HC Deb 05 May 1955 vol 540 cc1887-8
32. Lieut-Colonel Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can now make a statement on the control of the immigration of British subjects into the United Kingdom.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I regret that I am unable to add to previous answers on this subject.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that as long ago as 16th December the Home Secretary said he was considering the matter, that rumours of restrictions or bans have only served to increase the rate of emigration from the West Indies to this country, and that 1,500 people came this week? In those circumstances, will he come to an early decision on what is constituting a very serious problem, not only for the immigrants, but for local authorities in this country?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

My right hon. and gallant Friend is, of course, aware that this is an important and urgent question, but he has no powers to deal with it. It would be necessary to amend the law, and I do not think the hon. and gallant Member would suggest that that is a matter which might be undertaken very lightly or quickly.

Mr. Vane

Is there any other part of the British Commonwealth to which all British subjects can emigrate on the same terms as they can to this country?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I should like to have notice of that question.

Mr. K. Robinson

Whilst not accepting the necessity for control in this case, may I ask the hon. Gentleman why he and the Colonial Secretary have not set up a committee to inquire into the living conditions which are displacing these immigrants, as there is only the sketchiest information in either of the Departments?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I think that goes beyond the limits of this Question. Of course the question of an inquiry of that sort has received consideration.

Sir F. Medlicott

Is it not desirable that some machinery should be set up for ascertaining the numbers of these people, so that at least we can find the size of the problem?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

That is part of the question which was asked by the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson).

Mr. Robens

Would it not be much better if the hon. Gentleman consulted the Colonial Secretary to ensure that conditions in the Colonies were such that vast numbers of immigrants would not want to come to England for employment?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

That is not really a fair statement of the position. As the right hon. Member knows, conditions have somewhat improved in the Colonies mainly concerned.

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