HC Deb 26 April 1971 vol 816 cc31-2
42. Sir F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations have been made to the Government of Canada to secure no less favourable treatment for United Kingdom citizens in respect of terms and conditions of entry, registration, residence, employment, settlement and voting rights than are accorded to Canadian citizens in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Kershaw

None, Sir. We accept that all sovereign countries, like ourselves, have the sole right to determine whom they should admit and on what terms.

Sir F. Bennett

I am delighted to have my hon. Friend's reaffirmation of the right of each sovereign independent country of the Commonwealth to settle its own immigration policies. Will my hon. Friend reaffirm that Britain bears favourable comparison not only with Canada but with every other country in terms of its treatment of immigrants not only before they come here but also after they have arrived here?

Mr. Kershaw

That is so. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making it clear.

Mr. Kaufman

If there is to be parity between British and Canadian citizens in these matters, can the hon. Gentleman say what group of citizens he is suggesting the Canadian Government should discriminate against in the same way as French-Canadian citizens will be discriminated against by this Government under the patrial Clause of the Immigration Bill?

Mr. Kershaw

I do not accept any of the premises which the hon. Member has made.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is it not the case that Britain's immigration policy—including the provisions of the current Immigration Bill—is of unparalleled generosity compared with the immigration policies of other Commonwealth countries? In order that good relations may continue between different racial communities in Great Britain, will the Government draw this fact to the attention of responsible leaders of immigrant communities in this country, who sometimes organise demonstrations against our policy and criticise our police in relation to that policy?

Mr. Kershaw

It is a fact that our immigration policy bears comparison with that of any other country, including Commonwealth countries.

Mr. Bidwell

Is it not a fact that the Immigration Bill is more likely to be regarded as unparalleled nonsense, in view of the fact that the patrial Clause has been mucked about as a result of the initiative of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell).

Mr. Kershaw

No, Sir.

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