enough to keep out these indigent aliens. That was not the fault of the party to which 1 belong. I will not say which party was to blame, but it certainly was not the Conservative or Unionist party. There is no doubt whatever that had that Act been strengthened as it should have been we should now be in a very different position, and I certainly hope that the Home Secretary will see his way, if not to accept the wording of this Clause, at any rate to introduce some Clause having the same effect. I would emphasise what the Mover of the Clause has said, that in all the Dominions you 105 will find safeguards of this kind, not by any Order in Council, but by the legislation itself. I have had a great deal to do with emigration, and I know the difficulties that are placed in the way of persons desiring to emigrate from this country to the Dominions. For instance, no person who is unable to support himself or who is likely to become a charge upon the State can possibly be admitted to Canada. If that is so, and it is so, why on earth should we allow an alien to be admitted to this country? It is the same in the United States of America. They have recently introduced legislation which says that no person coming from this or. any other country who cannot support himself or herself shall be allowed to enter the United States. Surely if that is so, and it is so, it is our duty to pass similar legislation and to refuse to aliens who are unable to support themselves or their dependants admission into this country. I myself drew up a report for the House of Lords some twenty years ago, when I went to the various centres where the aliens live. I visited Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, and the East End of London, and I know very well that there were hundreds of aliens there who should never have been admitted to this country.
I do not want to enlarge upon the morality of the question, but it is a very important issue. I should, however, like to say a word from the educational standpoint, because these people could hardly speak the English language. We do not want people in this country who are unable to talk English, and yet I found that was the case with a very large number of aliens whom I came across in the course of my inquiries. Then, with regard to lunacy. There again an examination of the Report of the Lunacy Commissioners shows what a large number of aliens we have had in our lunatic asylums. I cannot understand why the taxpayers of this country should pay for them. I do impress upon the Home Secretary that the time has come when in this matter we should not be dependent on Orders in Council, but that we should have placed in an Act of Parliament powers which will have the effect of securing the safeguards aimed at by the Mover and Seconder of this Clause.
§ Major HURST
I wish strongly to oppose this Clause, not because I believe for a moment in any inrush of alien immi- 106 grants. Nobody desires that. But I do believe that this Clause in its present form would be absolutely disastrous to British industry. Let its call the attention of the House to its actual language. In the first place, it will apply to any alien, whether friendly or enemy. It will apply to any alien, whether he be a customer or a client. The prohibition is with regard to landing in this country. In other words, any alien, wherever he comes from and whatever his object in coming to England may be, will not be permitted to land on these shores unless lie is able to satisfy the authorities under the various headings set forth in the Clause. That is an absolutely ridiculous proposition. The welfare of this country at the present time depends upon the reconstruction of our export trade. That is vital. How can we rebuild our export trade unless we resume our connections with foreign countries and unless we allow commercial travellers to land on these shores from foreign countries in order that they may examine British markets and buy British goods? After all, the whole welfare of the trade of the North of England depends on the coining of these aliens into this country. What does it matter for a moment whether a man who comes from China and buys Lancashire goods keeps his dependants in reasonable conditions? What matters for a moment what is the moral character of a man who comes from the Argentine to buy our goods? It is absolutely absurd. How are you going to treat a Mahomedan who has several wives and whose conduct from an English point of view is morally objectionable? He will be an alien if he comes from an alien country, from Turkey, or from Arabia. But merely because his moral standard does not conform to our own he is only to be allowed to land under these very drastic conditions. What matters the social position of an alien who comes to buy our goods? Are we going to examine him as to his table manners? It is absurd. And with regard to education, the hon. Member opposite said that some aliens who came to this country hardly speak English. What does that matter if they come and buy English goods? The idea that our trade is going to be harassed by imposing these conditions on people who come here to help us revive our trade surely is one which does not call for serious consideration.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I said nothing whatever about people coming to this country to buy goods. I spoke of the indigent people who come here and live upon the rates.
§ Major HURST
The Clause is solely directed against aliens landing in the United Kingdom, and there are no words in it about its applying only to indigent aliens. It is proposed that these conditions shall be imposed upon all foreigners wherever they come from and whatever their object. During the -War there was very naturally a proper spirit of nationality fostered not only in England, but in every other country. That feeling by itself is wholly admirable. But when you come to legislation of the type here suggested it amounts simply to tire principle of nationality run mad. If carried out in the form in which it has been advocated by the hon. Member who moved the Clause, it would simply mean placing a Chinese wall round England to the immense detriment of English trade and of our relations with the outer world. That is a practical and material point for reasonable men to consider. It has been said that this is not a proper attitude for Conservatives, but I believe it is an attitude which appeals to the people of Lancashire. I feel certain that I can speak for many people there, and for a very large proportion of those who are interested in the staple trade of Lancashire. Looking at it from the point of view of ideals, after all, it seems to me that there is very little that is idealistic in the idea of isolating ourselves from trade and communication with other countries, and putting a great barrier between us and the comity of nations. It is using the true spirit of nationality for nothing more than a political stunt. A great many people believe this sort of thing because they have seen it in "John Bull,'' and therefore think it is so. But I prefer to take the principles by which we are going to judge these questions of national policy and national trade from a better source than that. I am not defending indiscriminate alien immigration. Speaking as one who can himself trace descent very remotely from an alien ancestry, it seems to me it has always been the glory of England to open her doors to all corners from every country who may be fit for British citizenship, and rather than pursue the stunt which is embodied in this Amendment, I would prefer to recall to the recollection of the House 108 the words of Burke that magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom, and a great Empire and little minds go ill together.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I wish to dissociate myself entirely from the hideous and selfish speech to which we have just listened. The hon. Member put before the House a position at which I believe Lancashire will be very angry to-morrow morning when it reads his speech. It does not matter how foul, how horrible, how immoral, how criminal an alien may be, if he only comes to buy Lancashire goods, let him come into this country. I am sure that that is not the view of Lancashire. My hon. Friend gave his own case away in the last few sentences of his speech when he said that the country of England had always admitted aliens who would make good citizens. They should be fit to make good citizens. But he says let any man come in. He may be a lunatic, but if he will buy Lancashire cotton, let him come. Any man, whether or not he is in a position to support himself and his dependants, if he will only buy Lancashire goods shall be allowed to come in. No matter what his moral or social position may be—he may have been convicted in his own country of an extraditable offence, he may be a murderer, a robber, or anything else, but let him come in if only he will buy Lancashire cotton. He may have been deported by the Home Secretary. Never mind, if he comes with orders or cash in his pocket let him land, although he may have previously been turned out of this country once, twice, or even thrice. I am sorry for the sake of Lancashire that any hon. Member should say such things.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I hope that this proposed Clause will not be pressed. If the House will only recollect what exactly the position is I think hon. Members will not desire to pass the Clause. The argument as to whether aliens—undesirable aliens—ought or ought not to be admitted, whether any of these provisions ought to be the law of the land or not, is quite irrelevant. That is not the issue which this Clause raises at all. These things are in fact the law to-day. They are law by virtue of an Order in Council which was signed on the 18th August. They are the ordinary law of the land. There is no dispute about their desirability. There is no dispute whatever about it being necessary 109 to have such provisions. Therefore, the whole argument as to the desirability of these things is outside the mark. The question is, Are we going to pin these things down to-day in a Statute, instead of leaving them in a form in which they can be improved at any moment? When this Aliens Bill was in Committee it was proposed to continue the powers which had existed with regard to aliens for a period of years—two years in fact—and during that period of two years Orders in Council were to be made; at the end of the time the whole matter was to be reconsidered in the light of the increased knowledge and experience which we should have gained by then, and more satisfactory provisions would then be formulated and submitted to the House of Commons. If I remember rightly, at' the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney (Mr. Bottomley), the period of two years was reduced to one.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I am only too glad that that shall appear in next week's "John Bull," so that people will know who are the supporters of the Government. Today there is power for twelve months to continue the Orders in Council, and an Order in Council was in fact signed on the 18th August. At the end of the year the whole subject will be brought up again, and in the light of the further experience we shall then have gained opportunity will be taken to deal with these matters in an Act of Parliament. We are to-day in an experimental stage. May I mention one fact? The Order in Council which exists to-day is not quite the same Order in Council the draft of which was before the members of the Committee. Between that stage and the 18th August it was found necessary to put in another provision, namely, that no alien who was desirous of offering his services to an employer in the United Kingdom should be allowed to land unless he could produce in writing the permit issued to the employer by the Minister of Labour. We thought at the time that the draft Order in Council would meet all the necessities of the case. Yet within a month we discovered the necessity for further powers, and that further power is actually in the Order in Council. As time goes on it is not unreasonable to suppose we shall find other additions necessary. The House has distinctly the power to proceed by Order 110 in Council for twelve months. The reason for that is that we are in an experimental stage, and before we put these powers into a concrete and permanent form we ought to have time to make them in the light of the experience as complete as possible. I therefore hope the House will allow the Order in Council to stand. It is stronger even than these proposals, and it can be brought up again at the end of the year. The House will recollect that if an Order in Council and an Act of Parliament conflict, the Courts of law will, of course, give effect to the Act of Parliament. You may very well have Orders in Council which are necessarily much stronger than the existing Act of Parliament. But if the matter goes into the Courts they will be bound to say that the Act of Parliament, having laid down certain conditions, those are the only conditions applicable and the Order in Council is of no effect. For these reasons I ask the hon. Member not to press for the inclusion of this new Clause in the Bill, but to leave it over until the whole question is brought up again in the light of greater experience and knowledge.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
The Home Secretary poses to-night, as he posed on the Second Reading of the Bill, as the firm defender of legislation by Order in Council rather than by special words used by Parliament to express the views of Members of this House. He reminded us of what happened on the Second Reading, but he unfortunately failed to remind the House of some very material facts which then came out. I think I am in the recollection of every Member of the House when I say that the keynote of the discussion of the Bill upon its Second Reading was the strong objection of this House to give to any Home Secretary or to any Government power to legislate by Order in Council and so deprive the House of its proper and legitimate legislative function. What happened? The Bill brought in by the Home Secretary was practically a one-Clause Bill, giving the Home Secretary power for two years to legislate by Order in Council. Protest came from every side of the House. At length the Home Secretary was compelled to say he would only legislate by Order in Council for one year and then, as he will remember, the opponents of the Bill reserved to themselves the right to introduce into the Bill in Committee or on Report such legislative enactments as appeared to be important in 111 regard to matters of principle. The right hon. Gentleman will not challenge my recollection there. It was upon those assurances, and those only, that he got the Second Reading of the Bill. What are we doing now? We are carrying out those very principles on which the Second Reading of the Bill was obtained, that is, putting into this Bill certain conditions under which it will be impossible for an alien to land in this country. There is no difference between us that there should be matters provided against the aliens. The difference of opinion between us is whether the thing should be expressed by the will of Parliament, or should be enacted by Order in Council, which might be revoked and abolished by the next Home Secretary, if such a one comes.
That is the real objection to legislation by Order in Council. My right hon. Friend is here to-day; he may be in some more exalted post to-morrow or later on. He may be succeeded by someone who does not hold the same views as to the immigration of undesirable aliens. The next coming Home Secretary may think it just to revoke every one of these admirable provisions of which my right hon. Friend is so proud and may introduce into his Order in Council some totally different regulations. That is what this House is determined to prevent. I am rather glad that this discussion has taken place now, because it will enable the House to decide the question raised by the Home Secretary and to say "aye" or "no" is the House going to resume its freedom of action in legislation. During the War we were willing to give a free hand to the Home Secretary and other Ministers, and they exercised it through Orders in Council. We say that the time has now come when the House should re-establish its undoubted right. Moreover it is our duty to legislate and not to delegate our powers. That being so, I ask the House to insert these words. What harm is done by inserting them? Will anyone say that any one of these reasons for keeping out aliens ought not to exist? Will any experience alter our minds? The right hon. Gentleman says that there may be other reasons which occur to him later for which he would wish to keep out aliens. There would be no objection to keeping them out. He is empowered by the Bill to make provisions of that sort. The right hon. Gentleman says: "Oh, do not -tie my hands, wait for a year's experience. 112 If you put in this Clause you may be putting in something which is very improper and which experience may prove to be improper." May I ask a direct question? Which of the grounds laid down in this Clause for keeping out aliens does he think experience would show to be inapplicable? Does he think any experience will show that a lunatic or an idiot ought to be admitted? Does he think experience will show that a pauper who cannot support himself and his family ought to be admitted? Does he think that experience will prove that lunatics or paupers will be desirable immigrants, or that moral derelicts or delinquents are desirable immigrants? Does he think a year's experience will prove to him that a man whom he himself has deported because he was either criminal or otherwise dangerous ought to be let in?
§ Mr. SHORTT
I can answer that now. As the hon. and learned Gentleman's question was based upon something I never said, or anything like I said, I really cannot answer it.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
That is an answer in a sense, but not quite such a definite answer as I expected. My right hon. Friend did appeal for a year's experience.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Passing this Clause will not prevent him adding to it. There is nothing in this Clause, if he finds there are other reasons besides those named for keeping out aliens, to prevent him issuing an Order in Council adding words. I am sure my right hon. Friend will not suggest that if we pass the Clause as it stands there will be anything in the world to prevent him adding other reasons by Order in Council. The last paragraph of the Clause says that the alien must fulfilsuch other requirements as may be prescribed by any general or special instructions by the Secretary of State.Therefore by this Clause he gets power to do all he wants to do. If that is so, is not the issue between us reduced to what I stated it to be at first—are we to go on neglecting our duties of legislating and delegate to the Home Secretary powers which belong to Parliament, or are we to take this, the first opportunity we have in a reasonable way, of reasserting the right of Parliament to legislate upon matters in regard to which the Home Secretary admits legislation should be passed at once?
§ Mr. KILEY
I am sure that Members of the House are prepared to support the Government in any action they may deem necessary or advisable in order to prevent undesirable aliens from landing on these shores. Judging from the speeches delivered up to now, the impression one would gather is that it is possible for any alien to land. What are the actual facts? In the Aliens Act, 1905, the law is clearly and distinctly laid down. If a man cannot show that he has in his possession or is in a position to obtain means to support his family, or is an idiot, or a lunatic, or has any disease or infirmity, or is likely to become a charge on the rates, or has been sentenced in a foreign country for any crime, or has had an expulsion order made against him, he is not allowed to land on our shores. That is the law to-day. Every alien arriving on our shores, if he comes in an immigration ship, is detained until he is personally examined by an officer properly appointed, and if he comes as a saloon passenger on a ship he is inspected by a. landing officer in order to see if he has anything likely to attract suspicion, and, if so, he can be detained. That is the law at present in force. If that is not sufficient. I have no doubt the Home Secretary will apply for further powers, and if he does his appeal will be received by this House.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Is the hon. Member aware that in this Bill the Act of 1905 is repealed? Therefore his argument falls to the ground.
§ Mr. KILEY
That, of course, does destroy a good deal of the argument. But the Order in Council that the Home Secretary has announced is in force. Does it require strengthening in the way suggested by the Amendment? It says that a person must show his fitness from a moral, social or educational standpoint. That is very satisfactory, but if I were to have to pass that test I should like to know who is to be my judge, and what is to be the deciding factor. The provision is unworkable.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I am sorry there is not a larger attendance of Members to hear the very interesting speeches that have been made, especially the speech of the hon. and learned Member for York (Sir J. Butcher). Two points are at issue: first, is this particular Clause desirable in itself? I consider it contains some danger- 114 ous provisions. The second point at issue is whether we are to continue the farce of discussing this Bill in view of the attitude of the Government on the subject of Orders in Council. I propose to speak what is, in my mind, very strongly on the second point. On the first point one hon. Member made a somewhat unfair attack on the hon. Member for the Moss Side Division (Major Hurst) by saying that he was actuated by a selfish desire to see Manchester goods sold to any undesirable alien who comes here. Surely the matter goes a little deeper than that. It is obvious that at this time of all times it is most desirable that foreign buyers should be encouraged to come to this country. The hon. and learned Member for York challenged the Home Secretary to say if there was any provision in the Clause to which he objected. The Home Secretary did not answer, but I should like to answer on his behalf. After considerable experience of travel, as great perhaps as that of any Member of this House, and particularly after my experience in America and Canada, I challenge the hon. and learned Member to produce any Act of the United States of America or the Dominion of Canada which is as strong or bears any resemblance to paragraph (c) of this new Clause. It was stated by the Mover that these proposals had been adopted by the Dominions, and that a man has to prove that he is not unfit from a moral, social or educational standpoint to be an inhabitant of the country. Perhaps the hon. and learned Member can quote any Act passed by the United States Senate which contains those words. I can only say that, if he can, it is a dead letter. In the case of the ordinary first or second-class passenger, or for that matter, even the third-class passenger, it is impossible to say what his moral, social and educational qualifications are. When the Dominions are held up to us as examples of an admirable immigration system, my experience of their class of immigrants before the War does not bear out the contention that their moral, educational and social standpoint is up to that of the British Empire.
I can assure the House I have seen people clad mainly in sheep skins who could speak no language except that of the lesser Balkan principalities, whose personal cleanliness left a great deal to be desired, whose educational standpoint was nil, and they were being admitted into both Canada and the United States before 115 the War and no doubt they are being readmitted now. So I do not think the experience of those countries can be used as an argument in favour of, at any rate, that provision in the Clause.
Further, it would absolutely preclude a great many of our more Mahomedan Allies from coming into this country. Their educational standpoint is vastly different and certainly their moral standpoint is different from that of this country, though I am not prepared to say in some respects it is not superior to that of this country. We have had far too many speeches this afternoon suggesting that our moral and social standpoint is such a very admirable one. That of some of our Allies is quite as good as ours and our Mahomedan Allies as much as any, and as one interested in the Near East I should be sorry to see Parliament pass any Act which suggested that the moral and social standpoint of our Mahomedan Allies, though it may be vastly different from that of this country is inferior. [Interruption.] It distinctly arises if you put provisions of that kind into the Clause. When one turns to consider the question of the attitude of the Government in saying they would not lay down in this Bill what the regulations shall be, but that they propose to continue the system of Orders in Council, that is one of the weakest defences I have ever heard. Let me, as an old Member of the House, recall its attention to what has happened over this alien question before. I happened to fight a by-election in 1901 as a supporter of the then Tory Government on the subject or the then Aliens Bill, and I was elected largely as the result of the promises I gave to support the Government in the drastic aliens policy which was going to be brought in. A Bill was brought in, and largely owing to the efforts of the present Secretary of State for War it was whittled down to such an extent that it practically has had no good effect at all. In other words, most undesirable aliens have entered since the Bill was passed, I think almost to as great an extent as before. We owe that largely to the Secretary of State for War.
Therefore the Government have a distinct responsibility in the matter. They arc now once more dealing with the question which we were told at the time had been finally disposed of by the Act of 1905. We were told the undesirable alien was 116 going to be for once and all kept out of the country, and here, fifteen years later, we have the whole question brought up again, and it is not suggested that we are going finally to deal with it in this Bill. "No," says the Home Secretary, "we are neophytes in the matter. We come into virgin country; we are ignorant; we must wait for two years. This is a subject with which we are not acquainted." Has he never read the Debates of fifteen years ago, the promises which were then made, and the successful efforts of some of his present colleagues to prevent the Bill from having any useful effect? It is absurd, at this hour of the day, to say we must wait for another year or two years in order to see what the effect of our present regulations will be. I do not sympathise with a great deal of what has been said by what I may describe as rather extreme supporters of the Bill, and I wish to be associated with no possible action of theirs in this House or out of it, but at the same time I think the demand of the public and the Press; irrespective of any party consideration or any considerations of gaining any advantage at the next General Election, is that this question of the exclusion of undesirable aliens shall be finally dealt with by Parliament. For fifteen years Parliament has been talking. We have had speeches and articles on the subject. We are to-day in the position that the Government say, "We must have two more years' experience to see how the Orders in Council work." Why do they not once and for all deal with the matter by putting it into the Bill? The answer is, because in this, as in so many other matters, the Government are attempting to do too much, and they have not the time to do it. The real reason why the Home Secretary cannot give an answer is because the Prime Minister and the War Cabinet have not made up their minds on the subject. It would be far better to drop the Bill altogether and bring in next Session a Bill, as the result of the considered judgment of the Prime Minister and the Government, to really drastically exclude undesirable aliens, rather than continue the half-fledged chicken which we are discussing to day.
During this Debate I have heard a good number of hon. Members talking about pledges given 117 at the Election. I gave no pledge at all, and therefore I have a free hand to vote one way or the other. In looking over the Amendments and the Bill, I think there is no need for any Amendments at all. I think the Bill is quite strong enough, and I should say without hesitation it is one of the strongest Alien Bills which has ever been presented. When you talk about the immorality of undesirable aliens in the East End of London and in Leeds and Manchester and other parts of the country, it appears to me that if the local unitary authorities did their duty you would find that the morals and the conditions of the people would be very much improved. The local sanitary authorities and medical officers are afraid, for some reason or other, to do their duty. If they did it, we should find ourselves in a different position. I wish to assert here and now that if you cleared every alien out of this country to-morrow the wage-earner would not be affected in the slightest degree. The alien not only produces but consumes. It has been said that aliens come into competition with our labour, and I admit that to a very large extent in the East End they do, but there is no doubt some of them have practically created new trades which would never have been developed but for them. I would clear out undesirable aliens to-morrow, but who is to decide what is an undesirable? There may be some Members in this House who are undesirable. There may be some people in Park Lane who are undesirable. Therefore, it appears to me you would have a very difficult job in deciding what is an undesirable. I am firmly convinced that if this Bill is carried and made stronger than it is you will create deep-rooted differences between people in this country and in other countries. We were led to understand that when the War was over we were all going to be friends again. Now you are going to try to create another difficulty, because you are going to try to insult people who you think are undesirable, and, of course, it will give encouragement to stronger legislation than you have at present. It will create deep-rooted division between our workers and what are known as enemy aliens, which, as I understand, has all gone by the board. The undesirable agitator, the man who is in a trade union for the purpose of creating divisions and strikes, can be dealt with by the Bill. I 118 notice that the Home Secretary has a new Clause in a typewritten form which has been issued.
An HON. MEMBER: Not to us.
I got this from the Vote Office. [Interruption.] Go to the Vote Office and get one, as I did, and you can read it for yoursen. This is a very drastic Amendment. That and the Bill itself meet all the requirements which are desirable. If you think by simply keeping out a very large number of foreign workmen you are going to make economic conditions any better than they are now, you are making a huge mistake. If you cleared out every alien to-morrow the wage-earners would not be a farthing better off than they are at present.
§ Mr. INSKIP
The Home Secretary has really put the House into a very great difficulty. The speech to which we have just listened was directed to the question whether or not the proposals contained in the Amendment are right proposals or not, and sonic of us are in a considerable measure of agreement with some of the statements the hon. and gallant Gentleman has made. In all the speeches for aria against the Amendment we all of us find things with which we agree and things with which we disagree. This is an Amendment which contains a great number of disqualifications with reference to aliens, as to whom the question is whether they shall be admitted, and I am in complete agreement with what my Noble Friend (Earl Winterton) said as to (c), that it is an unworkable and undesirable provision to put into the Bill. I was amazed to hear the Home Secretary, not tell us whether or not these are desirable or workable provisions, but say that they have actually been included in the Order in Council which was signed eighteen months ago and for the time being is the law of the land.
§ Mr. INSKIP
The right hon. Gentleman did not explain that. I am obliged to him for explaining that (c) has been omitted. I infer that everything except (c) has been included in the Order in Council.
§ Mr. INSKIP
We are in the dark as to what is the law of the land and how long it will be the law of the land, and whether these proposals are in agreement with the 119 opinion of the Home Secretary, or whether his experience leads him to believe that these are undesirable provisions.
§ Mr. SHORTT
The difference is that the words "in reasonable condition and comfort" arc not in. "He is in a position to support himself and his dependants." TT at is the way the Order in Council runs "(c)" is not in. All the other things are in the Order in Council, but the Order in Council goes still further.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. INSKIP
The right hon. Gentleman helps us to this extent, that some of these provisions are in the Order in Council and some are not. I infer from his explanation that he is opposed to this Amendment in the form in which it stands at present although generally speaking he is in favour of it for the time being. So far as he knows, subject to experience, he will 'be in favour of it being made a permanency in the Bill which he contemplates a year hence. But the speeches which will be delivered will inevitably direct themselves to the desirability of these provisions, as to which we are more or less in the dark in spite of the right hon. Gentleman's explanation. The really important point now is the point raised by the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Butcher) and my Noble Friend (Earl Winterton), whether or not this provision is to be in the Bill or whether it is to be enacted by Order in Council. Speaking for myself, if that was the point on which I had to give my vote, I have not the least doubt I should give it against the proposal that the Order in -Council is to govern us. The right hon. Gentleman was careful to say these matters should be left open in order that-the Orders in Council might improve them. But matters are left over not only-that they may be improved, but they may be worsened if someone comes with an opinion different from that which I think is the temper of the House. I should like to know whether the Home Secretary will not on reconsideration advise the House as to whether or not these proposals are in his opinion desirable in order that we may have these two questions disentangled, as to whether we are to be governed by Order in Council, and whether these are proper proposals to be put forward, assuming that the Bill is to settle the question and not an Order in Council. I cannot help thinking from what the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Lieut.-Colonel 120 Thorne) says about the typewritten Amendment which he was able to secure but which I was not able to obtain, that the Government is in a considerable state of doubt as to what it intends and what it does not intend. I notice that there is not a single Amendment down by the Government on the Paper. We are in the dark as to what the Government's intentions are. I hope the Government will make up their minds as to whether they will legislate by Order in Council or by Act of Parliament, and that they should then come and tell the House what they think is desirable to go into the provisions dealing with aliens, and what their intentions are, in order that we may consider the matter and have a reasonable opportunity of giving our best attention to it, and that meanwhile they should withdraw the Report stage of the Bill and have the matter put down for discussion in a week's time, or whenever the Government have been able to make up their minds upon this question.
§ Colonel YATE
The objection of the Home Secretary to putting this Order in Council in the Bill passes my comprehension. He tells us that we are in an experimental stage. That is one of the reasons for not putting the Regulations of the Order in Council in the Bill. The premises of the right hon. Gentleman are entirely wrong, and his conclusion falls to the ground. We have the experience of every other nation in the world. We have been told that all the nations have stipulations and regulations to the effect of the present proposals. Why does the Home Secretary come here and say we are in an experimental stage? The whole world has had experience, and we ought to benefit by their experience. As the Noble Lord (Earl Winterton) said, this question has gone on for fifteen years, and we want something to be finally settled. I ask the Home Secretary to make up his mind and to say that the Order in Council should be put into the Bill, so that the whole thing can be settled once for all.
§ Mr. BILLING
What I understood the Home Secretary to say was that the present Order in Council is stronger than this Amendment. If that is so, the Home Secretary has conceded the principle for which we are fighting. He also said that he did not propose to put it into the Bill, and he told us that in his opinion legislation by Order in Council is more facile 121 than legislation by this House. If I am wrong I hope lie will correct me. He said that it was advisable to legislate by Order in Council than to proceed by legislation by this House. Am I right in saying that? If I am not right, there is no objection to putting this into the Bill. The Home Secretary has told us that by Order in Council, already passed—a copy of which I have not been able to get in the Vote Office—this principle is provided for and is the law of the land. We wish to make it the law of the land as sanctioned by Parliament. The Home Secretary objects; therefore I say the issue is distinct, It is whether or not this House is to make the laws of this land in the future, or whether we are to drift in regard to these matters and because the Government cannot make up their minds and the House has not the courage to press it we are to end by being governed by Order in Council. I regret that there are not sufficient Members at the present time to make a sufficient Lobby. Had they listened to the last half-dozen speeches, and in particular if they had analysed the Home Secretary's speech, the Government would be defeated in this Division.
I think the whole House is at one on the really important point, not as to precise details as to whether (c) is to stand or not, but on the framework of this measure. I do not wish to put this point upon the ground of what is going to be said at the next General Election, or whether the Government are redeeming the pledges they gave at the last election. I do not want to say whether or not the Government has made up its mind. I think the Government has made up its mind. The Order in Council is there, I do not want to make any attack in that sense; the issue goes much deeper than that. Whatever party is going to be in power, it is absolutely essential that Parliament should have the confidence of the country—that the country should believe that Parliament is taking a definite interest in these matters, that matters are threshed out in Parliament and settled in Parliament, and that the registered will of the people, as expressed by their representatives in Parliament, goes into Acts of Parliament and governs the situation. I believe that is the collective opinion of every Member, no matter on what bench he sits. If that be so, the Home Secretary would be expressing the complete sense of 122 every section of the House which wishes to make the position of Parliament supreme if he would lay aside this legislation by Order in Council and accept this Clause. I am certain that we could agree upon a Clause that we could insert in the body of the Bill. The average person does not read Orders in Council. If he wants to read the law he may have to read the Acts of Parliament. What he does read is the papers. If you do not put the complete Clause in this Bill but give the Home Secretary the power to legislate by Order in Council, what will be said outside is simply this, that the. Government have taken new administrative power, and tint, they have taken power to do what they want in a Star Chamber way. That is what will be said, because the Government will have taken the wrong way of doing the thing. The Home Secretary would not weaken his position in any sense if he would adopt the course we suggest.
§ Sir H. NIELD
I want to call attention to what happened last December. There was an Order in Council, Number 22B, which prevented the employment of aliens in certain work. Parliament rose on the, 18th December and that Order was revoked on the 20th, and there was no possible means of dealing with the matter. Then we were told with the greatest effrontery that it was desirable to release these aliens from the obligations of the Order so that they might go to work on munitions. That is the way Departments do their work. It is because Departments have not the time that the Home Secretary is in the uncomfortable position of not having the Amendments on the Order Paper, and consequently we are at a disadvantage. It is all a question of administrative convenience and time. As I pointed out, the bureaucrat is the only man who dissented from the conclusions of the Commission of 1903. When I look at this report and see what was at that moment reported to be the state of law, not only in our own Dominions, but in foreign countries, including the United States, I find that in every case the substance of the present proposition is included, not by administrative order but by an Act of the country or the Dominion or dependency to which it related. I invite the Home Secretary's consideration of that fact. There was not one case in which this matter was dealt with by administrative decree. In every case it was a matter 123 of statute. If the House had time to consider this matter in relation to the report as to what was found to be the state of the permanent law in all these other countries, they would find that every one of the case except "c" is amply covered, and in some cases more than covered. The hon. Member for West Ham is under a delusion if he thinks the Government are going to accept responsibility for the Bill as it stands. After what took place in Committee I believe we are to face an attempt to diminish what is in the Bill and what was put there by the Committee. It would be a fair compromise to ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Second Reading of this Clause and to let the Bill go to another place. We should then have a better guarantee of getting what the people want; but I very much fear that when we see the Home Secretary's Amendments we shall find that an attempt has been made to whittle down what we have acheived in Committee. I ask the Home
§ Secretary to agree to this in order to prevent misrepresentation outside as to the attitude of the Government.
§ Sir H. NIELD
Well, do not give them foundation for it. What you are doing now is giving an ample basis upon which the most unscrupulous can raise a fabric which it will take us all our time to demolish. We have fought for the Government and their good faith. We are still fighting in by-elections for the Government and its good faith. How much longer can we go on fighting for their good faith if these kind of tactics are to be pursued? I ask the Home Secretary to abandon an impossible attitude and to adopt this Clause, subject to its being amended in the form which has been indicated.
Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 102; Noes, 157.125
|Division No. 110.]||AYES.||[8.13 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Greame, Major P. Lloyd||Oman, C. W. C.|
|Archdale, Edward M.||Greene, Lt. Col. W. (Hackney, N.)||Parkinson, Albert L. (Blackpool)|
|Ashley, Col. Wilfred W||Greer, Harry||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. F. W||Gretton, Colonel John||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Balfour. George (Hampstead)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Perring, William George|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Hanna, G. B.||Pickering, Col. Emil W.|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar (Banff)||Hennessy, Major G.||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Bell, Lt.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel F.||Pownall, Lt.-Colonel Assheton|
|Betterton, H. B.||Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)||Preston, W. R.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Jones, William Kennady (Hornsey)||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Billing, Noel Pemberton||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Birchall, Major J. D.||Kidd, James||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||King, Commander Douglas||Romer, J. B.|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Knights, Captain H.||Richardson, Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, N.)||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Rogers, Sir Hallowell|
|Bruton, Sir J.||Law. A. J. (Rochdale)||Roundell, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Buckley, Lieut. Colonel A||Lloyd, George Butler||Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R. (Torquay)||Lorden, John William||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Butcher, Sir J. G.||Lort-Williams, J.||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Campbell, J. G. D.||Lyle, C. E. Leonard (Strafford)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carter, R. A. D. (Manchester)||Lynn, R. J.||Sykes, Sir C. (Huddersfield)|
|Cayzer, Major H. R.||McNeill, Ronald (Canterbury)||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Chadwick, R. Burton||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Maddocks, Henry||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General G. K.||Mitchell, William Lane||Williams, Lt-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General R. B.||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Willoughby, Lt.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Morden, Colonel H. Grant||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Davidson, Major-Gen. Sir John H.||Murchison, C. K.||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington)||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Dockrell, Sir M.||Nelson, R. F. W. R||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfrey||Nicholl, Com. Sir Edward||Young, Sir F. W. (Swindon)|
|Lange, E. S.||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Goff. Sir R. Park||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Gould, J. C.||Norton-Griffiths, Lt.-Col. Sir J.||Hopkins and Mr. Sugden.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Cairns, John|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Brcese, Major C. E.||Cape, Tom|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Briant, F.||Carr, W. T.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Briggs, Harold||Carter, W. (Mansfield)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Britton, G. B.||Churchill. Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Brown, J. (Ayr and Bute)||Cohen, Major J. B. B.|
|Blades, Sir George R.||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Colfox, Major W. P.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Burden, Colonel Rowland||Coote, Colin R. (Isle of Ely)|
|Cope, Major W. (Glamorgan)||Irving, Dan||Rowlands, James|
|Cory, Sir James Herbert (Cardiff)||Johnson, L. S.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Davies, Alfred (Ciitheroe)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Davies, T. (Cirencester)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Jones, J. (Silvertown)||Seager, Sir William|
|Dawes, J. A.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Kiley, James Daniel||Short, A. (Wednesbury)|
|Edgar. Clifford||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E.(N'castle-on-T., W.)|
|Edge, Captain William||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Sitch, C. H.|
|Edwards, C. (Bedwellty)||Lewis, T. A. (Pontypridd, Glam.)||Smith, Capt. A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Smith, W. (Wellingborough)|
|Elliot, Captain W. E. (Lanark)||Lunn, William||Spencer, George A.|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Lyle-Samuel, A. (Eye, E. Suffolk)||Spoor. B. G.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander||Mackinder, Halford J.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (Ashton)|
|Falcon, Captain M.||M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||M'Lean, Lt.-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg)||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.|
|Finney, Samuel||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Magnus, Sir Philip||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Forrest, W.||Malone, Major P. (Tottenham, S.)||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Manville, Edward||Taylor, J. (Dumbarton)|
|Ganzoni, Captain F. C.||Mason, Robert||Terrell, Capt. R. (Henley, Oxford)|
|Gardiner, J. (Perth)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Gibbs. Colonel George Abraham||Morison, T. B. (Inverness)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Mosley, Oswald||Thorne, Col. W. (Plaistow)|
|Gilmour, Lieut. Colonel John||Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)||Thorpe. J. H.|
|Green, J. F. (Leicester)||Neal, Arthur||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Greenwood, Col. Sir Hamar||Newbould, A. E.||Waddington, R.|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Parker, James||Wallace, J.|
|Griggs, Sir Peter||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York.)||Pratt, John William||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Hacking, Colonel D. H.||Pulley, Charles Thornton||Wedgwood. Colonel Josiah C.|
|Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Purchase, H. G.||Whitla, Sir William|
|Hartshorn, V.||Raeburn, Sir William||Wignall, James|
|Hayward, Major Evan||Rattan, Peter Wilson||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Henderson. Arthur||Rankin, Capt. James S.||Williams, A. (Consett, Durham)|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Hinds, John||Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N.||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Reid, D. D.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Richards, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)|
|Hogge, J. M.||Richardson, R. (Houghton)||Wood, Maj. Mackenzie (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Roberts, F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)||Rodger, A. K.||TELLERS FOR THE. NOES.—Capt.|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Rothschild, Lionel de||Guest and Lord E. Talbot.|
|Hurst, Major G. B.|
Question put, and agreed to.