HC Deb 21 June 1955 vol 542 cc1142-4
45. Mr. Osborne

asked the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government will discuss the problems arising from Jamaican immigration into this country with the Chief Minister of Jamaica now he is in England; and what steps are being taken to regulate all immigration into the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister (Sir Anthony Eden)

While my right hon. Friend, the Colonial Secretary, would be glad to take the opportunity to discuss appropriate aspects of this subject with the Chief Minister of Jamaica, the regulation of immigration into this country remains the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. I have no further statement to make on this subject at the present time.

Mr. Osborne

Does not my right hon. Friend think it reasonable that Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom should have the same powers as have the Governments in almost every Commonwealth country, in that they can exclude the criminal, the idle and the unfit of all races? Does not my right hon. Friend consider that similar steps should be taken in this country?

The Prime Minister

With respect to my hon. Friend, I do not think that that is the Question which he has on the Order Paper. The answer to his supplementary question is that the immigration of aliens as such has been controlled in this country for many years, while British subjects are free to enter and to remain here without restriction.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the Prime Minister give an assurance, in connection with any restrictions in this field, that no action will be taken except in full consultation with the Government of Jamaica?

The Prime Minister

I think that the answer which I have given shows quite clearly that this is not a matter only for the Government of Jamaica or even, if I may say so, mainly for the Government of Jamaica. The main responsibility lies with Her Majesty's Government in this country. Consultation with the colonial Government can and no doubt will go on in relation to certain aspects of the problem which concern them. That is no doubt what the right hon. Gentleman has in mind. But the responsibility is ours.

Mr. Stokes

Does not the Prime Minister agree that he could get out of the difficulty if he reverted to the Labour Party's policy of bulk purchase so that these people could be properly employed in their own countries? That is the difficulty.

The Prime Minister

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has such simplicity of thought at this time.