Amendment made: In page 20, line 43, after second "port" insert:
in a country of which that person is a citizen or a country or territory to which the Secretary of State has reason to believe that he will be admitted, and".—[Mr. R. A. Butler.]
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
First, according to tradition, I should like to pay tribute to those hon. Members who have helped to make this a better and, I think, more effective Bill. I shall be referring to the various changes which have been made in the Bill, since I realise that on Third Reading one adheres to what is in the Bill. I should like to thank my own team, the Minister of 1190 State and the Joint Under-Secretary of State. In addition, I do not think it inappropriate to thank my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General for his many interventions in our debates. Also, I wish to pay tribute to the stewardship of the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) who has stood almost alone in opposing the Bill from the Opposition Front Bench, aided by other distinguished people, and who has on every occasion said that he was totally dissatisfied with whatever we have said and has led his troops into Division Lobby after Division Lobby to register disapproval of what we had done. If that is not opposition, I want to know what is.
There is now a greater calm than when the Bill was introduced before Christmas. I think that this is due to the realisation that the Bill will be administered in a humane and liberal spirit. In fact, the House and countries overseas have come to understand by degrees the spirit and manner in which the Bill will be operated. This may be 1191 due in part to the publication of the instructions to immigration officers, but I think that it is also due to the changes which have been made and explanations which have been given during the passage of the Bill. I have made it clear that we fully understand the seriousness of legislation which involves departing from the long-established tradition that citizens of member States of the Commonwealth should be free to come here and to stay here for as long as they like. We have never underestimated the seriousness of such a Measure.
The reasons which I gave as to why the Government believe that the Bill was rendered necessary by the course of events have been justified by the information which has become available since its introduction. The Registrar General estimates that the net inward balance of the total population of the United Kingdom in 1960 was 82,000 compared with a net inward balance of 44,000 in 1959. They estimate that the figure for 1961 is likely to exceed 160,000, double the figure for 1960 which was in itself double the figure for the year before. I need not go into the other figures provided during our debates by the Home Office of immigrants from Asia, the Mediterranean, East and West Africa, the West Indies, and so on, which amounted to no less than 136,000 in 1961. But these figures indicate that there was a reason why the Government decided that a Measure such as this was necessary.
As I say, on Third Reading, one discusses the contents of the Bill. The Government have decided to maintain the main structure of the Bill, but we have, with the aid of hon. Members, made certain improvements. For example, the duration of Part I has been limited to the end of 1963 so that it can then be reviewed in the light of experience of its operation and thereafter subjected, if Parliament so pleases, to annual review under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.
We have written into the Bill a provision giving returning residents, wives and children the right of admission to this country and have made specific provision for the admission of students. Besides publishing instructions to immigration officers, we have provided a system of entry certificates and undertaken 1192 to seek the assistance of an advisory council in dealing with problems connected with the welfare of immigrants and their integration into the community. Those are all improvements for which we are grateful to hon. Members and which we have been only too glad to make.
The main purpose of Part I of the Bill has not been free from a certain amount of misconception. The purpose of it is to control immigration into the United Kingdom from other parts of the Commonwealth. It affects Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders in the same way as it affects Indians, Pakistanis and West Indians. Critics of the Bill have fastened on the special position of the Southern Irish as evidence of racial discrimination, and there have been unfounded suggestions that the Government have not been clear on this issue. But we were very well aware of certain salient features before we decided to introduce the Bill.
The first was that the Southern Irish come here in uncertain, but we believe considerable, numbers. Although no precise information is available, they have been coming for a long time, many of them on seasonal work. Secondly, we believed that power should be taken to bring them under the control of the Bill in case of need, and, thirdly, that their special geographical position would mean that in practice some special treatment would be necessary. That is borne out by the observations of the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) earlier this afternoon.
The Government decided, as a matter of practice, that it was not desirable at this stage to put into force an entry control on traffic between the two islands. The power to do so is, however, in the Bill, and the Government accept the principle that, should this power have to be used to control immigrants from the Irish Republic, it should be exercised at the point of entry into the United Kingdom. That power is provided in paragraph 10 (2) of the First Schedule and in Clause 3.
Steps have been taken to obtain much more accurate information than we have at present about Irish immigration, by greater use of records of various Government Departments and by the application 1193 of well-tried sampling techniques to the traffic between the islands. This information will be available by the time that Part I comes up for reconsideration towards the end of 1963. The sampling techniques are the same as those which we have been using recently on certain sea routes. They are voluntary, result in little inconvenience to passengers and give a sample and picture of what is happening. We have had experience of them operating in the social survey, and the results will be useful.
An integral part of the entry conditions in Part I is that there should be a control over those coming here for employment. This is to be operated by means of the voucher system which we considered earlier this afternoon. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour explained, vouchers will be issued freely to those who have jobs to come to and to those who have special skills. In addition, there will be a third category of applicants who wish to come and work here and who have neither a skill nor a definite job waiting for them. It is this third category which will be subject to limits decided from time to time by the Government in the light of the employment position, economic expansion, social conditions and other factors, and I hope that they will be decided as much in the interests of the immigrants as in the interests of this country. We need these men and women, and all that we wish to ensure is that the numbers coming in correspond, so to speak, to the welcome which awaits them. The welcome will be warm, but the physical conditions must be present also.
The voucher holder will not be subject to employment controls once he has been admitted to this country. It is important that I should make that clear. Voucher holders and their families, the various other classes who come under Clause 2, which has been revised, and those who avail themselves wisely of entry certificates, may be described as making up the great bulk of Commonwealth citizens presenting themselves at the control points of our ports of arrival. The sector in which the immigration officer will exercise discretion in applying any instructions will, therefore, be comparatively marginal.
1194 I cannot go over the reasons discussed in Committee and on Report against submitting the immigration officer's decision to a tribunal or to a judge. As the Bill indicates in Clause 16 (3), the immigration officer will be answerable to me in carrying out the instructions which I am laying down for his guidance, and I shall be responsible to the House both for the policy and for the way in which it is carried out. Earlier the right hon. Gentleman said that the task might well be that of one of the other Ministers. I dare say that it will be, because my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State has distinguished himself in looking after the present aliens immigration controls, but he will be the first to realise that I cannot avoid responsibility. I was, therefore, pleased, earlier this afternoon, to make it clear to the hon. Member for Islington, East that I should be only too glad to be answerable to the House, because I think that the more hon. Members study and find out the way in which the Bill is working, the more reasonable will they find it to be. If it is not working well, we hope to have the same advantage as we have had in the passage of the Bill—namely, the constructive advice of hon. Members in making it work better.
Before I leave Part I, I want to make it clear that we are in close touch with overseas territories about the voucher scheme and the best way of operating the entry certificate scheme in each individual territory. It will be essential for the proper working of the entry certificate scheme that we have collaboration with the authorities overseas.
Part II of the Bill is intended as a permanent addition to the Statute Book, and I think that, on the whole, we can claim that the provisions of Part II have been generally well received, There is, I think, general acceptance of the view that it is right that there should be power to deport immigrants from the Commonwealth who offend against our laws. This is a power which will be exercised by the Secretary of State only on the recommendation of a court following conviction of an offence punishable with imprisonment.
So much for the main provisions of the Bill. Before I conclude I should like to emphasise a point which is often lost sight of by commentators who 1195 appear not to have followed our debates very attentively. The basic purpose of the Bill is not to stop immigration but to control it in case of need. All of us, on all sides of the House, are very conscious of the value of the contribution which the immigrants are making to our national life. We all know, or should know, that our hospitals, our public transport and some of our mills, industries and factories would be in serious difficulties were it not for the services of immigrant workers. We shall, therefore, continue to welcome immigrants to help us in a great variety of occupations and employments.
But in their own interests as well as ours, we do not want immigrants to come into the country at a greater rate than that at which they can be absorbed into the community. I emphasise that what we are proposing is a control of immigration and not a cessation of immigration. It is, I believe, because this fact has been realised that we are getting much more favourable reports from overseas countries and a better reception of the Bill in the House.
After all these long days and nights of debate, I commend the Bill, as amended, to the House. It is a workable instrument, well designed to serve an inescapable purpose, and I ask the House to give it a Third Reading.
§ 6.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Fletcher
The Home Secretary began his remarks by making some congratulatory references to myself, for which I thank him, and to other members of the Committee who have taken part in our debates. I should like to follow that note and to congratulate the Home Secretary on a very adroit Parliamentary performance in the way in which the Bill has been piloted through to Third Reading. One of the advantages of taking a Home Office Bill on the Floor is that we have the benefit of the Home Secretary's presence throughout the discussions in Committee.
It would be wrong if I did not recognise that the Bill, which almost every Government spokesman has referred to with distaste and dislike, has been substantially improved since Second Reading. We should acknowledge that the Home Secretary has endeavoured, both today and earlier, to try and placate the 1196 storms of controversy. He claimed that we are in calmer waters today than when the Bill was introduced. If that is so, it is largely because the Home Secretary has taken care, as he did just now, to make a number of reasonable and sensible statements on the humane way he intends the Bill to be operated.
The Home Secretary also referred to the very considerable improvements and changes which have been made in the Bill since we discussed it on Second Reading. I do not think he acknowledged that nearly all, if not all, of the improvements which have been made in the Bill were either inspired by or strongly supported by hon. Members on these benches. It is perhaps as well that I should recapitulate quite shortly the substantial modifications which we have initiated and which the Home Secretary has accepted.
First, there is the all-important improvement that, instead of operating for five years, as originally intended, without any occasion or opportunity of Parliamentary review, the Bill will now be on the Statute Book for only some eighteen or twenty months before the whole question of its renewal or continuance arises for a thorough overhaul and discussion in Parliament. That will give the House the opportunity to test the Home Secretary's promises of the way the Bill will be operated.
Even now there are certain aspects of the instructions to immigrant officers—the publication of which is welcomed—and of the voucher system which are far from clear to hon. Members. This was stressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), and if they are not clear to him, then I am sure they will not be clear to a great many intending immigrants.
The Home Secretary has also referred to the fact that we have inserted in Clause 2 a specific reference of benefit to students. We urged this upon him in the initial debates. While we welcome the statutory provision in the Bill, we are still anxious, as the Home Secretary knows, to ensure that in the operation of the Bill concerning students the same degree of welcome and of assistance will be given to part-time students as to full-time students. We think that it would be quite wrong to discriminate between those who come for a full-time 1197 university course or course of technical training, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, those, of whom there have been so many in the past, who come from the Commonwealth for the very laudable purpose of combining some useful employment in our economy with the undertaking of part-time studies of technical or other character.
Next, I acknowledge the considerable modifications, which we urged and which have been accepted, in respect of the dependants of immigrants, their wives, children and step-children, and the enlargement of the provisions about residence. We welcome also the recognition which has been given to those who come, particularly from the West Indies—women who come here with men but who are not married to them in accordance with our conception of matrimony, but who, as a result of a long association, have the same kind of status in their own country as would be recognised in this country if they were legally married.
The Home Secretary has also accepted the suggestions that have been made to him about entry certificates and the advisory council, to which we attach considerable importance. He has adopted a large number of detailed Amendments with regard to the production of documents, the availability of search and the conditions of deportation. I particularly welcome the excision from the Bill of what would have been a very retrograde provision of retrospective effect. It is now established that a person convicted of an offence committed before the Bill was passed cannot be deported. I am happy to see that this change has been made.
I have no doubt also that if it had not been for the operation of the Guillotine and the truncated debates which have been forced upon us on some of the Clauses and, in particular, the Schedules, there would have been other Amendments that the Committee would have considered, and some of which would no doubt have been accepted by the Government. There will be an opportunity in another place to remedy that defect. I would stress that, in our opinion, the Bill as originally produced was a piece of ill-considered, ill-digested legislation, and that we have done a great deal to improve it. Even 1198 so, I do not think that anyone would pretend that in its present form it is even technically free from flaws and defects, and there are still some matters in the Schedules which are worthy of careful scrutiny in another place.
Although I have claimed credit for the Opposition for a great many improvements that we think we have secured in the Bill, it still remains true that we adhere to the view that was expressed from the Opposition Front Bench when the Bill was introduced, that this is a bad Bill, and we intend to vote against it on Third Reading. We do so for the following reasons.
First, we think that it will be a blot on our Statute Book. We regard it, as the Home Secretary has admitted more than once, as a violation of our long-cherished principle of the free entry of Commonwealth subjects to this country. Second, we think it will inevitably have a disruptive tendency on the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth today is a fragile conception. It is threatened with dangers of various kinds both from within and from without. However much the Government may argue the necessity for the Bill, the fact remains that in the eyes of the Commonwealth it is regarded as something tending to have a disintegrating effect on Commonwealth loyalty, Commonwealth unity and Commonwealth self-respect. The third reason why we shall vote against it is that we think it is actuated—if it is not, in fact, actuated, it is generally regarded as actuated—by colour prejudice and racial discrimination.
One thing which we can contrast in the House, and which I must emphasise, is the wide divergence between the kind of moderate, liberal, conciliatory speech which we have just heard from the Home Secretary and some of the wild, irrational, emphatic utterances designed to stir up racial prejudice and hatred which have been made by Tory back benchers in various parts of the country. The Home Secretary must realise that one indirect effect of introducing the Bill has been to encourage some back bench Conservative Members to vent their spleen against Commonwealth immigrants of colour.
I take only one example of this. Despite what the Home Secretary has said, it will take more words than his and 1199 more words than mine—and I hope enough words will be said—to correct the mischievous campaign which has been conducted in some parts of the country by some Tory back benchers against coloured immigrants from the Commonwealth. One particularly notable illustration of this was the speech recently made by the hon. and gallant Member for Buckingham (Sir F. Markham) in which he said—I think I had better quote the words—
As that speech was made in my constituency, may I ask the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) whether he has seen the correspondence recently published in the local newspaper in which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Buckingham (Sir F. Markham) stated that the matter to which the hon. Gentleman objects so strongly was not part of what he said?
It was the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. I suppose the hon. Gentleman has given notice to my hon. and gallant Friend that he proposed to refer to his speech.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I had not read those extracts. In view of the Attorney-General's interjection, I will not pursue the quotation. I will content myself by saying that I have noticed—this cannot be challenged or denied; I have noticed it in my own constituency and will give a relevant quotation in a moment—that there have been a number of speeches in various parts of the country indicating that a large number of the Commonwealth immigrants are criminals, or come here with no intention of working, or come here for vicious and undesirable purposes.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
Perhaps I might revert for a moment to the subject of the quotation which the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) was proposing to make from a speech by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Buckingham (Sir F. Markham). I wondered whether the hon. Gentleman had given 1200 my hon. and gallant Friend notice of his intention. I think that the hon. Gentleman read the quotation on a previous occasion when my hon. and gallant Friend was not here. I also believe that my hon. and gallant Friend had already informed the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), from whom he obtained the quotation, that it was, in fact, a quotation from the editorial matter in the newspaper and that none of it was said by my hon. and gallant Friend. I think it is right that my hon. and gallant Friend should be given notice so that he can be present if there is to be any reference at all to that matter.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
Why does not the hon. and gallant Member for Buckingham (Sir F. Markham) turn up here?
§ Mr. Fletcher
I have said that I shall not pursue that matter.
I have here a most scurrilous pamphlet which is circulating in my own constituency. It even suggests that the Opposition, by their Parliamentary action in opposing the Bill, have caused smallpox. That is the kind of rabid, irresponsible—
§ Mr. Fletcher
That is an extreme case, but other hon. Members will be familiar with publications and speeches of a similar nature. This sort of thing has grown in recent months, and it is designed to stir up racial prejudice in this country. The point that I am making is—
§ Mr. J. Harvey
The hon. Member does his argument no great good when he puts forward this sort of thing. To seek to suggest, as some of the hon. Gentleman's colleagues have done in the debate, that it is hon. Members on this side of the House who are anxious to foment trouble invites the sort of retaliation from this side of the House that we do not really want to introduce into this debate. But in this context it is surely fair to point out that there has 1201 been the case of a trade and labour club which decided to ban coloured members. Many hon. Members opposite were, quite rightly, concerned about that. It would also be fair to point out in this context that there have been strikes by trade unionists against the employment of coloured labour. In this context, too, it would be fair to point out that some of the areas in which racial strife has broken out are certainly not areas in which the Conservative Party flourishes. I should have thought that it would have been much better to have left all this out of the debate. I myself believe that all of us—most of us, at any rate—on both sides of the House are more than anxious to see that immigrants who come into this country come into reasonably happy surroundings where they can use their abilities in the best interests of this nation and in their own best interest, too. In those circumstances, I think that what the hon. Member was unfortunately bringing into the debate would have been better left among the irrelevancies which I think are much better forgotten, and ought to be forgotten on both sides of the House.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I have been very patient, and I welcome that interruption, and for this reason. I think I prefaced my remarks by saying that one thing which I have not detected in the observations of the Government is any repudiation of some of the scurrilous statements made by some hon. Members opposite. I was very glad to hear the hon. Member's remarks. In fact it was the kind of intervention I was hoping for. I agree with the hon. Member that it is most important that on both sides of this House there should be repudiation of colour prejudice, from wherever it comes, whether it be the Union Party, or back benchers opposite, or from trade unionists. Wherever it comes from, it is most important that that kind of outlook and approach should be repudiated by this House. I know that the sentiments uttered by the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. J. Harvey) are shared by some of his colleagues. I believe that they are shared by the Home Secretary. I think that it is most important that they should be expressed, because otherwise increasing harm will be done by this Bill.
On this Third Reading we have to face the situation that the Government 1202 are taking powers to control the number of immigrants, and that it still looks as if there will inevitably be a discrimination against coloured immigrants as compared, shall we say, with Irish immigrants. This afternoon the Home Secretary made it clear that Irish immigrants will be able to come here without vouchers, and to the extent to which unskilled immigrants from Ireland come, there must inevitably be curtailment of the number of coloured immigrants who come from other parts of the Commonwealth. So those who regard this Bill as leading to discrimination based on colour are obviously justified and are using arguments which cannot be seriously challenged.
I hope I may conclude on a constructive note. When this Bill is passed there will still be a large number of immigrants from the Commonwealth in this country. The majority of them will be coloured. The problem of assimilating, integrating, coloured immigrants in our society will remain. I think it is most important, when this Bill is passed, for the Home Secretary, with the advice of the numerous social organisations which exist, to do something to stimulate a far greater effort in this country to see that Commonwealth immigrants, particularly coloured immigrants, have greater opportunities for integration into the ordinary life of the community than exists at present.
One of the reasons, of course, why the Home Secretary found it necessary to introduce this Bill at all was that the existence—as he put it—of immigrants in uncontrolled numbers produces certain social problems. One of the notoriour evils is in housing. It would be out of order for me on Third Reading to expatiate on that, but I think it is relevant, in concluding these remarks, to urge upon the Home Office the importance, after this Bill is passed, and with the assistance of the advisory council, of stimulating the efforts of the British Council, the National Council of Social Service, the various inter-Governmental organisations, the branches of the High Commissioners' offices in this country and the religious bodies of all denominations who are working in this field, with a view to seeing that Commonwealth immigrants are treated as equals, have no fear of racial discrimination, and are 1203 absorbed as far and as rapidly as possible into our English society.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills (Belfast, North)
I think that the hon. Gentleman has forgotten to mention one point. He has not told us whether a future Labour Government would remove this Measure from the Statute Book. Will he clear up that point?
§ 6.46 p.m.
§ Sir John Vaughan-Morgan (Reigate)
If my remarks are brief, it will be because I have some consideration for the large number of my hon. Friends on this side of the House who, I know, wish to catch the eye of the Chair. I will say this much for the speech we have just heard from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) speaking for the Opposition. He started off badly with a smear campaign, which was shot down in flames—if one can shoot a campaign down—by my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. J. Harvey), and ended up with a rather pathetic admission that the hon. Gentleman did not know what his party's attitude to repealing this Bill truly is. I hope the country will notice that with some concern. Despite the opposition which is to be taken into the Lobby against the Bill, we are not, I suspect, going to have a clear-cut definition of what that party's approach is.
I am sure that I speak for the overwhelming majority of Members on these benches who support this Bill when I say that we do so with some regret. All of us all through have appreciated that if there is a necessity for it it is at least a deplorable necessity, but I also feel, as I think many of us do, that if only we had had on the Statute Book many years ago some powers of control—if I may put it in a thoroughly Irish way—we should not have needed this Bill today. The difficulty has been that there has been a rising fear that immigration would overwhelm this country and continue to create social conditions which we could not cope with. I believe that from now on we shall always have some such machinery on the Statute Book.
1204 The protestations from the party opposite are not unlike the protestations there were at an earlier stage many years ago from the Liberal Party in connection with the Aliens Act. Despite the fact that there was a Liberal Government after that, that Act still remained on the Statute Book.
Of course, the Bill has been greatly improved. I think that it has been more improved by the instructions to the immigration officers than anything else. That has done a vast amount to allay the suspicions which many of us had almost from the beginning, and the fact that the Bill is also to be reviewed in eighteen months will make it easier to support it on Third Reading. I believe that this Bill is now necessary. I think that the time has come when we had to have some machinery of control. But I am concerned—very concerned—with the effect on the West Indies.
The gamut of opinion in my own party ranges from Louth to Surbiton. I find myself nearer to the Surbiton end of the axis in my sympathies. I share with my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) a great affection for the West Indies and the West Indians. It is good to hear so many people on both sides of the House say that they do not want any discrimination. I suppose that I shall reveal myself as being thoroughly discriminatory if I say that I would like any discrimination that develops to be practised strongly in favour of West Indian immigrants as against some of the other possible sources of the labour which the country needs. I make no bones about making that appeal. If we need labour, then let us get it from the West Indies, because thereby we can make some contribution towards solving the West Indians' social and economic difficulties, whereas the number that we can take from India or Pakistan will not help those countries at all. It will be a mere drop in the ocean.
We can make a tremendous contribution towards helping the West Indies, to which we owe a great debt—a debt which we owe to no other part of the Commonwealth, for a reason of which we are all aware. I also say quite plainly that I should like to see any preference that is to be extended extended to Commonwealth citizens from 1205 the West Indies rather than to the Irish Republicans.
That brings me to a point which makes many of us very unhappy. Many of us have qualms about the curious and anomalous position of the Southern Irish. I found my views well expressed in a letter in The Times, from a well-known journalist, Mrs. Elizabeth Nicholas, who said:we have Mr. Butler, an enlightened Home Secretary, rising in the House to say that whereas it is impossible to control the immigration into the United Kingdom of foreigners, citizens of the Irish Republic, should this stream be diluted by British citizens from overseas, such control would become both possible and necessary. Why Mr. Butler, of all people, should be moved to utter such gibberish defies rational analysis. It must be the pixies at work.I feel that the pixies are still at work, to some extent.
I have not heard any really satisfactory reason put forward by any Government spokesman why the Irish border could not be controlled. The frontier between Mexico and the United States is controlled. I do not say that it is 100 per cent. perfect, but at least some attempt is made to make it effective. But if it is absolutely impossible to do this, as we are told, I feel that the alternative solution—that our friends from Northern Ireland should go back to the system of sailing permits that prevailed during the war—should be tried out once more, if that is the price we have to pay for making the Commonwealth a reality and proving to the world that being a citizen of the Commonwealth is different from being a foreigner from Southern Ireland.
The Southern Irish have got the best of both worlds. They have the glamour of independence as well as all the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom. We are now pampering them at the expense of our Commonwealth ties.
We have eighteen months during which we shall have to scrutinise carefully the operation of the Bill, and my right hon. Friend will have a chance to reconsider the question of the Southern Irish. I think that we would all agree that the Bill will be administered very humanely and wisely. For that reason, I feel that I can support its Third Reading, but we must look at it even more carefully in eighteen months' time.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ Mr. C. Royle
It is almost unnecessary for me to say that I echo the sentiments expressed by the right hon. Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan) about the West Indies. He and I were members of the same delegation that went to the West Indies on behalf of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, many years ago. I think that our love for the West Indies started at that time, and it has continued in the days that have followed.
If the Bill had been born in the spirit expressed by the right hon. Member for Reigate, and in the terms used by the Home Secretary this evening, some of us would have had less concern about it, and there would have been less bitterness in our souls. But that is not the way it began. It did not begin in a pleasant, understanding way, with expressions of deep sentiment for the people of the Commonwealth, and especially of the West Indies. It began with the unholy triple alliance of the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell), with a few additions.
It started in the wrong spirit. It started with agitations at Conservative Party conferences. Eventually, to my horror, the Home Secretary bowed to that agitation. It is not without significance that the three hon. Members to whom I have referred have left us almost alone during our discussion of the Bill. I know that the hon. Member for Kirkdale has spoken once or twice, but in the main those hon. Members have been absent from our deliberations. They have not helped their hon. Friends, or hon. Members on this side of the House, to try to make the Bill a better one. They would have been happier if no improvements had been made. Their vicious attitude towards the problem is not reflected in speeches like that to which we have just listened by the right hon. Member for Reigate.
We have had the Second Reading debate and the somewhat lengthy Committee and Report stages, but in spite of what the Home Secretary said this evening, and the many things said by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), I still have a 1207 nasty feeling that this is where I came in, in the Second Reading debate. It is the same old, pernicious Measure, in spite of all the improvements that have been mentioned by my hon. Friends, with the possible exception of the instructions that we have talked about so much today.
In spite of the so-called improvements, the Bill will deal a severe blow to Commonwealth relations, both in the abstract and in the personal sense. The Irish are out of the Bill, and it will be very easy for our white friends in other parts of the Commonwealth to comply with the terms of the Bill. It therefore boils down to this: this Measure, at the end of its Third Reading, exercises immigration restraint on our coloured brethren.
The hon. Member for Louth must be feeling very happy just now. He must be cock-a-hoop. I only hope that the Home Secretary is as unhappy as I am. In the course of our discussion he referred to something that I said a few days ago, and remarked that the instructions had made me at least less unhappy. I hope that he has the same feeling.
I find some comfort in the draft instructions, but to a large degree that comfort has melted away in anticipation of the methods of the Minister of Labour. Those of us who listened to him carefully the other night and followed that up by reading what he said are still in a fog about what will happen. What good might have been done by the liberal instructions which are being issued to the immigration officers is being wiped out in the application of the Bill from St. James's Square. As we progressed with the Bill, I was one of those who thought that a sufficient number of immigrants would arrive in this country in the future to relieve their own economic pressures and to assist us in our problems in transport, in the hospitals and in industry, but after what the Minister of Labour said that hope is now very slight indeed.
Confusion, deep concern and anxiety abound in the countries which are affected. I hope that I may be permitted to say that I know what I am talking about in that respect. I have been back from the West Indies only a few weeks, and I know how anxious and worried the West Indians are, particularly in 1208 Jamaica, about the application of this Measure. We have created trouble in their minds which we had no need to create.
The Government, by means of the Bill, are abandoning a policy of a multiracial society in this country. They are saying, in effect, "You have your independence now. You are 21 years of age. Mother is no longer interested in you and your future." I begin to wonder seriously whether, when independence has been achieved by so many countries in the Commonwealth, Conservatives are interested in the Commonwealth now that it is no longer something to be exploited. The introduction of the Bill seems to be an indication that that is so.
I appeal to the Attorney-General to be good enough to pass on to the Prime Minister what I now want to say. In a short time new members will be joining the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, in particular from the West Indies. Will the Attorney-General ask his right hon. Friend to ensure that when the next Conference assembles the question of immigration shall be very high on its agenda? I agree that this question is not just our burden. Migration is a burden on the Commonwealth as a whole, and I believe that countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand could bear a great deal of that burden for us.
When we argued this point earlier it was suggested that, for example, the Prime Minister of Jamaica would not be at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference anyhow. But he will be entitled to be there within a few months from now, and I sincerely hope that this will be a question which will be tackled by the Prime Ministers' Conference and fully discussed, with real consultation to see whether there can be an alleviation of the problem. I only hope for the immediate future that another Lord Birkett might rise in another place and persuade their Lordships to kill another Bill.
If I have expressed what I have had to say with bitterness, I am sorry, but I have very deep feelings on these matters. The West Indies are a love of mine. I love the people and I should hate them to be hurt. We have one comfort. There will be reconsideration in 1209 1963. I hope that when that time comes we shall say of the Bill what someone much greater than I once said of another Bill: "Take it away and cut its throat."
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Pannell (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
This debate started on a note of sweet reasonableness which I think has somewhat deteriorated since the speech of the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Royle). Even the eye of the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) was piercingly fixed on me when the hon. Member made his criticism of certain Conservative back benchers. I hope in the course of my speech to reply, if only obliquely, to some of the charges made.
I should like to express my great regret that the Bill has taken so long to reach its present stage. It was first presented to the House on 1st November. Nearly four months have since passed and there has been a great deterioration of the situation in that time. Immigrants have been coming in at the rate of over 10,000 a month since the Bill was first introduced, compared with about 3,000 a month last year. Obviously, had a timetable not been applied to the Bill there would have been even further delay.
The Bill has been improved in Committee, but not in the manner that hon. Members opposite wish. There was a multitude of Amendments, many designed to nullify altogether the effects of the Bill, and all those were rejected. Some of the minor Amendments have improved the Bill, but there was a mountain of effort which has produced a mouse of a result. I do not want to revive the bitterness that actuated the speeches of hon. Members opposite in the early stages of the Bill. They were resolutely opposed to it and they were irrational in some of their views.
On the housing question alone, hon. Members must be aware of the really tragic situation in some of our larger cities. It should be realised that this Government's programme for 300,000 houses, introduced ten years ago, was based on an increase in population of 150,000 a year, and now that increase is running at over 400,000 a year. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said that net immigration last year was 160,000. If one adds to that the natural 1210 increase of 250,000 it justifies the figure I have given. In the last six years the increase of population has exceeded expectations by over 1 million. How can a programme devised many years ago on the basis of a population increase of 150,000 a year possibly cater for the situation which we face today?
I also greatly deplore the attempts of hon. Members opposite to introduce the question of the colour bar. I have never mentioned colour in any of my speeches. I have addressed large meetings of Africans and have explained the Bill to them, and I have had an extremely good reception. Hon. Members opposite have done the Commonwealth a great disservice by importing into the Bill an argument which had no right there.
The fact that Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders are treated on exactly the same basis as West Indians, Indians and Pakistanis has, apparently, escaped the notice of hon. Members opposite. Obviously, more coloured people than others will be affected by the Bill, because the Commonwealth is 90 per cent. coloured, but that no more makes it a colour Measure than any law of general application could be termed a class Measure because it must inevitably affect more working-class people than those who are better off.
One Amendment which I particularly welcome is that concerning students. Its intention was implied in the Bill as drafted, but I very much welcome the specific mention of students in the Bill, because in this direction lies one of the most valuable contributions that this country can make to the development of Commonwealth countries.
There are one or two features of the Bill about which I am not happy. I am not happy about the deportation provisions—for example, the fact that an immigrant is exempt from deportation if he has been here for five years and the fact that he can claim citizenship if he has been here one year—or, under the Bill, five years—and by claiming citizenship can be exempted from the deportation provisions. That will retain in this country an unduly large number of people who have no right here.
I cannot help mentioning once more that although I agree that in general 1211 there is no evidence that immigrants are more prone to disorder or to break the law than the average citizen, it is a fact that immigrants as a whole are much more prone than others to some of the more distasteful crimes. It cannot be emphasised too much that half the prostitution and living on immoral earnings that occurs in London is due to immigrants. [Interruption.] There were 68 cases out of 132 in the Metropolitan Police District of London. The figures are in HANSARD. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) can see them without intervening with irrelevant remarks. It is on record that 68 out of 132 convictions in the Metropolitan Police District of London in 1960 were due to immigrants—[Interruption]—18 of whom were, I agree, from Ireland. There were a greater number of these offenders from West Africa than from Ireland or from the West Indies. When I mention Ireland, it is relevant because the deportation regulations apply to the Irish.
The Bill is extremely moderate in its provisions. It does not affect those who are already here. It even allows their wives, children and dependants to arrive without let or hindrance. It extends the same privilege to those who are admitted later under the Bill. If an immigrant is admitted by a work voucher, there is no obligation for him to leave the country if he is out of work He may have worked for only a fortnight, but for ever after he has a right to remain here.
Compare that with the provisions in other countries, including those of the Commonwealth, where there is the utmost insistence that an immigrant from this country or from any other part of the Commonwealth shall not risk being, or give rise to the risk of being, a charge on public funds. A deposit must be made to ensure that if that happens, he will be sent back to his own country.
That contrasts with what happens here, despite the growing unemployment situation among immigrants, with 31,000 out of work at the last count in February. As 8 per cent. of the national average, that means that as these immigrants account for only 1 per cent. of the population, unemployment among them is 1212 eight times as great. That, however, is an exaggeration and I will put the figure at four or five times as great, which, I think, is a fair computation.
Despite its defects, I welcome the Bill. Many of us have urged a Measure like it for years. We have been accused of wrong motives in doing so. We have borne those charges with a certain amount of equanimity. We have not piously said that hon. Members opposite should not inpute to others motives less worthy than their own. Some of us on this side, as well as hon. Members opposite, have the interest of the country at heart. We have urged the case for the Bill for years. I am sorry that regulations were not introduced years ago, when the problem would have been less difficult. It could have been handled with much less commotion than it has today.
I welcome, however, the fact that the Bill will expire in December, 1963, because I doubt whether some of its provisions will be as efficacious as is hoped. This will give an opportunity also of reviewing the Irish question, in regard to which I share the views which have been expressed here this afternoon.
Despite its defects, the Bill is a step in the right direction and I hope that it will be given an unopposed Third Reading. If it is not given an unopposed Third Reading, that means that despite their remarks, hon. Members opposite are determined to vote against the Bill and are determined, presumably, should they get into power, to repeal it. If that is their intention, they should state it fairly now so that the country can fully appreciate their attitude to this most important question.
§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Chapman
I will not spend much time dealing with what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) has just said. I say to him in all frankness, because we try in this Chamber to keep personal courtesy at a high level, that there is no bridge between him and one or two of his hon. Friends and, on the other hand, my hon. Friends and myself on this side of the House concerning the Bill. There never has been any bridge and there is no possibility of creating one. By their campaign over the last few years, the hon. Member and his supporters have 1213 led to a worsening of race relations in this country; they have done great harm to the Commonwealth; and what is, perhaps, the worst sin of all, by their concentration on the sort of thing that the hon. Member has been talking about tonight—fifty cases of immoral earnings in the West End of London—
§ Mr. Chapman
Presently. I have hardly started. By his concentration on fifty cases of immoral earnings in the West End of London, the hon. Member has visited upon 300,000 or 400,000 coloured Commonwealth citizens here the sort of mass blackening by a few that is unworthy of any Member of the House of Commons. Talk about visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children—my God, if that does not come near to it, I should like to know what does.
§ Mr. Pannell
I know that the hon. Member wants to look at the matter fairly. The point is that immigrants are responsible for more than 50 per cent. of this crime in the City of London. That is a fact which I wanted to point out. The number of cases that are discovered is only a small percentage of the offences committed. I have urged time and time again that it is in the interest of immigrants generally that the bad eggs who spoil the case for all of them should be sent out of the country.
§ Mr. Chapman
The hon. Member has been doing this consistently, and the records of HANSARD and of his speeches throughout the country show that he has not stopped yet.
The hon. Member asked whether we could have allowed the figures of immigration to continue at their present rate, and in the same breath he said that this was not a colour-bar Bill. I will ask him just one question, to which I know the answer. If last year there had been 113,000 white immigrants from the Commonwealth, all of whom, except for 5 per cent.—which is the normal figure of unemployment among the coloured population—had obtained jobs here, would we have had the Bill?
§ Mr. Chapman
I am not giving way continuously, but I will give way once 1214 more to the hon. Member presently. The answer to him is that he might still have had a case for the Bill, but he would not have trumpeted it throughout the country in the way that he has done; nor would he have had the scurrilous and vicious support which he has had from sections of our community. That is the terrible thing that the hon. Member has done for the Commonwealth. Not only have he and his hon. Friends expressed a good deal of this themselves, but the hon. Member has stirred up among even less reputable parts of our community the sort of colour prejudice and viciousness which it is our duty as Members of Parliament to try to keep quiet and not help to increase.
§ Mr. Pannell
The hon. Gentleman is immoderate in his language, despite his intention to be courteous, which he expressed when he began. I have already replied to the question which he put to me, and in which, apparently, he is not now interested, as he is reading his notes. He asked me whether I would have advocated this Bill if all the immigrants had been white. I answered that on a previous occasion, when I said that if the population of this country was increasing by 400,000 a year, instead of the 150,000 originally estimated, there would have had to be restrictions, even if all the immigrants were white. I have already said that. It is on record in HANSARD.
§ Mr. Chapman
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman, but I answered him before he actually interrupted me. I tried to give the answer that it would never have had the effect on race relations which his unfortunate campaign has had in this country. However, I shall be dealing with the question of the increase in the population in a moment or two.
May I say one other thing about the speeches we have listened to already? It is how very much I, and I am sure all my hon. Friends, welcome what was said by the right hon. Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan). So many of us, I know—and perhaps this is becoming too much of a theme in the course of this Bill—have a very soft spot indeed for the West Indies, and I am sorry if perhaps we intrude this view on the House a little too often.
1215 It is a fact that most of the West Indian islands are little bits of England cast off and thrown out into the Caribbean. That is the true situation. I am almost embarrassed to find the extent to which the West Indians are British even more than I am, and the extent to which the Queen is on the front pages of the newspapers there. I am almost embarrassed by the extent to which cricket is always in the headlines when the test matches are being played. I am embarrassed at their version of British customs, so proud are they of them.
I am pleased when I see how very quickly they assimilate into Great Britain. In my part of Birmingham—and this is one part of the answer to the hon. Gentleman—I see young people of student age going about together, coloured and white, with no thought of colour whatever. This problem, which so afflicts the hon. Gentleman, does not affect the minds of that generation, thank heaven. I face it bluntly; the older people are the ones who are mostly the victims of colour prejudice. I look forward to the time when there will be no colour prejudice in this country, judging by the rate of assimilation and the growth of racial friendship that is going on in Birmingham today.
While I am saying these things about the West Indies, let me say also how I welcome one other thing that the right hon. Gentleman said. I do not know whether the House appreciates the danger in that area, as well as the sentimental reasons which make many of us so concerned. The fact is simply that democracy itself is in danger in Jamaica today—if not in danger of immediate collapse, in danger of being steadily and remorselessly undermined by unemployment and misery in a community which has a Western standard of outlook and is demanding that it should be given a Western-cushioned living, tomorrow and not next week. This immense impatience for matching a Western outlook with a Western standard of living can be the undoing of the West Indies. This is the great danger today, because high unemployment, which migration is traditionally relieving for the time being, could cause the collapse of democracy in Jamaica.
1216 Indeed, there is another danger. Cuba is ninety miles from Jamaica. Does anybody pause to think how dangerous that is? If Jamaica were to go the way of Cuba, the whole of Central America, and many other British possessions, would be in flames—so that, in addition to the point of view of sentiment and pride in their British outlook, there is the purely narrow self interest of British possessions. We must be careful never to close the safety valve of migration from the West Indies.
There is one final point about the West Indies that I should like to put to the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends. They may, though unintentionally, have done the West Indians a bad turn in lumping them together with many others in our Commonwealth. I do not like to draw distinctions between any particular groups, but I say this for the West Indies. This is one of the things that has always been frightening the hon. Gentleman and causing him to go hysterical from time to time. When they come here, the West Indians have a clean bill of health. They come here disease-free and intensely resistant to disease, and we have every reason to take them out of any criticism about standards of health.
I said that I should have something to say in my general remarks about the problem of the increasing population in this country, and that, after all, is the big issue which divides us now that we have come to the Third Reading of the Bill. The Government's case for the Bill is that this country cannot absorb a net annual increase in the population on the scale that the recent immigration figures entail. I am sure that the Home Secretary would agree that this is the core of his case for the Bill. Frankly, if one looks at the world situation, this is a confession of economic defeat, taking other countries in comparison with ourselves.
The nations of Western Europe are expanding rapidly, and they are net absorbers of population on a vast scale, because they have vigorous economies which are striding ahead, creating employment opportunities, and matching those employment opportunities both with immigrants and the houses in which to put them. I do not want to get too far away from the Third Reading debate, 1217 but should like to give just one example—that of Western Germany—and I quote from The Times:Meanwhile over the past year the number of foreign workers in West Germany has more than doubled, and now stands at just above half a million. The Italians are the strongest contingent, with about a quarter of a million, the Spaniards and Greeks in second and third place with 50,000 and 44,000.The report goes on to say that between January and July, nearly 100,000 additional foreigners have found employment in western Germany.
We had 100,000 in a year—not six months—and the hon. Gentleman is putting the crisis flags at the mast, and so is the Home Secretary. This is a confession of economic defeat by the Conservative Government. In these vigorous European economies, they are facing the problems of expansion and surmounting them. They are tackling the social problems involved in bringing in immigrants and filling the jobs. This is the right way to tackle this task—not to confess defeat in the miserable Bill which we are asked to tolerate tonight. That, I think, is our main answer, not only to the summary of the right hon. Gentleman's case, but our main answer to this Bill. If the Government had tackled some of the problems which immigration creates in the vigorous spirit which these other go-ahead countries have shown, there would never have been the need for the confession of failure which is involved in this Bill.
Now, after days and weeks on this Bill during which, perhaps like the Home Secretary, I have spent scarcely an hour away from the Chamber, I am, so to speak, unable to see the wood for the trees. One gets like that at this stage of any Bill. I do not think we can all make sparkling contributions after the hard work we have put in, but there are one or two things I want to say. I want to say something about the voucher system. There is a big danger to which I direct the attention of the Home Secretary. We shall get into a situation in which immigrants will come here for particular jobs carrying vouchers in their hands.
The grave danger that this country will face will be that we shall not only have a voucher system but "job reservation". We shall have jobs reserved for the poorer coloured. I shall quote from 1218 the Economist, which puts this in much better words than I could. That paper said:No doubt it will be said that permits would always be granted liberally for Commonwealth citizens, at any rate in areas that are not already 'overcrowded with immigrants' and especially for jobs for which Englishmen find themselves increasingly too fastidious; already public transport undertakings, hospitals and local authority services could ill do without the West Indians, who perform unsavoury or unpopular duties. But if a 'work permit' system is formalised"—This was in July, 1961. The Economist was looking into the future—the logical consequence of it could be job-reservation, differential wages, less favourable treatment of Commonwealth than of European citizens if Britain joins the common market, and all sorts of problems when the particular jobs for which new immigrants have been given work permits run out.The point which is being made is that we shall have a class of voucher-possessing coloured migrants labelled to to do the dirty work of our society. That is a very grave danger. I hope that the Home Secretary, in whose professions of liberal sentiment about this Bill I have some belief, if I may say so without trying to patronise, will keep a special eye on this problem. There is a very grave danger indeed once we differentiate between white and black, and differentiation is becoming inevitable between better jobs and dirty jobs in society. If that followed the harm done to the Commonwealth generally it would add another nasty blow to those which the Bill will have given to the concept of the Commonwealth as a whole.
I put another point to the right hon. Gentleman about the job voucher system. Will he please see that the offer of the Minister of Labour with regard to consultation with overseas Commonwealth Governments is fully taken up to see that the flow of vouchers and information about jobs available in this country works to its fullest extent? Inevitably it will be the task of Commonwealth Governments under this Bill to help their intending emigrants to get in touch with jobs here, to put forward their skills here and in any other way to obtain the sort of vouchers which they will need.
It is also important that the information possessed by the Ministry of Labour should be funnelled out overseas about skills which are needed here. Secondly, 1219 the Ministry of Labour should think about the point I made in Committee. It should co-operate with and coordinate the work of public bodies and public services in recruiting from areas such as the West Indies. This could be the one thing which could help to give the Bill a very good reputation in those parts of the world, if it is seen that we need hospital workers and so on. No one doubts that.
I was listening to Dr. Joules speaking about Central Middlesex Hospital and telling us that 10 per cent., 20 per cent., 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. of different categories of workers in hospitals are coloured people, mainly West Indians. No one doubts the need to have them. If it is seen that the Ministry of Labour is behind schemes to get proper voucher procedures worked out and that people from the West Indies are put into touch quickly with jobs available in hospitals, public services and work for nationalised boards, that will do a great deal to ameliorate the bad effects of the Bill.
I have been subjected to some misrepresentation in Birmingham because I moved an Amendment to probe the question of Irish immigration. I have been represented as wanting to keep the Irish out. That is the sort of misrepresentation which goes on by various bodies in Birmingham, some of which I could name. It has had a sort of mushroom and pernicious growth resulting from the activities of some hon. Members opposite. We on this side of the House want to make clear once again that we want the Irish to come in.
Just as we like to see West Indians helping the National Health Service, we know that parts of the building trade are dependent on Irish labour. Parts of heavy industry in my constituency would be badly off without the strapping Irishmen who do a great deal of work in them. We need them all in, and they should have the opportunity to come while the jobs are available. On the other hand, we say it is monstrous—I say this in my constituency—to allow non-Commonwealth Irish in and to exclude the proud British citizens of the West Indies. How the Home Secretary could surmount that final hurdle of his conscience as related to the Bill is beyond us. I think it is the worst thing of all.
1220 One thing that has really heartened me has been the reaction to the Bill in the better circles as compared with the way in which the worst circles have made me disheartened. The sort of thing that is happening in Birmingham has got to go on. I have in my constituency a parish magazine which is called The Manor Outlook and is the parish newspaper of St. James's, Aston. It is a special edition of Birmingham Christian News made available in the form of a magazine. Under the heading of "Me and my neighbours" there is an article entirely devoted to preventing the growth of colour prejudice in that part of Birmingham.
It also has articles about the way in which West Indians live, why we should be friends with West Indians, why West Indians have wild parties at night and disturb the neighbourhood, articles about crime and the extent to which coloureds are and are not to blame, and an article headed, "Disaster without them." The last named article shows how the essential services depend on immigrants.
There is no doubt that the churches are to be congratulated for doing that kind of thing, but, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said on Second Reading, the Government would have done much better to have spent £500,000 on that kind of thing in Britain than £500,000 in administering this Bill. That would have been a much better way of spending the money in this country at the moment. The forces unleashed by some hon. Members opposite are vicious racialist forces which many of us would like to see countered as much as possible by people such as I have mentioned and by the Government in education and propaganda.
If we can work the machinery properly—and a number of us intend to bend our backs towards helping the Commonwealth to work this machinery to get the permits flowing and the vouchers issued—I make the guess that we shall get 50,000 migrants a year happily established in this country doing jobs and finding a proper welcome awaiting them. If we do that, the number will be the sort of number which was common in 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1958 and which, incidentally, went down of its own accord when there were 1221 no jobs available—and which would go down again if there were no jobs available.
If we do that, we shall in two years reflect in this way, I suggest. We shall say to ourselves, "What a lot of trouble has been caused, what a lot of harm has been done to the British Commonwealth, what a great inflammation of race relations in this country there has been, and all for what a miserable result in the effect on the numbers of migrants". Would it not be better to leave the matter where it was and not interfere? Would it not have been better, during the last 12 months, if the speeches had been less strident about demanding legislation so that the numbers would not have shot up to over 100,000 but would have stayed at 50,000? Should we not be so much happier in two years with the present view of the British Commonwealth than with our observation of it after the working of the Bill?
§ 7.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Humphry Berkeley (Lancaster)
I am very glad to have an opportunity at this rather late stage to explain my own somewhat spasmodic support of the Bill. I was not fortunate enough to catch the eye of the Chair on Second Reading, and later I was the victim of what, I suppose, the Home Secretary might call the benign movement of the Closure by the Government Whips when we were discussing the Amendment dealing with the Irish question in which I was particularly interested.
In common, I think, with almost everyone on this side of the House, I dislike the need for the Bill intensely. I am not wholly convinced of its necessity, although I feel that one must recognise that the immigration figures during the past two years have been very alarming. I am not sure that at least a large part of the increase has not been due to the campaign—I do not think that they will take offence if I call it that—which has been conducted by my hon. Friends the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), the Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) and the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden). There is no doubt at all that, if one studies the pattern of the figures over the past seven or eight years, one finds that they continually seemed to adjust 1222 themselves quite naturally to the economic climate in this country until 1960 and 1961, at which time, of course, my hon. Friends' campaign was gaining ground.
I say frankly that I have been much disturbed by two circumstances surrounding the introduction of the Bill. First, there was the quite obvious lack of genuine consultation between the Members of our Government and the members of Commonwealth Governments. Naturally, I accept that consultation does not necessarily mean going on talking until agreement has been reached, but I do not think that anyone can seriously doubt that the consultation which went on between our Government and Sir Grantley Adams and Mr. Norman Manley was perfunctory, to say the least.
The other feature which disturbs me is that, despite the various statements which have been made from time to time that the Bill has been on the stocks for seven or eight years, it has been, in fact, produced with every apparent sign of haste and lack of thought. It is astonishing, if the Bill has been on the stocks for all these years, as we are told, that eight years ago some sort of research was not done into the position of the Irish. We are told now that by the time the Bill comes up for renewal in 1963 we shall know a great deal more about the Irish question than we do now. But if the research had already been done the figures would have been available. One cannot deny that, particularly in regard to the Irish, there has been a faint but, I think, perceptible air of musical comedy in the Government's handling of the Bill.
I think I can claim to be as staunch a supporter of the Commonwealth concept as anyone in the House. During the past year, I have been to no less than eight Commonwealth countries. For obvious reasons, because of my interest in the Commonwealth, I have found the Bill difficult to support. There are two specific aspects of it which I find impossible to condone, and that is why I shall not be voting with the Government tonight.
First, I cannot bring myself to support a Bill which discriminates in favour of aliens as against British subjects. This 1223 seems to me to run absolutely counter to any sort of Commonwealth concept which we have ever entertained and makes a mockery of the whole idea of Commonwealth citizenship. Secondly, I cannot bring myself to support a Measure which appears to discriminate in favour of white people as against coloured people. I shall elaborate these two charges.
With regard to discrimination in favour of aliens, I invite the House to consider this. On the one hand, there is the Republic of Ireland, a Republic which voluntarily chose to leave the Commonwealth, a country which was neutral in the war, a country which denied us the use of the Treaty ports in the course of the war, the use of which would have been immensely valuable to us at the time, a country of which the present Head of State, President De Valera, actually called on the then German Ambassador to condole with him over the death of Hitler. Many of us have a great many Irish friends, as I have. I heard the speech made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom (Mr. Rawlinson) in which he praised the contribution made by individual Irishmen who served in Her Majesty's Forces during the war. I can well remember a most moving tribute being paid to these gallant volunteer allies of ours by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) in his final broadcast as wartime Prime Minister. The fact remains, nevertheless, that the policies to which I have referred were carried out by the Government of Eire.
One turns, in contrast, to the West Indies. As the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has said, the West Indian people have an Intense personal loyalty to the Crown. Mr. Norman Manley has said that, when Jamaica becomes independent in August this year, she has no intention of becoming a Republic. Jamaicans attach great value to the Royal connection. They fought for us loyally during the war. Mr. Manley has said that, when Jamaica becomes independent, there will be no question of her being an uncommitted or neutralist country; she regards her interests as being firmly and securely with the West. More than that, as the hon. Member for Northfield said, 1224 West Indians, particularly Jamaicans, the ones I know best, are more English than the English; they regard this country with deep affection as their mother country.
I just do not see how I can support this Bill in the light of the Government's declared intention that it will not be applied to the Republic of Ireland. I wish to emphasise that I have no hostility towards the Irish people or even towards the present Irish Government. It is essential that we should have good neighbourly relations with them, and therefore it is commonsense to treat the Republic as though it belonged to the Commonwealth, but I am not prepared to support a measure which gives the Irish Republic Commonwealth membership plus.
As far as apparent discrimination in favour of whites is concerned, it has been said over and over again in the debates on the Bill—and therefore I do not have to spend very much time on it—that there are, as we all know, two basic sources of unskilled immigrant labour coming to this country. One is the Republic of Ireland and the other the West Indies. In 1961, 66,000 came from the West Indies. We do not know the exact figure from the Republic of Ireland. In an earlier debate the hon. Member for Northfield estimated it at 70,000. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland has estimated it at 28,000, while the Home Secretary put the figure at somewhere between the two.
The fact remains, however, that immigrant labour from Ireland constitutes the second largest total of the immigrant labour coming into this country. Immigrant labour from Ireland, for example, considerably exceeds that which comes from India or Pakistan. Either one takes the argument, which I think was taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkdale that it is the actual weight of numbers which is too great and that we simply cannot accommodate such numbers, whether they are white or black, or one can take the other view and regard this in a strictly colour bar sense. But the Government are saying that, "The numbers are too great, but we will ignore the Irish, even if they are the second largest element, because of the difficulties of controlling them." 1225 Yet they are surprised when people turn round and say that the only possible interpretation that the outside world and the Commonwealth will put on this is that it is colour discrimination.
Members of the Government have explained the Irish position in slightly different ways. The Home Secretary has always, it seems to me, expressed the view that it is desirable to control Irish immigration, but virtually impossible to do so. The Attorney-General, on the other hand, has conceded that it is possible to control Irish immigration but believes that for the time being it is not necessary to do so. I recall a speech he made in this House on 12th December last because it points to what I am saying. The Attorney-General said:Having decided that the time has come when we should take a general power to exercise control over immigration, it is no use taking that power to put a fence round three sides of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland if we do not have power to put up the fourth fence if required …If the Republic of Ireland imposed controls on immigration into the Republic similar to those in the Bill obviously it would not be necessary for us to impose controls over traffic from the Republic in order to control Commonwealth immigration. For that purpose, we can rely on our neighbour's fence.Later on, my right hon. and learned Friend said:The Bill is right in Clause 1 in taking power to put a fence round Great Britain and Northern Ireland.He was then interrupted by the hon. Member for Northfield, who said that this could not be done, and the reply was:Indeed one could do it. … As far as Commonwealth immigration goes, there is no need to do it if the Republic of Ireland legislates …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th December, 1961; Vol. 651, c 254–262.]The implication behind this is twofold. First, that it does not very much matter having an uncontrollable inflow of immigrants from the Republic of Ireland. Secondly, that we are putting the Republican Irish in the position of acting as our agents in keeping out of the United Kingdom subjects of the Crown. That is something which I find intolerable and cannot possibly support.
I want to ask the Attorney-General certain questions as to why control over immigration from the Republic of Ireland is as impossible as the Government 1226 appear to think. First, I do not suppose that anybody would suggest that we could not have immigration control on ships and aircraft coming to Britain from the Republic and, presumably, on aircraft going from the Republic to Belfast. We are now left with the problem of the land border.
It has been said many times that the land border, at 180 miles long, is one of the shortest in the world. It has somewhat laughingly been compared with the border between the United States and Canada, which is about 5,000 miles long, and with the border between the United States and Mexico. It is, by any standard a land border of quite remarkable smallness in size and content.
We can surely draw some comparison between immigration control and customs control. I am told that there is a reasonably effective customs control on the Ulster-Eire border. I do not think that it is suggested that so much smuggling goes on that there is no point in having any customs control. Customs control is managed by having, as far as I know, Customs checks on 16 of the main roads from the Republic into Northern Ireland and also at nine railway posts. Why cannot we put immigration control at these Customs points?
We are told that there are in addition approximately 84 roads, tracks and paths of one kind or another. The Home Secretary said in an earlier debate that the real difficulty about trying to control the border is that the country is extremely rough and difficult. I can see that this does pose problems, but it poses problems to the illegal immigrant as much as to the immigration officer, because, the rougher and more difficult the countryside is, by definition the more hazardous it is for the immigrant to cross it.
We should be clear in our minds what kind of people we are envisaging as immigrants. Plainly, if the Republic were some sort of concentration camp, then people would make every effort to crawl on their stomachs across extremely hazardous and difficult terrain to get from the Republic to Northern Ireland, but, as many of us know, the Republic is an extremely attractive and pleasant country, and I flatly refuse to believe that immigrants from the Republic who are 1227 disposed to enter the United Kingdom illegally are going to put themselves to the extreme discomfort of finding the most inaccessible and difficult part of the border in order to cross from one country to the other. Similarly, by the nature of things, if one is an immigrant and is going to another country to settle permanently, one must presumably take along the necessary luggage and impedimenta, possibly families and dependants. Is it suggested that all of these will be left behind?
The Government have been altogether too casual in the replies they have given—or, rather, those they have not given—and while one would require reasonable immigration control to make it fairly difficult for someone to slip through, I would have thought that there was a valid comparison to be drawn between immigration control and Customs control. The Government do not need a Maginot Line fortification with every conceivable precaution. Nothing is escape-proof, as was shown by prisoner of war camps. Only reasonable safeguards are necessary, and this is a matter on which the Government have so far failed to give a satisfactory answer.
§ Mr. Stanley R. McMaster (Belfast, East)
I have been trying to follow my hon. Friend's argument carefully, and I am sure that he would not wish to mislead the House. But I recollect the Home Secretary saying that if there was to be control it would be on the United Kingdom border. Surely the Home Secretary must have meant that there would be control on the Northern Ireland border, if there was, indeed, to be control?
§ Mr. Berkeley
That is precisely what I am asking the Government. Why cannot they have some sort of reasonable control on the United Kingdom border—the border between the Republic and the six counties—taking into account the big roads, where there are Customs posts at the moment, and some of the smaller roads, where some form of immigration control might be introduced? The Government might be able to almost ignore the extremely difficult terrain.
Having made a number of rather severe remarks about the Bill which I regard—even with what has been said 1228 and despite any improvements that might have been made—as an unsatisfactory Measure, I am sure that I speak on behalf of many hon. Members on both sides of the House when I say how greatly we are in the debt of the Home Secretary for the immense patience, courtesy and humanity he has shown throughout our discussions.
By the instructions which he has issued to the immigration officers and has made available to hon. Members he has, at least, removed from my mind many doubts about the Bill and, however unsatisfactory it may be, I am sure that it will be administered in an enlightened and liberal way. But, frankly, I feel that whatever need there may be to control immigration, if the Irish position cannot be resolved more satisfactorily than it is at present, the Bill had better be dropped and, for that reason, I cannot support the Government tonight.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Mr. M. Foot
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) has made an extremely powerful speech and, no doubt, an extremely courageous one. He has torn to shreds one of the main features of the Bill, and I certainly do not wish to say anything which might detract from the effectiveness of his speech, even if I could.
I would only comment on his argument about the distinction drawn in the Bill between aliens and members of the Commonwealth, and his remarks concerning Ireland. His logic is absolutely unchallengeable. If the Government were carrying out the Bill which they said at first they were attempting to carry out, the obstacles to preventing immigration across the Irish border could have been overcome. I do not believe that the Government's excuses hold water. But if the only way the Bill can be made logical is to set up a fresh barrier across the border between Ulster and Ireland it makes the Measure even worse.
It would be an appalling thing if we set up new barriers to Irish people wishing to come to this country. I understand what the hon. Member for Lancaster said about the last war. No doubt everything he said was true. But the association between Britain and Ireland supercedes anything that happened in the last war, 1229 for it is an association going back over many centuries and, if we consider the past, we might think that they have a case against us instead of it being the other way round.
It would be utterly deplorable if a Measure should be introduced to prevent Irish people from coming to Britain, particularly because of the contribution they have made, apart from other considerations, to our cultural life. If the only way the Bill can be made logical and fair is to introduce some prohibitions or limitations on Irish immigration, then that is a final condemnation of the Bill itself.
The hon. Member for Lancaster put his case with extreme skill. He has asked for an answer to this Irish question and he adduced his arguments on this issue more effectively than we have so far heard from any hon. Member. That makes it all the more unlikely that he will get an answer to his question tonight. If the Government have not attempted to answer it before it is improbable that they will do so on Third Reading.
When he began his speech earlier the Home Secretary paid compliments to the Ministers who had assisted him in getting the Bill through, and I am sure that those compliments were well deserved. They all did a hard job, but the performance of the Home Secretary was really the most remarkable. When he started I thought that I had never seen a Minister introduce a Bill on its Second Reading more ineffectively. In fact, I felt that he really did not believe in the Bill. As time has gone by—and as the hon. Member for Lancaster said—the Home Secretary has rescued the situation to some extent by his subsequent speeches, including the one he made today.
The performance of the Home Secretary reminds me of the story in Victor Hugo's novel "Ninety-three" of the sailor who let loose a battering ram against a ship almost causing total shipwreck but who, at the last moment and by skilful manœuvre, managed to prevent the battering ram from causing irreparable disaster. As a result, the sailor was decorated—and then shot. If I were not an opponent of capital punishment that is the fate I would recommend for the Home Secretary. It 1230 would be adequate reward for what he has done for the country over this Bill.
The chief method by which the Home Secretary has escaped from the worst odium the Bill had surrounding it when it was first introduced has been the publication of the immigration officers' instructions. It was plain to everyone that the Home Secretary did not intend to do that at the beginning at all. That was not in the Government's mind. It was never mentioned on Second Reading or at any time in our first debates. The matter was tossed into the discussion and it was a very subtle manœuvre on the part of the Home Secretary, but an astonishing way of conducting the passage of a Bill.
I only wish that the Minister of Labour had followed the Home Secretary's example, because the worst and most muddled part of the Bill still is how the voucher system will operate and whether it will work fairly between one Commonwealth country and another. We also require to know how the Ministry of Labour proposes to deal with the many letters which, we understand, will pour in and the basis on which these letters will be selected. Unfortunately, the Minister of Labour has not revealed the details of how he will operate it in the same way as the Home Secretary was eventually persuaded to do by issuing the instructions.
The Home Secretary said that the Government were having close discussions with other Commonwealth countries about the operation of the voucher system. Perhaps the Government can claim that they did not need to have consultations with Commonwealth countries about the voucher system earlier. I doubt whether that claim is justified, but I can understand it. As the hon. Member for Lancaster said, one of the most serious matters about the Bill is the question of consultation with Commonwealth countries. Nothing which has been said from the Government Front Bench throughout our debates has answered the charge made by the Opposition Front Bench from the beginning that the consultations with the Commonwealth countries were quite perfunctory, if they existed at all. If I were to say that the House has been consistently lied to by Ministers on the subject of consultations, I might be out of order. But I cannot 1231 help thinking it. Hon. Members have heard the excuses of the Government on this matter. We have had plentiful evidence contradicting what they say, not only from the West Indies, but from other Commonwealth countries.
This was an entirely fresh Measure. There was never any need for a rush in introducing the Measure. Even if the Government thought that the Bill was urgent—they have not claimed that—if they proposed to take action which was entirely new in the history of the Commonwealth, they should have been especially careful about it. They should have taken into account all the considerations put forward by hon. Members on both sides, particularly about the West Indies. But there were no consultations.
I propose to say a few words later about some other aspects as they affect the Commonwealth, but I do not think that anyone can seriously say that the Commonwealth will survive many more consultations like this. If this is to be the pattern of Commonwealth relations on subjects which most intimately concern Commonwealth countries and on which the economic lives of those countries depend, I do not think that any hon. Member would defend it, whatever may be his view about the Bill. I do not believe that the Government would claim that their consultations with the Commonwealth countries before the Bill was introduced were full, adequate and proper.
My reason for thinking that is not that the Government did not want to consult the Commonwealth. I think that normally they would like to do so. There must have been some compelling reason why they did not do so in this case. This is what makes us so suspicious about the origin of the Bill. They wished to get it ready so that they could announce it at the Conservative Party Conference. Something happened between the debate in February last year, in which the Minister of State made out a powerful case against any form of immigration control, and just before the Conservative Party Conference which caused the Government to change their mind.
They say that the reason why they changed their mind was the figures. I 1232 do not believe that. I know that the figures were increasing, but this has been in people's minds for a long time. If it was merely the figures which caused the Government to change their mind surely they could have said, "Because we think that consultation with the Commonwealth is so important, we will hold up the Bill and not even tell the Conservative Party Conference first about it. We set the interests of the Commonwealth even above those of the Conservative Party Conference". But they did not do that.
Of all the reasons for the anger which the Bill has provoked, the question of the timing of it is one of the most remarkable aspects. My hon. Friends have referred to the aspect of the West Indies. Did not the Government know when they were introducing the Bill that the future of the West Indies and of the prospects of getting a Federation, or the question of what was to follow when the Federation ended, was uncertain and that it was a most critical moment in the life of the West Indies? Did not that fact weigh with them? Apparently, it did not.
This Bill, which affects the West Indies primarily, was introduced at the very moment when political circumstances in the West Indies were more critical than they had been at any time since 1945.
§ Mr. Nigel Fisher (Surbiton)
For the record, it is the fact that the break-up of the West Indies Federation was due to the Jamaican referendum, which caused Jamaica to leave the Federation. That was at least a month before this Bill was announced.
§ Mr. Foot
I understand that, but it does not alter my point. Everyone knew that, whichever way the referendum went, the situation concerning the Federation was very critical. As a result of the Federation not succeeding and going forward, many critical problems arose in the West Indies. I should have thought that that was a moment when the Government might have refrained from introducing the Bill. If they really had regard for the West Indies, they should have said, "Even though we think that there is an argument for the Bill, we will refrain from introducing it because of the commotion 1233 it will cause". That would have shown a better sense of timing. The Government did not do that. They said, "There is some urgent, passionate interest why we must do this, despite the effect that it may have on the West Indies".
There is another consideration. The Government know even better than the rest of the House the concern that there is in many Commonwealth countries about what is to happen over the Common Market.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Robert Grimston)
Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman is liable to get a little wide of the Question. We cannot discuss the Common Market on the Third Reading of this Bill.
§ Mr. Foot
I was not attempting to discuss the merits or demerits of the Common Market. I was merely discussing the timing of the introduction of the Bill, which I think affects the attitude which hon. Members must have to the Bill and to its Third Reading.
The Government not merely selected a moment to go ahead with the Bill despite the damage that it would do to the West Indies. They selected a moment when relations with this country and a whole series of Commonwealth countries were very difficult. If the Government really cared for the Commonwealth, I should have thought that, even though they believed that there was a case for the Bill, they would have said to themselves, "Because of the difficult relations which we have with many other Commonwealth countries who are already suspicious of what may happen to their interests if we go into the Common Market, we will hold our hand." There was a multitude of reasons why the Government, if they were concerned about the Commonwealth, could have said, "We will refrain from going ahead with this Measure."
This is not a Bill which is supported by overwhelmingly powerful arguments. The hon. Member for Lancaster has shown that it can be torn to tatters. But even if others do not go as far as the hon. Member for Lancaster, there was still not an overwhelming case for the Bill in view of what the Government said only a few months before its introduction. There were many other 1234 reasons for not having it, such as the damage it would do to the West Indies and to other Commonwealth relations, the injury which might be done to the faith which people have in future consultations between Britain and the Commonwealth. All these considerations were swept aside. The Government paid no heed to them. That is a terrible indictment.
I know that hon. Members opposite sometimes taunt us on this side of the House with being newly discovered supporters of the Commonwealth. But the taunt is not very apt, since so many of the developments which have taken place in the Commonwealth in the past fifteen years have been developments for which hon. Members on this side of the House have argued for twenty, or thirty, or fifty years. Much of the development now taking place in the Commonwealth has been advocated by members of this party, so that there is no inconsistency. In fact, some of us may now think that the taunt is more legitimately the other way round. I do not say that about all hon. Members opposite. Indeed, it would be most ungracious to say so after the speech of the hon. Member for Lancaster.
But it is true of some hon. Members opposite that, now that the Commonwealth is ceasing to have a colour bar and now that it is formed almost entirely, and soon entirely, of self-governing countries, now that it has become a civilised institution, it begins to lose its fascination for hon. Members opposite and they go whoring after other gods—[Laughter.] It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to laugh at what I am saying, but I do not believe that ten or fifteen years ago a Conservative Government would have introducted a Bill affecting the Commonwealth, as this does, with such perfunctory consultation and with such lack of regard for the other major issues in the scales. I do not believe that time and again we should have heard hon. Members opposite needling the association of the Commonwealth. But that is so today, and the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) is one of the chief offenders. Nothing pleases him more when he is not pursuing the colour bar than to make some snide remark about Canada's refusal to lower tariffs against this country, or something like that. He is only too happy to do it
1235 A change is taking place and that is why all of us on this side of the House, despite the improvements which have been made to the Bill, still regard it as a most squalid Measure. When it comes to the end of 1963, we shall wish not merely to re-examine it, but to wipe it off the Statute Book altogether. I hope that tonight my right hon. Friend who winds up for the Opposition will say that that is our purpose.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Joseph Hiley (Pudsey)
I shall try to bring the debate back to earth and I shall not apologise for an hon. Member of this House trying to speak for a moment for this rather than for some other country. The reasons for the Bill are perfectly simple and perfectly sound. It is most regrettable that we should have spent so many days and weeks delaying the Bill's arrival on the Statute Book. The exceptional number of immigrants arriving in recent weeks has focussed the attention of the people of this country on the real problem and on the real necessity for the Bill. It has demanded urgent attention and developments in recent weeks and months must surely justify to an even greater extent the necessity to control—not to exclude—the entry of Commonwealth immigrants.
I shall not repeat the well-worn arguments which have so long been used, but I should like to pass on to the House one or two facts which I have obtained from personal contact with the sort of people about whom we are talking. Every Monday, I spend several hours in a mill situated between Leeds and Bradford. The queues of men, mainly Pakistanis, going to the mill and looking for jobs are an unhappy and miserable sight. I can well imagine that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) in some of his passionate speeches would plead for the miserable, unhappy unemployed, and I am certain that his heart would go out to these folk if he were able to come to the West Riding and see the queues of them who are searching for jobs but not succeeding.
On Monday of last week, there were twenty-four at this little place looking for jobs, and I believe that a similar state of affairs exists at almost every 1236 mill in the West Riding. I asked some of these men whether before coming to this country they realised that the market was already saturated. I asked them why they had decided to come. I got the same answer from most of them and it is perfectly clear that these unfortunate, illiterate people, often unable to speak English, are being grossly exploited by men of their own race.
When they come here, they very quickly go to the National Assistance Board from which they receive £2 18s. 6d. a week, although they each have to pay £1 4s. for a single bed. I do not know how many men are in each room, but I do know that the beds are often let not only at night, but during the day as well. There has grown up a system by which some men have to pay a orate. I believe that it is £5, because a man at one mill the other day went to the office and asked for an advance on his wages within the first two days of working at the place. The advance was given but, contrary to the management's expectations, it was not to provide food and lodging, but to pay £5 to the entrepreneur—if we can call him that—who had been responsible for bringing him and thousands of others into the country.
The laxity in the granting of passports to these people is amazing and today there are thousands in Bradford who have faked or false passports. These men are being exploited. They realise that they have to have some sort of document—which they cannot read—and they pay for these false documents, although I am amazed how they get into the country and how they have been getting in. Perhaps my right hon. Friend will have something to say about that later.
§ Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)
Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House whether he has drawn his right hon. Friend's attention to these facts?
§ Mr. Hiley
That has not been necessary. It has come to light as some of these people have amassed some money and sought to go back home. Many of them have been going back, although I suppose not in tremendous numbers. It was only when they realised that their 1237 passports were false that the problem arose. I do not suppose that they had realised it until then. They are now taking steps to regularise the position.
It is the practical problems which the House should consider for a while. The absorption into a mill or a factory of men who have never had any industrial experience, who have come from places where there is no hereditary industrial experience—that counts for a lot, as hon. Members opposite will concede—and who cannot even speak our language, produces problems and headaches for those responsible for looking after these men inside our factories. There is no question of a colour bar in the minds of those who seek to regularise this position. I am thinking of a foreman in a mill who has said, "Rather than accept the responsibility of trying to absorb any more of these people at the moment, I am prepared to give up my job".
Hon. Members opposite, especially the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, do a great disservice to this country and those employed in industry. Hon. Members opposite have no conception of the practical problems. Those who have been brought face to face with the problem—and I am one of those people—are quite impatient because it has taken so long. We are glad that this is the last day of this ramble. I am sorry that at least one of my hon. Friends has spoken in a way which displays his complete lack of knowledge of the subject. I assure my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that most sensible people will welcome the passing of this most necessary Measure.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Laurence Pavitt (Willesden, West)
The hon. Member for Pudsey (Mr. Hiley) has made part of our case for us. There is no question of hon. Members on this side not being aware of the difficulties. From the time the Bill came up for Second Reading our contention has been that the Bill is the wrong way to go about tackling them. This is why we are opposing the Bill, even at its last stage on Third Reading. The hon. Member said that my hon. Friends can have no conception of the practical difficulties involved. I invite him to come to my constituency in Willesden at any time. I predict that I have a larger number of immigrants than he has in his native 1238 Pudsey. We have been tackling this problem for many years.
The Bill aggravates the constructive measures we have tried to take over a period of years. This is a further reason why we continue to oppose it. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot), I welcome the intervention of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley). It saves me from taking up the time of the House by talking about the Southern Ireland situation, because the hon. Member put it far more concisely and clearly than I can. The case needs answering when the right hon. Gentleman replies, for this makes it quite clear that the Bill is a colour bar Bill.
The proceedings on the Bill have been long. I have had the impression from the outset that this is the nearest thing to do-it-yourself that this Government have produced since I have been a Member of the House. We had, especially in the early stages, what seemed to be a considerable amount of brilliant improvisation from the Government Front Bench.
I join my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite in paying tribute to the performance of the Home Secretary throughout our discussions. As the Bill has proceeded his performance has become even more polished. Nevertheless, I have had the feeling all the time that the Bill, its implications and its detailed machinery have never been thoroughly thought out. This was most clearly brought out last Thursday when we examined the voucher system. In reply to an intervention of mine, the Minister of Labour said that the Government were still looking into it. I have gained the impression that, even when the House has passed the Bill, a good deal of work remains to be done before this vast and complicated machinery can be effective.
We on this side have been sad because the latter stages have been under the shadow of the Guillotine, especially since on two occasions when the Guillotine fell the House was operating at its best. We were trying to defend a small individual against the whole rigour of the huge State. On two such occasions, because of the Guillotine we were unable to press the safeguards we were trying to write into the Bill to meet quite detailed but very important circumstances for an individual caught up 1239 in this vast machinery which is to be set up at the ports to keep him out.
Another characteristic of the Committee stage of the Bill was that most of the points we advanced were designed to deal with instances in which the Bill could be unfair. In spite of our best endeavours, it goes through unaffected. It still discriminates. This is shown only too clearly by categories A, B and C. for employment vouchers. It is category C—the most unskilled, the person who perhaps can make a vast contribution to our economy—who is to come in for most of the discrimination.
I welcome the Home Secretary's suggestion that we shall be able to continue to prod the Government on the matter of the numbers of immigrants by Questions, but it seems to me that we have managed to get more out of the Home Secretary while amending a Bill than ever we do at Question Time. So frequently when he answers my own Questions he seems to understand so clearly what one is trying to get at and seems to identify himself so clearly with the objective and gives such an answer that I sit back glowing to think that I have managed to persuade the Home Secretary to go so far with me, and it is not until I read HANSARD next day that I find that in fact he has not gone very far at all. However, during the stages of this Bill he has been able to amend some provisions, and I think the most important one is that now we are going to look at it again at the end of 1963.
The crux of the argument against the Bill is that although it is claimed that by limiting the numbers of immigrants we shall then be able to regulate the conditions, social and economic, so as to absorb and integrate the people who come here, I think the Bill does precisely the opposite. True, it touches the matter of employment, but, as everybody who has sat through the proceedings on this Bill knows, it does not touch the much greater issue of housing. Places where employment is high are natural magnets, and, naturally, it is in places where there is the most employment that we get the greatest pressure on housing accommodation, and no part of the Bill touches that problem.
I think it was the Attorney-General who said at one stage that this Bill was 1240 not quite so bad because perhaps four-fifths of the people already coming might still come, but if all those four-fifths come to Willesden, West I shall be in just as much of a problem as now, because there is no question here of dispersing the people and of distributing them evenly to absorb them generally into the economy.
So the Bill misses an opportunity, and not only does it miss an opportunity, but it means that organisations such as the Willesden International Friendship Council, consisting of 50 per cent. of immigrants and 50 per cent. of local inhabitants, and which is doing work of integration day in and day out, will have to tackle just as many new problems which arise. They find themselves disheartened and dismayed, at the impression this Bill gives that immigrants are not wanted.
Of course, there is prejudice. Always we have to meet prejudice, but I think it is the first time for many years that a British Government have tried to incorporate prejudice into a Bill. In my own constituency, of course, there is this difficulty. One finds discriminatory advertisements for lodgings. Out of 550 over a period of three months 104, or 18.9 per cent., said: "No coloureds" or "No West Indians". In one case it said, "No coloureds. No Welsh." I do not quite know the relevance of the Principality.
We have been spending money, time and energy by local voluntary organisations co-operating with local statutory authorities in order to try to solve the problem. We have got that council at work, and the local borough council spends money on employing a welfare officer, and on employing him full time, engaged in this work of conciliation and integration without any colour prejudice. He happens to be a Jamaican.
If the money which is to be spent on operating the ramshackle machinery of this Bill could be canalised instead into the work of integration, not only could we help solve the problem but we could create the kind of atmosphere which there should be for a family—a family of nations. I share with hon. Members opposite who have spoken about it their affection for the West Indians. I do not know that I accept the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, 1241 Northfield (Mr. Chapman), who would like a kind of favoured treatment for them. I think that in a family the essential thing is to make no favourites. This applies to a family of nations. What we should like to see is a clear conception of mutual working together, an integration, of all the nations which comprise the Commonwealth.
Those of us who have travelled in India have always been astounded, when we have discussed matters with our Indian friends, to hear them talk of "home", Britain, a place that they have never been to. I remember one man in Delhi telling me that he hoped eventually to come home and to live in the cantonment of Portsmouth. They have a feeling, which people in this country do not understand, that Britain is their home, and that the words "Mother Country" mean what they say. They now find that the Bill puts up barriers and establishes first-class and second-class citizens of the Commonwealth. This will inevitably cause the very light and silky bonds which bind the Commonwealth together to stretch almost to breaking point.
Those of us who are seeking the creation of one world, and of one community or brotherhood, irrespective of race, colour or creed, have hitherto seen the British Commonwealth as one of the main media for practising what we preach—a place in which better relationships between one nation and another can be brought about, a prototype from which the rest of the world may learn. But now, when economic difficulties arise in other Commonwealth countries, at the very first call to "mother" that some of our Commonwealth people make, when they want to come home, "mother" says "Yes, four-fifths of you can come, but a gate will be put up to stop the other one-fifth coming in."
It is a deplorable state of affairs. It is a black day when this Bill is given its Third Reading. I have said before that those of the hon. Gentlemen opposite who know most about the problem are the most sad about the Bill. It is only those who have come suddenly to it, and approach it from a subjective point of view, who are glad. I hope that in 1963 many hon. Members opposite will agree with us that the Bill should be 1242 wiped off the Statute Book, and that we should then bend our energies to tackle the problem in the right way.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Wokingham)
The House always listens with great attention when the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) addresses it. I doubt whether any hon. Member on either side of the House would want to diverge from that part of the hon. Member's speech in which he rightly reminded us of the immense values of the Commonwealth link. It is from that point of view that I wish to start my speech, and I shall answer some of the points that the hon. Member made as I go along.
I have a feeling that the hon. Member was in the Chamber when I was fortunate enough to catch Mr. Speaker's eye during the debate on the Gracious Speech. I then made what I realise is an obvious statement, but which I believe bears constant repetition. I said that one of the greatest problems facing us—and perhaps it is the greatest problem in the long-term—is not the question of economic survival, or such comparatively narrow questions as the European Economic Community; it is how to survive in a world dominated by colour On that occasion I ventured to express some views about the Bill which we are now debating, which had just been announced in outline in the Gracious Speech. I was thus one of the first back benchers—certainly on this side of the House—to do so.
I said—and I have no reason to change a word—that on moral grounds, which I feel very strongly but have no wish to parade, any more than any other hon. Member would wish to do so, and also on grounds of sheer self-interest, deriving from the problem that I sought to outline, I could not bring myself to support legislation which either was or appeared to be discriminatory, in terms of colour. I doubt whether more than a fraction of hon. Members would willingly dissent from that view. That was the standpoint from which I examined the Bill.
Is it not true to claim that as a people, of all parties, classes and religion, we are singularly free, compared with many others, of racial prejudice? I do not think that any hon. Member has any cause to be ashamed but has every 1243 reason to be proud of our contribution to race relations throughout the world. It is true that we have a very small percentage who glory in stirring racial prejudice, whether it be against a Jew or against the coloured, but if we have them they only stand out in sharp contrast with the enormous numbers of their brethren who hold such conduct to be utterly despicable.
But as a practical people we have to face the fact that ordinary men and women of good will, not persons full of racial prejudice at all, who live in the ordinary homes of the country and particularly in certain parts of the country, are increasingly nervous and fearful of what they believe to be, rightly or wrongly, an increasing build-up of persons coming into the country. I cannot see any reason to deny that some of that fear was concentrated on the immigrant who could be identified because of the colour of his skin. I think that these fears and anxieties led or could have led to panic measures and on at least two occasions, which none of us wants to dwell upon, they led to incidents of a nature which besmirched our whole tradition in these matters.
I have a reservation to which I want to come in a moment, but the case I want to argue, therefore, is that it is a positive contribution to race relations in this country for the ordinary person upon whom, as the hon. Member for Willesden, West so rightly says, we depend, to feel that the immigration which is henceforth to take place shall be controlled and that he will not be faced with a massive influx which raises in him deep fears and anxieties.
I believe that the Bill can be argued strongly as a contribution to race relations, and I could not underline more what the hon. Member for Willesden, West has just said and what the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) has strongly emphasised, that it does not rest with the Government or the Opposition or the House or Members of Parliament; it rests with the ordinary units which make up out social life, our churches, our women's clubs and men's clubs to show this in a practical way. Furthermore, the Bill is applied to men and women whether they be white or whether they be coloured.
1244 I have a note of criticism which I shall strike in a moment, but it should be said by persons like myself who are critical of aspects of the Bill that it was a courageous step on the part of the Government to apply the Bill firmly to Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and so on equally with Nigerians and Ghanaians. I do not share the view but I can see that there is an argument for saying that it would have been wiser to narrow the control solely to persons of colour. I reject that argument immediately, and the Government have not done anything of the sort. It will come as something of a shock to our brothers and sisters in the white-populated countries when they find themselves subject to the controls in the Bill.
It was doubtless for the reason that they felt it essential to appear to be, as well as actually, avoiding race discrimination that the Government applied the Bill to Southern Ireland. It must be reiterated that by Clause 1 (4), which many of us have discussed to and fro, both here and elsewhere, Southern Ireland is firmly written into the Bill. To me, that makes it all the more regrettable and all the more difficult to understand that, having taken those powers, it has been the Government's intention to announce in parallel that, at present at least, they do not intend to use them.
A powerful case was argued by my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley), and I certainly do not propose to tread the same ground. I recognise the difficulty of controlling Southern Irish immigration. I am not suggesting that it is an easy matter or something to enter into lightly, but none of the Bill and none of the intricate detailed proposals in the White Paper, which has been widely commended, is easy either. It was a major step to take and this has been recognised.
I differ from one of my hon. Friends who spoke earlier, in that for my part I accept as out of the question a form of control from Southern Ireland which requires our colleagues and friends from Ulster to have some form of identity card or disc. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made it as clear as words can make it that if any form of control is imposed from Eire, it will be between Ulster and Eire, which, as I understand, would obviate the anxieties which, quite 1245 rightly, my hon. Friends representing Ulster constituencies feel deeply.
Therefore, the Government were faced with a difficult matter of balance of judgment. They were faced, on the one hand, with the necessity for showing clearly that they were not motivated, as I accept without question that they were not, by the smallest taint of racial prejudice or by the purely practical difficulty of controlling Southern Irish immigration, on the other hand. I wonder, however, whether the difficulties are so great. I wonder even more after listening to the penetrating analysis from my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster.
When I am in doubt in that sort of problem, when I see the difficulties of both sides—and I can see those difficulties—I come down on a policy which carries one a very long way in life. I come down in favour of my friends. I support those who have nobly supported me. It is tragic—and I use the word deliberately—that of all people to whom we should be showing, inadvertently, in this way some form of better treatment, it should be the Southern Irish of all people who stand in that position, a people—a Government at least, and, I believe, substantially a people—who took every opportunity of stabbing at us at a time when we were at our weakest, who willingly left their lights ablaze when merely to extinguish them would have helped, who refused us aid in material ways and who have always, as it seemed to me in subsequent years, sought to get all the benefits of Commonwealth membership without any of its obligations.
§ Mr. A. Bourne-Arton (Darlington)
If my hon. Friend is talking about the people as opposed to the Government, I trust that he will not forget the citizens of Southern Ireland who fought with us in the war.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I am obliged to my hon. Friend, because that was precisely my next note. Apart from his natural abilities, my hon. Friend is clairvoyant also.
I recall well a contribution on this matter from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom (Mr. Rawlinson), to which reference has been made and to whom, needless to say, in accordance with the normal courtesies—which have not always been observed 1246 on the other side of the House in these debates—I gave notice that I would refer. My hon. and learned Frend made tremendous play about the contribution which the Southern Irish had made and I understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Bourne-Arton) feels similarly. I think that with very honourable exceptions, the men who came did so as hired mercenaries. They did not come here imbued with the spirit in which we are fighting. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is the good of all this?"]
I do not consider for a moment that the arguments put up in that way obviate or make any difference to the particular case which I seek to put before the House. This is a matter on which, I repeat, I feel very deeply and strongly, just as strongly as, apparently, other hon. Members feel in a different sense. That is why the House will perhaps understand that when I contrast that behaviour and background with those who, at great sacrifice to themselves, not only during wartime but in peacetime and during the time of rationing, as has been well said with authority from the other side of the House by those who were then in office, one does not feel very proud.
What we have done has been to enter into a compact. It is a quite simple compact. We have said to Southern Ireland, "If you will legislate to control our immigration, we will not operate the powers we have to control yours." This is not a compact of which I am proud, nor one—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
"We" in this sense means the Government. I am making the point that this is a compact which I do not like and which I do not feel able to support.
I personally believe in the outlined purposes of the Bill, and that is why I think it should be applied, if applied at all, to all and not merely to some. I listened anxiously when the Bill was introduced on Second Reading. I made the strongest representations I could in the ways that are open to hon. Members on both sides, and I was much reassured, as I thought, by the words used, I am sure deliberately, by my right hon. 1247 Friend the Minister of Labour when he replied. That is why I voted for the Second Reading.
I tried to catch the eye of the Chairman on Clause 1, but, like many of my hon. Friends, I had my head chopped off by my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench. It made obvious good sense, holding the views that I do hold, to vote for Clause 1, because it gave the particular powers which I want operated. I have consistently and positively voted with the Government, and, however inadequately, have tried at various stages to assist in the actual operation of the mechanics of the Bill.
I have listened carefully to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary reassuring us, as he has done with great frankness—and with others I pay my tribute to him for the way in which the issue has been handled and the courtesy with which he has always been prepared to listen to representations such as those from me and from others. When I heard him reiterate that it was not the Government's intention to impose the same restrictions and controls as they were imposing on others then, with no sense of pleasure, it was clear to me that this was not a Bill which I could properly support.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. James MacColl (Widnes)
The hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) began his speech by saying that in this country we have singular freedom from race prejudice. I am not sure that in the remarks which followed the hon. Member quite practised what he preached.
I rather thought that a summary of his speech could be in the words of the advertisement quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt), "No coloureds, no Welsh need apply," but I should alter it to, "No Irish need apply." The fact is that we are singularly free from race prejudice, at a distance. So long as people of different races and colours from ours are safely removed from our doorsteps, our streets and, perhaps, our factories, we can be tolerant towards them, but as soon as they come into areas where we are vitally affected in our daily life we find it a great deal more difficult. That is the danger of this Bill. One has either 1248 to be on one side or the other. There is no room for being half way. The problem is far too critical.
I agreed with the hon. Member for Wokingham when he reminded us of what he said in the debate on the Address, that the vital issue facing the country today—and indeed, one might say facing Christian civilisation—is, what is to happen to the new resurgent Afro-Asian countries of the world? That is the great moral issue and this Bill is directly relevant to it. The hon. Member came out on the right side in saying that he would not support the Bill, so I do not want to make things more difficult for him, but I think hon. Members should search their consciences as to whether in the light of these great issues they feel that this Bill is at all needed and practicable, or that it will achieve the job for which I gather it is proposed to use it.
The hon. Member for Pudsey (Mr. Hiley) and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) complained that we have been too long in getting this Bill through, that we have spent from November until now examining it with unnecessary delay. It took us many centuries to build up our Commonwealth. If we are to strike at the roots of the Commonwealth I do not think that from November until the end of February is too long to take to examine the implications of what we are going to do. I should not in any way feel the least guilty about the time we have taken in examining the Bill.
The hon. Member for Kirkdale is not in his place. Therefore, in his absence, I shall not make some of the remarks I was going to make about him. I shall mention only one thing that he said. I think he showed a surprising change. I felt that the months have not been wasted. The hon. Member seemed to have reformed a little, because he now said there was no ground for saying that immigrants were more criminal than other people. He fell back on the figures he quoted about living on immoral earnings. He went on to say that that includes the Irish, but the Irish can be deported under Part II of the Bill. I believe that is quite nonsense. If we deport the Irish, what happens? They come back on the next boat.
If we do not have any protection at the Irish ports, and we are told we are 1249 not to have that surveillance, of course it is merely bringing the law into contempt. The court will solemnly make a recommendation and pass it to the Minister of State. The Minister of State will get out his quill pen and write, "Let this be carried out", and the unfortunate Irishman will be taken to Holyhead and deported to Dublin. He will go down to the next boat and come back again. How can he be stopped? If there is an answer to that dilemma, the same means by which he can be stopped can be used to prevent others coming in.
We may say that if he comes up on another offence it will be discovered that he is illegally in the country and can be punished for that, but that sanction applies if someone comes to the country from the Commonwealth without permission. He can be sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Therefore, if it is possible to enforce deportation, it is possible to enforce these restrictions on immigration. That is the dilemma, and, as far as I can see, there is no way out of it for the Government. Either they will seriously enforce Part I of the Bill against the Irish or they will not. We ought to have a clear answer.
The Home Secretary gave us his answer, but, as someone said on the benches opposite, there is an air of comic opera about the Government's attitude. I thought it rather like the succession to the Kingdom of Barataria. It is perfectly clear that the Irish are either in or out. There is no doubt about that. There is room for doubt about whether they are in or out.
This is not the way in which one should, in an adult legislature, deal with one of the most important of constitutional Bills, a Bill which takes away rights which have been inherent within the Commonwealth for generations. The matter should not be left in this state of dubiety, when no one knows what is to happen to the Irish people.
The Home Secretary told us something. We all know that he is the master of the veiled phrase and the delicate innuendo. I thought that the phrase he used today was one of the best he has produced. "This Bill," said the right hon. Gentleman—I can hardly read my own writing; I feel that the right hon. Gentleman deserves better handwriting than mine—"is well designed to serve 1250 an inescapable purpose". The purpose of the Bill is like the position of the Irish, just a little obscure. What is this inescapable purpose it is designed to serve? I suspect that the purpose is the muting of Kirkdale, the muting of Louth and the muting of Selly Oak for the sake of party unity.
I believe that that is what the right hon. Gentleman meant. He meant to say, "I know that the Bill is a strange mixture of inconsistencies, indecisiveness and inconclusiveness, but that does not matter. It will go down all right at the next Tory Conference, and the pinpricks I have been getting will stop". The right hon. Gentleman is too shrewd a manipulator of Parliamentary matters to have lent the weight of his great prestige to the Bill except for that purpose.
There has been a great deal of talk about housing and about the very serious overcrowding there is in areas associated with immigration. Anyone who lives in one of our big towns knows about it. The Government spokesman—I think it was the Under-Secretary of State—replying to an Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton), let the cat out of the bag. He advised the House, very sensibly, to reject my hon. Friend's Amendment. I think that he was quite right to do that, but he said that the Bill is to deal with labour and employment, not to deal with housing, and the Amendment was quite inconsistent with the general layout of the Bill. That was said on behalf of the Government, and, of course, it is perfectly true.
The whole emphasis of the Bill is on the single issue of employment. Health is covered by other legislation and could be dealt with independently. The main purpose of the Bill is to deal with people coming in to compete for jobs. The Government, as has been said so often, have got so bogged down with industry and production in low gear that they now face serious unemployment in large parts of the country.
The hon. Member for Pudsey told us a heart-rending story about queues of Pakistanis outside the mills waiting for jobs. What he did not tell us was how long they were there before they got a job. Of course, when people come to this country they have to look for work. There is nothing surprising in that. The 1251 important question is whether they find it or not. The hon. Gentleman did not tell us. He did say that those who were dissatisfied with conditions in this country went back to Pakistan. The hon. Member explained that it did not matter about these people having forged passports, because, when they wished to go back to Pakistan, the forgeries were discovered and put right.
This shows that what we on this side of the House say is true. An economic law works in this matter. People do not come from these countries to our cold climate for the fun of the thing. They come to find jobs, to settle down and to bring up their families. If they do not find the opportunity to do these things, they go back to their own countries. That is what has happened in the case of the Pakistanis, and what happened in the case of the West Indians in 1957 and 1958.
It is clear that the Bill is not really required to deal with unemployment, because that will adjust itself. There may be a case for saying that it is needed to deal with social questions. I do not want to join in throwing bricks at the unfortunate Irish, but nobody can believe that, if we allow free Irish immigration and stop Commonwealth immigration, that will have any effect on the demand on our social services. Whatever demand there is for our maternity services, whatever evidence there is about delinquency or overcrowding—all these problems involved in people coming over are just as great, if not greater, in the case of the Irish as they are in the case of any Commonwealth immigrants. To try to pretend that the Bill is needed to tackle grave social problems by stopping people coming over regardless of the rules by making them obtain job vouchers, while excluding from it the main group of people involved who come here and use our services, makes the whole thing complete nonsense.
It makes me feel profoundly sad that the Government, instead of putting their great weight behind the principle that we must at all costs preserve the sense of unity and family within the Commonwealth, at this time, of all times—when we are faced with the likelihood of many countries in Africa and 1252 Asia saying that white people are hypocrites and exploiters who say one thing and do the other—have chosen instead to strike at the roots of Commonwealth freedom of immigrants. Is there some desperate need for the Bill? It is perfectly clear that there is not.
I hesitate to ridicule the Bill too much, because I do not think that it is quite true that it will be ineffective. It will work rather like the Rent Act. When it first comes into operation, there will be liberalism and good humour in the Home Office. People will be allowed in easily and they will say, as they did about the Rent Act, "These Labour people cried before they were hurt. It is not really as bad as they pretended it was going to be." After a while, just as they did with the Rent Act, they will begin to feel the pinch, but then it will be too late to do anything about it. In a few years, when this debate is forgotten, they will feel the real pinch and danger of this Measure.
I hope that many hon. Members opposite, before going into the Lobby to vote for the Bill, will think about the great issues at stake. The Bill is not merely a trivial piece of party manipulation to quieten dissentient voices. I understand the problem of the criticism directed against hon. Members opposite by their supporters. We have the same criticism levelled at us by people who say that we on this side of the House are taking the wrong line. But all hon. Members must set their faces firmly against this insidious kind of surrender. Therefore, I trust that those hon. Members opposite who, like the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley), have the vision to see the significance of the Commonwealth, will hesitate before they vote for the Bill tonight.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel J. K. Cordeaux (Nottingham, Central)
I am sure that almost all hon. Members on both sides of the House are now profoundly grateful that the discussions on the Bill are nearly at an end. The people most thankful are probably those, like myself, who are ardent supporters of it, for it is not a particularly easy Bill to advocate.
As anyone who has listened to the speeches made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) and the hon. Gentleman the 1253 Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) this afternoon or on previous occasions will fully recognise, in advocating restrictions on immigration one is accused of selfishness and all uncharitableness, lacking the spirit of the Commonwealth and, worst of all, of colour prejudice. I sometimes feel that while it is comparatively easy to bear these charges when they are levelled against one by people who have some experience of the problems involved, it is almost intolerable when they are levelled—as they often are—by some hon. Members who, I feel, do not really have a proper appreciation of the problems involved in their own constituencies. Even if they have such an understanding they often do not have the experience of living in constituencies where immigration has been most intense during the last five or ten years.
It is particularly difficult to advocate immigration restrictions for those of us who know something about the Commonwealth and who have travelled in it. I appreciate only too well, as many hon. Members have pointed out, the very great sense of loyalty there is in the Commonwealth among the ordinary people towards the Crown. Many of them look upon this country as their home, even though they have never been here.
I felt that very much about a year ago when I was a member of a delegation to Sierra Leone and Gambia. When we visited small schools in the remote parts of the Protectorates, it was often the case that the first thing one saw on entering a school was a picture of the Queen on the wall. Often there was also a picture of these Houses of Parliament. Yes, there can be no doubt about that loyalty.
I always recall a conversation I had with Dr. La Corbiniere, the Deputy Prime Minister of the former West Indies Federation, as I suppose we must now call it. He came with Mr. Manley to Nottingham some time after we had had the racial riots there. I sat next to him at a luncheon given by the Lord Mayor, and we argued about our respective points of view—myself arguing in favour of limiting immigration and Dr. La Corbiniere arguing, equally strongly, against it. I used the well-known argument 1254 and said, "Well, after all, almost every country in the Commonweath has restrictions on immigration and they seem to work all right." He replied—and I know that he will not mind my repeating what he said—that I was wrong. "The situation is quite different," he said, and added, "You see, if you cut off a man's arm or leg the man will go on living—but the arm or leg will die." I do not know whether one should follow up that medical analogy too closely, but it illustrates the way in which so many people in the Commonwealth, coloured and otherwise, really look upon Britain as their home.
I am certain that all hon. Members—and this has been shown during our discussions on the Bill—are imbued with that spirit of the Commonwealth. Where we differ so much is that people who attack the Bill believe that it is a blow against the spirit of the Commonwealth. Those were almost the exact words used by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) a few minutes ago. People like myself believe, equally strongly, that the Bill is going to do a great deal of good for that Commonwealth spirit. Above all, we believe that not merely will it be of benefit to the people of this country, but that it will be of even more benefit to the immigrants now with us and to those who are still to come here.
For that reason, I am disappointed that throughout the course of the Bill my right hon. Friends who have been guiding it through its long stages have always prefaced their speeches with apologies for its introduction. I said just now that it is difficult and in some ways distasteful to advocate control of immigration, but that does not mean in any sense that we should apologise for doing so or suggest that the Bill will do anything but good.
For instance, when my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary spoke on Second Reading, he began in this way:It is only after long and anxious consideration and a considerable reluctance that the Government have decided to ask Parliament for power to control immigration from the Commonwealth.When he finished his speech, he said:It would have been perfectly easy just to go on watching the situation, but the Government have preferred, admittedly after hesitation, to take a course which is as distasteful 1255 to them as it is to many of their critics."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November 1961; Vol. 649, c. 687 and 705.]The same line was taken by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour when he wound up. He began his speech by saying:I think that the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the Government and others who are prepared to support the Bill do so as an unpleasant duty …When he finished his speech, he said:As I said at the beginning, it is not pleasant to have to introduce this Bill. The Government dislike, but in our opinion must face, the conclusion that we have at last been forced to reach."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th November 1961; Vol. 649. c. 803 and 810.]Instead of dealing with the Bill in that way, it would be better if people who believe in it as strongly as I do emphasised what we are absolutely convinced are the very good points about it and the great benefits which, in my opinion at least, it will certainly bring to all.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said that the Government had introduced the Bill… only after long and anxious consideration".Certainly that consideration was long. The hon. Member for Salford, West said that the Bill was forced on the Government, to start with, by an unholy trinity of the hon. Members for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) and Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) and, he added, a few others. No doubt I was one of the few others. Certainly I have been urging the necessity for the Bill for 3½ years—since our trouble in Nottingham. It is certainly untrue to suggest that the Bill has been forced through by the Government or by politicians and that it did not stem from the genuine feelings of the people of this country.
In that connection, I should like to quote a remark which was made by Mr. Manley when he was here in June. He is reported in the Daily Telegraph of Monday, 12th June, as saying:The anti-immigration movement which has developed in England springs more from the top, from the politicians, than from the people among whom the immigrants live".All that I can say about that is that if Mr. Manley really believes that, then he can believe anything.
1256 I feel that the Bill has been introduced only just in time. We still have in this country, thank goodness, full employment, but the position is not all that happy. I am not sure of the exact figures, but the general unemployment figures in Nottingham recently have varied between 1.9 and 2.2 per cent. So far as I can gather from the inquiries which I have made, unemployment among immigrants is between 7 and 9 per cent. That is a figure which is now beginning to cause some alarm. Until the last few months it had been considerably smaller, but in the last three or four months and since the Bill was introduced there has been a definite deterioration, mainly due to unskilled people, chiefly Pakistanis, who are coming over in increasing numbers.
In an emotional speech, which we all greatly respected, as we always do when he speaks on this subject, the hon. Member for Salford, West spoke of his fondness for the West Indians and said that he did not want them to be hurt. Nor do I want them to be hurt. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Salford, West has had the experience which I have had of regular visits of West Indians at weekly interviews for constituents. Only two weeks ago a West Indian came to see me who had got the sack. He was in tears in my office. He believed—and nothing would convince him to the contrary—that he had been discharged because of his colour. I do not want that to happen in my constituency or anywhere else, but it is something that is happening increasingly, and if no sort of restriction were imposed now it would happen more and more as time went on.
If we get even a moderate degree of unemployment on a national scale in this country—and I say this from my knowledge of Nottingham at any rate—the racial riots which we had there three and a half years ago will be as nothing to what will happen. If we get that unemployment, one of two things will happen—either we shall say, "Sack the immigrants" and they will rightly feel that they are being badly treated, or we shall say, "They hold their jobs in competition with our own people", and anybody who has known any knowledge of unemployment in this country knows what would happen.
1257 I am sure that the Bill will make things happier all round for everyone, ourselves and the immigrants. But when it is passed into law, as I hope that it shortly will be, we have all to play our part and to live together. The immigrants are still with us and more are to come. We are always being urged to try to make immigrants rather more at home in this country and to impart our way of life to them and to ask them to our homes and to introduce them into our ways. I could not agree more with those pleas.
But at this late stage of the Bill I appeal to immigrants to play their part as well. We all appreciate the kindly services which many of us have had from immigrant nurses in our hospitals and the courteous and efficient behaviour of immigrants employed on municipal transport. On the other hand, we have to realise that off duty the ways of people from other countries are not ours, and they, too, have to realise it.
In that connection, I appeal to them to avoid noisy night parties, for they do more harm to race relations than can be imagined. I should think that I register about one complaint a week about them. I also say to them that however much they may be provoked at times by some of the worst elements of our own people, I nevertheless hope that they will try to refrain from carrying knives.
I am absolutely certain that this Bill can do nothing but good. We must emphasise above everything else that it is not merely or even mainly of benefit to our own people, but will be of far more benefit to those immigrants who are now with us and those whom we hope to welcome in the future. I therefore strongly support it.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Llywelyn Williams (Abertillery)
We are now on the final stages of a Bill which history will declare to be a sordid one and unworthy of any Government. During the proceedings on the Bill one feature has appealed to me and to many of my hon. Friends. I say this in no condescending or patronising spirit. It has done my heart good to discern in so many hon. Members opposite the true liberal spirit, the enlightenment, and the progressive outlook which reveal British politics at their very best. I hope that 1258 the spirit they showed in their contributions to our debates and the political courage they showed in carrying some of their decisions to the point of abstaining, and in some cases even voting against their own Government, which is never an easy thing to do, will redound to their credit.
The Bill has a very unfortunate genesis. For three or four years before it reached the House we were accustomed to Friday debates on Motions in which the hon. Members for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) and Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) played a prominent part. No matter what those hon. Members may now say, on the last stage of the Bill, about their freedom from any suggestion of colour prejudice, if they read the speeches they delivered on those Fridays they will understand why we have accepted their protestations with so much doubt and suspicion. The words are in HANSARD. They can never delete them. The hon. Member for Louth has used the word "colour" and said that he has to admit that the prejudice is definitely against colour. That is in HANSARD. He can never delete it. What these hon. Members have said on the later stages of the Bill has been completely unconvincing to us.
§ Sir Cyril Osborne (Louth)
I am sure that the hon. Member would not wish to misrepresent me. I defy him to prove by reference to HANSARD that I have said that I have racial prejudice. What I have said time after time is that we are unwise to ignore the fact that colour brings prejudice with it.
§ Mr. Williams
I am sure that the hon. Member is sensible enough to realise that when he adduces that type of argument the natural reaction in the House is for us to identify him with the argument which he adduces. I am particularly sorry that it is so in his case, because he always speaks with sound common sense on economic matters. He always has the ear of the House when he speaks on that subject. I thought that his experience on Second Reading was one of the most humiliating experiences any hon. Member can have in the House. When he spoke the House literally refused to give him a hearing. I was sorry for him, because I know his excellent qualities in many other spheres.
1259 I have paid my tribute to the magnanimity and imaginative insight of many hon. Members opposite in expressing their misgivings about the operation and implementation of the Bill in respect of people from the West Indies. I do not think that full weight has been given to the feelings of these people. My hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle), who has recently returned from the West Indies, was able to tell the House of the real regret and concern, almost to the point of baffled heartbreak—I am sure that I do not exaggerate the situation—at the way the attitude in this country has changed, as revealed by the Bill. I know from the few contacts I have made with coloured people who are so wonderfully serving our nation in these days that they, too, are very aggrieved. They are almost like little children who have received a slap in the face for no known reason. They just cannot understand why.
In view of their war record, which is exemplary, and which has been referred to by hon. Members opposite, in view of the fact that the most menial tasks performed by any section of the community in Britain today are, by and large, being performed by these people, jobs which now our own people seem to believe are beneath them, and which the immigrants are performing not only effectively but with a vivacity and gaiety which win our hearts and enlist our sympathy, in view of their tremendous contribution to these important services, our transport services and our hospital services, I just cannot understand why that consideration, in and of itself, did not make the Government think again about introducing this type of Bill.
I do not want to speak at length, and I should like to sit down, but I should just like to say that I was never more convinced of the validity of any argument than I was when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, in his great and memorable speech on Second Reading of this Bill, said that the whole question of employment of coloured immigrants in this country of ours depends completely on the actual situation of employment in this country at any given time. The point has been made already tonight by my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl). 1260 If we were to run—I do not think we shall—but if we were to run into a period of heavy unemployment, all my instincts tell me that these people would cease coming into this country. Nothing is more certain than that. These bogies, these fears which have been generated in this House throughout the whole process of this Bill about our own people suffering in times of unemployment because of coloured immigration, are, I think, completely without foundation, and completely irrelevant to the facts of the situation. I close on that note, and I am sure it is one final condemnation of this Bill, as the future will prove.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Fisher
I must be very brief because I know that the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), who is to wind up for the Opposition, wants to get up at ten minutes to ten, and so without elaboration or any supporting argument I should like simply to restate my three basic objections to this Bill, which are also contained in an excellent leading article today in The Times which hon. Members no doubt have seen.
First, the Bill is prejudicial to good relations between Britain and the coloured countries of the Commonwealth. Secondly, it is prejudicial to good race relations in the world and, thirdly, it could be very prejudicial indeed to the future and to the economy of the West Indies. Having restated those objections, to which I still adhere, I readily acknowledge that the implementation of the Bill, in practice, will be more liberal than that of the Aliens Act, and certainly more liberal than most of us thought when it was introduced.
That is as it should be, and as the House would wish it to be. Indeed, knowing my right hon. Friend's record at the Home Office, I never had any doubt about his good intentions in the matter, and these have been reinforced by the valuable work done by hon. Members on both sides of the House—and I readily admit that it has been done more particularly by hon. Members opposite—in Committee and on Report. The Bill has been enormously improved.
In a recent leading article the Daily Telegraph described the Bill as introducing benign discrimination. That is a fair description. To put it at its 1261 mildest, the Bill has always contained an element of discrimination. Nevertheless, I gladly acknowledge that that discrimination has become much more benign as it has progressed through its various stages. The period of the initial duration of the Bill has been reduced: the word "student" has been defined, and it has been decided that a person who spends fifteen hours of student study a week comes within that definition. That is not unreasonable; and my right hon. Friend has referred this afternoon to the granting of work vouchers to apprentices as a matter of right—as I understood it. That is a most important point. The instructions to immigration officers have been published, which I am sure was right, and we now know that entry certificates will be procurable in advance; that men who served with us in the war will be given some measure of preference; and that an unmarried woman living in permanent association with a man will be regarded as his wife for purposes of entry.
All those things are helpful, humane and realistic, and they indicate that the operation of the Bill will be fair and reasonable, whatever some of us may think of the principle. A great deal is still left to the discretion of the immigration officers and medical health inspectors, and that is perhaps unavoidable in a Bill of this kind. Nevertheless, the Bill looks much better to many of us—and certainly to me—than it did on the day it was published.
I should like to endorse the plea made by the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) and express the hope that at some time before the Bill falls to be renewed my right hon. Friend will consider putting it upon the agenda for a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. I urge that step because this is not only a United Kingdom matter; it is a Commonwealth matter. I am not particularly optimistic about the outcome, but there is just a chance that some Commonwealth countries which have to import manpower will help some of their sister nations who have to export their manpower. It is certainly worth trying, and it is a matter that should be discussed when the leaders of the Commonwealth are all present at the same meeting. If such a step succeeded it would not only 1262 make for closer feeling within the Commonwealth but it might also make this Bill unnecessary.
Although many of us feel that the Bill is a departure from a valued Commonwealth tradition, I acknowledge that there are tenable reasons for it's introduction—because we all know that there is a limit to the number of immigrants this small island could absorb. If they came in their millions from the Asian countries of the Commonwealth there is probably not one hon. Member who would not sooner or later have to say, "Stop". The difference between us arises on the question: at what point on the journey do we have to leave the free entry train? The Government feel that because of the large number of immigrants who have come in in the past year or so they have to leave the train now.
I believe that last year's numbers were abnormally inflated, partly owing to the campaign carried on by my hon Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C, Osborne) and my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell), among others. That campaign did much to stimulate the arrival of immigrants. I believe that we could safely have continued the open-door policy. I take the view that the numbers would not have been impossible to cope with, especially as such evidence as we have in relation to the small 1957–58 recession indicates that, when there is not so much employment readily available here, there is automatically a self-imposed restriction upon immigrants coming here.
I will say, however, and I shall be quite fair about it, that if, despite that view, the numbers had gone on increasing, rising steeply year by year, and if the Government were proved to be right and I was proved to be wrong, I must freely admit that there would have been some point further down the line when I also should have had to leave the free-entry train.
It is only fair to acknowledge that, and I believe it applies to a good many hon. Members opposite as well as to myself and my hon. Friends, but not perhaps the hon. Member for Salford, West, who is, I think, a last-ditcher in this matter. It applies, as I have said, to many of us, and if we look at the matter 1263 in that way there is not so much a difference in principle on the Bill as a difference of degree and of judgment as to when one decides that one must say, "Stop".
Having acknowledged that, I must still say that I very much dislike the Bill. As hon. Members know, I have always disliked it. Although it is a better Bill now than many of us originally feared it might be, it still contains some elements which are very much open to criticism, notably the nominal inclusion but the actual exclusion of the Southern Irish from the operation of the Bill, about which we have heard so much tonight and particularly eloquently from my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley). This is a most unfortunate fact for the Government which has been very widely deplored during our debates.
It is the misfortune of the Government that their inability or unwillingness—and I understand the reasons full well—to get round the Irish problem has identified their attitude, I think unfairly, in some people's minds with that of my hon. Friend the Member for Louth. I think that that impression is quite erroneous and quite unfair to my right hon. Friends, but it exists both in the Commonwealth and among the migrants who have already come to this country. And nothing that Ministers can now say can eradicate this most unfortunate impression.
The psychological damage has been done. The image of Britain and, I am sorry to say, of the Conservative Party, has suffered immense harm in the eyes of the coloured nations of the Commonwealth and certainly of the West Indies. This seems to me the greatest possible pity—and I speak now from the point of view of my own party—because this comes at a time when our colonial policy, much criticised in the past, has been so progressive in recent years that even hon. Members opposite have been disarmed and even the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has sometimes been reduced almost to silence.
In this context I must say frankly that this Bill has put the clock back. It has revived doubts, suspicions and anxieties which the policy of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, when he was 1264 Secretary of State for the Colonies, and of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, ever since the "wind of change" speech, had done so much to nullify and refute. As a result of the Bill, the atmosphere imperceptibly has undergone a change. This makes me sad, because I cannot feel that the Bill is in accord with what I like to think of as the new Conservative approach to Commonwealth issues.
It may be a popular Bill in the country, and I think it is. It may make a lot of sense in practical terms. Its operation may turn out to be more liberal and more generous than any of us imagined, and if so I shall be very glad; but I believe that the Bill conflicts with what I hope is the real trend in my party, which I certainly support, and it certainly conflicts with my own sincerely held ideals and convictions.
I should have liked to have voted for the Bill on Third Reading—of course I would. Any loyal member of any party always wishes to support his Government on the Third Reading of a major Bill. I hope, however, that I shall not be thought either presumptuous or, least of all, "holier than thou", which is an attitude I have always much disliked and found most unattractive, if I say that there is, perhaps, one greater loyalty in this place even than loyalty to one's party, and that is loyalty to oneself. In the final analysis, I cannot honestly feel that I should be true to myself if I went into the Lobby to support this Bill tonight.
§ 9.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
All of us will have respected the moving speech of the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher), who during the passage of the Bill has done so much to make its provisions more tolerable to those who disagree with its principles. Nearly all of us would agree that the Bill has been considerably improved as a result of our discussions in Committee. It will do less harm than seemed likely in November to Britain's reputation for fair play, it will be easier to operate and we are assured that it will be operated benignly, at least as long as the present Home Secretary holds that office.
It is worth reminding ourselves of the valuable work done by the House in changing much of the character of the 1265 Bill when we hear this House criticised inside and out as being a futile talking shop which is confined exclusively to mock battles between the parties on issues about which they do not really care. The changes which have been brought about in the Bill over the last three months represent the House of Commons at its best, performing the function for which, we believe, it deserves respect.
Nevertheless, my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself will vote against the Bill tonight, for the same reason as we opposed it on Second Reading three months ago: first, because we believe that it is unnecessary and irrelevant to the problems which is purports to solve, and secondly, becauseThe Bill strikes at the roots of Britain's traditional liberal attitude towards immigration, at the preservation of good Commonwealth relations and at the belief that Britain is without original sin in the matter of colour discrimination.Hon. Members will be aware that I was there quoting the words in The Times this morning, words which express views that are widely held among thinking people of all parties and of none.
There is no doubt, as the hon. Member for Surbiton has said, that the Bill has already done immense harm to the Commonwealth. We are all aware of the statements made about it by leading statesmen in the West Indies, including men like Sir Grantley Adams and Mr. Norman Manley, whose genuine loyalty to the Commonwealth shines as an example in our association of States. I found on a recent tour of West Africa that this view is no less widely held in that part of the Commonwealth, too.
Quite apart from the damage done to the bonds of sentiment which hold the Commonwealth together by the way in which the Bill was introduced and some of the arguments adduced in favour of it, in terms of interest the Commonwealth is basically held together today, as always, by the fact that this country gives free entry to Commonwealth goods and to Commonwealth immigrants. The tragic fact is that the Government are taking free entry, both of goods and of people, away from our associates in the Commonwealth and simultaneously are proposing to give one or both of these two benefits to our prospective partners in the European Common Market.
1266 There is no doubt, as The Times this morning again points out, that the Bill was particularly disastrous in its timing and its presentation, coming, as it did, together with the Government's negotiations for entry into the European Market and associated, as the Government are, with the passage last night of a South Africa Bill which degrades the value of the Commonwealth association by giving Commonwealth advantages to a country which has been found unfit for membership of the Commonwealth. I believe that it is profoundly significant that the political commentator of the Sunday Telegraph, which is a Conservative newspaper—
§ Mr. Healey
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) about that, but some of the most interesting material about the thinking in the Conservative Party is also some of the most boring material, for very natural reasons. Commenting on the Conservative Party Conference at which the Government first announced their intention to introduce this Bill, the political commentator of the Sunday Telegraph wrote:Delegates rightly saw the Commonwealth as a dangerous obstacle to any realistic view of Britain's place in the world.I must say in all sincerity to the hon Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) that I know very well that he and many like him in his party sincerely believe that the Commonwealth has a greater function to perform today, now that it is a multi-racial organisation, than it ever had to perform in the past, but the Government whom he supports in the main—I am glad to hear that he is not going to support them in the Lobby tonight—by their behaviour over the last twelve months have thrown very great doubt on the loyalty of the Conservative Party as a whole today to the Commonwealth as it now exists.
I must warn the Government, as I did when I spoke in Committee, that there is a real danger that they will fall between two stools. There is a growing probability today that the negotiations for British entry into the Common Market will not succeed, and if this is the case, it is no good the Government thinking that they can then take the 1267 Union Jack out of the dustbin and wave it around, and expect to be greeted by other members of the Commonwealth as reconverted enthusiasts for Commonwealth association.
I can support very strongly the suggestion of the hon. Member that the Government should announce now that they propose to invite other Commonwealth Prime Ministers to a conference in London at which they will discuss, not only the questions arising out of Britain's negotiations with the Common Market, but also the whole problem of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, as it is now passing through the House. Of course, essentially, as many hon. Members have pointed out, this Bill is not so much an anti-Commonwealth Bill as an anti-coloured Commonwealth Bill. I confess that the bulk of informed opinion in this country agrees with The Times when it said this morning:It was racial prejudices, pressures and jealousies which constituted the support for the Bill.Let us be honest. We all know that the reason why this Bill has been introduced by the Government at this time is that there are in some parts of these islands big concentrations of coloured people, and, as a result, considerable social strains. There is no doubt about that. It is the social pressures set up by these local concentrations of coloured immigrants, and these social strains alone, which are responsible for the Government introducing the Bill at the present time. The extraordinary thing is that the Bill, as now amended and as now interpreted by the Home Secretary, does nothing whatever to remove these social strains, or even to guarantee that they will not increase with an increase of coloured immigration to this country.
Thanks to the Amendments introduced into the Bill in Committee, if the Bill is operated, as the Home Secretary promised us, in a benign and efficient way, it will succeed in its explicit purpose, which is to relate the rate of coloured immigration to the number of jobs available for immigrants to this country. But it will fail in its implicit purpose to reduce the social tensions which arise out of coloured immigration because, unless the Government are even more incompetent in their managing of our economic affairs than we on 1268 this side of the House believe, the number of unskilled jobs available for immigrant workers is bound to increase steadily in Britain over the next ten or twenty years, just as it has increased in Germany, in France, in Northern Italy and every industrial area of the world where the economy is developing. In that case, if the Bill is operated, as it is now planned to operate it, the rate of coloured immigration will not fall but will increase parallel with the number of jobs available for those workers.
It is a little absurd for the Home Secretary in this context to quote the immigration figures which are available. He talked of the impending doom to this country as a result of an increase in net immigration over the last three years from 40,000 to 80,000 to 160,000. He failed to mention that probably of that 160,000 80,000 are Irish and possibly another 40,000 are aliens not from the Commonwealth at all. Over the last ten years the economic growth of France, Northern Italy and Germany has been due to immigration on a far greater scale than we have ever permitted.
The so-called German economic miracle has been due to the fact that Germany has increased her total population by 25 per cent. in the ten years following the war—by 10 million people. It is absurd to talk, as the Home Secretary did, as if this net increase in immigration forebode economic disaster for this country. It is utter nonsense. What, perhaps, the right hon. Gentleman meant was that included in that net increase is an increase in coloured immigration which might increase social tensions, but that is not what he said. In any case, it is not what the present Bill is designed to prevent.
There has been a great deal of discussion today about the reason why the Home Secretary has refused to introduce measures which would enable him to control Irish immigration in the way in which he proposes to control immigration from the Commonwealth. I cannot help wondering whether the real reason for this is that if we subject the coloured immigrants to the sort of controls now contained in this Bill and leave Southern Ireland free, the expanding number of jobs for unskilled workers which might otherwise have been shared by coloured 1269 immigrants of the Commonwealth will, in fact, go to Irish workers who are able to enter without any control whatever. The result of this Bill will be not so much to reduce coloured immigration as to lead to a tremendous increase in immigration from Southern Ireland—an increase in immigration which, as one hon. Member pointed out, is liable to create far greater social problems in some respects than the increase in immigration of coloured people of the Commonwealth.
If that is the real purpose of the Bill, to ensure that the growing need for unskilled labour in this advancing country shall be filled by Irish immigrants from an alien country rather than from coloured members of our own Commonwealth, the Government should come out and say so honestly. The plain fact is that the Bill is not only damaging to our reputation, it is irrelevant to these real objectives. In my opinion, there has been only one real gain to the country from the fact that the Government decided to introduce this Bill shortly before the Conservative Party Conference met last year. This is a gain which is in no way directly due to the Government but to the fact that the fight put up against the Bill and against the attitudes behind it, not only by the Opposition in the House, but by some hon. Members on the back benches opposite and by the bulk of the informed Press of this country, has had a profound effect on public opinion in Britain itself and in the Commonwealth as a whole.
We on these benches no less than hon. Members opposite who have spoken against the Bill know that it was an unpopular fight from the point of view of the bulk of public opinion in this country, and I do not think that anyone who has opposed the Bill has been unconscious of the fact that he may pay personally or through his party some political penalty for it. But what is profoundly encouraging about the fight is that it has succeeded in shifting the current of opinion in Britain on the whole problem of coloured immigration. There is evidence of this in the Gallup polls. There is evidence of it which hon. Members have found when talking to meetings of their own party groups or other social groups in their constituencies. This has been a real example 1270 of political leadership, and it has paid in the resultant effect on public opinion. I only wish that the Government themselves had made an attempt to explain the real nature of these problems to the country and given us for once an example of leadership instead of surrendering to small pressure groups within their own party.
I quote again from the excellent leading article in The Times this morning:In fact, the repercussions"—inside the Commonwealth—have not been so serious or so sustained as at first feared. This is not due to the Government. Ironically enough, it is thanks to the vigour and quality of the opposition aroused both inside and outside Parliament.There may well be hon. and right hon. Members opposite who do not share that view, but I believe that anyone who has travelled in the Commonwealth, as I have, during the past few months will know that it is literally true. Once again, the opposition of minorities to a popular Government policy within this country has succeeded in limiting the catastrophic damage which might have been done to our reputation in the Commonwealth and in the world as a whole.
I have been asked by several hon. Members, who, no doubt, thought that they might derive some local political advantage thereby, to say what would be the attitude of the Labour Party towards the Bill when it next won power. Here, let me say how glad I am that the assumption of a Labour victory at the next election is now naturally accepted by hon. Members opposite. I reaffirm tonight what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said in the first discussion we had about the Bill on Second Reading.
We do not believe that the Bill is necessary now. We do not believe that any case has been made by the Government in the last few months to prove the necessity for such a Bill, to prove the necessity for overthrowing the principle of free entry to Britain for the inhabitants of other countries in our Commonwealth. We believe that the Bill should never have been introduced without the relevant information being collected, and, frankly, we find it impossible to 1271 understand how the Government could justify as recently as yesterday refusing even to try to collect the information and statistics on which a true judgment about immigration and the need for control must be based.
If the information collected by a serious survey of the whole problem revealed that immigration control was necessary, we should regard it as essential to consult the other Commonwealth Governments. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh".] I am surprised at hon. Members opposite. They know in their hearts that this was one of the issues on which the Government did the greatest harm to our country's reputation in the Commonwealth and the greatest harm to their own reputation, such as it is, for objectivity in making up their minds on legislation.
We would consult other Commonwealth Governments to see how this could be achieved with the minimum damage to their interests and to their confidence in our loyalty and good will. This is how we shall act when we win power. [Interruption.] It is very easy for hon. Members opposite to make promises. They do it all the time. They promised last year that they would keep down the rise in Government expenditure to 2½ per cent. this year, but it is already up to 4½ per cent. We are not so irresponsible, [Interruption.] Certainly we are not.
What we can say is that we can see no grounds whatever at the present time for such a Bill. We do not believe that the Bill will even deal with the social problems which exist as the result of the immigration of coloured people. The reason why we fought, in the end successfully, to ensure that the Bill should be of short duration and that we shall have a chance to review it in eighteen months' time, is that we want the right to reject it in eighteen months' time if, as we feel confident, it proves to be totally inadequate for its purpose as well as extremely damaging to the survival of the Commonwealth and to our reputation in the world.
We believe, as I think we have proved in the course of the arguments of the last three months, that the Bill is unjustified and is detrimental to our honour and to our interests. That is why we shall vote against it tonight.
§ 10.12 p.m.
I have listened with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and I must say frankly that he disappointed me in one respect.
My hopes were raised by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) who, at the conclusion of his speech, indicated without qualification that his hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East would answer the perfectly positive question put to him about the intention of the party opposite with regard to the repeal of this Bill. It has taken the hon. Member for Leeds, East a considerable time to frame a sentence with many "ifs" and many conditions which can give no indication of any kind as to the course which the party opposite will take.
Since this Bill was introduced, we have had many interesting and wide-ranging debates upon it. We had some particularly useful debates in Committee after the introduction of the timetable, and today we have had a serious and thoughtful debate on the Third Reading—at the same time a very good humoured but serious debate, for this is a serious occasion in the consideration of a major Bill.
I was rather disappointed not to hear anything of the views of any hon. Member from Northern Ireland about this Measure. Of course, we have not been favoured with the views of any member of the Liberal Party, because they have been absent for most of the debate.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, with his sense of legal training, would always like to be accurate in his facts. If he had been present at the debate a little more than he was, he would have known that it was only for approximately 20 or 30 minutes that Liberals were not manning their bench. I ask him to withdraw his remark.
I will not withdraw. I saw the hon. Gentleman come in and out. I never saw him rise to his feet to address the House.
§ Mr. Thorpe
That is not what the Attorney-General said. He is a slippery lawyer. He will get a baronetcy if he carries on like this.
In this final debate on the Bill as a whole in this House I want to sum up the case for the Bill and, in the course of doing so, to reply to the criticisms which have been advanced. That this is a better Bill now in some respects than it was when first introduced I would not seek to dispute, but it is quite wrong to stigmatise it, as did the hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington, East and my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) thought fit to do—as ill-considered and ill-digested.
In fact, I make no apology for it. It was introduced after long and anxious consideration. [Interruption.] Any Government considering a Measure of this sort should, before introducing it, give it long and anxious consideration. That the Government did. The detailed examination of a Bill in Committee often, and usually does, leads to improving the Measure, and that, after all, is the object of the Committee's consideration of it. Certainly after the introduction of the timetable that has been the result. It is the usual tactics of an Opposition to seek to claim all the credit for the amendments made. I prefer to say that all hon. Members of the Committee doing their best—including those who accept the principle of the Bill—have tried to make the Measure work as satisfactorily as possible.
In my belief, the case for the Bill today is even stronger than on Second Reading. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is not due, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) suggested, to any unholy alliance on the part of the hon. Members for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) and Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden), or anything of that sort, but to the trend which the figures suggest.
My right hon. Friend has referred to the immigration figures and to the Registrar's estimate that the figure for 1961 is likely to be larger than that for 1960. Those figures have a serious significance. As my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) said, we all recognise really that there is a limit to the 1274 number of immigrants this country can absorb. We may differ as to what that limit is, but that there is a limit few would deny. To allow that limit to be exceeded by refraining from taking power to control immigration is not, in my belief, in the true interests of immigrants, of this country or of the Commonwealth.
That is the fact I urge the House to accept; that not to take such power would not be in their interests and that there is a limit. That really is the foundation of the case for the Bill. It is not, as is so often represented, our object to stop immigration. My right hon. Friend paid tribute to the valuable work done by so many immigrants in hospitals, on the railways and elsewhere.
It is not and never has been our intention or desire to stop immigration to this country; only to take power to regulate the flow so that the limit which this country can absorb at any particular time is not exceeded. My right hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan) made a very serious and interesting speech and regretted that we had not taken power to control immigration many years ago. No doubt it would have been easier for us now had we done so. But, that not having been done, the major question is, should we now, as a Government, seek to take that power?
I am glad that on reflection and, after a great deal of heart searching, my right hon. Friend has reached the conclusion that it is right for the Government to do so. If it is right for the Government to do so—and I recognise only too well that there is a minority who do not accept that—it must be accepted that a control on immigration must interefere, to some extent, with the right of free entry into this country. That is really inescapable. Any hon. Member of this House, wherever he may sit, is reluctant to interfere with that. That is one of the reasons why we gave long and anxious consideration to the matter before venturing to introduce the Bill and because we believed that the time had come when it was necessary to do so.
If it is necessary now to take power to control immigration, then, in our view, the methods contained in the Bill are the only practical and right methods of doing it. We seek to take power to 1275 control the flow of immigration and to achieve the object of the Bill, while interfering to the least possible extent with the admission of immigrants into the United Kingdom. The right of free entry of Commonwealth citizens resident here and of their wives and children is not affected. Students retain the right of admission provided that subsections (4) and (5) of Clause 2 do not apply. Visitors will, of course, continue to be welcomed. Those who wish to work here will, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour explained, have to obtain vouchers. My right hon. Friend explained how that system will work and how flexible it is. It is by the use of this machinery that excessive immigration can be prevented and the flow regulated to that which this country can absorb.
A great deal has been said in this debate and in earlier debates about the Southern Irish. I believe that the Bill rightly applies not only to all immigrants from the Commonwealth but to all immigrants from the Republic of Ireland. Their position has been contrasted with that of those in the West Indies.
I should like to say a word or two about the position of the Southern Irish, it has always been a difficult problem, as the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) recognised. The Southern Irish have their special geographical position which really makes special treatment inevitable. That was recognised in 1948 when the British Nationality Act was passed. It really is too late now, even if it were desirable, to put the clock back in that respect.
Some of the things said today about the position of the Southern Irish seemed to me to relate more to the situation which came into existence in 1948. My right hon. Friend the Member for Reigate referred to the Southern Irish having the glamour of independence and the privileges of membership of the Commonwealth at the same time. If that be right, it is really more a criticism of what was achieved then than it is of the proposals in the Bill.
1276 Despite all the criticisms which have been made, I maintain that the Government's position, open though it may be to misrepresentation, has always been clear. We take power to regulate immigration by the Southern Irish. It is right that we should do so under the Bill. It may become necessary to exercise that power, although, in the Government's view, it is not expedient to do so now.
It is clearer than the final passages of the hon. Gentleman's speech.
Most of the Southern Irish immigration is seasonal and is different in character from immigration from elsewhere. It would be quite wrong to take power to restrict immigration from the Commonwealth and to refrain from taking power to restrict immigration from Southern Ireland, although, as I say, at present there is no intention to exercise that power. It is quite illogical and wrong to seek to represent the Bill, applying as it does to all Commonwealth countries irrespective of colour, as a colour bar Bill just because restrictions will not now be imposed on Southern Irish immigrants.
§ Mrs. Patricia McLaughlin (Belfast, West)
Could my right hon. and learned Friend clarify one point about which we should like a little further information? Is it definite that if these restrictions are implemented against immigrants from Southern Ireland, whose entry it may be necessary to control, they will be imposed on the borders of the United Kingdom and at no other point?
I think that my right hon. Friend used the words, "borders of the United Kingdom." I do not think that even a lawyer could argue as to where the borders of the United Kingdom are. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] That is the answer to the question. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I think that the answer was perfectly clearly, "Yes". There is no doubt about where the borders of the United Kingdom are.
I say in conclusion that this is a major Measure. We recognise the difficulties of the introduction of a Measure of this kind. It is easy to attack and easy, perhaps, to misrepresent. We have thought 1277 it right to introduce it and to seek to explain it to the House and to the country. In our view, it is an important Measure and one which ought to command the support of the House.
As I have said, we have had very good humoured debates and I should like to pay my tribute to the hon. Member for Islington, East for the part he has played in these debates. He has carried the battle, leading the Opposition, almost single handed. Indeed, I think that it is right to say that only on one occasion since the timetable was introduced has he had the support of any right hon. Friend of his on the Front Opposition Bench. On one occasion after the timetable Motion had been passed the right hon. Gentleman for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) spoke, but I dare say that he wished that he had not done
§ so. The hon. Member has certainly helped us to do what we could to make the Bill work as well as possible.
§ Despite all the threats to fight the Bill line by line, we have now reached the concluding stages. The Bill is better than it was when introduced. The Government would be failing in their duty if they failed to tackle this thorny question now. There can be no doubt that the Bill will be administered in a humane and sensible way. In my belief it will achieve its object of regulating the flow of immigration to this country to the country's capacity to absorb it. I recommend the Bill to the Housee.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 277, Noes 170.1281
|Division No. 110.]||AYES||[10.28 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Critchley, Julian||Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col Sir Oliver||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Allason, James||Crowder, F. P.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Cunningham, Knox||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Arbuthnot, John||Curran, Charles||Hastings, Stephen|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Currie, G. B. H.||Hay, John|
|Barber, Anthony||Dance, James||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward|
|Barter, John||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hendry, Forbes|
|Batsford, Brian||Deedes, W. F.||Hiley, Joseph|
|Beamish, Col Sir Tufton||de Ferranti, Basil||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hn. Charles (Luton)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)|
|Biffen, John||Doughty, Charles||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Drayson, G. B.||Hobson, Sir John|
|Bishop, F. P.||du Cann, Edward||Hocking, Philip N.|
|Black Sir Cyril||Duncan, Sir James||Holland, Philip|
|Bossom, Clive||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hollingworth, John|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J.||Emery, Peter||Hopkins, Alan|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Errington, Sir Eric||Hornby, R. P.|
|Braine, Bernard||Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)|
|Brewis, John||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Farr, John||Hughes-Young, Michael|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Finlay, Graeme||Hulbert, Sir Norman|
|Brooman-White, R.||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Hurd, Sir Anthony|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Forrest, George||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Bryan, Paul||Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Buck, Antony||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Jackson, John|
|Bullard, Denys||Freeth, Denzil||James, David|
|Burden, F. A.||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Jennings, J. C.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Gammans, Lady||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Gardner, Edward||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Campbell, Cordon (Moray & Nairn)||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Gibson-Watt, David||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gilmour, Sir John|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Glover, Sir Douglas||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Goodhart, Philip||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Goodhew, Victor||Kimball, Marcus|
|Cole, Norman||Gough, Frederick||Kitson, Timothy|
|Collard, Richard||Gower, Raymond||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Cooke, Robert||Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Green, Alan||Leavey, J. A.|
|Cordle, John||Gresham Cooke, R.||Leburn, Gilmour|
|Corfield, F. V.||Gurden, Harold||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Costain, A. P.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lilley, F. J. P.|
|Coulson, Michael||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Lindsay, Sir Martin|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Peyton, John||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Longbottom, Charles||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Talbot, John E.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pitman, Sir James||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|MacArthur, Ian||Pitt, Miss Edith||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|McLaren, Martin||Pott, Percivall||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Teeling, Sir William|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Temple, John M. … ….|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.)||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)||Prior, J. M. L.||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Maddan, Martin||Ramsden, James||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Maitland, Sir John||Rawlinson, Peter||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn Sir R.||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Rees, Hugh||Touche, Rt. Hon Sir Gordon|
|Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Turner, Colin|
|Marshall, Douglas||Renton, David||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Marten, Neil||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Ridsdale, Julian||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Rippon, Geoffrey||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon Sir John|
|Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Mawby, Ray||Robinson, Rt. Hn Sir R. (B'pool, S.)||Vosper Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Roots, William||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone|
|Mills, Stratton||Ropner, Col Sir Leonard||Walker, Peter|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Russell, Ronald||Wall, Patrick|
|More, Jasper (Ludlow)||St. Clair, M.||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Morgan, William||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Morrison, John||Seymour, Leslie||Whitelaw, William|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Sharples, Richard||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Nabarro, Gerald||Shaw, M.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Shepherd, William||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Smith Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Wise, A. R.|
|Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Smithers, Peter||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Smyth, Brig Sir John (Norwood)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Page, John (Harrow, West)||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Panned, Norman (Kirkdale)||Stanley, Hon. Richard||Worsley, Marcus|
|Partridge, E.||Stevens Geoffrey|
|Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Peel, John||Stodart, J. A.||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Percival, Ian||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Mr. Chichester-Clark.|
|Ainsley, William||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Albu, Austen||Evans, Albert||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Finch, Harold||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Awbery, Stan||Fletcher, Eric||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Baird, John||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Forman, J. C.||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Beaney, Alan||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||King, Dr. Horace|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Benson, Sir George||George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Ginsburg, David||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Blyton, William||Gooch, E. G.||MacColl, James|
|Boardman, H.||Gourlay, Harry||McInnes, James|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.)||Grey, Charles||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Bowles, Frank||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McLeavy, Frank|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Manuel, A. C.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hayman, F. H.||Mapp, Charles|
|Callaghan, James||Healey, Denis||Marsh, Richard|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Mason, Roy|
|Cliffe, Michael||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Cronin, John||Hilton, A. V.||Milne, Edward|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Holman, Percy||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Holt, Arthur||Monslow, Walter|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Houghton, Douglas||Morris, John|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Mulley, Frederick|
|Davies, Ifor (Cower)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Neal, Harold|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hoy, James H.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, s.)|
|Deer, George||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Oram, A. E.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Owen, Will|
|Dempsey, James||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Padley, W. E.|
|Diamond, John||Hunter, A. E.||Paget, R. T.|
|Dodds, Norman||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Driberg, Tom||Janner, Sir Barnett||Parkin, B. T.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Jeger, George||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Pentland, Norman||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Warbey, William|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Snow, Julian||Watkins, Tudor|
|Popplewell, Ernest||Spriggs, Leslie||Weitzman, David|
|Price J. T, (Westhoughton)||Steele, Thomas||Whitlock, William|
|Probert, Arthur||Stonehouse, John||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Randall, Harry||Stones, William||Willey, Frederick|
|Rankin, John||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Redhead, E. C.||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)||Williams LI. (Abertillery)|
|Rhodes, H.||Swain, Thomas||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Swingler, Stephen||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Symonds, J. B.||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Ross, William||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)||Woof, Robert|
|Royle, Charles (Salford, West)||Thornton, Ernest||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Skeffington, Arthur||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Wade, Donald||Mr. Short and Mr. Lawson|
|Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Wainwright, Edwin|
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.