HC Deb 24 October 1961 vol 646 cc725-6
14. Mr. Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what colonial Governments he is consulting about restricting immigration into the United Kingdom.

Mr. Maudling

I am in consultation with the Governments of all territories for which I am responsible.

Mr. Lipton

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when these discussions are likely to come to what I hope will be a reasonable solution in respect of a problem which has been made immeasurably more difficult as a result of many years of dithering indecision on the part of this Government? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that vague threats without positive action merely inflate the number of immigrants who want to get here before the doors are closed? Is he aware that the time has surely come for some definite indication of the Government's intentions?

Mr. Maudling

That is why we are continuing with these consultations which we shall conclude as quickly as we can.

Mrs. Castle

Is not the Colonial Secretary aware that any attempt to control immigration from the Commonwealth, at the very moment when the Government are seeking to open the doors to the free movement of labour into this country from Europe under the Treaty of Rome, would deal a final blow at the survival of the Commonwealth?

Mr. Maudling

I think that a hypothetical question.

Mr. Chapman

Can the Colonial Secretary tell us what form these consultations are taking and with whom exactly he is consulting? Is he actually asking Ministers to come here to talk over this matter round the table or is this being done only at official levels?

Mr. Maudling

This is being done by the normal methods of communication with the colonial Governments concerned.