HC Deb 12 December 1961 vol 651 cc357-408

Again considered in Conanittee.

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

Does the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Donald Chapman) wish to raise a point of order?

Mr. Chapman

On a point of order. I wonder whether you can help me, Sir William. I moved the last Amendment and, as far as I could, I stayed here for the remainder of the day. You will recall that, just half an hour before one of the Whips moved the Closure, the Home Secretary made a speech in which he told hon. Members that he was not intervening at that time in order to shorten the debate which, he said, could go on after he had sat down. He also parried interventions on the ground that, following his speech, hon. Members could make their own contributions.

The Deputy-Chairman

So long as the Home Secretary's speech was in order, which it must have been or it would have been interrupted by the Chair, it cannot be raised with me now as a point of order.

Mr. Chapman

I am not raising the speech, but seeking your guidance. May I continue my point of order?

The Deputy-Chairman

I should not be entitled to allow the hon. Member, under the guise of a point of order, to ask a question of another hon. Member of the House.

Mr. Chapman

No. I have no intention of doing that and I beg your pardon if I misled you, Sir William. I am asking you what is the position in which we find ourselves? Is it not the system of the House that if a Minister misleads hon. Members, perhaps unintentionally, we may move to report Progress or use some other device to find out just what the right hon. Gentleman meant?

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. Member is raising matters of opinion that can be spoken in debate, but cannot be raised as a point of order.

The Deputy-Chairman

I propose to call the next Amendment, No. 143, in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). It will be in order to discuss with it the following Amendment. No. 144, in page 2, line 10, but only the first of the two Amendments—that is, No. 143—has been selected and it is only on the first that there may be a vote.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Diamond

I beg to move, in page 2, line 6, to leave out "British protected persons and".

The Committee is grateful to you, Sir William, for making perfectly clear that this is the Amendment which is being selected for debate, and possibly for voting upon, and that the other Amendment, as a matter of convenience, may be discussed at the same time.

I should perhaps first explain the effect of the Amendment. It is to leave out the words "British protected persons" from subsection (4). It has the effect of omitting them from the immigration control powers of the Bill. [Interruption.] I have no desire to interrupt hon. Members who wish to continue their discussion on the previous Amendment.

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. I hope that the Committee will maintain reasonable silence so that the hon. Member may propose his Amendment.

Mr. Diamond

I am grateful to you. Sir William.

The purpose of the two Amendments is to exclude the reference in line 6. page 2, to "British protected persons" and thereby to make it clear that the control powers of the Bill shall not apply to such persons. If there is any doubt about the matter, the Amendment which is being discussed with the first Amendment removes that doubt by proposing that the following words should be added: This part of this Act shall not apply to British protected persons. I wish to deal shortly with the arguments in support of this proposal, because I know that many hon. Members on both sides are most anxious to come to the Question which will follow this Amendment, namely, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." I am anxious that words of mine should not be so wide or cover so many associated points that the Chair might consider that the matter had been fully discussed and therefore might not allow debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." A number of hon. Members on both sides have not had the opportunity to speak on many of the previous Amendments and I am sure—I can certainly speak for myself here—that they have many relevant and valid points that they wish to make on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

This is an important Amendment, and it deals with a class of persons which is quite separate and which requires careful definition of the kind which, I dare say, the Government can give but which I cannot give fully. British protected persons are not easily defined. All that can be said it that they are not necessarily British subjects. For the purposes of the Amendment, one can assume, by and large, that they are not British subjects in the ordinary sense of that word but are, by way of example, mostly people in the Protectorates of Bechuanaland, Swaziland, Basutoland and a few similar small areas.

The people in those areas are British protected persons because of treaty rights which have been negotiated. I wish to come back to the heart of the Bill and to remind hon. Members that the justification for the Bill is that it is a Bill, not to exclude, but merely to control. The justification for bringing in control at this time is that it is said we are threatened with excessive immigration. No one could maintain that we are threatened with excessive immigration from areas in which British protected persons reside. The figures relating to the three areas that I have mentioned show that they account for a total population of about 1 million. I do not know the total of British protected persons in the world, but I imagine that it is not substantially in excess of that figure. It therefore cannot be said that people in these areas represent a threat to this country.

If the total population of those areas were to come here, it would still not be an enormous number. We do not know the figures accurately because, unfortunately, the Government, on many occasions, have denied the Committee accurate and relevant statistics about Commonwealth immigration. I can, therefore, only surmise that the immigration of British protected persons in the last few years has been on a very small scale. They have not been the cause of the social problems which are, admittedly, arising and which are not dealt with at all in the Bill. They have not been arriving in sufficient numbers to justify for one moment their inclusion in the Bill on the ground that we must now control the immigration of British protected persons.

Nor could it be said, in view of the total population of British protected persons to which I referred, that the Government need reserve powers, because if the whole of the total population of British protected persons came here, which is inconceivable, the number would be so small that it could not be alleged that we needed protection from them. Therefore, on those two legs of the e' araument, there is no reason to in- clude British protected persons in the Bill or to alter the status quo.

Having said tht there are no reasons for altering the status quo, let me give a few reasons for maintaining it. I suggest that there are three very substantial reasons for maintaining it. First. British protected persons are people with whom we have treaty obligations. They are not conquered people. In the old days, the rights of this country in relation to the Colonies derived mostly from the fact that the people in them had been conquered by this country and had to submit to whatever was offered to them. That is not the case with British Protectorates. They are places which have voluntarily entered into treaty agreements with the Government which extend back over very many years as a result of which they enjoy certain rights.

One of the rights which they have enjoyed, certainly a right enjoyed by all of them for at least sixty years—and a right which has been enjoyed for that length of time becomes a fundamental right—is the right to move freely to this country without being examined, without having to demonstrate their health conditions, without having to show that they have a job offered to them here, without any of these conditions whatsoever, in the same way as a citizen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

That being the case, they having enjoyed these rights by treaty, it would not only be immoral for them to be excluded or subject to irritating and debasing controls, but it would be a wholly disgraceful, unilateral breach of an agreement. All my hon. Friends know that I am wholly against unilateral breaches of agreement. The Government would, therefore, have to justify usurping powers of that kind to people who are British-protected.

If there is anything proud about being British, it is having the word "protected" associated with it. I find it entirely acceptable that for good reasons certain people should rely on our protection and should wish to associate themselves in a friendly way and to exchange for good consideration British protection and the right to move freely in these islands. That is the first major argument against the inclusion of British protected persons under the powers of the Bill.

The second reason is the obvious one that, as far as I am aware, with negligible exceptions all British protected persons are coloured. It could not be said, therefore, that this was other than a restriction which goes exclusively against coloured persons. I am sure that the last thing the Government would want is for any part of the Bill to be seen to be in any sense a sort of colour bar.

The third reason is that the three Protectorates which I have mentioned are in South Africa and are looked at with great interest by the Government of South Africa. In fact, that Government have from time to time suggested that new arrangements might be made for the protection of these areas. The reason why we are talking about the Government of South Africa as a friendly State as opposed to a member of the Commonwealth is that we were not prepared to have South Africa in the Commonwealth as long as the colour-bar philosophy of apartheid continued. We have taken that attitude in the Commonwealth.

These three teritories are looked at by South Africa day after day. South Africa recognises that she has been excluded on the grounds of her colour-bar philosophy, and yet it is proposed to introduce in this Measure the very thing for which South Africa stands condemned. No greater arguments of mine than these are needed.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Renton)

The hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) has moved one of two Amendments which are being taken together, but they would both have the same effect. They would protect British protected persons from the control provisions of Clause 2 and would give them the same right to enter this country as we are reserving for people who are native to this country or who were born here. In view of Divisions which took place at an earlier stage of the Bill, that would place British protected persons in a more favourable position than Commonwealth citizens.

The hon. Member, in his interesting and temperate speech, referred to three Protectorates only. Of course, his Amendments are not confined to those three Protectorates, which have approximately the population mentioned by the hon. Member of about 1 million. The Amendments would cover all the fifteen Protectorates and British protected States, which have a population altogether of about 14 million. Thus, the effect of the Amendments would be to give 14 million British protected persons a right of entry which several hundred million Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies other than our native people would not have.

Mr. S. Silverman

Instead of saying that it would give them that right, is it not more accurate to say that what we mean is that the Amendments would refrain from taking it away?

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Renton

That is a valid point and I fully accept it. The hon. Member for Gloucester has referred to the status of British protected persons only very briefly. I think it is right that in this context we should understand exactly what it is, especially in view of the comparison which I have made with Commonwealth citizens. A British protected person is a person who was born in a British Protectorate or British protected State—there is a slight difference between the two—or whose father was born in one of those two types of territory. They are not British subjects or Commonwealth citizens. They receive our protection when travelling in foreign countries, and for that reason they travel on British passports issued in the States where they live. When in this country they are exempt from our restrictions on aliens but they do not have the rights and obligations of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies or, indeed, of Commonwealth citizens. For example, they do not have the voting rights of British citizens, neither do they have the obligation of military service.

Surely, the position we have to face on this Amendment is this, that the Committee having decided not to exempt in the first place all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies from the provisions of Clause 2, by including them in this Clause I. and having decided, secondly, not to exempt all citizens of the independent countries of the Commonwealth in the same way, it would be quite illogical to exempt British protected persons who are not Commonwealth citizens or British subjects at all.

Mr. Diamond

It would help us enormously to consider his argument if the hon. and learned Gentleman, who has given us figures of the total population, would now give us figures of immigration of British protected persons in the last few years and months.

Mr. Renton

I think I could get such figures, but I have not got them handy at the present moment. [HON. MEMBERS:"Why not?"] Surely the important point on this Amendment is to know the total number of people the Amendment would cover, and that figure I have given. I will concede the point the hon. Member made, that emigration from those territories—I have a list of them in front of me—as one can tell from a glance at the list, has not been on a very large scale. I grant him that point.

Mr. S. Silverman

Would not the hon. and learned Gentleman be a little more precise and give us the exact figure?

That is obviously highly relevant, because the hon. and learned Gentleman has made the point that if this Amendment were to be carried we should be leaving millions of people in possession of the right to come here-—14 million of them. We, therefore, must surely have the right to assess how serious, how practical, a risk this is. It is no good saying 14 million might come here if nobody ever does.

Mr. Renton

With great respect, I should have thought that it was much more important to decide this on the basis of principle and reason than on the basis of arithmetic.

Mr. Silverman

Why introduce arithmetic then?

Mr. Renton

We are talking not of the Bill as a whole, not of the 600 million British subjects throughout the world as a whole. We are speaking of 14 million. I have conceded that only a small proportion of those have so far come to this country. In this subject, I quite agree, illogicalities arise, as we know perfectly well from the last debate. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Surely, however, this is a perfectly clear issue. It would not be right to give a special right of entry—

Mr. Fletcher

To take it away.

Mr. Renton

—to take away a special right of entry which, under the Bill, we are preserving for people who were born in this country, or who are in any other way, or various other ways, native to it, when we are saying that citizens of independent countries of the Commonwealth and citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who do not belong here, in the sense which has already been explained in an earlier debate, are not to have that right.

Candidly, the Committee must realise that it would be fantastic for us to say that the people of these territories should have the right of entry under Clause 1—we are talking of Clause 1 only—when the people of, for example, Jamaica, Canada, Australia and so on are not to have that right. Although I have endeavoured to treat the Committee with the very greatest courtesy, I should have thought that, as a matter of principle, that is scarcely arguable.

Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)

The hon. and learned Gentleman has mentioned that he has a list of fourteen territories. The term "British protected person" arises out of the fact that these people live in a British protected territory, and, therefore, we are their protectors and they come under our protection by treaty rights. In each case there is a treaty. Has the hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied himself that the provisions of the Bill do not undermine the provisions of those treaties? This is a very important question for him. There are responsible people in those territories with which the United Kingdom has treaty obligations, not perhaps the people who signed those treaties but their successors. Suppose they say that if the House of Commons passes this Bill we shall so have altered the relationship between ourselves and themselves that they will now terminate the treaties? Have the Colonial Office and the Law Officers been consulted about this point? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman quite sure that by this provision we are not doing something which might nullify such treaties?

Mr. A. Lewis

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman go one step further and say whether he has discussed this matter with the fourteen or fifteen trustee territories to which he has referred? Apart from whether or not it is legally possible, I should like to know whether he or the Department have discussed it with the countries concerned.

Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)

Give us a list of the territories.

Mr. Renton

Perhaps I might first deal with the intervention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths). The Colonial Secretary and the Attorney-General have, of course, been consulted on this point, as on all other points in the Bill. The Bill has been drafted in the fullest consultation with them. On the specific question of whether there is any undermining of the treaties, I understand that there is none whatever—

Mr. J. Griffiths

In none of these cases?

Mr. Renton

Under these treaties we guaranteed to protect the territories concerned. There is a difference between the two cases—a British Protectorate and a British protected State. The difference is that the United Kingdom Government is not responsible for the internal affairs of a British protected State, whereas it generally is responsible for the internal affairs of a Protectorate; but we have under the treaties granted protection also to the subjects of many of those States as they move about the world, and that is why they have British passports. There is nothing in any of the treaties which guarantees a right of entry to this country. It is hardly surprising, because in the days when the treaties were entered into between the parties concerned the right of entry was taken for granted. There is no danger of the treaties having been undermined.

Mr. J. Griffiths

This is very important. I call to mind what the hon. and learned Gentleman has said. I understand him to say now—and it is quite right, for I charge my memory as a former Colonial Secretary—that British protected persons carry passports. If the Bill does not take the passport away from them, how can we stop them from using that passport? Is the hon. and learned Gentleman sure that all the implications of this matter have been considered fully? Is not this a time when we might well ask to report Progress so that the Colonial Secretary and the Attorney-General might attend the debate? This is a most important matter and it might well have serious consequences.

Mr. Renton

The Bill does not take anybody's British passport away. It makes a distinction between a United Kingdom passport—and that passport is defined in subsection (3)—and other types of British passport held by citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies or, as the case might be, by the citizens of British protected States. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that there is no deprivation of passport rights. As to consultation, as has already been said, there has been consultation through the Colonial Office, though the Commonwealth Relations Office enters into the question in respect of the three protected States which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned—Bechuanaland, Swaziland and Basutoland.

Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)

Not now.

Mr. Renton

I am grateful for the correction. At any rate, both the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Colonial Office invited comments on the proposals in the Bill, and, therefore, there has been consultation in the usual way. Was this the point the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) had in mind?

Mr. A. Lewis

The point was whether discussion had taken place with all the fifteen territories. The hon. and learned Member mentioned three.

Mr. Renton

It follows from what I said that our intentions had been made known to each of the territories for which the Colonial Office is responsible and with which the Commonwealth Relations Office makes contact, and there has been discussion.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

On the question of passports, I see that the Clause applies to …any Commonwealth citizen not being…a person who holds a United Kingdom passport… and when we give a United Kingdom passport under the subsection to which the hon. and learned Member has referred we find that it means …a passport issued to the holder by the Government of the United Kingdom, not being a passport so issued on behalf of the Government of any part of the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom. Would the hon. and learned Gentleman let us know which Government issues the passport for this protected citizen, and if it issues that passport …on behalf of the Government of any part of the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom what is the part of the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom on behalf of which the passport is issued? I call the hon. and learned Gentleman's attention to the word "Government."

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Renton

United Kingdom passports can be issued by various people and in various ways. I hope I am not out of order on this, Sir Samuel, but I have been drawn into this explanation. Unless I am ruled out of order, I shall attempt to answer. The most familiar case is a United Kingdom passport issued by the Foreign Office in the United Kingdom. Another case is a United Kingdom passport issued to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who happens to be resident abroad—he may have lost his passport, for example—and that may be issued by a consulate. Then we have passports issued by High Commissioners in independent Commonwealth countries on behalf of the United Kingdom. We also have what could broadly speaking be called Colonial United Kingdom passports issued by the Government of a Colony, not on behalf of the United Kingdom Government, but on behalf of the Government of the Colony. Passports are issued to the people of Protectorates by the British representative in the Protectorate, but they are not passports issued on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom in the usual way.

Mr. Mitchison

I will try to get this matter a little clearer. We now agree that the passport is issued by the Government of the United Kingdom. The hon. and learned Gentleman tells us that it is issued on behalf of, let us say, the Government of Bechuanaland. What is the Government of Bechuanaland for this purpose? How can it authorise the issue of a passport when all its relations with foreign Powers are in the hands of Her Majesty's Government? It is stretching matters beyond any ordinary sense, and I should have thought any sound law, to suggest that a passport issued to the subject of a Protectorate is issued by the United Kingdom on behalf of the Government of the Protectorate, which is what the hon. and learned Gentleman said. Can he explain?

Mr. Renton

The position is as I have stated it. The only thing which I need add for clarification is that in a British Protectorate the passport is issued by the British representative but he issues it on behalf of the Government of the Protectorate.

Mr. Fletcher

We have had a very courteous but most unsatisfactory speech from the Minister of State. He has not attempted to answer the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond).

Mr. Diamond

On a point of order. I am completely confused. Has the Minister of State sat down to allow an intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), or does he think that he has made a speech in answer to the debate?

Mr. Renton

I have indeed made my speech in answer to the debate and I have made it at very considerable length.

Mr. Fletcher

I was under the impression that the Minister of State had finished. I can understand the surprise of my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester, because the Minister of State has not attempted to answer either the case he made or that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr J. Griffiths). May I, therefore, try to repeat the argument?

I hope that, before we finish, we shall either have the Home Secretary, or the Attorney-General, or the Colonial Secretary, or the Leader of the House, or all of them, present. I hope that one of the Government Whips will let the obvious desire of the Committee be known, because this is a matter of first-class importance, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester and my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly have pointed out.

The issue is: should British protected persons be included in the Bill? If it is logical, as the Minister of State suggested, that they should be included, it is equally logical that they should be excluded. The whole Bill is, in any case, illogical. British protected persons are mentioned in the Explanatory Memorandum as being a special class. We have to exclude them or include them. There is no logic in the Bill, but serious questions of principle are involved.

It is conceded by everyone that they are in a category by themselves. There are 14 million of them. They are not in the same position as British subjects living in Canada or Australia, nor are they in the same position as people living in the Republic of Ireland or in Ghana or any other self-governing country with which this Bill is concerned. Nor are they in the same position as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

The special, distinctive characteristic of British protected persons, as I understand the position, is that they are not exactly aliens but are in a class by themselves. They live in territories such as Swaziland, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, the Solomon Islands, and Nyasaland.

Mr. J. Griffiths

And parts of Kenya.

Mr. Fletcher

They are not descendants of people who went out from this country as emigrants.

I see that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General has just returned to the Committee. I should point out, for his benefit, that we are discussing the distinctive characteristic of British protected persons and considering whether they should be included or excluded from the Bill. They are admittedly in a class by themselves. They are not people whose ancestors went out from this country as colonists. Nor were they conquered. They are living in territories which were afforded certain protection by Britain under treaties between their chiefs and the Sovereign. The chiefs retained certain rights and their people were given the status of British protected persons.

For generations they have had the right to come here under those treaties, because their right to do so without restriction or control was derived not from a law of the Imperial Parliament but from the treaties. I suggest that the Government are, therefore, making a unilateral abrogation of treaties, because the rights of these people derived from a time when, under the common law, anybody could come to this country—not only British subjects and British protected persons but all aliens as well. That had been the common law of the country for centuries.

The only exception to that rule was the fact that the Jews were expelled in the reign of Edward I and were not readmitted to this country until the time of Oliver Cromwell. With that exception for centuries, from time immemorial, everybody has had the inalienable right to come to this country and, therefore, when these treaties were made it was implicit, if not explicit, in them—I do not have the texts of the treaties with me—that all British protected persons had the right to come to this country.

I concede that this Imperial Parliament has the right to legislate for subordinate legislatures, for the Colonies, and has the right to make laws for the citizens of Australia and Canada and other self-governing Dominions, but I very much doubt whether it has the right by legislation to abrogate rights which are derived from treaty obligations, and that is what the Government are doing in this case. The Minister conceded that there was no consultation with those concerned.

Mr. John Hobson (Warwick and Leamington)

I find it very difficult to follow the argument of the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), and I should be much obliged if he would enlighten the Committee and explain how, if entry to this country was free for all persons, including aliens, it could have been an implied term of any treaty that a protected person could come to this country. Can the hon. Member name one treaty with any protected State which contains any clause giving the right of access to this country for a protected person?

Mr. Fletcher

Yes, I certainly can. It involves reminding the Committee of what was the position about the right of entry to this country. Prior to 1914, anybody could come to this country, including aliens. In 1914, there were exceptions with aliens and those exceptions were made the subject of the Aliens Act which is a temporary Act and subject to renewal annually under the Expiring Laws Continuance Acts. British protected persons are not covered by that Act. Therefore, both before and since 1914, British protected persons have had the same rights as British subjects in the Dominions and citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. I contend, therefore, that not only by treaty, but by prescription and by common law, British protected persons have had the absolute right to come to this country which cannot be taken from them by this Imperial Parliament.

Secondly, what is the necessity for this provision? These British protected persons are in a class by themselves. The Minister of State has conceded that no practical problem arises. We are not threatened by a great invasion of people from Swaziland and Bechuanaland. Even if there were, which I deny, a case for control of immigrants from Jamaica or Ireland or Pakistan, it has never been suggested that we are in danger of a great influx of British protected persons from Nyasaland, Basutoland and Bechuanaland.

I doubt whether they come here much at all. I have studied the Annual Abstract of Statistics, and I should have thought that the number of British protected persons likely to come here was minimal. I hope that before we conclude the debate we can have some figures telling us how many British protected persons came to this country in, say, 1958, 1959, 1960 and the 11½months of 1961 which have expired. It is my impression that we are discussing a minimal problem. The case that it is necessary to keep out British protected persons because we should otherwise be flooded with them and because they would increase the housing shortage or produce social problems has not been made. There is no problem of that kind, and for the Minister of State to say that we must exclude these people as a matter of logic or necessity seems to me to be completely ridiculous.

My argument is that the case for excluding these people cannot be justified in reason, or on practical or logical grounds. Moreover, it is objectionable and offensive, because it is contrary to the treaty rights under which these people have established claims. It is completely monstrous for the Government to resist the Amendment.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Ede

At one time and another I have had a good deal to do with these protected persons in my constituency. Most appear to have been born in Aden. They come to this country as Lascar seamen, and sometimes—because they are not taken on for another voyage, or for some other reason—they stay in this country. As a class of person they are very important in our shipping life, and in the last thirty years they have increased in numbers, but not to any very great extent as residents.

Surely the hon. and learned Member has some statistics which he can give us about the problem. I imagine that the Shipping Federation could supply him with a pretty good estimate of the number actually employed in British ships. I am riow dealing with the limited group with whom I have had some connections in the course of my thirty-five years' association with a great commercial seaport. They come to me because of difficulties that have arisen about their employment. All those I have come across have been Mohammedans, who have been receiving advice, as a rule, from the religious head of the local Muslim mosque, and they have all been exceedingly proud of being British protected persons.

I understand that most of them come from small territories with which we have established certain treaty rights, which give them, at the moment, certainly, a privileged position as compared with persons in the same sort of employment who have come from foreign territories. They are always particularly anxious to assure me that they have no connection with China. I do not know that anyone would accuse them of having had such a connection, but they are always most emphatic in their statements that they are British protected persons.

There was a treaty on which their protection was based. It was not made with the British resident, because there was no British resident there at the time. It was made with the chief of the area—not necessarily a king, but some persons of authority who entered into an arrangement with us. I do not regard consultations with the British resident in one of these territories as providing a sufficient basis on which to set up some new arrangement. I know that there was a famous occasion when the first Lord Birkenhead, speaking on behalf of the British South Africa Company—before he was anything higher in the social world than "Galloper" Smith—had to plead the case of some people with whom Cecil Rhodes had made an arrangement in Africa. The members of the tribe found that their lands had been disposed of by the chief to Mr. Rhodes.

In opening the case, Mr.F. E. Smith said, "These people are so primitive that they do not understand the private ownership of land. They objected to the fact that, without [...] them, their tribal lands had been disposed of." This is exactly the kind of difficulty one gets presented with when one embarks upon a hard-hearted fascist outlook on life. It is not enough to say to people who are in treaty relationships with this country, "This Imperial Parliament will dispose of them. We shall consult the British resident and on that we shall base a policy." A number of these people reside in my constituency. I know them as peaceable, law-abiding citizens who from time to time get into grave difficulties with the Shipping Federation or the National Union of Seamen.

I am very distressed about the lack of information which is available to us tonight. I am quite certain that if inquiries were made in South Shields a very good estimate of the number of British protected persons living in that borough could be obtained. The Minister of State reminded us that they are not entitled to be on the voting lists, but a number of other Lascar seamen are on the voting lists because they are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. When the electoral officer goes round trying to collect names he has to find which of these people are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies—their names go on the list—and which are British protected persons, for their names do not go on the list. Surely there must be something which the hon. and learned Gentleman can tell us about the estimated number of these people in this country and what occupations they follow. I have never met or had correspondence about any one of them who was not a Lascar, but I represent a seaport where during the last sixty years or so a great deal of the trade of the port has been built up on the employment of Lascar seamen.

I cannot think that the hon. and learned Gentleman's Department is so ignorant as to the extent of this problem. We have just had a census. Every one of these persons has been recorded in that census. It was not done this time, but I assume that in future when a census is taken the Minister in charge of the census could give instructions that the number of British protected persons found when the census is being taken shall be separately enumerated so that the total can be given if any question about these people arises again. I have not heard anything from the hon. and learned Gentleman this evening which enables me to feel that any serious thought has been given to these people, to the part they play in the life of the community, to their share in the shipping trade. The Committee should not pass from this Amendment without getting that information from the Government.

Mrs. White

I should like to turn to the point raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison—the definition of Government. Subsection (3), to which he drew attention, refers to passports issued on behalf of the Government of any part of the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom. A number of territories are still depedent territories without responsible Government. The only passports issued on their behalf are issued on behalf of the Government in the United Kingdom. It is an extension of the Government in the United Kingdom.

For example, what is meant by the Government of Swaziland? There is no Government of Swaziland other than the Government of the United Kingdom. In course of time no doubt there will be responsible self-government in Swaziland, but at the moment we are only discussing a constitution and the possibility of elections. I fail to understand what is meant by "the Government of Swaziland" in this connection. That Government is under the direction of the High Commissioner who, incidentally, is also our ambassador to the Republic of South Africa; he is in Swaziland with executive power. I fail to see how there is a Government in Swaziland other than Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. Any action taken in Swaziland is taken on the full responsibility of Her Majesty's Government

That is not necessarily true of all Protectorates. Certain territories will obtain independence. Uganda is on its way to independence, and when it obtains independence and reaches political maturity presumably it will relinquish its protected status and will no longer be included in the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond). It will then be independent and in the same category as other independent members of the Commonwealth. But until that point is reached and it has full and responsible self-government, how can the Minister argue that passports are issued other than by the Government of the United Kingdom?

If the Paramount Chief in Swaziland decided that from 1st January he would issue passports he would find that he has no authority to do it. The authority for issuing those passports rests with Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. They are not issued on behalf of another Government, because no such Government exists which could be the issuing authority. We are getting into difficulties here.

What consultation has there been with Her Majesty the Queen of Tonga? I understand that Tonga is a protected State. What consultation has there been with the Ruler of Kuwait, which is also a protected State? It seems to me that the question of consultation is important and that it is not enough to be told, "Of course there has been consultation with the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Colonial Office". There should be direct consultation with the Rulers of protected States. I think that we should be assured that this consultation has taken place. Also we should be told what were the views of the Rulers of these protected States. Perhaps we might be enlightened about the status of Zanzibar.

Mr. A. Lewis

My hon. Friend will appreciate that the Minister did not say that consultations had taken place. He said that they were informed and advised of the Government's intentions.

11.15 p.m.

Mrs. White

I appreciate my hon. Friend's point. Perhaps I was giving the Government too much credit for their diplomacy in these matters. I was emphasising that there are Heads of protected States, and that the least we should expect is that there has been adequate consultation, and not that they have merely been given information, because, whatever one may say about the lack of government in certain areas, there are Heads of States in others.

It is an interesting matter of law as to what precisely are the differences of entitlement to consultation between the Head of a protected State and the persons in Protectorates, where I contend that there is normally no Government in the full sense of the word. If we contend that there is a Government on whose behalf we are issuing these passports, what about Barotseland? Are we issuing passports on behalf of Barotseland? It does not seem to make much sense.

Before we lightly dispose of these 14 million persons, we should have much greater clarification on these matters because we cannot brush them aside. It is not only a question of one's rights, but of our sense of history, and in dealing with a matter of this kind the Committee has a right to pay regard to the differences in historical standing. To some hon. Gentlemen opposite this may seem of little consequence, but to the people in these different territories their history and their relationship to Her Majesty's Government matter very much. They remember their history, even if we do not. It is part of their background, their legend, and their life how their relationship to Her Majesty's Government came into being, the conditions which they thought were attached to it, and so on.

It would be lamentable if we brushed aside the whole context of the bringing into being of these treaty relationships, the whole international import in law of the different status of the different types of protected persons, and so on, without a much more detailed account of the position than we have hitherto had from the hon. and learned Gentleman.

The hon. and learned Gentleman was right to remind the Committee that the numbers were very much larger than had been suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester. My hon. Friend concentrated on the three Protectorates within the Union of South Africa, but there are many others—. Nyasaland, Uganda, Northern Rhodesia, II am not sure about Sarawak, and various other places. Their history and their status matter to them, and I do not think that we can brush aside in this cursory way our past dealings with people, some of whom have Heads of State who ought to have been consulted, and others who, I repeat, have no Government in the sense of the word in subsection (3).

This point about protected persons is extremely interesting. It has been one of the glories of Britain that we have had a protected relationship with these people. Should we, therefore, just cast it aside and pretend that it does not matter that we will just lump them together as they happen to come along and say to them, "We are keeping everybody out, so of course we will keep you out too"?

That seems to be the attitude of the Government, and it is not good enough. People have put their trust in us. Some of them have the most astonishing sentiments about their personal relationship to Queen Victoria. This feeling still exists, and I think that we should be doing damage to these people psychologically if we brushed it aside.

I do not think that the practical effect of the Amendment will be very great. I think that the number of persons concerned is minimal. The number of people who come from the other territories I have mentioned, with the possible exception of Uganda—those who settle and work here—must be very small indeed. I realise that students from those countries come here, but can anyone say that the number who come from, say, Fiji is sufficient to shake the British economy or our social system?

From the practical point of view, it does not make a great deal of difference one way or the other. But from the point of view of history—and I should have thought, of law—this is an extremely important matter with which we should deal thoroughly before parting with the Amendment.

Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)

Hon. Members may say what they like about the Minister of State, but one thing those of us who know him well can always rely on is that anything in his brief is carefully mastered and is very painstakingly told to the Committee. One can be quite sure that if there is nothing in his brief to give us any idea of the size of the problem or the history of the background to it, then nothing is known about it. Thus the hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks did not astonish me—unlike some of my hon. Friends who have expressed surprise—because his approach was what I expected.

The whole trouble is that the Government have included British protected persons in the Bill without any consideration of the historical or practical implications. It has been done without any knowledge of the size of the problem and without any real attempt to find out the views of the people concerned. In fact, the Government have made no attempt whatever to consult anyone. They have, as in other respects, simply told the people who are affected by these proposals what the Government intend to do. They have told them that that is the decision. The Home Secretary told the Committee earlier that he is going to get his Bill, come what may. He does not care whether it is illogical or indefensible. He will get it through without any argument or consultation.

In precisely the same way, the Government have made it clear to these territories and the people who represent them that, whatever they think about it, the Bill will go through. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Hobson) intervened, as he so often does, to rescue the Government when they get bogged down on a legal point and attempted to challenge the suggestion that this involved treaty obligations. The hon. and learned Gentleman wondered how one could say that there was a treaty obligation when, at the time the treaty was made, everyone had those rights. I do not know if the hon. and learned Gentleman said exactly that and, if he did not, I hope that he will help us to clear our minds on the subject. In any case, I do not think that the hon. and learned Gentleman can be regarded as right politically or morally. It is probably true that when Sir Harry Johnson—or whoever it was—negotiated with the Kabaka on the treaty obligations in the Protectorate for the Buganda people, the Kabaka did not sit back before raising his pen and ask, "By the way, what are to be our rights to come to London whenever we want to visit the Queen?"

It would not have occurred to him to ask that at that time because, in those backward, uncivilised days, anyone could come to this country and exercise this privilege. It was, therefore, understood that behind these discussions there existed the right of free entry into Britain and the right to stay here. That is a right which should not be abrogated without very strong reasons. There should be extremely weighty reasons for breaking what was an understanding implicit in the situation at the time the treaties were made.

When they signed those treaties, these people were surrendering for ever to the protecting party their rights to control their foreign policy, the administration of their native laws, and so on. They could not turn back at a later stage and say, "We regret we have done it." Therefore, in all morality, if on the other hand the protected people were surrendering their rights for ever, equally it should be honourable for the protecting Power to say, "We will not in any way reduce the rights and privileges which the protected people had at the time they made the treaty."

At the time of the discussions about the federal franchise in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, one of the problems which had to be looked at was the status of protected people and their power to vote in the Federation. It was discovered that quite a number of people who could have become territorial citizens refused to do so and wanted to keep their protected status. It may seem bizarre and strange to my hon. Friends, who have seen the cynical and almost brutal way in which the Government are brushing aside these rights without regard, consultation or anything else.

At the time, those people attached importance to the bond of the British Government and people. They said to themselves, "We would rather trust our protected rights under our treaty than surrender those rights in order to have the status of citizens in the territory". So strong was that emotional, sentimental feeling, whatever one calls it, that it was necessary to make special provision for them to have the right to vote in their own country.

I am not supporting that view or saying that they were wise to take it. I simply draw attention to it as a prac tical illustration of the validity of their choice of status as British protected persons and the trust it gave people that, once they had the rights and status of protected people under a treaty, they need not fear that their rights would be whittled away. Is it not shocking that we should now be considering going back on all that for no real reason?

It is clear from everything which has been said, by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and others, in this debate that from the point of view of the weight of the problem, it does not exist. There are no hordes of protected people wanting to come and make noises in our streets or houses, cause trouble, take our jobs or do anything of that sort. The Amendment would not make any difference significantly to the number of people coming into the country. We can know that, because had it been different we would have been told. Therefore, we can assume without doubt that this is a tiny problem in quantity. Therefore, to avoid that tiny, remote and hypothetical position arising at some time, without serious thought to its implications, the Government are asking us to take away this privilege which is attached to a British protected person.

Anybody, on either side of the Committee, who cares for the traditions and privileges and the great historical rights which have grown up. in the Commonwealth, and which were mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), should not let these things pass. I hope that the Committee, from all sides, will join in rejecting the Government's proposal by moving British protected persons out of the scope of the Clause.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)

I am very glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) and my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) who preceded him have tried to educate the Minister of State in some of our Colonial history, and I am very glad to welcome the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Front Bench, because it is quite clear that in this matter the Home Office has no sense of the kind of obligations which this country has to the protected persons in these various territories in different parts of the world.

Indeed, the provision in the Clause which we are seeking to amend is further proof of how little the present Government really care about the new Commonwealth which is emerging from the old Empire. So long as it was an empire the party opposite cared a good deal about it, and very enthusiastically moved millions of people from Africa across to the Caribbean and then back to Africa again, and very cheerfully suspended constitutions and imposed this, that and the other thing on various territories of the Colonial Empire. Now that these things are changing the Home Office seems willing to throw aside all these pasterns of obligations which have grown up over the years, and to do so without any sort of sense of the kind of thing it is really doing.

If the Minister of State knew anything about the protected persons whom we are discussing he would, for instance, have known that an infinitesimal proportion of them will ever have the chance to come to this country, but that very many of them regard their right to come freely to this country as one of the most priceless privileges to have arisen out of their relations with this country and its protection.

Mr. Renton

On a question of knowledge, perhaps I may remind the hon. Member that his remarks about the Colonial Empire are quite irrelevant because these people are not and never were British subjects, nor were those Protectorates part of the Empire.

Mr. Thomson

It is precisely this kind of thing we are trying to get across to the Minister of State. What he says may be perfectly true from the purely legalistic Home Office point of view, but not from the point of view of others in this country, and of many of his hon. Friends behind him, who have had an interest in Commonwealth and Colonial affairs and who have always felt their obligations to the Colonial Territories included obligations towards protected persons in the Protectorates.

Mr. Tapsell

I must say that I was surprised to hear the Minister of State apparently imply that countries like Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia have never been part of the British Empire.

Mr. Thomson

Well, I can, perhaps, leave that part of the Minister of State's education in these matters to some of his hon. Friends behind him, and I hope that during the debate in the hours which lie ahead of us they will continue it. There is no knowing what sort of progress we may make with the Minister of State, because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes said, we all know that in other Home Office matters the Minister of State is a conscientious Minister who applies himself to anything which concerns the Home Office. Clearly, however, no one in the Home Office seems to have discovered what sort of rôle British protected persons and the Protectorates have developed in our Colonial history.

Perhaps the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies sitting beside the Minister of State will tell him that the Colonial Secretary has just returned from a visit to Central and East Africa and that he has spent a good deal of time in various Protectorates talking to various British protected persons of the category we are discussing, including some distinguished British protected persons like Dr. Hastings Banda. The Colonial Secretary has just done a very good job in Nyasaland, trying to create a renewed sense of good will among British protected persons in that territory towards this country—a very difficult task, considering what some of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors in the Colonial Office and in the Government did in the years immediately gone by.

What has happened in Nyasaland? British protected persons there have a very strong sense of grievance, because in the Central African Federation they find that their freedom of movement to other parts of the Federation—to Southern Rhodesia, for instance—is subject to arbitrary prohibition by the Government of Southern Rhodesia. This is a matter which seem to them a glaring injustice.

But what are the Government proposing to do in this provision? They are proposing to apply the same sort of arbitrary prohibitions on the movement of British protected persons to this country as the Southern Rhodesia Government have been doing in respect of the citizens of Nyasaland within the Central African Federation. One of my hon. Friends has reminded the Committee of the sense of history that the citizens of Nyasaland have in these matters. I well remember when the original Federation Bill was being passed through the House helping with some of my hon. Friends to deliver a petition on behalf of the British protected persons of Nyasaland against the imposition of federation. One of our difficulties in handling the petition was that it was made not to Her Majesty's Government but to Her Majesty herself. That was done because the people of Nyasaland still felt the very strong sense of having entered into a direct treaty with Queen Victoria, and they could not understand how a group of politicians in Britain, forming the British Government, could abrogate that honourable treaty freely entered into by people in Nyasaland with the Queen of the United Kingdom. I am not attempting to support the point of view which was expressed there, but I put it before the Committee as an indication of the very strong sense of historical connection that there is between those British protected persons and this country which is being arbitrarily ruptured, without consultation, by the provisions of the Bill.

A number of hon. Members have mentioned the situation in the High Commission Territories around the Republic of South Africa. In this country and in the House of Commons, we are particularly conscious now that our behaviour towards the British protected persons in these High Commission Territories will be the test of our sincerity as the centre of a multi-racial Commonwealth. It is now a commonplace that these High Commission Territories are a shop window for the kind of democracy that we stand for as against the policy of apartheid in the Republic of South Africa. But what are we to say if the British Government put prohibitions on the movement of British protected persons from these High Commission Territories on a more considerable scale than exists between the High Commission Territories and the Republic of South Africa?

This is the kind of thing that the Government are doing with this provision. In terms of controlling i a dangerous quantity of immigration into this country, there can be no question at all, as my hon. Friends have said, that the entry of large numbers of British protected persons presents any danger to our housing situation, our economy or anything else. It seems to me that if ever there was a case for making exceptions from the provisions of this thoroughly disreputable Bill, it would be in the case of British protected persons.

The lack of sense of feeling for the relationship that exists between British protected persons and this country is indicated in the terms of Clause 1 (4) of the Bill where British protected persons are lumped together with citizens of the Republic of Ireland. In other words, these British protected persons, who have this unusual history behind them, this history of voluntarily entering into a free treaty relationship with this country, of voluntarily seeking the protection of the British Crown, are lumped together in a subsection with a larger group of citizens of a country which voluntarily withdrew itself from the protection of the British Crown.

It seems to me an insulting method of dealing with this matter, but it is no more insulting than the way the Minister of State has dealt with the arguments put forward on this point from this side of the Committee, and I hope that before we finish with the matter we shall have a much more adequate answer from the Minister of State than we have had so far.

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)

I sincerely hope that the Minister will at least make this concession. It is rather tragic that protected persons are thrown in like this. I even doubt whether the drafting of the Clause is logical. I know that this is a narrow point, but I would say that the hypocrisy involved here is one of the tragedies of the situation. It is not long since charts and diagrams were sent to the schools to illustrate the glories of the Elizabethan era and tribute was paid at the Coronation to the great Commonwealth. At the General Election the Union Jack was displayed on the table at Tory meetings while speakers extolled the virtue of the Empire and the Colonies.

The Chairman

The hon. Member is going far beyond the Amendment.

Mr. Davies

I guessed that I should be out of order, but I thought that I should make the point by way of illustration that all that was merely a sprat to catch a vote and was not a genuine feeling for the spiritual meaning of the Commonwealth and of the people in it.

I gather from Halsbury's Laws of England that a British protected person is, first, any member of a class of persons declared by Order in Council made in relation to any protected State, any mandated territory, or a trust territory to be British protected. Such persons are British protected persons by virtue of their connection with the Protectorate or territory. They are not aliens and they are not British subjects. They become so by birth, naturalisation or annexation.

When on 1st January, 1949, we dealt with a Measure in the House we were told that any person who was or was deemed to have been a British subject before 1st January, 1949, became on that date a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and so remained a British subject if he was born within the territory comprised on 1st January, 1949, in the United Kingdom and Colonies, if he was naturalised or was deemed to be naturalised in the United Kingdom or Colonies, or he became a British subject by annexation on 1st January, 1949, of the territory. There have been examples of annexation since the last war in the case of Christmas Island, which was taken over from Australia, and an area under the control of New Zealand, taken over for test purposes.

Finally, there are the British persons born in one of the Protectorates. This is where we shall have difficulty later on, and it is the duty of Parliament to have a forward look. I must use an illustration without, I hope, getting out of order. Under the Treaty of Rome a court of justice can deem that if a job is not advertised and not filled in Britain within three weeks, anybody from within the Common Market area, in the event of our joining the Common Market, can take it up.

The Chairman

Order. That is not in order on the Amendment.

Mr. Davies

A ship is part of a territory. Under navigational law a tramp steamer can be regarded as part of Great Britain. I suggest that I am far from being out of order. This is exactly relevant to the Amendment, and the bunch of muddled mavericks on the benches opposite have not even considered this. What will happen if there are jobs to be filled on a British tramp steamer, which is considered to be British territory? I have moved around the high seas. It is protected persons such as Lascars who have helped to make the name of tramp shipping. If certain jobs on British tramp steamers were not filled, the Court of Justice could, if it wanted to be awkward, deem that the jobs be filled by people living within the Common Market—Germans and Italians.

11.45 p.m.

The Chairman

Order. The hon. Member is going far beyond the Amendment. We are not in the Common Market yet. The hon. Member must not anticipate that state of affairs.

Mr. Davies

Sir Gordon, I knew that it would be difficult, but it is relevant. It exposes an angle of this Bill which has been hidden. I should like the Government to answer, because I am sure that they are rushing us into the Common Market. They have studied the Treaty of Rome. Where will protected persons serving on tramp steamers now stand in relation to the findings of the Court of Justice?

The Chairman

Order. This is guing far beyond the Amendment.

Mr. Davies

I sincerely believe that this is a valid point. It may be argued that it is hypothetical because the Bill is not yet an Act, but I believe I have a right to ask what the position cf protected persons in regard to jobs on tramp steamers will be if we enter the Common Market.

The Chairman

Order. The hon. Member may believe that, but in my view he is wrong.

Mr. Davies

Sir Gordon, perhaps you will be gracious enough to let the Minister answer. Perhaps the Minister will be courteous enough to let hon. Members know what the position will be, either by letter or by placing a notice with the list of Amendments outside the Chamber. The Government would show that they believed in the Commonwealth and the spirit of unity about which they have said so much if they accepted the Amendment so that protected persons are not covered by the Bill. It is completely wrong to say that thousands of protected persons will rush to Britain for jobs, and the Government know this.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Points of such great and disturbing importance have been raised that I hope that we shall have a reply from the Colonial Office before the Government even dream of moving the Closure. The central question is whether the Government have discharged their obligation of consulting the various people with whom we are under treaty obligation regarding our obligations towards protected persons before they set about abrogating unilaterally in the Bill these treaty obligations. Other points have been made, but this is a point to which we must have an answer. I do not think that the Committee should be asked to vote before it knows whether there were proper consultations and agreements before the Government set about trying unilaterally to abrogate treaty obligations which are binding upon us all. I do not think that the Colonial Secretary should reply yet, because there are other points to be made, but I hope that he will reply before there is any thought of the Closure being moved.

The Attorney-General

I have heard it repeatedly alleged that this provision amounts to unilateral abrogation of treaty obligations. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Hobson) put a question on that point to the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), but the hon. Gentleman did not give a single instance of a provision in a treaty of any territory which he could substantiate as being infringed by this subsection. In my belief, there are no such provisions. Nor do I believe that the hon. Member, who can speak after me if he wishes—he spoke for a very long time when he was asked this question but did not answer it—can give a single instance of a treaty being affected.

These treaties did not confer, in terms explicit or implied, any right in perpetuity to access to this country for individuals of those territories.

Mr. Fletcher

The Attorney-General must not misrepresent me. I said that it was either explicit or certainly implied in the treaty obligations, entered into with the Paramount Chiefs and such persons as the Queen of Tonga, that we conceded them the rights of British protected persons and entered into the obligation that their peoples had the right to come to this country, because at that time it was a recognised right available to all persons.

I argued that whereas we might, in this Parliament, be able to deal with subjects of the Colonies, we have no right to abrogate these treaty rights without their consent. We have also asked whether the Paramount Chiefs of Basutoland, Bechuanaland or Swaziland have been consulted. Has the Queen of Tonga been consulted? Have they given consent to this provision?

The Attorney-General

The hon. Gentleman has repeated what he said in his speech but he has not quoted or been able to cite one single treaty in support of his argument. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I will make my own speech. The hon. Gentleman has not been able to cite one single treaty in which it is explicitly declared that British protected persons should be allowed in perpetuity the right to come to this country. Nor do I believe that that is implied in any of these treaties. One has to look at the terms of a treaty to see what can be implied from it. I am not aware of any case where it can possibly be substantiated that the inclusion of British protected persons in this subsection involves a unilateral abrogation of treaty obligations.

Mr. S. Silverman

In this explanation which the Attorney-General is giving—for which, I am sure, everybody is most grateful—he has said he knows of no treaty in which these rights were given in perpetuity. Does he thereby mean to imply that the rights were given for a period? If so, what sort of period?

The Attorney-General

Perhaps I should have put it a little more lengthily: I mean, in perpetuity or at all. I will certainly add that phrase if the hon. Gentleman does not see what I was getting at. I say specifically that I am not aware of, and I do not think there is, a single case where the right to come to this country has been conferred on any inhabitant of a protected territory, or where it could be properly implied from the terms of any treaty.

Mr. S. Silverman

In that case, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is in direct conflict with his right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State, who was quite explicit in reply to an intervention at the beginning of this debate—if so one-sided a thing can be called a debate. The Minister of State said that I was right in correcting him when he said that we should not be given rights. I said that that was perhaps inaccurate and that it was a question of taking away established rights. The Minister of State agreed with that. If the Attorney-General is saying that in no treaty were British protected persons given a right in perpetuity or at all, he is implying that they have at this moment, no such rights, and that is the exact opposite of what the Minister of State said.

The Attorney-General

I am dealing with the question of rights arising under a treaty, and I will deal with any other rights if any basis for them is put forward. I do not accede to the view that a British protected person has any legal right of entry into this country. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) alleged, no doubt sincerely, that there was a difference of view between my hon. and learned Friend and myself. I have the great misfortune of not hearing the speech of my hon. and learned Friend, but I have engaged in the most thorough consultation with him and the result of that consultation has satisfied me that although we did not speak with the same voice, we spoke to the same effect.

Mr. Fletcher

If it is suggested that they have no rights, why is it necessary to take them away by the Bill?

The Attorney-General

The hon. Member knows perfectly well that that is not a proper way to put the question. The question which arises on the Amendment is simply whether British protected persons, who have never been British subjects, should be in a preferential position over citizens of the Commonwealth who are British subjects. When the hon. Member speaks of taking away rights, he should put the question the other way. What the Bill is seeking to do is to give general powers over the whole field of the control of immigration into this country, and that includes and should include British protected persons who are not and never have been British subjects and who come from territories which do not form part of the Commonwealth, because if they were part of the Commonwealth, these people would not be British protected persons. I invite the Committee to say that it would make a major alteration for the worse if the application of subsection (4) to British protected persons were excised.

Mr. Stephen Swingler (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether the Government know the rate of immigration of British protected persons into Britain in the last few years?

The Attorney-General

I am informed that it is very small. I shall not give precise figures. The point I desire to make is that it is not a question of how many British protected persons came in last year or the year before, but whether, when we are taking general powers, we should leave British protected persons outside the scope of the Bill or include them. The answer is obviously that they should be included.

Mr. Gordon Walker

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has told us that in his view there is no treaty which confers rights which we think may have been conferred on these people. Has he himself examined any of these treaties and satisfied himself about that? After all, he is the legal adviser of the House of Commons as well as of the Government. If he has not, will he do so and let us know the results?

Secondly, would he answer the clear and simple question—were any of the Paramount Chiefs consulted?

Hon. Members


12 m.

The Attorney-General

I saw at least three other hon. Members on their feet after the right hon. Gentleman had put his question to me, and I was waiting to hear what they had to say. I have had to consider several of these treaties in the course of time. The hon. Member has not been able to quote one—and he has been asked to do so. He made the point to substantiate his argument. I certainly do not claim to have examined them all, but the hon. Member has sought to base his argument on this proposition and, as a lawyer, one would have thought that if there was anything in his argument he would have armed himself with the terms of a treaty on which he could base his argument. Instead of that he has put forward a hypothetical argument, unsubstantiated on any ground at all.

As for consultations, I have said that proper consultation has been carried on with the Governors of all the Protected Territories.

Mr. Fletcher

Has there ever been consultation with the Queen of Tonga?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Hugh Fraser)

All the Governments have been informed of our intentions, and all have been consulted on ways to make the Bill effective. That consultation is a continuous process which is going on even at this moment.

Mr. S. Silverman

I am lost in amazement at the light-mindedness with which the Government are treating an argument which was put forward with skill and completeness by my hon. Friend, who set out a serious argument, supported by considerable detail.

I am not saying that I can cite any treaty in support of my hon. Friend's submission that there is a unilateral breach of a treaty in this part of the Bill. I suspect that he must be right from the nature of the case, but I grant at once that I cannot cite any instance.

But what does it matter? The right hon. and learned Friend has talked as though, if a British protected person is not a British subject, it weakens his claim to protection. I should have thought that it strengthens it. Such a person is a British protected person for that reason. We have assumed special obligations to him, just because he has no legal rights on which he can stand either in this or in any other country, and we have said to him, and to all the other inhabitants of the Protectorate or the Protected Territory, as the case may be, "Give the United Kingdom certain rights to direct your affairs and, in return, we will treat your inhabitants as British protected persons."

I do not know whether this has ever been set out in a treaty—perhaps it has and perhaps it has not—but it surely is the basic foundation of the whole arrangement whereby we have exercised virtually sovereign authority in these lands where the protected persons originate. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that this is a conception well known in other branches of the law. If I may use the analogy, a British protected person is a man who is not sui juris. He does not stand on his own feet in protecting his own rights. He is not a full, legal person, as children are not, as insane persons are not, and as persons under any other kind of disability are not—and the disability from which a British protected person suffers is just that he has not the legal rights which British citizenship would give him.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman makes this a reproach to him. So far from being a reproach to him, it is just this which entitles him to special treatment at our hands. That is why we might be entitled to say that in the Bill, even if we point to some other exceptions which might have been made but were not, he might be entitled to protection and exemption in a sense that no one else would be.

The Minister of State said how illogical it would be to give a British protected person a special status which we are denying to Australians, Canadians and all the others he cited, but he must be oblivious of the history of Clause 1 in Committee. It is no fault of this Committee that the Australians, the Canadians and all the others were not exempted from the Bill. There were Amendments on the Notice Paper to exempt them all one by one.

The Chairman

Order. We cannot debate that now.

Mr. Silverman

I am not doing so, Sir Gordon. I am only pointing out that it is a little hard for the Minister of State to reproach the Committee with an apparent illogicality for which the Committee is not responsible and about which the Committee had no opportunity of doing anything else. I am not saying that by way of criticism of anyone, but, if the Committee had decided, on a Division, in the case of Australia or any of the other countries, the Minister might have made that point. As we had no such opportunity it is not the way in which to approach this matter.

What I am saying to him and to the Attorney-General and to the Committee is that we have a special duty, a special obligation to British protected persons, which people who have their own rights in their own countries as British citizens cannot claim. It is said that they have been consulted and informed, but how? Through what machinery? Who has been informed? Who could speak for them? If they have been consulted, who has made this exceptional privilege in their favour? If the Protectorates and the Protected Territories and whoever is in authority in them were consulted, they were the only part of this great Commonwealth who ever were consulted.

It is clear that if anyone is to be reproached with making exceptions that is where the exception was made, but I do not believe that any exception was made. I do not believe that anyone was consulted at any time. Nor, if I am right in what I am saying about the status of British protected persons, is there anyone who could have been consulted. If that is the right way to look at the matter, is there any difficulty when we look at the practical side of it? It might well be said, "This is all very well as a matter of law, a matter of logic and a matter of reason, but we cannot afford to do it, because there are 14 million of them".

The Minister of State came very near to saying that in his original speech. He thought it was a very good and relevant point to say that we would be opening the doors wide to 14 million people, but, when we asked how many of the 14 million would be likely to come and how many have, in fact, come in recent years, he thought that that was irrelevant. He would not answer. He has got the figures with him and will not tell us. We are justified in drawing the inference that the figures are so small as to make of his argument a mockery so far as it rested on the "large numbers" of people who might come in.

Mr. Diamond

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. I am sorry to interrupt my hon. Friend, but you will recollect that this Amendment has been on the Notice Paper for a considerable period. You will recollect, further, that you were good enough to help the Committee by including it in a provisional selection about a fortnight ago. It has, therefore, been known to the Government for at least a fortnight that this Amendment was likely to be selected.

The Chairman

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Diamond

With great deference, Sir Gordon, may I proceed from the introductory remarks which I was making to the point of order which I was about to raise? It was well known to the Government that the Amendment would be selected. Inasmuch as the Chair has ruled very recently that it is impossible for the Committee to consider legislation without the relevant documents, would you give us your ruling on the lack of figures, which are most relevant to the Amendment, of which very full notice has been given? The figures are available and the Minister has said that he could give them when the debate has concluded.

The Chairman

That may be an argument, but it is not a point of order.

Mr. Silverman

Whether it is a point of order which my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) is entitled to raise is for you to rule, and we can only accept your Ruling, Sir Gordon; but it is certainly a relevant argument for me to make in my speech. and I am making it.

I am entitled to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman two questions: first, has he the figures? I am ready to give way to him if he will be good enough to answer the question. Whether he provides the figures will be for later consideration, and no doubt we shall come to that, but is there any reason why he should not tell us whether the figures are available? Whether he gives them or not, has he got them?

Mr. A. Lewis

My hon. Friend was outside the Committee for a few moments and in that time the Minister said that he had the figures, but that he could not go through the papers and total them. He said that he would give them later. I and other hon. Members can verify that he said that he had them available

Mr. Silverman

I did not hear that said.

Mr. A. Lewis

He has not denied it.

Mr. Silverman

Is there any reason why the Minister of State should be so discourteous as not to tell us whether he has the figures? Is there a reason for withholding from the Committee not necessarily what the figures are, but even the bare point whether he knows them? Is there any reason why he should not tell us?

Hon. Members


The Attorney-General

I wish that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) had listened to what I said. I told him that we could not give the particular numbers who come here, but that we accepted that they were very small.

Mr. Denis Howell

What are the figures?

The Attorney-General

If the hon. Member interrupts me I will sit down again and not answer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] That is good parliamentary procedure. If the hon. Member wanted to interrupt me, I would sit down.

I am dealing with the point made by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne. I have said before, and I repeat in his hearing, that the point here is whether we include or exclude the category of British protected persons, and the argument for their inclusion does not depend on the numbers who entered this country last year or the year before that.

Mr. Silverman

I assure the Attorney-General that I heard him say that the first time. It may be his view that these figures are not relevant to the argument. He is entitled to that view. He has expressed it three times. But it is not everybody's view. To some of us the figures are very relevant. I ask again, whether he thinks them relevant or not, and whether he thinks them conclusive or inconclusive, does he know what they are?

Hon. Members


Mr. Fletcher

In the absence of any reply from the Treasury Bench to my hon. Friend, may I say that, as far as I can understand from the Annual Abstract of Statistics, the number of British protected persons who have come here in the last four years is under 300 each year?

12.15 a.m.

Mr. Silverman

Now that my hon. Friend has provided an authority or a source from which the Minister of State or the Attorney-General—provided that they can still read—are able to derive the information that we would like, can either of them say whether those figures are correct? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] This, for these two Ministers, is a most unusual example of gross discourtesy and gross abuse of the procedure of the Committee.

We are dealing with the question of whether British protected persons who now enjoy certain rights should have those rights taken away from them by this Bill. How can it be irrelevant to that issue to ask who these persons are; how many there are; and how big a problem it is in practice? If the Government do not know, they have been grossly negligent in dealing with an important constitutional question.

If the Government do know, then they are quite deliberately deceiving the Committee, because, knowing the figures, there can be only one reason for withholding them, and that is because they know that if the figures were communicated to the Committee they would assist the Committee in rejecting all the arguments which the Government have advanced on this point.

Both Ministers still sit in silence. Mute of malice, not mute by the visitation of God. I would hesitate to remove responsibility from the shoulders of the Ministers to any other quarter. am sure that they are mute of malice; mute of the evil intention of withholding from the Committee the facts and information which the Committee ought to have to reach the right conclusion.

There can be no reason, except an intention to flout the rights of the Committee, to withhold the information which we ought to have because they know that their attitude on this Amendment cannot be supported; that there are no facts and no figures and no argument to assist them in rejecting the Amendment, and the whole thing is almost more contemptible, if that were possible, than the Bill itself.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Martin Redmayne)

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

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 179, Noes 98.

Division No. 32.] AYES [12.19 a.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Green, Alan Pike, Miss Mervyn
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Gresham Cooke, R. Pilkington, Sir Richard
Ashton, Sir Hubert Grimston, Sir Robert Pitman, Sir James
Atkins, Humphrey Gurden, Harold Pitt, Miss Edith
Barber, Anthony Hall, John (Wycombe) Port, Percivall
Barter, John Hamilton, Michael (wellingborough) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Batsford, Brian Hare, Rt. Hon. John Price, David (Eastleigh)
Berkeley, Humphry Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Prior, J. M. L.
Biffen, John Harvie Anderson, Miss Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Biggs-Davison, John Hastings, Stephen Pym, Francis
Bishop, F. P. Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Ramsden, James
Bossom, Clive Hirst, Geoffrey Rawlinson, Peter
Bourne-Arton, A. Hobson, John Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Box, Donald Hocking, Philip N. Rees, Hugh
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. Holland, Philip Renton, David
Braine, Bernard Hollingworth, John Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Ridsdale, Julian
Brooman-White, R. Hornby, R. P. Rippon, Geoffrey
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Bryan, Paul Hughes-Young, Michael Roots, William
Buck, Antony Hulbert, Sir Norman Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Bullard, Denys Hutchison, Michael Clark Russell, Ronald
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Iremonger, T. L. St. Clair, M.
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) James, David Scott-Hopkins, James
Carr, Common (Barons Court) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Shaw, M.
Channon, H. P. G. Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Shepherd, William
Chataway, Christopher Joseph, Sir Keith Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn
Chichester-clark, R. Kaberry, Sir Donald Skeet, T. H. H.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Cleaver, Leonard Kimball, Marcus Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Cooper, A. E. Kitson, Timothy Talbot, John E.
Cordeaux. Lt.-Col. J. K. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Tapsell, Peer
Corfield, F. V. Leburn, Glimour Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Curran, Charles Longden, Gilbert Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Currie, G. B. H. Loveys, Walter H. Temple, John M.
Deedes, W. F. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Thomas, Peter (Conway)
de Ferranti, Basil MacArthur, Ian Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Doughty, Charles Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs.) Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
du Cann, Edward Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Duncan, Sir James McMaster, Stanley R. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) van straubenzee, W. R.
Emery, Peter Maddan, Martin Vane, W. M. F.
Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Maginnis, John E. Wakefieid, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Farr, John Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Walder, David
Fell, Anthony Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernett Walker, Peter
Finlay, Graeme Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Webster, David
Fisher, Nigal Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Wells, John (Maidstone)
Fletcher-cooke, Charles Mawby, Ray Whitelaw, William
Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S- L. C. Wise, A. R.
Freeth, Denzil Nabarro, Gerald Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Noble, Michael Woodhouse, C. M.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Woodnutt, Mark
Gilmour, Sir John Paga, Graham (Crosby) Woollam, John
Glover, Sir Douglas Page, John (Harrow, West) Worsley, Marcus
Goodhart, Philip Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Goodhew, Victor Peirson, Frank (Clitheroe) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gower, Raymond Percival, Ian Mr. J. E. B. Hill and Mr. McLaren.
Grant, Rt. Hon. William Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Ainsley, William Blackburn, F. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Cliffe, Michael
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Crosland, Anthony
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Brockway, A. Fenner Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Davies, Harold (Leek)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Pentland, Norman
Delargy, Hugh Hoy, James H. Popplewell, Ernest
Dempsey, James Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Probert, Arthur
Diamond, John Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Driberg, Tom Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Ross, William
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Short, Edward
Evans, Albert Jones, Dan (Burnley) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Fernyhough, E. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Fitch, Alan Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Spriggs, Leslie
Fletcher, Eric Lipton, Marcus Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Logan, David Stonehouse, John
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Loughlin, Charles Swingler, Stephen
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Symonds, J. B.
Galpern, Sir Myer MacColl, James Taylor, John (West Lothian)
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Macpherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Gordon walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Wade, Donald
Greenwood, Anthony Manuel, A. C. Wainwright, Edwin
Grimond, J. Mellish, R J. Warbey, William
Gunter, Ray Mendelson, J. J. Weitzman, David
Hamilton, William (west Fife) Milne, Edward J. White, Mrs. Eirene
Hannan, William Mitchison, G. R. Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Hart, Mrs. Judith Morris, John Woof, Robert
Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Wyatt, Woodrow
Herbison, Miss Margaret Oram, A. E. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Hilton, A. V. Oswald, Thomas
Holt, Arthur Pargiter, G. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Houghton, Douglas Pavitt, Laurence Mr. Lawsoo and Mr. Redhead.
Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Pean, Frederick

Question put accordingly, That "British protected persons and" stand part of the Clause:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 180, Noes 98.

Division No. 33.] AYES [2.28 a.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Fell, Anthony Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Finlay, Graeme Leburn, Gilmour
Ashton, Sir Hubert Fisher, Nigel Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Atkins, Humphrey Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Longden, Gilbert
Barber, Anthony Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Loveys, Walter H.
Barter, John Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Balsford, Brian Freeth, Denzil MacArthur, Ian
Berkeley, Humphry Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. McLaren, Martin
Bitten, John George, J. C. (Pollok) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Biggs-Davison, John Gilmour, Sir John Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N.Ayrs.)
Bishop, F. P. Glover, Sir Douglas Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Bossom, Cive Goodhart, Philip McMaster, Stanley R.
Bourne-Arton, A. Goodhew, Victor Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Box, Donald Gower, Raymond Maddan, Martin
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. Grant, Rt. Hon. William Maginnis, John E.
Braine, Bernard Green, Alan Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Gresham Cooke, R. Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Brooman-White, R. Grimston, Sir Robert Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Gurden, Harold Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Bryan, Paul Hall, John (Wycombe) Mawby, Ray
Buck, Antony Hare, Rt. Hon. John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Bullard, Denys Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Harvie Anderson, Miss Nabarro, Gerald
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hastings, Stephen Osborn, John (Hallam)
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Channon, H. P. G. Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfok) Page, Graham (Crosby)
Chataway, Christopher Hirst, Geoffrey Page, John (Harrow, West)
Chichester-Clark, R. Hobson, John Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hocking, Philip N. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Cleaver, Leonard Holland, Philip Percival, Ian
Cooper, A. E. Hollingworth, John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pike, Miss Mervyn
Corfield, F. V. Hornby, R. P. Pilkington, Sir Richard
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pitman, Sir James
Curran, Charles Hughes-Young, Michael Pitt, Miss Edith
Currle, G. B. H. Hulbert, Sir Norman Pott, Percivall
Deedes, W. F. Hutchison, Michael Clark Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
de Ferranti, Basil Iremonger, T. L. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. James, David Prior, J. M. L.
Doughty, Charles Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
du Cann, Edward Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pym, Francis
Duncan, Sir James Joseph, Sir Keith Ramsden, James
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Kaberry, Sir Donald Rawlinson, Peter
Emery, Peter Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Kimball, Marcus Rees, Hugh
Farr, John Kitson, Timothy Renton, David
Ridley, John Nicholas Talbot, John E. Walder, David
Ridsdale, Julian Tapsell, Peter Walker, Peter
Rippon, Geoffrey Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.) Webster, David
Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Taylor, F. H. (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Roots, William Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.) Whitelaw, William
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Temple, John M. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Russell, Ronald Thomas, Peter (Conway) Wise, A. R.
St. Clair, M. Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.) Wolrige-Gordon, Parick
Scott-Hopkins, James Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter Woodhouse, C. M.
Shaw, M. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Woodnutt, Mark
Shepherd, William They, Arthur (Bradford, W.) Woollam, John
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Worsley, Marcus
Skeet, T. H.H. van Straubenzee, W. R.
Smith, Dudey (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick) Vane, W. M. F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) Mr. Noble and
Mr. Michael Hamilton.
Ainsley, William Gunter, Ray Oram, A. E.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hamilton, William (West Fife) Oswald, Thomas
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hannan, William Pargiter, G. A.
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Hart, Mrs. Judith Pavitt, Laurence
Bennettt, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hayman, F. H. Peart, Frederick
Blackburn, F. Herbison, Miss Margaret Pentland, Norman
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Hilton, A. V. Popplewell, Ernest
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Holt, Arthur Probert, Arthur
Brockway, A. Fenner Houghton, Douglas Robertson, John (Paisley)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Ross, William
Cliffe, Michael Hoy, James H. Short, Edward
Crosland, Anthony Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Delargy, Hugh Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Stonehouse, John
Dempsey, James Jones, Dan (Burnley) Swingler, Stephen
Diamond, John Lee, Miss Jennies (Cannock) Symonds, J. B.
Driberg, Tom Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Lipton, Marcus Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Logan, David Wade, Donald
Evans, Albert Loughlin, Charles Wainwright, Edwin
Fernyhough, E. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Warbey, William
Fitch, Alan MacColl, James Weitzman, David
Fletcher, Eric MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) White, Mrs. Eirene
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Malialieu, E. L. (Brigg) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Manuel, A. C. Woof, Robert
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mellish, R. J. Wyatt, Woodrow
Galpern, Sir Myer Mendelson, J. J. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
George, LadyMeganLloyd (Crmrthn) Milne, Edward J.
Gordon walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mitchison, G. R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Greenwood, Anthony Morris, John Mr. Lawson and Mr. Redhead.
Grimond, J. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Mr. R. A. Butler


Mr. A. Lewis

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. I wish to raise with you a point of order relating to the future proceedings on the Bill. You will recollect that when the extension of the B.B.C. Licence came before us I raised with you the question whether certain papers and documents should be readily available to hon. Members to enable them to take part in debate. Mr. Speaker made a statement today to the effect that where certain papers and documents were necessary for orderly debate, he would make them available.

During this debate we have been very interested in the Protected Territories and the treaties with them. The Attorney-General said that the treaties did not contain matters to which my hon. Friends wanted to refer. But are we not entitled to have available in the Vote Office, when we debate the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill", first, the treaties which it is necessary for us to have in order to take part in the debate, and, secondly, the figures which the Minister has available but has refused to give us? Mr. Speaker has ruled that if it is necessary for orderly debate that papers, documents, figures, and so on, should be available, they should be available in the Vote Office.

Will you, Sir Gordon, make the various documents available at least in time for the debate on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" so that one of my hon. Friends does not have the difficulty he had this evening, when he was unable to quote from the treaties? I am convinced that if my hon. Friend had had them the debate with the Attorney-General would have been much more orderly.

The Chairman

It is far too late now to raise a point on the documents in connection with the Amendment, and Mr. Speaker pointed out that one should, if possible, try to use the considerable resources of the Library.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I beg to move, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again. I do not think that—

Several Hon. Members


The Chairman


Mr. A. Lewis

Further to my point of order, Sir Gordon. I did not for a moment suggest that the treaties, papers and documents could be available for matters which we have already discussed. I pointed out that eventually we should be coming to the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". When we debate that Question many of my hon. Friends will want this information. Mr. Speaker said that documents of this kind should be available in the Vote Office, not the Library. I suggest that we should ask the Leader of the House, or those others who are concerned, to see that they are available when we come to that debate, otherwise we shall have difficulties similar to those which we have already experienced.

The Chairman

I am sure that Mr. Speaker's instructions will be carried out by the Vote Office when we come to that part of the debate.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I do not think that it is right to debate the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" at this time of night. It would be wiser, I think, to report Progress. We cannot say that we are satisfied with the progress made, but we think that it is as much as we shall make tonight.

Mr. Gordon Walker

We welcome and support the Motion. It is desirable that the Government and the Committee should take time to consider the progress we have made today before we come to debate the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

Many things have happened today. There was a major slump in the Govern ment's majority at one point and there have been criticisms from both sides of the Committee. It is important that the Government should consider these and that we should consider Government statements.

The right hon. Gentleman is right. We should study HANSARD carefully before we reach the debate on the Clause. There have been ambiguities and doubts in many Ministerial speeches. I hope that the Home Secretary will give careful thought to the question of providing adequate documents and figures to enable the Committee to proceed further with the Bill. I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friends will accept the Motion.

Question put and agreed to.

Committee report Progress: to sit again this day.