HC Deb 12 December 1961 vol 651 cc233-354

4.12 p.m.

Mr. Donald Chapman (Birmingham, Northfield)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, to leave out subsection (4).

The Chairman

This Amendment concerns both British protected persons and citizens of the Republic of Ireland. I would remind hon. Members that I have provisionally selected the following Amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), in page 2, line 6, leave out from "to" to "citizens" in line 7, which relates to British protected persons only.

I think that it would be for the convenience of the Committee, therefore, if, on this Amendment, discussion of British protected persons were excluded. if the debate does cover British protected persons then, clearly, I cannot call the following Amendment

Mr. Chapman

I am obliged to you, Sir Gordon.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. To avoid the repetition of a certain amount of confusion which arose when we were last in Committee on the Bill, may I ask you this? You have said that these Amendments are to be discussed together. [HON. MEMBERS: "Separately."] I beg your pardon; they are to be discussed separately.

Mr. Chapman

The procedure which you have outlined, Sir Gordon, is certainly convenient to hon. Members on this side of the Committee and I am sure that it will commend itself to hon. Members. It is that we should devote this discussion to the position of the Irish. May I make clear, in moving the Amendment, that we regard it as what I think Parliament and this Committee call a probing Amendment. The purpose is to find what are the Government's intentions relating to the various announcements made by the Home Secretary on the future of the Irish under the Bill, and also to ask the Government certain questions which arise as a result of the statements the Home Secretary has made from time to time.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman wants to make progress with the Bill and wants to keep the temperature of the Committee down this week. We hope that he will respond in the way we intend in putting forward this Amendment and not try to distort our intention to follow Parliamentary procedure, which means that this is the obvious way in which to raise the question of the Irish. Lest there should be any confusion at all about the views of the Opposition on the question of the Irish under the Bill, I quote what my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said on 5th December: I want to make it perfectly clear that none of us on this side wants to keep out the Irish. Indeed, our intention is the opposite; we want them all in. He meant all parts of the Commonwealth. He went on to say: We want them all to have the same present right to come in, but we say that it would be monstrous to give the Irish, who are not Commonwealth citizens, who are not citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, a preferential status over those who are."—[OFFICIAL RFPORT, 5th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1262.] This fully expresses the views of the Opposition and I hope that it carries the views of some hon. Members opposite.

4.15 p.m.

We have had announcements from the Home Secretary. The main one was made during the Second Reading of the Bill. He knows that this matter has now become the most controversial part of the Bill. I remind the Home Secretary of what The Times said on the day after he had made the announcement. This summary of the situation should be in our minds when we are discussing this matter. In an editorial headed, "From bad to worse," The Times quoted my right hon. Friend as getting the Home Secretary firmly between two horns of a dilemma, one of which was hypocrisy and the other bungling, The article also said: For Mr. Butler there seems no escape between them…Finally, we have to consider whether the Bill, eviscerated as it is qua a non-discriminatory measure by the exemption of the Irish, is any longer capable of being acceptable at all with any shred of decency. Even though we realize of the fullest extent the disadvantages and dangers of full integration, the answer must be that it is not. If it were accepted in this form, we should be branded as a people to whom principle must in all matters give way to expediency. Those are very powerful words from The Times in condemnation of the Home Secretary's pronouncement on the Bill. All of us in our political lives have to take hard knocks and we have to tale criticisms that our views are wrong, but I cannot remember a time when a Home Secretary, a right hon. Gentleman who has held such exceedingly important positions in the Government of this country, with the approval of a first leader in The Times, has been virtually called a hypocrite and bungler, or both, and a man whose actions would lead to this country being branded as a people who gave way on all matters of principle to expediency.

Those words were, indeed, hard words. I have been wondering whether the Home Secretary, in years to come, will not have great cause to regret the action that he has taken in this part of the Bill, which has brought condemnation from many sections of the population.

I shall read another quotation which I am sure is typical of what is being said in the country. This is what happened in a Methodist church in my constituency. A letter reached me yesterday from the secretary of the church, the society steward, as he is called. He enclosed a petition signed in the church porch by the ordinary members of the congregation as they left their Sunday morning service. It was a petition in support of a resolution which was read this weekend in every Methodist church in Birmingham. I am not misleading the Committee by quoting parts of it, but I wish to read the centre section of the letter, because that is the core.

The petition says that the Bill will have a distastrous effect throughout the Commonwealth, where it will be seen as colour discrimination. We appeal to Her Majesty's Government to withdraw the Bill. We believe that any control of immigration that may be necessary should be not by legislation, but by consultation and should be fairly applied to all people seeking to enter the United Kingdom without regard to country of origin, race, colour or religion. This is typical of the wave of indignation which has been sweeping the country and which not only has caused church people and others to condemn this aspect of the Government's policy, but also, and very significantly, has caused many of our leading newspapers to swap sides on the Bill. We had lukewarm condemnation of the Bill or outright support of it before this announcement about the exemption of the Irish, but as soon as the exemption was announced, mostly the newspapers followed The Times—"From bad to worse", "bungling", or "hypocrisy", or whatever one chooses to call it. The leading newspapers condemned the Government's attitude and the turn of events taken when the Irish were excluded.

Has the Home Secretary seen a direct result in one part of the Commonwealth of his decision to exempt the Irish? I speak of Jamaica, because I know a good deal about it. I was astounded by what happened in Jamaica after the decision to exempt the Irish. It was reported that in Jamaica there was a procession of protests, and that this procession filled the whole width of a street in Kingston. As the streets in Kingston are not unduly narrow, there must have been many people abreast. It took them fifteen minutes to pass a checkpoint. This must have been quite a procession. The speeches made at the mass meeting which followed were in condemnation of the British Government's racial Bill, its colour-prejudiced legislation, and that is entirely based on the obvious interpretation which any member of the Commonwealth must make of the Government's decision to exempt the Irish.

Mr. Hugh Delargy (Thurrock)

Was this meeting merely to protest against the Irish being left out, or was it not rather a meeting of protest against the whole rotten Bill?

Mr. Chapman

The point is that the size of the demonstration was due to the fact that it had become clear that this is a racially discriminatory Bill. My hon. Friend is right that there is intense feeling throughout the West Indies about the Bill as a whole.

After that introduction I come to the specific points which I wish to raise. First, will the Home Secretary give some idea of the size of the continual immigration from Ireland? Throughout the discussions on the Bill we have been in the difficulty that no one has known the precise figures about anything. One of the disgraceful things about the Government's introduction of the Bill is that half the figures which are fundamental to the Bill apparently have never been collected.

In respect of the Irish, the best estimate I am able to find is in the Report of the Oversea Migration Board, which indicates that the figure is about 70,000 annually.

Mr. Harold Gurden (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

Before the hon. Member presses on with the point, will he make it clear whether he is trying to represent, in his references to public feeling and the newspapers, that the majority of people are against the Bill? Does he not realise that a vast number of people, certainly many from his constituency, are in favour of the Bill, even though for the time being a way cannot be found round the Irish question?

Mr. Chapman

On matters of principle, like The Times, I do not give way to expediency. I hope that hon. Members opposite agree with that point of view.

I will come to the precise position of the Irish in a moment. The figures seem to indicate an annual influx of about 70,000. The exemption of 70,000 out of the figure of 170,000 given by the Over-sea Migration Board means that the Home Secretary is throwing away a large part of the whole case about the size of the inflow of migrants. That is what happens when he exempts the Irish, and it makes nonsense of the Bill. In other words, the Government are dropping 70,000 out of 170,000, nearly half, light-heartedly, with a few sentences suggesting that it makes no difference to all the remainder of the legislation.

Mr. John Hobson (Warwick and Leamington)


Mr. Chapman

I prefer not to give way. The hon. Member can raise the point later. I should like to get on with my speech.

If the Government use the powers in the remainder of the Bill to exclude coloured migrants from the Commonwealth, is it not possible that there will be a stepping up of migrants From Ireland? I do not particularly grumble about that. The Opposition are glad to have the migrants and believe that we should be making room for them and providing houses so that everybody we need to do work will also be housed. On the other hand, it will make more than nonsense of the Bill if the effect of cutting down the number of coloured migrants is to put up by 50 per cent. the number of Irish who come here every year. Is not this bound to be the case if we cut down the number of migrants from the Commonwealth?

Exactly what is to happen about the situation which a number of my hon. Friends raised during the debate in Committee on 5th December? They asked what would happen if Commonwealth countries begin to evade the Bill by unloading their boats at Southern Irish ports, and then bringing the migrants overland to Northern Ireland or to Irish ports and across to this country. What would happen? The Home Secretary said, first, that he had read in the Irish newspapers that the Southern Irish Government were intending to impose control at their ports. I quote what he said from column 1185 of the OFFICIAL REPORT: What I have read in the newspapers is the statement made by the Foreign Secretary of the Irish Republic that they were intending to impose control at their ports. No sort of persuasion or anything else has come into the matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1961 Vol. 650, c. 1186.] I wonder. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us a firm assurance that the British Government—I do not mean the word offensively, but I must use it—have not tried to blackmail the Irish Government into imposing this control in their ports? Is it not obvious that gentle hints have been dropped in Southern Ireland, "If you allow this sort of thing to happen through your ports we shall have to find a way of controlling the influx of the Irish people into the United Kingdom"? Is it not obvious that this is what happened? Would it not be better for the reputation both of the Home Secretary and of Parliament to "come clean," as it were, and to tell us that it has happened and that there is no point in concealing the fact that these gentle hints have been dropped.

Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin)


Mr. Chapman

I have given way several times and I prefer not to give way again.

My hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) raised a specific question when he asked: What happens to the Jamaican who arrives in Cork and comes to this country from Dublin? Will he be in the same position as the Irish in the way the Home Secretary has now described it? This is the significant part of the Home Secretary's reply: Our general intention is to impose a control on Commonwealth Immigrants… He was including the Irish. I can only trust to the ingenuity of the immigration officers to deal with any situation that may arise."—-[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1189.] What does that mean? Does it mean that the immigration officers are to watch over the boatloads coming from Ireland—because that is precisely what the Home Secretary said? He will have immigration officers watching whether there are any black faces coming over from Ireland. Is this so? If so, we should be told. Is it the Government's intention to make a new departure in the system of control of entry from Northern and Southern Ireland whereby migrants or people travelling from their ports are watched and checked in at British ports by immigration officers?

If so, that is very important indeed, and it makes such a big departure from our established practice that I think that, first, we ought to know, and, secondly, the Northern Ireland Government ought to know about it; and have it made clear to us how the whole matter is developing.

4.30 p.m.

My third question is what is the use of keeping in the Bill the Irish provision with regard to deportation? What the Home Secretary has said is that there is no point in trying to control the entry of the Irish; it is an impossibility. What, in heaven's name, is to happen about the Irishman who, after committing a crime here, is sent back to the Republic of Ireland? Surely, he will be able to catch the next boat back again? Or, if not from the Republic, he can go into Northern Ireland, and catch the next boat but one back again. I do not see how we can possibly work this section on deportation if there is no possibility of preventing the criminal from coming back again.

That leads me to my fourth question. What is the use of saying, both to us and to Ireland, that reserve powers are being kept in the Bill to control the flow, if nothing can be done about it? After all, the right hon. Gentleman has been quoting precedents back to the time of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), who was Home Secretary in the Labour Government, and, building himself on fifty years' administrative experience, saying that nothing can be done. What is the use, therefore, of pretending that these reserve powers in the Bill to control the Irish mean anything at all?

The last question I want to ask is precisely what the Home Secretary meant when, in speaking on 5th December, he attempted to tell us what the Government propose to do about the future? I will quote from column 1186. I am wondering what it all boils down to. He said: We propose between now and the time when this Measure needs to be renewed to take every possible precaution to obtain information about the scope and nature of the problem of Irish immigration. We intend to do that by investigating the insurance cards laid with the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance; to approach it through the records of the Ministry of Labour, and, if necessary, to approach it by using the power contained in the First Schedule to impose the need for landing Cards.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1186.] Again, could we have this clearly explained? Is it to be the case that, after the passing of the Bill, people coming from Northern and Southern Ireland will have to have landing cards? The question I have already asked about immigration officers is relevant, because it means that there is to be a full-scale new system of checks at the ports of entry from Ireland. Further, what is it that the right hon. Gentleman is trying to collect by way of information?

I have tried to put these questions courteously. I think that we ought to receive full and frank answers about the future of Ireland under the Bill. Before I conclude, I want to say that we have had from hon. Gentlemen opposite—and the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) is one of them—a great deal of complaint about the position of coloured migrants with respect to law-breaking, health checks and all the rest. The hon. Member has implied, and I do not think that I am treating him unfairly in saying this, that the average Commonwealth coloured citizen is not law-abiding, or that, at any rate, his rate of indulgence in crime is above the average, and he implied, too, that his health is below standard.

I reject that answer, and so, thank heaven, does the Home Secretary as well. I think that we are entitled to point out that we are not throwing stones, but that it is important to point out to hon. Members opposite who have taken this stand against coloured immigrants, that there are social and health problems with all immigrants, but they are not on the scale which the hon. Member makes out. But if these problems do exist, we obviously want to make it clear that they exist as much in respect of the Irish as of any coloured Commonwealth citizen. That is not to blacken the name of the Irish, but frankly to admit the situation.

I say to hon. Members opposite that they will do themselves a great deal more good in the country if they "come clean" on this issue, too, and admit that social problems exist, though I do not think that they are on such a large scale that need cause panic at all, but that, in so far as they do exist, they exist independent of the countries of origin.

I take one more quotation from The Times, again from the day after the Government's intentions about the Irish had been announced during the Second Reading of the Bill. It was the result of an investigation made by The Times in Birmingham, and it was headlined, "Wicked To Apply Curbs Only on Coloured." It ain't fair', a Jamaican labourer said outside Handsworth Employment Exchange today; and that will be a polite summing-up of the way many people are thinking in Birmingham. The Government proposal to exclude Republican Irishmen from the terms of the Immigration Bill seems likely to be widely unpopular in the dingy and disturbed streets of the city's multi-racial areas. The Times goes on to say in part of this report that vicars and other people who are concerned with social problems in that big city said quite frankly that the Irish are just as much, if not more, a problem than any coloured immigrant coming to this country. Let us get that on the record. I am not suggesting that it is the Jamaican or the man with a black face who causes all the trouble.

Hon. Members opposite, by their light handed attitude, are themselves making a mockery of our multi-racial Commonwealth. It is true that people coming to these islands, whether from Ireland or elsewhere, meet conditions in which they do not immediately fit into the higher social standards of this country. We ought to think that we should try to educate them to accept our standards, if higher, and not give way to panic, as so many hon. Members opposite have done, the moment problems arise.

The case which we put to the Committee is that the Bill has become a racial Measure by this exclusion of nearly one half of the immigrants coming to Britain, as listed by the Oversea Migration Board. It is a disgrace that that has happened. It means that Britain's name is being trampled upon abroad, and that in many parts of the Commonwealth faith in our protestations about the absence of colour prejudice in our society is being shaken. It is disgusting that this part of the Government's case has ever been revealed in the way it has been dragged in as an afterthought by the Home Secretary.

"We suddenly discovered that we cannot apply this provision of the Bill", the right hon. Gentleman said. This is not the way to treat the British Parliament in introducing legislation, nor is it the way to treat the proudly multiracial members of the British Commonwealth.

Mr. W. F. Deedes (Ashford)

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) will be aware that, although I do not by any means accept what he said, many of us on this side of the Committee will be grateful to him for having raised this aspect of the Bill, and for the broad terms in which he, and the Chair, have enabled us to discuss it.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary accepts, at least I hope he does, that many of us have suffered a degree of perplexity over this issue, and this is not only confined to these or those benches, but is very widely felt. I think that it is, in fact, excusable perplexity. It is true that months ago, when the proposals were first being discussed, the Government publicly warned the country that the Irish constituted a problem, and much that has been done and said since then has apparently been designed to justify this forecast. It is hardly reduced by the decision to include in the Bill the subsection which the Amendment seeks to delete, and yet continued emphasis has been placed on the difficulty of producing a practical scheme to implement it immediately.

That this should have provoked some feeling is really hardly surprising. It is obvious, and the hon. Gentleman expressed the point in his speech, that some would interpret it in some quarters as discrimination on a colour basis. Less obvious, but no less strong, is the feeling against discrimination in favour of the Irish Republic and against the rest of the Commonwealth. This is a rather different point. I do not want to dwell on it, but it is not difficult to account for. The Irish Republic was one of the first English-speaking countries to contract out of the Commonwealth on grounds which suited it, and its conduct, though emphatically not that of its sons, in the Second World War was somewhat less than distinguished.

On those two considerations alone the Government might expect a volume of feeling on this issue which cannot be lightly dismissed. Yet, up to now, on the indications that we have had, the Government have felt that, administratively, it would be very difficult to meet it in the way in which some hon. Gentlemen would like to see it met.

The grounds may be solid, and without technical knowledge it is difficult to contest them, yet I am a little perplexed, for this reason. We operate, not unsuccessfully, a close immigration policy for aliens. This puts a big question mark over some, but not all, of the points made against an effective system for administering Irish immigration. Either Ireland represents a bigger hole in the aliens immigration net than we think, or the difficulties advanced against any system of effectively controlling them landing here must be a little less than they would appear. All this leads one to search for a more rational explanation of the Government's attitude.

The nub of the Bill lies not in the Clause we are now discussing, but in Clause 2, and, in particular, subsection (2) and, quite specifically—this will give the Committee the clue that I have in mind—the last words on page (i) of the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum, which run: and to applicants outside these categories subject to any limit which the Government may from time to time consider necessary. That seems to me to be the nub, and to this extent the Committee is in a difficulty in discussing this point because the heart of the Bill will be discussed later in our proceedings. No doubt when we reach that stage we shall hear in perhaps more detail how it is proposed to implement this provision for applicants outside these categories subject to any limit which the Government may from time to time consider necessary. I put it no higher than this for the moment. I think it possible that the Government may envisage something rather different from what most of us have been led, or have led ourselves, to expect. I am only thinking aloud, and it may be contradicted. They may feel that if and when the dust created by the Bill has died down, and the pressure to beat the gun has eased, the pressure of immigrants on this country may be such that only the lightest of controls will be necessary.

Indeed, it is not altogether impossible to envisage a situation in which there is practically no restriction on the number of immigrants entering this country. Even if it is not felt, it may in some circles, be hoped. I do not quarrel with that, nor, I think, would a number of other hon. Members. At the same time, and this we have all recognised, circumstances may arise when, for economic reasons, a more stringent attitude must be adopted towards immigrants.

4.45 p.m.

This is purely surmise, but it perhaps offers some clue to this situation. I have a feeling that it is those circumstances, and not the present circumstances, to which the Bill is mainly directed in this respect. The proposals for health checks and deportation stand good in these times as in other times, but they do not represent the most controversial aspects of the Bill. Perhaps, therefore, it is not altogether fanciful to envisage a situation immediately ahead, when things remain roughly as they are today, when the teeth of the Bill, or what appear to be the teeth, will in fact do very little biting.

It is obvious that if the situation should arise—and it is by no means impossible—when Commonwealth immigrants fall to a level of a year or two ago, below, that is, the unusual level of 1961, the teeth will not be used at all. The Bill may cool the ardour of some aspiring immigrants. This leads me to think that it may be possible that what the Bill is aimed at is not so much restriction, but reserve powers.

Could it be that what we are really considering are emergency powers? I assure the Committee that I am merely speculating and am prepared to be shot down about this. If this is anywhere near the mark, a great deal which has appeared mysterious, in particular in relation to the Amendment, ceases to be mysterious, because this dog, it is devoutly hoped, will do nothing in the night. That is the mysterious incident.

Obviously, the Clause which the Amendment seeks to amend must be in the Bill, because if our economic circumstances change, the Government—Labour or Conservative—might be confronted with a situation in which severe restriction became necessary, and perhaps quite quickly, and Ireland could and would, have to be checked, whether Ulster liked it or not.

But that hypothesis carries another meaning. If, in present circumstances it is believed, or hoped, that this restraint, when it comes to the point, will operate very lightly indeed, or possibly not at all, then the Irish policy which has been offered to us becomes not altogether inconsistent. Obviously, there is little point in now creating a situation with passports and all the rest which Ulster would fight, and would be right to fight, to establish control over the Irish which may not have to be applied to the other Commonwealth immigrants.

Mr. Chapman

I should like to think that the Bill was a dead letter, as suggested by the hon. Gentleman, but may I draw his attention to what the Home Secretary said on Second Reading? He said: Most people, I think, would agree that eventually an influx on the present scale would have to be controlled."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 16th November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 687.] The right hon. Gentleman was not talking about figures rising. He was talking about the present figure.

Mr. Deedes

We have been led to understand that the figure is in the region of 130,000 this year. It all depends on what scale one has in mind. It is something about which we have not had a clear picture.

Neither is there much point in devising a system—and here I have great sympathy with my right hon. Friend—with elaborate administrative machinery, possibly involving the creation of additional penalties in this country, to exercise control which will not be seriously applied elsewhere, if it can possibly be avoided.

If these surmises are anywhere near the mark, it is not difficult to perceive the nature of my right hon. Friend's dilemma, for, while a hint to this effect would ease the minds of many who are concerned over the apparent discrimination in favour of the Irish Republic, that hint would also provoke reactions elsewhere. It would not be well received by my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne).

I readily recognise that here the Bill stands on a point somewhere between Scylla and Charybdis. It is a very unenviable position and to that extent my speculations may appear rather unfair. They are not so intended. What I have said is said with this consideration in mind.

I do not think that the Government can back this horse both ways. Irish horses are notoriously awkward customers. They have a way of jumping Irish walls, but are not so good in English hands. In seeking to obtain the best of both worlds we could be led perhaps into the position of getting the worst of both worlds.

If, at the back of the Government's mind, is a hope and expectation that the main provision of the Bill—the issue which has provoked the main controversy—may not have to be applied to anything like the extent this year's figures or our general approach to the Bill had led us to believe, the Government would be well advised to bring hon. Members nearer to that realisation.

In that event, the Irish problem does not disappear, but it tends to diminish, to be a much less significant point than the hon. Member for Northfield had in mind when introducing the Amendment. It diminishes to a point when the Government's attitude would appear, I think even to hon. Members opposite, as rational and logical.

Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)

Has the hon. Member considered the possibility of Irishmen being recognised by their voices? They are quite distinctive. Surely a scheme could be devised whereby Irishmen could be recognised at the ports in this way. I understand that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hoghes) has been taken for Irish.

Mr. Deedes

I am half Irish, so the hon. Gentleman may be able to recognise my voice. I am not suggesting that anyone is being misled. I am merely asking whether we can be informed about expectations and how far the Government really expect that the main provisions of the Bill will bite. Such a point really ought not to provoke uproar. What I and some hon. Friends of mine desire to see is greatly improved arrangements for administration, welfare, and, above all, housing these people, which would, of course, redound greatly to the benefit of our own people as well as to the migrants.

It may be asked what action should hon. Members take regarding the Amendment. I can only offer this advice: if the Government are ready to declare that I am wrong in my surmise, and make plain that the operation of these restrictions is certain and that the provisions will bite from the word go, then hon. Members who feel strongly about the Irish point must carefully consider their position. But, on the other hand, if the Government are willing to say that I am right then it does not seem that any hon. Member has much to worry about, because the Government are obviously right in feeling that there will be no discrimination between the Irish and the rest.

Mr. Chapman

The hon. Gentleman cannot go as far as that. He is making it sound far too easy. His right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) put his finger on it the other day, and I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would have agreed with his right hon. Friend when he said: It is the aliens and the Irish at whom we ought to look more than at the Commonwealth citizens. The Commonwealth citizens constitute only about 1 per cent. of the population. The percentages of aliens and Irish are clearly very much greater."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 753–4.] In other words, if we are to have a Bill which discriminates at all we cannot really start by making it discriminate against only one section.

Mr. Deedes

If we are to have a Bill which includes powers against all members of the Commonwealth, including Ireland, that is one thing. But if the Bill, as it now stands, does not in effect operate against all members of the Commonwealth to the extent which some hon. Members have led themselves to believe—and that is something on which only the Government can guide us—what is the fuss about? For myself, I find it difficult to decide on this aspect until I hear what the Government are ready to say on Clause 2 (2). That is the nub of the Bill. So much, it seems to me, depends on it.

I think that we must have clarification on this important point. I hope that it is accepted that on this the Government, even at risk, should be prepared to offer us their innermost thoughts. This is required if the minds of hon. Members are to be clarified. I urge the Government to express these views, because they owe it to the Bill, to the Committee and to the Commonwealth.

Miss Jennie Lee (Cannock)

I hope that our deliberations will not give the impression that we in this Committee are anti-Irish. I am wholly opposed to the Bill and I see no reason, taking the overall figures of Britain's population and industrial needs now, and what we can reckon them to be in the future, why we should even begin to sully our good name in this way.

I urge hon. Members to remember that the problem which faces us today in bringing migrant labour from the West Indies, Africa or Ireland is trivial compared with the difficulties with which we had to contend in the past, and which we overcame. You are a Welshman, Mr. Thomas, and, therefore, you must know about the Irish riots in Wales. I am sure that you know the history of Irish immigration into Wales. I know a little of that history and I also know a little about it in the Scottish areas.

When we speak about immigration today we do not speak about a fierce religious war. Religion hardly comes into the picture—but religion was very much in the picture a hundred years ago, and even more recently, when the immigrants were the friendless and penniless Irish. I am not distinguishing between immigrants from the Republic of Ireland and the North, for there was no such division then. Both had this in common: they were under the rule of English landlords—Conservative landlords, however one spells "Conservative". There was hunger and oppression on their farms, driving them to emigrate.

I remember my grandfather, in the Scottish coalfields, talking of the civil lads who, when they arrived from Ireland, were gentle in their language and said, "Yes, Sir" and "No, Sir" and that they were thankful for the wages they were given. They were wholly innocent of the fact that when they came to Scotland and Wales they were used as strike and wage breakers. They were regarded as a threat to their religion and their living standards.

Thus, today, the problem with which we have to deal is easy compared with the physical and psychological problems of a hundred years ago. Hon. Members may know the story of Tredegar, in Wales. Probably the fiercest riot that took place in 1857 was when the Welsh people drove the Irish out of Tredegar. They banded together and some families offered sanctuary to a few Irish families and their children. I am proud to be associated with a family that offered that sanctuary. It must be remembered that religion—Catholicism—entered into that matter very strongly.

But today the word "religion"has not even been mentioned. The word inflamed certain feelings a century or less ago, but when we are now talking about the West Indians, Jamaicans or the Irish we never mention religion. We have learned to live and let live.

5.0 p.m.

We have a powerful trade union movement today. When an immigrant comes to this country, whatever the colour of his skin, he has to work under trade union conditions. He is often given the worst paid, dirtiest and least desired job by those who are already established citizens, but he is not wage breaking. Our trade union movement can deal with matters such as that. The misery of the past was that the Scottish and Welsh workers—this was also true in parts of England—feared the immigrant because he was a threat to their very carefully established standards of living.

Therefore, what are we making all the fuss about today? The Irish who came in during the last century at first had a lower standard of living, in the main, than the established Welshman and Scotsman. But we should respect them, since one of the reasons why their standard of living was so low was that they were remembering fathers and mothers who were hungry on farms in Ireland. Like the Indians and West Indians today, they were sending money home. They were sufficiently unselfish not to say when they left their own countries, "We are finished with our country. We do not care about our families any more. Whatever we make we shall spend on ourselves". They are all the better citizens because so many of them, when they come to this country, still think of those they have left behind.

What is the later history concerning Irish immigrants? They came to the poorest industrial parts of our country, friendless and penniless, but before very long they were leaders in our community. They became members of our school boards, town councils and county councils. They became trade union leaders. One of them, my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy), is sitting close to me now. They were sent to the House of Commons as Labour Members of Parliament.

The emergence of the Labour movement meant that they were on the ramparts fighting for the best possible conditions, not only for the Irish, but for all of us. In a generation or two the outcasts, those who had no worldly advantages, those who had been forced to come here by pressure of poverty in their native lands, became real assets in this country. They helped to build up our industrial wealth and their record in the Labour movement shows the contribution that they made to improving our social standards.

If we did not have this fussy, panicky, small-minded, reactionary attitude on the benches opposite, I am sure that it would not be long before some of the immigrants from the West Indies, India, Africa and elsewhere had the record that the Irish immigrants had if they were allowed time to settle in this country. I hope that the Committee and the country will treat with the anger, contempt and scorn that it deserves every aspect of this Bill.

The Attorney-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)

It might be convenient to the Committee if I said something now about Her Majesty's Government's view of this Amendment. I trust that the hopes of the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee), to whose speech I listened with interest, for proper integration in future will prove to be well founded. However, I would point out to her that this is not a Bill to stop all immigration. It is a Bill to prevent excessive immigration, immigration to a degree which this country cannot absorb and with which it cannot cope. We have taken the view—many people may disagree with it—that the time has come when the Government should be armed with powers to control immigration—not to stop it, but to control it.

The question raised by the Amendment is whether the Bill, which brings within its scope Commonwealth citizens and inhabitants of the Colonies, should include or exclude citizens of Southern Ireland. Although one would have thought from the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) that the Bill, as it stood, excluded the Southern Irish, the effect of his Amendment is to exclude the operation of the Bill in relation to the Southern Irish. To the Amendment there could, and should, be only one answer. If we are to take power to control Commonwealth immigration, it would be quite wrong not to take power to control immigration from Southern Ireland. To omit them from the purview of Part I of the Bill would indeed be to put them in a privileged position. [Interruption.] I am dealing with the content of the Bill. I would ask the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield to listen to me with the patience with which I listened to him. I will come to his general observations later, but I am now dealing with what the Amendment seeks to do.

As I say, to omit the Southern Irish from Clause 1 would be to put them in a privileged position. It would be invidious and anomalous to take power to control immigration from the Commonwealth and Colonies, to take power to control the entry into this country of British subjects, and not to take power to control the entry of people who, although inhabitants of part of the British Isles, are not British subjects.

Those of my hon. Friends of whose concern about the position of the Southern Irish I am fully aware would have very strong ground for criticism of this part of the Bill if the Southern Irish were not within its orbit.

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

This is double-talk.

The Attorney-General

That is the only question raised by the Amendment. I ask the Committee to reject the Amendment and to retain the power to control the immigration of the Southern Irish in the Bill. [Laughter.] The hon. Member for Northfield seems to think that that is a laughing matter. Although the hon. Member may call it a probing Amendment, what it seeks to do is to exclude the reference in Clause 1 (4) to the Southern Irish. Of course, as one would expect, the debate has ranged far wider than the question raised by the Amendment.

Some hon. Members feel—my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) gave expression to this feeling last week—that, unless control of Southern Irish immigrants is exercised, this is a colour Bill. As I said then, I cannot share the view that a Bill which applies to the whole of the Commonwealth can properly be described as a colour Bill if control is not exercised of the Southern Irish for reasons which have nothing to do with colour. This is a general Bill giving general powers, and its character is not altered by the manner in which the powers are exercised.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has drawn attention to the inherent difficulties of controlling immigration from Southern Ireland. They are formidable. We could control landings at the English ports, and other ports of entry, such as Holyhead, of passengers coming direct from Southern Ireland without very great difficulty. But it is no use doing that and at the same time leaving the door wide open to evasion. One would have to control the border between the Republic and Ulster and that would be a very expensive and difficult operation and not likely to be 100 per cent. effective. [Laughter.] The hon. Member for Northfield seems to think that that is a laughing matter. The alternative is to control the passage between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is, of course, possible to do that. Such control existed between 1939 and 1952. I cannot speak from personal experience of it, but to me control over the movement of people between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is just as distasteful as control would be over the movement of Scotsmen to England or of Scotsmen to Wales, if any Scotsman wished to go there.

Mr. John Diamond (Gloucester)


The Attorney-General

I do not know whether they do or not.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. George Thomas)

If the Attorney-General does not give way, the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) must resume his seat.

Mr. Diamond

I thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was giving way.

The Attorney-General

I did not notice that the hon. Gentleman had risen to his feet, but I will give way to him.

Mr. Diamond

I am most grateful. For the benefit of every hon. Member, would the Attorney-General explain why he has not exactly those same feelings concerning immigration from Trinidad and elsewhere?

The Attorney-General

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I shall continue with my speech, in the course of which I may answer some of the questions which have been put to me.

I was dealing with the setting up of control between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. I think that it is true to say that, between 1939 and 1952, that caused very great irritation. I am sure that hon. Members will agree that it should and would require a very powerful and compelling reason to justify its reintroduction. It might be preferable, if the circumstances warranted it, to exercise control along the Ulster Border.

Power is taken by Order in Council under Clause 3 (4) to adapt the First Schedule to entry to Northern Ireland by land. In my submission, it is right to take that power. Having decided that the time has come when we should take a general power to exercise control over immigration, it is no use taking that power to put a fence round three sides of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland if we do not have power to put up the fourth fence if required. To exercise control at all ports except English ports to which people come from Southern Ireland would be to leave the door wide open for uncontrolled immigration from the Commonwealth, which it is one of the purposes of the Bill to control.

If the Republic of Ireland imposed controls on immigration into the Republic similar to those in the Bill, obviously it would not be necessary for us to impose controls over traffic from the Republic in order to control Commonwealth immigration. For that purpose, we can rely on our neighbour's fence.

Mr. Christopher Chataway (Lewisham, North)

Would my right hon. and learned Friend explain the way in which that would work? Would the Irish Government act as agents for us in controlling Commonwealth citizens according to specifications that we lay down? For example, would they be allowed a proportion of the quota and would it be said that they might let in 5 per cent. of the quota, or how would it work?

5.15 p.m.

The Attorney-General

I was going on to indicate how it would work. It would work similarly to the way it works with regard to aliens. We do not exercise control over the Irish ports in relation to aliens in the same way as the Southern ports, because the Irish have a similar control which they operate in the exercise of their powers of government over the immigration of aliens. My point is that concerning Commonwealth immigration, there is no need for erecting the fence on the west side of our country if the Irish Republic erects a similar fence controlling immigration into Southern Ireland.

Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

Is it not constitutionally just as wrong for a Government to try to legislate against Irishmen coming to England via Northern Ireland and crossing that part of the fence as to legislate against Irishmen coming to England through Canada or New Zealand? Is not the whole thing constitutionally wrong?

The Attorney-General

I do not think so. I was not dealing at that moment with immigration of citizens of the Irish Republic to this country. I was dealing with Commonwealth immigration. I merely make the point that if the Government of the Irish Republic of their own volition do what they have done in relation to aliens—that is, to pass legislation providing for control over immigration similar, it may not be in all respects, but in substance, to that which we seek to impose by the Bill—the need for a fence on the west side of Great Britain becomes unnecessary.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)


The Attorney-General

May I continue? I know that we are in Committee and may speak more than once, but I am trying to put forward a reasoned argument, in the course of which I may deal with the point that the hon. Member wants to put.

If that happens, if the Irish Republic does that, the problem which we have to consider comes down to whether it is necessary in the interests of the United Kingdom to impose controls on Southern Irish immigration. I know that some hon. Members feel that if that is not done, this will appear to be a colour Bill, although, as I have said, that is not a correct description of a Bill which applies to the whole of the Commonwealth.

Mr. Hector Hughes

The Attorney-General has missed the point. He is speaking about three sides of a fence and leaving the fourth side undefended or uncontrolled. Is he not entirely under a misapprehension when he talks about a four-sided fence and leaving one side open? Surely, the fence has far more sides than that. It has Canadian, New Zealand and Australian sides.

The Attorney-General

I was not talking about the number of sides that a fence has. It usually has two sides. I was talking about the number of fences that will need to be put up. I was using the analogy that we can erect a fence, if need be, around the whole of Great Britain; we can erect a fence round the whole of Ulster. The point I was making, which, I hope, the hon. and learned Member will appreciate, is that there is no need for a fence in relation to immigration from Irish parts into English ports to prevent Commonwealth immigration to this country if the Irish enact legislation which is broadly similar to ours. [Interruption.] May I continue? I ask the referee—the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell)—to keep quiet for a minute. If that happens, if the Irish enact that legislation, the problem comes down to this—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Northfield has made his speech. He might do me the courtesy of listening to mine.

Mr. Chapman


The Temporary Chairman

Order. The hon. Member knows that he must resume his seat if the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not give way.

Mr. Chapman

I thought the Attorney-General had given way.

The Temporary Chairman

He did not give way until I rose.

The Attorney-General

If that happens, the problem—

Mr. Peter Tapsell (Nottingham, West)


The Temporary Chairman

Order. The same applies to the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell). I remind hon. Members that we are in Committee and it is possible for hon. Members to speak more than once when their turn comes.

Mr. Diamond

On a point of order. Do I gather, Mr. Thomas, that I, who have vainly endeavoured to catch the Chairman's eye on every Amendment, will have an opportunity and that you will not accept the Closure on this occasion?

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member is quite safe from the Closure as long as I am in the Chair.

The Attorney-General

I am glad to hear—

Mr. Tapsell


The Temporary Chairman

Order. The hon. Member must resume his seat as long as the right hon. and learned Gentleman who is addressing the Committee does not wish to give way.

Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)

On a point of order. In view of your last statement, Mr. Thomas, might I move that you do not leave the Chair?

The Attorney-General

I hope you will not accept that Motion, Mr. Thomas, or, at least, that you will not leave the Chair until after I have finished what I am saying to the Committee.

I was trying to present a reasoned argument in relation to the Amendment. I began by dealing, as I was entitled to do, with exactly what the Amendment does. Then, I came on to deal with the wider aspects of the problem. I have dealt with one aspect and I should be obliged to the Committee if I could be allowed to develop the argument in relation to the rest. I am trying to put it as shortly and as clearly as I can. I appreciate that many members of the Committee may not agree with the argument, but, at least, I invite them to allow me to present it.

I had said what the problem was on the basis that the Irish Republic had legislated to similar effect as this legis lation. I am dealing with it only on that hypothesis. if the Irish Republic does that, the problem which we have to consider is whether it is necessary in the interests of the United Kingdom to impose controls on Southern Irish immigration.

Mr. Fletcher


The Attorney-General

I shall not give way, because I want to follow on with this. I think I shall deal with the point that the hon. Member wishes to make. Speaking for myself, I would regard as a wholly inadequate reason for the imposition of controls against the Irish Republic the fear that if they were not imposed, this general Bill, applying to the Commonwealth as a whole, would be misrepresented to be a colour Bill, and a colour Bill only.

Mr. Fletcher

May I intervene before the right hon. and learned Gentleman passes on from that? He has addressed an argument to the Committee about what the position would be if the Free State passed certain legislation. What we are anxious to know is what negotiations have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and the Irish Republic with regard to the Irish Republic passing such legislation.

The Attorney-General

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary informed the House of a statement made in the Dail with regard to that. What is much more important is, if there is legislation—we have to consider both possibilities when considering, the Bill—what form it takes. The point I was going on to make was that by its flexibility, the Bill provides for both eventualities. If the legislation is satisfactory from our point of view, so that there is no need to erect the fences to stop Commonwealth immigration on our west side, there will be no need to exercise some of the powers taken under the Bill. On the other hand, if that legislation is not satisfactory, there is, as I have indicated, in Clause 3 (4) and the First Schedule power to extend and apply the operation of the Bill. That is one possibility.

Mr. Robert Carr (Mitcham)


The Attorney-General

The point I was making—

Hon. Members

Give way.

The Attorney-General

I have given way a great deal.

Hon. Members

Not to anybody on your own side.

The Attorney-General

We are in Committee and it would be perfectly possible for my hon. Friends, when I have sat down, to make their speeches and express their points of view. I propose, however, having given way a good deal, to carry on with my speech.

I know that some of my hon. Friends feel, and I respect their feelings, that to continue to allow completely unrestricted entry to the Irish when it is being taken away from Commonwealth citizens is wrong. They feel, I think, that some control should be devised to similar effect as that exercisable in relation to Commonwealth citizens. I want to say a word on that subject.

The natural place to control immigration is at the ports and airfields. The practical difficulties with regard to this have already been explained, but I should like to assure my hon. Friends and the Committee that we have carefully considered alternative steps that might possibly be taken. Earlier in our debates, my right hon. Friend drew attention to paragraph 5 (1) of the First Schedule, under which he has power to impose the requirement of landing and embarkation cards. The exercise of that power would not be a control of immigration, obviously not. The mere filling in of a landing or embarkation card is not a control of immigration. The information on those cards might, however, help in the proper assessment of the Southern Irish position. I understand that more information can be secured through the Ministry of National Insurance and the National Assistance Board and that it may be possible through those sources to build up a complete picture in relation to Southern Irish immigration. This will provide further statistical information, but it is not a control. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Northfield seems to find everything I say funny, and I regret it.

We could provide in the Bill that a Southern Irishman who entered the United Kingdom without having been examined by an immigration officer and who accepted employment within a specified period following the date of his arrival without the permission of the Ministry of Labour would be guilty of an offence. The object of the Bill is not to prevent people working in this country, but to control their coming here in excessive numbers. It would be very Irish to impose a control on Southern Irishmen coming here and taking jobs while they would be free to come and stay here while unemployed. [Laughter.]

Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)


The Attorney-General

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman, who apparently agrees with me that the objections to that alternative are powerful, should find that the objections sound so funny when I utter them. I agree with him. I think that the objections to that alternative show that it is not acceptable.

5.30 p.m.

As I want to show that we have considered possible alternatives, I should like to continue to deal with that possibility. If that provision were inserted in the Bill, we should have to provide for the case where the Irishman was refused permission to work. One could not keep him here indefinitely on National Assistance while making it a criminal offence to employ him. [Laughter.] I am glad that the Committee is in agreement with that. I ask the Committee to bear in mind that these are objections to an alternative course, which the Committee finds funny, but which are real. When we are asked to consider an alternative suggestion, I commend the Committee to bear in mind the objections to that.

There are other practical risks in relation to the adoption of any scheme of that sort, for the reason that, although we could define the offence quite clearly in the Bill, the difficulty of proving the commission of that offence by a Southern Irishman would be very great. We should have to put the onus of proof on the accused to show that he did not come from the Republic, otherwise we would not be able to prove that he had. [Laughter.] I am a little surprised that the Committee finds that so funny. I regard the putting of the onus on the defence on a criminal charge as a serious objection to the creation of that criminal charge.

In this connection it becomes even more serious when one realises that this charge of a notional offence might be preferred against an Irishman in Glasgow or Liverpool, or indeed anywhere else and the onus was placed upon him. I wanted to deal with that, in spite of the way it has been received by the Opposition, because I wanted to indicate to my hon. Friends that we had given serious consideration to that alternative and we had considered also the Safeguarding of Employment Act of Northern Ireland and had considered whether that too should be an alternative.

Mr. C. Pannell

I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentlemen completed his sentence about the hypothetical Irishman. If he were in Edinburgh or Glasgow would he not come under the Scottish Office?

The Attorney-General

As I was saying, we had considered the Safeguarding of Employment Act of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hector Hughes

On a point of order. Is not the whole of the present part of the Attorney-General's speech out of order, because he has admitted that he is attempting to legislate for the Irish Republic and for Northern Ireland, both of which have Governments who are mistress in their own house? The Attorney-General, therefore, is trying to legislate in a way contrary to the Government of Ireland Act.

The Deputy-Chairman (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

What the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) has said may be an argument contrary to the opinion expressed by the Attorney-General, but the Attorney-General was quite in order in what he said.

The Attorney-General

I am glad to hear that, but I am disappointed that the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) has not followed my argument, because not one word of that argument has been directed to legislation for Northern Ireland.

I was saying that we had considered whether we could apply the Safeguarding of Employment Act of Northern Ireland to this country, and I was about to point out that that is not a control of immigration but a control of employment. The conclusion to which we have come is that that would not work here, nor can I see how it could be adapted to work here. Under that Act an immigrant into Northern Ireland has to secure a work permit to each particular job, and he gets it only if no qualified Northern Ireland worker is available. If he receives a work permit he gets an insurance card which is specially marked to show that he has a permit to work. The employment in Northern Ireland of a Southern Irishman without such a permit is an offence.

In this country the numbers involved would be far larger than in Northern Ireland, where there are only 4,000 with work permits. In this country it would be a matter of extreme difficulty to identify those who required permits. To make provision of that sort would mean that one would have to make a new link between employment control and the National Insurance system, and a refusal of a permit to a Southern Irishman in this country would obviously mean a charge on public funds.

But the main objection to that alternative—an alternative which has been put forward by thoughtful people—is that it is not a control over immigration but a control over employment. If we are to have a control over immigration I find it difficult to envisage any satisfactory system of control which is not exercised at the point of entry. The Bill is right in Clause 1 in taking power to put a fence round Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mr. Chapman

It cannot be done.

The Attorney-General

Indeed one could do it. I had hoped to make that clear to the hon. Member, and if he had listened and had not laughed so much he would have seen it. One could do it. I make two points to the hon. Member. As far as Commonwealth immigration goes, there is no need to do it if the Republic of Ireland legislates—

Mr. Chapman


The Attorney-General

It is the hon. Member and not I who is using the word "blackmail". We cannot compel the Republic of Ireland to pass a particular piece of legislation. If the Republic of Ireland passed such legislation there would be no need to erect that fence on the west side to prevent Commonwealth immigration. There is no need to fence that side if our neighbours are prepared to put up a fence round their territory, but it is right that we should take the power to do so. It is right, despite the practical and real difficulties to which reference has been made, of exercising, for instance, control along the Ulster border, and in spite of the powerful objections to controlling passage from one part of the United Kingdom to another.

The Committee will appreciate that in the Bill we have taken power to erect a fence around the whole of the United Kingdom. I do not think that circumstances exist at present which warrant the immediate erection of such a fence, but the power to erect it is there and the question that arises on this Amendment, particularly, is whether that power should remain in the Bill or be taken out of it.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield referred throughout his speech to the exemption of the Irish. If we are to have a Bill of this kind at all there must be power to apply the control to the Irish. The hon. Member also asked what happens with regard to deportation to the Irish Republic. If the fence is to be put up then the person deported will, one hopes, be caught at the fence. If there is no such fence, one must rely on the deterrent effect of the fact that to return here after deportation is a criminal offence.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) made a very interesting speech in which he put forward a number of hypotheses. To this extent I completely agree—that our approach has been that the time has come when any Government of this country should take power to prevent immigration. To what degree that power is to be exercised in the future depends on whether the present trend of immigration grows, stays constant or is reduced. Therefore, as we see it, it is right to seek to ensure, such as we can, a clear definition in this Bill coupled with the power of the Government flexibly used.

It may well be—one does not know—the matter can be reviewed in 1963—it may well be that in the years immediately ahead not much use need be made of this Bill. It may be that the occasion will arise for its use, but it would be wrong, in taking a general power of this sort—power to control immigration into Great Britain and Northern Ireland—not to make the Bill operable and take power to deal with citizens of the Irish Republic as well as with other possible immigrants.

Mr. Gordon Walker

The Attorney-General began his speech with a point he has previously made—that this Bill is not intended to ban immigration but to check excessive immigration. This argument would have much more force—and I hope he will add that force—if he gave some idea of what the Government regard as excessive immigration. Does he regard the present rate as excessive? Does he intend, in order to stop excessive immigration, to cut down radically on the numbers coming in now, or does he intend to allow them to go up a little? Unless he tells us this, then his argument is just another one in the air and one which the Committee cannot take properly into account.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman put a very technical point against the Amendment. It was shadow boxing. This was the only way, as my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) explained, in which we could raise these great and uncomfortable issues in debate. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) said, we clearly do not want to keep the Irish out—we want to keep them in—but the Government have drafted the Bill in such a way that the only means by which we can make that clear is to move this Amendment. The Attorney-General was really making a purely technical point. I do not blame him for that. He is entitled to do so.

I am grateful to the Attorney-General, because he appeared before us in a completely new character. With few exceptions, I think that hon. Members on both sides have great regard for his rather forceful, ponderous and heavy form of argument, which he usually uses with great effect. We have not seen him before in the rôle of a comedian who can make the Committee very happy. He reduced us to fits of laughter by explaining—for this is what he did—the absurdity of the Bill as presented to the Committee and, indeed, as it is still going to be if he has his way. He committed Irishism after Irishism. He shirked none of this good work. He went into enormous and whimsical detail to show that the Bill which he defends and which he is asking us to pass is as absurd as he told us. He reduced it to absurdity, and that was something for which we were very grateful to him.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Northfield made clear, the last thing we want to do is to keep the Irish out. I want to make that clear, because, after the way in which the debates have gone, this matter may not be as obvious as it should be. We want the opposite. We do not want to keep out the Irish, but to exempt them de facto—which is what the right hon. and learned Gentleman told us we cannot help doing—seems to us, and to many hon. Members opposite, to have two grave defects following from it One is that it makes the Bill appear to be a colour-bar Bill. The other is that it makes it quite clearly and inescapably an anti-Commonwealth Bill. It means that we are giving to non-Commonwealth citizens—which is what the Irish are in the eyes of the law—great preference over Commonwealth citizens.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. S. Silverman

As my right hon. Friend says that the Attorney-General was at such great pains to explain that that was going to be the position in practice anyhow, what is the objection to making it explicit in the Bill?

Mr. Gordon Walker

My hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) can vote as he likes when the time comes. I personally would not want to commit myself to what would be open to the charge of discrimination. The fact that it is a de facto colour bar provision, and in theory and in law an anti-Commonwealth provision, is something that we cannot escape from.

The Attorney-General told us a lot about the possibilities of controls being imposed by the Government of the Republic of Ireland at their own ports upon immigration into their own country of Commonwealth citizens. The Home Secretary also told us a lot about this on 5th December. If we take both these speeches together, the Government cannot escape the charge that they are trying to threaten the Government of Southern Ireland that, if they do not comply by doing this, they will run the risk of the United Kingdom Government imposing, at whatever cost, immigration controls upon the Southern Irish. On the 5th December the Home Secretary said: No sort of persuasion or anything else"— on the Irish Government— has come into the matter. We know the Home Secretary well enough to know that he would not have put such a sentence in if he was not using persuasion. Indeed, he disclosed it in other parts of his speech. Earlier in that speech he said that the Irish Government had indicated their readiness to put on controls. He said: The main reason why we want to have this power in reserve is that, if the Government of the Republic of Ireland do not control immigration from the Commonwealth coming to their shores, it would be necessary to adopt the inevitable cause, undesirable though the Government regard it, of imposing an immigration control at the docks to catch immigrants coming in. He said in so many words that, if the Irish Government did not do it, he would have to bring this Bill into operation.

Is there an undertaking from the Irish Government? The other day the Home Secretary told us that he had read it in a newspaper. Then he said that he had been officially informed. He stated: There are the normal consultations between Governments, but I made this statement without having attempted to persuade or in any way affect the Government of Southern Ireland, and the statement was made and then communicated to me in the ordinary manner. That is the answer to the hon. Gentleman's question. Did the right hon. Gentleman discover it from a newspaper or from an official communication? How does he know that this has happened, because he said that this was a decision of the Irish Government? We want to know this because the right hon. Gentleman has given two contradictory explanations. The Committee has the right to know, having been proffered two alternative and incompatible explanations, which one is correct. Perhaps if the right hon. Gentleman had not given an explanation we should not be entitled to answer, but he has given two which do not fit together.

The Home Secretary said that this had been decided by the Government of Southern Ireland. The Attorney-General kept on saying, "If they do this" or "if they do that" at their ports. The Home Secretary said that a clear decision had been come to. On 5th December he said: No sort of persuasion or anything else has come into the matter. It has been decided by the Government of the Republic. What is the position? Is this a hypothesis, as the Attorney-General said? Is it a known fact, as the Home Secretary said? How did it get to us? Perhaps the Attorney-General could tell us that. When he says that he may have to impose immigration checks at the ports if the Government of Southern Ireland do not do as he has told them to do, would that control then apply to people coming from Northern Ireland or would it not? I want to know this. It is important. If it does not apply to people coming from Northern Ireland, then these threats are meaningless. The Southern Irish can simply go to Northern Ireland and then come here.

I suggest that hon. Members who have particular interests in this aspect should follow up this matter. If the threat is to mean anything it must apply to people coming from Northern Ireland. If it does not so apply, then these are empty threats. Hon. Members with constituencies in that part of the United Kingdom have a great interest to probe and probe in order to find the answer in view of the various ambiguous statements which have been made.

Captain L. P. S. Orr (Down, South)

There is an alternative—applying a control on the border.

Mr. Gordon Walker

It is possible, perhaps, but the Home Secretary has said that it is impossible. I suggest that the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) should go through this with a tooth comb—because one needs to do that with what is said by the Home Secretary—and should put his statements together and try to relate them in the interests of his constituents.

The Attorney-General told us that this was a wonderfully flexible Bill and that its powers can be exercised. He then went on, at great length, to show us why these powers could not be exercised. The Home Secretary went much further even in saying that the powers could not be exercised. He said that control of immigration by sea was virtually impossible, but he added that the Government had decided that the difficulties of patrolling the border were too great to make that possible. Thus, one method is virtually impossible and the other is absolutely impossible, and that includes the alternative proposed by the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South. The Home Secretary went so far as to say: …the Government cannot find a workable or desirable method of controlling the entry of Irish immigrants into this country. That seems to me to destroy all the hypotheses the Attorney-General was talking about. We want to know which of these statements made by Government spokesmen holds good.

The right hon. Gentleman said: …the Government cannot find a workable or desirable method of controlling the entry of Irish immigrants into this country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1184–90.] That is a clear and unambiguous statement. It is hard to find a clear and absolutely unambiguous statement in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but this is one.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what sort of controls he is trying to coerce the Government of Ireland into imposing? Is it a colour-bar control or not? Let me put to him a question which will elucidate this point and which I hope he will answer. Let us imagine that Canadians begin to come in through Southern Ireland in increasing numbers. They may well do so, because if they go straight to the United Kingdom, they will find, for the first time in history, that they are subject to examination and all sorts of questions and many troubles which they have never known, and they will find that what they have always regarded as their birthright is being taken away if they come direct to a United Kingdom port. If they go to a Southern Ireland port and then come here—and that is very easy for them—can the right hon. Gentleman lay his hand on his heart and say that he will regard that as Commonwealth immigration in the sense of something that has to be stopped? Can he answer that?

Now let us imagine that Jamaicans come in that way as well. Would that be the sort of Commonwealth immigration which the Irish must stop if they are not to have this threat held over their heads? If both come to Ireland, Canadians and Jamaicans, which is what will happen, will one lot get in here and the other not? The right hon. Gentleman must answer that for it is at the root of the problem. If he is threatening the Irish Government and saying that it must do something if worse is not to befall it, we have a right to know what he is expecting and trying to coerce the Government of Southern Ireland to do.

I cannot believe that the Government of Southern Ireland would pass legislation of the type and character of this Bill, which has evoked abhorrence in religious and liberal and many other circles and which has been more and more sharply attacked by almost every reputable newspaper and organ of opinion in the country. I cannot believe that even under threats the Government of the Republic of Ireland could bring itself to pass legislation of this kind which had been so bitterly attacked. I cannot believe that the Government of the Republic of Ireland would put itself in the same gallery as right hon. Gentlemen opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nor Northern Ireland."] Northern Ireland raises slightly different problems.

The fact that we cannot get away from and which sticks in all our throats is that if the Irish are to be exempt de facto, and both the right hon. Gentleman and the right hon. and learned Gentleman have told us that there is no effective way of working the Bill in respect of the Irish, the inherent colour character of the Bill is made naked and obvious. Even apart from that it is a colour Bill, but this makes it absolutely clearly and irrefutably so.

Mr. Antony Buck (Colchester)

Is not that entirely incompatible with what the right hon. Gentleman said earlier about the difficulties which the Canadians would encounter at the ports and which the Australians would similarly encounter? From what he said, the Canadians will try to get through Ireland to avoid these difficulties. How can it be a colour Bill on that basis?

6.0. p.m.

Mr. Gordon Walker

The Canadians will encounter difficulties which they have never known before. They will have to submit to examination and produce all sorts of extra documents. In that sense their rights are to be taken from them. Nearly all of them will get in, but only after subjecting themselves to examinations which are wholly new and repellent to them. Those who will be kept out—and everybody knows this—will be overwhelmingly the coloured people. I was saying not so much that the Canadians would be kept out, but that the Bill would subject them to all sorts of new impositions which do not now exist.

Mr. Buck

Is that not mere speculation about how the Bill will work?

Mr. Gordon Walker

If the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Buck) cares to explain later why he thinks that will not happen and why the general quota will not be applied to most people, particularly to coloured people, we will be very interested. The fact remains that almost every commentator on the Bill has said that that is how it will work

Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth (Hendon, South)

The right hon. Gentleman was saying that the Canadians would go to Ireland in preference to coming to this country direct. Ireland already imposes exactly the sort of restrictions he has mentioned and which would be imposed under the Bill in this country. He was assuming that the individual would come in in a different capacity from that which he now mentions.

Mr. Gordon Walker

The Irish Government impose controls on the immigration of aliens, but not on the immigration of Commonwealth citizens. I do not know how the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) can be so ignorant of something so important.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that a Canadian can go to Southern Ireland without producing his passport?

Mr. Gordon Walker

Oh! Producing his passport! If the Government of the Irish Republic submit themselves to the blackmail of our Government, he will have to do much more than produce his passport. Even the hon. Gentleman would have to produce his passport if he came from Canada to Ireland, even to England. Canadians will have to undergo an examination and so on and may be refused admission. All sorts of conditions could be imposed on them. They could be told that they could stay for only three weeks, or six months. All sorts of new things can be done to them, and, if the Irish Government succumb to this Government, the same thing will happen in Cork. I do not believe that the Irish Government will be so feeble and so illiberal as to give way to this pressure, so I do not think that it will happen. I believe that the Canadians will be able freely to get into Ireland and then, I hope, freely come here, as will the Jamaicans.

The general idea of the Attorney-General was that this was a power which he was holding in reserve—that is what it boils down to. He and the right hon. Gentleman have explained that what they would do is not to enforce these provisions against the Irish but to have them in the Bill as a sort of otiose measure which could be enforced, and that in the meanwhile they would start counting the Irish and looking at their insurance cards and landing cards and so on and checking records in the Ministry of Labour.

The hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) was saying that he thought that the way the Government would work the Bill was not by making the teeth of the Bill bite, but just by having them available. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that that would be so in the case of the Irish, but not in the case of Commonwealth citizens. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman apply the same doctrine throughout the Bill, to all Commonwealth citizens as well as to Irish citizens, holding the powers in reserve? We have been told that these are reserve measures and that they are needed because it is better to be able to do something sooner rather than later, but the Government do not want to use them. The right hon. Gentleman said the other night that these were reserve measures. If they are and they are to be used as reserve measures for the Southern Irish, why should we not apply them all the way round? If they are to be reserve measures, why not admit it? Why not say that we will do the same for all Commonwealth citizens as we do for the Irish, counting them and looking at their insurance cards and examining the facts? Heaven knows, the Government do not know the facts; they do not know the figures; they do not know how many men, or how many women are coming in and going out of the country, nor how long they stay.

I make this as a serious suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman. I suggest that the Home Secretary broadens the principle mentioned by the right hon. and learned Gentleman this afternoon, the principle that this Measure will be held in reserve in respect of the Irish while other measures of counting and finding out about them are applied. The Attorney-General told us the other night that the major provisions of the Bill in respect of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and Commonwealth citizens would also be held in reserve. It was a large part of his argument that they would be held in reserve, his case being that it was better to act quickly than late and so on. Why not accept that in this case and say that the whole Bill will be held in reserve?

We should not like that, for we do not want the Bill to be passed at all, but we would sooner that it was held in reserve than that the teeth began to bite. We have already been beaten on some Amendments and we have to consider the Bill as it now is. My proposal would satisfy hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, if not completely, and would be regarded as a great deal better than forcing the Bill through. This is what the hon. Member for Ashford was beginning to say when he said that the whole Measure would be held in reserve and that we would treat Commonwealth citizens as we intend to treat the Irish.

That would enable the Government to avoid discrimination between the Southern Irish and others de facto and would get rid of the feeling that the Bill will be a colour-bar Bill. The Government would not be able to give the Bill teeth without returning to the House of Commons, because its operation would depend upon Orders. We have already been assured that instructions to immigration officers would be presented to us and would be debatable. There would be no way in which the reserve powers could be brought into operation without consulting the House of Commons—it could not be done by a sudden administrative act. I should like the Bill to be withdrawn, but we would much sooner accept the proposition I have made than have these discriminations.

Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)

I have much sympathy with the observations of the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). Would he not agree that if powers were held in reserve, the Government would have an opportunity to discuss the whole subject with other Commonwealth countries, not acting until agreement with them had been reached?

Mr. Gordon Walker

I agree. That would be an added advantage, and there are no doubt others. The prime thing is that it would not set into operation now a colour-bar Bill and the Bill could not begin operating without the Government asking the House of Commons, which would be a safeguard.

Mr. R. Carr

I tried unsuccessfully to interrupt my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, not to dispute with him but to ask for an explanation of words which could have an interpretation which he would not mean them to have—at least, I hope not. He was explaining to the Committee the difficulties of preventing immigration from Ireland, saying that the only effective way would be port control, which would be objectionable to our friends in Ulster.

He then developed the argument that, if the Government of Eire were to introduce a similar Bill, it would not be necessary to introduce port control to stop Commonwealth immigration into this country. There seemed to be the implication in what he said that, if the Government of the Republic of Ireland were not to introduce such legislation so that Commonwealth immigration were pos sible into this country via Eire, he would be prepared to take the drastic step of imposing port control. In other words, the implication which I read into his remarks was that he was prepared to take a drastic step to stop Commonwealth immigration into this country but was not prepared to take that step to stop or control Irish immigration into this country.

The Attorney-General

I am sorry, but I did not see my hon. Friend rise during the course of my speech. I saw many other hon. Members, but not him. I am only too glad to answer this point. I was dealing with the point, first, with 'regard to Commonwealth immigration and then coming on to consider the position as regards immigration from the Irish Republic. The point I sought to make was that we were surely right to take powers in the Bill to enable us, should circumstances warrant it, to erect a fence along the west side of our country. I did not limit the exercise of those powers only to Commonwealth immigrants. I said that the powers are there. I also pointed out the practical difficulties in relation to their exercise against the Southern Irish. I did not draw the distinction my hon. Friend suggested.

Mr. Carr

I am a little encouraged by those remarks. Perhaps I am rather slow-moving in my understanding this afternoon, but I am not yet sure if my right hon. and learned Friend has given the assurance which I believe many hon. Members on both sides want. My point was that I read into his remarks the implication that he would impose this control—and I agree that, if he imposed it, it would affect Southern Irish as well as Commonwealth citizens—if it were necessary to stop Commonwealth immigration via Eire, but not otherwise. If this is not so, I should very much welcome a denial, because it would make it at least a little easier for myself and, I suspect, some of my hon. Friends.

The Attorney-General

My hon. Friend is not right in saying "but not otherwise". I pointed out the practical difficulties in relation to exercising control over Irish immigration. I also pointed out that it was right to take power in the Bill to erect a fence if circumstances arose which warranted facing up to the great difficulties which I indicated and which have been frequently indicated. We are dealing with the Bill. I made the point—I am sorry if I did not make it clear—that we have taken a power to build that fence if the circumstances require it.

Mr. Carr

It is difficult to clarify these matters by means of intervention. If my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary or my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State intervene later in the debate, I hope that they can give the Committee a categorical statement as to what will happen if the Government of the Republic do not—I emphasise "do not"—introduce somewhat similar legislation to the Bill. If we can understand quite clearly what the Government have in mind in this respect, it will help us considerably in considering the basic merits of the Bill.

Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)

Would not my hon. Friend also wish to know what the Government will do if the Government of the Republic of Ireland do introduce legislation controlling Commonwealth immigration?

Mr. Carr

Indeed, but at the moment I am particularly concerned to know what the Government will do if the Government of the Republic do not introduce such legislation.

I am one of those who set great value on the contribution which immigration of all races and colours has made to our economy. I have had considerable experience of this. The industrial company in which I work employs immigrant labour, and has done so for many years. It employed Irish immigrants during and after the war, refugee immigrants of European stock after the war, and has latterly employed mainly immigrants from the West Indies. In all these cases we have obtained workers who are of great value, both as workers and as citizens. In at least two of the company's factories at the moment nearly 30 per cent. of the workers are coloured. They have been absorbed without any trouble. They are making at least an equal contribution to anybody else on the staff in the rôles they occupy.

6.15 p.m.

I want to see a lot more immigration of all kinds. The country needs it and we gain from it. Nevertheless, I believe, though reluctantly—I had hoped for many years not to have to believe this—that it is necessary for the Government to take power to control the total number of people who can come to this island to live year by year.

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. I hope that the hon. Member will not go wider than the Amendment, which deals with Ireland.

Mr. Carr

I apologise, Sir William, and I promise that I will come at once to the Irish. My argument is that this control should go right across the board. It must include the Irish as much as anybody else. If it does not include the Irish, one or two important things will happen. The most important thing is that of the number of people whom we can absorb in a given year an unfair proportion is likely to be of non-Commonwealth subjects. An undue proportion will go to Irish immigrants.

I hope I have already made it clear that I have no objection to Irish immigrants. We have gained from their coming to this country. I think that we shall continue to gain from their coming to this country but, without any prejudice against the Irish, I object to them having an unfair proportion of the total which we feel we can absorb year by year. To allow that to happen would be a dereliction of our duty to the Commonwealth.

In considering the Commonwealth we have to think not only of those Commonwealth citizens who might be personally affected by the Bill, but also of the emotions which exist in the Commonwealth amongst those Commonwealth citizens who have at the moment no intention of coming to this country either to live permanently or to make a visit. I have recently returned from a visit to Australia and Canada. I became aware that there is a growing fear in those countries that we in this country no longer care sufficiently about the Commonwealth.

I must say at once—here I differ from some of my right hon. and hon. Friends—that I am not thinking of the Common Market, because I found in Australia and in Canada a very wide understanding of the importance of the Common Market to this country and there was a feeling that, although it might be unpleasant for them in the short run, if we decide that it will make us stronger in the long run they will accept it.

I found, however—this is why the inclusion of the Irish in the Bill becomes so important—that they wanted assurances that, whenever a parting of the ways came and whenever we had to make one decision or another, our Commonwealth links would enter into our considerations and we would, wherever possible, make the decision favourable to the Commonwealth. This question was raised with me by many people in Australia who said to me that if we found it necessary to control immigration they hoped as Australians—not as coloured people in the West Indies, but as Australians—that it would be introduced right across the board and would include the Irish as well as everybody else.

Mr. A. R. Wise (Rugby)

Is it not the case that the Australians and others to whom my hon. Friend refers give a great deal of preference to the Irish, and that Irishmen can settle in Australia?

Mr. Carr

My hon. Friend misconceives the whole emotional basis of Commonwealth relationships. We are the Mother Country. We do not claim to be just another Commonwealth country; we claim to be the head of the Commonwealth. That puts us in an entirely different position, and if we wish to maintain that position we must do things which, perhaps, other members of the Commonwealth do not have to do, whether or not it may seem fair and logical. This is a matter of emotion.

We are told that the Government wish to include the Irish in the Bill but cannot do so in practice, short of employing such measures as would be gravely objectionable, other than in a period of serious crisis. We are told that it is impossible to police the border. That might well be the most difficult of all the operations to be carried out, although I cannot be certain about it. We are told that the only reasonably easy and effective way of controlling Irish immigration would be to put on controls at the ports, and we are told that that is not to be done because of the feelings of our friends, colleagues and fellow citizens in Northern Ireland. I respect those feelings, and I would not wish to trample on them in any way. There fore, I want to look more closely than I am yet convinced the Government have looked at the possible alternatives.

My right hon. and learned Friend talked about some of the alternatives. I am sorry to say that I could not help getting a feeling, from the manner in which he addressed himself to them, that they had been looked at more with a view to finding difficulties than to overcoming them. I cannot believe that it is impossible to make the National Insurance application form the basis of control. It might be a clumsy way of proceeding, and it might be administratively expensive. It might mean big changes in the procedure of the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of National Insurance. It might also be objectionable, in that it would involve the creation of new crimes in this country for which deportation would be the penalty.

I agree that that would be objectionable—but controlling Commonwealth immigration is objectionable. I am one of those who have become convinced that though objectionable it is necessary; but if it is necessary to swallow one objectionable thing we must find the courage and the will to swallow the other objectionable thing as well. Unless the Government are prepared to do that I cannot support the Bill.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

We all know that the Home Secretary is a great Parliamentary tactician, but he surpassed himself this afternoon when he sent the right hon. and learned Attorney-General in to lead a forlorn hope on the Amendment. I cannot understand what has lured him, first, into introducing the Bill and, secondly, into sticking to it. The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) said that he would check the immigrants on the United Kingdom border, in north-west Ireland. The trouble is that that border has never been agreed.

Captain Orr

With great respect to the right hon. Gentleman's knowledge of history, it has been the subject of a tripartite agreement among all three Governments.

Mr. Ede

If the hon. and gallant Member looks into the matter he will find that a boundary is a line which has length, but not breadth. Where is the line in the River Foyle?

Captain Orr

In the middle.

Mr. Ede

That is just where it is not. The whole width of the Foyle is involved. Does not the hon. and gallant Member know that in the matter of poaching there is a concurrent jurisdiction in both Governments. Poaching is a matter that the Irish understand very well. It was found that neither side could get a conviction for poaching, because, when a poacher was caught, no matter who happened to catch him, he would say, "I was not in your territory."

Captain Orr


Mr. Ede

I will allow the hon. and gallant Member to intervene again in a moment. I never object to interruptions; they are as good as notes.

We have, therefore, reached an agreement, which is enshrined in the statutes, that no matter which water bailiffs catch a poacher, and no matter on which side of the river he may be caught, he can be tried in the courts of either country, and either country can impose a penalty irrespective of the citizenship claimed by the poacher.

Captain Orr

I remember the Statute very well. I opposed it in the House on behalf of the poachers. I do not see what it has to do with this problem.

Mr. Ede

I make the assertion that when the whole of the population of Southern Ireland who owed allegiance to the Government of that country became aliens overnight I was confronted with the kind of problem now facing the Home Secretary. The first thing I discovered was that there had never been an agreement about the border. The final meeting of the Commission set up to deal with the question broke up in confusion and presented no report. That is a typically Irish situation, at which one always arrives in dealing with this matter.

One after the other I considered the very alternatives which are now put forward by the right hon. and learned Member, and I said that I would not be so foolish as to attempt to explain those matters in the House of Commons. The reception which the right hon. and learned Member received this afternoon proved that if I was not very plucky at least I was reasonably wise in reaching that decision.

We are now told that the object of the Bill is to secure control. "Control" is now the motto. The hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell), who have not favoured us with much of their company today, make speeches which show clearly that it is not control that they are after. Let us be clear about that. In spite of the denials they sometimes make it is very difficult to find out whom they want to exclude other than coloured people.

Control is very difficult. We want immigrants who can contribute to our economic strength. We want skilled craftsmen, men who can work in industries and increase our capacity for export. Our wisdom in doing that is proved by the reluctance of countries behind the Iron Curtain to release such people.

6.30 p.m.

In the days immediately after the war we were flooded with applications from members of the liberal professions in European countries who had friends here and wanted to come here to live—lawyers, doctors, professors and all that kind of person. We had very little difficulty in getting them to come when we decided to admit them. That creates a very great problem for people who have to control this matter, when all the arguments now come down to economic circumstances which will prevail.

The people we boast about 'laving admitted in the past, the Huguenots, came here as skilled craftsmen. I know one great Huguenot family who came over and were so determined to be persecuted that when they were turned out of France at the revocation of the Edict of Nantes they came to this country and declared themselves as Unitarians and so lost the benefits of the Act of Tolerance; but we took no step against them, because they at once made a great contribution to the economic resources of this country.

Were any consultations held with the civil engineering firms which are concerned with the preliminary work of getting land ready for the erection of houses on housing estates? I am told that a very high proportion of the men engaged in that operation are citizens of Southern Ireland. During the course of this afternoon I was told by a colleague here that he believed that in some cases people of that group are as high as 80 per cent. of the men employed on such estate development. If there is one thing we want it is that kind of labour.

A great many of the workers in this country and in the Dominions, the old parts of the Commonwealth, were carried out by Irish navvies before much of the work they used to do was taken over by modern mechanical devices. That reservoir of this kind of labour in Southern Ireland was a great asset to us in the last century. If we take steps to deprive ourselves of it in any way in this century we shall be very foolish indeed.

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

They made the Manchester Ship Canal.

Mr. Ede

Not merely the Manchester Ship Canal, but nearly all the canals in the country were built by imported Irishmen.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)

The Irish were so unruly that they had a special police force to deal with them.

Mr. Ede

Every advantage entails some disadvantage. The fact the Irishman is a good workman, and works very hard, entitles him to a little relaxation at the end of the day. It is a great pity that we do not realise that when complaints are sometimes made about coloured workmen in this country.

The Home Secretary is to undertake this task of control. Rightly, we apply it in the case of aliens. He may have to attempt to apply it in the case of the Irish. I think that he will find in the end that he will get back to what always operates in the end in the matter of control of aliens, that the persons we want to admit are the people who will add to the economic resources of the country. To deprive ourselves and make it more awkward for people to come from Southern Ireland will not help one trade I have mentioned and I understand that there are others. At the moment, my sister is in hospital and the name of every nurse there is Irish—every one.

This is a Bill which is a sop to three or four hon. Members opposite who lead the Home Secretary captive in their triumph, a triumph which will do no good to this country and which will certainly not enhance our standing among the nations of the world. I think that the problem of the Irish is completely insoluble. We have had every possible method put up this afternoon by the Attorney-General. They were received on this side of the Committee in one way, but to watch the faces of hon. Members opposite was even more interesting than to listen to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

I hope that this Amendment will be carried. I do not want to put on the Home Secretary the awful problem of trying to control Irish immigration. He may be able to reach an agreement with the Government of Southern Ireland. They are very accommodating when they have something which they want. The price he will have to pay for the Bill he wants I do not know, but I am quite sure that when the final bargain is struck the balance of advantage will not ultimately be on his side.

Mr. Tapsell

I wish to say how very much I agree with everything which was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr). Like him, with great regret, I have come to the conclusion that the Government are bound to take powers to control the rate at which immigrants come into this country from the Commonwealth; but, like him also, I am extremely disturbed that it is not thought possible to include Southern Ireland in these provisions.

By a curious coincidence, the question which my hon. Friend sought unsuccessfully to ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General was precisely the same question I sought to ask. The Attorney-General said that it would not be necessary for the Government to take powers to restrict immigration from Southern Ireland if the Republic itself took powers against the entry of Commonwealth citizens. In saying that, the Attorney-General was repeating something which the Home Secretary said on 5th December. He said: The main reason why we want to have this power in reserve is that, if the Government of the Republic do not control immigration from the Commonwealth coming to their shores, it would be necessary to adopt the inevitable course, undesirable though the Government regard it, of imposing an immigration control at the docks to catch immigrants coming in."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1184–5.] I felt that it was strange for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to say that when, in the same speech, he said that it was impossible to restrict immigration from Southern Ireland. As reported in column 1190, which has already been quoted by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), my right hon. Friend said: I have just explained to the Committee that the Government cannot find a workable or desirable method of controlling the entry of Irish immigrants into this country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 1190.] Even if it were found possible, as I hope, to devise a means of extending the provisions of the Bill to Southern Ireland, the reason given seems to me to be the worst possible reason for introducing such a restriction. Why are we prepared to prevent aliens from coming here or non-Commonwealth citizens from coming here from Southern Ireland only if the Republic is not prepared to stop British subjects from entering their country? Surely for the Mother Country of the Commonwealth that is putting the cart before the horse.

I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham said about the feeling throughout the Commonwealth that we are not giving sufficient attention to Commonwealth interests. I am a supporter of this country joining the Common Market if we can do so on acceptable terms, but I feel that the Commonwealth has good reason at present for anxiety about the apparent lack of weight which is sometimes given by the Government to Commonwealth interests.

I understand the reference by the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) to the baleful influence which Irish affairs often seem to have had on discussions in this House. There was a moment when my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General was speaking when it seemed to me that we stepped right through the looking glass. He opened his speech—I think that these are his exact words—by saying, "If we are to take powers it would be quite wrong not to take powers to control immigration from Southern Ireland."

I absolutely agree with that, and would say that if that is the case I do not know what we are arguing about. But, having made that statement and put these powers into the Bill, the Government are making it clear that they do not think it possible to apply them. I urge my right hon. Friend to reconsider the suggestions made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham that the same approach should be made throughout the Commonwealth and Ireland on this matter.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) made an extremely interesting and helpful speech—helpful in the sense that it seemed to me to provide a possible point on which a large section on both sides of the House could come together in agreement on this issue which, although it has become one of acute political controversy, is a national issue on which it is the concern of all of us to find a solution. My hon. Friend talked about the measures being regarded as "reserve powers". He said that if the Home Secretary, in his reply, indicated that the Bill would be regarded in this light, then this would be helpful to those of us who are concerned about it. The right hon. Member for Smethwick said something similar.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford was right in thinking that this is the way in which the Government are approaching the Measure, although I am bound to say that with immigration running at the 1961 level I find it difficult to believe that my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford is right in suggesting that the practical effect of the Bill may not be very considerable. I must honestly tell the Committee that I do not think that we ought to allow immigration from the Commonwealth in 1962 and 1963, from whatever source, at the same rate as in 1961.

It seems to me that two main criticisms have been made about the exclusion of the Irish from the effective working of the Bill. The first is the Commonwealth argument and the second is the racial argument. Of course, they are very closely linked with one another. My right hon. and learned Friend said that there would have to be very compelling reasons for taking action to restrict immigration from Southern Ireland. I suggest that being true to the Commonwealth ideal, which all of us, including above all, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, hold dear is the most compelling reason which could possibly be found.

Secondly, although a number of my hon. Friends may reject this, I believe that if Southern Ireland is not included then, whatever the Government's intentions may be, this will appear to be a Bill based on colour. I know that that is not the Government's intention. Nobody who has read the Prime Minister's speech to the South African Parliament, or who has followed the policies which the Government have so courageously pursued throughout Africa, could possibly accuse the Government of not wishing to solve those problems in the most liberal and enlightened way, but I fear that while we may appreciate the administrative difficulties which make restriction of Southern Ireland immigration difficult, and may well understand the anomalous position which Southern Ireland holds in our affairs, it is a distinction which one can hardly expect other Commonwealth countries to understand.

6.45 p.m.

I am not convinced that the administrative problems of controlling the Southern Irish in the same way as the Commonwealth are insuperable. It has been said that it would be impossible to police the border, but it is the shortest land border in Europe. I cannot claim any real knowledge of the problems of Ulster for, unfortunately, I have never been there, but it seems a little strange that when a great issue of principle is involved we think it impossible to contemplate dealing with that border while every other country in Europe finds it, unfortunately, all too easy to control and police vastly longer borders. Surely the people of Ulster would give loyal support to any suggestion that the border should be properly controlled.

I wonder whether the British living in Northern Ireland would find it so totally unacceptable to have a badge of loyalty indicating that they are British. It would enable them to go into other parts of the United Kingdom and would distinguish them from non-British Irishmen south of the border. It seems to me that it would be a loyal insignia which they would be proud to carry.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)

There are several hon. Members on this side of the Committee who feel strongly about the Irish, but we do not go as far as my hon. Friend is going. We think that this is not just an administrative problem. The problem is one of carrying passports. Shall we also give passports to the Scottish people, for example? We are dealing with Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. If we give them passports they cease to be members of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Tapsell

I absolutely agree that this is not merely an administrative problem. It raises the widest issues, as I have sought to show. As it has been said that there are insuperable administrative problems involved in carrying out any sort of immigration control, I was venturing to mention one or two possible administrative solutions.

What I was suggesting was not a passport, but merely a sort of badge, rather like a season ticket, which one flashes at the ticket collector as on goes through the gate. It would be perfectly clear in flashing it that one had one's "ticket" and that one was a British subject. After all, none of us feels the slightest worry when we go on the Continent of Europe with G.B. plates on our cars, and none of the very loyal British subjects in Ulster should object to having a card which they could show as they pass into a different part of the United Kingdom and which would have the effect of sharply distinguishing them from the Republican Irish.

Mr. Chapman

If we are talking about the Southern Irish who wish to evade the provisions of the Bill, what would stop them getting hold of these things and using them? The hon. Member must think of something more foolproof than that to carry out what he has suggested.

Mr. Tapsell

I quite agree that this is not foolproof, but I do not think that any system that could be devised would be absolutely foolproof. We all accept that, but I suggest that because we cannot have 100 per cent. certainty that is no reason for abandoning the attempt altogether.

Personally, my objection to the Bill would be removed if I felt that the Government were making a determined attempt, to the best of their ability, to apply to the Southern Irish the same provisions that they are to apply to the rest of the Commonwealth.

The third administrative point that I should like to mention, without going into details, is that, having listened very carefully on both occasions to the explanation of the reasons why neither labour permits nor National Insurance cards would be effective ways of controlling this immigration, I am not altogether convinced. I hope my right hon. Friend will have another look at it to see whether the National Insurance cards, in particular, cannot be used as vehicles to help us to solve this problem.

May I, in conclusion, say a word about public opinion? We in this House are sent here as representatives, and, to that extent, if we are honest and courageous in discharging our duties, we should not be unduly influenced one way or the other by public opinion. We should deal with a great Commonwealth issue such as this in the way we feel to be right. I come from a Nottingham constituency, and we have about 8,000 coloured Commonwealth immigrants in Nottingham, which is a city which has had some problems. As I think the Leader of the Opposition, in quoting from the Economist when he opened the Committee stage, made clear, both the Nottingham Health Department and our Chief Constable have given what amounts to an extremely good report on the health and behaviour of Commonwealth immigrants.

I certainly confirm what my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham said about the valuable contribution which they are making in industry in Nottingham. Fairly recently, I went through one of the largest factories in my constituency, which is employing about 7,000 people, and I was struck by the considerable number of coloured immigrants working there. I inquired whether there was any trouble about this and I was told that in the last three years they had had only one example of any trouble at all, and that when this matter was put to the other coloured girls who worked there they agreed that the girl in question should go, because the trouble arose from the fact that she did not work in with the rest of the team, and that it had nothing to do with colour at all.

On the question of public opinion in Nottingham, one might expect public opinion to be very aroused about it, but I have not found that in my own experience. I have had a considerable correspondence since the discussions on the Bill started, and in all that time I have had only two letters supporting the Bill and a considerable number opposing it in various degrees. Having discussed this matter with the executive of my Conservative association, I found that they were unanimous in thinking that it would be wrong for the Government to proceeed with a Bill of this nature unless it included Southern Ireland in its provisions.

The final thing I should like to say is about the original public opinion poll indicating that more people were in favour of restricting Commonwealth immigration than had ever expressed a view on any subject before. It was a very striking statistic, but perhaps hon. Members have read the most recent Gallup poll published in the Sunday Telegraph last Sunday, which shows that a most extraordinary change of opinion seems to have occurred in Labour seats held with considerable majorities. For one thing, 40 per cent. of the people had never heard of the Bill at all. One wonders just how accurate these Gallup polls are.

Whatever the superficial and immediate reactions which people may have to perhaps slightly slanted questions, do not think that we should underestimate two things in British public life: first, the decency and essential morality of British public opinion. Although people may not like a Jamaican party next door, causing a great deal of noise—

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Samuel Storey)

I think that it is time the hon. Gentleman related this to the Amendment before the Committee.

Mr. Tapsell

I am sorry, Sir Samuel, and I come straight back to the Irish.

Public opinion, I say, is very decent and is founded on moral principles, and whatever people may superficially say, when we press them or when they are brought up against it, they are very much ashamed of anything that smacks of colour prejudice. That is why many people, both in and out of this House, who seem to be influenced to some extent by colour prejudice, almost seem to preface their remarks by saying, "Some of my best friends are Jamaicans". They talk about "tropical culture" when what they mean are coloured people. If even the most ardent advocates of the restriction of coloured immigrants feel this sense of shame, how much more do the great mass of the people in the country feel it?

The other basic belief which is so strongly entrenched in Britain is a sense of pride in the Commonwealth, and a sense that this is our greatest achievement. A future Gibbon, writing about us in two hundred years' time, will probably conclude that of all the contributions which this country has made to civilisation, the greatest, without question, has been our Commonwealth. If we now pass legislation which gives the Irish preferential treatment compared with Commonwealth citizens, we are being unworthy of our heritage.

Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)

The hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell) may not always have been strictly in order, but we agree that he made an excellent speech. I agree particularly with his phrase that this Bill was based on colour. I think we all agree with that.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Tapsell

I meant to say that if the Southern Irish were not included in this provision it would appear to be based on colour.

Mr. Dugdale

I think that we all agree that the Bill will appear to be based on colour.

The Attorney-General made a remark with which I think we all agree. He made many with which we do not agree, but he said that this was not a Bill to stop immigration. That is exactly what it is not. It will double the immigration from one set of people while reducing it from another. Many people in Jamaica, India, and other parts of the Commonwealth will be stopped from coming to this country, and many of them will be replaced by people from Ireland. We need immigrants. As one hon. Gentleman said, we need them to work in our hospitals. My wife is in hospital at the moment, and of the nurses and doctors who attend her, only one comes from the United Kingdom. The others come from different parts of the Commonwealth. We will have to replace these immigrants from somewhere, and many of them will be replaced from Ireland.

The Attorney-General said that there would be many technical difficulties. Of course, there will be, but it is the job of the Government to solve technical difficulties. That is what they are there for. If they cannot solve these difficulties, they had better make way for a Government who can.

I know of a Minister who once had technical difficulties placed before him by one of his officials. He said, "I want this done in three years", and was told, "It can be done only in six years." The Minister retorted, "Sack the official who says so and get somebody who can do it in three years, because that is what I want." That is how he got round solving technical difficulties, and I am sure that they can be solved in this case.

I speak as a child among lawyers in these matters, but what seems difficult to understand is this. At the moment surely we have some kind of check on aliens coming from Northern Ireland? Surely we have some kind of check on security cases? Do we allow everybody to come in without regard to security? I cannot believe that we do that. It there can be security checks, why cannot there be other checks? I find this exceedingly difficult to understand, but apparently we cannot have them.

We are told that control from Northern Ireland is distasteful. As my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) asked, why is the control of Jamaicans coming to this country not distasteful? Why is it that only control via Northern Ireland is distasteful. Apparently controlling immigration from Northern Ireland is distasteful to the Government, and for that reason they intend to do something which is distasteful to many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee—they propose to introduce discrimination.

We intensely dislike this discrimination. I think that it was my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) who produced certain figures from the Economist Intelligence Unit which are extremely pertinent to this question. Between 1946 and 1959, 45,000 people came to this country from India and Pakistan; 113,000 from the West Indies; and 352,600 from Eire. During all that time there was no complaint about too many immigrants coming to this country. The reason was that they came from the Republic of Ireland and not from Jamaica or some place from which hon. Gentlemen think they should not come.

This is an unfortunate state of affairs. It argues grave prejudice in favour of white people and against coloured people. What happens when Irishmen come here? I am told that there are problems of overcrowding in this country. Do not Irishmen help to overcrowd houses?

Mr. Wise

No, they build the houses.

Mr. Dugdale

So do Jamaicans. I agree that Irish people help to build houses, but they contribute towards overcrowding. The Jamaicans contribute to overcrowding, but they, too, help to build houses. Do not Irishmen sometimes make a noise and create disturbances in the evening? They would not be Irish if they did not. Yet, one is led to believe that all the disturbance, noise, and commotion which annoy English households are caused exclusively by coloured people. Why should we suppose that Irishmen do not do these things? Do not the Irish also go on the dole and sometimes accept Public Assistance? Of course they do, in the same way as do Jamaicans, Indians and Pakistanis.

Why do they come here? They do so for various reasons. They come here to work, in the same way as Jamaicans, Indians and others come here to work. They also come here for other reasons. I have here the figures from a report of the Medical Officer of Health for the London County Council. The Report says that in 1960 there were 1,426 unmarried mothers from abroad in hospitals in London. Of that figure, 385 were from the West Indies, 94 from miscellaneous countries, including India and Pakistan, and 813 from Eire. If we are to believe what we hear about the Jamaicans and Indians, they come here simply to avail themselves of the National Health Service and nothing else. All that I am saying is that what is wrong or right for an Indian or Jamaican should be wrong or right for an Irishman. The same test should be applied to both.

We have heard, too, about health tests. Let us consider the Irish in relation to health. The figures for tuberculosis in Ireland are twice as high as those in the United Kingdom, but in spite of that the Irish are to be allowed to come in. There is less tuberculosis among the Irish than among the Asians, but considerably more than among the West Indians. In spite of that, they are to be allowed in because they are Irish. Because they are Irish, they may come in and bring diseases or anything else. We do not think that this is good enough.

Mr. Delargy

My right hon. Friend ought to speak for himself.

Mr. Dugdale

I cannot speak for my hon. Friend.

Mr. Delargy


Mr. Dugdale

I am not anti-Irish. I am saying that the Irish should be in the same position as people from other countries; nothing more, and nothing less. I think that my hon. Friend, with his Irish fairness, will agree that it is fair that they should all be treated in the same way. I am not speaking against the Irish. I am speaking in favour of having equal treatment for all races. The Government have said that they cannot do this. Many hon. Gentlemen opposite think that they can. I ask the Government to think again, and to follow the example set by some of the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite and see that we get fair treatment for Irishmen Jamaicans, and other Commonwealth immigrants.

Mr. Nigel Fisher (Surbiton)

I was interested in, and agreed with a great deal of, the speech of the right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale). I have also been interested in, and agreed with, many of the speeches made from this side of the Committee during the course of the afternoon which, it is significant, on this Irish question, have been highly critical of the Government. Indeed, we have achieved what I thought we never would in a debate on this Bill, a remarkable degree of unanimity in the Committee during the course of the afternoon.

I noticed a leader in the Daily Telegraph about a week ago on the Irish problem. It said: If Ireland was a self-contained Island a thousand miles away, immigration from Ireland would be controlled. That we can accept as a statement of fact. That would put the Irish in no better position than the Canadians. And, indeed, why should they be? The leader went on to say: If there was a coloured country in Ireland's geographical position, immigration would be free. I wonder very much whether that is an accurate statement of what the position would be. I suspect that the sort of arguments designed to control Jamaicans coming here would still be advanced if Jamaica were as near to Britain as Ireland is. And the reason is that the British citizens of Jamaica are coloured and the non-British citizens of Southern Ireland are white.

There has always been large-scale immigration from Ireland but, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich pointed out, there was really no agitation about immigration from anywhere until coloured British citizens began to come to this country in fairly large numbers about eight years ago. My hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) really began this agitation so far as the House of Commons is concerned. He admitted to the House in the debate that took place in February that it was the influx of coloured immigrants which caused him to begin his campaign of agitation against the in-flow.

The Attorney-General explained this afternoon why, in practice, in the Government's view, it has not been found possible to include Southern Ireland in the Bill.

The Attorney-General

I spent a considerable time pointing out that it is included in the Bill.

Mr. Fisher

It is in the Bill in name and it has always been in the Bill in name, but it has been taken out of the Bill by the Government in practice.

There is, I believe, only one effective way of including Southern Ireland in the Bill other than by the control of the border which would be a very difficult thing to do. I am reluctantly coming to the view that probably the only way to apply the Bill to Eire is to bring back passports for Ulster. It is not a suggestion I like making and no doubt it will offend hon. Members who represent Northern Ireland seats. I see my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) already taking notes to deliver a devastating reply to that suggestion. But it was done during the war. It was accepted then by Ulster because it was vital to the security of Britain. Could it not be done again if it is now vital to good relations in the Commonwealth?

I well understand the feelings of the people of Ulster, and some hon. Members may recall that I married an Ulster girl who was once an hon. Member of this House. Our home is in Ulster, and I completely understand that Ulster considers itself, and is, an integral part of the United Kingdom, just like Surrey or Sussex.

I appreciate, therefore, that there is an objection in principle to the carrying of passports between England and Ulster; but in practice would it be such a terrible thing to have to do? I go to Northern Ireland probably as often as any hon. Member—at least in every recess—and it would be no inconvenience to me to carry a passport when going to and fro. It would not really be much of an inconvenience to go through the passport control, to suffer a little delay and even to queue up. I cannot help feeling that this would be a small price to pay in the interests of better feeling and understanding within the Commonwealth.

I believe that the people of Ulster would agree to this, if it were put to them in a persuasive way by the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South and other hon. Members who represent Ulster constituencies. The people of Ulster are not in the least afraid of making sacrifices for Britain and the Commonwealth.

Mr. Stratton Mills (Belfast, North)

I hesitate to interrupt my hon. Friend, but I would assure him that it is absolutely clear, certainly from the researches we have made in Northern Ireland, that there are substantial reasons—from a convenience point of view and, more important, for constitutional reasons—why the proposal he is putting forward is completely unacceptable.

Mr. Fisher

No doubt my hon. Friend will develop that in the contribution he may make later. I am not prepared to agree that reasons merely of inconvenience are necessarily overriding when we are talking about great matters affecting the Commonwealth, as we are now. If there are constitutional objections of importance we shall no doubt hear my hon. Friend elaborate upon them later.

7.15 p.m.

Ulster has a real feeling for the Commonwealth. Its people have gone out and have made great careers for themselves in the Commonwealth, and they would be the last people who would wish to be the unintentional cause of any weakening of Commonwealth ties I wonder if my right hon. and learned Friend has discussed this aspect with Lord Brookeborough? I am sure that he has discussed the Bill, but I wonder if he has put the problem to Lord Brookeborough, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, in this light? And if so, with what result? Because unless Ulster will accept this sort of sacrifice or unless some other way of including Southern Ireland in the Bill can be found, the Bill will continue to look like a colour Bill to the Commonwealth.

When replying to me on this point during his speech on an earlier Amendment and again today, my right hon. and learned Friend said that he could not accept my view that this is a colour Bill. I appreciate, of course, that the Government do not intend that it should be so, and I will not argue this point further. But it is, quite honestly, a colour Bill in application and impact, because the people it will affect most—almost exclusively, in fact—will be coloured Commonwealth citizens. Anyway, it is thought of as a colour Bill by the coloured nations and the coloured citizens of the Commonwealth. That is really the point, and so the damage to Commonwealth relations has been done, because no matter what we think— whether we regard it as a colour Bill or not—they believe that it is and that, in the context of their feelings for this country, is the only important fact in discussing this question of colour.

Even now, if a solution to this admittedly difficult Irish issue could be found, it would go a long way towards reconciling me to the Bill—which is unimportant—and it would go a long way towards reconciling the coloured countries of the Commonwealth to the Bill, which is very important indeed. But if the Government are now admitting that, having tried, they are finally defeated by the Irish problem—and if because of that they are forced to put through a Bill which seems to the Commonwealth to be a colour Bill—then, regretfully and unhappily, I must adhere to the position I took on Second Reading and withhold my support from the Bill. That is not very important, but what is much more important and much sadder is that I believe that the feeling which many Commonwealth countries have for Britain will never be quite the same again.

Mr. Hector Hughes

I wish to revert to the question that I put earlier to the Attorney-General and which, in my submission, he did not answer adequately. Before I do so, however, I should like to say that I agreed with much, but not all, of the speech of the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher). Before I come to the constitutional point, I shall refer to some remarks made by earlier speakers.

I think that it was the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell) who said that he thought that Commonwealth immigration should not be allowed to continue at too high a rate. The answer to that has been given. Figures show that Commonwealth immigration is largely regulated by the opportunities for work which are presented in this country. The object of the Amendment is to diminish the drastic nature of the steps that the Bill is designed to take to stop Commonwealth immigration, to ban Commonwealth immigration, or, as the Attorney-General said, merely to control Commonweath immigration.

My right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) performed a very useful service to the Committee when he pointed out that the Irish have made great, diverse and valuable contributions to Great Britain and to the British Commonwealth of Nations in civil and military affairs, in literature, art, engineering and now in house building. We on this side think that this is a disgraceful Bill which seeks to ban immigration in a way which will imperil relations between the British Commonwealth of Nations, including Northern Ireland, and between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The Amendment would help to minimise this terrible possibility.

I wish to congratulate the Attorney-General on the humour that he contributed to the debate and on his thoroughly English collection of un-Irish bulls and other strange animals which excited so much laughter earlier in the debate. He provided a certain amount of light relief to a very serious subject which concerns the lives and liberties not only of the people of this island, but of those in other parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

However, the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not deal with the serious constitutional point that I put to him. It was that the effect of the Bill is to interfere, on the one hand, with the affairs of Northern Ireland, which was given a separate Parliament established by the Government of Ireland Act, and on the other with the constitutional affairs of the Republic of Ireland, which was established by a solemn international treaty. He called in aid, hypothetically, the steps which the Republic of Ireland may take to prevent citizens of the Republic from finding their devious ways across the border into Northern Ireland and thence to this island. He is envisaging an outrage on the constitutional relations, not only between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but between Britain and those two parts of the neighbouring island.

The Attorney-General spoke about a fence between various parts of the Commonwealth. The Amendment is designed to prevent anything in the nature of a fence from being erected. It may he wise to take steps to regulate immigration to this island, but, in our submission, the steps that the Bill proposes to take are not the proper steps. The object of the Amendment is to take the poison out of what we regard as a very poisonous Bill—a Bill which will poison relations not only between Northern and Southern Ireland and also between the two island, but between us and other parts of the Commonwealth.

One of my hon. Friends said that that this is a colour bar Bill. By excluding Irishmen from its operation, the Government make it obvious that the test to which immigrants will be subjected is a colour bar test. The Attorney-General sought to argue with great skill, but not persuasively—

Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)


The Temporary Chairman (Sir Samuel Storey)

If the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) does not give way, the hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.

Mr. Hughes

I do not, of course, refuse to give way, but I should like to come to either a comma or a semicolon.

The Attorney-General sought to argue that this is a Bill, not to ban immigration, but merely to control it. He did not go so far as to say what "control" meant. He did not deal with the constitutional question that I put to him, which is my main objection to his speech. He took refuge, if it is possible so to do, in a fence. It seemed to me that he was sitting on part of the fence about which he was speaking He talked about a four-cornered fence—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—leaving one side down. It was not a plausible argument.

I suggest that none of the arguments adduced by hon. Members opposite goes any way towards negativing the arguments advanced by hon. Members on this side. I support the Amendment.

Mr. Peter Rawlinson (Epsom)

I regret to break what my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) called the sweet unanimity of the Committee on this subject. I am in favour of the principles which have been given as the reasons for the Bill and to explain why the Irish will not be caught by its provisions.

I must confess that I have not the contempt for British public opinion which appears to be held by many hon. Members. I do not believe that the British people have formed the view that a restriction on immigration is needed. That is something which should not be entirely ignored. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said during the debate on the Queen's Speech, the Bill has been found to be a regretful necessity. No one wanted it. I understand that right hon. and hon. Members opposite did not think that the need for it had arisen. I assume that the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) would not be a member of a Labour Government, if one is drawn from the benches opposite, which did not repeal the provisions of this Measure. I appreciate where the right hon. Gentleman stands and where the Leader of the Opposition stands.

I approach the Amendment with a prejudice equivalent to that which hon. Members on both sides have revealed. The prejudice has stood out like the warts on the pelt of Oliver Cromwell. I speak from a prejudice which was created because, as an Englishman, I served with Irish soldiers during the last war. My prejudice, therefore, is for Irish soldiers and Irish men and women, and I put them in the forefront of those who may be members of the Commonwealth. About 200,000 Irishmen served in the Armed Forces of the Crown during the last war.

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)


7.30 p.m.

Mr. Rawlinson

My hon. Friend says, "Rubbish". I do not know whether he has counted the heads. I do not know what part he played in the last war, whether it was with Irish soldiers or not. In any case, a very large number of Irishmen fought in the last war. They were not usually found sitting in administrative offices, or serving with shore bases. They were not usually wingless wonders. They were in the forefront of the forces of the Crown during the last war.

Sir D. Glover

I agree with every word that my hon. and learned Friend says, but it applies to the Australians and New Zealanders who are all affected by the Bill.

Mr. Rawlinson

Certainly. But if my hon. Friend compares the numbers of Irishmen who served in the last war with the population of Ireland, he will find that more fighting men in proportion to the population came from Ireland than from this country itself.

I say this as a man who is not of Irish birth or blood, but who saw fighting with the Irish soldiers and dislikes thinking that, because some of them may be caught by the Bill's provision, they may be prevented from seeking employment here. They deserve the bounty, good wishes and good will of this country far more than many people who, for some reason or other, may not have played such a great part in the last war, although members of the Commonwealth.

Commander J. S. Kerans (The Hartlepools)

As an Irishman, may I say that I am very grateful for my hon. and learned Friend's remarks?

Mr. Rawlinson

I am glad to receive such expected, I should say, support from that very important quarter.

We must consider the geographical and historical basis of the association between the two peoples. There may be a Government in Northern Ireland and a Government in Southern Ireland, but the two peoples, the English and the Irish, are closely associated by reason of history and geography which no politician and no amount of legality can sever.

It was perhaps the insanity of our predecessors in this Chamber—the insanity of Governments and sometimes the treason of Oppositions—which created a situation necessitating two Parliaments, one in the North and one in the South, and that part of the British Isles to that extent is separate and apart from us. The yardstick which most ordinary English people take is that, when they are among them, they can see little which distinguishes Irishmen from themselves, whether it be their manner, appearance, language, voice or religion.

As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) and other hon. Members who represent Irish constituencies know much better than I, we cannot prevent the crossing of that border between the North and the South of Ireland. We could not conceivably have it made into an iron curtain or a wall built up between North and South. It is impossible to imagine that that could happen. Therefore, there will always be the flow of the citizens of the Republic into the United Kingdom, whether it is across that border or across the 20 miles of water. It is a very different situation which faces those people and their association with us than faces the others who are concerned with us as part of a great Commonwealth in allegiance to which I am second to none in subscribing.

I ask my hon. Friends to remember the facts of history and geography and to realise that administratively, although it is brought into the Bill for the reasons which I accept, this exemption cannot be carried out and it seems to be the sensible solution to this eternal problem.

Mr. Delargy

Earlier in the debate, my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) drew attention to the fact that I am the son of a couple of Irish immigrants. For that reason, I want to say a few words to the Committee. I found my hon. Friend's speech exceedingly interesting, particularly when she referred to immigration from Ireland in other generations.

My hon. Friend referred to the great contribution which Irish immigrants have made to the social and political life of Britain. They made, I might add, a much greater contribution to the building of the Labour Party. I hope that hon. Members on this side, my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) included, will never overlook that fact. In the first Labour Government, we had J. R. Clynes, who came to Oldham when he was about 4 years of age, his parents having been evicted somewhere in the West of Ireland. He became the first Member for the Old Platting constituency and I became the last. The Irish in those parts gave about half a dozen lord mayors to Manchester.

In the same first Labour Government, we had John Wheatley and Stephen Walsh and other Members who were not in the Government, including James O Grady, James Sexton, Jack Jones and many others of that generation of Irish immigrants who helped to build the Labour Party. One might also refer to my hon. Friend the present Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan), who belonged to that generation.

Mr. Wise

And some on this side, too.

Mr. Delargy

Yes, but I did not notice many people on that side of the House of Commons making a contribution to the Labour Party. That is what I was talking about. We have had only two Members for the Scotland Division of Liverpool in the last 76 years. T. P. O'Connor was there for about 44 years and my hon. Friend has represented the constituency for the last 32 years.

I did not follow the logic of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) when moving the Amendment. He said that he did not want the Irish to be in a privileged position, but that is precisely what his Amendment would do by excluding them from the operation of the Bill. I have not the slightest objection to putting the Irish in a privileged position, which is why I shall vote for the Amendment if it is taken to a Division. But I want to put everybody else in a privileged position, which is why I agree wholeheartedly with the substance of the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich. Of course, I do not want to give to the Irish privileges which are withheld from the Jamaicans. What I objected to in the speech of my right hon. Friend was its manner of presentation. There are ways of putting an argument without making long research and digging up savoury statistics and presenting them to the Committee with emphasis and relish. I agree, however, with the substance of my right hon. Friend's speech.

My hon. Friend the Member for Northfield said that he was talking against the Bill, and, of course, he was, but his argument would seek to extend its scope. I am against the Bill and I want to exclude from it as many people as possible, which is why I voted to exclude the citizens of Ghana and why I would have voted, had I been allowed to do so, to exclude all the other nine countries about which we had the big row last week. If, however, I am to be logical, I must support the Amendment to exclude the Irish from the Bill.

Let us be realistic. Everybody knows that these proposals will not work. Nobody expects them to work. Nobody in his sane senses wants them to work. The Home Secretary will be terrified at the fear that they might work. He would be in great trouble with some of his colleagues. What, for example, would the Minister of Health say if no more Irish girls came over here to staff our hospitals? I am told that about half the nurses in the hospitals of Britain come from Ireland and that they are excellent nurses. I have never heard any hospital patients or former patients complain about the treatment they have received from the Irish nurses.

If it comes to that, I have never heard any of them complain about the treatment they have received from coloured doctors and nurses, and there are about 3,600 coloured doctors in our hospitals. They perform about 50 per cent. of all emergency operations. Without them, the Health Service would by now have collapsed. The fact that people who have been in hospital never complain, but, on the contrary, praise and are grateful for the treatment they receive from coloured nurses, prompted my noble Friend, Baroness Summerskill, a week or so ago in another place to make the wise conclusion that it would seem that when a person is sick, he becomes more rational and less prejudiced. That prompts me to the thought—

The Chairman

Order. I must remind the hon. Member that the discussion is about Ireland.

Mr. Delargy

Yes, Sir Gordon, so it is. I was speaking about the contribution which Irish immigrants make to our hospital services. Similarly, the Minister of Transport would be annoyed if these words in the Bill meant what they say, because if he goes ahead with his road programme—although none of us can be sure of that—how will he do it without the labour of the men who built the M.1 and all the other big motorways in Britain?

What would the Minister of Power say if Irish labour was withdrawn from the power stations? It is practically exclusively Irish. One meets them everywhere. I remember once visiting that extraordinary installation at Fylingdales, where we are building a four-minute warning system. I met a man there who was an Irishman, who said that he had seen me last at the atomic power station at Bradwell. I asked whether he always did this kind of work. He replied, "Oh, yes. I have been doing nothing else for fourteen years." He and many like him lead this hard and lonely life. They have no homes of their own and they live in camps and in huts. This man at Fylingdales made an extraordinary remark. I spoke to him about this early-warning system and asked what he thought about it. He answered, "I try not to think about it at all. It is terrifying." I asked what good four minutes would be. He replied, "Well, there is time for a pint or a prayer."

The Clause will not work, primarily because it is not intended to work. Hon. Members have drawn attention to the difficulty of patrolling the border. I was rather amused by the speech of the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell), who told the Committee that he had never been to Northern Ireland, except, he said, Ulster. I hope that in all the speeches that follow, we will not hear the word "Ulster" any more, because in this context it is meaningless since Ulster includes three counties which belong to the Republic. In fact, the most northern county in Northern Ireland is in Southern Ireland.

The hon. Member said that he had never been to Northern Ireland. That was obvious when he asked about the non-British and British-Irish wearing badges. One can imagine that on the Sandy Road, having a badge or being without one would create strange situations or dealing in tickets as though there would be yet another black market added to those which thrive and bristle on the border.

Of all the speeches I have heard today, that of my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock was the most interesting. Quite the best one to which we have listened has been that of the hon. and learned Member for Epsom (Mr. Rawlinson). The hon. Member put his finger on the whole point. There are so many geographical, historical and traditional reasons which outweigh all the legal reasons to which we have listened. His argument was all the more interesting because he is a legal gentleman. His speech was the best of the debate and it showed how futile the whole thing is.

7.45 p.m.

Captain Orr

The hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy) referred to the best and the most interesting speeches in the debate. The hon. Member's speech was at least the most consistent, because he was in favour of discrimination for the Irish, like my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom (Mr. Rawlinson), and if the opportunity arises he will vote for the Opposition Amendment. Apart from the speech by the hon. Member and that of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom, whose intervention was courageous but unfortunate, there has been a feeling in the Committee that we are in a difficulty about Ireland, not for the first time.

One of my hon. Friends spoke about the baleful influence of Irish affairs upon this House. It would be fairer to talk about the baleful influence of this House upon Irish affairs, because a great many of the anomalies with which we are dealing have arisen as the result of English politicians misjudging and misreading the situation in Ireland down the centuries.

With regard to the Bill, there is obviously a substantial body of opinion, on both sides of the Committee, which feels that it would be unfair and wrong to impose a system of control of immigration upon Commonwealth citizens which was not also applied to the citizens of the Irish Republic. That feeling would be widespread throughout the country and it is obviously the difficulty in which the Government find themselves.

It would be easy for the Government to have solved the problem by saying that they would place the controls embodied in the Bill at the ports. The Government recognise, however, that the sea is not the border of the United Kingdom. The sea is not the frontier. The United Kingdom has a land frontier, the land frontier in Ireland, and it would be wrong if we were controlling immigration into the United Kingdom to control it at the sea border, which is not the frontier of the United Kingdom.

The Government rightly consulted the Northern Ireland Government about their views. The view of the Northern Ireland Government has been that it would be wrong not to recognise clearly that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and that, therefore, one could not envisage a situation in which to pass from one part of the United Kingdom to another it was necessary to have passports.

The idea of passports has been rejected by the Ulster people, and rightly so. It has, however, put the Government here in a difficulty and we recognise this. We recognise that the difficulties which the Government face about the Bill have been due to the fact that they recognise the position of Ulster—I prefer to use that name for Northern Ireland, in spite of what the hon. Member for Thurrock said—within the United Kingdom and have agreed that it would be intolerable that Ulster citizens should have to carry passports to pass from one part of the United Kingdom to another.

There is more in that objection than simply pride, and this must be recognised. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell), who spoke about badges of loyalty and that sort of nonsense, did not meet the problem. There is more to it than just pride. We are trying to deal with a serious unemployment problem in Northern Ireland. One of the things we make much of in dealing with that problem is the fact that Ulster is not a foreign country, that it is not even a Colony, that it is part of the United Kingdom, and that there are no difficulties in travel between "our" part of the United Kingdom and the rest of it.

If we are to introduce some sort of passport system, however easily operated, it would mean that not only anybody travelling from "our" part of the United Kingdom to this part of the United Kingdom, or the other way round, would have to acquire some form of identification, whether passport, travel permit or something else, but, having acquired it, he would have to go through a process of checking. For what is the point of having a card unless there is some system of control and checking? Therefore, as soon as we introduced that type of formality we should damage the Northern Ireland economy. This is substantial and serious to us apart from any question of pride, and therefore it is not acceptable to us or to the Northern Ireland Government.

Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Wokingham)

I followed my hon. and gallant Friend's argument very carefully up to the last point when he made the statement that the institution of a travel document or other document of identification will of itself be very damaging to the Northern Ireland economy, but he did not justify that statement.

Captain Orr

I thought that I had justified that earlier when I said that we in Northern Ireland were trying to attract new industry. One of the arguments we use is that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and that there is no need for any formality. If a director of a company is being induced to come to Northern Ireland either from England or from the United States to set up there, he can be told that he is coming into the United Kingdom without formality. As soon as formality is introduced we introduce a practical and psychological difficulty which we think would do damage to the economy of Northern Ireland.

This is not to say that, having made that objection, if we are going to argue that we are not to have passports or permits and also to argue at the same time that there should not be discrimination in favour of the citizens of the Irish Republic as against the Commonwealth, the onus and duty does not fall upon us to suggest how that situation can be altered. In the course of thinking about this we have had many ideas, some of which have been put to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Some of these ideas have been discussed among ourselves and we fully agree that there are very great difficulties.

There is the idea, which many of us thought might work, of applying the principle of our Safeguarding of Employment Act to the United Kingdom as a whole. The Government have examined that very carefully. I acknowledge that they have produced fairly substantial objections to it, on the ground of the relationship between employment control in this country and the whole of the National Insurance scheme. I concede that that would require great legislative changes in this country. It would require changes in the whole basis of the Welfare State and I agree that that would be difficult.

There has, however, been one basic assumption in the whole of our discussions of this problem which it did not occur to me to challenge until quite recently when one of my hon. Friends spoke to me about it. It is the assumption that it is impossible to apply control to the United Kingdom frontier in Ireland. I challenge that. The more one thinks about it the more one becomes convinced that this is the way to deal with the problem.

The argument has been that because we could not do it in war time we cannot do it in peace time, but the problem is completely different. In war time we were dealing with a serious security problem. It is a very long border to police and control and that would be impossible in war time. It would be impossible in terms of manpower to prevent the odd, single, dangerous agent from crossing a border like the Irish border, but when we are dealing with immigration control we are not dealing with one single immigrant who might wish to steal over a narrow road in the mountains of Donegal. The object of the Bill, presumably, is to control large-scale immigration and to provide in certain circumstances a check on large numbers of immigrants.

The Irish border is not difficult at all from that point of view, because only fifteen main roads cross the border on which there are Customs posts, and there are nine railway posts. It is very easily controlled. There is only one main railway line across the border. If we are concerned with large-scale immigration it is surely easy to control these few main roads, to place immigration officials where we have Customs posts already, and to have control just like the Customs control on the trains. I cannot see why this is such a problem. It is a totally different problem in peacetime when, as I have said, we are not concerned about one dangerous man, compared with what it was in war time when we were concerned about such a situation.

I suggest to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that it would make it very much easier for those of us who have grave doubts on this principle of not discriminating in favour of foreign citizens as against citizens of the Commonwealth if he could say that he would look again at the possibility of having this control over the land frontier in Ireland. I believe that that control is possible. I think that it would assist us greatly when we come to Third Reading if something like that could be done.

I, of course, cannot speak for Ulster people as a whole, or for the Ulster Government. I cannot say exactly how they would look at this, but I have no reason to believe that the Ulster Government would be opposed to immigration control on the border. I can say with certainty, and with the certainty that they are right, that the Ulster Government would be opposed to anything which would seem to suggest that the frontier of the United Kingdom is on the Irish Sea between here and Northern Ireland.

8.0 p.m.

Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)

The hon. and gallant member for Down, South (Captain Orr) has made a most closely reasoned speech and has put forward a definite and constructive idea. I had thought that the whole idea of policing the border had been demolished by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), and I think that I still accept his experience in this matter. Moreover, if the only way in which the Bill can be operated fairly is by policing the border, then that is a further reason against it. I do not want to police the border. Many hon. Members, including myself, and a majority of the people in Ireland, want to do away with the border altogether. The sooner that is done the better. The border should never have been instituted in the first place.

If we are now told that the only way in which the Bill, which we had thought was miserable enough, can be operated is by adding further offence on making the border more permanent and the border control more irritating, and by arousing more bitterness, then that is all the stronger reason against the Bill

Mr. Stratton Mills

Is the hon. Gentleman advocating the abolition of partition? If he is, would he give me a signed copy of HANSARD tomorrow for my election address?

The Chairman

Order. I do not think that we should go into the question of partition.

Mr. Foot

I agree, Sir Gordon, but it was pressed most strongly by the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South that he wants the border policed. I thought it was appropriate to say, in reply, that we do not like the border at all and that having to police it would be an argument strongly against the Bill.

Captain Orr

The border is already policed by the Ulster constabulary, in which we have full confidence. I was not suggesting further policing, but simply that a few immigration officers should be added.

Mr. Foot

I think that such a move would make movement between Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland more difficult, and that that would not be a good thing, particularly, as has been pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Delargy), as some of the counties in Northern Ireland do not want to stay there. The way in which the border was established was one of the shadiest and shabbiest stories in British history. To say now that we want to make it more permanent and make more irritating the process by which people can move between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland is a further argument against the Bill, because such a move would be a retrograde step.

Except for the hon. and gallant Member and his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom (Mr. Rawlinson), the Government can hardly have been very pleased with the speeches they have had from Members opposite in the debate. Almost all those who have spoken from the benches opposite have been opposed to the Bill. Indeed, one said that there had almost been unanimity in the Committee up to that point, and he meant unanimity against the speech of the Attorney-General.

We have known from the beginning that there would be large-scale discontent on the benches opposite about the Bill, Indeed, the hon. and Gallant Member for Down, South is still arguing with himself about whether he should vote with the Government on Third Reading. I do not believe that any hon. Member who has been disconcerted by the Bill who say that his disturbed frame of mind had been removed by the Attorney-General's speech. The hungry sheep look up and are not fed. They did not get a square meal today.

We are now faced with a ludicrous situation, chiefly owing to the Home Secretary's attitude. Once upon a time, when there was another famous Bill before the House of Commons the cry was raised outside, "The Bill, the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill." The slogan on which the Home Secretary seeks to rally his followers is somewhat different. He says, "The Bill, or rather half the Bill, or rather those Clauses of the Bill which can subsequently be found to work, contrary to our previous expectations". That is the battle cry on which he invites the Committee to support him.

The right hon. Gentleman was not assisted at all by the Attorney-General, who invented an entirely new explanation of this Clause. The Home Secretary said originally that the Irish were to be dealt with under the Bill. Then he came along and said that he found that was impossible, and that, therefore, the Irish were not to be dealt with under the Bill. But the Attorney-General, who has a much more brilliant approach than that, said that the Bill has been so brilliantly devised that it is flexible enough to deal with any situation, and that the Government wanted to bring the Irish within its provisions. He said that when the Government discovered the difficulties, they wanted to exclude the Irish again, but then found that the Bill was so delicate, so brilliant, so wonderful a piece of legal machinery, that it could be applied to any hypothetical situation.

The Home Secretary, however, is different. He is a plain and blunt fellow. He would not agree to this complicated argument. He told us, quite frankly, "We cannot have it. The thing will not work. We cannot do it." If we cannot do it, it would be much better to knock this provision out of the Bill, and that is what the Amendment proposes. I do not see why it should be regarded as illogical.

The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South was suggesting that this Clause makes the Amendment utterly hypocritical. Everyone knows, except the Attorney-General, that this part will never be carried out. The Government would be in a more honest situation if they knocked it out. The Attorney-General has put forward the most staggering argument. I do not think that any such doctrine has ever been announced from the Treasury Bench before. He argued that it would be invidious not to have reference to the Irish in the Bill. Later, he explained why the Government could not operate that reference, but added that the character of the Bill is altered by the manner in which its powers are to be exercised.

If that is the case, what are we doing here? What is the purpose of a Committee stage? If the manner in which the Bill is to be exercised and operated may be something which bears no relation to what we have passed, why are we considering it in Committee? The right hon. and learned Gentleman put forward an utterly indefensible proposition. We have a Committee stage precisely to tie down what the Government are proposing to do.

Although the Government will not be able to deal with the Irish immigrants even by means of the device suggested by the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South—they would have said so earlier if they had thought that that was the way to do it—it has been made clear by them that, if they could find a way of keeping out the Irish, they would. That is the Home Secretary's position. Is it not? Would he care to answer me now? Would he agree that if there were an effective way of keeping out the Irish on the same basis as the others he would do it? Is that what he believes?

The right hon. Gentleman has said that the only reason why he cannot do this and satisfy Members opposite is because it is unworkable. If it were workable, therefore, the Government, presumably, would like to do it. It is the desire of the Bill to exclude the Irish immigrants on the same basis as the others. That does not make the Bill better, but worse. I do not want to keep out either the Jamaicans or the Irish.

Some of my hon. Friends have referred to the very great contribution made by Irish people who come into the country at the present time as nurses and to do other jobs. If we look back over our history, we may imagine what our position would have been if this Bill had been applied over the past centuries. Think of the impoverishment of the life of this country. Would Bernard Shaw have been allowed to come to this country? He was living at his mother's expense at the time. He would not have been allowed in under those circumstances.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

Nor would the Duke of Wellington.

Mr. Foot

It might have been a good idea to have kept him out in view of the way in which he ran the Home Office and other Departments of the Government after 1815. There are many other famous figures, but my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) will always think in these military terms.

There was, for instance, Michael Davitt, whom I had the honour to be named after. He was put in Dartmoor for a crime he had never committed. Under these provisions, he would have been sent back to Ireland after his sentence and would never have been allowed to contribute to our life. One can go back to all the great and famous Irishmen who came here to make themselves famous. Jonathan Swift would never have been allowed in under these provisions.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

If this Bill had been applied to Scotland we would never have had the Prime Minister.

Mr. Foot

That is the first powerful defence of the Bill that we have had, but we must not be tempted to compromise our principles by such an argument of expediency.

The argument I am putting is a serious one, and the Home Secretary may think it a matter of no great importance as to whether we are to exclude a large number of Irishmen before they make their contribution to our life. The great playwright Brendan Behan would probably not have been allowed into this country if the Bill had been in operation a few years ago.

Mr. Delargy

In the interests of accuracy, I should remind my hon. Friend that for some years Behan had a deportation order against him.

Mr. Foot

Under the Bill he would not have been able to get here in the first place. Nor would anybody who had had a criminal conviction for that, according to the Home Secretary, is the sort of person we do not want here at all. But many people who have had criminal convictions have done great service to the country.

Again, under this Clause, people can be kept out on grounds of security. In that case, there is hardly a great Irishman who has supported the Labour Party in the past who would not have been excluded. The programme put forward by the Chartists, 150 years ago, has been carried out to the letter, except for the one item of annual Parliaments—and I am beginning to be strongly in favour of that. The Chartists' success was very largely due to great Irishmen like Bronterri O'Brien. He would never have been allowed in under this Bill.

Hon. Members may say that these are just historical reflections, but they are not. The whole principle on which this country has been associated with Ireland over the years will be repudiated by the Bill and many Irishmen who may be future Shaws, Davitts or O'Briens will be refused the right to come to this country if the Government have their way in retaining this provision in the Bill.

Captain Orr

That is not correct. When these people the hon. Member has mentioned came here, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The Bill would never have applied to them.

Mr. Foot

The hon. Gentleman has not followed what I was saying. If the principle of the Bill could have been applied over the years past it would have had the effect that I have stated, for the Government are saying that because Ireland is out of the Commonwealth they wish to apply it to the Irish people.

Captain Orr

It was not out of the Commonwealth in those days.

Mr. Foot

I understand that, but it does not alter the desire of the Government to put on immigration controls to prevent Irishmen, amongst others, from coming to this country. I say that when one looks at the history of the association between Ireland and this country one must be horrified that the Government should introduce a Bill, part of whose purpose, even though the Government say they cannot carry it out—they would if they could—is to repudiate the natural, proper relations between this country and Ireland.

Mr. John Hall

Is the hon. Member quite accurate? As I understand it, the purpose of the Government's Measure is merely to control the rate, and there may come a time when the flow of great Irishmen to this country becomes so considerable that, to give the poor Englishman a chance, we may have to slow it down a little.

Mr. Foot

The Bill is not concerned only to control the rate. It gives powers to the Home Secretary to deny people the right to come here on grounds of security to be decided by the Home Secretary. That has nothing to do with the rate. There are other provisions, which we shall have to discuss later, which are nothing to do with the rate but which give power to the Home Secretary to decide what kind of people will be allowed into the country, whether they come from the Commonwealth or Ireland.

The point made by many hon. Members—and it is one of the reasons why debates on the Committee stage of the Bill are worthless, because if the Bill were primarily concerned with the rate of immigration, we would be told what the rate was—is that there is nothing about the numbers to be allowed in. Yet we all know that the operation of the Bill, whether it is applied to the Irish or anybody else, will depend on the numbers allowed in.

We are asked to give a mighty power to the Government to operate the Bill. The Attorney-General carried it even further when he said, "We demand that the Committee should leave in this subsection about Ireland. We do not think that we can carry it out, but we would like to have it in case at some time we have to pull it out of the pigeon hole." That is a most undignified situation for the House of Commons.

We are being asked to vote this power to put relations between this country and Ireland on a different basis, but not knowing whether the Government are to use it, not knowing whether they are to invoke it at any time, and not knowing in what circumstances they will invoke it. They will not have to come to the House of Commons and say that they are to take action against Ireland. They will have the power to do so whenever they want.

The proper course from the point of view of both sides of the Committee is to leave out the subsection. The arguments for knocking it out have been overwhelming, so let us knock it out. If the Government did knock out this subsection, they would appear slightly less hypocritical than they now do. If they persist in saying that they will hang on to this subject, giving them the power to exclude the Irish, I hope that the Committee will vote for the Amendment and signify its views in the Lobby. Judging by the speeches of many hon. Members opposite, I should think that many of them would want to come into the Lobby with us.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. Humphrey Atkins (Merton and Morden)

The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) addressed us with his usual eloquence and entertained us in his usual way and we all enjoyed his contribution. However, at the beginning of his remarks he gave a false impression. He gave the impression that numbers of my hon. Friends had said that they were very worried and that they disapproved of the Bill. With respect, he has got that wrong. My impression is that a number of my hon. Friends are in my position, that is to say, we do not disapprove of the Bill, because we accept the necessity for it and are in favour of it and have voted for it up to now, but we are worried about the Government's statement that they propose, in spite of what is said in the Bill, to treat the Irish in a way better than that accorded the rest of the Commonwealth. That is my position. The Amendment seeks to delete the Irish from the provision of the Bill and does not find any favour with me, because I want the Irish to be treated no better and no worse than members of the Commonwealth.

There are three reasons why I find myself very worried about the present state of affairs. I will try to state them briefly, because they are not very different from some of the things which worry some of my hon. Friends. The first is that, whatever we may say about it, the Bill has a considerable effect on our relationship with the Commonwealth It is a step which affects the Commonwealth. In spite of what hon. Members opposite may say, it is not a colour-bar Bill, but it could be easily represented by those unfavourably disposed towards us as being detrimental to the Commonwealth, a colour bar and so on. Intelligent people throughout the Commonwealth will realise the necessity for it, but there are many who do not have access to HANSARD and our daily newspapers and who do not follow all the arguments advanced in the Committee for and against various proposals in the Bill.

It will be very easy for our enemies to influence those people into supposing that Great Britain is doing something thoroughly detrimental to the Commonwealth. By this decision of the Government not to apply the Bill to the Irish, we are giving those enemies of this country an additional hammer.

Mr. Gordon Walker

It is not only our enemies who are misled but almost all the organs of the Press in Great Britain—The Times, the Guardian, and most of the other newspapers. If we are to stop them from being misled, we have a big job on our hands.

Mr. Atkins

I do not doubt that many people are being misled and the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) is adding ammunition to them. What I meant was that there are many people who do not regard the British Commonwealth as a good institution and who are trying to destroy it and who are finding that the Bill is something which they can talk about and misrepresent.

The Chairman

The Amendment is concerned with Ireland only.

Mr. Atkins

I will try to keep in order. To sum up what I was trying to say, the fact that the Bill is not to apply to the Irish will give an additional weapon to the enemies of this country who are trying to discredit us in the Commonwealth. I will leave it where it is.

The second reason why I am worried concerns this country and has already been mentioned. It is the matter of deportation. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General said that if people were deported to Ireland under Part II of the Bill, what would stop them from coming back would not be' the operation of Part I, but simply the fear that if they returned to this country they would be liable to prosecution. We deport people because we do not want them here, and presumably we deport them because they have committed an offence. But they are quite likely to come back again, even though that might be an offence. I should like some further reassurance on this issue. The whole point of deporting people is to get rid of them and I should very much like to hear whether the only way of effectively deporting people and keeping them out is the simple fear that if they return they will be liable to be fined.

My third reason affects the House of Commons. I could understand the Government asking the House of Commons to give them power to do something and saying, "We do not know whether we will need it, but here is our case; we want power to take certain action if necessary; will you give us that power?" We would discuss the matter and decide whether to give the Government that power. Equally, the Government could say, "We want to do something and here is a Bill which will enable us to do it".

The Chairman

Can the hon. Member tell me how he relates this argument to the Amendment?

Mr. Atkins

With pleasure, Sir Gordon. At the moment the Government have asked Parliament for authority to do something, at the same time saying that they are not going to do it. If they had said, "We want powers to do it in the future if the necessity arises", I could have understood it; but they say, "We want authority to do something and we propose to do it in part, but not in whole", and I cannot find myself very happy about that. I am quite prepared to give the Government power to do something, but I am completely in the dark about this. Are they to operate the Bill or not? Either they should ask for power to operate it if necessary, or say that they are to operate it and operate it all together. They have said that they will not operate it against the Irish because that is difficult.

It is up to me, having criticised the Government, to try to be constructive. It is very difficult for an ordinary hon. Member to suggest exactly how immigration control should be operated, but I was impressed by the suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr). It has constantly been said that it is impossible to control the border between Northern and Southern Ireland. The German, or Canadian, or American to whom that was said would merely roar with laughter. It is simply that we have never had to do it. Surrounded by sea, we have been able to use that as our frontier and control has been very easy for us. I cannot believe that it is impossible to have immigration control on the border between Northern and Southern Ireland. I am reinforced in that view by an hon. and gallant Member from Northern Ireland.

I ask the Government to reconsider this issue and to see whether control is possible. As things stand, the Southern Irish, against whom I have nothing and among whom I have many friends, are given preferential treatment over Commonwealth citizens, and that is a position which I am not readily able to support. I have supported the Government up to now and I want to continue to do so, but unless I can have some assurance, I do not think I can.

Mr. Diamond

The last speech, to which I listened with great interest, was another example of the difficulties which Conservative Members of Parliament are experiencing and which my hon. Friends and I have witnessed in every speech by hon. Members opposite. Hon. Members opposite have accepted the principle of the Bill, which is control of immigration, without examining it. Now that examination is forced upon them, they realise that the logic of it will not allow them to support it fully. They are trying to draw a line at point A, point B or point C. They are not prepared to face the fact that only one logical conclusion is emerging from our examination of the Amendment, namely that we have to go the whole way and wring the neck of this rotten Bill.

I will explain my reason for saying this. Every hon. Member has no doubt had the same experience as I have had of being asked on platform after platform while this question was under consideration and before the Bill was put before Parliament, "What are your views about control of coloured immigrants?" It has always been expressed in terms of coloured immigrants. My answer has always been, "The largest numbers of immigrants into this country in recent years have been the Irish. I am not prepared to stop my cousins from Ireland coming to this country."

To anyone who asks me, "Are you prepared to accept the Irish and prevent other immigrants—coloured immigrants—coming", I say that that is simply a plain colour bar and I do not stand for anything in my political view if I am prepared to accept a colour bar. That is a simple and logical position to adopt, and none of my hon. Friends is in the slightest difficulty, because all my hon. Friends follow the logic the whole way through. It is hon. Members opposite, many of whom have made liberal speeches evidencing the difficulties they feel about the Amendment, who face this difficulty, and I want to help them a little if I can.

Mr. Chataway

is the logic of the hon. Gentleman's argument that, if Irish immigrants could be controlled, he would accept the whole Bill?

Mr. Diamond

That is not so. I have already explained that my first premise is that I am not prepared in any circumstances to exclude Irish immigrants from this country. That was my first statement. Therefore, I am not prepared to exclude anybody from the Commonwealth who is coloured. This is a perfectly simple and logical argument.

8.30 p.m.

Hon. Members opposite are in this difficulty. They obviously cannot exclude people from Northern Ireland, because they realise the fundamental truth that practically everybody living in Northern Ireland feels himself to be British through and through. We cannot exclude from Britain a member of the United Kingdom who feels himself to be British. Hon. Members opposite would help themselves in their consideration of these difficult problems if they would realise that the real distinction is not what we think other people are but what they think they are.

The one country which has set an example in dealing with the problem of immigration on a vast and almost inconceivable scale is Israel. Israel has accepted immigrants on one definition only. To anybody who wanted to go to Israel who has said, "I feel myself to be a Jew", Israel has said, "Come in". How else could they define, after the passage of 2,000 years, those people in different quarters of the world who are by descendent entitled to call themselves Jews?

It is obvious that we cannot exclude Northern Ireland or put any control over it. The next stage of the argument is introduced by this probing Amendment. Can we exclude the Southern Irish? What is the distinction between the Southern Irish and the Northern Irish? We again realise that this cannot be done. As has been made perfectly clear, in spite of what the hon. Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) has alleged, it cannot be done physically. I accept what the Government say about this. It cannot be done physically and it cannot be done metaphysically. The irritation, almost the rebellion, that would be felt throughout the whole of Southern Ireland if a fence were put across the division between these two States dividing, as we should have to divide, the southern part of the Irish Republic from the northern part of the Irish Republic, would be absolutely intolerable and would cause far more incidents than already take place.

Captain Orr

Simple immigration control would not be any more vexatious than the Customs control which already exists.

Mr. Diamond

Everybody knows that it is not effective. Smuggling goes on across the border, as I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman will agree, to such a degree that it is unfair to other smugglers to use that term in other areas.

Mr. Stratton Mills

I ask the hon. Gentleman to bear in mind the Franco-German border, the Belgian border, the Italian border, and so on. If these Continental countries, which have had experience of manning borders over a long period, can do this, why cannot we do it?

Mr. Diamond

The hon. Gentleman will no doubt return to Ireland and suggest that a wall should be built, on the style of the wall dividing East Berlin from West Berlin, between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. If he does not think that this is a fair answer to his question, I invite him to consider the practice and not the theories. I invite him to listen to what has been said by Irish Members on this side of the Committee. I invite him to remember what the Government have said. Is he not prepared to pay some regard to that? If he is not prepared to pay attention to any of these things, will he not use his common sense?

Mr. Stratton Mills

Is it not possible that Britain, having experience of immigration through her ports, tends to look with some scepticism at this type of approach?

Mr. Diamond

I am delighted that hon. Members opposite keep pressing this point, because it illustrates what I am saying. They are trying their hardest to find some point of no further retreat—to find something they can hang on to, so that they do not have to admit that they must retreat all the way along the line and that we cannot exclude the Northern Irish and therefore we cannot exclude the Southern Irish. If we included those two it would be wholly unacceptable, as all hon. Members opposite agree, to differentiate between them and the members of the Commonwealth.

Therefore we are driven back against the whole of the Bill. But, because hon. Members opposite are unwilling to be driven that far, they have unthinkingly, and without full examination, been prepared to accept the Bill, in a hurried manner and for no adequate reason—because the Bill does not deal with the real problem. They are now trying to say, in the face of Government advice, that it is possible to have an effective division between Northern and Southern Ireland.

Mr. Ronald Bell


Mr. Diamond

I have given way five times. I do not think that the hon. Member has listened to the whole debate, but I have been here all the time.

I want to examine the Government's case for leaving Irishmen in the Bill although they will not operate its provisions in respect of them. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman), who made an excellent speech in moving the Amendment, said very forthrightly that we regard this as blackmail. If the Government say it is not blackmail they can easily prove it by telling us how many Commonwealth immigrants, especially coloured Commonwealth immigrants, have been migrating into Southern Ireland recently and causing the Government of the Republic to be so concerned about this inflow that they are preparing this legislation.

If that is not the case—and my information is that there is no such migration to the land of no jobs and to the land of unemployment, or even to Northern Ireland, with its permanent and persistent 8 per cent. unemployment—it follows that the Government of the Republic are not coincidentally and happily producing legislation which they have been cogitating upon for a long time because of the pressure that has been building up.

The fact is that the Government of the Republic of Ireland have done a deal with the British Government. It is a very simple deal. The Home Secretary has said, "We will let in your boys if you will keep out the other boys." That is as simple and as effective a way to proceed as one could imagine—and it is plain blackmail, as my hon. Friend says. Let the Home Secretary prove me wrong if I am wrong.

What possible justification can there be for this? The Attorney-General has said, "There will be legislation similar to that which we are introducing, and it will be complementary to ours." He was interrupted at that point by the hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) who asked him how it would work, but he got no satisfactory answer. The hon. Member for Mitcham is right. If we examine the situation we must see that it cannot work. Let us imagine that the Government are proceeding on the basis that we want x thousand immigrants in a certain year. That figure will be decided by the Home Office, within its discretion under the Bill.

Let us suppose that we allow in the whole of the x thousand. What figure will the Eire Government adopt in their immigration policy? They will exclude every immigrant of every kind, otherwise immigrants could come from the Commonwealth to Eire and then on to this country, so that the number of immigrants decided upon by the Government will be exceeded. What about the various categories? Any category that an hon. Member cares to mention will be in exactly the same position.

This procedure cannot work unless the two Governments are working in complete harmony and liaison the whole time. In this matter I am delighted to have the influential support of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) who is a former Home Secretary and who knows what he is talking about, which is often more than many of us do, although we try to do our best. I say to the Home Secretary that it would not work.

The reply of the Government is, "We know it will not work." It is a fantastic situation. They know that it will not work, but they want it as a reserve power. They say, "It is not that we are in trouble at the moment but there will come a time when we shall be overwhelmed by Irish immigrants to this country and we shall need reserve powers to deal with them. Let us have them now." Reserve powers to do what? To do what the Government say they cannot do, totally ineffective powers which the Government want to incorporate in the Bill. What nonesense the Committee is troubled with by being asked to give the Government reserve powers which are ineffective, and which the Government know are ineffective, to control immigration.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does it not go a little beyond that? I understood that the argument of the Attorney-General was that he wants this power in the Bill because it will not work.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

That is Irish. [Laughter.]

Mr. Diamond

My hon. Friend has spoken well. The Committee will forgive me if I cannot find it in me to be amused by anything in this Bill. I think this is such a shocking retrograde step, such art illiberal step, so damaging to the relations of this country with the world as a whole, that I can find nothing funny to say about it at all.

I come to the Government's justifications. There is the justification of the reserve powers. They say that they want this as a reserve although the powers are totally ineffective and although it is admitted that the largest category of immigrants are Irish. If anybody is to be excluded, by excluding the largest class the Government will deny themselves the original argument that we are being overwhelmed by too many immigrants and need to control them. If we need to control them on grounds of numbers, the last category to exclude is the largest one of all. If the central logic of my first position cannot be maintained, and it certainly cannot be maintained, however unpleasant it may be for hon. Members who wish to support the Bill, up to a point, it is seen to be a plain colour-bar Measure. That must be our main argument against it.

I have had so much experience with Irish workers in this country that I defy anyone to say that they are not making a valuable contribution to our economy. Many hon. Members have referred to their work in building. I shall never forget how during the war a company in which I had considerable responsibility was charged with building an American hospital. Of the 2,000 workers employed almost all were Irish. They were dumped into a field and charged with the job of building huts. Once they had provided that accommodation, they had to build a hospital by D-day, and that was done. It was done in the most difficult conditions, miles from anywhere, and almost entirely by Irish labour. It would have been impossible to have achieved that but for the Irish.

If anyone thinks of the main problem which results from immigration he will see that it is the housing problem. What better answer to the housing problem is there than simply more and more people building houses? Of all the people we find building houses, a fair proportion are always Irish and coloured, doing the donkey work, such as digging the foundations. Hon. Members cannot possibly go with the Government in their illogical attitude to this.

My main reason for attacking the Government is that they are debasing standards. I have been delighted to see that every hon. Member opposite has denied that this is a colour-bar Bill. Some have said that it might be thought to be a colour-bar Bill, but all have denied that it is based on colour-bar because, thank heavens, it is still reprehensible in Britain to admit to colour prejudice. If that is reprehensible then we have something solid and substantial on which to build. We can build on public opinion by pointing out that we do not want a Bill which seems to be a colour-bar Bill. In accepting such a Bill the Government are appealing to the worst in human beings.

The Home Secretary is vying with the Prime Minister in trying to debate our standards by encouraging the population to accept colour-bar standards. Fortunately the arguments being advanced are being seen to have some effect. Public opinion polls show that opinion is moving vastly in favour of those who object to the Bill. Since this would be a wholly illogical position, and since hon. Members opposite cannot draw the line either at Northern Ireland or at Southern Ireland, they had better agree that the only way to deal with the matter logically and fairly and in the interests of the whole Commonwealth is to get rid of the Bill altogether.

8.45 p.m.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. R. A. Butler)

We have had nearly five hours of debate on this Amendment and it does not, therefore, seem unreasonable for me to intervene shortly.

The extent of the feeling about the Bill is obvious to anyone taking part in the debate. I was not at all happy about the intervention of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman), or about his remarks concerning me or anything else. We all have our convictions on this matter, and we are sorry that the intensity of feeling has meant the severance of friendships. I am as sorry as he is about that. I speak with conviction, just as he spoke with conviction. I hope that right hon. Gentlemen opposite realise that we speak with conviction even though we may disagree with them.

The best way I can tackle my short speech is to take up immediately the hon. Member's challenges to me about the remarks which I made on 5th December. I then said that the Government had not found a workable and desirable method of controlling the entry of Irish immigrants into this country. I accept every word of that and every word which I said and which is reported in the other columns of HANSARD. That represents the truth. We have not found such a method. We have been into the matter with the greatest care.

We have been into the question of controlling the Irish border. I remind the House that the border, as the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), with his experience of the Home Office and Ireland knows, is about 180 miles long. Much of it runs by devious ways through rough and difficult country. There are about 100 roads of different types which cross it. Only 16 of these are approved roads for Customs purposes where we have small Customs patrols. Thus, to impose an immigration control merely at those points where Customs checks have already been set up would leave vast tracts of country unsupervised and a great many serviceable but not necessarily metal roads useable by people who wish to cross the frontier.

After an intense examination of the subject with the Government of Northern Ireland, we feel that to set up a fully effective control under Whitehall—because we should take responsibility as the immigration authority—would clearly be an immensely expensive task, quite apart rom the intolerable inconvenience which would be caused by sealing off the border. In this connection, I call in aid the speech of the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond), who seems to me to understand some of the difficulties of the subject.

Even during the last war this was never attempted and never done. It was decided during the last war—I have made an investigation—that it would need an immense body of troops to supplement those who were trying to enforce immigration control. I therefore honestly believe—and I doubt whether right hon. Gentlemen opposite would differ—that to control the border would be an extremely difficult and, as I said on 5th December, a virtually impossible task. This is the view of the Northern Ireland Government, as communicated to me.

I do not intend to shirk a single point here. We face a difficult issue. I am willing to stake my personal position on this. A decision has been taken and I propose to give the House the facts, and hon. Members on either side of the House may do as they like. We have made up our minds. I shall not burke the issue one bit. I shall attempt to meet the susceptibilities of my hon. Friends and of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and to meet the suggestion of my right hon. Friend in a minute or two. This is a sufficiently serious issue for me to state it with emphasis, and show the decision we have reached.

We believe that the border is uncontrollable. I heard the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr), who spoke with conviction, but who, I think, underestimates the difficulties. We come back again to what I said in my Second Reading speech, and what I said also on 5th December—that the only possible way to control immigration from Southern Ireland—the Irish Republic—is by control of the ports.

Captain Orr


Mr. Butler

I would rather not give way. I have to make my speech in difficult circumstances and I want to make it clearly. In my last speech there were so many interruptions that it was impossible to make the argument run.

We have come to the conclusion that to impose control of the ports would mean imposing control on United Kingdom citizens, that is, the Northern Irish. It would mean the holding of passports. As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South said this would be virtually an impossibility. It might have to be done in certain circumstances, but I think that it would be most undesirable.

I should like to make it quite clear that the Government took a definite decision, which appears to have been supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. Carr) and others, that we were not prepared to accept a situation of that sort, namely, passport control against our own United Kingdom citizens in Northern Ireland. Having reached that decision, from which I do not believe the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) would demur, we frankly came to the conclusion that it was physically and in other ways impossible to keep out the citizens of the Irish Republic.

I come to the second part of my speech, which concerns the reason why having reached that decision, we have a reserve power in the Bill. Before I come to that, I should like to say to the Committee that it will no doubt come to vote on this Amendment. The Government want to give ample time to it in due course. I do not want it to be thought that I am rushing the Committee. Hon. Members will have to realise that if they vote to take this power out there will be no power to control immigration from the Irish Republic. There is the power in the Bill. If we take out subsection (4) it would be impossible to do it in the future. I have said that it is not easy to work, and is undesirable, and that is the position I stand by.

I therefore recommend to the Committee that it should not take this power out of the Bill for the following main reasons, which were given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General in his intervention earlier in the debate. The main reasons are, in fact, two. We wish to preserve a reserve power in the event of changing circumstances; for example, economic circumstances, which might make it necessary, however undesirable, and I stress that, to impose this control.

The second reason is that, in the event of the purpose of the Bill being undermined by the entry of Commonwealth immigrants through the Western ports, we should, willy-nilly, and whether we like it or not, have to impose some control, however impossible and, however undesirable it was. [Laughter.] I have to face that, because we are engaged in an Irish debate.

It would simply have to be done in the event of the Bill being undermined by Commonwealth migrants coming through the Irish ports without control. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about black-mail."] I am coming to the question of blackmail I have sat through the whole debate, and I am answering the points which have been raised.

I come to the first point, about keeping a reserve power, which has been much criticised in the debate. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has been criticised for saying that he wishes to keep a reserve power. In this connection, I should like to refer to two thoughtful speeches, that of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), and the speech of the right hon. Member for Smethwick.

In answer to my hon. Friend's request as to what the nature of the Bill was—and I hope that this will be noted both in the Press and in the country outside, because much play has been made with the Press—I should like to say that the Bill is designed to control immigration and not to stop it. It is most important to get that across properly. I have absolutely no doubt that when we come to Clause 2, which relates to the method of control, as I hope we shall this evening, we can then consider the nature of the control under that Clause, and the nature of the control which will be applied. That control will certainly be operated humanely and sensibly, realising the need to match the flow of immigrants with the conditions and situations they may find here.

I say that advisedly. That is a thought-out phrase to show how we mean to operate the Bill. The hon. Member for Northfield is smiling, but he comes from Birmingham and knows that the situation there is difficult. It is one of the most difficult of all our situations. The situation in Manchester, in Brixton, and in North London is difficult, and it is up to us, as hosts of these Commonwealth migrants, to see that our conditions are satisfactorily established so that they may enjoy and profit by their time here.

That is what we intend to achieve. Hon. Gentlemen may criticise the Government for not having done this earlier, I follow that, but I say now that in trying to control this immigration we are doing it on purpose, to make the relations within this country good between Commonwealth migrants and our people. I should like to add to the many testimonials which have been paid in the debate to the excellence of the contributions made to the running of the hospitals, railways, transport, and other services by the Commonwealth migrants who have come here. There is no question but that we cannot do without these friends who come to us from overseas. This is the spirit in which we shall interpret the Bill.

When the right hon. Member for Smethwick, who spoke with great seriousness about a possible modification of the administration of the Bill, said that we should make it totally reserved, I understood him to mean that it should be simply a reserve power, and should not be brought into operation.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Just like the Irish part of the Bill.

Mr. Butler

I do not want to make fun of it, because the right hon. Gentleman's point was serious, and I want to answer it seriously.

I cannot accept the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion. His suggestion is a reasonable one, but it does not represent the Bill. The Bill has been brought in because, as I shall be probably saying later this evening in answer to the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), who raised the question of numbers, the numbers coming in for this year and recently have made us feel that some sort of control is necessary.

That is the basis of the Bill. That has been accepted by many of the critics on this side of the Committee on the Irish issue, and I think that it is generally recognised in the country, at any rate, that some sort of control of Commonwealth immigration, however distasteful, is a necessary measure at the present time.

Now I come to the second point, namely, the reserve power in the event of the purpose of the Bill being undermined by the entry of Commonwealth immigrants from Western ports. I take up all the points raised by the right hon. Member for Smethwick. These points—and they were embellished by the hon. Member for Northfield, the hon. Mem ber for Gloucester and others—were to the effect that there was some sort of bargain, or what is called blackmail, between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the Irish Republic.

I stand absolutely by all the columns of HANSARD of 5th December and entirely repudiate any such suggestion. A statement was made by the Irish Foreign Secretary, Mr. Aiken, in which he indicated that there was a likelihood of early legislation, and he concluded by saying that he would make a statement in the near future. That statement has not been made, either implementing in full what he said or indicating the type of legislation that he would carry out.

9.0 p.m.

I do not know what type of legislation the Irish Republic will introduce. I can only presume that as the Republic has undertaken to deal with the aliens problem, so that there is in that country, in the alien problem, balancing legislation to our own, a similar form of legislation—the nature of which I have no knowledge at all—may be introduced in the Dail.

I cannot go further than that, because I do not know. It is important, meanwhile, that we should reserve the position of this power. I want to answer flatly and openly the question put to me by my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham, who asked what is our attitude. Our attitude will be guided entirely by the nature and type of legislation introduced by the Government of the Irish Republic. Meanwhile, we have the reserve power in our own Bill.

I hope and believe that the nature of their legislation will be such that no such power will be needed. My hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham raised other alternatives in the course of his speech, and matters in this connection were also raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell) and other hon. Members. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General himself referred shortly to some of the difficulties of bringing in powers of internal job labour control within the United Kingdom. This is a thing to which we are not accustomed and it is very difficult.

The first objection in principle is that it is not migration control, but job control. The second objection in principle is that if one introduces it one will be introducing it only for those Irishmen who come here for jobs and are perhaps refused jobs. They have nothing to do with the rest of the population from Ireland who come in. After being refused jobs they could live on the social services and would not be controlled in any way. These are two profound objections in principle to this system and I can assure hon. Members that it is not through lack of work or lack of trouble that we have come to these conclusions. The difficulties of enforcement are most powerful.

I can speak on this extemporarily because I have spent the last few weeks studying the possibilities of ways of helping my hon. Friend. I have studied in detail the safeguards of the Employment Act of Northern Ireland. Not only is the scope of the problem different in Northern Ireland, but it is different because their system of National Insurance and Ministry of Labour control is amalgamated under one roof and can be administered together.

My hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham asked whether we could not have a system of stamping insurance cards and making them a condition for work. In the presence of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, I can say that we should have to introduce a measure of control by the Ministry of Labour giving vouchers to the Irish. That brings us to the second main difficulty compared with Northern Ireland, where there is five years' delay before one can get assistance. Here, assistance is virtually automatic and the National Assistance Board has informed me that if it were deprived of its statutory duty to require an able-bodied man to take work legislation would be needed to deprive the Board of that necessity.

Thus, we are getting to the main and profound difficulty of job control in this country. Let me follow it through. What happens next? We cannot let men starve. Therefore, what shall we do? We must resort to deportation, which matter has been raised in the course of the debate. I tell the Committee that I cannot stand here and recommend deportation for a man simply because he has been refused a job. Deportation under the Bill comes from the decision of a court for certain criminal offences. If an Irish labourer comes here, is re fused a job by the Minister of Labour—and we need such people in work here—and is told that he will be deported, thus giving rise to all the problems about deportation which arise under the Bill, that seems to me to be an impossibly difficult thing to enforce.

I say to my hon. Friends that we have considered this matter carefully. We have looked at every possible alternative—the Northern Ireland alternative and every other. We feel that we must stand on the decision that we have taken. In view of all the difficulties, the Government have decided that the Bill shall lapse and come under review in December, 1963, and be reviewed, like the aliens legislation, annually under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill until such time as we make permanent legislation for both. That means that the Committee is being asked to wait for eighteen months or two years after the coming into effect of the Act before we review the situation as it affects Ireland or anything else. On behalf of the Government, I undertake to review every aspect of information about Irish entry to this country before that date.

The hon. Member for Northfield asked me about the number of Irish people coming here. Mr. Lemass, Prime Minister of the Southern Republic, has stated that during the twelve months ended 30th September the net loss to the Republic by migration was only 28,000. Our information from National Insurance cards show a higher figure than that. We have not the exact information, and I propose, before this Measure is reviewed, to consider every possible method of obtaining information.

There is the possibility of landing cards under the First Schedule, the possibility of National Insurance cards which, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance tells me, is practicable, and the possibility of obtaining unemployment figures from the Ministry of Labour. The National Assistance Board tells me that it can review the position at the end of a year and give me its figures as well. We shall, therefore, have all this information upon which we can base a future decision.

To sum up, I come back to my own words. It is very difficult, and undesirable, to carry out this particular control.

Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

It is impossible.

Mr. Butler

I do not go as far as that. I stick to the words that I used on 5th December. I consider that we should find it extremely difficult to bring in such control, but I think that in our Measure we should have two reserve powers. One should be in case of economic change and the other should be in the event of the principles of the Bill and its operation being undermined. It is on that score that I ask the Committee to reject the Amendment and to let us proceed with our business.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Gordon Walker

I wish to speak only briefly because I have spoken before.

The Home Secretary's speech has convinced me more than ever that we must carry our support for this Amendment all the way. He asked us, in effect, to keep in the Bill what he describes as an unworkable Clause. That is what he said, to reduce it to a word. The reason why he wants it kept in is to frighten the Irish. He said, "We must have a reserve power in case they do not keep people out in the way that we are doing." The only reason for the preposterous proposal to keep in an unworkable Clause is to frighten the Irish. The right hon. Gentleman is like one of those harmless insects which tries to frighten its prey by inflating itself. It does not make itself any more powerful. He has said, "I am powerless. I will frighten the Irish with a powerless weapon".

The hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr), who made a very thoughtful speech, was absolutely right in what he said. That was proved by what the Home Secretary said. The sole purpose of the Government in this Clause is to ensure that the Irish keep out Commonwealth citizens. If the Irish do their job and keep out Commonwealth citizens, as the hon. Member for Mitcham said, Irishmen will be allowed freely into this country. If they do not keep out Commonwealth citizens, the threat is made that they will not be allowed to come here. This is the naked, anti-Commonwealth part of the Bill. This is the very heart of the anti-Commonwealth aspect of the Bill.

One reason why we must press the Amendment is that, not only will it provide us with an opportunity to give vent to our feelings, but it will give hon. Members opposite who expressed many grave doubts about this matter an opportunity to express their opinion. The Home Secretary almost challenged them to do so. He said, "Hon. Members on either side of the Committee can do as they like". These were deliberate words, and I hope that they will be taken to heart. I think that hon. Members who do as they like will vote for this Amendment and against the Government in very large numbers.

Mr. Chataway

I apologise for extending the debate, but I for one am not convinced by the arguments advanced by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary for the exclusion of the Irish from the effective provisions of the Bill. However, it seemed to me from his speech that things were a great deal clearer. It seems that we are deciding a balance of preferences, a balance between the difficulties of including the Irish in the Bill and the desirability of including them in the Bill. It is a question of whether one wants the Irish in the Bill and how much one wants them to be effectively included in the Bill. This is a matter of considerable importance.

My right hon. Friend dwelt on the difficulties—he did not say impossibilities—of including the Irish in the Bill. He has not, in the main, argued about the undesirability of including them. He said that he considered that that was undesirable, without expanding it. The only Member on this side who spoke in favour of excluding the Irish from the effective provisions of the Bill was my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom (Mr. Rawlinson). His was, as one expects from him, a powerful speech. On this occasion, however, it did not seem to me that his arguments, looked at in cold reason, added up to very much.

My hon. and learned Friend pointed to the fact, of which we are all aware, that the Irish make a tremendous contribution to this country. Nobody denies it. He pointed to the fact that many thousands of the Irish fought for us during the war, and nobody denies that. All these things, however, are true of Commonwealth citizens. My hon. and learned Friend's argument added up to nothing that would justify a discrimination in favour of the Irish against Commonwealth citizens. This is not simply a matter of public relations. It has been argued today largely in terms of how it will seem to the Commonwealth, and that is important. But it is not just simply a question of appearances. There is a point of substance here.

Immigrant unskilled labour in this country comes from two main sources, the West Indies and Ireland. To control one set and leave the other entirely free must be to set the West Indians at a disadvantage. Therefore, although one knows that there is no intention to include any degree of colour bar in this Measure—[Interruption.]—one knows that that is not the intention, and so do hon. Members opposite—this seems to me to provide the strongest argument for demanding that a way he found of including the Irish in the Bill.

9.15 p.m.

Three main methods have been discussed by so many hon. Members that I would not attempt to run over each of the three in detail. I am still left with the impression—of course, I cannot claim to be an expert in these matters—that control would be possible under all three headings. The most difficult of them is probably to ask the people of Northern Ireland to carry either a passport or a piece of paper showing that they were British citizens. I do not think that it would be such an enormous imposition. Today, everybody has to carry driving licences, insurance cards and a hundred and one different bits of paper. It would not be such a tremendous imposition on the people of Northern Ireland, but we have the assurance of one or two of my hon. Friends that it would be resented.

On the question of internal control, although my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary was persuasive on the scheme he had in mind to the extent that I am certain that it would not work, I am not yet convinced that a scheme which made it illegal for Southern Irishmen to enter this country would be impracticable, even if there were no effective control at the ports, even if the border were not closed. Surely, it could be laid down that Southern Irishmen must commit themselves to voluntary control. It would immediately become known, there would be no question of anybody coming in by mistake or accident and 99 out of 100 would so submit themselves. For the rest, the fact that they had no insurance card should lead to a perfectly satisfactory system for ensuring that they would be detected if they applied for a job in this country.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Would the hon. Member apply the same provisions to Commonwealth citizens coming from Commonwealth countries?

Mr. Chataway

These are the provisions. I would apply the same provisions at the port of entry to Southern Irish citizens who were asked to submit to voluntary control. They have to submit to control. This is simply a means, if necessary, of getting round the difficulties that are said to exist about closing the border.

I am suggesting that Southern Irish citizens would be required to register for immigration controls in exactly the same way as every other Commonwealth citizen. Some would slip through, undoubtedly, and others would he discovered and found by means of a system based upon the insurance card, which has been discussed so much today. One cannot argue this or any such scheme, however, on the Floor of the House of Commons in this way. It is hard to argue and easy to shoot down.

Where I feel convinced that control is possible if the Government wish it is at the border. I listened carefully to my right hon. Friend when he alluded to the difficulties. He said that there were a hundred roads and only sixteen Customs control points. He spoke of the feeling during the war that many troops would be required to police that border satisfactorily. As has been pointed out, there is a vast difference between immigration control in peace time and the kind of closure of a border that is required in war time.

The length of the border between Ulster and Eire is 180 miles. The length of the border between Mexico and the United States is 1,550 miles and there is immigration control. The length of the border between Canada and the United States is nearly 4,000 miles. Canada would not be able to be a member of the Commonwealth if she exercised no control at the border between the United States and Canada.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

I have great sympathy with what the hon. Member is saying and I agree that the practical objections can be overcome, but the real objection surely is that at last the psychological effect of this border is breaking down and we now propose to re-erect it in a manner calculated to do considerable harm to Irish relations, and for what purpose? To keep out immigrants whom we want—that is what the Home Secretary said. Does the hon. Member really think that, granted this can he done, it is worth while until it is really shown that we do not want the immigrants in this country?

Mr. Chataway

If there is to be a limitation on the total number of immigrants into this country, and particularly on the number of unskilled workers, it is only right that whatever diminution in the numbers is insisted upon should fall equally upon the two main groups. It is on that point that I would base my argument primarily.

I do not think that we can talk about erecting a fence or an iron curtain or something of that kind in the way hon. Members have spoken about it. There is a border there already and sixteen control points already apparently effective to control the free flow of goods. To bring in a few immigration officials would surely be possible and although, as we know, no land border is 100 per cent. effective, it would be effective enough. I hope that the Government will look seriously at this again. I would support the Bill because I know from my own constituency that there is need for some control and because I believe that there is a limit to the amount of immigration that can be absorbed and integrated at any one time, but I should not be able to give my support to the Bill on Third Reading unless there were some provision for the Irish that was clearly effective.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)

I should like to draw the attention of the Home Secretary to a point which I believe will be of interest to him. I have very little opinion at all of him as a liberal statesman, having watched him in action at the Dispatch Box, beginning as early as 1931 when I heard him again and again as Foreign Office spokesman assure the House of Commons that he had no evidence that there was any Italian or German intervention in the Spanish Civil War. But there is one respect in which I have great regard for him and that is that he has a very nice feeling for the House of Commons. He generally regards the House as something which must be respected.

The right hon. Gentleman has heard speeches in this Committee today, almost without exception and without regard to the side from which they came, with the exception of course of the speech of the Attorney-General, which have been 100 per cent. against this provision which excludes the Irish while including the other Commonwealth countries. We on this side of the Committee have made it perfectly plain, as have a great many right hon. and hon. Members opposite, that we do not wish to exclude the Irish. Great tributes have been paid to the work that they have done both in peace and war in helping on our own brand of civilisation in this country. The point on which the right hon. Gentleman has not satisfied this Committee of the whole House today is that it is necessary to make this distinction between the Irish and the other members of the Commonwealth.

It was said by a Lord Chancellor in another place that when any body of Englishmen begin to discuss Ireland, they take leave of their senses. That appears to have been the case, to a certain extent, today with regard to all the difficulties that are alleged to exist in putting proper immigration control on Irishmen. I just do not believe that the Irish are so inherently clever that, every time, they are able to fox Anglo-Saxons.

I believe that it would be perfectly possible to put control on the border. At any rate, if some of us were in doubt about that, we must take account of the views of the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) who should know more about the border than most of us. But there is the other point of whether or not it would be possible or desirable to have passport control for Northern Ireland. I know that there are feelings about this, and I regard passports as uncivilised things. But if passports for Northern Irish people would prevent great harm to the Commonwealth, then we should take no notice of the very slight burden involved in visiting a passport office and going through the necessary formalities.

It is nonsense to say that this would be a real burden. It would be a petty nuisance and an uncivilised one, but if it has a great countervailing advantage to the Commonwealth, then it should be borne quite freely. It is a countervailing advantage which may have escaped the Home Secretary. We may save untold ill will in the Commonwealth if the people of Northern Ireland are prepared to pocket their pride in this matter.

But it is not just a question of pride, as the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South mentioned. He put a very good argument about it which I had not heard before, and which he said, I think, the Government had not previously noticed.- I hope we have disposed of the question of pride because, when it is the question of saving, the Commonwealth from great evil, the Northern Irish should be prepared to pocket their pride. The hon. and gallant Member's other argument was that it would harm the economy of Northern Ireland. I confess he had a serious point there, but it is a question of balance of advantage.

I believe that, if it were really a question of harming the economy of Northern Ireland, the Government could do something about it if they wanted to. They could have done something already in

their years of power, but instead they have left the country with 8 or 10 per cent. unemployment. If they wanted to make a countervailing saving of the Northern Irish economy, they could do it, but they are not prepared to do so and, therefore, it is a matter of balance of advantage. Are we to have a possible further threat to the economy of Northern Ireland—which could perfectly well be removed by the Government—or are we to have this very considerable catastrophe to the Commonwealth?

No one can say that there is not strong feeling in the country and the Commonwealth. No one who heard Sir Grantley Adams could claim that. The great principle of a multi-racial, tolerant Commonwealth is at stake. It seems to me that, in these circumstances, it would be far better to risk that economic threat to Northern Ireland—which could he removed by the Government if they cared to do so—rather than to inflict this immense blow upon the wonderful idea of the Commonwealth which we have been so successful in bringing before the world.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Michael Hughes-Young (Lord Commissioner of the Treasury)

rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Hon. Members


Lord Balniel (Hertford)

Disgraceful. Absolutely outrageous.

Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham. Small Heath)


Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 259. Noes 208.

Division No. 29.] AYES [9.29 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bingham, R. M. Buck, Antony
Aitken, W. T Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Bullard, Denys
Allason, James Bishop, F. P. Bullus, Wing Commander Eric
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Black, Sir Cyril Burden, F. A.
Arbuthnot, John Bossom, Clive Butcher, Sir Herbert
Ashton, Sir Hubert Bourne-Arton, A. Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)
Barber, Anthony Box, Donald Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)
Barlow, Sir John Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Carr, Compton (Barons Court)
Barter, John Boyle, Sir Edward Cary, Sir Robert
Batsford, Brian Braine, Bernard Channon, H. P. G.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Chichester-Clark, R.
Bell, Ronald Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Brooman-White, R. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth.W.)
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Cleaver, Leonard
Bitten, John Browne, Percy (Torrington) Cooper-Key, Sir Neill
Biggs-Davison, John Bryan, Paul Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.
Corfield, F. V. Hutchison, Michael Clark Prior, J. M. L.
Costain, A. P. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Coulson, J. M. Jennings, J. C. Proudfoot, Wilfred
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pym, Francis
Craddock, Sir Beresford Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Critchley, Julian Joseph, Sir Keith Ramsden, James
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Kaberry, Sir Donald Rawlinson, Peter
Cunningham, Knox Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Curran, Charles Kerr, Sir Hamilton Rees, Hugh
Dalkeith, Earl of Kimball, Marcus Renton, David
Dance, James Kitson, Timothy Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Deedes, W. F. Lagden, Godfrey Ridsdale, Julian
de Ferranti, Basil Lancaster, Col. C. G. Rippon, Geoffrey
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Langford-Holt, J. Robson Brown, Sir William
Doughty, Charles Leather, E. H. C. Roots, William
du Cann, Edward Leburn, Gilmour Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Duncan, Sir James Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Russell, Ronald
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lindsay, Martin St. Clair, M.
Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.) Linstead, Sir Hugh Scott-Hopkins, James
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Litchfield, Capt. John Seymour, Leslie
Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Longden, Gilbert Sharples, Richard
Farey-Jones, F. W. Loveys, Walter H. Shaw, M.
Farr, John Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn
Fell, Anthony Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Finlay, Graeme McAdden, Stephen Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Fisher, Nigel MacArthur, Ian Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McLaren, Martin Spearman, Sir Alexander
Forrest, George Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Speir, Rupert
Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) McLean, Neil (Inverness) Stanley, Hon. Richard
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Stevens, Geoffrey
Freeth, Denzil MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Stodart, J. A.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
George, J. C. (Pollok) Maddan, Martin Studholme, Sir Henry
Gibson-Watt, David Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Talbot, John E.
Gilmour, Sir John Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Goodhart, Philip Marshall, Douglas Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Goodhew, Victor Marten, Neil Taylor, F. (M'ch'ter Moss Side)
Gower, Raymond Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Grant, Rt. Hon. William Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Temple, John M.
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Mawby, Ray Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Green, Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gresham Cooke, R. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Grimston, Sir Robert Mills, Stratton Thompson. Kenneth (Walton)
Gurden, Harold Montgomery, Fergus Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hall, John (Wycombe) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Morgan, William Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Hare, Rt. Hon. John Morrison, John Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Turner, Colin
Harris, Reader (Heston) Nabarro, Gerald van Straubenzee, W. R.
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Neave, Airey Vane, W. M. F.
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Vickers, Miss Joan
Harvie Anderson, Miss Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Hastings, Stephen Noble, Michael Walder, David
Hay, John Oakshott, Sir Hendrle Webster, David
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hiley, Joseph Osborn, John (Hallam) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Page, John (Harrow, West) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Page, Graham (Crosby) Wise, A. R.
Hirst, Geoffrey Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hobson, John Partridge, E. Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Holland, Philip Percival, Ian Woodhouse, C. M,
Hollingworth, John Peyton, John Woodnutt, Mark
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Woollam, John
Hopkins, Alan Pike, Miss Mervyn Worsley, Marcus
Hornby, R. P. Pilkington, Sir Richard Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pitman, Sir James
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pitt, Miss Edith TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hughes-Young, Michael Pott, Percivall Mr. Whitelaw and
Hulbert, Sir Norman Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Mr. Frank Pearson.
Hurd, Sir Anthony Price, David (Eastleigh)
Ainsley, William Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Braddock, Mrs. E. M.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Benson, Sir George Brockway, A. Former
Allen, Soholefield (Crewe) Berkeley, Humphry Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.
Atkins, Humphrey Blackburn, F. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)
Awbery, Stan Blyton, William Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)
Baird, John Boardman, H. Chapman, Donald
Balniel, Lord Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Chataway, Christopher
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Bowles, Frank Cliffe, Michael
Bence, Cyril Boyden, James Collick, Percy
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Janner, Sir Barnett Rankin, John
Cronin, John Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Redhead, E. C.
Cropland, Anthony Jeger, George Reid, William
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Rhodes, H.
Darling, George Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Kelley, Richard Ross, William
Deer, George Kenyon, Clifford Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Delargy, Hugh Kerby, Capt. Henry Short, Edward
Dempsey, James Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Diamond, John Ledger, Ron Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Dodds, Norman Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Skeffington, Arthur
Donnelly, Desmond Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Driberg, Tom Lipton, Marcus Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Logan, David Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Loughlin, Charles Snow, Julian
Edelman, Maurice Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Sorensen, R. W.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) McCann, John Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) MacColl, James Spriggs, Leslie
Evans, Albert McInnes, James Steele, Thomas
Fernyhough, E. McKay, John (Wallsend) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Finch, Harold Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Storehouse, John
Fitch, Alan McLeavy, Frank Stones, William
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Swain, Thomas
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Swingler, Stephen
Forman, J. C. Maginnis, John E. Symonds, J. B.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Tapsell, Peter
Galpern, Sir Myer Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Manuel, A. C. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Ginsburg, David Mapp, Charles Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Gooch, E. G. Mason, Roy Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mellish, R. J. Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Greenwood, Anthony Mendelson, J. J. Thornton, Ernest
Grey, Charles Milne, Edward J. Thornton. Kemsley, Sir Colin
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mitchison, G. R. Timmons, John
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Moody, A. S. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Morris, John Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Grimond, J. Moyle, Arthur Wade, Donald
Gunter, Ray Mulley, Frederick Wainwright, Edwin
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Neal, Harold Warbey, William
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Watkins, Tudor
Hannan, William Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Weitzman, David
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Oram, A. E. White, Mrs. Eirene
Hart, Mrs. Judith Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Hayman, F. H. Oswald, Thomas Wilkins, W. A.
Herbison, Miss Margaret Owen, Will Willey, Frederick
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Padley, W. E. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Hilton, A. V. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Hocking, Philip N. Parker, John Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Holt, Arthur Paton, John Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Houghton, Douglas Pavitt, Laurence Winterbottom, R. E.
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hoy, James H. Peart, Frederick Woof, Robert
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pentland, Norman Wyatt, Woodrow
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Popplewell, Ernest Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Prentice, R. E.
Hunter, A. E. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Probert, Arthur Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Irvine, A. J. (Edge HIM) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Mr. Lawson.
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Randall, Harry

Question put accordingly, That the words proposed to be left out, to"British" in line 6, stand part of the Clause:

The Committee divided: Ayes 275, Noes 196.

Division No. 30.] AYES [9.40 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Boyle, Sir Edward
Aitken, W. T. Berkeley, Humphry Braine, Bernard
Allason, James Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Bromley-Davenport. Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Biffen, John Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry
Arbuthnot, John Biggs-Davison, John Brooman-White, R.
Ashton, Sir Hubert Bingham, R. M. Brown, Alan (Tottenham)
Atkins, Humphrey Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Browne, Percy (Torrington)
Barber, Anthony Bishop, F. P. Bryan, Paul
Barlow, Sir John Black, Sir Cyril Buck, Antony
Barter, John Bossom, Clive Bullard, Denys
Batsford, Brian Bourne-Artort, A. Bullus, Wing Commander Eric
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Box, Donald Burden, F. A.
Bell, Ronald Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. Butcher, Sir Herbert
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Warden) Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pitman, Sir James
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hopkins, Alan Pitt, Miss Edith
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hornby, R. P. Pott, Percivall
Gary, Sir Robert Howard. Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Channon, H. P. G. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Price, David (Eastleigh)
Chichester-Clark, R. Hughes-Young, Michael Prior, J. M. L.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hulbert, Sir Norman Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hurd, Sir Anthony Proudfoot, Wilfred
Cleaver, Leonard Hutchison, Michael Clark Pym, Francis
Cooke, Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Jennings, J. C. Ramsden, James
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rawlinson, Peter
Corfield, F. V. Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Costain, A. P. Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Rees, Hugh
Coulson, J, M. Joseph, Sir Keith Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Kaberry, Sir Donald Ridsdale, Julian
Craddock, Sir Beresford Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Rippon, Geoffrey
Critchley, Julian Kerr, Sir Hamilton Robson Brown, Sir William
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Kimball, Marcus Roots, William
Cunningham, Knox Kitson, Timothy Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Curran, Charles Lagden, Godfrey Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Dalkeith, Earl of Lancaster, Col. C. G. Russell, Ronald
Dance, James Langford-Holt, J. St. Clair, M.
Deedes, W. F. Leather, E. H. C. Scott-Hopkins, James
de Ferranti, Basil Leburn, Gilmour Seymour, Leslie
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Sharples, Richard
Doughty, Charles Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Shaw, M.
du Cann, Edward Lindsay, Martin Shepherd, William
Duncan, Sir James Linstead, Sir Hugh Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Litchfield, Capt. John Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Longden, Gilbert Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Elliott, R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.) Loveys, Walter H. Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Spearman, Sir Alexander
Errington, Sir Eric Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Speir, Rupert
Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. McAdden, Stephen Stanley, Hon. Richard
Farey-Jones, F. W. MacArthur, Ian Stevens, Geoffrey
Farr, John McLaren, Martin Stodart, J. A.
Fell, Anthony Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Stoddart-Soott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Finlay, Graeme McLean, Neil (Inverness) Studholme, Sir Henry
Fisher, Nigel Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Talbot, John E.
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Tapsell, Peter
Forrest, George McMaster, Stanley R. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley) Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Maddan, Martin Taylor, F. (M'ch'ter & Moss Side)
Freeth, Denzil Maginnis, John E. Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Temple, John M.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Gibson-Watt, David Marshall, Douglas Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gilmour, Sir John Marten, Neil Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Glover, Sir Douglas Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Goodhart, Philip Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Goodhew, Victor Mawby, Ray Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Gower, Raymond Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Grant, Rt. Hon. William Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R- Mills, Stratton Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Green, Alan Montgomery, Fergus Turner, Colin
Gresham Cooke, R. More, Jasper (Ludlow) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Grimston, Sir Robert Morgan, William van Straubenzee, W. R.
Gurden, Harold Morrison, John Vane, W. M. F.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Nabarro, Gerald Vickers, Miss Joan
Hare, Rt. Hon. John Neave, Airey Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Nichols, Sir Harmar Walder, David
Harris, Reader (Heston) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Walker, Peter
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Noble, Michael Webster, David
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Oakshotf, Sir Hendrie Wells, John (Maidstone)
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Hastings, Stephen Osborn, John (Hallam) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hay, John Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Wise, A. R.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Page, John (Harrow, West) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hiley, Joseph Page, Graham (Crosby) Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Woodhouse, C. M.
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Partridge, E. Woodnutt, Mark
Hirst, Geoffrey Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Woollam, John
Hobson, John Percival, Ian Worsley, Marcus
Hooking, Philip N. Peyton, John Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Holland, Philip Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Hollingworth, John Pike, Miss Mervyn
Pilkington, Sir Richard TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Whitelaw and Mr. J. E. B. Hill.
Ainsley, William Hamilton, William (west Fife) Pavitt, Laurence
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hannan, William Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hart, Mrs. Judith Peart, Frederick
Awbery, Stan Hayman, F. H. Pentland, Norman
Baird, John Herbison, Miss Margaret Popplewell, Ernest
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Hill, J (Midlothian) Prentice, R. E.
Bence, Cyril Hilton, A. V. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Holt, Arthur Probert, Arthur
Benson, Sir George Houghton, Douglas Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Blackburn, F. Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Randall, Harry
Blyton, William Hoy, James H. Rankin, John
Boardman, H. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Redhead, E. C.
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics. S.W.) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Reid, William
Bowles, Frank Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Rhodes, H.
Boyden, James Hunter, A. E. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Brockway, A. Fenner Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Janner, Sir Barnett Ross, William
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jay, Rt, Hon. Douglas Shinwell, Rt. Han. E.
Chapman, Donald Jeger, George Short, Edward
Cliffe, Michael Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, s.) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Collick, Percy Jones, Dan (Burnley) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Skeffington, Arthur
Cronin, John Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Crosland, Anthony Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Cullen, Mrs, Alice Kelley, Richard Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Darling, George Kenyon, Clifford Snow, Julian
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Ledger, Ron Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Steele, Thomas
Deer, George Lipton, Marcus Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Delargy, Hugh Logan, David Stonehouse, John
Dempsey, James Loughlin, Charles Stones, William
Diamond, John Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Swain, Thomas
Dodds, Norman McCann, John Swingler, Stephen
Donnelly, Desmond MacColl, James Symonds, J. B.
Driberg, Tom McInnes, James Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John McKay, John (Wallsend) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Edelman, Maurice McLeavy, Frank Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E,)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thornton, Ernest
Evans, Albert Malialieu, E. L. (Brigg) Timmons, John
Fernyhough, E. Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.) Wade, Donald
Finch, Harold Manuel, A. C. Wainwright, Edwin
Fitch, Alan Mapp, Charles Warbey, William
Fletcher, Eric Mason, Roy Watkins, Tudor
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Mellish, R. J. Weitzman, David
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mendeleon, J. J. White, Mrs. Eirene
Forman, J. C. Milne, Edward J. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mitchison, G. R. Wilkins, W. A.
Galpern, Sir Myer Moody, A. S.
Morris, John Willey, Frederick
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Moyle, Arthur Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Ginsburg, David Mulley, Frederick Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Gooch, E. G. Neal, Harold Williams, W. T. (warringion)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Greenwood, Anthony Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Winterbottom, R. E.
Grey, Charles Oram, A. E. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oswald, Thomas Woof, Robert
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Owen, Will Wyatt, Woodrow
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Padley, W. E. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Grimond, J. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Gunter, Ray Parker, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hail, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Paton, John Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Mr. Lawson.
Mr. Gordon Walker

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again. I move this Motion partly to discover the intentions of the Government and partly because we have been witnessing in the Committee most extraordinary scenes and developments.

The Deputy-Chairman (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

I am not prepared to accept that Motion, the more so because, on the Order Paper there is a Motion, which the Government will be moving in a few minutes' time, giving notice to suspend the proceedings under the Ten o'clock rule in order to allow the proceedings of the Committee to continue. I cannot, therefore, accept the right hon. Member's Motion now.

Mr. Gordon Walker

On a point of order. You gave a reason for your Ruling, Sir William, and I wish to ask whether one Motion is related to the other, or does it mean that when the Motion relating to the Ten o'clock rule has been disposed of it would be in order for me to move to report Progress. I could not quite understand.

The Deputy-Chairman

If the House—not the Committee—wishes to divide, we must have a Division on the Motion relating to the Ten o'clock rule.

Mr. George Brown (Belper)

On a related point of order, but not the same one, Sir William, may I say that my right hon. Friend moved a Motion which I understood you to say you refused to accept because you said that in seven minutes' time the Government were to move a different Motion. May I ask you what the relation is between these two Motions?

Mr. Grant-Ferris (Nantwich)

Seven minutes.

Mr. G. Brown

We may take the whole seven minutes if hon. Members opposite wish.

At this stage we wish to ascertain the intentions of the Government. That could be related to the Motion which they are to move in seven minutes' time. At that stage the Motion will be moved quite formally and, therefore, there will be no explanation vouchsafed to the House. My right hon. Friend claimed your leave to move his Motion on the ground that we have got into a quite extraordinary situation where the Government are no longer being supported by their majority.

The Deputy-Chairman

The right hon. Member is coming back to the original point of order. I declined to accept the Motion to report Progress and I must stick to that line.

Mr. Brown


The Deputy-Chairman

I shall hear the right hon. Member by all means on a separate point of order, but please, not on this one, because I have already ruled on it.

Mr. Brown

I respect that, of course, Sir William, but what is the relation between—

Hon. Members

Sit down.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

It has nothing to do with hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Brown

What is the relation between a claim from this side of the Committee and the Government's intention to move a Motion? We are asking you, Sir William, to allow us to discover the Government's intentions.

The Deputy-Chairman

It is not the Government's intentions which concern the Chair. The fact is that the House—we shall be the House in five minutes—will have the opportunity of deciding whether the Committee should continue to deal with this business. That has influenced me in deciding that I should not be right to accept the Motion to report Progress. I should like now to be allowed to call the next Amendment.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)


The Deputy-Chairman

If the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) is rising to another point of order, he is by all means entitled to do so.

Mr. Fletcher

I rise to a point of order which, I think, is important in connection with our procedure. I hope that it will not be laid down as a reason for refusing to report Progress that there is a Motion on the Order Paper, in the Prime Minister's name, to suspend business at ten o'clock. May I remind you, Sir William, that one day last week, on an historic occasion, there was a Motion to report Progress which was accepted by the Chair when there was also a Motion on the Order Paper in the Prime Minister's name to suspend the rule. The Chairman nevertheless allowed the Motion to report Progress to be moved. Therefore, there may well be circumstances in which it is appropriate for the Chairman to accept such a Motion.

The Deputy-Chairman

On this occasion, as Chairman, I thought it not appropriate for me to accept a Motion to report Progress, and that remains my view. I should like to call the next Amendment.

Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)


The Deputy-Chairman

Is this a fresh point of order?

Mr. Fernyhough

If the Leader of the House had attempted to do what my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) did—moved that we report Progress—would you have ruled that you could not accept that Motion?

The Deputy-Chairman

The proper answer to that would be that it is a hypothetical question.

Mr. Jay


Hon. Members

Sit down.

The Deputy-Chairman

I want to be sure that the right hon. Gentleman is rising on a different point of order.

Mr. Jay

It is quite a separate and different point of order. Can you, Sir William, for the guidance and enlightenment of the Committee, inform us in which circumstances you will be prepared to accept a Motion to report Progress?

The Deputy-Chairman

A moment ago I used the word "hypothetical". This question, too, is hypothetical.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

On a point of order. I wondered how it was that one of the Government Whips caught your eye, Sir William. Did you call him? When he rose to his feet the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) was raising a point of order. I wondered whether the fact that the Whip had risen to his feet gave him any priority, before he spoke, over a point of order which was being raised by another hon. Member.

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) is going back quite a few minutes. What happened on that occasion was that an

hon. Gentleman on the Government Front Bench claimed to move the Question, "That the Question be now put", and I accepted it.

It being Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress.