§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 3.43 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Frank Soskice)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
To form a judgment on this Bill, it is essential to understand why the Government have thought it in the public interest to introduce it and what it is designed to achieve. It is equally necessary to understand what we regard as beyond its scope and why. We have introduced it and commend it to the House and to the country as one measure we think necessary to deal with the issues which arise from the presence with us of between 800,000 and 1 million coloured citizens or citizens from countries such as Malta and Cyprus.
It would be a tragedy of the first order if our country, with its unrivalled tradition of tolerance and fair play as between one man or woman and another and perfect respect for the rights and personal worth and dignity of the individual, should see the beginnings of the development of a distinction between first and second class citizens and the disfigurement which can arise from inequality of treatment and incitement to feelings of hatred directed to the origins of particular citizens, something for which they are not responsible.
It is equally the country in which we cherish the right of the freest possible discussion and debate within the limits of the law of libel, blasphemy and sedition and the avoidance of disorder. I shall later in my speech advance my reason for claiming that in the Bill we do not trench on that right. It is equally the country from which these same cherished concepts have spread overseas to inspire and guide, even if in some cases at the outset of their political development as independent States to elude, a great Commonwealth of free nations numbering 700 million people of all races. Faced with this new problem, a Government which acted with pusillanimity would be abrogating its duty.
As has frequently been said, our approach has two aspects. One is the exercise of an effective control on the 927 numbers who come to our shores, and measures were announced on 4th February this year to achieve this. We are awaiting the out-turn of the figures to decide whether there is a need to supplement these measures. This, it must be emphasised, is a domestic question of our own for which the Government and Parliament must accept responsibility, but we have always emphasised that we would wish as far as possible to carry Commonwealth approval and good will for measures which we in this country decide to adopt. We therefore await the advice and conclusions which we hope the Mountbatten mission will bring back with it on its return, we hope next month.
The other aspect of our policy is that directed to achieving the task of settling the new arrivals into our community as in every sense first-class citizens. It is to the achievement of this task that the Bill is directed. Basically, the Bill is concerned with public order. Overt acts of discrimination in public places, intensely wounding to the feelings of those against whom these acts are practised, perhaps in the presence of many onlookers, breed the ill will which, as the accumulative result of several such actions over a period, may disturb the peace.
Obviously, this second aspect of our policy must cover far wider fields than the preservation of the peace. It must range over the whole field of, for example, employment, housing, education and the general administration of the social services. In these wider fields the processes of conciliation on a more or less informal basis may have a role to play. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Economic Affairs is, of course, particularly concerned in these wider fields of this aspect of Government policy.
The Bill has, designedly, the more limited objective which I have described. It is intended to implement the specific statement in the Labour manifesto of our intention to legislate with regard to discrimination in public places and to incitement. It was this intention which was repeated in the Queen's Speech. It is for this reason that both with regard to the discrimination provisions contained in Clause 1 and the incitement provisions contained in Clauses 3 and 4, a criminal penalty is applied.
928 If the Bill had been intended to deal with the wider topics of employment and housing, sanctions of a different character would have been obviously more appropriate, possibly civil sanctions such as are made applicable in the United States and Canadian legislation which set up conciliation commissions and boards for dealing with discrimination in employment. Probably, however, completely informal conciliation processes would have been more acceptable to our way of thinking about such matters.
We have, naturally, given careful thought to the criticisms of the Bill contained in the Opposition Amendment, the first of which is that some form of conciliation process would have been more appropriate in the Bill than the criminal penalties proposed or, possibly, as an alternative to or as a preliminary to resort to a criminal court. This is a point of view which is shared by many hon. Members on both sides of the House and which has been repeated to me by some outside organisations and put forward by way of criticism of the Bill in the Press. We will take careful note of what is proposed in that regard in argument in this debate.
The Bill deals with every minority group of citizen in this country and what we may all say about and do to each other. We have chosen the wordscolour, race, or ethnic or national originswidely enough, we hope, to cover every possible minority group. In a Bill of this character, whilst the responsibility for the form in which it is presented to Parliament rests squarely on the Government, it is clearly desirable, if possible, and so far as possible, to win general assent to its terms both inside and outside Parliament.
When my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced our intention to introduce this legislation, the Leader of the Opposition stated that whilst he reserved the position of the Opposition until he had seen the Bill, nevertheless, in principle, the general objective of such legislation was acceptable.
Whilst the Opposition Amendment makes it clear that the Opposition do not approve the form of the Bill—and nobody would for one moment question their full right and duty to direct against it all criticisms that they think appropriate—nevertheless, I hope and believe 929 that I speak for every right hon. and hon. Member, in every part of the House, when I say that we would all be sorry to see a major party issue develop on the question how we treat the coloured minority of our fellow citizens, or, indeed, any minority, coloured or not.
That particular criticism I infer to be directed primarily against the discrimination provisions of Clause 1. I find it difficult to conceive of any conciliation processes as appropriate to the incitement provisions in Clauses 3 and 4. At any rate, on Clause 1 we will do our best to respond to the wish of the House as a whole. We will listen most closely to the arguments advanced in favour of the introduction of a conciliation process. If we feel that it is practicable and in the public interest, we will, either before or during the Committee stage, amend the Bill to give such effect as we feel able to the general wish of the House.
I need hardly say that while the Bill was in course of preparation, we gave careful consideration to possible alternatives, including conciliation, but on examining them we felt that there were serious difficulties in the way of their adoption. However, we are quite ready to try again.
The House will observe that Clause 1 deals only with discrimination in what are described as places "of public resort". The types of places of public resort are those listed in the definition contained in subsection (2). Clause 1 of the Bill makes it an offence, punishable on summary conviction by a fine of £50 for a first offence or of £100 for any subsequent offence, to practise discrimination on grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origin in any such places of public resort. Discrimination is to consist not only in refusing a person available facilities or services, but in neglecting to afford them or failing to afford them in the like manner and on the like terms as to other members of the public.
This will cover a variety of abuses short of outright exclusion which are known to have been practised in certain places such, for instance, as confining coloured people to a certain bar of a public house, seeking to deter them by overcharging or deliberate neglect or delay in serving them. No offence would be committed by anybody who turned away a coloured person 930 not because he was coloured, but, for example, because he was dirty, or obstreperous, or behaving in a manner likely to offend other customers.
Should a case of alleged discrimination come before the court, it would be for the magistrate to decide whether the prosecution, on whom the onus would rest, had proved as a fact that the real motive in turning the coloured person out was to keep coloured people as such out or whether the person concerned was kept out on account of a reason personal to him such as his behaviour.
As in nearly all other cases in which there is a criminal sanction, if the prosecution leaves any reasonable doubt as to what really was the intention of the person charged, he would be entitled to an acquittal. Obviously, however, if he had put up a notice in his window reading, "No coloureds wanted" a magistrate would be much more inclined to conclude, if it were shown that he had refused entry to a coloured person, that his real motive was simply to keep coloured people out, although, naturally, any other explanation which he offered would be listened to and carefully considered by the court.
The first group of places to which the Clause applies are hotels, restaurants, cafes, public houses and other places where food and drink are supplied for consumption on the premises. The definition of "hotel" has been adopted from the Hotel Proprietors Act, 1956, and is fully set out in subsection (5) of Clause 1. It will include the ordinary hotel or inn catering for transient guests while excluding premises, such as private hotels or boarding houses, which cater for long-term residents. Where, however, a boarding house or private hotel has a restaurant which is open to the public in general, that restaurant will be subject to the provisions.
The Clause also applies to theatres, cinemas, dance halls, sports grounds, swimming pools or other places of public entertainment or recreation, the test again being whether the place is open to the members of the public. It does not, therefore, apply to clubs. While certain clubs may indulge in discriminatory practices in the selection of their members, it is of the very nature of clubs to be selective, and the extension of the legislation to them would, therefore, be going much too far.
931 The whole point of Clause 1 is to prevent discrimination in places to which the public in general have resort and the amenities in which coloured persons, as members of the general public, may wish to enjoy. Any person who holds himself out as ready to provide such amenities to the public at large must include coloured persons as members of the public.
Also included areany premises, vehicle, vessel or aircraft used for the purposes of a regular service of public transport".This will apply to transport services operating a regular schedule as distinct from on charter, and to all public premises, such as waiting rooms, used for the purposes of those services.
The Clause should not cover taxis, but it is already an offence, under both the London and the provincial hackney carriage laws, for a taxi driver to refuse a hiring from whatever quarter without reasonable cause.
Finally, the Clause applies toany place of public resort maintained by a local authority or other public authority".This would include such places as museums, libraries and art galleries as well as, for example, municipal market places.
No prosecutions are to be instituted except by or on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions. I think that the House will agree that it is desirable that in matters of the kind dealt with by the Bill the law should be administered consistently throughout the country and that complaints of alleged offences should be carefully reviewed by a public authority to ensure that purely frivolous or provocative proceedings are not instituted. It would, in our view, for these reasons, not be right to leave the aggrieved person to bring a prosecution himself.
Moreover, the offence of discrimination is anti-social and contrary to public policy in general, and it follows that the prosecution should be a public one. It also follows, however, that the responsibilities of the police will be confined solely to investigating and reporting on complaints. They will not be implicated in decisions whether or not to institute proceedings.
§ Clause 2 of the Bill—
§ Mr. Antony Buck (Colchester)
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman 932 leaves Clause 1, I wonder whether he would help by perhaps telling us what his understanding is of the words.colour, race, or ethnic or national origins".I am in a difficulty about the word "ethnic". Taking the longer Oxford Dictionary definition of that word, it would seem to add nothing to the Clause. The word "national" does. People most learned in these matters, and certainly more than I am, advise me that the root of the word "ethnic" is such that "ethnic" adds nothing to the Clause. Perhaps the right hon. and learned Gentleman would advise me. I should be much obliged.
§ Sir F. Soskice
We have chosen that connotation of words to try to ensure that we include every possible minority group in the country, whether distinguished by origin which is loosely referred to as racial origin, whether distinguished by origin which one calls a national origin—say, German—or whether they come from an origin which does not neatly fall within either of those definitions—Cypriots, for example, Maltese, people of that sort. We hope, by the use of the word "ethnic", to cover everybody who is neither of a particular national origin nor of a particular racial origin but who would be distinguished by colour.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is now on a most important point indeed. Would he say whether the word "ethnic", in this connection, covers those British citizens who are of the Jewish faith, because it is widely held by many authorities that Jewish citizens are of British race and, therefore, would not be covered by this particular provision? What I would hope, therefore, is that the Home Secretary, as he is clarifying the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Buck), would deal with this, because this is a point which is puzzling a great many of us, since we consider that the Bill does not cover discrimination on grounds of religion.
§ Sir F. Soskice
It is certainly the intention of the Government that people of Jewish faith should be covered. The words have to be construed in law according to the ordinary canons of construction, as an ordinary person would read ordinary English language. I would 933 have thought a person of Jewish faith, if not regarded as caught by the word "racial" would undoubtedly be caught by the word "ethnic", but if not caught by the word "ethnic" would certainly be caught by the scope of the word "national", as certainly having a national origin. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] He would certainly have an origin which many people would describe as an ethnic if not a racial origin.
§ Mr. Braine
I know that this is a difficult point, but this is the first time I have ever heard any citizens of this country who profess the Jewish religion being described as of an ethnic group separate from the nationals of the United Kingdom. This a very important point, and I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman really will clarify it.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I certainly accept that this is a very important point, but whatever the religion a person professes, whether the Jewish religion or any other religion, that person also has some origin. It may be purely a national origin. It may be that he has an English origin, many centuries back. He may be a person of foreign origin. But the word "national" would cover him. Or he might be of an origin which ordinary people in ordinary English parlance might describe as of a particular ethnic origin. Whatever his religion may be, he must also have some blood origin, and my advice is, and certainly our intention is, that the words we have chosen, which can, I agree, be re-examined in Committee, are clearly wide enough to cover persons from whatever origin they may derive.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne) rose—
§ Sir F. Soskice
I hope I may be allowed to continue, as this is quite a long Bill, and I have quite a long speech to make. Obviously, these matters can be most closely examined in Committee. I hope that hon. Members will now allow me to proceed.
I come to Clause 2 of the Bill. This deals with discriminatory covenants in leases, and is the only one of the Bill's provisions which affects the civil rights of parties to a contract. Unlike the other Clauses, it does not impose any criminal sanction. In effect, although the Clause 934 is somewhat complicated, it makes such covenants unenforceable in law. Covenants against assignment or subletting to coloured persons or persons of a particular origin are, in effect, a form of racial discrimination, but, apart from this, experience shows that social strains tend to develop, as the House knows, where there are large concentrations of coloured people in large towns and cities, and so far as possible coloured immigrants should be enabled to disperse themselves throughout the community instead of congregating together.
Covenants against assignment and subletting to them in, for example, large blocks of flats may make it more difficult for them to move out of the areas where they are concentrated, and if evasion is to be prevented it is not enough to deal with this only; but it is necessary also to deal with circumstances in which discrimination which may be practised under cover of the more usual and perfectly legitimate form of stipulation against assignment or sub-letting without the landlord's consent.
The Clause works as follows. It is already provided in Section 19(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1927, that where consent to an assignment or subletting is required it shall not be unreasonably withheld. Clause 2 provides that the refusal of consent on the grounds of colour, race or ethnic or national origin is to be treated as unreasonable. It may well be that in any event the existing law would, if suitably tested in the courts, produce the same result, but, in the absence of any clear judicial authority, the Government have thought it right to include this provision in the Bill so as to put the matter beyond all doubt.
The Clause will apply to tenancies of all types of property, not merely residential. But the proviso to subsection (1) excepts from the provision tenancies of part of a dwellinghouse in which the landlord lives and where the use of any accommodation—other than means of access such as halls, stairways, and so on—either inside the building or outside is shared between the landlord and the tenant.
Thus, for example, it will not apply to the case of a widow who, to supplement her pension, lets off part of her 935 home, sharing the bathroom or the garden with her tenant. In such circumstances it would not be conducive to good relations between the occupants of the building to over-ride the personal wishes of the landlord, and a provision purporting to do so would, in the Government's view, unduly inhibit the freedom of private choice. Whether or not this exception applies will depend on the circumstances at the time when consent to the assignment of the tenancy is sought.
Subsection (2) has the effect of converting any covenant which purports to prohibit the disposal of leasehold property by reference to colour, race, or ethnic or national origin into a covenant requiring the landlord's consent to such an assignment, so bringing it within the operation of the main part of the Clause and of the proviso to it.
It is necessary to proceed in this way because merely to annul the offending stipulation might leave a hiatus in the lease, and in some cases could have the unforeseen effect of depriving the landlord of all right to withdraw consent to assignment to a coloured person even on perfectly reasonable grounds, for example, that he was an undischarged bankrupt.
The Clause follows the precedent of Section 19 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1927, in applying to existing, as well as to future, leases, but it could not be said to have retrospective effect in any true sense, as it operates only in respect of future dealings with the property. In so far as the Clause may be merely declaratory of the existing law, it would be inappropriate to limit its operation to leases made after the passing of the Bill.
Clauses 3 and 4 deal with incitement. In framing them the Government set out to achieve two purposes. First, to make them effective, and, second, to avoid any entrenchment on the legitimate scope of free discussion and debate. I shall deal with each aspect in turn.
Clause 4, if I may take that first, in effect does little more than make certain that the existing Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, applies to the dissemination in public places of pamphlets or other noisome literature. Section 5 of the Public Order Act, in its present 936 unamended form, makes it an offence, if I may summarise its effect, to use "words or behaviour" at a public meeting or in a public place which are "threatening, abusive or insulting" either with the intention of creating a breach of the peace, or in circumstances likely to create a breach of the peace, whether or not there is an actual intention to do so.
It has, hitherto, not been clear whether the dissemination of written material in a public place would be covered or not. Such dissemination may take various forms. It can consist in the distribution of objectionable pamphlets, the posting of offensive notices in public places, or, indeed, the carrying and waving of banners with objectionable inscriptions on them.
I think that I am right in saying that the right hon. and learned Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir J. Hobson) is on record in the House as having argued that, in any event, Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, in its present form would cover and prohibit activities of this kind. I understand it to be his view that the word "behaviour" in the expression "words or behaviour" in Section 5 would apply to these activities. The Government felt, however, that it would be desirable to put the matter beyond doubt, and this is the reason for the amendment to Section 5 of the 1936 Act which is proposed in Clause 4.
The Opposition Amendment criticises the Bill on two grounds. The first, that no conciliation machinery is provided for in the Bill, I have already dealt with. The second, on which I should like to comment now, is that it unduly trenches on freedom of discussion. Whether or not such criticism can appropriately be levied against Clause 3 —I should like to say something on this when I deal with this Clause—it is submitted that it cannot conceivably properly be levelled against Clause 4.
Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, has, with general acceptance, been part of our statute law for 29 years. Clause 4 clarifies its scope, probably not enlarging it. It was for question when the Bill was in course of preparation whether it would have been adequate for the achievement of our purpose 937 simply to make the change which by Clause 4 we seek to make in Section 5 of the 1936 Act. We came clearly to the conclusion that it would not.
It is easy enough to prove the essential ingredient of the offence that there should be a likelihood of a breach of the peace when at a public meeting a speaker is addressing an audience in terms which excites its resentment. Experience has shown that for this purpose Section 5 is very effective. It would, we think, often be extremely difficult to prove affirmatively the existence of such a likelihood when the behaviour in question is the dissemination of literature in circumstances in which it certainly should be possible to invoke provisions of the law such as those contained in Section 5, for example, when, perhaps after dark, leaflets are left lying about in large numbers in public places, or pamphlets are distributed in large numbers when few people are about. Certainly, in some cases it will be possible when written propaganda is publicly distributed to prove such a likelihood, and Section 5 as amended by Clause 4 will be effective.
But in many cases of the type that I have instanced it might well be found to be ineffective, and we have, therefore, included Clause 3. The offence created by this Clause requires the presence of a number of features. The words spoken or written matter disseminated must, as in the case of Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, be on what I may loosely call a public occasion. The Clause has no application to what is said or written to each other by members of some private body, for example, a political association. The Clause applies only when they utter the words or distribute the written propaganda outside to the public.
Secondly, the propaganda must be in terms which are threatening, abusive or insulting—again the language of Section 5 of the 1936 Act. Thirdly—and this I submit is of great importance—the propaganda must be disseminated with an actual intention of stirring up hatred against a section of the public in Great Britain, distinguished by colour, race or ethnic or national origin. Finally, the language used must, in fact, be likely to stir up hatred against them on grounds of their colour, race or ethnic or national origin.
§ Mr. David Ennals (Dover)
If material of the kind to which my right hon. and learned Friend has referred is distributed widely through the post, will it come within the provisions of this Clause?
§ Sir F. Soskice
It would be a question of fact. The critical question would be the intention of the person who sent it. It certainly could come within the scope of the Clause.
If I may continue, I would earnestly ask those who entertain sincere anxieties as to whether this involves an unjustifiable infringement of the liberty of free discussion to consider again whether their anxieties are justified. What is the loss of liberty they fear? I know that they will accept it from me that I do not mean this provocatively. Is it other than the loss of liberty by the use of outrageous language, not privately but publicly, to seek to stir up actual hatred against mostly completely harmless groups of people in this country for something they cannot possibly help, namely, their origin?
I do not believe that if, as I hope, I have fairly stated the position, hon. and right hon. Members should entertain those anxieties. I completely respect their sincerity. But would they on reflection, really wish to retain such a liberty in so far as the existing law allows it? I am positively certain that there is no hon. Member of the House who would dream of wishing to exercise it. I said in so far as it is allowed under existing law.
Our common law, as interpreted in his summing-up to the jury in the well-known Caunt case by the late Lord Birkett, provides that to seek to promote violence by stirring up hostility or ill-will between classes of Her Majesty's subjects is a serious criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. The common law offence requires an intention to stir up disorder. When hatred has been stirred up history, unfortunately, shows only too clearly that violence and disorder are probably not far away.
Clause 3 substitutes an intention to stir up hatred for an intention to stir up disorder. That is far from a momentous change. As I have pointed out, in any event, Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, does not require for the commission of a criminal offence an actual intention to stir up disorder. It 939 is sufficient under Section 5, though there may be a complete absence of any such intent, if there is no more than a likelihood of a breach of the peace. That, I put it, is a far more radical departure from the principle of the common law than we have made in substituting an intention to stir up hatred or an intention to stir up disorder.
This Clause will in no sense inhibit private discussion. It will not inhibit public discussion, but what it forbids is public abuse motivated by an actual intent to incite to hatred, abuse likely to stir up hatred on account of something which nobody can help, his origin.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
On that point, does the right hon. and learned Gentleman not recognise that this particular matter is absolutely plain? Hatred is not in any way linked whatsoever to the creation of a breach of the peace or a public disorder. Clause 3 does not relate to them at all. The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to them being likely to stir up hatred, but says nothing whatever as to whether there was any likelihood of a breach of the peace. That is what is wrong with it.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I am sorry that I cannot have made myself at all clear. I have been trying to point out that under the existing statute law, which has been on our Statute Book for 29 years, with the approval of Parliament, an offence may be committed if there is no intention whatever to create a breach of the peace. There may be a complete absence of any such intention, but all that is requisite is that there should, in fact, be a likelihood.
What we have done in Clause 3 is to substitute for the likelihood of creating a breach of the peace an actual, positive intention to stir up hatred. I would respectfully submit that in so doing, we have come closer to the common law than Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936, and that it really is unarguable—and I put this with all sincerity and without any desire to create offence—that we have trenched upon what can reasonably be said to be the province of discussion and debate in our country.
It is for the House to judge, and I hope that they will feel convinced that 940 the Government have really not gone beyond what is legitimate and proper and that we cannot hope to achieve the purpose we have in mind and which everybody in this House has in mind without some legislation such as Clause 3. Both common law and Section 5 of the Public Order Act prohibit the propaganda to which they apply even if such propaganda is in no sense directed against the victim's origin, but is directed wholly to what he does or says, to his behaviour in general, for example, the religion he professes, the activities in which he engages. It is worth noting that in this regard both the common law and Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936 are markedly wider in scope and more restrictive than Clause 3 of the present Bill.
It is indeed for question whether, so far from unjustifiably trenching upon free discussion, Clause 3 will be effective to scotch the mischief against what it is aimed. It has been argued that it would be easy for a person whose real intention was to foment race hatred to camouflage his propaganda by dressing it up to bear the guise of reasonable or even prejudiced criticism of alleged conduct or even alleged religious beliefs attributed to individual minority groups. Of course, if his real intention is no more than to criticise and call public attention to such conduct or beliefs Clause 3 will not prevent him from doing so, nor should it. Such criticism should be allowed, however jaundiced and one-sided it may be.
What Clause 3 prohibits is the intentional fomentation of hatred by public abuse and if is the real intention of the propagandist, no matter how he may seek to disguise his intent, he offends against the Clause. Nobody can be prevented from arguing, for example, that particular groups should be returned to their country of origin because their presence in this country causes an excessive strain on our social services. What is prohibited by Clause 3 is the intentional fomentation of hatred of that group, as a group, because of the origin of its members by public abuse, however camouflaged as motivated by a sincere intention dishonestly simulated, to promote discussion of the public interest.
In practice, if a case were brought before the court, I do not believe that 941 the judge and jury would have any real difficulty in deciding what really was the intention of the person charged. The nature, virulence and persistence of the propaganda, the methods by which and the circumstances in which it was conducted, would, I think, ordinarily afford the clearest pointers to the court as to what really had been the accused person's intent.
Again, as in all criminal cases, if the prosecution left a doubt in the minds of the jury as to what was really his intent an acquittal must necessarily follow. Cases of far greater difficulty, turning upon questions of the intent of accused persons, day in and day out come before our criminal courts, and, in practice, judges and juries have little difficulty in pronouncing upon them. In nearly all these cases the accused's intent is a simple question of fact, and juries are there to decide such questions. We are convinced that the Clause will be effective for the type of case for which it is devised.
The Clause is designed to deal with more dangerous, persistent and insidious forms of propaganda campaigns—the campaign which, over a period of time engenders the hate which begets violence. That is why the penalties are substantially greater than those in Section 5 of the Public Order Act. That is why, also, no prosecution can take place except by or with the consent of the Attorney-General. We are confident that it will be entirely effective for its purpose and that it is necessary to achieve that purpose.
I have only one short comment on Clause 5, and that is that, as the House will see, the Bill does not apply to Northern Ireland. There is a clear reason for this. It is a well-recognised constitutional convention that Parliament at Westminster does not legislate in respect of matters within the competence of the Parliament at Stormont except at the request and with the agreement of the Government of Northern Ireland. In the case of this Bill that agreement has not been forthcoming.
§ Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas (Chelmsford)
In view of the widespread religious and ethnic prejudice in Northern Ireland, both from Catholics against Protestants and from Protestants against Catholics, would this not be a case for breaching 942 the conventional usage? Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that in the present situation in Northern Ireland he is extremely unlikely to be asked to legislate on the subject of intolerance.
§ Sir F. Soskice
It would be inappropriate in this debate to discuss a topic affecting Northern Ireland with which the Bill does not purport to deal. It is to be observed that religion is within the scope of Clause 4 and not Clause 3. In Northern Ireland it is a problem of religion rather than of ethnic or national origin. I do not want to add more than that.
§ Mr. Bernard Floud (Acton)
I am not quite sure whether I got my right hon. and learned Friend's meaning. Did he say that the views of the Northern Ireland Government had been sought on this matter and that they did not wish this legislation to apply to Northern Ireland, or that their views had not been sought at all?
§ Sir F. Soskice
Their views have been sought, and they do not wish the Bill to apply to Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. R. Chichester-Clark (Londonderry)
Is it not a fact that Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom which already has in-built statutory safeguards against religious discrimination? [Laughter.] Oh, yes. Section 5 (1) of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, prohibits them from making any law which, directly or indirectly, gives any preference, privilege or advantage or imposes any disability or disadvantage on account of religious belief, and Section 8 follows on. I believe these safeguards to be completely adequate.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Dr. Horace King)
Order. This intervention is becoming suspiciously like a speech.
§ Sir F. Soskice
It will be seen that I was wise to suggest that the House should not carry on a discussion of Northern Ireland within the compass of the Bill.
We are convinced that, faced with the problem of a large coloured immigrant minority, it is far better to put this Bill on the Statute Book now, before social stresses and have the chance of corrupting and distorting our relationships. This is a transitional period when the new arrivals are settling in. It is 943 bound to bring its own difficulties. But when, as we all hope, this period has passed happily over, we must contrive to live amicably together and with mutual respect.
The new arrivals are harmless, friendly people, and should be so treated. They have brought us their skills and labour, which we badly need in the building up of our economy and the development of our own national life. Parliament should now lay down the conditions for real future co-operation, and not step lamely in afterwards if should be fomented by evilly-disposed persons.
Children of all races—one has only to look at any school—mix and play happily together. It is only in later years that they may be subjected to influences which make for unhappy relationships. It is to prevent the possibility, at the outset, of these influences getting under way, that we commend the Bill to the House.
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Thorneycroft (Monmouth)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:this House deplores discrimination whether on racial or religious grounds but declines to give a second reading to a Bill which introduces criminal sanctions into a field more appropriate to conciliation and the encouragement of fair employment practices while also importing a new principle into the law affecting freedom of speech.I realise that in the moderate and fair speech with which the Home Secretary introduced the Bill he talked, in part, of a possibly different sort of Bill which, instead of importing criminality into the solution of these problems, dealt with conciliation. I shall refer to what he said about that, but in the main hon. Members must consider the Bill which is before the House. It is to that that I shall direct my remarks.
This is a subject which, of its nature, tends to be explosive. It is certainly one which it behoves hon. Members on both sides to deal with with restraint and moderation. Not long ago we had a debate in which we advanced these matters a little way; certainly, no bitterness was imported into our discussions. I want to address my mind to these matters in a manner which, so far as possible, is conciliatory, but I am bound 944 to tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman that in some degree the situation has deteriorated since we had the last debate.
In that debate my hon. Friends and I made the policy of the Conservative Party quite plain. Since the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the broader issue, I also want to touch upon it for a moment. Our policy was, on the one hand, to ensure a drastic reduction in the importation of new male immigrants into this country and, on the other, to do everything that was possible or open to us, as a country, to facilitate the absorption of these new immigrant communities into our community as a whole.
Since then, the First Secretary has not advanced these matters very far. He said—the right hon. Gentleman was referring to his policy—It is absolutely mad, at a time when our labour force is allegedly over-used and when our new labour force is going to rise only slightly, that we should be talking about limiting the number of people who can be used. It does not make any sense.This country, in the 1960s, needs new people coming in to share in the work as much as we ever needed it. Scratch any one of us and you will find an immigrant not too far down. We have always needed them.I have no wish to scratch the First Secretary, but if that was the policy of Her Majesty's Government—
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Not until I have finished what I have to say on this subject.
If that represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government, I must tell the Home Secretary that we shall oppose it by every means open to us. While I listen with care to the more conciliatory statements which he made on this topic, even at this moment, London Transport is getting A vouchers at the rate of 1,000 a year—London Transport alone. Other industries and occupations are being treated in a similar way. Therefore, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will weigh carefully that aspect of the subject. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak to the Bill."] The right hon. Gentleman referred to these aims, so I am entitled to speak of them.
§ The second—945
§ Mr. Ennals
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Would not he agree that it was perfectly clear, in the statement made by the First Secretary, that he was talking about skilled people and not referring to any unlimited entry, and that this was perfectly in line with the statement made by the Government in the last debate on this subject?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
What the First Secretary said was perfectly plain. He was arguing for the large-scale entry of workers into the country, which is a policy which we resist and with which we disagree.
The second point which the right hon. Gentleman made was that of absorption, and on that we argued in the last debate for conciliation. A number of speeches from this side of the House put this forward as the best method of approach. Instead of that, we have a Bill which deals with discrimination on the basis of widening the frontiers of criminality. If the right hon. Gentleman wants support from this side of the House, he will have to move a great deal closer to our position before he gets it.
I do not believe that the Bill's approach is the right one. The British people can be led, but they cannot be driven. To have one of Her Majesty's principal Ministers—a Minister in charge of a Department which is responsible in some degree for the co-ordination of these policies—talking in the country about the benefit of large-scale immigration, and, at the same time, policies produced in the House of Commons which extend the area of criminality and apply them to the people of this country, is not the right approach to the problem.
I say this as someone who is anxious to co-operate in this matter—
§ Mr. Donald Chapman (Birmingham, Northfield)
Some hon. Members opposite, but not the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
The provisions of the Bill, and its essence, are to extend the frontiers of criminality. It creates a number of new criminal offences. I am not saying at this Box that it is always wrong for the Home Secretary of the day to extend the frontiers of criminality. Indeed, looking at the many problems which confront him now—the crime wave, the struggles of the police, in which 946 we all wish them well, in grappling with an enormous problem, juvenile delinquency and the rest—to say that he could not come to the Dispatch Box and talk about widening the frontiers of criminality would be nonsense. Of course he can. But this is a very remarkable choice of subject to start with.
The Times, I think, set out rather well what onus rested on a Home Secretary introducing a Bill of this character. It said:Any Bill which would add to the calendar of crimes must survive a triple interrogation. Is the mischief at which it is directed so large as to justify an extension of the criminal law?That is the first point.Is the proposed law likely to hit its target?That is the second.Is it reasonably free from unintended consequences which might be troublesome or dangerous in the future? At first inspection the Bill fails to meet these conditions.On even closer inspection, it does not quite match up to them.
Are these potential crimes so widespread? The right hon. and learned Gentleman produced little evidence of them. If one studies the kindly, sensible British people as a whole, one will find instances—we all know of them, in a public house somewhere or another—but in his speech he produced precious little evidence to the House that the instances were so widespread as to justify an important change in the criminal law. What about the target at which he was aiming? It is a remarkably narrow area, a remarkably narrow area.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I hope that hon. Members will try to listen. These are important matters, which affect millions of our fellow countrymen and thousands of coloured immigrants. I would ask the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) not to giggle quite so much and to try to listen.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is tackling a very narrow area of discrimination. If one asks those with any knowledge of the subject what the areas are, they will say that the most important are employment and housing. By the Bill, these are excluded. The club is excluded. The Smethwick Labour Club, or Boodle's, 947 or any other club will be just as free as they were before the Bill. The question of jobs is left completely aside. Yet if one asks any group of coloured immigrants, one will find that they are concerned with getting a job or with getting promotion within the job. These are the matters which cause them some concern. The boarding house is completely out of this. The council house is completely out of it. So is the shop. This is the extreme outer edge of the target at which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is aiming.
Not only does he not produce much of a case for saying that the instances are at all widespread, but even the area on which he is operating is remarkably narrow. Yet, for this narrow range, he imports the whole machinery of the English criminal law. The Director of Public Prosecutions is to be brought forward—
§ Mr. Paul B. Rose (Manchester, Blackley) rose—
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I shall give way when I have finished with this aspect.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman asks the already overworked police force to go round making inquiries and investigations in a matter which I may say—I think that he will agree—is not the easiest field for the police force to operate in. I do not expect that they will welcome the idea of being imported into this new area of activity. They have a great deal else to do. Yet they are to be brought in. It does not suffice for him to say that they will not be bringing the prosecution. They will have to make the report and the inquiries and to examine both sides, ask all the questions and then make some kind of a report and a recommendation to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I can see that the hon. Gentleman has not understood my remarks. I shall come to my recommendations in a few moments—
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
If I understood the right hon. Gentleman aright, he seemed to say that he did not think that the Home Secretary made out a case for bringing in a Bill like this 948 because cases of racial discrimination were few and far between. He then said that the Bill would affect millions of people in this country. Does he mean that there will be very many people who will breach the Bill? Which does he mean? He cannot mean both.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
That is a smart question. I can only say to any representative of the Liberal Party that any Bill that extends the frontiers of the criminal law can properly be described by anyone who has any liberal instincts left in him as affecting millions of our people —[Interruption.] I must tell the Home Secretary that I believe that this is a completely wrong approach. This attempt to import the taint of criminality into this aspect of our affairs will not work.
I am not alone in saying that. Virtually every responsible body that the Home Secretary has consulted must have said the same thing to him. All experience shows that this will not work. He must have studied, as I and my right hon. Friends have studied, the practice in the United States of America. Everyone will tell him, if he will ask, or if his officials will ask, that it will not work in the United States of America. We have rather a good test case there, because some of the States have applied the criminal solution and others have adopted the conciliation method. Where they have adopted conciliation, it has, on the whole, worked not too badly; where they have tried the criminal approach, it has not worked at all, or practically not at all—
§ Dr. David Kerr (Wandsworth, Central) rose—
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
No—not until I have finished. I like to finish what I am saying, and then I gladly give way.
The criminal approach will not work because, to start with, people are very loath to bring a prosecution at all. I do not blame them—it is a difficult sort of case. It may often do much more harm than good. It will not work, either, because if it is brought forward it generally produces only a platform from which some very ill-considered and misjudged opinions can be spoken by those against whom the prosecution is brought.
Why, in those circumstances, press on with the criminal solution? Why did 949 the Home Secretary not earlier give proper, or fuller, consideration to conciliation as a method? It is all very well coming to the House of Commons at 3.45 on a Monday afternoon to announce that he thinks that, on the whole, he might try conciliation as a method, but it is a quite extraordinary way to approach the Second Reading of a Bill such as this. It really is a remarkable way to treat the House. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman has some machinery and methods for concilation that have been worked out—and he has all the resources of the Home Office and of the Government at his disposal—surely the House is entitled to know what they are. What he has said so far is of the most vague and limited character.
I see that the Daily Express says:Against the advice of Home Office officials, who believed it was impracticable 'to legislate for conciliation,' Mr. Wilson told Sir Frank to make the changes. Supporters of the Home Secretary say that Mr. Wilson's ruling makes nonsense of the original Bill.I think it quite possible that the authors are right. It is difficult to put these two together.
The article goes on, and this is the only information we have:Offenders—such as a restaurant owner who refuses to serve a coloured man—will be taken before conciliation officers.Attempts will then be made to persuade the offenders to change their colour-bar policy. Only if these fail will prosecutions follow.I would ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, with his experience of the law, to think most carefully before embarking on any proceedings of that character.
The idea that someone should be brought before a board and attempts made to persuade him to take a particular attitude, with the criminal law then in the background, will lead to very considerable difficulties. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman has studied these matters—as I am sure he has, or will—he will find that in countries where this type of approach has been tried a clear distinction is made between the criminal solution, on the one hand, and the civil, or conciliation—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If hon. Members opposite will just listen, they may be able to ask with more point such questions as they have—or conciliation on the other.
950 I do not mean conciliation without teeth. I do not say that. I am sure, however, that it will be found that where this has been tried—and I beg those who argue for conciliation to make a little study of the subject—where the conciliation method has been tried, it is generally through the civil court that it is attempted. The Home Secretary, indeed, made some reference to that in relation to employment, and the like.
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman has some proposals for conciliation, we will, naturally, look at them, but it will be a condition of our looking at them that the taint of criminality is removed. He must choose between the two; either conciliation—supplied, if he thinks it necessary, with teeth through the civil proceedings, as has been attempted in a number of States in the United States of America—or the criminal law. That is his choice. But it is no good suggesting to the House of Commons which choice to make on the day on which he is commending to the House the Second Reading of a Bill that deals with criminality and criminality alone.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams (Hitchin)
If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth has come to the end of his prolonged sentence, I wonder whether he would consider the fact that the United States, and notably in New York, conciliation procedure is backed up by a procedure under which a case can be brought before the courts, and an injunction can be obtained, with substantial penalties if not obeyed. Does the right hon. Gentleman want to try to create such a system in this country, in which a conciliation procedure is backed up by the courts, as many of us on both sides of the House desire, or does he merely want to shoot this whole concept down in flames?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
That is a fair question.
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman came forward with a procedure for conciliation with enforcement in the civil courts, I would look at it very sympathetically, but it would be a condition that he dropped the criminal solution. A clear choice must be made by the Home Secretary as to whether he does it through the criminal or the civil courts. That is a perfectly fair point to put to the Home Secretary.
951 I therefore ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether he will consider these matters, and discuss them with his colleagues and officials. If he has a proposal to put forward, a solid, worthwhile proposal on conciliation, we will certainly give an undertaking to consider it, and to consider it sympathetically. What we cannot do is to agree to giving a Second Reading to a Bill which, without any reference to conciliation at all, relies solely and exclusively on extending the frontiers of criminality to drive through measures that we think are entirely out of place.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman
I was interested in hearing the right hon. Gentleman say that he and his hon. Friends would be prepared to give consideration to conciliation proposals, but if he prefers conciliation to be used apart from the criminal law, which is the point he makes, does he think that such a thing as incitement to race hatred could be dealt with by a conciliation process without any sanction at all?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
No, nor do I say so in our Amendment. I shall come to that aspect of my remarks in due time. That is a quite separate point. I have now concluded what I have to say about the Clause, which deals with the question which is concerned with conciliation and the rest. I pass to quite different matters. I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention.
There are two Clauses with which I will deal shortly before coming on to the other main matter. One of them is Clause 4, which is, in a sense, irrelevant to the Bill. It has nothing about race, colour or ethnic origin in it. It is merely an adaptation or extension of the Public Order Act, 1936. I tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman that I take no particular exception to those proposals. If it is thought that "behaviour" does not cover the display of posters, and the rest, and that it is necessary to amend the law, we should not part company with the Home Secretary on that.
The second is Clause 2, which is a remarkable Clause. It takes from the whole field of public and private houses, lodging houses, flats—the whole lot—one isolated possible instance, a licence to sub-let. It produces the remarkable 952 proposition that, while in no circumstances should a landlord be asked to share a bathroom with a Pakistani, he can make his tenants do so. That is what the Clause does. It is a most astonishing bit of legislation. A Clause which produces that result in its proviso requires close examination. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) is getting into the habit of interrupting from a sedentary position without making any attempt to intervene in the conventional manner. I must ask him not to do so.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I am obliged, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.
Apart from the flaws in the Clause itself, which are remarkable, and apart from the nature of the proviso, I have the very gravest doubt whether the Clause will have any effect whatever, because I would judge that in all cases that come before the courts quite different reasons would be adduced by any landlord as to why permission to sub-let had not been granted. However, these are matters which can be dealt with in fuller detail in Committee if the Bill is accorded a Second Reading.
I want to address the remainder of my remarks to what I regard as the other main provision of the Bill, which is Clause 3, which deals with the question of incitement. This goes beyond the question of race and colour. It touches upon matters concerned with the freedom of speech, as the Home Secretary conceded, for he addressed a good deal of his remarks to this question. I share the detestation which, I should think, is felt by every hon. Member of those who abuse others, either because of their colour or of their race or, for that matter, of their religion, though I agree with the Home Secretary that it is very difficult to extend this law to deal with religion. I share his detestation of those matters.
We should be careful how we amend the law affecting what people have a right to say. Free speech does not consist in allowing the Leader of the Liberal Party to wander up and down the country saying what he thinks. It is something more than that.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Free speech, throughout the history of this country, has consisted in allowing people whom the majority of their fellow citizens considered to be very evil, or, at any rate, very misguided, to say things which that majority thought were very wrong, or evil, or misguided. That is what free speech is about. We certainly want to be careful before we alter the law in regard to it.
I want to say this about the law as it stands today. I hold no pretension to being a lawyer, although I have the honour to be a member of the Inner Temple. I quote the law as it is today in Section 5 of the Public Order Act, 1936:Any person who in any public place or at any public meeting uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or whereby a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned, shall be guilty of an offence.There is no need—I want to emphasise this, because, though the Home Secretary said it, it is precious little understood—for a breach of the peace to take place. It is necessary only for one to be intended or even to be likely to happen.
Under the Public Order Act and, indeed, under the common law, which deals with it on the basis of disorder rather than a breach of the peace, very many rough things are said. Let anybody go to Speakers' Corner, at Marble Arch, on any Sunday, and he will find blacks saying things about whites and whites saying things about blacks, others saying things about landlords, and Socialists saying things about Conservatives and vice versa. Very rough things are said all round. However, on balance, we in this country think it right that up till just the point where they are likely or intended to cause a breach of the peace people should be allowed to say what they want to say.
It was under that law that Jordan was convicted. It was under that law that Jordan was sent to prison. The Lord Chief Justice explained in language which is now an authority on this matter just why Jordan ought to go to prison.
954 What is it that we want to do to alter the law on all this? The Home Secretary should not underestimate what he is doing. He is saying:A person shall be guilty of an offence … if, with intent to stir up hatred against any section of the public in Great Britain distinguished by colour, race, or ethnic or national origins—In other words, it is the effect of the words, and not the result of the words, in the likelihood to cause a breach of the peace or public disorder or anything of that kind.
being matter or words likely to stir up hatred …
- (a) he publishes or distributes written matter which is threatening, abusive or insulting; or
- (b) he uses in any public place or at any public meeting words which are threatening, abusive or insulting,
Some very rude things have been said about race:Taffy was a WelshmanTaffy was a thief.The right hon. and learned Gentleman and I would disapprove of those words. Shylock was not a very well-liked representation of a Jewish moneylender. Another classic example was Fagin, in "Oliver Twist". Some things which have been bitterly disliked by some people have even found their way into the classics of English literature.
"Yanks go home" could still be chalked on an airfield in East Anglia and the Home Secretary might say, "We would not prosecute in a case like that". What would happen if "Blacks go home" were chalked up on a wall in Marshall Street? The Home Secretary says that it would not be this, or it would not be that. At some stage the Attorney-General must make a decision on this. And it has to be both ways. It cannot be one law for the blacks and one law for the whites.
I am not here concerned with legal nicety. I am concerned with something deeper in the law of England. I ask the Home Secretary to remember that the history of the loss of freedom of speech throughout the West is studded with examples of Governments who have twisted their statute law to catch a wretched creature like Jordan. This is the way to lose one's freedom of speech.
This is the incentive that takes away the right to freedom. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to ponder 955 very carefully whether the advantages in this case are such as to outweigh the perils. In the circumstances, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will see that it is very difficult for us to support the Second Reading of the Bill. The field that it covers in the case of discrimination is so narrow as to be almost irrelevant. It extends the fringes of the criminal law in an area where the application of the criminal law is, in our judgment, likely to be wholly ineffective in any event, and in that I think that we are supported by almost everyone who has studied these problems. It impinges to some extent, at any rate, upon the principles of free speech, which is something which we should all regard with considerable jealousy, on whatever side of the House we sit.
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman would be able to say that it is his intention drastically to curtail the new immigration into this country, if he were to say that he would withdraw the Bill and really give his mind to working out conciliation procedure and come before the House of Commons with a conciliation procedure properly worked out, we would give it the most sympathetic and careful study. We would desire to do everything we could to help. But if his intention on immigration is to go along with what the First Secretary has said, and his intention on the Bill is to maintain the taint of criminality against the kindly, just and wise British people, we shall oppose him by every method open to us.
§ 5.12 p.m.
§ Sir Barnett Janner (Leicester, North-West)
I make no apology, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for having attempted to catch your eye early in the debate, because perhaps I can speak with a certain amount of experience on this topic which is not available to every hon. Member, and in the hope that some hon. Members who, up to now, have considered whether they should support the Amendment will be influenced to change their minds by thinking a little longer about what would be the effect of such action.
I should like to congratulate the Home Secretary and the Government on introducing the Bill. It is a very important Measure. It deals with an important issue, the preservation of and respect 956 for human rights, and undoubtedly will result in reducing the grave dangers—I emphasise "grave dangers", because I am talking of provocative measures—which lie in the gross abuse of freedom of speech and freedom of the written word by those who would themselves prohibit the exercise of any such freedom.
I hope that hon. Members will realise that we are dealing today with an important issue. This does not mean that the Bill cannot be improved by Amendments in Committee. As the Home Secretary himself has said, these can and should be dealt with then, although I feel sure that in the debate the Government will continue to welcome any indication of what hon. Members want to be added to, or altered in, the Bill before it becomes an Act.
No doubt, a large number of hon. Members wish to participate in the debate and I shall not trespass on the indulgence of the House by speaking on all the points that I would like to deal with, at this stage, but, in view of the special knowledge, to which I have referred, of some of the evils which the Bill proposes to remove, I know that the House will bear with me whilst I speak about these for a short time.
I am sure that I share a strong feeling of grief with hon. Members on both sides of the House that it was our lot to witness the sinking of millions into the slough of unbelievable sub-human—lower than bestial—attacks upon human beings. I ask the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) to be good enough to bear with me. This is not the first occasion on which I have referred to this matter, for I had to refer to it about 30 years ago. This situation was made possible then by special propaganda created by a diabolical machine which no sane person could have believed possible at any time, leave alone in this age.
The Weimar Republic in Germany, under the plea that freedoms must be respected, took no heed of the vile abuses and the principles or the lack of principles of those who were exercising them. Thus the biggest disaster—I speak categorically about this—which has befallen the world, civilised or uncivilised, gained impetus and became a grim reality.
957 The House will remember that because of this propaganda, which had not been stopped by the Weimar Republic, on the ground that the freedoms would be violated, children were cruelly tortured in the presence of their own helpless parents. Its filthy-minded rulers devised horrific and sadistic practices against human beings which were infinitely worse than any of the most obscene and horrifying stories which have been produced by some unfortunate writers of fiction. Yet this could have been prevented if the world had not accepted the abuses as being within the meaning of "freedom" which it rightfully desired to preserve.
The right hon. Gentleman dealt with this point towards the end of his speech and I beg of him to consider that this situation was not created by a large number of people in the first instance. It was created by a handful of people—psychopaths, perhaps—who, nevertheless, were able, by means of this vicious propaganda, to influence even so-called civilised and cultured people into doing what nobody would have believed possible at the time.
Grave warnings were issued by the late Sir Winston Churchill and others who tried to bring this message home in the early days of the Hitler régime. In my own humble way I referred to it on a number of occasions in the House when propaganda similar to that which is being spread by neo-Nazis today in our own country and elsewhere was being used by the monster Hitler and his followers. Let me quote from a speech I made 30 years ago in the House. It is very similar to what was said by the late Sir Winston Churchill and others who saw the dangers ahead.The 'Stürmer' Press is rousing flaming passions and hatred in its readers by lying and deceitful messages. The edition of that paper, which was specially dedicated to spreading the infamous blood libel,"—I underline this because it is being spread in our country today. Books are being sold in a bookshop not so very far from this House repeating this disgraceful contention—has been followed by publication after publication of a sordid and vicious nature … In the meanwhile it is necessary for them to spread propaganda throughout the world in order to explain away this apparent uncivilised action by the Nazis. Every form of propaganda attack is used, whether open or covert. 958 No money is spared. Where the money comes from nobody knows, but in practically every country in the world this insidious propaganda is going on. In spite of the fact that no country wants it, this persistent attack on the minorities is being conducted in one country after another.How many hon. Members realise that at this very time, after 30 years and the experience we have passed through, similar propaganda is being fostered by semi-maniacs and spread very considerably?
I said at that time:Hitler himself stated in his infamous book:'It is not the business of propaganda to weigh the rights and wrongs of a question. Its object is to present its own side. Propaganda does not exist in order to search for truth so far as it may be favourable to opponents; nor has doctrinaire impartiality any part in what propaganda offers to the masses'.The 'Voelkischer Beobachter' recently declared that 'National Socialism knows no such things as impartial research. History must be written, not objectively, but in the spirit of German faith'."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th July, 1935; Vol. 304, c. 597.]I agree that the words used were "German faith", but after what we have seen I do not think that we are in a position to minimise in the slightest what happened as a consequence of that propaganda. Those who have visited Auschwitz, Treblinka or Bergen Belsen will never eradicate from their minds what they saw and heard.
Those who, particularly, like myself, heard at the trials the uncontradictable evidence of men and women, of the torture and suffering which they witnessed and experienced, could never forget the result of the type of propaganda which was considered to have been legitimate. Yet at this time the publication of similar material in England by neo-Nazis cannot and is not being prevented.
May I give a simple illustration? There can be no question of what is meant by those who categorically say, in a publication,We are not anti-semitic—we are anti-Jewish",and widely distribute stickers with the photograph of the psychopathic Hitler bearing the words, "He was right" using their own name on these publications. There can be no question that such a body approves and commends the bestial policies to which I have referred.
959 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December, 1948,as a common standard of achievements of all peoples and of all nations …stipulates that the rights and freedoms there proclaimed, such as "freedom of opinion and expression", to which the right hon. Member for Monmouth rightly referred, and the right to "freedom of peaceful assembly and association"may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.It adds thatNothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.In an act of the nature to which I have referred, and which is being perpetrated today, there is no question of there not being intent. Anybody who perpetrates that kind of act must needs realise the result of perpetrating it. I therefore appeal particularly to hon. Members opposite to keep these things in mind when they are pressing against the introduction of a Measure which intends to deal to a large degree with these problems.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
Everyone in the House must have the greatest sympathy with what the hon. Member has said, but does he think that the Bill will protect, in practice, the Jewish community from the sort of outrage to which he is referring? Is there not a danger that, by leaving out any reference to religion, the Bill labels the Jewish community as a racial and ethnic minority? Surely this would be most unacceptable to the Jewish community, including the hon. Member.
§ Sir B. Janner
The hon. Member is anticipating what I was about to say. Up to now I have been speaking about the abuse of freedoms. Although people are reluctant to interfere in any way with freedoms, I was trying to point out what effect that would have in general terms.
I come to some of the amendments which I should like to see introduced. First, there is the question of concilia- 960 tion. The right hon. Member for Monmouth was not right in his criticism of the Home Secretary for introducing the question of conciliation commissions now. This should not lead the right hon. Gentleman to condemn the Bill altogether. I know that conciliation commissions have done a considerable amount of work in dealing with problems of housing, employment, and so on, but in a Bill of this nature we must be extremely careful that the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman is considered.
It is difficult to know where exactly to draw the line. We must not give a person who is a scurrilous abuser the right to get free from the net by claiming that he did not mean to attack Jews as a race, but was talking about the Jewish religion. The Home Secretary has stated categorically that the Bill fully covers "Jewish", in such a sense as to come fully within the provisions of the Bill.
I ask my right hon. Friend to consider the question again to see whether it could be widened, though not, of course, so as to enter the realm of contentions on religious matters. Everyone understands that, and everyone can speak strongly about whether the Law of Moses is right, whether the Mohammedan Law is right, and so on. That is another matter, and it has not been the issue in the thousands of years during which the Jew has been persecuted because he is a Jew.
My own co-religionists, or fellow Jews, are concerned about the possibility of that type of argument being used against the intention of the Bill, and I hope that, by the time the Bill goes through, we shall have a clear understanding about it, at least to the extent of making abundantly plain and confirming that it covers offences against Jewish persons.
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman brought in questions which I thought really extraneous. The Bill is not intended to deal with immigration. It is, as I see it, intended to protect the dignity of the individual, whoever he may be, whatever his race, his creed or his colour. If he is here, he is entitled to that protection. I go further and say that incitement against people of a particular group or religion, if made against them elsewhere where incitement to hatred 961 would be the result, might well be the subject of our explicit disapproval. I do not know that any Measure passed by this House could possibly deal with the situation, but we could by statements, by joining in declarations on human rights or, for instance, by giving our consent to the Convention of Genocide, in various ways show our hope, at least, that we could be heard in suppressing that kind of activity.
I have dealt briefly with the question of intent. Intent is brought into the Bill but proof of intent is not always necessary for establishing a crime. There is no reason why intent should not be assumed to be there is cases of the kind I have raised. Under the Public Order Act, there was some such possibility, and it has worked in so far as it could work. It is now proposed to try to supplement the Act by putting further teeth into what was intended when that Act was passed. I remember the debates on the Public Order Act and the kind of arguments then advanced. People asked how these things would be stopped.
I remember it being put to me personally when I was discussing the matter with the late Sir John Simon, "How would you stop uniforms being used when the Orangemen wear uniforms?". But, in fact, stopping the use of uniforms did much to help the situation.
§ Sir B. Janner
Political uniforms, yes.
The other point I raise is on the question of requiring the fiat of the Attorney-General. I am not quite happy about it. In some circumstances, political influences could be brought to bear on such a question. I am quite certain that the present Attorney-General and the previous Attorney-General would not be subconsciously biased in a certain direction in considering the desirability of prosecutions, but, with all the good will in the world, I suggest to the House that there is a difficult point here to consider.
If a frivolous summons were issued, it would not take the court very long to tell the prosecution that it was frivolous. In most cases, it takes only a few minutes. I know that there are exceptions and, sometimes, frivolous cases are 962 brought which are not at once recognised as such; but, in the main, the courts are well alerted to what is frivolous and what is not. I should like my right hon. and learned Friend to reconsider this aspect of the matter and see whether he could dispense with the need to have the fiat of the Attorney-General.
I hope that the House will forgive me if I have spoken with a little more emotion than I should, but I have knowledge of terrible results that can happen if we do not draw a distinction between the abuse of freedom and freedom itself. I hope that the House will realise—I am sure that it will—that it is not a matter of a small minority who can just be brushed aside, but is a matter of a small number—the lunatic fringe, if one likes—bringing influences of the wickedest and most insidious kind to bear upon their fellow men. We should regard this Bill as, at least, an important step to cope with that kind of problem.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Henry Brooke (Hampstead)
I am glad to follow the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner), for in days gone by he and I have had repeated discussions on this most important matter. I respect, as we all do, the sincerity with which the hon. Gentleman speaks, and I believe that he will respect the sincerity with which I hold my views. I understand and sympathise deeply with the feelings which were aroused two or three years ago by the behaviour of certain little neo-Fascist groups, feelings aroused particularly among those Jews whose dear ones had been murdered during the Nazi tyranny. The House must never forget that about six million Jews were put to death as a result of Hitler. The hon. Gentleman will know that I have in my constituency many people who came here as Jewish refugees from Nazi oppression. I am not one of those hon. Members for whom all that the hon. Gentleman has been saying is a subject at arm's length.
I strongly deplore any form of colour bar, and any attempt to arouse racial hatred fills me with disgust. But I am bound to ask whether this Bill will do more harm than good. We are dealing with difficult and intensely important matters, and we must make this assessment. I ask hon. Members opposite not just to consider what they like to believe 963 will happen as a result of the Bill, but to bear in mind what many other people, not all of them by any means members of my party, fear may happen by way of harm.
Considering the rapid growth of the coloured population of this country, particularly between 1954 and the coming into force of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act in 1962, it is remarkable not how much racial tension or discrimination there is in this country today but how little there is. I believe that there is less outward evidence of anti-Semitic feeling here than almost anywhere in the world. In my constituency, if anywhere, one would expect to be aware of anti-Semitic feeling if it existed, considering its very large Jewish population. I am a member—I think that I can claim to be an active member—of the Hampstead branch of the Council of Christians and Jews. We have always found that we can concentrate on constructive plans to bring about greater mutual understanding. We are not diverted away by undesirable incidents that need to be dealt with. Such incidents in my constituency are virtually unknown, and this despite the fact that a very large proportion of the population is foreign-born and that we have a sizeable coloured population as well.
For more than 15 years now I have been Member of Parliament for Hampstead, and in all that time I have never heard of anyone in my constituency committing what would become an offence under Clause 1, if the Bill were passed. From my constituency experience, I must tell the House that the last thing I want is any encouragement of snoopers looking round to see whether they can promote a criminal prosecution because of some alleged case of discrimination. We must ask ourselves whether it may not be more provocative to make discrimination in a place of public resort a criminal offence than simply to let healthy public opinion deal with it if ever it arises. It is not this kind of discrimination which will ever matter to the coloured population in this island as gravely as discrimination in employment. This is the real danger, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) said: that coloured people may find it harder than white people to get jobs, and, in parti- 964 cular, to get jobs worthy of them, because of their colour.
The Bill does not touch this, which, if anything, is the great danger that looms ahead. It does not touch it, doubtless, because many employers might not dare to employ a coloured man lest the rest of their staff walked out, and, therefore, it would be absurd to seek to bring criminal sanctions to bear against such employers. It is anomalous to legislate against the small matters mentioned in Clause 1 or Clause 2 and turn a blind eye to the much greater ones. This confirms in me the impression that the Bill is a kind of gesture; and gesturing is not a good ground for extending the ambit of the criminal law.
Clause 4 makes no difference whatever to the law, so far as I can judge. How anyone can claim that distributing or displayingany writing, sign or visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insultingis not a form of threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour passes my comprehension. The Home Secretary said that there was some doubt about it. There was no doubt in my mind all the time I was Home Secretary, and neither did any of my advisers ever suggest to me that there was any doubt that the word "behaviour" covered action of that kind.
In passing, I mention Clause 5 with its reference to Northern Ireland. I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) is not in his place at present, because he interrupted the Home Secretary on this. I must tell my hon. Friend that, if he thinks that any ill feelings which might exist in Northern Ireland are likely to be assuaged or softened by this House taking upon itself to legislate on the internal affairs of Northern Ireland against the wish of the Northern Ireland Government, he is very far astray.
I come to Clause 3. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West that there are grave and momentous issues here. We all understand the feelings of coloured people when filthy, poisonous little leaflets are dropped into letter boxes or left along the pavement. We all understand the feelings of the Jewish population, which he described to us, in the face of this neo-Fascist provocation, although I am bound 965 to say to him that if he thinks that what was brought about 30 or more years ago in Germany could be repeated in this country by these tiny splinter groups of neo-Fascists who are always quarrelling among themselves, then he does not understand the British people today or the British character. I ask that we all keep in mind that we are not legislating for the Weimar Republic of 30 years ago or for any other country. We are legislating for England, Scotland and Wales in the year 1965.
§ Sir B. Janner
I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is, perhaps, quite a different problem in size, but the Weimar Republic took precisely the same attitude as some people take in this country, saying that freedom of speech was being interfered with and that this was only a small group. There are similar people today spreading this propaganda in England and throughout the world, and I think that we should stop it.
§ Mr. Brooke
I respect the hon. Gentleman's view, but I think that he is utterly mistaken about the conceivable power of any of those tiny groups of people in this country who are seeking to propagate Fascist doctrines. He is entirely mistaken about their potentiality to influence the great British public, which has been through the war, which has learned what Nazi oppression is, and which now, I believe, sets more store by freedom of speech than it ever has done in the past.
§ Mr. Reginald Freeson (Willesden, East)
My hon. Friend is not referring to the power being attained by Fascists in this country but to the influence for evil which they have. In my constituency a synagogue was recently burnt out. This happened in Liverpool, too, a week ago. Windows are being smashed. This is the kind of thing with which we must be concerned—not the question of power but these incidents and the spreading of incidents of this kind.
§ Mr. Brooke
All the incidents to which the hon. Member referred are effectively covered by the criminal law. We are here discussing whether it is desirable or necessary to extend the criminal law.
I was seeking to point out to the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West that we must bear in mind not only the Nazi 966 tyranny and the barbarous murder of 6 million Jews; we must bear in mind other aspects of history, too. We must bear in mind that ours is a land of liberty, including liberty of speech, and that over the centuries blood has been shed to make and keep it so. Freedom of speech is, after all, the fundamental distinction between the democratic system and totalitarian régimes. Therefore, we must not bite into freedom of speech unless there is clear proof that the law in its present state is less than adequate to deal with the situation.
There is no such proof. I produced the Public Order Bill two years ago—a Bill which made the maximum term of imprisonment four times as long and the maximum fine 10 times as high as under the former Public Order Act. Since I presented that Bill, the kind of trouble for which Colin Jordan was arrested and convicted in this country has been suppressed. It has been effectively suppressed; we never hear of it now. The tiny Fascist groups wither unless they can get what they want most of all—and that is prominent Press publicity. They find publicity too hardly bought now that the penalty can be a fine of £500 and 12 months imprisonment.
Indeed, they are so weak that at the time of the General Election, which is a time that invites all those who have political views to bring them forward and to seek to gain supporters for them, the Fascist groups were not able to stage a single demonstration anywhere. Shortly before the election they tried to stage one in Leeds, but for sheer lack of manpower they could not manage it. Fascism is dead in this country. It has died through contemptuous loathing and through vigorous action by Parliament and the police to see that public order is maintained.
How the law works at present is that you can say what you wish, but if what you say or do is likely to cause a breach of the peace you are liable to be prosecuted and convicted. We are a tolerant people. We are tolerant of strong and provocative words. But what the British public will not tolerate is disorder. Hence, the established job of the police is to be keepers of order. This Bill would make the police censors of speech. The essential test—a breach of the peace—is missing from Clause 3. A test of motive and intent replaces it.
§ Mr. Chapman
I am in a genuine dilemma on this point, and I am grateful to listen to the right hon. Gentleman's experience. Does he not agree with me that there are bound to be cases very near to the borderline? Especially if the racial situation got a little out of hand, it would be almost impossible in such cases to prove that a breach of the peace might be occasioned by those words. But we should all know that the particular event complained of was helping to worsen an already inflammatory situation. Is it not right to have some sanction against such an occasion?
§ Mr. Brooke
If there were any evidence that this kind of build-up was taking place and that it would shortly burst out into a breach of the peace, then I could see force in what the hon. Member argues. But the police have been implementing the law as it stands over a considerable period. I thought that the weakest part of the Home Secretary's speech was the complete absence of any concrete evidence from him that this further extension of the criminal law is necessary.
I should tell the House that when I was Home Secretary I consulted the police on the subject. There was pressure on me at the time to amend the law in some such sense as Clause 3 amends it. The police told me that there was no loophole or shortcoming in the law which hampered them in their task of maintaining order. If this Clause becomes law it will make the police the arbiters of free speech when there is no threat to law and order. I cannot believe that this will be conducive to good relations between the races.
While I was Home Secretary I received a number of reports from the Statutory Advisory Council on Commonwealth Immigration. As far as I can recall, never once did that body suggest to me that the situation would be improved if I initiated a change in the law such as Clause 3 envisages. Is it desirable that our law should emphasise racial or ethnic or national divisions? Is it a gain? I said in the House two years ago that I had no desire to be the Home Secretary who first introduced into our law the concept that some of my fellow citizens are to be singled out for special protection or distinction from others because 968 of the race to which they belong. My successor appears to have committed this act of unwisdom.
Not only that, but he provides penalties twice as heavy. Under this Bill the use of threatening, abusive or insulting language with intent to stir up hatred will attract maximum penalties twice as high as those for using such language with intent to provoke a breach of the peace. The right hon. Gentleman does not seem to have the order of priorities right. The Bill looks strong and fine and powerful—but is it so in reality? Is free speech to be limited, not when it is a question of public order, but when what is said is distasteful or even, to use the right hon. Gentleman's words, outrageous?
The age-old battle in this country was not fought to enable people to say pleasant and fraternal and acceptable things. That is not what was meant by free speech. It was fought to win their freedom to say distasteful, unacceptable, provocative, antagonistic things. We won that battle and, since then, hundreds of thousands of people born in distant parts of the world have come to live in this country, some as refugees, knowing it to be a land of liberty, a land of freedom of worship and a land of freedom of speech.
Liberty has its duties as well as its privileges, and not the least of these is the duty to be tolerant of views with which we do not agree, views which may offend us deeply. I sought to be guided by these principles which I have stated, when I was Home Secretary. I shall vote for the Amendment and against the Bill, because the present Home Secretary seems to have forgotten them.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Floud (Acton)
It is not easy to follow in the debate the right hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. H. Brooke), because he has enormous experience of these problems and great legal knowledge and he clearly holds his views with great sincerity. I speak not as a lawyer, not as an expert on race relations, but as someone who believes that this problem of race relations is already becoming of increasing importance in this country and that all of us, whichever constituency we represent, must concern ourselves with this problem before it gets out of hand.
969 Reference was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner) to what happened in Germany. I do not wish to go back over that, because I do not believe that there is any great likelihood of Fascism rearing its head in this country at present. But one of the most vivid experiences of my life was being in Berlin in the early months of 1933 and seeing the day on which there was the first official boycott of the Jews by the Nazi Government. I remember how many Germans at that time turned away and refused to face its implications, and, when I returned to this country, not long afterwards, how many people refused to consider that this was a matter of any great significance.
§ Sir B. Janner
Does not my hon. Friend realise that what he is now saying shows how careful one has to be about allowing this kind of propaganda to spread and that millions of people allowed the gas chambers to be used, participated in their use and did not raise any voice against their use and that the rest of the world stood by when the people of Auschwitz asked to be bombed? Ought he not to take that into consideration?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I have a great regard for the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner), but this is the second time that he has intervened since he spoke and there are many hon. Members who wish to speak.
§ Mr. Floud
I am grateful to my hon. Friend, because that is exactly the point I was about to make—that in those days many people in Germany and in this country refused to see what might lay ahead. It is for this reason that I am not impressed by the argument of hon. Members opposite that as yet there is no great evidence of a substantial problem. I believe that there are the seeds of a very great problem and that it is the responsibility of the House not to wait until disaster overtakes us, but to take remedial action to ensure that disaster does not come our way.
I represent a constituency which has a fairly mixed population. There are large numbers of English and Irish and former Polish citizens, and there are now substantial numbers of coloured immigrants from the Commonwealth. I also happen 970 to live in a constituency which must have as many nationalities as there are in the world, in every possible assortment. I welcome the Bill so far as it goes. My worry is that it does not go far enough and does not cover a sufficiently wide scope. I was not sure from what the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) said—and he never answered an intervention on this question—whether he was saying that the Bill did nothing at all, or did too much.
My own feeling is that the Bill does not do a great deal, but it moves cautiously to some extent in the right direction. By having a Bill of this kind we will certainly not solve the whole problem of race relations, because that is a problem which cannot be solved by laws alone, but it will do something to help to establish the limits of acceptable conduct in this matter.
I very much welcome the Home Secretary's references to the possibility of introducing some machinery for conciliation. If we do not do that in the Bill, the Short Title, the Race Relations Bill, will be a misnomer, because, as it stands, although the Bill deals with certain forms of racial incitement and discrimination, it does not make the positive contribution to the solution of the problem which could be made by the establishment of some conciliation machinery.
I am well aware that there are many hon. Members who wish to speak and I will mention only two other sources of worry which I find in the Bill as it stands. I do not see how the Bill can be effective unless we specifically deal with religious discrimination. If we do not, we will find that religion can be used as a loophole for evading provisions about race, not only as regards Jews, but as regards Moslems or Hindus. That will certainly be attempted in order to get round the Bill's provisions. I believe sincerely that if we are to deal with race discrimination—and I am in favour of doing so—as part of it we have to deal with religious discrimination. I also happen to believe that religious discrimination is a bad thing in itself and that we would be making progress if we dealt with it.
I refer to the other matter with some trepidation, because it is a subject which arouses considerable passions. It is whether the Bill should apply to Northern 971 Ireland. If racial discrimination is a bad thing in Great Britain, it is a bad thing in the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary said that it was a tradition of the House that we did not apply legislation to Northern Ireland except with the consent of the Government of Northern Ireland. I accept that it is a tradition, but I do not necessarily accept that it is a good tradition. We were reminded of the existence of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, which specifically forbids discrimination on religious grounds in all shapes and forms. I wonder how many people living in or with experience of Northern Ireland feel that that Act has been effective in preventing religious discrimination in Northern Ireland.
§ Captain L. P. S. Orr (Down, South)
if that be the case, why is it that no one has tested religious discrimination by the use of these provisions?
§ Mr. Floud
I was about to come to that. The right hon. Member for Hampstead seemed to imply that the test of whether it was a good thing for this legislation to apply to Northern Ireland lay with whether it was acceptable to the Government of Northern Ireland. I would like that test to be widened. Whether legislation should apply to Northern Ireland is not a matter only for the Government of Northern Ireland, but also for the people of Northern Ireland as a whole. The House has some responsibility to the people of Northern Ireland and not merely to the Government of Northern Ireland.
§ Captain Orr
I am sorry to interrupt again, but this is important. In 1920, this Parliament set up a subordinate Parliament representing the people of Northern Ireland. Surely that is the place to test the matter.
§ Mr. Floud
Hon. Members from Northern Ireland take part in all kinds of debates which affect us domestically here. We accept them as full Members of this Parliament. I would have thought that at least they would accord to us the right to express our views about some of the things which may go on in that part of the United Kingdom. Obviously, the hon. and gallant Gentleman does not agree with me. If we are to deal with racial discrimination, then that should apply 972 throughout the whole area for which this Parliament has authority, throughout the United Kingdom.
To sum up, and not to keep the House longer, I welcome the Bill so far as it goes. It is a step in the right direction. As time goes by, we may find that we can improve on it with further legislation. It is enormously important that we should introduce conciliation machinery at the earliest possible time. If the Bill is to be effective, it is essential that it should cover religious discrimination and I also sincerely believe that it should apply to Northern Ireland.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. W. F. Deedes (Ashford)
I do not share the general misgivings of the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Floud). Anticipating trouble is not the best basis for legislation, certainly not in this respect. The fact that the hon. Member may feel that there might some day arise the need for a Bill like this is not to justify the Bill now before us.
It is clear that we are in some difficulty. Perhaps I may be forgiven for not being altogether clear whether we are debating the Bill itself, the speech of the Home Secretary, or some of the anticipations which we read on the front pages of the newspapers today. Although what the Home Secretary said about his future intentions may mollify some feelings which some of us may have about the Bill, in my case it does not resolve a doubt which I have held from the start about whether the Government know exactly what they are doing.
This is rather disquieting because good intentions, however good, must be thought right through and it was clear from the Home Secretary's remarks that there had been thoughts since the printing of the Bill. No one could say that this was a Measure the need for which had been suddenly sprung upon us. The thinking behind the Bill has gone on for a very long time indeed. It is plain that when the Bill was produced the Government's thinking was not clear.
We can only take the Bill as it stands. There are a number of things to be said against it, possibly more if one genuinely detests discrimination, as I do, than if one is indifferent to it. I wish to make only one criticism. I think that the Bill 973 as it stands places the police in an intolerable, indeed an impossible, position. The point was touched on by my right hon. Friends the Members for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) and Hampstead (Mr. H. Brooke), and it seems to me deserving of very close attention.
I do not say this out of particular consideration for the police—their job is to enforce any Statute which Parliament sees fit to pass. I do not say it on the ground which some might advance, that the police have a great deal else to occupy them and possibly more important things to do. I say it because I think that the dilemma which will confront a great many policemen in their share of implementing the Bill underlines a fundamental weakness of the Bill. After all, the police will be agents for its enforcement. And they will be agents for enforcing something which, I am afraid, lacks the support of many members of the community. That is a grave weakness.
I do not go all the way with those who say against the Bill that it invokes the law on a moral issue and that we cannot legislate to try to make people moral. Whether we can or not, we try to do so. We have tried to do so in a number of respects, and the Bill is certainly not the first, although it may be the worst, example of this. We have, for instance, tried it with gambling, Sunday observance, cruelty to animals—a matter on which there is deep and widespread public feeling—and we are still trying to do it in respect of homosexuality. Therefore, it is not true to say that legislation cannot move into the field of morals. I readily admit that we cannot set limits on the power of the State to legislate against immoral conduct. There is no hard and fast line which divides the criminal law from the moral.
But—and this is the point—if we are to legislate on a matter of this kind, still more if we want to enforce the legislation with the aid of the police, we must have on our side, I do not say broadly public opinion, but what lawyers sometimes describe as the "reasonable man". If we are to have a reasonable chance of enforcing a law like this, we must have the backing and the support of the reasonable man. In my view, the Bill will not have the backing of the reasonable man. He has not asked for it and, in my opinion, he does not want it. The reasonable man, 974 rightly or wrongly, considers this to be an unnecessary Bill, and that will make the task of the police very hard indeed. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth said, the British people can be led, but they cannot be driven.
Worst of all, it is almost certain that in the part which they must play in implementing the Bill, the police will incur odium from all sections of the community. If they cause to be launched too many prosecutions, they will arouse feelings among the white population. If they do not cause to be launched enough prosecutions, there will inevitably be some feeling among the coloured population. I doubt whether, in fact, the police will very often have a clear-cut, flagrant case to deal with. What I fear they will often be confronted with will be a host of minor instances which will be very difficult to resolve.
The fact that the Director of Public Prosecutions must initiate a prosecution under Clause 1 or that the Attorney-General must consent to a prosecution under Clause 3 in no way relieves the initial responsibilities of the police. May I add, in parenthesis, that even if there are conciliation courts with the sanction of the law behind them the police will still be left with considerable responsibility.
I listened very carefully to what the Home Secretary had to say about Clause 3. His words were very carefully chosen, and he interpreted the Clause to his satisfaction and, no doubt, to the satisfaction of some of his hon. Friends He concluded by saying that he felt that the judge and the jury would have no difficulty. But what judgment is the policeman whose evidence in the court will count for most to form in the initial stage? What of the policeman who must judge the effect of words and not the result of words? That is a very difficult thing to ask a policeman to do.
The second reason why I think that the police are placed in an unfair, and, indeed, an intolerable, position is that in reality this is not so much a social measure; it is primarily a sympathetic political gesture—I stress "sympathetic", but it is still a political gesture. No doubt the Home Secretary and others genuinely desire to protect those who may be discriminated against, but that is not how the Bill will be interpreted by 975 a great many people when it becomes an Act. They will desire not so much to protect those who may be discriminated against as to punish the tiny minority who practise discrimination on whose behalf very little real evidence has been produced today.
It is very dangerous to make policemen instruments of what is fundamentally a political gesture, no matter how sympathetic that gesture may be.
§ Mr. Ennals
Is the right hon. Gentleman really suggesting that the police would seek to institute the maximum number of prosecutions? Does not he agree that part of the purpose of legislation is to act as a deterrent?
§ Mr. Deedes
I have covered that point. If the police fail to institute many prosecutions, I fear that there will be feeling against them from one section of the population. If they institute too many prosecutions, I fear that there will be feeling against them from another section of the population. It seems to me that either way the police will come off worst.
The point with which I was dealing when the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Ennals) interrupted was fully recognised in 1936. Care was taken in the Public Order Act, 1936, to stay one side of a line which the Government are now overstepping. I recall this very well. There was then far more provocation to overstep the line than there is now. I recall, and I know that the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner) and many other hon. Members will recall, the bitter demonstrations of that year in East London and elsewhere which provoked the introduction of that Measure; indeed, I witnessed most of them. But even with that provocation we stopped short of Clause 3.
I have refreshed my memory of the arguments of the then Home Secretary, Sir John Simon. We then held to the principle that the criminality of utterances should be judged by their effect on public order and not on feeling.
§ Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, West)
Would not the right hon. Gentleman concede that had the Bill been in operation in 1936 much of the provocation and many of the battles which took place on the streets would have been averted?
§ Mr. Deedes
I do not accept that for one moment and, before the Bill proceeds too far, I ask the hon. Gentleman to refresh his memory, if he has not done so, of the great arguments—and some of them were great arguments—adduced from both sides in the making of that Measure. We stopped short, in effect, of potential censorship which I greatly fear we have now in the making, however good the intentions of the Home Secretary, and we stopped short of making the police potential censors, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead pointed out.
Not only is this unfair to the police, but it seems to me to be the height of unwisdom. I fear that it will provoke a great deal of cynical defiance, which is a particularly difficult thing for police and others who have to enforce the law to meet. That is why it seems to me that, in the end, the Bill will not fortify law and order, but will weaken it. It will not enhance the dignity of the individual, black or white, but will diminish it.
§ 6.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Reginald Freeson (Willesden, East)
I am particularly pleased to follow the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), because the sympathy with which he spoke in criticism of the Bill is something which all of us should adopt when discussing Measures of this kind. For this reason, I should, perhaps, apologise for the rather heated interruption to which I gave vent earlier this afternoon when the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) was speaking, although I must excuse myself by saying that the reason for it was that the right hon. Member did not speak in the same spirit as did his right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford.
I shall not speak at great length on this subject, but I wish to pick out one or two things which should lie at the back of our minds when considering a Bill of this nature and to make one or two critical points on the Bill. Much has been said by the right hon. Member for Ashford, somewhat in the spirit of the remarks of the right hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Brooke), about the support or lack of it that we can expect from, to use the right hon. Member's phrase, reasonable men when the Bill becomes law. To criticise the Bill, however, on the ground on which 977 the right hon. Member criticised it because he believes that it will not be supported by reasonable men is to misunderstand the sphere within which such a Bill will operate.
I am quite sure that when the Bill becomes law, amended as I hope it will be in certain respects, it will not from the outset be used as a means for bringing forward a host of prosecutions. I am sure that it is not intended, either by my party or by those members of the community or organisations which for some time have advocated such a Measure as this, that we should witness a whole host of prosecutions.
Perhaps I may underline the point by referring to a survey which was undertaken in my constituency, in the Borough of Wilesden, by an organisation founded in 1959 and known then as the Willesden International Friendship Council. It was set up a few months after the 1958 race riots in Notting Hill and Nottingham. One of the first things that we did, with the help of a grant from the local authority, was to initiate a properly organised social survey to establish in some detail what were the attitudes of the host community towards the large number of West Indians in particular—but there were others, also—who had moved into the borough since 1954–55. Of a population of 170,000 in Willesden, we have something like 11,000 West Indians, Pakistanis and Indians.
One of many things that the survey established was the interesting figure that it can be assumed that about 10 per cent. of the community are highly prejudiced. As we found during our study, that figure tied in with figures established by surveys in other countries and at other times in this country. I believe that even in Germany some years ago, a survey on anti-semitism established that about 9 per cent. of the community was highly prejudiced. Several genuinely organised social surveys of this kind have established similar precentages also in various States of the United States of America.
One of the points arising from the survey which must be borne in mind when discussing this or any similar Measure is that whilst one can be very much concerned with undertaking positive work in race relations in the com- 978 munity, there is a percentage of the community with whom a race relations body or conciliation agency cannot hope to deal adequately. They are rather cases for psychiatry—I do not say this facetiously—than for conciliation agencies, consultative committees, and so on, which might be established in this field. What one must do while being positive in one's work generally in the community is to try to isolate that 10 per cent. or the individuals who represent that 10 per cent.
The point which I am making about the operation of a Bill like this is that if one uses the Bill to seek out flagrant instances of discrimination and of incitement it will be found that one is dealing in the main, if not entirely, with people who could be represented statistically by these 9 to 11 per cent., the 10 per cent. who cannot be easily influenced by the normal scope of conciliation work. They are the people whom one must try to separate off from the general community. Unless this is done, their influence is much greater than the small sphere in which they operate.
On that score, I should like to refer to the remarks of the right hon. Member for Hampstead, when he tended to belittle over-much the influence of neo-Nazi and Fascist and racialist groups in this country or in any other community. As I sought to establish in my intervention during the right hon. Gentleman's speech, one does not believe that they will get power in this country. It is foolish to think or to talk politically in those terms, but one must not underestimate their influence if they are not attacked and isolated from the rest of the community. I believe that if the Bill is used in this spirit, as I am sure it is intended to be, it will contribute—and nobody would say more than this—to this kind of activity.
Much has been made of the issue of conciliation machinery. I believe that a good deal of confusion has been imported into the discussion of the Bill and of the subject of conciliation. I certainly believe that there should be some kind of—"machinery" is not the right word—but allowance for conciliation work to be written into the Bill.
I do not believe that this Bill is the right vehicle for writing in a detailed complicated schedule of machinery for 979 conciliation agencies. I go even further. I have grave doubts as to the soundness of establishing a central statutory commission such as has been advocated in the Press and elsewhere. Certainly, I do not believe that it should be written into the Bill.
I hope that the Bill will be amended, perhaps by an addendum to Clause 4, to require the Director of Public Prosecutions, wherever possible, reasonable or appropriate to refer cases to conciliation agencies which may exist. This will leave open the method by which one encourages conciliation work. It will leave open the possibility of establishing a central agency, if it is argued and finally concluded that it is the right way, although, as I have said, I have grave doubts about this. It will leave it open to the Director of Public Prosecutions to refer cases, where appropriate, to other forms of conciliation.
I think it is important to leave this open as widely as possible, because the field of conciliation is much wider than that which this Bill could possibly cover. There are, as all hon. Members will know, quite a number—between 12 and 15now —of conciliation organisations which have been established, and, of course, there is need for more organisations of the kind, but I am convinced that the right way for those organisations to be established is at the local level and through local communities with the help of the local authorities, and not through a central Ministry.
If we require the Director of Public Prosecutions to refer cases, where appropriate, to the conciliation machinery which exists, or which will be created in the communities, then in those localities where such machinery does not exist there will be given an added impetus to the creation of such agencies, because we shall have a central Ministry, the Home Office, wanting to take matters up at local level, and it will find, in certain instances, that there is no adequate consultative machinery for race relations though it may be necessary or desirable that there should be, and then the Department can influence, persuade, encourage the local authorities and local organisations to establish such machinery where it does not exist. This, in itself, would be a 980 worth-while result of the approach I am suggesting.
To deal briefly with two other points, the first is an omission to which hon. Members have referred. Quite rightly, they have referred to the absence from the Bill of mention of employment. I realise that difficulties are involved, and I can see some point in the argument, which I have heard in conversations and discussions elsewhere, that if we establish this kind of enactment within a narrow field, then, as time goes on, there will be the possibility, on the basis of experience, of widening it to cover other fields such as that of employment. I am not happy about this for the reason suggested by other hon. Members today, that it is in employment that one finds some of the greatest concern—sometimes not well founded, but certainly there—and the greatest fear for the future in certain quarters. This is a problem which has got to be tackled.
I shall not deal at length with certain exchanges I have had at Question Time with the Minister of Labour, or with the history of Questions on this subject to previous Ministers, but I do not think that there are many Members who are concerned about this who are very happy about the relationship in this field between Government Departments and employers' and employees' organisations. We should consider very closely amending the Bill so that it does in some measure reduce discrimination in matters of employment.
I shall not elaborate on that to any great extent. Hon. Members will know that over quite a length of time there have been letters and articles and statements about actual, clear-cut discrimination, and indicating how discrimination is feared—and, what is very important—feared by young people, and showing how youth employment officers, teachers, and the parents of young people, fear that the youngsters will not have provided for them those employment opportunities to which their training and education would entitle them, or encourage them to participate in. Something must be done about this.
Lastly, I refer to Clause 3, about incitement to racial hatred, and, in particular, to subsection (2) of that Clause. It does not apply to the distribution of printed material to members of private 981 organisations. In theory, at first sight, this can be argued reasonably even if one is unhappy about it, but anybody who knows how the neo-Nazi and Fascist groups operate in this country must know that this subsection will virtually destroy the purpose of the legislation against incitement by the printed word.
What will happen is this. There will be widespread distribution of printed material—and this is very simply done—to people who, on purchase of it, are admitted to the organisation distributing it. These organisations are very loosely organised; their membership is often interchangeable; and it is very difficult to track down the actual membership or to get membership lists of the half dozen or so neo-Nazi organisations in this country.
I cannot understand how anybody can expect to establish that a person who has had distributed or sold to him a pamphlet or leaflet or what have you was not a member of the distributing organisation at the time. We have to be very careful to make sure that the Bill, in so far as it relates to incitement, is operable, and as far as I can see, the exclusion provided in Clause 3(2) will make it very difficult to apply the law relating to printed matter.
It has been suggested by hon. Members opposite that the Bill is not necessary. I have already referred to the small percentage of highly prejudiced people who have to be isolated and attacked so that their influence on the rest of the community is reduced. We know of actual cases of people being beaten up, of people whose butchers' shop windows are being smashed week after week, not necessarily by adults, but by youngsters of 16, 17, or 18; we know of synagogues being gutted by fire, by deliberate arson; we know of cases of West Indian youngsters being beaten up to such an extent that they have to go to hospital.
These attacks are being perpetrated by very young people, in many instances. So I wonder how one can possibly just say that, because there is no political power involved, because there are not thousands of people highly organised in a political movement on the road to power, one need not take action. The people in the minority communities are being affected very intensely indeed by incitement by the printed word. I, personally, as I am sure 982 other hon. Members have, too, have had experience of trying to do something about it.
If the Bill contributes only a small part to a much broader campaign to improve race relations, not only in this country, but throughout the world, it will be worth while. I consider that the House should support it, and not just try to pick it to bits because in certain respects it does not go far enough for some people, and causes other people to worry about other parts of it. The Bill will be considered in detail in Committee, and in view of the assurances which have been given by my right hon. learned Friend about certain doubts which have been expressed by some hon. Gentlemen opposite, I hope that the House will unite in supporting the Bill and in supporting any further legislation on this subject.
§ 6.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
The Bill derives from the massive influx of immigrants which has occurred during the last six years, and I am sure that we are right in considering it in that context. It is, however, the case that a Bill of this character has been before the House in every one of the last 10 years, which shows that the roots and origin of the Bill are more doctrinaire and less pragmatic than perhaps appears to be the case.
All through the years I have opposed similar Bills, and I thought it right, therefore, that I should seek to catch the eye of the Chair today to debate this Bill, though I hasten to add that I shall bear in mind the fact that there are many hon. Members who wish to take part in the debate.
§ Mr. Floud rose—
§ Mr. Bell
I cannot give way. Interventions only lengthen the debate, and I want to be as brief as possible.
I am opposed to the Bill on the three considerations of freedom, expediency, and practicability.
As to the first, it is undisputed on both sides of the House that the Bill encroaches on personal freedom, but that encroachment is excused by the Home Secretary and by those who support him on the ground that the ideas or the conduct against which it is directed are so wicked that interference with liberty is justified.
983 My right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) pointed out that freedom to say things which are broadly acceptable to the majority is not a very valuable kind of freedom. I venture to repeat, because it is short, something which I said in this context about two years ago:The only freedom of speech worth having is the freedom to speak things that run wholly counter to the spirit of the times.I think that that is the answer to the argument that the encroachment on freedom which is inherent in the Bill is justified by the fact that the conduct against which it is directed is particularly repugnant to some among us.
Secondly, it is sought to be justified by the argument that it is the duty of the State to give a lead in matters of this kind. Here again, I find myself differing from those who advance that argument. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), I do not seek to say that the State is not entitled at all to enter into moral judgments, nor even, on occasion, to use the coercive power of municipal law to enforce some judgments, but I say that the State should enter into that sphere with the utmost reluctance, and with the greatest care.
Again, for the sake of brevity, I will summarise my contention in this by quoting a phrase from The Times of about two years ago:It is not the function of the criminal law to articulate the conscience of society.I am sure that if we were to allow ourselves to run with any degree of freedom into this sphere of legislation we would find that we were subjecting everyone to censorship by his opponents. There is, of course, no right to freedom of speech which does not include the right to say things which outrage one's contemporaries.
Assuming, as I do for the sake of my argument this evening, that the discouragement of the conduct aimed at in the Bill is desirable, what will be the effect of a Bill such as this? Its first effect will be resentment. It will stimulate resentment throughout the native population of this country. Its second effect will be to stimulate what I will call coat-trailing on the part of some foolish and militant communities. The next result will be the sad one of the proliferation of 984 incidents and the hardening of attitudes on both sides.
Again, for the purpose of brevity, I shall summarise this by reading an extract from a letter written by a lady on her return from the United States of America, not to me, but to a colleague, who passed it to me. She said:My husband and I recently came back from the U.S.A., where a similar Bill was passed in the State of California. We were living in a community of 22 per cent. coloured people and the rest white, and in 12 years … there had been no more than an occasional racial incident, but after the passage of this Bill there was a rapid deterioration of peaceful relations that was nothing short of catastrophic. … The peaceful normally happy groups of coloured people we knew suffered because a great deal of resentment was stirred up on both sides. … Things got so bad that we were afraid to go out after dark, after a series of senseless beatings and attacks. Please try to ensure that such feelings are not roused here in this country.My right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth said that that had been the experience generally in the United States. In those States which have used the criminal law rather than the conciliation machinery to try to solve this problem, I think it fair to say, in a general way, that the experience has been unhappy. It has led to an increase of incidents, to a heightening of tension, and to a hardening of attitude on both sides. It has also, as one of my hon. Friends says, been ineffective.
That brings me to my third point, the issue of practicability. When one looks at the mechanics of the Bill, one is not encouraged by the prospect facing us. It contains the phrase,colour, race, or ethnic or national origins.I dare say that the courts will make something of that—courts are ingenious—but if one tries to think of what can be made of it, one is led to ask whether it is a good thing that people should be debarred from saying something which perhaps they believe to be true, and important, however wrongly, and which, in their view, it may be necessary to say in the public interest? What kind of people will be excluded? Will this extend to Hungarians?
§ Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)
Is the hon. Gentleman seriously telling the House that at any time it can be in the public interest to stir up racial hatred?
§ Mr. Bell
The hon. Gentleman has taken the liberty of simplifying the phrase 985 in a most attractive way, but it goes a good deal wider than that. The Home Secretary was at great pains to emphasise that the phrase had been drafted deliberartely to cast the net as wide as possible to include every conceivable minority. I hope that I am not misquoting the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I know that the hon. Gentleman will agree that, broadly speaking, I am correctly representing what the Home Secretary said.
§ Mr. Richard
I agree that the hon. Gentleman is not misrepresenting what my right hon. and learned Friend said, but is he seriously contending that in any foreseeable circumstance it can ever be in the public interest to stir up hatred deliberately against racial, national, or ethnic groups?
§ Mr. Bell
What I am saying is that it is not for us to judge in the real framework of an Act of Parliament that it never can be in the public interest. Let us assume, to take a somewhat fanciful example, that a group of Hungarian refugees had established a stranglehold upon the Government of the country. Perhaps it is not true. Ought it then to be a criminal offence to say so in public? This is, of course, a slightly artificial example which I have taken for obvious reasons. But I make the broad point that when you are drawing up an Act of Parliament it is very foolish indeed to say it can never be in the public interest to use words which might attract the attention of the courts.
Then one has the phrase "places of public resort". I would ask the Solicitor-General whether he really thinks that it is a very good idea that it should be an offence to neglect to give facilities to people in a place of public resort, in which are included the things like restaurants and so on. The position as I understand it at present is that I can go into any restaurant or place that I like, if I like the proprietor's face, and he can refuse me permission to come in if he does not like my face. But under the Bill if I were a coloured person that is just what he could not do. He could not say, "I do not like your face, go out". He has at present a right to say, "I will serve you. I will serve people only who are personally acceptable to me".
986 In the Bill we are saying that kind of freedom is not one that ought to be supported. We are saying "No, he has that right and he shall continue to have it in every respect except one and that is the definition of group which is set out in this Clause".
I come to the question of tenancies, again taking this point broadly. This is a much harder provision that the Home Secretary allowed himself to admit. Of course, people do sometimes put these clauses into tenancy agreements. Let us make no mistake about their reason for doing it. It is not one of prejudice or anything of that kind. It is to protect the value of their property. That may or may not be a good thing, but they do it and there is no doubt about that. The difficulty about this very partial, piecemeal and yet rigid encroachment upon the free play of people in a free society is that you can, when you are doing this kind of thing, inflict very great material hardships upon other people.
Then there is incitement to hatred. Here I do not think that I need repeat what has been said by others. Of course, the material difference here is that, whereas in the past we have always looked to the question whether a breach of the peace was likely to result, now for the first time, if this Clause is passed, we shall no longer be looking to that test. It will not apply in this field at all and we shall be looking to the content of the words which are uttered, to the opinion, and it is the opinion, the view itself, which will be outlawed.
Do not let us underestimate that and do not let us evade the correctness of that comment, as I venture to think it is, by looking at words like "with intent to incite hatred", or any phrase of that kind. Those only obfuscate the issue. The real issue is that for the first time, except in the field of blasphemy—and does the House want to follow in that regrettable direction—we shall be making the expression of certain views unlawful even though their expression is not likely to lead to a breach of the peace.
Even if I were to accept that a Bill of this kind were desirable, I really would think that the punishments are far too severe, particularly those in relation to 987 Clause 3 which are savage and mispro-portioned.
I would like to make perhaps a hopeless plea for this word "discrimination". It may be too late, but it does seem to me an entirely wrong word to use in this context. It is surely that human quality that is most to be admired. One cannot have too much discrimination; one can only have too little. What I think we are united on both sides of the House in condemning is unfair treatment of other human beings. And if hon. Members will care to think that is the correct expression, then I think that will help to show that this Bill is misconceived.
Of course, we all condemn unfair treatment. Very often on these occasions people are protecting their material interests, as I said before. Or they think that they are protecting their interests. They may be right, or they may be wrong. Some of them may undoubtedly do it hysterically. Sometimes they are wrong about their interests and standards being threatened. Sometimes they are right, because in the case of property, for example, everybody knows that if, in fact, a street is taken over by a coloured population then undoubtedly the value of property in it declines very rapidly and many hon. Members know of this in their constituency in a way in which I do not.
The problems which are produced by mass immigration from tropical territories are not all imaginary. Those which are real certainly cannot be solved by penal legislation. Those which are imaginary cannot be solved in this way either. Tension will not be released by this Bill, but will be exacerbated and increased. The tensions surely arise from the fact that very large numbers of people with unfamiliar customs have come to this country in a very short time.
In another place, two years ago, the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, quoted in this context the lines from Kipling. He said:The wildest dreams of Kew are the facts of Katmandu; and that crimes of Clapham chaste in Martaban.The noble Lord went on:different habits require time and patience to tolerate and resentment is inevitable if a com- 988 munity is asked to absorb more than a certain number of an alien culture in one area at a given time.Behind all is fear. Fear for standards, fear for material interests, the fear of excessive fertility on the part of the immigrants, of being swamped in our own country. They fear miscegenation. I would say to the Home Secretary that if he thinks that all this which we know to be true, and to be the real background to this problem, can all be solved by training the guns of the criminal law on the native population, he is making a most terrible mistake.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. David Ennals (Dover)
The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) said that he had known of a number of occasions—I believe that it was 10—on which a Bill dealing with this subject had come before the House and had been rejected. Fortunately, for the first time in 10 years a Bill is coming before the House on the subject and it will be passed—I hope. If it is, it will be a tribute not only to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and others who are concerned with it, but also to those who have done battle for the cause—and I mention particularly Lord Brockway, who pioneered the battle against racial discrimination in this country.
The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South, said that the Bill would be an encroachment on personal freedom. I do not know what sort of personal freedom he was talking about. Was he talking about the personal freedom to discriminate against people because of their colour, nationality or ethnic group—the freedom to stir up hatred against other groups? I should not have thought that this was the sort of freedom that we would wish to preserve in our society.
The right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft), in a speech which introduced an unfortunate party element, referred to the taints of criminality on the kindly British people. It is not the kindly British people who are the targets of the Bill; it is those twisted people—and happily they are few in our society—who can cause great harm and great damage and great hurt to fellow human beings who, we believe, must be enabled to live in equality with ourselves.
I welcome the Bill. It is necessary to put the law on the side of racial equality 989 and non-discrimination. I agree with those who have said that this is not a subject in respect of which legislation is easy. We must not restrain legitimate freedoms. It is clear from the drafting of the Bill and from our knowledge of those behind it that there is no intention of restricting legitimate human freedoms. It is clear, too, that it is not the intention of the Bill to round up and catch as many as we can who are found to be discriminating. Cases can be brought only with the authority of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
We fought a war for freedom, and all Members, on both sides of the House, wish to preserve that freedom. But we also fought a war against an abominable racist theory, and while, in the main, that theory was defeated with the people who advocated it, there are still some in our community who advocate similar theories. It is against those that the Bill is directed.
This is a difficult field for legislation, and we do not want to create a protective privileged minority. This point was referred to by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South. At present, however, we have an under-privileged minority, which is entitled to the protection of the law. The Bill has not been brought in because of any new immigrants who might come into this country. Much of what the right hon. Member for Monmouth said about the need drastically to restrict future immigrants bore no relation to the Bill. If not another coloured man set foot in this country there would still be a need for this sort of legislation.
We have not got a crisis here. Happily, we are not living in a highly-charged racial situation. But we have seen the outbreaks of racial hatred in Notting Hill and Nottingham, and the below-the-surface antagonism which we find in other areas. We therefore appreciate that there is a situation of potential danger, and any Government would be most unwise to wait until a crisis came before bringing in legislation. We dare not wait to set a law on the side of racial equality. Legislation is not needed to deal with a crisis; legislation is needed to prevent it. Our aim is not to punish the maximum number of offenders but to prevent discrimination and change the course of those who wish to discriminate.
990 I have my criticisms of the Bill, and I do not mind expressing them bluntly. It was surprising that the right hon. Member for Monmouth should have castigated my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary for saying that he was prepared to consider the arguments raised in the House of Commons and perhaps to introduce Amendments in Committee. What is the House of Commons for? Are we really saying that Front Bench spokesmen should not listen to arguments from hon. Members on both sides of the House, and take action if they find those arguments convincing? I hope that we shall be able to convince my right hon. and learned Friend that there are improvements to be made.
I have two suggestions to make. First, I believe that the Bill is too limited. The net is not thrown wide enough. Clause 1 tackles the problem of theatres, cinemas, dance halls, and other places of public resort, but it does not deal with the problem of employment, which is the most serious one. It does not deal with the problem of local authority and private housing. It does not deal with insurance. It does not deal with the granting of credit facilities. Admittedly, exclusion from humiliation in respect of restaurants and other public places is wounding and provocative, but in the long run, if we want to achieve equality, the right to fair employment practices is the most important right of all. It is a matter in which conciliation is more suitable than prosecution. Successful conciliation needs the force of law behind it. This is why I believe that we need the Bill, and a statutory commission.
Clause 1(2) defines the places coming within the definition of public resort. I wonder why shops are omitted. I wonder why laundries, hairdressers, holiday camps, and travel agents are omitted. I hope that an Amendment will be moved without necessarily listing all those categories, incorporating an overall phrase which enables us to deal with those who practise discrimination in all natural places of public resort.
The main weakness of the Bill lies in the fact that as yet it makes no provision for conciliation. I welcomed my right hon. Friend's assurance that he will listen sympathetically to the arguments that we put forward. I was not carried 991 away by the arguments of the Opposition. When they were in power they never took any action to set up conciliation machinery, yet they have picked upon the absence of conciliation machinery to try to destroy the Bill. I pick upon the absence of conciliation machinery to try to strengthen it. I am not influenced at all—and I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will not be—by the negative arguments of hon. Members opposite.
Why is a commission needed? Partly because this field is a difficult one for legislation and partly because the main task before us is an educational one—and not just broadly, in the sense of schools and the general public but in respect of every section of our society where discrimination can be practised. We need, too, those expert in handling these delicate problems, who can act as conciliation officers. Under the Bill as it stands, prosecutions will not be frequent and I hope that they will not be frequent even when conciliation machinery is introduced, as I hope it will be, into the Bill.
The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South raised the question of the success or otherwise of the conciliation machinery in other countries. He referred to the United States. From the evidence which I have, it is true that the conciliation machinery which has been set up in other countries might very well act as a pattern for us. They have gained great experience and we should learn from their experience. I have noted a report, first of all, from Canada. The Ontario Human Rights Code, which was brought into legislation in 1961–62, created a Human Rights Commission.
The 1963 Report of the Ontario Department of Labour stated that, of 19 employment cases investigated in the first nine months of the Commission's existence, 15 were satisfactorily settled with excellent co-operation reported from the businesses concerned. The other four cases were dismissed. In public accommodation and facilities, seven cases were investigated and five were settled when the respondents changed their policy by agreeing to accommodate and serve the complainants, and formerly assured the Commission of future compliance with the code. In one resort case, which neces- 992 sitated a board of inquiry, settlement was reached when the offending party was given the alternative of complying or facing a prosecution. In housing, of 13 complaints, three were dismissed, and in eight cases satisfactory settlements were effected.
A similar picture comes from the machinery set up in different parts of the United States—
§ Mr. Braine
Is it not a fact that in those States of the United States which have relied solely on criminal prosecution to combat racial discrimination, prosecutions are very rarely brought and are very rarely successful? Does not this argue, therefore, that we should have a conciliation machinery, the "fair practices" legislation established first, before this kind of legislation is brought in, as it is a totally new idea in this country?
§ Mr. Ennals
It is true, from the evidence which I have, that what the hon. Member said in the first part of his intervention was right—that where there is no conciliation machinery, prosecutions are very rare and often unsuccessful. It is also true that, where there is only conciliation machinery without the backing of the law, equally the conciliation machinery is not effective. What we need is conciliation machinery with the authority of the law behind it.
One other example comes from the State of New York. Its Commission of Human Rights in 1962 dealt with 1,392 cases. Of these, 443 were adjusted by conciliation, eight were ordered for hearing—of which six were settled by consent and two required enforcement order—829 were dismissed for lack of evidence, 36 complaints were withdrawn and 76 were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. This is a clear indication that the conciliation machinery will help.
There are many things which such machinery can do. I envisage conciliation machinery set up by Statute, to which would be referred complaints by members of the general public. As I see it, the commission would be entitled to investigate and to examine evidence, and it would then, through its officers, seek to mediate and to solve the problem peacefully and happily. If necessary, it would hold a formal inquiry and would then give a ruling. Only if that ruling 993 were not accepted would there be a prosecution. That, I believe, is the sort of pattern which could be applied in this country and would be in conformity with existing practices.
Mr. Richard Sharpies (Sutton and Cheam)
Is not the hon. Gentleman suggesting an entirely different Bill, just as we are? This is an entirely different concept from that of the Bill.
§ Mr. Ennals
It is perfectly true that the Home Secretary may decide to introduce separate legislation dealing only with this commission. He may only write into the Bill a Clause which would make it clear that an attempt at conciliation would be made before the matter would be brought before the courts. That is, of course, for the House and my right hon. and learned Friend to decide.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
The hon. Gentleman has quoted from a document which suggests that the main object of the law in this respect should be to alter conduct, not to punish. Is that not the whole tenor of his argument and of the authority from which he derives it? But the object should be to alter and not to punish—quite contrary, therefore, to the very arguments which the Home Secretary addressed to us.
§ Mr. Ennals
The main object, but not the whole object. I said earlier that the main object is to change the course of events, to change human behaviour. Sometimes, one cannot change human behaviour except by having the authority to punish. Nothing new was raised by the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies).
Not only from the United States, but from many countries in Europe, have we examples of legislation attempting to deal with this serious human problem. I want to congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary on bringing forward this legislation, to urge him to look sympathetically at the representations which have been made for the strengthening of the Bill and to do it, as I know he will, in the spirit which, I think, is accepted by the whole House—that the task of Parliament is to preserve the rights of all its citizens. It so happens that, because of the facts of history, we now have in this country nearly 1 million people of another colour. They are en- 994 titled to protection. The purpose of this legislation is to provide them with that protection so that they may share to the full in all the benefits offered by our democratic society.
§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
If I do not follow in great detail the arguments of the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Ennals) I hope that he will attribute it to the general support which I have for everything which he has said and not to any lack of interest in his arguments. I shall deal later with the point which arose out of the intervention of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies), as to whether or not one should concentrate exclusively or to a very large extent upon conciliation and reform and not upon punishment. I do not think that the two are mutually contradictory.
It is very rash to try to generalise as to what are the arguments thrown up in a debate. But I would suggest that they are twofold. The first is whether the Bill represents a widespread extension of the existing criminal law. I shall seek to show that it does not, certainly not nearly so widespread an extension as the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) suggested. The second is whether it will have the effect of checking racial discrimination which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen in all quarters of the House profoundly deplore.
With regard to the second point, I had some doubts about whether it would have the effect of checking racial discrimination until the Home Secretary made the point that he would consider sympathetically conciliation machinery. I was one of those who were privileged to question the Home Secretary at the all-party Immigration Group. I dare say that the Home Secretary has had other meetings with interested persons and that, at those meetings, doubts were made known. Accordingly, I deplore the attitude of the right hon. Member for Monmouth.
When a Home Secretary listens to arguments and representations, the fact that he believes that there may be some merit in them and is prepared to consider them, and says so to the House, is not a matter to be deplored. It is a matter to be applauded. Therefore, all this talk about coming down at 3.45 on a Monday afternoon—I think that the only highlight 995 left out was "in this glorious month of May"—is so much humbug. I will deplore the day when we can take is as a certainty that no Minister will ever change his mind or ever reconsider points after arguments have been put to him. We who are in politics are entitled to change our minds—and no one knows it better than the learned Solicitor-General who is sitting next to the Home Secretary—sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. In this context, I consider that the Home Secretary's change was for the better.
The Bill's objects should be threefold. It should first indicate the view that we as a nation take of racial discrimination. Since the world is a cynical place, one cannot give an earnest of one's intention unless penalties are added to the Bill to punish the commission of these offences. The second object should be to bring about the maximum degree of conciliation, and the third should be that the existence of the Bill, coupled with conciliation, should result in the minimum number of prosecutions.
The power of the Director of Public Prosecutions envisaged in Clause 1 and the power of the Attorney-General envisaged in Clause 3 are clearly an indication that the intention of the Bill is that prosecutions should be few and far between. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) suggested that the time of the police forces will be absorbed in making a tremendous number of investigations, but I do not think that this is the intention of the Bill nor that it will be the result—
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
The hon. Gentleman knows quite well that there will be opposition to the licence of the publicans and restaurant keepers, and that it will be through this opposition of the licensed trade through the licensing courts, not through the operation of the criminal law, that this will be effected if it is shown that the colour bar is in operation.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I understand that the hon. Gentleman is still a practitioner at the Bar—I retired from the Bar many years ago. Surely, he knows that it often happens at brewster sessions that the grant of licences is opposed in respect of certain licensed premises on the grounds that the colour bar is operated—
§ Mr. Thorpe
The hon. Gentleman says "No", but I have done it myself on a number of occasions, and I know of other hon. Members in the profession who have also opposed licences for that reason. I think that the learned Solicitor-General has done so, to his credit, when in private practice at the Bar.
I think that those taking part in conciliation should have powers somewhat comparable to those at present possessed by probation officers. It is quite true that whatever a probation officer suggests is only of persuasive authority, whether it be to quarter sessions or to an assize judge. It is also perfectly true that the advice tendered is relevant only in those cases where there has been a conviction. But it is also true that an accused person who is approached by a probation officer, who takes an interest in his case, knows that the probation officer may ultimately have the discretion of recommending that that person is a fit person for a probation order or, alternatively, is a person in respect of whom probation will be ineffective and, therefore, a fine or imprisonment would logically be the expected alternative. In those cases, I suggest that probation officers have very great discretion and power. It is a power that they exercise in relation to the criminal law.
I am not at all certain whether probation officers would be able to take on work of this nature. They are certainly people trained in the work of conciliation. They are familiar with home conditions and with the tensions that build up between races, and I would have hoped that in some way they would be associated with some form of conciliation work. Their recommendations could be of persuasive authority in deciding whether a prosecution was justified.
The right hon. Member for Monmouth asked what was the justification for this Bill and, in particular, where one could point to those stresses and strains that would merit the introduction of the Bill. I would only point out to the right hon. Gentleman that whenever members of the Conservative Party are introducing legislation with regard to immigration or speaking in regard to the need for increased control of immigration they are under no inhibitions in suggesting that there are stresses and strains that have to 997 be kept under control. If that argument obtains then, I fail to see how they can change their ground because they do not like this Bill.
Turning to Clause 1, the present position of the innkeeper is that he is already guilty of a criminal offence if he refuses to admit travellers where he has accommodation available or, alternatively, refuses to provide them with refreshment. He commits a common nuisance, which is a criminal offence. The reason for that provision is that those who offer their services to the world at large cannot seek to discriminate against certain individuals for any particular reason—unless it be one such as was mentioned by the Home Secretary, that, for example, they are dirty, noisy, disorderly. All that Clause 1 says is that the criminal penalty that may attach against an innkeeper by reason of the fact that he has, so to speak, thrown open his doors to the world, shall be logically extended to others who throw open their doors to the world, albeit for different reasons. They are, as Lord Chief Justice Coleridge said, in the nature of a "public servant".
I believe that the only objection to Clause 1 is that it is unreasonably restrictive in its reference to places of "public resort". I must not make a Committee point here, but I myself would like to see subsection (2) completely deleted. I should like "public resort" to mean public resort, without limitation, and one would rely on the findings of the courts and on the precedents to indicate what the particular places might be. We would then bring in shops and various other places which are equally places of public resort.
Clause 2 has no criminality in it. It merely enlarges the existing precedents as to those cases in which the judges take the view that consent had been unreasonably withheld in regard to the assignment. I accept that it does not go very far, that it could be said to be illogical, but it is a move in the right direction.
The right hon. Member for Monmouth very greatly criticised Clause 3, but I suggest that here, too, we are not dealing with a very great extension of the existing criminal law. We are not, for example, greatly extending the law of criminal libel. Lord Mansfield said in 1812, in the case of Thorley v. Lord Kerry, that 998 criminal libel was an indictable misdeamour because it had a tendency to arouse angry passions which provoked revenge and might thus endanger peace. I do not think that this Clause is a very great extension of the existing law of criminal libel. It is true that the convention has grown up that one can prosecute only in respect to a criminal libel which is equally actionable at common law. It may well be said that there are many matters which are incitement to racial hatred but which could not be referred with any particularity to any group or individual so as to found an action at common law.
I do not believe that basically the position of Clause 3 greatly extends the law relating to criminal libel. Nor do I believe that it greatly extends the present criminal position in regard to the crime of sedition. That has been defined in the textbooks for many years aspromoting feelings of and hostility between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects".But I do much doubt whether "hatred" is the right criterion for Clause 3. I am not certain whether the Indian criteria are not to be preferred. I admit that to a lawyer they sound somewhat oriental, but I think that they more nearly approach the situation which we seek to check. They refer to matters, to documents, to words, which are likely to disturb public tranquillity or which are likely to be prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between races. It is very difficult to establish what is meant by "hatred" and I am not certain whether we have yet hit upon the right criterion. In view of the law of criminal libel, in view of the law of sedition, in view of the two matters which have to be proved—first, an intention to stir up hatred; and, secondly, a likelihood that hatred will be occasioned—I do not believe that we are greatly extending the law.
We are in a sense pinpointing and mentioning specifically hatred amongst races. That is why I believe that the Government are justified in introducing the Bill, because I believe that from time to time it is the responsibility of Parliament, on behalf of the nation, to make known our abhorrence of any particular act or series of acts.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
Since the hon. Gentleman interrupted my 999 right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft), surely he must recognise that what he has just done is to produce chapter and verse in support of the argument my right hon. Friend adduced, namely, that there is no need to change the law because this is already covered.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I do not know who will be more embarrassed by that, the right hon. Member for Monmouth or myself. I disagree. After all, the right hon. Member for Monmouth condemned Clauses 3 and 4, on the basis that this was a widespread extension and that it would affect millions of people. The right hon. Gentleman then said in another context that he did not really think that a case had been established for its introduction because there had not been evidence of a sufficiency of breaches of this sort. I should have thought, first, that there was real doubt about the distribution of written matter, which is certainly the reason for the amendment of the Public Order Act. Secondly, I do not think —I am subject to correction—that there has been any successful prosecution under the Public Order Act on the basis of the distribution of any writing, or sign, or visible representation. Subject to correction, the only convictions have been of actual threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour. If there is doubt, and the Home Office advisers seem to think that there is—presumably this is the view of the Home Secretary and of the Law Officers—I suggest that, for the avoidance of doubt, it is right and proper that that Act should be amended.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
The hon. Gentleman is entitled to argue that it would be a suitable task for an ordinary British policeman to go to a meeting at Speakers' Corner at Marble Arch and try to decide whether what was said interfered with the tranquillity between nations. Some of us may have doubts about whether that is a very suitable job for an ordinary British policeman. What the hon. Gentleman is not entitled to say is that I opposed Clause 4. I supported it.
§ Mr. Thorpe
On the latter point, I withdraw what I said. I remember the right hon. Gentleman saying that he had no objection to the Clause. I do not think that he actively supported it. But I concede that point.
1000 With regard to the right hon. Gentleman's first point, I am not suggesting that the criterion he quotes is necessarily final. What I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman, as a fellow member of the Inner Temple, is that these are judgments which policemen already have to make. They already have to make a judgment that a particular course at a meeting is likely to lead to a breach of the peace. They already have to form a judgment as to what is likely to be the effect of words spoken. What the Bill seeks to do, first, is to say that to stir up racial hatred is something which we in this country will not tolerate and will not allow. We are therefore logically saying that, when such an offence is committed, the police present at a meeting are the people to pass judgment upon it. I cannot see that this is anything but a logical extension of the existing law.
Finally, I want to mention one or two matters by way of criticism. First, I appreciate that, because of the convention, we do not legislate for the internal affairs of Northern Ireland. Such precedent incidentally is also to be found in the case of Rhodesia! It would be helpful if whoever is winding up would tell us whether it is the view of the Stormont Government that existing legislation is adequate, or merely that there is no need for any legislation; whether the existing legislation, which, as I understand it, deals with religious discrimination, is, in the view of the Stormont Government, adequate to cover religious discrimination only, or whether Stormont interprets it as having a relationship to racial discrimination, which is within the purview of the Bill. As I understand it, no Ulster champion has suggested here that there is legislation to deal with racial as opposed to religious discrimination—and I ask further whether the Northern Ireland Government are prepared further to discuss this matter with the Westminster Government, in view of the matters which have been mentioned in this debate.
§ Mr. Chichester-Clark
There is no racial problem as such in Northern Ireland. The hon. Gentleman may be interested to know that at a recent meeting of the National Council of Civil Liberties one of his own representatives, the only Liberal Member in the Northern Ireland House of Commons, was present. The 1001 only matter on which she agreed with all the other parties represented there was that at this stage no outside intervention in our affairs could help to solve any problem which we have there.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. It was as a result of having consulted Miss Murnaghan, who is the only Liberal Member of Parliament in the Stormont, that I was phrasing my questions with some caution. There is, therefore, consensus ad idem between us. I was merely asking what the view of the Ulster Government was. I am not suggesting that there should be outside intervention. I am not suggesting that a case has yet been made. I was asking whether that Government were satisfied that their existing legislation covered not only religious contingencies but racial contingencies as well and whether they would be prepared to discuss the matter further with the Westminster Parliament, in view of the opinions expressed in this debate.
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
Is my hon. Friend aware that Miss Murnaghan introduced a Human Rights Bill in the Stormont, so it cannot be that she is perfectly satisfied with the situation in Northern Ireland?
§ Mr. Thorpe
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. It is also right to say that that Bill was heavily defeated by a prominently Unionist majority.
Whilst talking about the Celtic areas, there is one strange thing in regard to Scotland. Prosecutions under Clauses 1 and 3 can be launched only on the advice of the D.P.P., in the first case and of the Attorney-General, in the second. There is no mention of how prosecutions can be launched in Scotland. Does this mean that there are increased difficulties about launching a Scottish prosecution, or, alternatively, that there are no difficulties standing in the way of it?
Next, I should have thought that Clause 3 did not cover religious groups. Let us suppose, for example, that there was criticism of the Mormons in this country. They could not be distinguished by colour, or by race, or by ethnic or national origins. So far as the Jewish community is concerned, I think one is again immediately up against the argument as to what is recognised as a person who is Jewish within the meaning of this 1002 Bill. For example, what about somebody whose family has lived in this country for six generations, who is clearly of Jewish extraction but who is not a professing Jew? Indeed, one remembers the arguments that were used against the Jewish community in Germany in the 1930s, not on the grounds of their religious observances but for alleged financial and economic characteristics. It had nothing to do with their religion, but certainly as a group they were attacked. Therefore, I ask the Home Secretary to look at this question very carefully.
Since Clause 2 moves into the sphere of the civil law, I would have thought it possible to say that any contract which had a discriminatory clause in it should be null and void. Similarly, I would have thought that one ought to be able to extend it to contracts of employment, certainly in the public sector and in the nationalised industries. Otherwise we would have a situation whereby a nationalised industry was able to condone the exercise of discrimination on the grounds of colour among its employees. This is a difficult problem and this is a great omission from the Bill.
The right hon. Member for Monmouth obviously felt very strongly that we were gravely extending the criminal law. What are the rights which are being circumscribed under this Bill? They are the rights to stir up racial hatred, to distribute matter which is inflammatory, which might possibly not be the subject of a criminal libel and might—it is open to argument—be covered by the Public Order Act. It also seeks to extend the criminal liability already attaching to an innkeeper, to persons who offer their wares at large but who refuse to do so on purely racial grounds.
I cannot believe that these are basic political rights which, if circumscribed, or in certain cases wholly removed, will have this grave effect of undermining the basic liberties of the people in this country. Therefore, I cannot share the view that this is a wholesale attack upon individual liberty. Of course, every criminal law in some way circumscribes the activities of others, but I cannot believe that these are liberties which we in this House have any right to see perpetuated. Therefore, whilst I hope the conciliation commission will have very great powers and will minimise the extent of prosecutions 1003 under this Bill, I support it and I hope it will get a Second Reading.
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ Mr. John Binns (Keighley)
I always thought that I would welcome any effort to legislate against racial discrimination, but I must admit that I read this Bill for the first time with very mixed feelings indeed. Some of my fears were allayed by my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary when he suggested that he would be prepared to look at the introduction of conciliation machinery.
As I read the Bill, so many courses of action can be taken under the Bill with which I agree, but there are also a number of others which can be taken with which I disagree. For instance, Clause 3 can give nothing but satisfaction to people like myself who have always been sickened by the thought that a neo-Fascist can stand up in any public place and incite a mob to racial hatred and even, in many cases, get away with inciting mobs to racial violence.
It is this kind of freedom that led to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and the attempt to exterminate a whole race of people. While I welcome the fact that under Clause 3 action can be taken to stop this, many other sorts of action can be taken under Clause 3 which worry me tremendously.
Up to now this debate has been a lawyer's paradise. Points of law have been argued most effectively, but those of us who are not lawyers can only judge the Bill from the effect we believe it will have on any racial problem which exists within our own constituencies. I realise that this is a very wide Bill, covering all races, but in my constituency my particular problem is an influx of coloured Asiatic immigrants. Any Member who has an immigration problem within his constituency knows full well that there is a deep resentment within the working-class section of the community at the social problems that follow in the wake of an influx of coloured immigrants. This resentment manifests itself in so many ways, and it is this which worries me about the Bill.
What I fear about Clause 1 is that my right hon. and learned Friend, in his genuine and humane efforts to stop racial discrimination, may create another kind 1004 of discrimination against another section of the public who will not have the right of appeal or of reprieve. I refer to the hotelier, the café proprietor and the shopkeeper. I should like to know what will be the position of the hotelier or café owner who, because he obeys the terms of the Bill and serves coloured immigrants, finds that his white customers are discriminating against him by boycotting his premises. Do not let anyone think that this cannot happen here. It can happen. I have seen it happen already, within my own constituency. That is why I think that the Bill is perhaps premature and, not only premature, but is perhaps, in its present form, without the conciliation machinery that was promised by the Home Secretary, not the best way of dealing with this situation.
This has been an argument between lawyers up to now. I should like to consider the more human picture, the broader picture in which this Bill is set. We should do far more to remove the causes of any resentment that ordinary working people are feeling against coloured immigrants before we make the results of that resentment a criminal offence.
Let me try to explain what I mean. There is in my constituency amongst the working-class people a tremendous amount of resentment and I do not believe that this resentment has any association at all with the kind of Fascist thuggery that I was suggesting could be dealt with under Clause 3. I do not believe that it has any real basis of racial hatred. It is possible that it is developing into a form of colour prejudice, but if it is developing into a form of colour prejudice we in this House must accept a great deal of responsibility for this. My hon. Friends and I must accept some blame and responsibility for this situation, because for far too long we have prevaricated and dodged this issue.
And now, when we have accepted the need to control immigration, when we have set up an inter-departmental committee and appointed a Minister with the responsibility for integrating the immigrants into our community—before these measures can start to bite we introduce this Bill, which, I believe, in its present form will make the work of the committee and of the Minister more difficult. It does nothing to remove the social 1005 problems which are the root cause of this resentment.
Right hon. and hon. Members opposite must not be too happy. They have nothing to be proud about in the matter of race relations. This problem was created by them. It was during the 13 years of their rule that most of the immigration took place. I admit that the floodgates were wide open, but there is some evidence that during their period of office the flood of immigrants was deliberately directed towards those gates. I know from talks which I have had with Pakistani immigrants in my constituency that agencies were set up in Karachi to organise immigration into this country.
It seems strange that when the immigrants arrive at London Airport they know not only to which towns they are going to, but which textile mill they are to work in; and when one thinks that the cost of an air trip to Britain is far more than these tribesmen—for that is what many of them are—have ever seen in their lives there must be some expert liaison between Karachi and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Both sides of the House have some responsibility for the resentment felt by many of my constituents against coloured immigrants. I am afraid that under the Bill this resentment will be mistaken for racial prejudice and that some action will be taken against it under the criminal code. I do not believe that this resentment is racial prejudice. If it is not, what is it and what is its basis? I believe, with the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell), that its basis is just cold fear.
In my constituency there are many working people who have not had any previous contact with coloured people and suddenly wake up and find large groups of coloured immigrants within their community. I speak of Asiatics and Pakistanis who cannot speak a word of English. They come straight from the tribal villages of Pakistan and their ideas of personal hygiene are absolutely different from ours. They have no idea of our public health regulations and they follow a strict and, what is to Western eyes, a very strange religion.
These fears within the British people are strengthened in a place like Bradford 1006 when they read of the big increase in the incidence of tuberculosis and other diseases, and when the working man buys his terraced cottage and finds that the cottage next door is suddenly sold to a Pakistani who fills it at the rate of six to a bedroom.
These fears are also increased when these working men find that the immigrants in many cases have been used to lower the living standards in this country. This is not a fear which should go unnoticed. I have in my possession pay-slips given to me by Pakistanis which prove that they are being exploited outrageously. Above all, people fear that it is only the working classes who will have contacts with these immigrants. They live in working-class streets and not in the salubrious parts of the community. They work at shop-floor level and not in management and administration. Their children go to the already overcrowded State schools and not to private schools, which are the prerogative of the rich and the influential.
What will the Bill do to remove these social problems? Will it remove the fears of my constituents? I do not believe that it will. In its present form it will only aggravate the fears, and because it is only the working-class people who have contact with these immigrants I am not sure that the argument of working-class people that the Bill will discriminate against them is not true. Will not the penalties in the Bill tend to apply most to the people who have the greatest contact with these immigrants?
If the Bill is no answer to the problem, what is the alternative? I was very please to hear my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary suggest that he will be quite prepared to look at the idea of conciliatory machinery working alongside the Bill. This machinery should be set up and it should be put under the control of the Minister responsible for immigration. Conciliatory committees or councils should be set up under the control of the Minister. These committees would deal privately with the kind of complaints which can be dealt with under the Bill, and not in the glare of an open court. Working alongside these committees the Minister in charge of immigration should be exploring every means of removing the 1007 social problems which the real cause of our racial problems.
In my opinion—and this may not be popular—this means a strict control of the intake of immigrants. I know that a strict Socialist principle is that one must not discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, religion or colour. I subscribe to that wholeheartedly, but I know of no Socialist principle which lays down that a would-be immigrant should be allowed to live and work in any country that he chooses irrespective of whether that is prejudicial or not to the economy of that country.
I have heard the old argument that as many people migrate from this country as are immigrating into it. If that is true, it is not a very good exchange. We are exporting craftsmen, technicians and doctors and in their place we are importing a glut of unskilled and, in many cases—and this is not their fault—illiterate labour who can perform only the most menial of tasks. I suggest, therefore, that the Minister's first concern must be control.
The second should be health checks. Immigrants should have to face the same rigorous examination as we have to face if we want to go to some other countries.
The third problem which the Minister should tackle is the rehousing of the immigrants. It might be a good idea to do as many other countries do and make the employer who is having the use of these immigrants' labour pay substantially towards the cost of housing them. It would also be a good idea if, after a period of employment, the immigrant had to return home the employer should have some obligation to pay the cost of his return. The Minister should also take steps to introduce an educational programme which would teach the illiterate immigrant to read and write and, above all, at least to speak English. We should teach him, also our standards of hygiene and how our public health regulations work.
Lastly, we must make sure that once the immigrants are working in our community they are not exploited and used as cheap labour to lower the living standards of the British working people. If the Minister can solve these problems, 1008 by whatever action he takes, there will be no need for the Bill. This resentment is so rife at times in my constituency that personal friends of mine say, "We shall not vote for any of you", and this applies to all parties, because they are simply fed up with the lot of us in the way we deal with the immigration problem.
If we can go ahead and solve these basic problems, we shall have no need to make racial discrimination a criminal offence. There will not be any racial discrimination except on the part of certain political parties whose whole philosophy depends on attacking people in less fortunate circumstances than themselves.
If, after all that I have said and all that has been said in the House about the need to introduce conciliation machinery along with the Bill, my right hon. and learned Friend finds that he must retain the Bill in its present form, then I appeal to him to ensure that it is used sparingly and with great care. I am convinced that, if there is any indiscriminate use of its provisions, it will only inflame a situation which, in his heart, I am sure, my right hon. and learned Friend wishes to improve or even to eradicate altogether.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Griffiths (Smethwick)
I speak as one who has always been opposed to all forms of prejudice, but as one who hopes to be called discriminating. I oppose the Bill, and I am speaking to the Bill in the form in which I have received it rather than to the suggested amended Bill of which we have heard today.
I oppose the Bill as it stands on several grounds. First, in the present situation it is completely unnecessary. Second, it is unlikely that the Bill will achieve the aims it is designed to fulfil. Third, I fear that it is likely to create tension and ill-feeling which does not exist at present. Fourth, I fear—my fears have been strengthened by some of the comments made today—that the real intentions behind the Bill have not been fully ventilated.
First, the Bill is unnecessary. Clause 1 deals with discrimination in places of public resort. I have listened in vain to hear that there is a great deal of discrimination in such places. How much 1009 is there? I suggest that the amount of discrimination is negligible, in fact, and that it is a reducing amount, that the amount of such discrimination now is less than it was five years ago. Much of the discrimination of which we hear talk is imaginary discrimination. People who are sensitive to the fact that they are coloured in a community which is largely white frequently imagine that they have been discriminated against in circumstances in which no discrimination whatever has existed. I believe that there is a danger that these cases may be magnified by the Bill.
If the supporters of the Bill could show that there was a certain amount of discrimination, I should believe that Clause 1 at least was necessary, but no attempt has been made to make that case. The only case put forward is that, at some future stage, there may be a need for it. In my view, it is insulting to the public at large to suggest that we need the sanction of the criminal law to deal with the amount of discrimination which exists in a highly civilised society. Moreover, I fear that it is damaging to our image abroad to suggest that at this stage we must suddenly bring the full majesty of the law to bear on some real or imagined misdemeanours of the British people. These dangers cannot be over-exaggerated because they relate to matters which are fundamental both to our relations within our community and to the way our community is viewed from abroad.
Clause 2, dealing with leases, is largely unnecessary. The well-behaved tenant is welcomed by the landlord who is in business for the very purpose of letting his accommodation. I know of no reason, and no reason has been put forward today, to suggest that in any large number of cases there has been discrimination in the matter of leases against people on grounds of colour, race or ethnic origin. Again, if it could be shown that there was a certain amount of discrimination, a case would be made out, but there has been no such attempt, and not one speaker in the debate has tried to show that there has been a significant amount of discrimination of this kind.
The greatest harm in the matter of accommodation—this, surely, is what the attack should be levelled against first—is done by the restriction, "No children in this accommodation". This is the crying 1010 social evil, and it is something to which, I hope, we could all have given our united attention.
Clause 3 contains the words which have been so closely examined by the lawyers,intended to stir up hatredandlikely to stir up hatred".Is it suggested that such speeches or literature are rife? I do not believe that they are. I do not believe that the vast majority of our people have ever heard a speech of that kind or seen such literature.
Of course, we in this House have seen such literature because we are the obvious targets for those who send out leaflets of the kind we have in mind. No doubt, hon. Members have received the one which I have received, and which I have seen being handed round today. This is the sort of thing we receive, but most people in the country do not even know that it exists.
It is a great pity that we should give the impression that there are masses of speeches being made all the time, or masses of leaflets and literature being distributed. If there were, there would be representations to the Government from the police or from the judiciary. We all know that there have been no such representations, and one has only to talk to members of the police force to know that they do not view this proposed legislation with any enthusiasm.
It is a great pity that Clause 4 has been brought into the Bill at all. If Clause 4 had been brought forward on its own, with reasoned arguments to show why it was necessary, there could have been full support for it from everyone in the House. It would certainly have had my support if it could have been shown that there was need for strengthening of the Public Order Act. But, as I say, I think it a great pity that it has been brought into a contentious Bill when it need not have been treated in that way.
How can the Bill achieve what are said to be its aims? I believe that it will fail. First, it will encourage extremists. I remind the House that extremists are to be found on both sides, not only among the white community. There is the danger that extremist Right-wing elements may even court prosecution because they will 1011 welcome the publicity in the newspapers and on television given to the first of the prosecutions coming under the Bill. This is the kind of publicity on which they batten and in which they glory. In that way, we may work against the aims of the Bill.
Extremists from the immigrant organisations also are likely to take advantage of the Bill. Already, in Birmingham, a meeting has been held, well-publicised with representatives of the Press present, at which we were told that, within 24 hours of the Bill becoming law, there would be a mass testing of its provisions. Of course, not all these testings would lead to prosecutions, but, if there were numerous cases reported, the impression would be created that there was mass discrimination. I have always felt that the greatest danger lay in people going round looking for discrimination, seeking out incidents and then, if they find the slightest evidence, magnifying them into cases.
How will it be possible to obtain proper evidence of speeches which could be actionable under the Bill? Will proceedings be based on reports of speeches? The police are not present at all political meetings. If reports are to be taken as the basis, have not hon. Members seen six completely different reports of the same meeting in six different newspapers? If trained reporters can produce different emphases, how much more is the untrained person trying to take notes likely to fail to reproduce accurately what is said?
If the police are present in uniform, is it likely that anything of the sort will be said? Or is the most dangerous of all possibilities in mind, that there will be plain clothes policemen present taking notes? That is the first step towards a political police, and this, I am sure, would be resented by the police forces even more than by people attending such meetings.
The basic question is this: is it possible to legislate about people's feelings? If a problem exists—the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Binns) told us quite plainly that there is a problem in his area—it is not a problem of discrimination. It is a problem of people meeting together and learning to live side by side. If such 1012 problems exist, there are two ways in which valauble work could be done. The first is by conciliation. To my mind, if this is part of the Government's programme, it should have been part and parcel of the Bill, not something revealed first in the newspapers and then on the Floor of the House. Conciliation is the first step.
The step I have most faith in is education. This is the first task and the greatest hope for the future. I do not believe that there is any hope in legislation. There will only be a hardening of attitudes. A series of well-publicised trials will hardly help the brotherhood of man. In fact, we shall merely give a field-day to those who will use the Bill for their own personal or political advantage.
If anyone thinks that unfounded charges are not made, I mention just one incident in my constituency during the past few days. A complaint was made publicly to the newspapers that laundries were separating the washing of white and coloured persons, stamping the one with a W and the other with a C. This was said by a responsible immigrant leader to the Press in my constituency. Within a matter of hours, it was refuted, it being pointed out that the letters W and C were only two of the letters of the alphabet and that all the letters of the alphabet were used in laundry numbers. But this is the sort of complaint which, if magnified, will have to be examined and reported on. Just consider all the publicity which would be given in the meantime. Such things can only lead to a hardening and worsening of relations, not an improvement.
The greatest danger lies not in what the Bill will do, but in what it is thought that it will do. I am sure that every hon. Member must have had numerous letters, not just from extremists but from reasonable and sensible people who have said that they fear that this is the first step in the erosion of freedom of speech. Fearing this, they will resent the Bill and, as has been said, unless a Measure has the general support of the population it can never be effective.
I do not believe that the Bill has the support of any more than a political minority in the country. The vast majority of people, if asked, would reject it. It is this political minority which is attempting to impose its own philosophy 1013 through the Bill. They are people who sincerely advocate a political policy which they call integration. They do not explain it. It can mean almost all things to all men. To some, it means the mixing of people until no one can tell a Sikh from a Scotsman. I do not happen to agree with a policy of integration in this sense. But I remind the House that no point of view has a monopoly of moral rectitude. Each viewpoint is in itself worthy of consideration if it is sincerely held.
The vast majority of people in this country and, I venture to say, as one who knows a great many immigrants, a vast majority of immigrants hold the view that they just want to be left alone. They want a chance to carry on living in their own way of life with their own culture, of which they are proud. They do not wish to be cajoled or pushed or hurried along by any kind of political measures. Of course, they are prepared to co-operate and to take part in joint discussions. I am pleased to say that in my constituency this sort of co-operation is going on at present at street level.
But I fear that some of the comments made today will cause great concern. It has been suggested that the Bill is not designed to deal with the present, but with a situation which may exist in the future. This, I feel, will be interpreted as meaning that it is intended to act as some kind of gag if there is to be continuing mass immigration. If that is the intention of the Bill, then that should have been stated. It should have been said that it relates to future mass immigration and that it does not relate to the Jewish community which, in any case, is a stable part of the community. The Government should have made clear what the Bill is intended to do. It may be said that it is aimed at unifying people. How can that claim be made for it when it will still be possible to preach class hatred? It will be possible to preach the Red Revolution, but not to talk about the Yellow Peril.
The Bill has already created a hardening of attitude. It has already done harm because it has worsened relations which were improving. It seeks to create separate legal categories of people because they have different colours of skin. Surely that is the last thing that we want to do—to separate people on that 1014 ground. Surely we want to make certain that people are separated before the law only according to their behaviour. That should be the criterion, not the colour of their skin. We should not set up a particular group which, because of its special protection, will have a special privilege. We do not wish any section of our community to be a privileged section. That would be just as bad as to talk of second-class and first-class citizenship. It would be the same thing in reverse.
Clause 2(1) provides that one need not take a coloured person into one's house if one is living there. This is typical of the attitude which is being advanced—that integration is good for other people, that other people should go and do it but it is not the case that we ourselves should do it. It is good for them but not for us. All too often this argument is put forward by people who have no intention of practising it at all.
I, for one, am tired of the preaching. I am tired of the "Holier than thou" attitude and the wringing of hands by people who often know little of the problem, or, if they know it, deliberately close their eyes to it. It is a typical attitude in my constituency, where we had a candidate who spent his time preaching about discrimination and the colour bar and then returned at night to his carefully discriminating and carefully segregated headquarters. That sort of humbug has been wrapped around the Bill so that its original purpose has been forgotten. I am certain that the Bill was put forward sincerely with the intention of bringing the races together in harmony. But I suggest that if we intend to have cooperation and close collaboration between different races in this country, we must, basically, produce a programme for discrimination for the future and secondly, must deal with the problem of education. These are the two ways ahead.
The Bill is irrelevant to the situation. I fear that it may do great harm. If the Bill is defeated tonight, perhaps second thoughts might take precedence of the kind which have been emerging during the afternoon. If this happened we might find that hon. Members on both sides of the House of Commons could join together in the kind of measures which would have the popular support of the people of this country. I, for one, would 1015 certainly be delighted to join in them. I hope that the Bill as presented will not be given a Second Reading, but will be defeated.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams (Hitchin)
I rise because I think that we are at a crucial point in this matter. We must face the fact that we start with a million immigrants who are in this country, many of whom are likely to stay in this country, and that we must clearly decide what our relationship with them is to be. It is of very little use to talk about different standards or different customs unless we have clearly in our minds the final destiny of our relationship with this group in our midst.
The Bill, in a sense, tries to bring to the country not what the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Peter Griffiths) described as a new form of discrimination but the reverse of it. When the hon. Member for Smethwick made that comment he gave a very good example of what George Orwell referred to as "Newspeak".
I have a major point to make on the Bill and I shall make it very briefly. There are, surely, two possibilities under the present arrangement of the Bill—and I refer particularly to Clause 1. One possibility is that proceedings brought under the Bill would be very rare. They would be brought only in the case of a major act, a flagrant offence of inciting racial hatred. The difficulty is that if proceedings are brought only very rarely, before long legislation falls into contempt. On the other hand, if proceedings are brought very frequently, then it is probable that they will be brought in instances involving only a frivolous act or a trivial racial abuse.
It is because of the danger in which we might place this legislation—and its effectiveness, in the main, must depend on the respect which it gains from the community—that many of us feel it crucial to have a process of conciliation preceding any process of bringing a criminal case. The right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) referred to conciliation as if it were opposed to action in the courts. The whole burden of our argument on this side of the House is that these are com- 1016 plementary and not opposed to each other. As is clear from experience in Canada and certain States of the United States, the process of conciliation makes sense only if there is some definite sanction to follow it up. Similarly, if the sanctions are too strong, the law may be disregarded if there is no earlier conciliation process to be gone through.
While I congratulate my right hon. Friend on bringing the Bill before the House, I am also grateful to him for what he said about the possibility of reconsidering a conciliation commission. I therefore assume that the Bill may be amended in Committee to make that conciliation commission a process which would normally be gone through before criminal action was brought.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am interested in the suggestion, but does the hon. Lady envisage ultimately a civil sanction or ultimately a criminal sanction behind the conciliation commission? Or does she envisage both?
§ Mrs. Williams
I am not a lawyer, but I think that for Clauses 3 and 4 criminal action would be appropriate. For Clause 1 it might well be that civil action would be more appropriate.
Conciliation would go a long way to reassure police forces and juries that if a case were taken up to their level, then it was a serious case and one to which they should pay due attention. An hon. Member opposite, speaking for Northern Ireland, pointed out that the Government of Ireland Act contains certain provisions dealing with religious discrimination. That is a splendid instance of the fact that the administration is crucial to carrying out the law and that the actual law by itself is not enough. There can be few instances in which one is more aware of discrimination of a particular kind than under the Government of Northern Ireland.
§ Mrs. Williams
This is not the burden of what I have to say, but I should be glad to give the hon. Member a number of instances if he would like me to do so. Indeed, I am sure that he is aware that a number of instances were given in the discussion on a Private Member's 1017 Motion on Northern Ireland recently in the House.
§ Captain Orr
On that occasion I asked for any evidence to be sent to me. I have received none at all.
§ Mrs. Williams
I will arrange for the hon. Member to be sent some information. There is one example not very far from Belfast in a major housing estate, the occupancy of which seems to be very different from the statistical make-up of the population in Northern Ireland. But that is not the main burden of my speech and I referred to it only in passing.
The point which I was making was that the attitude of those who have to administer a law is crucial to whether that law succeeds or does not succeed. It is crucial to whether the law carries weight with the community with which it is supposed to carry weight.
I turn next to the saving provision, as it might be described, that the Director of Public Prosecutions must give his permission before criminal proceedings can follow under Clause 1. This is an important safeguard,. There arises the question of how often or at what level the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be given. It seems to me that a case for a conciliation commission is made out in these instances.
Before I turn to Clauses 3 and 4 and one or two other comments, I wish to refer to Clause 2 and to what seemed to be a deliberate attempt at misinterpretation by both the right hon. Member for Monmouth and the hon. Member for Smethwick. Both of them spoke of the attempt by the Bill to impose on other people—tenants—what the landlord himself need not accept—namely, the sharing of common facilities. They cannot have read the Bill carefully because that is exactly what it rules out. When those common facilities are shared access to the accommodation, the Bill states that discrimination shall not be a ground for refusing permission for the tenant to pass on his tenancy. On the subject of shared accommodation, the subsection states that itdoes not apply to a tenancy of premises forming part of a dwelling-house of which the remainder … is occupied by the person whose licence or consent is required as his own residence if the tenant is entitled in common 1018 with that person to the use of any accommodation other than accommodation required for the purposes of access to the premises.Both the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend were completely mistaken.
Under Clause 3(1,b) there is the possibility of conciliation being used. Paragraph (b) reads:… he uses in any public place or at any public meeting words which are threatening, abusive or insulting, being matter or words likely to stir up hatred against that section on grounds of colour, race or ethnic or national origins.This seems to me to be the one instance in Clauses 3 and 4, which otherwise I accept as they stand, in which there may be a case for conciliation machinery. There could be an instance of abuse in a public place, for example a public house, about which one did not want to go straight to criminal action and where the alternative to criminal action might be to take no action at all.
The right hon. Member for Monmouth came back time and time again to the beauties of free speech, and there was a stage in his argument when he almost seemed to be placing together statements like Galileo's E pur si muove, and "Yet he is black". He does not seem to have drawn the distinction which is crucial for freedom of speech, the distinction of the freedom to question a doctrine or an opinion or a belief, and the freedom to attack someone for something to which he cannot conceivably make any difference.
No black man, no Jewish person, no Hindu—I should not have said Hindu—can take thought and change that fact about himself. In no circumstances can a man take thought about himself and so change his race. That is the vital difference between these instances and the heretic or the unorthodox figure, such as one of the great heretical figures of history questioning the orthodoxy of his time. We all want to protect that right, but that is totally different from the situation of what can be described only as persecution which arises from someting for which someone is not responsible but which is something given to him by God.
Let me now consider the legislation in other countries, because hon. Members opposite have been arguing as though this legislation would be a unique advance in 1019 Britain from our previous position of unqualified freedom of speech. In other countries where the minority or immigrant group is much smaller than in Britain exactly this type of legislation applies. In the Netherlands, in Sweden and in Norway there is legislation against religious incitement and incitement based on place of origin or nationality. In Denmark there is a specific clause which makes it wrong to incite hatred against people on the ground of their creed, race or nationality. In France defamation directed against a person belonging to defined race or religion, to quote the actual words, is a criminal offence.
The most significant example is that in the constitution of the reborn Federal Republic of Germany. Under Article 130 incitement to hatred against sections of the population is subject to punishment, and that country more than any other has known what it is to live through the breakdown of the constitutional protection of minorities against the force of what might be an unfriendly majority. In sum, what many of us want to see—and this goes for many hon. Members on both sides of the House—is a combination of the two, of conciliation and of final last-resort sanctions.
In many ways this debate has been rather strange, because hon. Members opposite have always tried to argue as though conciliation by itself was essential, but that they could not accept the Bill because it implied final last-resort criminal sanctions. Yet this must be described as an attempt to find a loophole, for most hon. Members opposite who are sincere about this problem believe, as many of us do, that the two are necessarily complementary and that only their combination will give us protection where we need it.
It is true that there is deep feeling in the country about this problem and of course it is true that much of this feeling arises from genuine social problems which we on this side of the House and those hon. Members opposite who care about conciliation must do everything within our power to meet. That is why Her Majesty's Government have appointed a Minister for this very purpose. But we must recognise this one fact, because it is a crucial fact—we are from this day henceforth and have been 1020 for several years a multi-racial community. There is no going back, except by measures which no hon. Member would wish to take. Because that is the case, we must now find ways of letting these two communities settle down together, creating a future for the children of both, and many of us believe that the Bill, if to it can be added conciliation machinery, is a step in the right direction.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ Mr. C. M. Woodhouse (Oxford)
The best thing that I can find to say about the Bill is that it is a confession of failure. A lot of worse things can be said about it, but even the best is bad enough, because in this kind of matter a premature confession of failure is almost certain to induce real failure where we need not otherwise have failed. I agree with those who have said that the Bill will damage those very relations which it sets out to improve.
We have been given examples—the hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) gave several—from other countries to comfort us, but I find very little comfort in them, because all of them arise in circumstances totally different from our own, or themselves are confessions of failure by the Governments of other countries.
I have particularly noticed that no one has attempted to quote the example of South Africa as a model to follow. If I am not mistaken, I am the first to mention South Africa today. That is not surprising, because South Africa is certainly not regarded by any of us as a model to follow, but it is one of those countries which has legislation against inciting racial hatred, such as the Bill proposes in Clauses 3 and 4 to introduce. I doubt whether anyone would refer to it as a good example.
The case of South Africa is highly relevant. The historical origins of the policy of apartheid, which is generally deplored in this country, are that the original enactments, the first laws embodying the recognition of differences of race, were passed in the last century by men just as benevolent as the Home Secretary and his hon. Friends. They were passed by a dominant white race explicitly and sincerely for the benefit of the coloured races.
1021 I perhaps need hardly say that this is a very slippery slope for a Government to get itself on. However benevolent the original intention, once a dominant race starts deciding that it knows best what is needed for the well-being of other races living in the same geographical boundaries, it is only a matter of time before a still more paternalist attitude creeps in, and then a big-brotherly attitude, and, finally, apartheid. The lesson of this is, to my mind, simple, namely, that racial discrimination is just as bad when it is discrimination in favour of races different from the rulers of the community as when it is discrimination against minority or other races. I am deeply and gloomily convinced that the Bill will be either totally without effect, in which case it is unnecessary, or the first step on the slippery slope of apartheid.
I know that the sponsors of the Bill will argue that it is not racially discriminatory either in intention or in effect, because the law will be the same for all, regardless of race. I would distinguish the two parts of the Bill. I agree that Clauses 3 and 4, which deal with the incitement of racial hatred, are what I may call, borrowing a technological metaphor, omni-directional. Racial hatred is as likely, or unlikely, to be committed by or against people of any racial origin, whether white or coloured, or from wherever they come. At the same time, I am bound to say that I think that these provisions will be hideously difficult to apply in practice.
May I allude, in passing, to the question of Northern Ireland? I am now talking not about legislation in Ireland, but about the behaviour of Irishmen in this country, whether from North or South. When an Ulster Protestant calls a southern Irishman "a bloody Micky", I wonder whether that will be construed as an expression of racial or religious antagonism. This is a problem which might severely exercise the courts. However, the Clauses dealing with incitement to racial antagonism have at least this relative merit, that they do not set out to create a wholly new type of offence. They set out only to plug an alleged or purported gap in the law.
1022 It is quite otherwise with Clauses 1 and 2 which, in my submission, set out to create a wholly new offence in a way which must, in practice, be discriminatory on a racial basis. This is so not only for the obvious reason that, in practice, the people against whom Clauses 1 and 2 will operate, if they operate at all, are likely to be white people guilty of discriminating against coloured people.
The law will operate discriminatorily for a more fundamental reason, which is this. Under the law, as I understand it —and I hope that the Minister who is to wind up the debate will confirm this, if I am right—certain people have a common law right to refuse to admit to their premises or to serve anyone whom they do not want to admit or to serve without any obligation to give reasons and without any liability to be taken to court for so refusing. Those who enjoy such a right include hotel keepers and public-house keepers and boarding house landlords and landladies, but not, I think, inn keepers. I am not sure what the position of the latter will be under the Bill.
It seems to me that the Bill will deprive some of those people of their existing common law right if the person whom they refuse to admit or to serve is of a race different from their own. It will, to say the least, be an offence which is extremely difficult to prove. Indeed, it is difficult to see how it could be proved at all except on the admission of the accused, unless the onus is to be placed upon the accused of proving that the racial motive was not present.
Even if such an offence can be proved, it means that under this new legislation an English hotel keeper or public-house keeper could be taken to court as a result of a refusal to a coloured person in circumstances in which he could not be taken to court for an exactly similar refusal to another Englishman or any other white man. This is what I call racial discrimination.
A landlord may very well feel about any potential customer, regardless of his race, that the customer looks the worse for drink, or as if he or she might not be able to pay the bill, or that a girl looks like a prostitute. He may even simply not like the look of the face of the person seeking service, whether the face be white or black. In the one case, however, no 1023 one will be able to challenge his judgment or call him to account, whereas in the other case his decision can be challenged and he can be taken to court. The sole difference between the two cases is one of racial discrimination.
Furthermore, not only does the Bill upset the common law in some cases, but not in others. It also upsets the common law for some landlords, but not for others. For instance, the keepers of boarding houses are not covered by the Bill. The question has been asked why it should not be extended to include them. This is a question in which there is a good deal of interest in my constituency, which, being a university town, has a large number of landladies who let lodgings to students.
The matter has been of particular interest recently because of cases, which have been given a good deal of publicity in the national Press, in which landladies in Oxford were accused of discriminating against coloured students. I am told by the landlady who acted as spokesman, and who was quoted on the matter in the Sunday Times, that her remarks were seriously misrepresented. Be that as it may, I appreciate the logic of those who argue that if the Bill is passed at all, it should equally cover the case of the landladies of boarding houses. The conclusion of those who so argue is usually that the Bill should be extended by relevant Amendments. I incline to draw the equally logical but exactly opposite conclusion that the Bill should not be passed at all. I instance this anomaly that the Bill is bound to produce as a reason why it should not be passed.
What the Bill will do is to deal with practices which are at present legal, but, in the judgment of most of us, deplorable and offensive. It will deal with those practices by declaring that in future some of them shall be legal and some illegal. It will then inevitably be argued that those which the law permits cannot in the social sense be deplorable. If they are not in the legal sense offences, they cannot be in the social sense offensive either.
I have one final word to say about the second part of the Bill dealing with the incitement of racial hatred. Those hon. Members who took part in the debates on this matter two or three years ago will 1024 remember that when I was at the Home Office, I was inclined to sympathise with this type of amendment to the law in the light of the neo-Fascist activities at that time and, in particular, with the Amendment which was proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Iremonger), with which many of us had sympathy.
My personal difficulty at that time was that the Law Officers of the then Conservative Government advised the Government that the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend would add nothing to the law at all; in other words, that nobody would be convicted under his Amendment who would not be convicted anyway under the existing law. We were also advised that it would be virtually impossible to devise a practical Amendment which would add anything to the law without seriously interfering with the right of free speech.
Now, it may be that the Government are right in thinking that they have got round those very real difficulties, in which case I, for my part, would have no reason for opposing Clauses 3 and 4, but I should like to ask the Government to answer two questions on those two Clauses, first, whether they are now advised by the present Law Officers that Clause 3 does, by introducing the concept of race, create new offences which would not have been caught under the existing relevant law; and, secondly, whether Clause 4 would effectively catch those detestable leaflets which were circulated two or three years years ago and in which the key slogan consisted of the words, "Hitler was right". We were advised at that time that those words could not in themselves be caught under any existing law. I should like to know whether, under the new Clauses of this new Bill, it is the opinion of the Law Officers that those words would in themselves constitute an offence.
If the answer is "Yes" in both those cases then I could conscientiously support Clauses 3 and 4. I would assure the Solicitor-General that I am quite prepared to wait till a later stage for answers to my questions, because I could not, in any case, extend this support to the first two Clauses of the Bill.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Donald Chapman (Birmingham, Northfield)
I understand that there is 1025 just time for a couple of very brief speeches before the winding-up speeches. Therefore, I shall take as little time as possible, in order to give someone else a chance to take part in the debate before those speeches start.
I want simply to say two things. First, I want to say to my right hon. and learned Friend that we appreciate very much indeed the position he has taken today. We on this side of the House who have been putting pressure on him for some time understand the real difficulty he has had. I hope that he will not feel that the sort of criticism which has been made on both sides of the House, today and beforehand, is in some sense a criticism of him personally in this matter. I feel that this Bill is inadequate, largely because my right hon. and learned Friend has been trying as much as possible to be libertarian and to tread as carefully as possible in the direction of curbing freedom, and that the difficulties have occurred through his concentrating on those criticisms. The position he has now taken up has, I am sure, completely cleared the air.
I want to say now, however, that I hope that when he comes to redrafting Clause 1 in Committee he will agree with me that it may be inevitable simply to withdraw that Clause and start afresh. I say that for this reason, that I do not think it is possible to amend Clause 1 as it stands simply by tacking on—and to some extent I have changed my view on reflection—conciliation at the end of one of the subsections.
§ Mr. Chapman
To replace it with something much better.
It cannot be done that way, because the emphasis of the Clause will still remain on criminal proceedings. The Clause would still say that before the Director of Public Prosecutions gives authority for proceedings to be taken he will make sure that conciliation has failed. I think that that is putting it the wrong way round. It should first define discrimination, as it has done in subsection (3); it should go on to say that this discrimination shall be tackled first by an attempt at conciliation, leaving wide powers to the Government to define what form the conciliation should take; and 1026 it should then say that only after all attempts at conciliation have failed shall there be a criminal offence to be tried by the courts.
I say that because I think that the emphasis has to be placed differently to satisfy public opinion and those who have been critics in this matter. I say it for a second reason, namely, that I hope that any conciliation that we have is, so to speak, not under duress, not at the pistol point of saying that the Director of Public Prosecutions is dangling criminal proceedings over a person's head unless he toes the line on conciliation.
Rather, it should be the other way round. We should say that conciliation has to be tried once, twice, and even three times. What the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) said may be the right way to look at it, that we should have a probation officer approach, which is to say to the person concerned, "You committed an offence. If you go on doing it, we will, in the end, have to take proceedings and report you for breach of this sort of covenant which we hoped you would enter into, but we are willing to be patient", and only in the final resort, and on the final report of the probation officer, will there be a criminal prosecution.
We have to redraft the Clause to put the emphasis the other way round to meet those who feel very strongly about this point. I hope that I carry the hon. Member for Devon, North with me in that sort of approach. I hope that I carry him with me in suggesting that we should swing it the other way round, while, nevertheless, as he said, retaining the final right to prosecute if all else fails. I express again my thanks to my right hon. and learned Friend for acceding to our pressure on this point. We shall look forward with interest to what he is able to suggest in Committee. I hope that the initiative will come from him in the form of a redrafted Clause.
There is one other point which has bedevilled the whole debate. It started with the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft), and was carried on by the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), who is not present now, and the hon. Member for 1027 Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell). This is about Clause 3. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have got this Clause wrong. It is nothing to do with criticising people's opinions. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South asked whether under this Clause it would be possible to take action against somebody who said that the Hungarians who come to this country had cornered control of the Government, and we must therefore get rid of the Hungarians. He said that freedom to criticise like that was in danger.
It is not in danger at all, because in such circumstances the intention of that person is to criticise a group of people whatever their nationality for having cornered the Government, and, having done it, being immigrants into the bargain. It is not the intention of that person to stir up racial hatred per se, which is what the Clause demands as the test before a prosecution can be started. The whole point about Clause 3 is not that it is some invasion of liberty and people's freedom to criticise other people for their opinions. It is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) said, restricting the liberty of thousands of people to discriminate in writing, to stir up hatred for things which are not the fault of the people concerned, namely, the colour of their skins, and their national origins. There is all the difference in the world between freedom and liberty to criticise people's opinions, and freedom and liberty to stir up hatred about something for which the people concerned are not responsible, namely, the colour of their skins.
The right hon. Member for Monmouth said that there were no widespread abuses of this kind. I do not care about that. If cruelty is inflicted on one person by making him the subject of race hatred, that is sufficient to assert his right to live here in peace and freedom. One person is enough, because all we are asserting in this Clause is a man's right, despite the colour of his skin and the nation from which he originated, to live here peacefully without hate being stirred against him because of his origin. Only one person in a democratic community needs to be injured for our need to assert a principle and to safeguard it in a Clause of this kind.
1028 What do we do when we curb liberty? We do it often enough in Acts of Parliament. What we say is this: we curb individual liberty when the practice of it becomes licence and harms somebody else's liberty. That is what we largely curb individual freedom for—licence harming other people. This is surely what happens if, solely on the grounds of a man's colour or national origin, hatred is stirred up which results in him being cruelly treated by our community today. Therefore, it is absolutely right to make this basic principle. I need only one case for it to be enough for me to assert the wide freedom of those people to live here within our community without disturbance and without cruelty being inflicted on them. After all, we are not defending the liberty of the criticiser, we are defending his use of it as license, and that surely would be indefensible.
So I can support Clause 3. It has nothing to do with opinions, it has nothing to do with criticising people for their beliefs, it has nothing to do with the great freedom of speech on those matters which we have defended for centuries in our community. It is a simple matter of defending something, defending a person who has no responsibility for the thing he has been criticised, namely, the colour of his face. Generally, I support Clause 3 as it stands and I hope that my right hon. Friends will not bow to the criticisms from the other side of the House which I think are thoroughly misinformed. I support Clause 4 and I hope that we shall be able to amend substantially Clause 1 on the lines I have indicated.
I want to say just one other thing about Clause 2—which is the remainder of the Bill as far as I am concerned. In Clause 2 my right hon. and learned Friend has dealt with tenancies. Why on earth, may I ask him, has he not dealt with restrictions on the transfer of freeholds in that Clause? This places many of us in a difficulty. First of all, we believe strongly that restrictions on the transfer of freeholds must be included in the Bill, but as I understand it we are going to be in difficulty in moving Amendments on this point because of the Long Title and scope of the Bill The Long Title and scope of the Bill specifically restrict the Bill to transfer of tenancies. I hope therefore—because he is more powerful 1029 than we are in amending that scope and the Long Title of the Bill—that he can help us in this matter. We should very much like to be able to move an Amendment to cover discrimination in the transfer of properties.
Generally then, I think that this is a good Bill, a good beginning. I hope that the emphasis in the early Clauses can be changed very substantially indeed, and that we can add something to Clause 2. But, for the rest, I hope that my right hon. Friends will stand fully by it and justify it all the way through our proceedings.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Antony Buck (Colchester)
It is a great shame that such a bad and ill-digested Bill should be put before the House by two such distinguished lawyers as there are on the Government Front Bench at the moment. It was a quite extraordinary thing that, in his opening speech, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary should have put forward the suggestion that a completely different solution to the problem might be sought—a much better solution, namely, the adoption of the procedure which exists in other countries, which allows for conciliation machinery, under which it is possible to remedy the situation by sanctions imposed in the civil courts.
It is extraordinary that a party which has had all the time that it spent in its years in opposition to cogitate upon the subject, and after having had repeated Bills brought forward by Lord Brockway, as he now is, should arrive at conclusions which are wrong, namely, that a criminal solution is the right one. Now, in this debate, we hear from the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the Government are contemplating a very different solution. This is a rather sad and extraordinary commentary upon the chaos which appears to exist on the Front Bench opposite in its whole thinking on this problem.
What an ill-digested Bill this is. Cannot the right hon. and learned Gentleman think of a better definition than that contained in Clause 1—perhaps we shall have something from the Solicitor-General shortly—to tell us precisely how the Jews are brought into the Bill? Is it by race? Is it by the words "ethnic", 1030 "race", or "colour"? What definitions are to be put on those words? In an intervention in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech I sought to point out that the word "ethnic" is a difficult word to define. In the Longer Oxford Dictionary one finds a definition which takes the matter no further than the question of race or national origins, but if one goes to certain international dictionaries one fines a broader definition.
What does the word mean? What do the Government think that it means? What do they think Clause 1 means? This is a very ill-prepared Bill. It is quite extraordinary, when one realises that what concerns most of us more than anything else is the possibility of anti-Semitism, that it should not have been made absolutely clear that Judaism and anti-Semitism is caught by Clause 1.
The effect of the Clause would seem to be to create many difficulties, and a lot of trouble for many people, such as publicans, who have other statutory duties to perform. Great pressures will be brought upon them if they refuse to serve a coloured man with a drink. How vulnerable publicans are to a charge under this Clause! Yet, at the same time, they are under a statutory obligation not to serve someone who is somewhat the worse for drink. What complications there will be in licensing, and what difficulties will be created for licensees by the Bill, and especially by Clause 1!
Clause 2 is most extraordinary. I notice the hon. Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) watching me carefully. I have consulted some eminent people on the law of real property—people even more eminent than some learned Members opposite. They assure me that the effect of the Clause is that if a landlord—in this case the category goes wider than the normal connotation—leaves the premises which he owns, or of which he has a long lease, and chooses to share part of the tenancy or part of the premises comprised in it—say, a bathroom—with someone else, he is allowed to discriminate. He does not have to let to a coloured person. It is an extraordinary proposition that one should enshrine a landlord's right to discriminate in a Statute put before Parliament.
1031 I do not like Clause 2 at all, but I think that I should prefer it if the proviso were not there. If the Bill were to be given a Second Reading, one might perhaps consider whether the whole operation should not be gone over by hon. Members on both sides of the House to try to delete this proviso. It would seem to me to import a quite objectionable proposition into our law, that it is the enshrined right of someone to discriminate.
I dislike the Clause because it would have this sort of effect. A flat may fall vacant in a block which is let entirely to the Jewish community. An Arab may come along—perhaps only to stir up trouble—to take one and the Jewish landlord would have to let it to that Arab. This may be rather "way-out" by way of example, but it illustrates the sort of thing which could happen, which would be objectionable and which would not militate for harmonious race relations. That is why I regard Clause 2 as extraordinary.
On Clause 3, I shall be interested to hear in due course what the Solicitor General's views are as to why it is necessary to go further than Section 5 of the 1936 Public Order Act. It will be interesting to hear from him examples of the sort of case which he thinks will be called by the new Act which would not be caught by Section 5 of the Public Order Act, or, indeed, which would not be caught by, for example, the common law offence of sedition.
We have not heard much about the stock criminal work on this offence of sedition, which says that it… embraces all those practices whether by word, deed or writing which falls short of High Treason but directly tend or have for their object to excite discontent or dissatisfaction; to excite ill-will between different classes of the sovereign's subjects; to create public disturbance … and generally all endeavours to promote public disorderThis would seem to me to catch, if the earlier Section of the Public Order Act does not, all the sorts of things which one objects to. Indeed, this Section has caught many in the past, such as Jordan, who has been mentioned.
This is a bad Bill. It is disappointing and surprising to find it put before the House by lawyers of such distinction. They have an ill-conceived view of this 1032 whole matter. Perhaps they may, even at this late stage, have second thoughts about this bad Bill.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd (Wirral)
I do not think that the matters covered by the Bill are very easy to deal with or to discuss, but I think that it would be generally thought that the standard of speeches during the debate has been very high. I should like particularly to refer to the admirable speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Peter Griffiths) and also the very forthright speech of the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Binns).
The Home Secretary made a very reasonable and fair speech in opening the debate. I wish that it had been a debate on a White Paper, because, after having heard the views of the House, he could have started to try to draft the Bill, if he had felt that he must do so. I hope that he will consider what has been said, because he must have been impressed by the volume of criticism of the Bill from both sides of the House.
It is the general approach which really matters. We have to try to be constructive. I shall deal, first of all, with the discrimination part of the Bill and then with that which relates to incitement. I do not believe in discrimination, on the ground of colour, race, or ethnic or national origin, and I think that that is the overwhelming view of ordinary people in this country. Many of us have had personal experience in this matter. In my seven and a half years as a Minister at the Foreign Office, I developed friendships with many charming, cultured and highly intelligent people with different-coloured skins and different ethnic origins. Although I think that one is naturally proud of one's own country, we in this country have never been animated by feelings of race superiority in the worst sense of the word.
This is the general view and it perhaps supports somewhat what the hon. Gentleman said. To be fair to our people who are vehement about the problems caused by coloured immigration, the trouble usually begins not because of colour, but because of the differing social backgrounds, habits, religion—and I think that different standards of personal hygiene were mentioned—and also the 1033 excessive numbers. There is the fear that this is something that will magnify and multiply, and often, though not always, colour is a secondary issue. It is a means of easy recognition of the people creating the problem, but it is not the real cause of the trouble.
The Home Secretary accepted the existence of a racial problem, and we all agree with him. What we have to decide is whether this Bill will contribute to its solution. It is easy to apportion the blame—several hon. Members have tried to do that. The former Government, of which I was a member was, I think, at fault for not introducing earlier a Bill for the control of immigration—it was an act of considerable political courage to do it at all—but I think that the present Government are very much to blame for their attitude, when on this side of the House, of ferocious opposition to any kind of control, and their vilification of the supporters of the then Government who favoured the action being taken.
I do not see him in the Chamber now, but I may say that I thought that the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), in our previous debate on immigration, was very refreshing. The hon. Gentleman said quite frankly that he thought the attitude of his party then was wrong. Wherever the blame lies, the matter became so impregnated with prejudice that the necessary remedial steps have been long delayed.
I have been making some inquiries, and trying to amass some facts and figures and opinions on this matter. The 800,000 coloured immigrants—the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) put the figure at 1 million—are certainly reproducing themselves at a rate faster than that of the white population. Although they may represent only just over 1 per cent. of the population, and that may not sound very much, I have seen an estimate that they will increase to about 4 per cent. by the end of the century, and where they have settled they constitute far more than 1 per cent. of the population. They are up to 10 per cent. in some towns, and more than that in some areas.
That is the kind of situation that hurts people—the fact that there are schools at which from 25 per cent. to 40 per cent. of the pupils are coloured children; that 1034 there are places where priority in day nurseries is being given to coloured children; that in the maternity hospitals the beds seem to go to coloured mothers; that there are places where there is residential downgrading of house property, and where there are dormitory conditions in which single coloured men are crowded together in circumstances that shock those living near.
These are the realities, and the hon. Member for Keighley seemed very much aware of the realities and practical considerations that affect people's lives. Anyone who has really studied the matter cannot fail to be impressed by the magnitude of the problems, and by the almost miraculous way in which we have got through almost without serious trouble so far.
People talk a lot about integration and assimilation, but I sometimes think that those terms are often used by those who have not really thought out the consequences. They are generally used by people who have not had any actual personal physical experience of the problems involved. We must accept the fact that we have many thousands of these people here who cannot be integrated or assimilated. They will never learn English, they will never change their customs or their religious practices, their cooking habits or their sanitary standards. We want to see them fairly treated, but the condition precedent to their being fairly treated is that their numbers should not be added to. We shall not get the right psychological frame of mind in this country to deal with them fairly unless we see to it that their numbers are not added to.
But their children are a totally different proposition. They will be much easier to assimilate. It is their educational needs, the housing conditions under which they will be brought up, and their opportunities for advancement, which should concern us. That is where imagination and a new approach are needed.
The hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin said that it was necessary for the two communities to learn to live together. It is not really a question of two communities. The problem is different in almost every town, in almost every place. There are many communities, and there are different facets of the problem everywhere. The rather comfortable idea that, if we 1035 all behave well, the two communities will settle down together is not realistic.
The lines along which I think that progress must be made are the kind of work which the Institute of Race Relations is trying to do, the work which Miss Peppard is trying to do, the creation of far more liaison officers, and the taking of steps to ensure that there are people in local government who are trained in this work. There is a great shortage of people with the right temperament, the right approach, and the right knowledge to deal with this matter. We want also a common doctrine for the local authorities and the voluntary organisations. I do not think that we can impose uniformity. We want a common doctrine and a pooling of experience. I believe that much can be done along these lines to tackle the problem imaginatively.
I believe that it will be fatal if political attitudes are adopted and if the parties, nationally or locally, seek to make capital out of what is happening. This is where I come to the Bill. We do not want the extremists to get involved, whether it is the racial haters, the fanatics the other way, or those who like to fish in troubled waters. There are quite a number of people who are looking about for a chance to stir up trouble here.
I object to the Bill because I think that it will do more harm than good. I give full credit to the Home Secretary for his motives in introducing the Bill, but I sincerely believe that it will do more harm than good. I am talking about the Bill as it was introduced. There is talk of introducing some machinery for conciliation. I think that the Bill will be much better for that, but that it would be better to have the machinery for conciliation without the sanction of the criminal law. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) said that he would like in some instances to have the sanction of the civil law. The hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin said the same. That would be better than the criminal law.
I would have much preferred to try the new approach without sanctions, certainly to begin with. This is not a question of trying to find a loophole. I agree with very much of what the hon. Member for Northfield said about conciliation. That is the important thing. It is important that it should be done on 1036 a voluntary basis, and I would put the sanctions so far away that I would not have them at all, at all events to begin with. The hon. Member for Northfield said that he thought that we should have them, but not use them; we should try and try and try again the conciliation processes before the criminal law was brought in. The hon. Gentleman is right in that approach. By putting the ultimate sanction as the Home Secretary has done, he is prejudicing the efforts which we all want to see made to tackle the problem on reasonable lines.
There are other points to be made against the discrimination Clause. The difficulty of this legislative process is shown by the fact that the Bill is about as full of holes as a sieve. This must be accepted by almost everybody who has listened to the speeches made today. I have in mind the position of the landladies, the clubs, people at work, people undergoing apprenticeships, the fact that religion is not covered, and so on. The Bill is so incomplete that, if it is the right way, it is almost ridiculous as at present drafted.
Then there is the second objection which was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick, that it is not a good thing to make classes of people specially protected on the ground of colour or race. I do not believe that many of these people want it. Many of them regard the fact that there is a healthy public opinion as a much surer safeguard than the sanction of the criminal court and do not want the feeling that they have been selected for special treatment and special protection. If there is this special treatment and special protection, they may also be selected as special targets for the extremists on both sides. I think that the extremists will try to force prosecutions. I think that they will try to have sensational trials. There will be a great deal of mobilising of the evidence and playing it up in the newspapers, with drama, tension and strife.
That is the worst possible atmosphere in which to deal with this problem. A very practical point was made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) that a time when the police are operating under their present difficulties seems an odd time at which 1037 to give them this added duty. I submit that these Clauses dealing with discrimination will not help.
With regard to the incitement Clauses, I loathe the promotion of race hatred—for example, anti-Semitism. I listened to the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner), who is a very respected colleague of many years' standing. We understand and sympathise sincerely with those whose feelings were and are outraged by Nazi crimes. I went to Belsen within 24 hours of it being opened up by our forward troops, and I saw its horrors myself and will never forget what I saw. But the fact is that Jews in this country are as well accepted as anywhere in the world, and I think one must be careful about perhaps putting their position in jeopardy.
The crucial point was made in a leading article in The Times of 8th April, which has been quoted in another context, and it was as follows:… judging the criminality of utterances by reference to their subject matter and content, rather than by reference to their likely effect upon public order … the Clause is in short an instrument of potential censorship.When I read again the report of the debate on the Public Order Act, 1963, I realised the validity of that comment because I read with some surprise the remarks of the Opposition spokesman, and this is what he said:Does the Attorney-General contend, or could it be contended, as it might be by some, that in the interests of the hallowed tradition of freedom of speech anybody who sincerely believes that in the interests of our society as a whole Commonwealth immigrants should be deported is entitled to say so at public meetings? Is he entitled to go further and say that there should be a complete restriction on coloured immigrants? Will the Attorney-General allege that if somebody thought it was necessary to advocate complete restriction of Commonwealth immigration, even though that were bound to lead to racial hatred, he should be entitled to advocate such a policy because of the cherished tradition of freedom of speech? Is that the argument?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th July, 1963; Vol. 680, c. 1143–4.]The hon. Member for Islington, East (Sir Eric Fletcher), now the Minister without Portfolio, was rejecting the argument. He was saying that if that Bill had been properly amended, we would have been entitled to stop argument against Commonwealth immigration, because it would lead to racial hatred. 1038 The hon. Member for Northfield talked about intent. We are presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of our actions and words. If one advocates a course of action, however sincerely, which is bound to lead to racial hatred one is presumed to intend to mean that. Therefore, on that argument one would not be allowed to express an opinion on a matter of this sort. We should shrink from the thought of potential censorship and be careful how far we get drawn along that road.
I have no fine phrases to add to those already used about freedom of speech, but free speech must mean freedom to say what people object to and what they resent. Although one may detest the view held, one must fight to retain the right for it to be said. I do not accept that what happened in Germany in the 1930s is a pattern of what may happen here.
There are subsidiary objections to the incitement Clauses. There is the difficulty about the definitions. In this part of the Bill we have the case of the fanatics, the exhibitionists, those in need of psychological treatment who would relish being prosecuted and who would like to have a fuss made about all this. Again, there is the question of the burden that this part of the Bill would put upon the police. The existing law is adequate with the stiffened penalties of the 1963 Act. Breaches of the peace must be intended or likely, and I think that the existing law would have covered all the cases of arson and violence which have been referred to earlier.
Therefore, I ask the House not to give a Second Reading to the Bill, for the following reasons. It will not lead to better relations between white and coloured people in this country. It will promote rather than discourage anti-Semitism. It will damage the prospects of the work by voluntary bodies and local authorities—work which needs to be done. The Bill is badly timed for that reason and it is irrelevant to so much of what needs to be done. The wrongness of the legislative approach is shown by the limitations which the Government have had to put on the ways in which their ideas can be pursued. In other words, they are not taking it into the spheres where there is at present most discrimination.
1039 The new test for the criminality of language alleged to incite race hatred is wrong. Whilst understanding the motives which had led the right hon. and learned Gentleman to bring in the Bill, I repeat that I think it will do more harm than good. I do not think that any of us would make any point about loss of face if, after reading the debate and the almost universal criticism of the Bill, the right hon. and learned Gentleman took it away and thought it over to decide whether he needed to continue with a Bill at all.
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Dingle Foot)
I have seldom heard a more exaggerated attack upon any Bill than that launched today by the right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) and the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd). I hope to convince the House that what they said has no relevance to this Measure and that this Bill is neither an invasion of the liberty of the subject nor is it an instrument, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, of potential censorship.
If I may go back, I am one of those surviving members of the House who took part in the debate on the then Public Order Bill in 1936. At that time Parliament had to deal with a problem which was not dissimilar to that which we face today. We had individuals and organisations who were engaged in gross and deliberate racial incitement. There were the Blackshirt processions through the East End of London and there were public meetings where speeches were made for the manifest purpose of vilifying and provoking the Jewish community. In the 1936 Bill we had to deal with the mischief so created. At the same time we had to avoid encroaching upon legitimate freedom of speech, which was not altogether at that time an easy balance to strike. Nevertheless, with the co-operation of all parties in the House at that time, I think that we succeeded.
In particular, if I might remind the House, the Public Order Act prohibited the public wearing of political uniforms and the setting up of quasi-military organisations. Scarcely anyone now regards those provisions as encroachments 1040 on personal liberty, and they have been entirely successful. Since that Act has been passed it has not been necessary to institute any prosecution at all under Section 1 and there has been only one prosecution under Section 2. It may well be that this Bill, and more particularly I have in mind Clause 3, will be no less effective in dealing with the very similar problem with which we are concerned today.
May I say something about the scheme of the Bill? There has been comment from both sides of the House on the fact that prosecutions under Clause 1 may be instituted only by or on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions and under Clause 3 with the consent of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. The explanation of that is quite simple. There may be, and there almost certainly will be, cases in which it is undesirable to invoke these particular provisions. Those cases may be dealt with through the conciliation machinery to which my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary referred. There will be other cases in which it will be quite sufficient to rely on the amended Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
I should expect that, in the normal run of cases, if there are such cases, it will be Section 5 which will be brought into operation, and that Section renders the offender liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding £50, or both. That, in the Government's view, is quite sufficient to meet the ordinary case of insulting words or behaviour or display of threatening, abusive or insulting writing or signs with intent to provoke a breach of the peace. Clause 3, with its heavier penalties, is designed to deal with the really flagrant cases of racial incitement, cases in which it is quite impossible to imagine that conciliation could ever operate at all, cases involving a political leader, or whoever it may be, who set out deliberately to create racial hatred.
Before I leave this point about the consent of the Director and of the Attorney-General, may I refer to what was said by the right hon. Members for Hampstead (Mr. H. Brooke) and for Ashford (Mr. Deedes). They both expressed concern about the position of the police. Whenever one passes a criminal Statute creating any kind of new 1041 offence, one necessarily imposes some additional burden upon the police. When the Public Order Act, 1936, was passed, it imposed in some respects an additional burden on the police. This is something which cannot be helped. But the right hon. Member for Hampstead went on to say that this made the police the arbiters of free speech in this country.
The Bill does nothing of the kind. The decision as to whether Clause 3 should be operated at all rests in the first place with my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, and the final decision rests with the courts.
§ Mr. Brooke
How can the Attorney-General lake any action unless the police have acted in the first instance?
§ The Solicitor-General
The action the police take is to ascertain the facts, which are then submitted to the Attorney -General.
§ The Solicitor-General
But the arbiter—this was the term used by the right hon. Gentleman—as to whether the law should then be set in motion is the Attorney-General, not the police. The police are there merely to collect the relevant information. I suggest, therefore, that the phrase used by the right hon. Gentleman in relation to the police was wholly misconceived.
§ Mr. Norman Cole (Bedfordshire, South)
If the Solicitor-General is saying that the police are not to act as the first arbiters in the matter, does that mean that every speech having anything to do with racial relations is to be taken down by a police shorthand writer and referred to the Attorney-General? Otherwise what my right hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead says must be right.
§ The Solicitor-General
No, it does not mean anything of the kind. I was saying that there would be many cases in which there could be actions in which the conciliation machinery might be resorted to. [HON. MEMBERS: "What machinery?"] There will be many other cases in which the police themselves, in their own discretion, could invoke Section 5 of the Public Order Act as amended. I went on to say, with reference to the provisions of Clause 3 1042 of the Bill, with which the right hon. Gentleman was concerned, that the decision as to whether the law is to be set in motion does not rest with the police.
The right hon. Member for Ashford said that the police would be open to attack under the Clause if they instituted too few or too many prosecutions. Again, the answer is that responsibility does not rest with them. At this point, I can reassure my hon. Friends the Members for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) and Keighley (Mr. Binns) who were both concerned lest there should be a flood of prosecutions under the Bill. Under the provision we have made regarding the consent of the Director and the fiat of the Attorney-General, there is no danger of that happening.
There are two sets of critics whom we have heard in the debate. There are those, mostly hon. Members opposite, who think that the Bill goes too far, and there are those, including some of my hon. Friends, who think that in some respects it does not go far enough. I take up the latter criticism first. There was an extremely powerful and moving speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner), who has explained to me that he is unable to be in his place at this time. I have known my hon. Friend for many years, ever since the occasion 35 years ago when I made a speech for him in Whitechapel and St. George's, and, naturally, I listened to what he had to say with the greatest sympathy.
My hon. Friend's first complaint—we heard the same criticism from both sides of the House—was that in Clause 3, the incitement Clause, there was no mention of religion. I assure the House that this was very carefully considered when the Bill was drafted. I respectfully submit that incitement or abusive language concerned with religion falls into a wholly different category from racial incitement.
In this country, ever since one can remember, and long before, religion has always been a matter of controversy. There are those of Her Majesty's subjects who regard all Protestants as heretics, and there are others—I am one of them—who have never regretted the Reformation. In the last quarter of a century, in different parts of the Commonwealth, notably in India, we heard 1043 a great deal about passive resistance as an effective political weapon. But passive resistance was not, in its origin, an Asiatic conception. It was the invention of English Nonconformists who, at the beginning of this century, were willing that their goods should be sold or even that they should go to prison rather than that they should pay rates for the upkeep of Church schools. One of the most dramatic debates ever to take place on the Floor of the House in recent years was the debate on the Prayer Book in 1928.
Today, there is still acute controversy about particular religious denominations. People feel very differently about the movement which is now known as Moral Rearmament. There are strong feelings about the religious group described as the Exclusive Brethren. Indeed, earlier this Session one hon. Member opposite introduced a Bill designed to curb their activities. Both the tenets and the practices of various religious denominations are the subject of violent differences and of perfectly legitimate controversy. There is all the difference in the world between attacking a section of the public because of the colour of their skins and attacking them because, say, they subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles.
I appreciate that my hon. Friend seeks to distinguish the case of the Jews who, he says, may be subject to attack both on racial and on religious grounds. With great respect, I found that distinction rather unreal. I agree—we all agree —that nothing is more loathsome and more comtemptible than expressions of anti-Semitism. But those expressions are not, at any rate in 99 cases out of 100, based on theological considerations. When there are attacks upon the Jews—such attacks as we had in London at the time of the passage of the Public Order Act—they are not directed merely against those who observe the Mosaic law. They are directed against Jews as a race. For these reasons it seemed to the Government both unnecessary and undesirable to include reference to religion in Clause 3.
My hon. Friend made one other point. He complained that in Clause 3 there is the ingredient that it is necessary to prove a specific intent to stir up racial 1044 hatred. That, of course, is in no way unfamiliar in our criminal law. There are, I suppose, hundreds of Sections in which it is necessary to prove an intent. But as every member of the legal profession, and I suppose every hon. Member, knows, it is not necessary to prove intent by any extraneous evidence. Where we are dealing with words or writing we can, at any rate in the great majority of cases, deduce the intent from the words or the writing itself.
§ Mr. Thorpe
What is the Solicitor-General's interpretation in the question of attacks against persons of Jewish religion or Jewish extraction? What if they are merely of Jewish extraction and are attacked for that reason? Is it his view that this would be covered by racial or ethnic or national considerations in the Bill or not at all?
§ The Solicitor-General
They would certainly be in one or other of those categories. I do not think that the word "national" would be appropriate, but I think that the words "racial" or "ethnic" would be appropriate.
The right hon. Member for Monmouth said, not once but repeatedly in his speech, that we were extending the frontiers of criminality. If that means what I think it means, we are doing nothing of the kind. What we are doing here is to clarify and strengthen the criminal law dealing with a certain category of offence. As was pointed out by the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), the law is certainly not silent on this point as it stands. There is a civil remedy in certain cases. There was a case some years ago in which a very distinguished coloured citizen of the Commonwealth was refused admission to a London hotel on the grounds of his colour. He brought an action, and he recovered damages.
Moreover, as has been pointed out by more than one hon. Member, if a licensee in a public house refuses to serve a particular person or class of persons because of their colour or any other form of racial discrimination, he certainly runs the risk of losing his licence at the next brewster sessions—and so, indeed, he should. As was said by the hon. Member for Devon, North, that remedy has been invoked on more than one occasion, and often it is singularly effective. Indeed, as the hon. Member pointed out, a licensee or 1045 hotelier may in certain circumstances be open to prosecution for a common law nuisance.
But these remedies, in our view, are not enough. We want to make a general provision against any form of public discrimination. There is nothing very novel about this. Let hon. Members look not only at this country but at the development of the Commonwealth. In the last five years there have been a great many constitutional conferences at Lancaster House and Marlborough House in which we have drawn up constitutions for the various African States as they have reached their independence. In every one of those constitutions there is a provision which endeavours, at any rate, to outlaw discrimination. If I may take an example, I will take it from the law of Nigeria, a country which I know well. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not Ghana?"] I will give only this one example but I could cite many. Article 27 of the Constitution of Nigeria reads as follows:A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, tribe, place of origin, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person—be subject either expressly or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the Government of the Federation or the Government of a Region to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, tribes, places of origin, religions or political opinions are not made subject;That sort of provision has been repeated again and again. The last Administration—and it is entirely to their credit—had a responsibility for those constitutions. In one Commonwealth country after another there are to be found not merely the legislative provisions, but provisions enshrined in the constitution against racial or any similar form of discrimination.
I pass to Clause 3. What is said here—and this has been the gravamen of the argument put by hon. Members opposite and it is said in the Amendment—is that we are importing a new principle into the law affecting freedom of speech. As I understand it, the argument is that in Clause 3 there is no requirement, as there is at common law dealing with sedition, or as there is in Section 5 of the Public Order Act, making intent to provoke violence, or intent to provoke a breach 1046 of the peace, an essential ingredient of the offence.
Here, again, in our legislation there is no exact precedent for this Clause. It is none the worse for that. It is because we have not legislated with respect to this branch of the law for a very long time. Speaking from memory, I think that I am right in saying that the last occasion on which we legislated with reference to sedition was as long ago as 1817. However, it is not difficult to find precedents in the laws of other countries, and a number of them were mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) in her very compelling speech, or in the laws of the Commonwealth—laws for which we in this country were responsible in the days of colonial rule.
Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code provides:Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity or hatred beween different classes of Her Majesty's subjects, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine or with both.There is no requirement there that it is necessary to establish an intent to provoke violence, or a breach of the peace. If someone in India promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the population, he is liable to criminal proceedings and severe penalities. That has been the law in that part of the Commonwealth since 1898.
Hon. Members can find parallel legislation in many other Commonwealth countries. In Nigeria and in Kenya it is an offence to promote feelings of and hostility between different classes of the population.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
The hon. and learned Gentleman has quoted the precedent of Nigeria. Does Nigeria have a Public Order Act in addition to the precedent which he has quoted, or does that stand in lieu of it?
§ The Solicitor-General
My recollection is that it has something very similar to the Public Order Act. I should not like to be dogmatic and I will give the hon. Gentleman the answer when we reach Committee stage.
1047 Those are three examples which I desire to bring to the notice of the House, and I have not the slightest doubt that similar provisions can be found in nearly all the legislation of the independent countries of the Commonwealth which were formerly colonies. It has been held by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that in such a case where a seditious intention is defined by Statute, it is not necessary for the prosecution to establish that the words are of such a nature as to be likely to incite to violence.
In all these sections I have quoted and which are clearly analogous to Clause 3, the offence consists in the stirring up hatred, and there is no reason why we should not bring our legislation into line with that for which we ourselves have hitherto been responsible in other parts of the Commonwealth.
The right hon. Members for Hampstead and Monmouth both asked what was the justification for the Bill and where was the evidence that it was needed. The justification is simply this. We have in this country at the moment upwards of 800,000 coloured immigrants. The number is growing; we cannot tell how far it will grow. But the right hon. Member for Monmouth seemed to think that the Bill reflected, in some way, on the British people as a whole. It does nothing of the kind.
Nobody who heard the speeches of my hon. Friends the Members for Leicester, North-West and Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson), who spoke from their very considerable experience in these matters, can doubt that there is a section of the community—no doubt a very small section—which is guilty of incitement to racial prejudice and racial violence, the sort of people who put up stickers saying "Hitler was right" and who send abusive letters through the post to members of the coloured population. What we seek to do in the Bill is to prevent arising in this country in relation to the coloured immigrants the kind of situation which arose in relation to the Jews in this country in 1935 and 1936.
It seemed to me that some of the arguments used by hon. Members opposite were little short of fanciful. 1048 For example, the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) asked whether it would be a criminal offence if somebody were to say that a group of Hungarian refugees had taken over the Government of this country.
§ The Solicitor-General
Let me hasten to set his mind—and that of the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg)—at rest. Of course, that would not constitute an offence under this or any other Measure. But what would constitute an offence would be if somebody were to say that all the Hungarians were dirty or dishonest or bearers of contagious disease. That is the kind of analogy which we have to consider.
The hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Peter Griffiths) went so far as to suggest that the Bill was intended to act as a sort of gag in case in future we had large-scale mass immigration. We can only leave the hon. Member for Smethwick to the luxury of his own imagination. But I can tell him this: the Bill will act as a gag only on those who deliberately set out to stir up racial hatred.
I hope that I have been able to show that the Bill involves no departure from the policy of the law developed in different parts of the Commonwealth. But it is not merely a Measure to strengthen the criminal law. I ask the House to regard it in a wider context. As everyone knows, the problem of racialism is not peculiar to this country. It is a worldwide phenomenon. That is why it has recently engaged the attention of the United Nations.
In November, 1963, the General Assembly of the United Nations invited the Economic and Social Council to arrange for a draft convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. That was to be submitted to the Assembly in its nineteenth session. A draft was first prepared in the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and redrafted by the Commission on Human Rights; and it is ready for submission to the General Assembly. We do not know in present circumstances when 1049 that next session will be held, but when it is held the draft convention will be one of the principal items of the agenda.
After the experience of recent years, I am one of those who would like to see this country no longer dragging its feet at the United Nations on questions of racialism and discrimination. If we pass the Bill we shall be able to say to the General Assembly that we have already gone most of the way to meet the requirements of the draft convention.
In commending the Bill to the House, I adopt the words of President Johnson on 2nd July last year when he invited Congressional approval for the Civil Rights Bill. This is what he said:The purpose of the Civil Rights Bill is to promote a more abiding commitment to freedom, a more constant pursuit of justice, a deeper respect for human dignity. The Civil Rights Act is a challenge to us all to go to work in our communities and states, in our homes and in our hearts, to eliminate the last vestige of injustice in America.In adopting those words, I would say that the aim of Her Majesty's Government is to promote a deeper respect for human dignity and to eliminate racial discrimination and incitement in Great Britain. The Bill is a part only, but a necessary part, of the policy which we intend to pursue. We intend that in the Britain of the future, no man should be discriminated against or made an object of hatred, ridicule or contempt on account of the race of his ancestors, the shape of his skull or the colour of his skin.
Before closing, I should like to make one word of personal acknowledgment in which I feel that all my hon. Friends on this side, and, indeed, some hon. Members opposite, would wish to join. This Measure was clearly foreshadowed in our election manifesto, but, as was pointed out in the debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Ennals), it owes its inspiration in particular to one man, Fenner Brockway. He has done more than any man I know, in this House or
§ outside, to promote understanding between different races and between different members of the Commonwealth. I deeply regret, as will many others, that he is not here to take his part in this debate tonight, although the Bill will reach him in another place. It is, however, a matter of very great personal pride and satisfaction to me that on this occasion I should inherit his mantle.
§ It is for those reasons that I commend the Bill to the House. It is a landmark in our legislation and it will do as much as any Measure could to restore this country's image in the world.
§ 9.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
In commending the Bill to the House, the Solicitor-General said that it would get rid of discrimination. Is it not a fact that the discrimination with which the immigrant is concerned exists in fields which the Bill does not cover? The immigrant is concerned with the opportunity to get a job. The Bill does not cover this at all.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has completely deceived the House in leading us to believe that this is the counterpart to the provisions elsewhere in Commonwealth constitutions. He knows perfectly well that Lord Brockway would be the last person to approve this. The Bill was wrongly conceived in the first place. Conciliation machinery should come first.
§ Sir F. Soskice rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 261, Noes 249.1053
|Division No. 99.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Bence, Cyril||Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics S.W.)|
|Albu, Austen||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Boyden, James|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Braddock, Mrs. E. M.|
|Alldritt, Walter||Bessell, Peter||Bray, Dr. Jeremy|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Binns, John||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.|
|Atkinson, Norman||Bishop, E. S.||Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Blackburn, F.||Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan)|
|Barnett, Joel||Blenkinsop, Arthur||Buchanan, Richard|
|Baxter, William||Boardman, H.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)|
|Beaney, Alan||Boston, T. G.||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hunter, A. E. (Feltham)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Chapman, Donald||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S.E.)|
|Coleman, Donald||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Parker, John|
|Conlan, Bernard||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jackson, Colin||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Cousins, Rt. Hn. Frank||Janner, Sir Barnett||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Pentland, Norman|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St.P'cras. S.)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Cronin, John||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Prentice R. E.|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||probert Arthur|
|Darling, George||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Pursey, cmdr. Harry|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Randall, Harry|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jones. Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Rankin, John|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Redhead, Edward|
|Dell, Edmund||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Dempsey, James||Kelley, Richard||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Diamond, John||Kenyon, Clifford||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Dodds, Norman||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Richard, Ivor|
|Doig, Peter||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Leadbitter, Ted||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Duffy, Dr. A. E. P.||Ledger, Ron||Robinson, Rt. Hn. K. (St.Pancras, N.)|
|Dunn, James A.||Lee Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|English, Michael||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Rowland, Christopher|
|Ennals, David||Lipton, Marcus||Sheldon, Robert|
|Ensor, David||Lomas, Kenneth||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Loughlin, Charles||Shore, Peter (Stepney)|
|Evans, loan (Birmingham, Yardley)||Lubbock, Eric||Silkin, John (Deptford)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Silkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)|
|Finch, Harold (Bedwellty)||McBride, Neil||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||McCann, J.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)||MacColl, James||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||MacDermot, Niall||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||McGuire, Michael||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Floud, Bernard||McInnes, James||Small, William|
|Foley, Maurice||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Solomons, Henry|
|Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||McLeavy, Frank||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Ford, Ben||MacMillan, Malcolm||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||MacPherson, Malcolm||Stones, William|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxnall)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Swingler, Stephen|
|Ginsburg, David||Manuel, Archie||Symonds, J. B.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Mapp, Charles||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Gregory, Arnold||Marsh, Richard||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Grey, Charles||Mason, Roy||Thornton, Ernest|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Maxwell, Robert||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Mayhew, Christopher||Tinn, James|
|Griffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange)||Mellish, Robert||Tuck, Raphael|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mikardo, Ian||Urwin, T. W.|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Millan, Bruce||Varley, Eric G.|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Hamling, William (Woolwich, W.)||Molloy, William||Wallace, George|
|Harper, Joseph||Monslow, Walter||Watkins Tudor|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Morris, Charles (Openshaw)||Weitzman, David|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Hattersley, Roy||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Sheffield P K)||whitlock, William|
|Hazell, Bert||Murray, Albert||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Neal, Harold||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Newens, Stan||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Holman, Percy||Norwood, Christopher||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Hooson, H. E.||Oakes, Gordon||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Horner, John||Ogden, Eric||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||O'Malley, Brian||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham, S.)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)||Orbach, Maurice||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Howie, W.||Orme, Stanley||Woof, Robert|
|Hoy, James||Oswald, Thomas||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Owen, Will||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline)||Paget, R. T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Ifor Davies and Mr. Gourlay.|
|Agnew, Commander Sir Peter||Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Astor, John|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Atkins, Humphrey|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.||Awdry, Daniel|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Grant, Anthony||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Balniel, Lord||Grant-Ferris, R.||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Gresham-Cooke, R.||Nugent, Rt. Hn. Sir Richard|
|Barlow, Sir John||Grieve, Percy||Onslow, Cranley|
|Batsford, Brian||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bell, Ronald||Gurden, Harold||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Page, R. Graham (Crosby)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Hamilton, M. (Salisbury)||Percival, Ian|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Peyton, John|
|Blaker, Peter||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Pickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth|
|Bossom, Hn. Clive||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Box, Donald||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Maccles'd)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Braine, Bernard||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Brewis, John||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hastings, Stephen||Pym, Francis|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hawkins, Paul||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hn. Henry||Hay, John||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Bryan, Paul||Hendry, Forbes||Redmayne, Rt. Hn. Sir Martin|
|Buchanan-smith, Alick||Hiley, Joseph||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Buck, Antony||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hirst, Geoffrey||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Burden, F. A.||Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Buxton, R. C.||Hopkins, Alan||Roots, William|
|Campbell, Gordon||Hordern, Peter||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hornby, Richard||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P.||sharpies, Richard|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Howe, Geoffrey (Bebington)||Shepherd, William|
|Chichester-clark, R.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Iremonger, T. L.||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Smyth, Rt. Hn. Brig. Sir John|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Jennings, J. C.||Soames, Rt. Hn. Christopher|
|Cole, Norman||Johnson smith, G. (East Grinstead)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Cooke, Robert||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Speir, Sir Rupert|
|Cooper, A. E.||Jopling, Michael||Stainton, Keith|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Stanley, Hn. Richard|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Stodart, Anthony|
|Cordle, John||Kerr, Sir Hamilton (Cambridge)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kilfedder, James A.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Costain, A. P.||Kimball, Marcus|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kitson, Timothy||Talbot, John E.|
|Crawley, Aidan||Lagden, Godfrey||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Lambton, Viscount||Taylor Frank (Moss Side)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Temple, John M.|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Curran, Charles||Litchfield, Capt. John||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Conway)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Dance, James||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter|
|Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)||Longden, Gilbert||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Dean, Paul||Loveys, Walter H.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||van straubenzee, W. R.|
|Doughty, Charles||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||vickers, Dame Joan|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||McNair-Wilson, Patrick||Walder, David (High Peak)|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Maglnnis, John E.||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Eden, Sir John||Maitland, Sir John||Walker-smith Rt. Hn. Derek|
|Elliott, R. W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Walters, Dennis|
|Farr, John||Marten, Neil||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Fell, Anthony||Maude, Angus||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)||Mawby, Ray||Wells, John (Maldstone)|
|Foster, Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Whitelaw, William|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Williams, Sir Rolf Dudley (Exeter)|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Gammans, Lady||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Wise, A. R.|
|Gardner, Edward||Miscampbell, Norman||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Mitchell, David||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Giles, Rear-Admiral Morgan||Monro, Hector||Woodhouse, Hon. Christopher|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||More, Jasper||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Morgan, W. G.||Wylie, N. R.|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Goodhart, Philip||Murton, Oscar||Mr. Martin McLaren and|
|Goodhew, Victor||Neave, Airey||Mr. Ian MacArthur.|
|Gower, Raymond||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be committed to a Committee of1056
§ the whole House—[Mr. Thorney-croft]:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 249, Noes 258.1059
|Division No. 100.]||AYES||[10.12 p.m.|
|Agnew, Commander Sir Peter||Foster, Sir John||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Maginnis, John E.|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.||Maitland, Sir John|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Gammans, Lady||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.||Gardner, Edward||Marten, Neil|
|Astor, John||Gibson-Watt, David||Maude, Angus|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Giles, Rear-Admiral Morgan||Mawby, Ray|
|Awdry, Daniel||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C|
|Balniel, Lord||Glover, Sir Douglas||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Glyn, Sir Richard||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Batsford, Brian||Goodhart, Philip||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Goodhew, Victor||Mitchell, David|
|Bell, Ronald||Gower, Raymond||Monro, Hector|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Grant, Anthony||More, Jasper|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Grant-Ferris, R.||Morgan, w. G.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gresham-Cooke, R.||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Grieve, Percy||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Blaker, Peter||Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)||Murton, Oscar|
|Bossom, Hn. Clive||Gurden, Harold||Neave, Airey|
|Box, Donald||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.||Hall-Davies, A. G. F.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Braine, Bernard||Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Brewis, John||Hamilton, M. (Salisbury)||Nugent, Rt. Hn. Sir Richard|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hn. Henry||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bryan, Paul||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Maccles'd)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||page, R, Graham (Crosby)|
|Buck, Antony||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hastings, Stephen||Percival, Ian|
|Burden, F. A.||Hawkins, Paul||Peyton, John|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hay, John||Pickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth|
|Buxton, R. C.||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Campbell, Gordon||Hendry, Forbes||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hiley, Joseph||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hirst, Geoffrey||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||pym, Francis|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hopkins, Alan||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hordern, Peter||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Cole, Norman||Hornby, Richard||Redmayne, Rt. Hn. Sir Martin|
|Cooke, Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Howe, Geoffrey (Bebington)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Cordle, John||Iremonger, T. L.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Robson-Brown, Sir William|
|Costain, A. P.||Jennings, J. C.||Roots, William|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Johnson Smith, G.||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Crawley, Aidan||Jopling, Michael||Sharples, Richard|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Shepherd, William|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kerr, Sir Hamilton (Cambridge)||Smith, Dudley (Br'nfd & Chiswick)|
|Curran, Charles||Kilfedder, James A.||Smyth, Rt. Hn. Brig. Sir John|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kimball, Marcus||Soames, Rt. Hn. Christopher|
|Dance, James||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)||Kitson, Timothy||Speir, Sir Rupert|
|Dean, Paul||Lagden, Godfrey||Stainton, Keith|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Lambton, Viscount||Stanley, Hn. Richard|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Stodart, Anthony|
|Doughty, Charles||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alee||Litchfield, Capt. John||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Eden, Sir John||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Talbot, John E.|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Farr, John||Loveys, Walter H.||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Fell, Anthony||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Temple, John M.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Conway)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)||Wise, A. R.|
|Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter||Walters, Dennis||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)||Ward, Dame Irene||Woodhouee, Hn. Christopher|
|Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Weatherill, Bernard||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Wells, John (Maidstone)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||Whitelaw, William||Younger, Hn. George|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Williams, Sir Rolf Dudley (Exeter)|
|Vickers, Dame Joan||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Walder, David (High Peak)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Mr. Martin McLaren and|
|Mr. Ian McArthur.|
|Abse, Leo||Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Lubbock, Eric|
|Albu, Austen||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Ford, Ben||McBride, Neil|
|Alldritt, Walter||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||MacColl, James|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Freeson, Reginald||MacDermot, Niall|
|Atkinson, Norman||Galpern, Sir Myer||McGuire, Michael|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Ginsburg, David||McInnes, James|
|Barnett, Joel||Gourlay, Harry||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Baxter, William||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Beaney, Alan||Gregory, Arnold||MacMillan, Malcolm|
|Bence, Cyril||Grey, Charles||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Bennett, J, (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Mallalieu, j. P. w. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Bessell, Peter||Griffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange)||Manuel, Archie|
|Binns, John||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mapp, Charles|
|Bishop, E. S.||Gunter, Rt. Hon. R. J.||Marsh, Richard|
|Blackburn, F.||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mason, Roy|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Maxwell, Robert|
|Boardman, H.||Hamling, William (Woolwich, W.)||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Boston, T. G.||Harper, Joseph||Mellish, Robert|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics S.W.)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Boyden, James||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Millan, Bruce|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hattersley, Roy||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hazell, Bert||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Molloy, William|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Harbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Monslow, Walter|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow Provan)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Morris, Charles (Openshaw)|
|Buchanan, Richard||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Holman, Percy||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Sheffield P K)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hooson, H. E.||Murray, Albert|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Horner, John||Neal, Harold|
|Carmichael, Neil||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Newens, Stan|
|Chapman, Donald||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Coleman, Donald||Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Howie, W.||Norwood, Christopher|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hoy, James||Oakes, Gordon|
|Cousins, Rt. Hn. Frank||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Ogden, Eric|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||O'Malley, Brian|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline)||Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham S.)|
|Cronin, John||Hunter, A. E. (Feltham)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Orme, Stanley|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Darling, George||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Owen, Will|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jackson, Colin||Paget, R. T.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Janner, Sir Barnett||Palmer, Arthur|
|Dell, Edmund||Jeger, George (Goole)||Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S.E.)|
|Dempsey, James||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)||Parker, John|
|Diamond, John||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Dodds, Norman||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Doig, Peter||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Pentland, Norman|
|Duffy, Dr. A. E. P.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Dunn, James A.||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Dunnett, Jack||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Probert, Arthur|
|English, Michael||Kelley, Richard||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Ennals, David||Kenyon, Clifford||Randall, Harry|
|Ensor, David||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Rankin, John|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Redhead, Edward|
|Evans, loan (Birmingham, Yardley)||Lawson, George||Rees, Merlyn|
|Fernyhough, E.||Leadbitter, Ted||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Finch, Harold (Bedwellty)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Richard, Ivor|
|Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Roberston, John (Paisley)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Lipton, Marcus||Robinson, Rt. Hn. K. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Floud, Bernard||Lomas, Kenneth||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Foley, Maurice||Loughlin, Charles||Rote, Paul B.|
|Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)||Whitlock, William|
|Rowland, Christopher||Swingler, Stephen||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Sheldon, Robert||Symonds, J. B.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Shore, Peter (Stepney)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Silkin, John (Deptford)||Thornton, Ernest||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Silkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)||Thorpe, Jeremy||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Tinn, James||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Tuck, Raphael||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Skeffington, Arthur||Urwin, T. W.||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Varley, Eric G.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Wainwright, Edwin||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Small, William||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Woof, Robert|
|Solomons, Henry||Wallace, George||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank||Warbey, William||Zilliacus, K.|
|Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Watkins, Tudor|
|Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Weitzman, David||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Stones, William||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Mr. John McCann and|
|Mr. Ifor Davies.|
§ Bill committed to a Standing Committee pursuant to Standing Order No. 40 (Committal of Bills).