HC Deb 27 February 1962 vol 654 cc1179-89
The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Renton)

I beg to move, in page 15, line 26, after "documents", to insert: of any description specified by that officer, being a description appearing to that officer to be relevant for the purposes of the examination".

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

I think that it would be convenient for the House to discuss with this the two next following Government Amendments in lines 27 and 31.

Mr. Renton

Yes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker; it would be convenient to discuss the three together.

In Committee, I undertook to consider the drafting of paragraph 1 (3) of the First Schedule which deals with the power to demand documents and the power to search for documents with a view to ensuring that the immigration officer's power to demand documents is limited to those relevant to his examination of the immigrant or visitor under the Bill.

These three Amendments meet just that purpose. They provide that the immigration officer must specify the description of the documents he wishes to see and also that the documents must be of a description appearing to him to be relevant. I hope that the House will regard this as an improvement.

Mr. Chapman

I raised this matter by an Amendment in Committee, and I am greatly obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for meeting the point we had in mind. I am a little puzzled as to why his words are better than mine, but no doubt the lawyers will know the answer, as they do on so many occasions.

What the Government propose does help. The immigration officer will now be limited in two ways, first, in the general carrying out of his duties under Part I and, second, more specifically in regard to documents, since the documents he demands must be relevant for the purposes of the examination. He will not be able to demand that someone should empty his pockets on the table and show what he has in the way of documents. I am glad that the proposed Amendments cover that point.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 15, line 27, after "documents", insert "of any such description".

In page 15, line 31, at end insert "such".—[Mr. Renton.]

Mr. Renton

I beg to move, in page 15, line 36, after "examination" to insert: (not exceeding seven days)". In Committee, the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) moved an Amendment limiting to thirty days the length of time for which an immigration officer could keep a document under the powers given him by the First Schedule to detain a document handed to him by an immigrant or found on an immigrant after search. I persuaded the hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw his Amendment in order that we might find a more suitable form of words. I did not think that it was necessary to have such a long period as thirty days for the retention of such document.

The Amendment provides that the period shall be seven days. It will be very rare that an immigration officer will want to retain documents for even as long as that, but there might be a case in which it was necessary to do so for so long. I remind the House that there is the further safeguard that the document must be retained only for the purposes of the examination and not for any other purpose.

Amendment agreed to.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Renton

I beg to move, in page 15, line 42, after "inspector" to insert: or by any qualified person carrying out any test or examination required by a medical inspector". We had a fairly considerable discussion on this point in Committee. I undertook that I would put down an Amendment in the sense then indicated. The purpose of this Amendment is to put beyond doubt the power of a medical inspector to require an immigrant to undergo an X-ray examination or any other kind of examination which the medical inspector thinks necessary. It is highly desirable also, for practical reasons, that the examination should be carried out not necessarily by the medical inspector himself but by a qualified radiologist or, according to the nature of the test or examination, by some other qualified person. This will be possible under the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Wade

I beg to move, in page 19, line 34, to leave out from "comply" to "with" in line 35.

This Amendment deals with certain wording in paragraph 8 of the First Schedule, Part II, providing for control over seamen. In sub-paragraph (3), it is provided: An immigration officer may by notice in writing given at any time to any Commonwealth citizen to whom sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph applies, authorise him to remain in the United Kingdom either without conditions or subject to any such conditions as could be imposed under section two of this Act, including in particular conditions requiring him—

  1. (a) to leave the United Kingdom in a specified ship or aircraft; or
  2. (b) to leave the United Kingdom within a specified period in accordance with arrangements for his repatriation;
and where such a notice is given to any person, he shall not be treated as a person to whom admission to the United Kingdom has been refused unless, in the case where he is subject to conditions requiring him to leave the United Kingdom as aforesaid, he fails to comply or is reasonably suspected of intending to fail to comply with those conditions. The object of the Amendment is to omit the words or is reasonably suspected of intending to fail to comply".

This is not the case of a suspected criminal being found loitering on premises with intent to commit a felony. It is not suggested even that the seaman in question is intending to fail to comply but merely that the immigration officer reasonably suspects him of intending to fail to comply.

We have heard a good deal about the amount of discretion given to immigration officers. It seems to me that this sub-paragraph imposes too great a burden on the immigration officer as well as putting the person in question in the very difficult position of having to prove that he is not rightly suspected of intending to fail to comply with the conditions. I need not elaborate. The point is whether it is reasonable to insert such words as these, and I hope that they will be deleted.

Mr. Renton

I concede at once that these words are unusual and, on the face of it, appear to be somewhat arbitrary. But we are dealing with a rather unusual situation. The wording of the paragraph itself is a little complicated, but perhaps I can explain what the situation is. Then the House can better judge whether or not these words are appropriate.

Take the case of a Commonwealth seaman who arrives at a port here, where the master of the ship wants to arrange for him to leave the ship and go back to his own country under alternative arrangements. Or there is the case of a seaman who may fall ill and be admitted to hospital here on the understanding that the owners of the ship will arrange his repatriation when he is better. Those are two examples of cases which could arise.

It will be generally accepted—because there has been no adverse comment about it during our discussions—that the power given earlier in paragraph 8 (3) of the First Schedule is a necessary one. It is a power to impose special conditions; if the seaman fails to comply with them he can be detained and the master of the ship is made responsible for his removal. But the difficulty which arises is that the seamen may make it clear that he does not intend to leave in accordance with the arrangements made. He may even tear up the notice given to him and trample on it or say something which makes it quite plain that he is not going to go.

Various circumstances could arise in which it became extremely doubtful whether he was going to go. If such circumstances should arise, it would be rather absurd that an immigration officer could take no action at all until the time for repatriation was past and the ship or aircraft had gone. The only result would be that there would have to be all the palaver of fresh repatriation arrangements, and the seaman would have to be held in custody until the arrival of the new time fixed for his departure.

It is in the interests of all concerned, possibly indeed of the seaman himself, that, in an appropriate case, he can be detained and placed on board the ship on which he is due to leave. That is the effect of these words which the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade) wants to leave out. I agree that it is an unusual power to give, but I should have thought it was highly desirable to retain it.

Mr. Chapman

Would not this mean that an immigration officer could have a man deported before there could be an intervention by someone applying to the Home Secretary or exercising an appeal against the officer's decision?

Mr. Renton

No. I do not think that the fact that the immigration officer had himself reasonably suspected that the man was not going to go, say, the next day, would in any way prevent him from making representations to the Home Secretary. As we know from our experience under the aliens law, aliens who are detained do make representations. Quite candidly, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman's point is an answer to the case I have put.

Mr. Chapman

I am unhappy about this, and that is why I propose to say something. The point I was trying to make was that these words mean that a person shall not be treated as having been prohibited from entering unless he fails to comply or is suspected of not intending to comply with the conditions. If the immigration officer suspects that the man concerned is not going to comply, he can thereupon remove him from this country and thereby prevent him from actually exercising some form of appeal either to the Home Office or to somebody else.

In other words, that person may be refusing to comply for the moment in order to make some formal appeal. If these words are left in, however, the immigration officer can say, "I do not think that you are going to comply with the conditions. I could not care less about your appeal. I have the power to make you go, and you are going."

Mr. Renton

I have already spoken twice, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I do not know what the position is now.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

We are in some difficulty here. I understood that the Minister of State had the Floor. If he is interrupted, it can only be by short questions.

Mr. Fletcher

I, too, am unhappy about this. It is not good enough for the Minister of State to say that in certain conditions the Home Office might have to go through "palaver"—I think that was his word. He said that, in certain conditions, the Home Office might have to go through a great deal of "palaver" to give effect to certain circumstances in which it thought it might have reasonable grounds for suspecting that someone was intending to fail to comply with certain conditions.

We are concerned not so much with saving the Home Office, in a few isolated cases, from going through a certain amount of trouble, but chiefly with doing justice to an individual. If the point at issue is doing justice to an individual rather than doing injustice to him, then it is small price to pay that the Home Office may have a certain amount of trouble.

Mr. Renton

The hon. Gentleman has quite misunderstood the position. We are envisaging circumstances in which repatriation arrangements have already been made. During the time that they are being made, and up to the moment they expire, there is an opportunity of making representation to the Home Office. There seems little point in having similar arrangements made all over again unless

there is a really good reason for it. We do not see that there really is such good reason.

Mr. Fletcher

I think that I am entitled to continue what I was saying, because I gather that the Minister of State got up not to make a speech but to interrupt me.

I am far from happy about this. What worries me as much as anything is that a provision of this kind, which might mean injustice, is just the sort of thing that this House ought not to allow to be slipped into a Bill a minute before the Guillotine falls. Issues of principle are involved, and the House ought to weigh, on the one hand, the possibility of doing injustice to an individual and, on the other hand, the arguments put by the Minister of State about administrative convenience or inconvenience. It is all very unfortunate. This is not the first time it has happened that, as a result of this mischievous and iniquitous Guillotine, we cannot ventilate these matters.

Mr. Renton

I am prepared to give an undertaking that this matter will be looked at in another place. I cannot say any more now, but I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman has said and willingly give that undertaking.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 274, Noes 179.

Division No. 109.] AYES [6.0 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Buck, Antony Craddock, Sir Beresford
Allason, James Bui lard, Denys Critchley, Julian
Arbuthnot, John Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver
Ashton, Sir Hubert Burden, F. A. Cunningham, Knox
Atkins, Humphrey Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden) Curran, Charles
Barlow, Sir John Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Currie, G. B. H.
Barter, John Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Dalkeith, Earl of
Batsford, Brian Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Dance, James
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Cary, Sir Robert d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Channon, H. P. G. Deedes, W. F.
Bell, Ronald Chataway, Christopher de Ferranti, Basil
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Chichester-Clark, R. Digby, Simon Wingfield
Bitten, John Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Biggs-Davison, John Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Doughty, Charles
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Drayson, G. B.
Bishop, F. P. Cleaver, Leonard du Cann, Edward
Black, Sir Cyril Cole, Norman Duncan, Sir James
Bossom, Clive Collard, Richard Eden, John
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. Cooke, Robert Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Boyle, Sir Edward Cooper, A. E. Elliott, R. W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Braine, Bernard Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Emery, Peter
Brewis, John Cordle, John Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Corfield, F. V. Errington, Sir Eric
Brooman-White, R. Costain, A. P. Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Coulson, Michael Farey-Jones, F. W.
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Farr, John
Finlay, Graeme Longbottom, Charles Ropner, Col Sir Leonard
Fisher, Nigel Longden, Gilbert Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Loveys, Walter H. Russell, Ronald
Forrest, George Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Scott-Hopkins, James
Freeth, Denzil MacArthur, Ian Seymour, Leslie
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. McLaren, Martin Sharples, Richard
Gammans, Lady McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Shaw, M.
Gardner, Edward Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Skeet, T. H. H.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Maclean, Sir Fitroy (Bute &N. Ayrs.) Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Gilmour, Sir John Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Smithers, Peter
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Smyth, Brig Sir John (Norwood)
Goodhart, Philip McMaster, Stanley R. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Goodhew, Victor Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Speir, Rupert
Cough, Frederick Maddan, Martin Stanley, Hon. Richard
Gower, Raymond Maitland, Sir John Stevens, Geoffrey
Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn Sir R. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Gresham Cooke, R, Markham, Major Sir Frank Stodart, J. A.
Gurden, Harold Marlowe, Anthony Stoddart-Scott, Col Sir Malcolm
Hall, John (Wycombe) Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Storey, Sir Samuel
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Marshall, Douglas Studholme, Sir Henry
Harris, Reader (Heston) Marten, Neil Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Talbot, John E.
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Tapsell, Peter
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Mawby, Ray Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Hastings, Stephen Mills, Stratton Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hay, John Montgomery, Fergus Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Heald, Rt. Hon Sir Lionel More, Jasper (Ludlow) Teeling, Sir William
Hendry, Forbes Morgan, William Temple, John M.
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Morrison, John Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Hirst, Geoffrey Nabarro, Gerald Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Hobson, Sir John Nicholls, Sir Harmar Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hocking, Philip N. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Holland, Philip Nugent, Rt. Hon Sir Richard Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hollingworth, John Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Hopkins, Alan Osborn, John (Hallam) Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Hornby, R. P. Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Touche, Rt. Hon Sir Gordon
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Page, Graham (Crosby) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hughes-Young, Michael Page, John (Harrow, West) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hulbert, Sir Norman Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hurd, Sir Anthony Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Vane, W. M. F.
Hutchison, Michael Clark Peel, John Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon Sir John
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Peyton, John Vickers, Miss Joan
Jackson John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
James David Pike, Miss Mervyn Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Jennings, J. C. Pilkington, Sir Richard Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pitman, Sir James Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pitt, Miss Edith Walker, Peter
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pott, Percivall Wall, Patrick
Kaberry, Sir Donald Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Ward, Dame Irene
Kerans Cdr. J. S Price, David (Eastleigh) Webster, David
Kerby, Capt. Henry Prior, J. M. L. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Kershaw, Anthony Prior-Palmer, Brig Sir Otho Whitelaw, William
Kimball, Marcus Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Kitson, Timothy Proudfoot, Wilfred Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Lancaster, Col. C. C. Quennell, Miss J. M. Wise, A. R.
Langford-Holt, Sir John Ramsden, James Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Leather, E. H. C. Rawlinson, Peter Woodhouse, C. M.
Leburn, Gilmour Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Woodnutt, Mark
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Rees, Hugh Woollam, John
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Renton, David Worsley, Marcus
Lilley, F. J. P. Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Lindsay, Sir Martin Ridsdale, Julian TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Linstead, Sir Hugh Robinson, Rt. Hn Sir R. (B'pool, S.) Mr J. E. B. Hill and
Litchfield, Capt. John Roots, William Mr. Michael Hamilton
Abse, Leo Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Deer, George
Ainsley, William Brockway, A. Fenner Delargy, Hugh
Albu, Austen Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Dempsey, James
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Brown, Thomas (Ince) Diamond, John
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Dodds, Norman
Awbery, Stan Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Ede, Rt. Hon. C.
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Callaghan, James Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Castle, Mrs. Barbara Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Chapman, Donald Edwards, Walter (Stepney)
Benson, Sir George Cliffe, Michael Fernyhough, E.
Blackburn, F. Cronin, John Finch, Harold
Blyton, William Crosland, Anthony Fletcher, Eric
Boardman, H. Cullen, Mrs. Alice Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S. W.) Darling, George Forman, J. C.
Bowles, Frank Davies, Harold (Leek) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
Boyden, James Davies, Ifor (Gower) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Galpern, Sir Myer McInnes, James Ross, William
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) McKay, John (Wallsend) Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Ginsburg, David Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Gooch, E. G. McLeavy, Frank Skeffington, Arthur
Gourlay, Harry MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Manuel, A. C. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Mapp, Charles Snow, Julian
Gunter, Ray Marsh, Richard Spriggs, Leslie
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mason, Roy Steele, Thomas
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Mayhew, Christopher Stonehouse, John
Hannan, William Mellish, R. J. Stones, William
Hart, Mrs. Judith Mendelson, J. J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Hayman, F. H. Milne, Edward Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Healey, Denis Mitchison, G. R. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on Trent, C.)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Monslow, Walter Swain, Thomas
Herbison, Miss Margaret Moody, A. S. Swingler, Stephen
Hilton, A. V. Morris, John Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Holman, Percy Mort, D. L. Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Holt, Arthur Moyle, Arthur Thornton, Ernest
Houghton, Douglas Mulley, Frederick Thorpe, Jeremy
Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Neal, Harold Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Dierby, S.) Wade, Donald
Hoy, James H. Oliver, G. H. Wainwright, Edwin
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oram, A. E. Warbey, William
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Owen, Will Watkins, Tudor
Hunter, A. E. Padley, W. E. Weitzman, David
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Pargiter, G. A.
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Parkin, B. T. White, Mrs. Eirene
Janner, Sir Barnett Pavitt, Laurence Whitlock, William
Jeger, George Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Wilkins, W. A.
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Peart, Frederick Willey, Frederick
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Pentland, Norman Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Plummer, Sir Leslie Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Popplewell, Ernest Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Probert, Arthur Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Randall, Harry Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
King, Dr. Horace Rankin, John Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Lawson, George Rhodes, H. Woof, Robert
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Robertson, John (Paisley) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
MacColl, James Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Mr. Redhead and Dr. Broughton

It being after Six o'clock, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question on an Amendment, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to the remaining part of the Bill.