HC Deb 10 December 1963 vol 686 cc206-7
29. Sir R. Robinson

asked the Secretary of Stat; for the Colonies the result of his inquiries into the reasons for the ban on entry into Kenya of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) to attend the independence celebrations

Mr. Fisher

The Governor has reported that the Kenya Government adhere to their earlier decision.

Sir R. Robinson

To clear up one of the uncertainties of this case, may I ask my hon. Friend to give the date on which, without reason, this ban, which has been so strongly deplored on both sides of the House, was imposed?

Mr. Fisher

I do not have in mind the exact date of the ban, but I will look it up and inform my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Sir C. Osborne

Since this decision affects a Member of this honourable House, may I ask whether it is not a pity that wherever the Union Jack is pulled down personal liberty seems to be restricted?

Mr. Fisher

The views expressed by hon. Members, and the views of my right hon. Friend, have, of course, been conveyed to the Kenya Government. Our position is quite clear, but I do not think that there is anything else that we can do at this stage.

Mr. Blyton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that he should use his high office to try to bring tolerance to the Colonies who are getting independence? We had the instance concerning my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stone-house) in 'Rhodesia, and the incident concerning my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot). in whose case no reasons were given. Now that the Under-Secretary's hon. Friend is involved, should not his Department try to bring tolerance to these Colonies?

Mr. Fisher

We always like to think that we are a good example and show tolerance to other countries. I do not think there is anything that we can do to induce tolerance in a country which is to become independent in two days' time, but I hope that people there will notice the reaction of hon. Members in this House.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Would it not have been better if the Minister himself had taken this opportunity to express the Government's regret at the position and not merely rely upon expressions of concern from back benchers on both sides of the House?

Mr. Fisher

I thought I had done so. I said that the views of hon. Members and of my right hon. Friend, who naturally spoke for the Government, had been conveyed to the Government of Kenya. I could not have expressed it more clearly.

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