§ Again considered in Committee.
§ Question again proposed.
§ Mr. Diamond
I was seeking to demonstrate that this control was not working, because the Home Secretary, or the Minister of Labour, presumably issued vouchers to the people they wanted to come in. If the right hon. Gentleman is going to say that he issued vouchers because he did not want the people to come in, that would be a surprising argument, but it would be an explanation, and it would controvert what I am about to say. But, presumably, they issued vouchers to people because they wanted to admit them. But they have not been admitted. The number of vouchers issued, the number which the right hon. Gentleman wanted to see come in to the country, and the number given according to the control—the number he was feeding into his control system, into his computer—did not come out at the other end, not by miles. And the right hon. Gentleman is not contradicting this. The figures given show that there was a vast difference between the vouchers issued and the vouchers taken up.
§ Mr. Brooke
If the hon. Gentleman wishes me to contradict him again, I will. Naturally, in issuing these vouchers we took into account that some of them would not be taken up—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—that would always, and obviously, happen.
§ Mr. Diamond
The right hon. Gentleman has now taken the loophole which I gave him. He said that he issued vouchers because he did not want them to be taken up—or something. That was 407 the only possible loophole. If the right hon. Gentleman would be a little more explicit—I have forgotten the figures and he has them. I repeat, and I think I am right in maintaining, that the difference was so substantial between the vouchers issued and the vouchers taken up that it could not simply have been the case—I am alleging this—of the right hon. Gentleman allowing for the fact that a small number might fall by the wayside, and that therefore he should issue 2 per cent, or 5 per cent, more to make up for this well-known possibility of slack. What I am saying—he knows it full well—is that he wanted to admit a certain number; he did not get them, and so, as a control, from that point of view, it did not work. All we are saying—the right hon. Gentleman is laughing, but this is all he is asking us to do. He is asking us to approve the Section under which this control is renewed. He is saying that we put it in the Bill because we thought it would not work and we might need to improve it and come in a year's time with a modification.
Hon. Members on this side of the Committee cannot introduce any modification. But the right hon. Gentleman can. If he wanted one to work, he could introduce a different idea instead of sticking blindly to this idea which his own figures have demonstrated has not worked at all. It is not a control to be justified on grounds of equity. It is a fantastic idea that we can say that not more than one country shall take up 25 per cent, of the allotment. What relation is that to anything, except simply a figure taken out of some hat? It does not mean a thing and the right hon. Gentleman has not attempted to justify it.
It does not work according to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell). He was one of the greatest supporters. He did not want control, he wanted restriction. He said so all the time from the word "go". I am being fair to the hon. Gentleman. He wants the numbers reduced. He has made the case fairly for all of us. It has not reduced the numbers, even if one includes the extra number jerked into coming into the country because of the fact that the door was about to be closed. Is it not the case that many people would attempt to go through a door if they thought that it 408 was about to be closed? But even including that extra number, on the eight-year average the hon. Member for Kirkdale complains that, from his point of view, the control is not working because we got more or less the same number now as we were getting then, over an eight-year average. Then without control; now with a control which the Government seek to continue. That is not a great argument in favour of this kind of control.
The hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall) produced an entirely different and irrelevant argument. He said that the control is not working, not because of the numbers coming into the country, but because of the numbers coming into Wycombe. That is what he is concerned with—
§ Mr. Diamond
I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.
All that the hon. Member for Wycombe was saying during the whole of his speech was that what is wrong is the concentration in particular areas. He was not complaining about the numbers coming into Ruislip or Twickenham—indeed there may not be any there. He was complaining about the parts of the country to which these poor chaps do go, and especially about his own constituency.
§ Mr. John Hall
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way to me. This shows the difficulty of communicating ideas. What I was endeavouring to do was to use Wycombe as an illustration of how this worked in particular in parts of the country. Practical experience is far better than a lot of theorising. I did not refer to controls at all.
§ Mr. Diamond
The hon. Gentleman cannot ride off on that one either. First, I have as much experience in Gloucester as he has in Wycombe, probably more—right? Secondly—[Hon. Members: "Wrong."]—is there any hon. Member who wishes to interrupt? I always give way if anyone desires to do so.
Secondly, the whole of his speech—the hon. Gentleman should read it in Hansard—was directed to the difficulty of the concentration of immigrants, with different cultural backgrounds and so 409 on, in particular areas. What the hon. Gentleman wants is control within this country. Having admitted so many Commonwealth immigrants we are to say, "You shall go to Bradford. You shall go to Leeds. You shall go to this place and you shall go to that place"—and, so far as possible, none shall go to Wycombe.
§ Mr. John Hall
The hon. Member must not do this sort of thing. It makes good fun, but it is not very sensible. I was not asking for controls within controls but referring to the situation which in fact existed before the present Act came into existence. I was pointing out the kind of problems which arise from the unrestricted entry of immigrants to this country because they concentrate in certain areas, and asking for control to prevent that.
§ Mr. Diamond
I do not think I need go over it again. The hon. Member is saying that this control is not satisfactory from his own experience and that is why he is voting for its continuation. I am voting for its discontinuation because it contains many extremely unsatisfactory and immoral features. It is no good at all. It does not satisfy the restrictive attitude of the hon. Member for Kirkdale. It does not satisfy the geographical attitude of the hon. Member for Wycombe. It does not satisfy the desire of the Government to admit a given number of people because the given number of people do not come in. It does not satisfy anyone's criteria of equity, fairness or justice, so what is the benefit of it?
One has to examine the situation as it was before. We had an automatic control which worked without all these difficult overtones. It worked perfectly satisfactorily. When there were jobs, people came, and when there were not jobs they stopped coming. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] That is what happened. Let all hon. Members in all parts of the Committee understand that if we want an economy to be prosperous we need more and more manpower. Do not let me be the authority for that. Let the Chancellor of the Exchequer be that authority. The Chancellor has said when introducing his Budget on more than one occasion, and the current Chancellor used this precise phrase, that the limitation in the expansion of 410 our economy is the limitation in our manpower.
§ Sir C. Osborne
The hon. Member is completely wrong, because his own leader said at the Labour Party Conference in Scarborough two months ago that automation would require 10 million people fewer to produce more wealth. I wish he would speak sense.
§ Mr. Diamond
This is a simple principle which everybody in all countries accepts. I do not want to weary the Committee with the arguments for it nor to remind hon. Members of the evidence for it in any country they care to name, particularly on the Continent. In West Germany and Switzerland a fantastic percentage of foreign labour is employed, something over 20 per cent., I believe. Prosperity rises in those countries which have a large immigrant labour force. Does this control help in the problem of unemployment as has been alleged?
Not for a second can that be said because, if we have a varying level of unemployment, 4 per cent, one year and 1 per cent, the next, and we fill up the immigration space when we have 1 per cent, unemployment, presumably when it is 4 per cent., as we have under this Government, we have to reverse the process and give them vouchers to go back again because we have too large a labour force. The whole idea that we can control it in this way in order to achieve a satisfactory level of employment is nonsense. That is one argument out of the way.
The other argument out of the way is housing. It is nonsense to say that this causes housing problems. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] This causes housing problems to be seen, which is a very different matter. The shortage of housing becomes evident, but the shortage of housing is always there. If these immigrants, instead of being black, were white, if they were Canadian or Australian, there would be no complaint. It would then be seen that there are not enough houses to accommodate the people.
Of course we need more houses. Germany has solved the problem by building something like ½ million houses a year. It was able to accommodate the people coming in.
411 This is demonstrates the need for more housing in any event. We cannot have more people doing nursing, being doctors, building houses, or driving buses and living nowhere. Even white people have to live somewhere if they are to carry out these functions. White nurses have to be accommodated in nurses' homes. The reason why two hon. Members opposite have asked particularly the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) what is the attitude of the Liberal Party, and have asked us to make our attitude clear, is that they know as well as I do that this is an electoral issue.
§ Mr. Diamond
I shall give way afterwards, but I have already given way eight times. What is the electoral issue? It is not unemployment; I have demonstrated that. It is not control; I have demonstrated that. It is not housing, I have demonstrated that. It is because the people who support this attitude loathe black men. [Interruption.] It is because some people who support this attitude will give hon. Members opposite their support in the election. They will switch their votes because we fought against this because we had certain principles. We said that black or white makes no difference to us. They give support to the idea that it is right to have white and wrong to have black people coming here. This is the only element left of electoral advantage. If hon. Members opposite want it, they can have it.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Sir C. Osborne
First, I want to refute the utterly contemptible statement just made by the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) that hon. Members on this side of the House hate black men. That is a scandalous untruth, and we reject it utterly. [Hon. Members: "Withdraw."] He refuses to withdraw it. Let me make my speech.
The hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), for the Liberal Party, complained that no recent figures were available. Apparently the Liberal Party do not read HANSARD later than June, because all the up-to-date figures were given in HANSARD yesterday. When the Bill was being discussed, I asked the Leader of the Liberal Party whether the 412 Liberal Party would repeal this Act when they had a chance, and he said, "Yes". At the Liberal Party conference a few months ago this question was raised again, but the Liberals had changed their minds and said "No". Where do they stand on it? They do not know.
The hon. Member for Bradford, East (Mr. McLeavy) spoke most feelingly about the problems which affected his constituents. We ought to realise that it is the ordinary working men and women in the overcrowded industrial areas who feel the pinch of this problem. He spoke most feelingly for his constituents in Bradford. The hon. Member for Gloucester, who has just spoken so eloquently, earlier tried to shout down his hon. Friend while still seated.
§ Mr. Diamond
I did not interrupt my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, East (Mr. McLeavy). Unfortunately, I passed a remark to my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), which was intended to be sotto voce and was not as sotto as it should have been. There is no question of my having passed a comment to my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, East.
§ Sir C. Osborne
There is no point in pursuing Ibis matter. If I misrepresented the hon. Member, I apologise, but HANSARD tomorrow will show that his hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, East protested.
I am one of those who pressed the Government for this policy eight years ago. I do not apologise for what was done. Indeed, I thought that what was done was inadequate and too late, and I stand by the attitude which I took then. May I make it clear for my hon. Friends and myself that we all believe that everybody in this country, irrespective of race, colour or religion, is entitled to the full protection of the law, and that anyone who stirs up hatred of any kind on racial matters or any other matter or who indulges in anti-Semitism should be punished to the utmost rigour of the law. [Hon. Members: "Which law?"] We all say that. Please let us get rid of the dreadful untruth which the hon. Member for Gloucester recently uttered.
§ Sir C. Osborne
The hon. Member has only been in the Chamber for two minutes. He has just walked into the Chamber. I do not propose to give way to him.
But while I say that all Commonwealth immigrants have a perfect right to be protected to the uttermost by the law of this land, so the Englishman born in this country has a perfect right to protect his own way of life in his own country. It is high time that someone in the House spoke up for the people of this country, and I propose to do so. Why do these people want to come to this country? Why is restriction necessary? Let us face the facts. A month or two ago Dr. Julian Huxley gave a lecture in which he estimated that at the beginning of this century the world population was 1,000 million. Today, he said, it is about 3,000 million, and at the end of the century it will be 6,000 million. This growth in population is the greatest factor in world affairs, and immigration into this country is a reaction from this enormous growth in world population.
At the end of the century the two great problems which will have to be faced will be: where shall we live, and will there be enough to eat? As to where we shall live, a fact which is so often forgotten is that the density of population in this country is greater than anywhere else in the Common-wealth, except for Hong Kong. The density in this country is 567 per square mile as against India, which we are inclined to regard as vastly over-populated, where the density is 347.
May I point out that so few of these immigrants go to Scotland, Wales or Ireland, and therefore this is an English problem. The problem arises in India and Pakistan where there are 550 million people. That is where the pressure comes from. About three months ago the Economist said that in India, so far as could be estimated, there were about 8 million unemployed and about 18 million chronically under-employed. That is why they want to come to this country. In addition—this is another vital fact which I beg hon. Members to face—it is estimated that between now and 1971 the population of India will grow by another 116 million. It is obviously impossible for this small 414 island, already over-populated, to deal with the vast unemployed army in India and to take the consequences of the enormous increase in the world's population.
§ Sir C. Osborne
Please let me continue my speech. Another fact which I would ask hon. Members to bear in mind is that in the Indian Parliament about two months ago the Leader of the Opposition said that there were 270 million Indians living on 3½d. a day.
§ Sir C. Osborne
Mr. Nehru, the Prime Minister, corrected the figure and said that it was nearer Is. 3d. The Times said that it would rather take the figure of 3£d. which was mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) says that this is our fault. If we had international Socialism, such as the former Herbert Morrison once asked for, and wages in Britain were in proportion to those in India, the average wage here would be less than £2 a week. Does the hon. Lady advocate that? Let us face the problem. It is because of these immense pressures of population and this intense poverty which we cannot comprehend, that there is this great desire on the part of other people to come to this country.
Now, one or two other points which I put to hon. Members for their consideration. Medical science is doing wonders in India. In recent years, malaria has been conquered, and it has been calculated that malaria used to take 1 million people a year. The Indians hope that, before long, the other two killer diseases, cholera and smallpox, will also be conquered. We hope so too. The infant mortality rate in India—this will appeal to the hon. Lady the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North—used to be 20 times greater than in this country. If we can reduce it to our level, and if the expectation of life in India is raised from 35 to 75 years, as in this country, the population of India will go up to 1,000 million. The pressure to come to this country will be intolerable. These are facts which we 415 must face. They are there now. It is useless closing our eyes to them. This is why it was obviously so important that we should have some control and regulation.
What about the effect of the Act? Has it done good? Was it necessary? I give the House some figures taken from yesterday's Hansard which, apparently, the Liberal Party has not read. In category A, men with jobs to come to, there were 14,900 applications and 9,500 vouchers were issued. In category B, skilled people but with no job to come to, the unemployed, there were 14,400 applications and 13,400 were granted. But now comes the problem which should really worry hon. Members opposite in the trade union world. In category C, the unskilled, the unemployed, there were 289,704 applications, and 37,084 were granted.
If it had not been for the Act, there would, on these figures, have been at least another 250,000 from India alone, unskilled and unemployed, in this country. Is that what trade union members want?
§ Sir C. Osborne
I have given way a number of times. I have done my share and given way enough already.
§ Mrs. Castle
I am trying to clarify the hon. Gentleman's figures. First, he gave us the number of applications, and then he spoke of vouchers issued. Does he mean vouchers issued or vouchers taken up?
§ Sir C. Osborne
I did not say that they were taken up. I am sorry that hon. Members opposite do not like these facts.
§ Sir C. Osborne
These are the facts which must be faced, no matter who sits on the Government benches. I thank God I am not married to the hon. Lady.
§ Sir C. Osborne
In view of the enormous figures of unemployed, in view of intense poverty in India and Pakistan and in view of the growth in population in those countries, I have been trying to reason that some restriction was inevitable. This small island, which, I have tried to show, is already the most densely populated part of the Commonwealth, could not be the dumping ground of all the increased population and the whole of the unemployed from the Commonwealth. I remind hon. Members that even the United States of America, which has the Lamp of Liberty and says "Send me your poor in distress ", has had to stop free entry into that country. The density of population there is only 51 to the square mile, against our figure of more thin 500. Therefore, I argue that restriction was inevitable.
I will give hon. Members another reason. Today, we have received a fine booklet from the Ministry of Transport showing us how we must deal with the enormous problem of transport. It is proposed by the architects that there should be three-tier towns to deal with the enormous growth in transport and population. Even with the existing restriction, Commonwealth immigrants are coming to this country at the rate of 90,000 a year.
That means a new city of the size of, say, Bath, Burnley, Cambridge, Darlington, Doncaster, Exeter or Halifax being put into this country every year. Obviously, ibis cannot go on. There must be some restriction. If the extra quarter of a million had come in, goodness knows what would have happened.
I draw hon. Members' attention to the problem of unemployment. I tried to correct an hon. Member opposite about 417 what the Leader of the Opposition said. At the Labour Party Conference, at Scarborough in September, the Leader of the Opposition said that there was no room for Luddites in the Labour Party. He went on to say that in the next ten years, automation would dislodge at least 10 million of our workers from their jobs.
§ Sir C. Osborne
We would have to find 10 million new jobs because of automation; I am obliged to the hon. and learned Member. That being so, and 10 million new jobs having to be found for our workers, does it not seem crazy to open our doors to allow millions of unskilled unemployed to come here to make it more difficult for our own people to find work for themselves? [Interruption.] I am quoting what the Leader of the Labour Party said to his own people.
Take the question of housing and what immigration has done there. Hon. Members opposite should speak to their colleague who represents Bradford, East, who knows the problems which have arisen. Half a million immigrants have come to this country in the last eight years. If they had not come, there would be no housing problem. [Hon. Members:" Nonsense."] I beg hon. Members to go back to their town halls and ask their housing committees what influence there would be upon their waiting lists if that half million were taken off. There would not be nearly the intense problem which exists in housing.
Then I think this question ought to be faced squarely. I said when we dis- 418 cussed this matter six or eight years ago that even if the immigrants had white faces, were as white as snow, with their coming in in present conditions the problem would remain the same.
We must face this. We must be honest with ourselves. Throughout the world, wherever there has been a racial problem, a colour problem, whether it be in East Africa, of Africans against the Asians, or anywhere, where there is a racial problem, there is difficulty, and so far men of good will of every race have yet to find the answer to the terrible racial problem. [Interruption.] The newly emerging African States are sending from their States Asian traders. I have not done that. It is unfair to say that. The problem is there the world over, and so far no one has found a solution to it, and it seems to me the height of folly to bring the problem unnecessarily into our midst. It is a tragedy for which our children will curse us.
Finally, I want to say this. The Labour Party Amendment, I believe, is a cowardly one. It asks the Commonwealth Governments themselves to impose restrictions which the Labour Party themselves are frightened to do. It is the most cowardly thing I have seen done in the eighteen years I have been a Member of the House, done by him whom people outside call clever little Harold. It is asking people like Mr. Nehru with his 26 million unemployed and some 270 million living on about threepence halfpenny a day to try to impose restrictions on those people because we have not got the guts to do it ourselves. That is the Labour Party. I hope this Committee will reject it utterly.
§ Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
Not everything the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) said was altogether clear. At one stage I thought he was arguing that the danger was that we would be faced with a problem of an influx of Luddites. At any rate, what he said was that our children would curse us for permitting these people to enter this country. By the time he had come to the end of his speech he had forgotten all about unemployment.
That speech will be much more widely reported round the world than the Home Secretary's cautious speech in which he rejected my right hon. Friend's proposal. That speech reflects the real racial character of hon. Gentlemen opposite. All I can say is this, that the hon. Gentleman convinced me that if there were a Commonwealth conference at which he were the British representative it would be worse than no British representation at all.
§ Sir C. Osborne
At the Commonwealth conference which the hon. Gentleman wants to go to, would an Englishman have any rights at all?
§ Mr. Benn
The hon. Gentleman has really gone beyond the point of being comic. The hon. Gentleman would now try to raise the racial issue over the Commonwealth field regardless of the question of the country's needs.
Of course, this is how the world sees the Act. They see it in this way because, as my right hon. Friend said, when the Measure was first introduced the party opposite at its conference was shaking its head off at the idea of free entry of the Community of Six, the Common Market, although the Irish were allowed in in very large numbers. But the hon. Gentleman has been frank enough to make it clear that it is to keep people with coloured skins out.
This is the nub of the argument. It is not about immigration itself.It is about coloured people coming into Britain, and I warn the Home Secretary about the last few words in his speech, when he began to hint at the election challenge he intends to throw to us from platform to platform up and down the 420 country, and gave us notice that the Conservative Party, in the election, was going to use the Commonwealth Immigrants Act as a weapon to use against the Labour Party.
Before the right hon. Gentleman does this—of course he will do it respectfully, and hon. Gentlemen will do it frankly, and their supporters in a much less attractive style still-—let him consider the consequences of it. The hon. Gentleman said that there would be no housing shortage without the immigrants. That is to say that if a man has not got a house or is living in slums in Bristol or Liverpool and writes to the hon. Gentleman, he will reply that it is the coloured persons who are preventing him from getting a house. That is what the hon. Gentleman is saying. If a man does not get a job, what is the answer? The answer he will be given is that it is the immigrants who are keeping him from getting employment.
What the hon. Gentleman has said will release forces in the country which are so explosive and dangerous in character that even hon. Gentlemen opposite will regret what they have done. I warn the Home Secretary not to give respectable cover to the sort of arguments that we shall hear from people like his hon. Friend in every constituency in the country—[An Hon. Member: "Dallas."]—or, indeed, the consequences of that. We know very well where racial violence can ultimately lead.
As to the other case against using the argument, as my right hon. Friend made clear, the argument is not about the principle of control but about the means by which such necessary control as there may have to be is organised. The hon. Gentleman himself gave the case away. He said that it is not a problem in Scotland. What did he mean? He meant that the unemployment that the Tories have created in Scotland produces a self-regulating factor which prevents immigrants going to Scotland. Indeed, a quarter of a million Scots have left Scotland to come to England over the last 10 years. What the hon. Gentleman says is that if there is a stagnant economy in Scotland, the immigrants will not go there. Therefore, what my 421 hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) said was absolutely right.
There are many forms of Commonwealth consultation. But if there is a case for control, one can ask the Commonwealth countries to try to apply it. If they will not, one can have a voucher system and ask them to distribute the vouchers. If all else fails and we have that consultation, we may have, of course, to act, because the right to control immigration is part of the sovereign right of any State. But what the Bill does is the worst of all because there has been no attempt at Commonwealth consultation at any stage.
Coming to the second point, the hon. Gentleman said he was in favour of prosecuting with the maximum rigour of the law those who engaged in discrimination. What is the truth of the matter? If the hon. Gentleman as an employer goes to an employment exchange and says "I want only white labour ", does the employment exchange say "We do not accept inquiries involving discrimination "? Not at all.
§ Mr. Benn
That is not the point. I am not dealing with the case of employers who do employ coloured people. [An. Hon. Member:" Withdraw."] I was at no stage accusing the hon. Gentleman. If he thinks that I am unfair—I think that my case is good enough without being unfair to him—I will withdraw what may appear to be an imputation.
If I went to an employment exchange and said "I want only white labour", what would they say? They would say "Certainly we will give you a list of white workers." They would not say, as they do in America, "We do not entertain inquiries from people who have racial discrimination built into their request." We have all been praising President Kennedy this week for his struggle against racial intolerance. I have a letter here from the United States Department of Labour saying that it is prohibited for a department of labour to help an employer who lays down qualifications of race, colour, creed or national origin.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ The hypocrisy of hon. Members opposite in praising President Kennedy for his stand but never giving support to the Racial Discrimination Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), never seeking to outlaw racial discrimination even when connected with the Ministry of Labour, confirms our suspicions that this Act is motivated by racial feeling. It is known from the United States that if one wants to eliminate racial discrimination there has to be legislative and executive leadership and not just a tailing behind hoping that public opinion will educate itself.
§ Finally—and I hope that I carry all hon. Members with me on this—there is the case of the immigrants already here. I agree that race relations are difficult. I do not disagree with what the hon. Member for Louth said about South Africa, the Southern States of America and about East-West relations between Russia and China, where there is an undertone of colour.
§ But because we have a problem, that is not a case for running away from it. There has to be expert help and advice for communities with immigrants, and part of my case is that the Government have allowed immigrants in but have done nothing to help them to settle down in these areas. When my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, East (Mr. McLeavy) makes his impassioned speech, he is reflecting the anxieties of his constituents. When I talk to the West Indians in Bristol, to which a large number went in good faith, having read the Daily Express and believed it and who now realise they are not wanted and cannot get jobs, I find that they have a sense of being let down as well.
§ My complaint against the Government and the case for the proposal by my right hon. Friend is that his plan would be positive in giving the lead to get local authorities to organise real services designed to help immigrants to settle into their new communities. None of that is to be found in the Government's policy.
§ What the Government hope tonight is that they will emerge from the debate as the ones with a policy and that they will be able to accuse the Labour Party 423 of being negative. But the truth is the other way round. The truth is that the British people are not so stupid as hon. Members think. They know that race is the biggest question in the world today. They know the problem. They know that Britain without the Commonwealth is really a very lonely little island off the west coast of Europe. They believe in a Commonwealth that is not an empire even if hon. Members opposite are not so very interested in it.
§ They know, too, that if immigration is to be properly handled it must be done in consultation with the Commonwealth. They know that racial discrimination is a danger unless the community takes positive action. They know, from their own experience in areas where they feel it, that unless there is local Government initiative these problems can get out of hand.
§ On balance, when this debate is seen free of the excitement of argument tonight, it will be seen that hon. Members opposite are meeting a racial and economic challenge in an entirely negative way and that hon. Members on this side of the Committee have tried to see this matter in its world and Commonwealth context, in terms of the right balance and in terms of the needs of the whole community. Because our side is so positive, I shall be delighted to go into the Lobby tonight against the right hon. Gentleman and his racial hon. Friends.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
The hon. Gentleman has come back from another sphere having picked up some astonishing habits. I know that he only went there in embryo, but while away he has learned some extraordinary histrionics and has expressed them in a very glib speech. I wish that the speech had been only glib, but it was extremely muddled. The Labour Party, as exemplified by what one might call the pseudo-intellectual wing, refused to draw a distinction—
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
I hope that the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) will stop sniggering. At least we listened to what he had to say.
424 As I was saying before that sniggering interruption from the only representative of the Liberal Party—
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
The Liberals have now doubled their number with the arrival of the hon. Member for Hudders-field, West (Mr. Wade).
The theme of the speech of the hon. Member for Devon, North, to which I listened with great care, was that there was no distinction to be drawn between the perfectly true statement that racial discrimination is a great and difficult and dangerous problem and that of colour. After I have made a few observations, I want to address myself to the problems of racial discrimination, because most of the other matters have already been covered by the Home Secretary or other hon. Members and I do not want to traverse that ground again.
The Liberal Party made it quite clear that it believed in uninhibited immigration into this country and that it was categorically opposed to the Act and still was and, I understood, would vote against it tonight. In an intervention, I gave the hon. Member every opportunity to say what would be the Liberal Party's policy, but I got no reply; nor did I expect one. What we got was a division of his speech into three points—consultation, racialism and restrictions. I do not believe that many Liberals subscribe to that view and certainly Liberals will not do so.
It is plain from the speeches of hon. Members opposite that the Labour Party does not retract from its previous position on free entry and that it offers no constructive alternative to the Act. Although it would seek some restriction by consultation with the Commonwealth, it could not achieve it that way, and if it passed the burden of selection to Commonwealth countries, this country would not be prepared to meet the resulting situation for long. Clearly, if there are to be immigrants into this country, we must decide which class of immigrants they are to be and not have them selected by the country which at that time they are preparing to desert, perhaps to the end of their days.
425 I came into the House of Commons in 1953 and in 1954 I wrote to Lord Mancroft, who at that time was a Home Office Minister, and I asked specifically for the introduction of a Measure such as that which we now have. I was told by the Home Office in 1955 that it would be quite plain that we could not get the support of the Labour Party for an all-party Measure. I was told that there had been long talks through the years in turn with the West Indies and then the African leaders—" talks" is a better word than "consultations "—but that it was quite clear that none of the Commonwealth countries was willing to enter into any agreement, either singly or collectively, to arrive at an effective solution to this problem.
Over a period of years the Government, quite properly, tried to get an agreement with hon. Gentlemen opposite to introduce this Measure. It was the failure to get this agreement which prevented this Act being introduced sooner than it was. The only criticism which the Government can offer of themselves now is that they were too late, and their mitigation is that the fault of their being late was their democratic endeavour to try to get agreement in this House and the knowledge that the Liberal and Labour Parties would oppose them, as they did, root and branch. That is the background to the position.
That gives the absolute lie to, first, the statement that there was no discussion with every single major country in the Commonwealth, and, secondly, that the Government did not do everything they could to arrive at an effective agreement because they knew that it was impossible to get agreement with the Labour and Liberal Parties or indeed with any of the countries which were likely to have a substantial number of migrants.
§ Mr. Scholefield Allen (Crewe)
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that his party, with a great majority, was morally incapable of standing up for something in which hon. Gentlemen opposite believed?
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
I happen to take the view that one should not try to steamroller legislation through the House of Commons. Having made his intervention, the hon. and learned Gentleman is now trying to run away. That is the 426 complaint we make about the Labour Party. It ran away from the problem two years ago, and it is running away from it now.
I make this prophecy, that if by any chance it should be England's misfortune that the Labour Party should win the next election, within the next two years at the most hon. Gentlemen opposite will themselves have to introduce amending legislation, as we will undoubtedly have to do, to strengthen certain aspects of the existing Act, which are far too weak to enable us to achieve the control which is necessary to be effective.
I turn now to the heart of the problem and I beg hon. Gentlemen opposite, if not the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East, to realise that in dealing with this question we must try to think a little clearly. I was deeply upset by my experience of spending some time in New York last year. I wanted to go into the Puerto Rican, Italian, and Harlem quarters. As most of those who have been to New York know, there are complete and absolute compartments of races. One sees racial departmental administration. They have the Harlem quarter, the Puerto Rican quarter, the Jewish quarter, the Italian quarter, and so on, and it would be dreadful if London or any of our great cities were to become like New York.
New York is a tragic, desperate city. I was there with a number of extremely able and liberal-minded men, many of them from Harvard and Yale, many of them leaders in their own spheres of industry and the law. I said that I was proposing to spend an afternoon and evening in Harlem. I was advised that it would be extremely dangerous for me to do so, and that I would be in physical danger and would learn nothing. I went, nevertheless. I could not go with a white taxi driver because no white taxi driver would take me. I went with a coloured taxi driver, and I went right round. When I went into restaurants and other places, the moment it was realised that I was English—in fact, I said that I had come from England and was a Member of Parliament—I was made extremely welcome. I had an extremely good time and saw something of the workings of that part of the city.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ But when I explained this in Washington to one or two Representatives of Congress they told me that they shared the view of their own citizens, and that they would have been afraid to do what I had done. I want to translate that situation into what is happening already in this country. Before speaking in this debate I took a great deal of trouble to find out the conditions which existed in certain parts of London and in our larger cities. There is now only the seed—the very beginning—of a much bigger problem.
§ Let us consider the Polish community. After the war the Poles got together. If, on a Sunday morning, one goes to Brompton Oratory one will find that the entire Polish community attends that church, They go together. It is natural, right and proper. It is racial absorption that I am talking about—and it has nothing to do with colour. The Polish community stick together; the Italian community stick together intensely; the Jewish community stick together; the Ghanaian community stick together; the West Indian community stick together. [An Hon. Member: "And the Old Etonians."] Somebody said that the Old Etonians stick together. That is quite possibly true. Freemasons stick together. The Pakistanis stick together.
§ The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) made a great reputation for himself with his great independence of mind in considering these racial questions. He understands a good bit about them. When I went to Nairobi to deal with the question of conditions in the detention camps I sought to cross-examine the detainees, and I found that there were 11 tribes in Kenya, and that they prefer to live in their own quarters.
§ When such people come into this country they create their own communities. In Brixton, there is already an area where neither white people nor policemen want to go at night. If hon. Members disbelieve me I can take them there. There is a similar area in Paddington, and Ladbroke Grove. There are similar parts of Birmingham and Liverpool, and other cities to which I can take hon. Members. My hon. Friend 428 the Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall) is quite right, and the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) quite wrong. The real point is that these people, whatever their race may be, form small communities and then become intensely unpopular with those who live around them and who do not understand them. Because of this the members of these communities become self-protective and introvert in their practices and habits.
§ There is a certain sect in the West Indian community which believes that what is best for them is to purchase the property in which they are living—a very laudable sentiment—and then to arrange to put in it only members of their own community—West Indians—as tenant!. Having done that, West Indian ownership creeps down the adjoining houses until the West Indians have gained control of the whole street. It is their declared aim to gain control of the whole area in which they live. In another part of the country Pakistanis do the same sort of thing. The Poles also do it. If they could, the Irish would. The trouble is that the Irish are a little vagrant and itinerant in their ways. As my hon. Friend said in an aside, the Irish have usually gambled all their money away whereas the West Indian who works saves.
§ What I want my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to do is this. I want him to make a survey of the racial absorption in this country. I think that he will set; that the races are all cheek by jowl in certain areas. The proper yardstick of the rate of immigration into this country is the rate at which we can properly absorb these races without them getting into these closely knit communities.
§ For example, I hope that everyone in the Committee would have, and have had—I know that I have done so many times-—coloured people of all nations to stay with them—Africans, Indians, Pakistanis. No one minds having an individual Pakistani in the flat above him. No one minds an individual coloured man in one's club. What causes the trouble is when it is a completely Polish, Pakistani, West Indian, Ghanaian, West Indian, or even Canadian, or whatever it may be, community; when they get around and 429 force out the English people who have lived in that area and create a complete niche for themselves and follow their own livelihood.
§ Why? Because they are not true immigrants. The true immigrant is a person who wants to come to Britain in order to become a Briton. If he wants to do that it is because he is going to participate in the British way of life. If he is going to do that, then we want him to adopt our methods of society and our way of life. We do net want these people coming in as islanders and occupying an island of their own, entirely carved out of their own set and trying to create their own cultural ties. We want them to come into this State of ours so that they can enjoy with us the way of life on which we depend.
§ I quite agree that I have given inadequate expression to what I feel, but I hope that we will all try and take this problem away from pure colour. I have tried to point the moral of New York. I was dining with my hon. Friend the Member for Baron's Court (Mr. Compton Carr) the other night and I said to him that I feared in ten years' time we would have a Harlem here. In all fairness to my hon. Friend, he said that I was talking absolute rubbish. Indeed, I was not and I will prove it. If any hon. Member wants to come with me I will take him and prove to him what I have proved to my own satisfaction.430
§ We are faced with this problem, and the right way to deal with it is to try to understand the. problems of racial absorption by putting them fearlessly into practice. We would welcome the amendment of the Act, but at present there is nothing but to support it. I hope that hon. Members will support it. I hope that we shall not have the cockshy thrown up by the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East of a General Election which becomes an all black and white affair. I have heard the suggestion, and the equal one of the other side of the coin, that all black people vote Labour and all white people vote Conservative. I endorse the hon. Gentleman's point of view. I do not want to see that.
§ Hon. Members must try to be a little less sentimental about this matter. They were sentimental, and still are I know, about Franco. The mere mention of Franco raises a feeling of horror in any Labour man. Hon. Members opposite have this colour business a little twisted and are emotional about it. Let them snap out of it and try to get down to the practical side of the matter. If we all do that, then I am sure that we can achieve the right solution.
§ Question put. That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 181, Noes 131.431
|Division No. 3.]||AYES||[11.11 p.m.|
|Agnew, Str Peter||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)|
|Aitken Sir William||Clark, William (Nottingham, 8.)||Goodhew, Victor|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, 8.)||Cleaver, Leonard||Cough, Frederick|
|Allason, James||Cooke, Robert||Gower, Raymond|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Coulson, Michael||Grant-Ferris, R.|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Green, Alan|
|Barlow, Sir John||Crawley, Aidan||Grosvertor, Lord Robert|
|Barter, John||Critchtey, Julian||Gurden, Harold|
|Batsford, Brian||Crowder, F. P.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Bitten, John||Curran, Charles||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Harris, Reader (Hesttm)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Dance, James||Harrison, Cot. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Bishop, F. P.||Donaldson, Cmrdr. C. E. M,||Hastings, Stephen|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Doughty, Charles||Heald, Rt. Hon. Str Lionel|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Drayson, G. B.||Hendry, Fortes|
|Boume-Arton, A.||Eden, Sir John||Hiley, Joseph|
|Box, Donald||Elliot, Capt. Waiter (Carshalton)||Hilt, Mrs. Evetine (Wythenshawe)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Elliott,R-W.(Newc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)|
|Braine, Bernard||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bromiey-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Errington, Sir Eric||Hocking, Philip N.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Fell, Anthony||Holland, Philip|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John|
|Buck, Antony||Freeth, Derail||Hopkins, Alan|
|Bullard, Denys||Gammans, Lady||Hornby, R. P.|
|Campbell, Cordon (Moray & Naim)||Gibson-Watt, David||Howard, Hon. G. R- (St. Ives)|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Hughes-Young, Michael|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Glover, Stir Douglas||Hulbert, Sir Norman|
|Chichester-Clark. R.||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Iremonger, T. L,|
|James, David||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Temple, John M.|
|Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Pott, Percivall||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pounder, Rafton||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Kirk, Peter||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Prior, J. M. L.||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Turner, Colin|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Pym, Francis||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Rees-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)||Walder, David|
|McLaren, Martin||Renton, Rt. Hon. David||Walker, Peter|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy(Bute& Ayrs)||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Wall, Patrick|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Ridsdale, Julian||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Matthews, Gordon Meriden)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool.S.)||Webster, David|
|Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Mawby, Ray||Russell, Ronald||Whitelaw, William|
|Maxwell Hyslop, R. J.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr S. L. C.||Sharples, Richard||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Skeet, T. H. H.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Wise, A. R.|
|More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Smithers, Peter||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Neave, Airey||Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Speir, Rupert||Woollam, John|
|Osborn, John (Hallam)||Stanley, Hon. Richard||Worsley, Marcus|
|Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Page, John (Harrow, West)||Storey, Sir Samuel||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Summers, Sir Spencer||Mr. Finlay and Mr. MacArthur|
|Alnsley, William||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur(RwlyRegis)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Albu, Austen||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Prentice, R. E.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Probert, Arthur|
|Alien, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hilton, A. V.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Houghton, Douglas||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hoy, James H.||Rhodes, H.|
|Barnett, Guy||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Benn, Anthony Wedgwood||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hynd, John (Atteroliffe)||Ross, William|
|Blyton, William||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Short, Edward|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Silkin, John|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S.W.)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Bowles, Frank||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, s.)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Small, William|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Callaghan, James||Kelley, Richard||Snow, Julian|
|Carmichael, Nell||Kenyon, Clifford||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Lawson, George||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Cliffs, Michael||Ledger, Ron||Stonehouse, John|
|Crosland, Anthony||Loughlin, Charles||Swingler, Stephen|
|Dalyell, Tam||Mabon, Or. J. Dickson||Symonds, J. B.|
|Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||McBride, N.||Taverne, D.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McCann, John||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Diamond, John||MacColl, James||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Evans, Albert||MacDermot, Niall||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mahon, Simon||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Fitch, Alan||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Foley, Maurice||Manuel, Archie||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Mason, Roy||Warbey, William|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mendelson, J. J.||Weitzman, David|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Crmrthn)||Millan, Bruce||White, Mrs. Elrene|
|Gourlay, Harry||Milne, Edward||Whitlock, William|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Mitchison, G. R.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morris, John||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Oliver, G. H,||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||O'Malley, B. K.||Winterbottom, R. E,|
|Harmon, William||Oram, A. E.||Woof, Robert|
|Harper, Joseph||Paget, R. T.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Peart, Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Healey, Denis||Pentland, Norman||Mr. Grey and Mr. Ifor Davies.|
§ Schedule agreed to.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time and passed.