HC Deb 28 February 1968 vol 759 cc1693-713
Mr. Callaghan

I beg to move, in line 12, after 'or ', insert 'at least '.

I hope that the House will accept this small drafting Amendment. It is, in fact, an Amendment to Amendment No. 5, which we accepted fairly early on in the Committee stage, on which we had that interesting disquisition as to who knew his own grandmother. Having looked at that Amendment as it stood, the draftsman thought that it would be clearer if the House would agree to insert the words "at least" after the first "or" as the words originally stood in Amendment No. 5. If the House would like me to go into a detailed explanation, I am willing to do so. Whether the House would be any wiser than I am when I have read it, I do not know. But I have satisfied myself that it is purely a drafting Amendment. I hope that the House will be willing to accept the Amendment on that basis.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. David Steel

I beg to move the manuscript Amendment of which I have given notice, in Clause 2, page 3, line 6, to add a new paragraph (c.) This comes under the Clause which deals with the power to refuse admission.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)

Order. I cannot accept the Amendment. The matter has been fully ventilated in Committee.

Mr. Steel

But is this not the Report stage, Mr. Deputy Speaker?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The Amendment is not selected on the Report stage.

Mr. Scott

I beg to move the manuscript Amendment standing in my name, which would in effect alter the two-parent Clause to allow the case where the mother alone was resident in this country to count for entry under the terms of the Bill. I talked about this in Committee, although the Amendment was not selected there, so I do not want to talk at great length on this point—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. This matter was very fully ventilated in Committee. I cannot select the Amendment on Report.

Mr. Tilney

I beg to move the typewritten Amendment in my name. It is rather a long one, and I trust that hon. Members on both sides of the House have copies, so that I need not read it out and waste the time of the House. I only wish that I could say that it was in the names of many of my right hon. and hon. Friends, which I could have said for the Amendment which was not selected, but which dealt with the same subject of bringing Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands into the same category as the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. What has happened with the Bill is that there are—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am sorry, but having had an opportunity of considering this manuscript or typewritten Amendment, I cannot select it on Report stage for the same reason as that for which it was not selected in Committee

Mr. Tilney

With great respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you have just said that the other two Amendments could not be selected because they had been discussed in full. This Amendment has not been discussed in any way, and I must make a strong protest.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The Amendment is substantially identical to an Amendment which was on the Order Paper during the Committee stage and it was not selected for the same reason that it cannot be selected on Report.

Mr. Tilney

With respect, there are many alterations in this new typewritten Amendment. It deals with a number of subsections and with the Third Schedule of the principal Act that were never mentioned in the Amendments you did not select, though I do not know why you did not select them, during the Committee stage.

6.30 a.m.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is well aware that the Chair does not give reasons why a particular Amendment is not selected. I have now had an opportunity of comparing this with the Amendment that was on the Notice Paper, and, although the aims are different, it raises substantially the same point. I would also remind the hon. Member that he was able to ventilate the matter in the debate on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill. I am afraid that I must adhere to my decision that this Amendment cannot be selected on Report.

Mr. Hooson

On a point of order. So far as I understand your Rulings, you have ruled that certain Amendments which were not debated in Committee cannot be debated now, and you have not accepted those Amendments for Report. Yet your Ruling is that an Amendment which is not selected for Committee stage cannot be debated now because it was not selected. That virtually says that no Amendments can be accepted.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

There are a variety of reasons for not selecting Amendments on Report. One might be that the matter has been ventilated; another might be that it is outside the scope of the Bill, or some other reason may apply. I must adhere to my decision. I cannot accept this Amendment on Report.

Mr. Tilney

May I put a point to you? I deliberately said very little in the debate on Clause stand part. What was the use of saying anything if one could not get anything in the Bill?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Member had the opportunity of saying as much as he liked during the debate on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

6.32 a.m.

Mr. Callaghan

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I would not like the Bill to pass without making one or two comments. In the course of the long discussion that we have had, the Committee and the House have brought out a great many of the difficulties inherent in the situation, and I hope that the House will feel that I have not attempted to disguise our problem. I said in an intervention earlier that I thought that the difficulty about this matter lay not in the Bill, but in the situation with which we were confronted. This is the substance of the issue.

I should like to thank the House for the manner in which we have conducted the debate, and for the great assistance that hon. Members have given me in helping to clarify some of the issues and ironing out the difficulties. I can undertake to the House that I shall keep a most careful and scrupulous watch on the provisions of the Bill and all the powers that the House is entrusting to me, in order to ensure that they are carried out in the spirit that the House desires.

I do not think that at this time in the morning the House would wish me to rehearse the arguments or the details of the Bill. We have done some very important and useful work. There is widespread agreement on a number of the issues contained in Clauses 2 to 6. The House has made a substantial improvement in our immigration provisions there. As to Clause 1, we have had long debates and I do not wish to add anything, except to say that this is a most intractable situation, and all of us must approach it with a view to getting a settlement that will do as little violence as possible to the desires of those who wish to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours, and to carry on their daily lives, as they have done for years. That is the solution to which we must turn our attention, on the broadest possible basis.

6.34 a.m.

Mr. Tilney

Although there are many parts of this Bill which I welcome I feel that the name of Britain has been devalued. I regret in many ways that the Bill has had to be brought in. Both parties are to some extent to blame for not having had sufficient foresight to prevent this happening. I hope that the Home Secretary will note that there are other parts of the Commonwealth which now regard themselves as class 3 citizens, such as Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, and will make a move in the near future.

6.35 a.m.

Mr. Chapman

I should not like this occasion to pass too quickly, because we should thank my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary for what he did.

The Times this morning has huge headlines saying, "Concessions wrung from Callaghan". That is a most unjust attitude. In Committee yesterday, or today Parliamentarily speaking, my right hon. Friend was very liberal and forthcoming in giving an assurance about the number of vouchers he will issue and the way in which he will operate the Bill. I did not think that those concessions were wrung from him. He gave them with great spirit and with what we all accept to be a sincere liberal approach to what for him has been a very difficult and most heart-rending task. I assure him on behalf of my hon. Friends that we do not accept the way in which that headline was written or the many other headlines written about him in connection with this Bill. We understand his difficulties and we very much appreciate his personal approach We particularly appreciate what he said in Committee yesterday which lifted a great load from the minds of many of us.

6.37 a.m.

Mr. David Steel

I return to the main point of interest which has concerned me throughout, and that is the situation of the Kenya Asians who did not opt for Kenya citizenship. Our debates have shown that even this category of people is divided into two distinct groups. There are those who will want to leave Kenya of their own free will. Perhaps there are reasons which force them into making that decision, but they are free to leave or stay. For those people, the Home Secretary and the officials in Nairobi will exercise all possible compassion and judgment in deciding which ones should qualify for allocation of the 1,500 vouchers a year.

But there is a second category—those who have to leave Kenya because they are required by the Government to leave Kenya. When we started our proceedings on Second Reading it was this group about which I was most concerned, and it was the fear of this group and of the Kenya Asians that they would fall into this group and would be unable to come here which caused the mood of panic across Kenya and the deplorable scenes at Nairobi Airport and even at Heathrow Airport.

When the social history of this episode of the last few days is written, it will be a tale of the most appalling human misery caused and mistakes made which could have been avoided if only the statements of the Home Secretary, for which we are grateful, about this group of people had been made earlier. I agree with what the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) said. I do not think that we should personalise this matter in the way done by the newspapers or analyse how and why the Home Secretary made his statement yesterday. Let us simply recognise that this was a considerable advance from the situation on Second Reading, and we are grateful for it. I am sure that it will go a very long way to reassuring many people in Kenya.

It is my intention and that of my right hon. and hon. Friends to continue our opposition to the Bill in principle and to divide against it on Third Reading. We regard it as a bad Bill, but then there are many Acts which different Members regard from time to time as bad Acts. I have been accused of being associated with bad Acts of Parliament and, therefore, this is nothing new. What is distinctive about the Bill, however—and I speak strongly—is that it is an immoral Bill. I regret to say that it is a Bill which, I think, will be generally welcomed in the country.

For me, the larger political significance of the Bill—I am sorry to have to say it, but it should be said—is that it further devalues the standards of public and political life and panders to the worst possible instincts and the lowest common denominator of feeling, which is a trap into which all of us in political life are inclined to fall from time to time and is something which we must try to avoid at all costs. Here we have not avoided it.

I am particularly proud of the rôle played by the Liberal Party in this matter. The hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas), of all people, paid what was for him a most generous tribute in saying that our stand on the Bill had justified our existence. Some of us who work in a small minority in the House of Commons sometimes feel that our influence here is not as great as we would wish it to be and that we might be better employed doing other work than as a member of a minority in the House of Commons. On an occasion such as the passing of the Bill, however, I believe that we can take pride in the fact that we divided the House of Commons on many occasions. On one occasion, Members from the other parties voted with us and we had a strength of 76. We have opposed the Bill to the last, and we will continue to oppose it in another place tomorrow.

6.42 a.m.

Mr. Michael Foot

It would certainly be churlish for anyone who has attended the discussions on the Bill to attempt to deny in any way the accommodating manner in which both the Home Secretary, the Under-Secretary of State and the Solicitor-General have dealt with the questions which have been raised. Nobody could have any complaint on that score.

I should like to say on Third Reading, however, that I still protest most strongly at Measures of this nature being put through the House of Commons at this speed. I do not believe that we have produced a good Bill by producing it this way. Instances have been provided of the denial of the proper use of the Report stage, when matters might have been raised. I am not criticising the Chair in saying that, but, obviously, there was much less opportunity for both the Government and hon. Members throughout the House of Commons to use the Report stage for the purposes for which it is provided—that is, to look at a Bill again and to be able to change things.

Some of the matters which might have been raised on Report might have dealt with the individual injustices which, I still believe, will arise under Clause 2, apart altogether from Clause 1. We have not dealt properly with some of the ques- tions about how dependants will be dealt with when they come to this country. We should not deal with such matters in this rushed manner. Therefore, nothing which has occurred has made me feel that we have properly improved the Bill.

On the main issue, despite the concessions or whatever they are called, despite the fact that the Government have spoken in a different tone from the Home Secretary when he first spoke on the Bill, I still think that it is a disgraceful state of affairs. What the House of Commons is doing is disgraceful. To change the meaning of a British passport which we have given to people is a terrible thing to do. If the House of Commons thought that we were doing anything of which we were in any way proud, that would be appalling.

Moreover, I do not believe that what the Government set out to do, and certainly what the right hon. and learned Member for Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) suggested that we had done, has been achieved. Take the headlines in The Guardian today: Asians forced to leave Kenya can enter Britain. That is that journal's interpretation of the statement made by the Home Secretary. The other papers have come to much the same conclusion.

The papers are saying that the concessions or the statement made by the Home Secretary has altered the situation very greatly and that the concessions go so far as to mean that the Government will have to agree that all the Asians who may be expelled by the Government of Kenya will have to be brought to this country, queue or no queue. Hon. Members shake their heads. I know that there is still dispute about it. That is one of the difficulties of rushing through a Bill in this way.

Indeed, one of the most significant episodes in the whole of the discussions on this Bill was that when the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for St. Marylebone was very critical of the idea that any concessions had been made, because, he said, we must not make the mistake again of making promises which cannot be carried out. The right hon. and learned Gentleman certainly did not agree with the interpretation given by The Guardian headline which I have just read out, "Asians forced to leave Kenya can enter Britain". That is not his interpretation of the Bill.

In other words, what we have done and what is inherent in the situation is this: we have taken all the odium of trying to deprive people of their rights in the passport and discovered that we cannot do it. We cannot do it. In fact, an Amendment from this side proved it. The Government did not say that this was a concession, or whatever we like to call it. They have been forced from one situation to another and have been forced back to the situation that they cannot tear up people's passports. That is what has really happened. That is the interpretation which is given by the newspapers and which will be given in Kenya.

We shall leave this Bill in an extremely confused state of affairs, in which the interpretation which is placed upon it by the Opposition Front Bench is different from the interpretation which is placed upon it by the Government Front Bench. I do not mind divisions between the two Front Benches in the normal way, but when they are over the interpretation of what is meant by a Bill which deals with the livelihood and fears of people, and with their liberties and individual rights, that is another matter, and it is bad.

People do not know what their rights are under the Bill. The provisions of a Bill like this should be clear so that everyone can understand them, so that everyone having a passport will know what right it gives. It is not only a question of devaluing the passport. We have removed the meaning from the passport, and the people who hold passports now in Kenya do not know what rights they entitle them to. That is the situation. That is not the way for the House to legislate.

That is not to say the House wanted this position. I am sure it did not. Only a few people wanted to get through this Measure. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), the original author of this Bill, never voted for a Bill about which it could be said at the end by The Guardian in a headline, "Asians forced to leave Kenya can enter Britain." That is not what he voted for, is it? That is not what an hon. Member opposite for Birmingham voted for. He has been campaigning for greater controls for years.

So we are faced, after these two days, with a most serious situation, one which I believe the House of Commons will regret. It derives from the fact that the House has had to deal with the utmost speed with a matter of the utmost delicacy. So, by our failure to use our own procedures properly, we shall be inflicting serious injustice on large numbers of individual people who look to us for protection. What this House of Commons has done in the final result is to deny them that protection. It is the most melancholy day in the history of the House of Commons.

6.48 a.m.

Colonel Sir Tufton Beamish (Lewes)

Having abstained from voting on Second Reading of the Bill I am glad to have a very brief chance of voicing my remaining objections on Third Reading. I recognise as long overdue the need for much stricter control of the immigrants most of whom are coloured immigrants. In so far as the Bill tightens up various controls such as the control over children coming here to work and not really to join their parents, in so far as it means health checks, badly needed for some time, and in so far as it closes what I simply call the 24-hours loophole in the law, I welcome the Bill. But I join with the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) in his protest that we have had too little time for careful consideration of it, and, as a result, it has been rushed and its meaning in some important respects is not clear. That is thoroughly bad.

I have three main objections, all arising out of Clause 1. One is a fundamental objection, and the other two are subsidiary, though important. Fundamentally, I object strongly to the breaking of our pledge, implicit in agreeing to give British passports and thus citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies to people in East Africa, mainly Asians in Kenya, who opted for them. We have broken our promise, and there is no getting away from that. It was a promise given with our eyes wide open because of the obvious risk of racial tension between Africans and Asians in East Africa. Anyone who knows Kenya knows that there has been no love lost between African and Asian right through this century.

Unhappily, the tension has arisen and the safeguard of unrestricted right of entry into this country is needed urgently. This is the very moment that the Government choose to limit that right to 1,500 and to abolish it for many more. These people who may not be able to come here, though I hope that they will, could easily become stateless refugees, and they will present very difficult problems.

I am very disappointed at the Home Secretary's refusal to soften the impact of Clause 1 by accepting some of the sensible suggestions made when we debated various Amendments to it. He could have done this quite easily by removing my second objection, still valid, and that is his fixing the annual quota at the very low figure of 1,500, plus dependants. Though he qualified this with his rather loosely worded assurances that he would raise the figure, presumably it would be at the expense of other Commonwealth immigrants if need be.

I appeal to the Government to give further thought to honouring our undoubted obligations to Asians in Kenya and the other two countries in East Africa, even if we have to ask some of them to wait two or three years, and even by making would-be immigrants from other Commonwealth countries wait longer.

This is closely tied up with my third objection, which is no longer entirely valid, and it is the incomprehensible refusal of the Home Secretary originally to set up an appeal machinery. I welcome the fact that he has had a change of heart, though still I wonder whether the appeal machinery is adequate. He spoke at one stage of a small team of lawyers going to Kenya. A team cannot be much smaller than two, and I cannot help feeling that these two distinguished lawyers may find themselves very overworked. In addition, I believe that some appeal machinery in this country will be necessary.

To sum up, I am not happy about the Bill for various reasons. First, I consider that Clause 1 is highly objectionable and that the need for it is still not really proved. Secondly, the Bill devalues the British passport and, worse still, it de values Britain's word. It may well lead to a gigantic legal and administrative muddle, a great deal more complicated than many hon. Members may have realised.

Lastly, it is nearly certain that it will cause suffering and unhappiness to many people who expected and deserved better treatment.

6.55 a.m.

Mr. Hogg

I want to say only a very few words on Third Reading, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Liberal benches took up with glee the suggestion that came from my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) to the effect that the Liberal Party would justify its existence by dividing on Third Reading. I do not want to derogate from that tribute, except to point out that it is the Motion which stands in the names of myself and my hon. Friends which enables us to divide. Perhaps this is not justified—I do not want to add to their disappointment.

However, I am not sure I should not say one or two things in view of the remarks that have fallen from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) and from my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish). To the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale I would say that I never put any interpretation on what the Home Secretary said during the debates. It was precisely because I put no interpretation on it at all that I said what I did earlier in the night. But I hope that he has not said something which he will not be able to perform—that he has not fallen into the same trap again.

I have supported this Bill—it was a painful decision, I think, for all of us, whichever side we took—simply because I do not believe it is an honourable thing to go on saying that one is going to do something, then, when the moment comes, not to do it. If we had not legislated now, we should have caused a great deal more pain to a very large number of people who, from time to time, put trust on their right of admission to this country, then find all too late it is not possible to find entrance here. Although to some extent I shall be going over ground traversed before, I would say that I have been, I hope, consistent throughout this discussion. I have fully agreed it was a most distasteful thing to devalue the British passport, but that was because the British passport had carried some guarantee of entrance to this country.

I do not think there was an express pledge, as has been repeatedly asserted against my right hon. Friend. I do not think there has ever been any evidence of that.

To devalue the British passport is a most distasteful thing, but it is most important that we should get this right: we did the same thing before, in 1962. There is no getting away from it. Before 1962 a British passport, issued for instance to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies in Australia by the High Commissioner for Australia, carried with it exactly the same right of free entrance that we are here taking away from another group. We did it then, in good faith, and it was accepted very shortly after we had done it by the very people who had opposed us on that Bill. When they came into power they found they had no other course than to pursue the Bill we had carried through this Parliament.

I did not like doing this, any more than the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary likes doing it. I did not like it then, and I do not like it now. But I am perfectly sure that if we had not done it, we should be faced with a worse, and more dishonourable, situation now. I simply do not believe that it is honest to go on failing to face the situation, as we should have done if we had not legislated quickly at this time. I think that with the passage of time, even if we are held up to ransom by other Powers, the Home Secretary will be justified in what he has done, and those who have supported him, with considerable dislike, will be proved to have done the right thing. I would not have done it if I did not believe that it was the right thing.

I have listened to all the alternatives which have been suggested to this course of action. They have been put forward by my hon. Friends, from the Liberal bench, and from the benches opposite. I respect, though I do not agree with, that which says that we should not have legislated at all, but those which try to put forward some half-measure, or some other way of dealing with the situation, like the stopping of other immigration, or taking it away from those with dual nationality, but not from the Kenyan Asians, or taking it away from the Kenyan Asians who have not applied for British passports, but leaving it with those who have, are infinitely more dishonourable than anything that we have been asked to do in the Bill.

Mr. Thorpe


Mr. Hogg

The right hon. Gentleman says "Nonsense". I had not intended to detain the House, but I should now like to justify what I have said. One suggestion was that we should stop all other immigration. I wonder whether this is any more honourable. Nobody with any sense of the history of this matter could believe that. We devalued the British passport to a certain limited extent in 1962. Those who come into this country under the voucher system under the existing legislation, those whom the right hon. Gentleman, or his hon. Friend, would like to keep out altogether, rely on the 1962 Act, they rely on the British word, and now it is suggested as an alternative to what we are doing in the Bill we should break our word about that.

Mr. Thorpe

I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman will accept that under the 1962 Act, whatever we may think of it, there is a certain discretion in the Government about how many A or B vouchers they issue. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman contending that there is no difference between saying to a Pakistani who lives in Pakistan. who has Pakistani citizenship, "I am sorry, but we cannot let you in because your place must go to a Pakistani who lives in Kenya, who has a British passport, who has no other citizenship, and is compelled to leave Kenya for racial reasons", and what we are doing here? Is he saying that that is not a logical formula?

Mr. Hogg

I was saying that the formula which I was seeking to describe was nonsense. If the right hon. Gentleman was really applying his mind to the matter, he would realise that the suggestion that we should stop immigration from the West Indies, from Australia, from India, from Pakistan, in fact from the whole Commonwealth, in direct contravention of the faith which has been placed in our word, simply as an alternative to this Bill, has no morality in it at all. The suggestion that we should allow in those who happened to apply for a passport, and not allow in those who did not, seems to me to have no morality in it, either. The unrestricted right of entry to this country depends, not on the possession of a passport, but on the entitlement to a passport. There may be one reason or another for applying for a passport—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are on Third Reading. We cannot discuss Amendments or alternatives.

Mr. Hogg

The Bill which we are asked to pass has been described as immoral. My answer is that in every case that we have heard during these protracted debates, the various reasons for rejecting the Bill have been infinitely more immoral than what we are doing. That is my conviction. If I have strayed in replying to the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) in demolishing his suggestion that what I was saying was nonsense I can only apologise to the House and to you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a grave and most disagreeable decision. I do not hesitate for a moment to say that there is no third course open to the House; it is a question either of allowing unrestricted entry to remain, not only for the Kenyan Asians but for those who have not yet asked us for unrestricted entry—1 million or more—or legislating in this way. I have no doubt that between the two alternatives that I have posed—the continuance of unrestricted entry and this Bill—this Bill is, disagreeably but necessarily, the only course for this country to pursue.

7.6 a.m.

Mr. John Fraser

We have all regarded the Bill with some misgiving. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), in his opening speech yesterday, compared the situation with that of a bank which was unable to pay its creditors. I submit that the proper comparison is with an insurance company which has issued a policy and has not thought very carefully about the way in which it has done so but, rather like a Lloyds broker, pays up on the policy no matter how unpleasant or disastrous it is at the time.

I agree that it was proper to deal with people who have citizenship in other countries, but the real nub of the issue concerns the people who have an insurance policy in a British passport and who are Asians in Kenya. I am proud that the House of Commons should have aired this matter for so long and in such a proper manner. Both Front Benches, and other hon. Members on both sides, have given the right impression to the country, showing that our concern was very much with the honouring of our obligations to citizens of this country who were relying upon British passports.

Great good has been done in terms of race relations in this country by our showing that we have faced so carefully a question of honour and our capability of fulfilling our promise. The many undertakings and statements made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and by the Under-Secretary of State have gone a long way towards satisfying the misgivings which many people must have felt.

Those who have clamoured for the passing of this kind of Measure—in particular, the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), who lives next to my constituency and who once represented it—owe a heavy responsibility in terms of race relations, because the picture that they have presented to the country shows that they put prejudice above honour. I hope that when we have finished with the Bill the right hon. Member for Streatham and others who have taken a similar line will think a great deal about the future and will try to atone for the damage that they have done to race relations by the picture which they have presented of citizens who have been trying to live together in peace and harmony.

7.9 a.m.

Mr. Martin Maddan (Hove)

The Bill came to the House as a hastily-conceived Measure, and it leaves it as a hastily-conceived and hastily-discussed Measure. It bears the hallmarks of that. It came as an ill-conceived Measure—certainly hastily put together—and not the fruit of effective negotiations with the Government of East Africa, or of effective consultation with the Governments of India and Pakistan or the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants, and, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) said, without any thought of the interaction of this Measure with the Mauritius Independence Bill. It has been rushed through the House. One stage, Report stage, was completely truncated, with the Home Secretary allowed by the Chair to move only one drafting Amendment. That is most regrettable for a Bill of this importance. The proceedings on the Bill have been in sharp and stark contrast to those on the original 1962 legislation, which, whatever else may be said about it, was certainly conceived with care and discussed with care. It is with regret that I see the Bill now about to leave the House.

It has been said that it has been improved by the assurances given during our debates by the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary. Our proceedings have been riddled with assurances, but those assurances have not clarified or strengthened the Bill. They rely on the right hon. Gentleman and his successors and on administrative action in future, and practically all the objections levelled against the Bill when it originally came to the House remain as it now leaves us.

7.12 a.m.

Miss Lestor

I do not want to make a frustrated Second Reading speech, but I want to make one or two comments on what has been said during this very long and, to me, rather painful debate.

The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) made a statement which he can never prove. He said that we had to have the Bill, because race relations in this country would get worse without it. That has been said before and that is why we have legislated before. According to the P.E.P. Report on which we are to base future race relations legislation, it is because race relations have been getting worse in this country that we ought now to legislate to outlaw discrimination.

Several hon. Members, including the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) and my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) have said that it is easy for those without immigrants in their communities or constituencies to be as white as the driven snow on this issue. Have they ever stopped to think why some of us who have immigrants in our communities take the line which we follow and why we oppose the Bill? We do so because we believe, and our experience has shown, that this sort of approach does not enhance race relations. It is my conviction that the organisations which we set up to deal with race relations problems are in a very sad state. I cannot prove my assertions any more than other hon. Members can prove theirs, but many of us believe that, quite apart from the constitutional issues, the Bill will not contribute anything to the quality of race relations. On the contrary, it will deal them a severe blow.

Almost every hon. Member who has spoken when using the word "immigrant" has thought of "colour", and "immigrant" has become synonymous with "coloured". Last year, 24,500 aliens, most of them white, settled in this country. We have standards for aliens which are different from those for coloured immigrants. Next time we discuss immigrants we should discuss white immigrants and coloured immigrants. Until we get our immigration on the same basis and discuss immigration Bills without meaning colour Bills, we will yield to the clamour of those who speak with a racialist tongue. The Home Secretary and the Under-Secretary are not racialists. We all say that we are not, yet we pass legislation which is what those who speak with racialist tongues want us to pass. Until we fight on the grounds of equality, we shall never further our race relations.

7.15 a.m.

Mr. Winnick

I was unhappy about the Bill from the start and I am still unhappy, because it is thoroughly bad and unjustified. I believe that the Government are wrong, but I cannot forget the irresponsible racialist campaign which forced them to act. Those right hon. and hon. Members who played their part in that campaign will ultimately, I believe, find their position shameful and even humiliating. No one can feel proud of the Bill, because it deals basically with non-whites. There would have been no campaign or Bill if they had been white. This is why we cannot feel proud of being Members of Parliament today.

The majority of people believe that a Bill dealing with Asians is necessary. It may be. I have no illusions that my stand is other than a minority one, but if those with United Kingdom passports come here without vouchers I believe that public opinion will not allow them to be turned away. Although public opinion sometimes forces irresponsible racialist campaigns, it can also show itself in a better light. Despite the Bill, if people come from Kenya, public opinion will force the Government to let them in an emergency. What worries me is the fear of insecurity of many of these people who do not understand how public opinion can change.

Division No. 78.] AYES [7.20 a.m.
Allen, Scholefield Grant, Anthony Oswald, Thomas
Anderson, Donald Grey, Charles (Durham) Page, Derek (King's Lynn)
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Gurden, Harold Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Harper, Joseph Palmer, Arthur
Bacon Rt. Hn. Alice Haseldine, Norman Pentland, Norman
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Baker, W. H. K. Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough) Price, William (Rugby)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Probert, Arthur
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Hoy, James Pym, Francis
Berry, Hn, Anthony Huckfield, Leslie Rees, Merlyn
Bishop, E. S. Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Blackburn, F. Hunter, Adam Robinson,Rt.Hn. Kenneth(St.P'c'as)
Body, Richard Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Bradley, Tom Jackson, Colin (B'h so & Spenb'gh Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Royle, Anthony
Brooks, Edwin Jones,Rt.Hn.SirElwyn(W.Ham,S.) Russell, Sir Ronald
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Kershaw, Anthony Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Buchan, Norman Kitson, Timothy Short, Mrs. Renée(W'hampton.N.E.)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Langford-Holt, Sir John Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Campbell, Gordon Leadbitter, Ted Small, William
Cant, R. B. Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Snow, Julian
Carmichael, Neil Loughlin, Charles Stainton, Keith
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael
Chapman, Donald McBride, Neil Swingler, Stephen
Coe, Denis McCann, John Taverne, Dick
Coleman, Donald MacColl, James Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Concannon, J. D. McGuire, Michael Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Dalyell, Tam Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Tinn, James
Davies, Dr. Ernest (stretford) Mackie, John Urwin, T. W.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Maclennan, Robert Varley, Eric G.
Davies, Harold (Leek) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne valley)
Dobson, Ray Macpherson, Malcolm Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Doig, Peter Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Wallace, George
Dunnett, Jack Manuel, Archie Weatherill, Bernard
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) Mapp, Charles Webster, David
Eadie, Alex Marks, Kenneth Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Edwards, William (Merionoth) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshaiton) Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Whitlock, William
Elliott,R.W.[N'c'tleupon-Tyne,N.) Montgomery, Fergus Willams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
English, Michael More, Jasper Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Ennals, David Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Eyre, Reginald Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Woodbum, Rt. Hn. A.
Farr, John Morris, John (Aberavon) Yates, Victor
Fernyhough, E. Murray, Albert
Forrester, John Oakes, Gordon TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ginsburg, David Ogden, Eric Mr. loan L. Evans and
Goodhart. Philip O'Malley, Brian Mr. Ernest Armstrong.
Gourlay, Harry Osbom, John (Haliam)
Beamish, col. Sir Tufton Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)
Bessell, Peter Higgins, Terence L. Lestor, Miss Joan
Crawshaw, Richard Hooley, Frank Lubbock, Eric
Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire,W.) Hooson, Emlyn Macdonald, A. H.
Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway) Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Lain
Fletcher, Raymond (likeston) Hunt, John Maddan, Martin
Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Judd, Frank Mikardo, Ian

Not only as an hon. Member, but as a Socialist, I believe that we should be firm on principle in all controversial matters and not panic or run away and that thus we will not only be right but will ultimately win the respect of our fellow countrymen.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 145, Noes 31.

Nott, John Victers, Dame John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Scott, Nicholas Whitaker, Ben Dr. M. P. Winstanley and
Sinclair, Sir George Winnick, David Mr. David Steel
Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.