HC Deb 13 June 1961 vol 642 cc172-3
26. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has conferred, or will confer, with the representatives of the West Indies Governments now attending the London Conference in respect of the problem of immigration from the West Indies and elsewhere into this country.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The question of immigration from the West Indies to this country is one of the many questions which the representatives of the West Indies Governments have proposed for discussion.

Mr. Sorensen

Does the Minister mean that during the present time, when these representatives are in London, some consultation has taken place? If so, can he say whether the representatives have been impressed by the complexity and indeed the urgency of the problem?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir. We have already had at Lancaster House some discussion on this matter. The hon. Member, of course, will not expect me to give full details on it pending the conference report but the members of the unit territories concerned put their point of view forcibly to me.

Mr. C. Royle

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to suggestions that the Government are contemplating immediate restrictive legislation on immigration? Does he not feel that this suggestion at this moment might throw a spanner into the works of the London conference?

Mr. Macleod

With respect, these suggestions have not emanated from the Government. The position of the Government has been stated by myself, by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and by a number of other Members, and when we discussed this matter at Lancaster House I had no change in that position to announce to the conference.

Mr. Callaghan

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the view among many responsible West Indian leaders is that they have no particular desire for their people to emigrate to these islands but until there is sufficient capital in the West Indies to relieve their own unemployment they have no alternative?

Mr. Macleod

This is a problem which we shall be taking up at Lancaster House tomorrow morning.

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