HC Deb 17 June 1971 vol 819 cc682-707

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

I beg to move Amendment No. 144, in page 27, line 15, leave out from 'may' to 'to' in line 17 and insert: ' subject to the following provisions of this section, provide funds to the extent that he may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine '.

Mr. Depuly Speaker

With this Amendment the House can discuss also Amendment No. 145, in page 27, line 21, at end add: (2) The Secretary of State shall make regulations for the appointment in the manner prescribed thereby of an organistion or organisations to administer the funds provided in accordance with this section and for the revocation of any such appointment and for the payment to any such organisation of the costs of administration out of public funds and for prescribing the rules governing the administration of such funds and in particular for ensuring that no such funds are made available except to a person applying therefor voluntarily and without having been subject to any threat or inducement and for ensuring that any such organisation shall make an annual report to Parliament. (3) Regulations made under this section shall be of no effect until a draft thereof has been laid before and approved by each House of Parliament.

Mr. Rees

One of the purposes of Report stage is to enable the House to discuss some of the major issues of the Bill. The issue of repatriation is one of the major issues of the Bill. This is not just a probing Amendment. We feel strongly about it and, unless we are convinced during the discussion, we shall divide the House on it.

During the period of the previous Government there was much talk of immigration being out of control. This has been used as one of the justifications for the Bill, although we have had no evidence for it. It has become one of the myths in this subject. The corollary of immigration being out of control over a period of years is the subject of repatriation. It is an emotive word of itself. It has been used before. It is in the political pamphlets of 70 years ago with regard to the Jews. It was used in the 1930s in the East End. It is a simple solution to what is indeed a problem when races of different colours mix with their different social cultures. It was prior to 1970, and it has been since then, one of the arguments of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell).

In 1967 the present Prime Minister said this at Ipswich: Those immigrants and their families who wish to return home should be given every assistance to do so. As the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West pointed out, there was no qualification in that statement made by the present Prime Minister.

At a later stage in York the present Prime Minister said this: It remains an important part of our policy that those Commonwealth immigrants who wish to return to their countries of origin will be eligible to receive assisted passages from public funds. This should not be limited as at present to those who are destitute. At the General Election the Tory Party made this promise: We will give assistance to Commonwalth immigrants who wish to return to their country of origin. In February of this year, just before the Bill was published, the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West said this: Secondly, this Government is long and deeply pledged to assist all those New Commonwealth immigrants who wish to do so to return to their homelands. No limit has been placed upon the numbers to which the pledge applies: it is, in terms, open to all. On Second Reading Clause 29 was qualified by the Secretary of State in this way: The question of repatriation is dealt with in Clause 29 …". He explained it and continued with these words: This is only an enabling power. Let me make clear what the Government intend to do. I do not believe in large-scale repatriation. It is wrong because it would not work and the attempt to make it work would be enormously damaging to what I see as the real objective of our policy, namely, to improve community relations among people already here. That is why we do not intend to embark on a large scale programme of repatriation. It would not be right to pay the fares home of those who can afford to pay them themselves. If people can afford to pay and want to leave this country, it is obviously a bribe to them to go. How can we reconcile that with our desire to make one single community in this country? However, there is an argument for extending the present very limited powers to assist repatriation. They are limited pretty well to those who come under the aegis of the social benefit system. There may be instances of immigrant families who clearly have not settled down and will not settle down in this country and who would like to go home but cannot afford to do so. It seems to me common sense, humanitarian and in everyone's interest to provide assistance in such cases. This is the Government's thinking behind the policy of repatriation and this is the way in which we intend to use these powers if the House gives them to us."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th March, 1971; Vol. 813, c. 53–4.] Here came the qualification on Second Reading of a more general statement that had been made before the Election. The Government policy is, in fact, only a development of the existing scheme. It is made in an Immigration Bill. It is a social security development.

In Committee we on this side tried to build on this feeling which we accepted—that there was a social security aspect. We wished it to be done through the Supplementary Benefits Commission, but the Government rejected this. The Home Secretary used this language: We have been pursuing various ideas of introducing some voluntary body of standing and knowledge of these things which really could help. I am able to inform the Committee that we have been having discussions with an eminent body, the International Social Service which, I believe, could contribute a lot in this field. Although we are only in the discussion stage, that is the sort of thing I had in mind. I believe that when we have set up a scheme—the regulations under the Clause will be subject to Treasury approval; they will lay down the shape and pattern of the scheme—the administration of the scheme could be much better carried out by a body of that kind, if it could be arranged, than by the Home Office, the Treasury, or indeed any other Government Department."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 25th May, 1971; c. 1348–9.] It is not to be the Home Office or the Treasury. It is odd, nevertheless, if that is the Home Secretary's view, and if that is the philosophy behind the Clause, that it should be put into an Immigration Bill. So the discussions are taking place with the International Social Service.

Amendment No. 144 is a paving Amendment. Amendment No. 145 is the meat of our argument. The last four or five lines in particular we want to put into a Bill to give them the force of Statute law. They say: …in particular for ensuring that no such funds are made available except to a person applying therefor voluntarily and without having been subject to any threat or inducement and for ensuring that any such organisation shall make an annual report to Parliament. The last point is one about which I feel very strongly. With the proliferation in the modern State of large numbers of organisations, it is important that an annual report should be made to Parliament to ensure that we can consider means of parliamentary accountability. Even more important, we have reinforced in our Amendment what the right hon. Gentleman said was his philosophy, that a return home shall be voluntary, without the immigrant's having been made subject to any threat or inducement.

Our Amendment sums up what we feel very strongly. We wish to help the Government, and we reinforce them by the Amendment. We wish to help them to back-pedal from the generality of their election pledges. But what we wish to help them do more than anything else is to do what they said in Committee they wanted, and we wish to do it in this way. We feel very strongly about this aspect because repatriation arguments in the sense in which they were discussed before the election were on all fours with the argument about immigration's being out of control. It did a great deal of harm to race relations. It was discussed in all parts of the country. Now, as far as repatriation is concerned, we have got it right, and we will have it, if the House agrees, enshrined in an Act.

Mr. Robert Hughes

We had in Committee a considerable discussion about the whole question of repatriation. Because of the kind of feeling that there has been, not only in our generation but in generations past, about repatriation, Governments of many political colours have thought that it was an answer to some of their problems over immigrant communities. One of the proud boasts of the South African Nationalist Government when they came to power in 1947 was that they would solve the problem of the Indian community in South Africa by repatriation. Some of us feel that the Bill too closely parallels the views expressed by that Government and in some cases by the National Socialist Party in Germany before the war.

We are very concerned about the kind of image that was given to repatriation because it was sold to the public at large as a method of controlling the numbers of immigrants in this country, but more particularly of immigrants whose skins happen to be a different colour from our own. If we were really concerned about immigrants in general, we should be back to the same old nasty business that we had before the war about the repatriation of Jews and the Irish.

Today, repatriation is talked of almost exclusively in terms of coloured immigrants. It is because of that that we are very concerned about the wide powers the Clause gives the Home Secretary. He, in his characteristically bland manner and in the image of the liberal Home Secretary which he sets out to be, rightly points out that there are occasions when repatriation may be an answer. No one who has had to deal with personal problems of immigrants, as almost every hon. Member has, can fail to realise that people land in difficulties for all sorts of reasons. There may very well be cases, such as I have had, where the return of an immigrant to his country of origin is necessary for the good of his health or the good of his family, and in those circumstances no none would oppose any method of assisting such people to leave this country.

5.30 p.m.

We disagree with those who drafted the Bill in our belief that if powers for greater repatriation are necessary they should not be in a Bill purporting to deal with immigration control. The Bill has been widely sold as a method of controlling the numbers of new immigrants, and more particularly of reducing their numbers. I do not think that any Opposition hon. Member in Committee could have failed to be other than appalled at the ideas of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). He made it clear that he thought he was expressing the true and official Conservative policy about repatriation. He certainly was not talking of repatriation in terms only of those who were destitute or who had manifestly failed to adapt to their new society. He was talking of removing large numbers of people in order greatly to reduce the number of immigrants here. In those circumstances, we cannot be expected to accept the Clause as it stands.

At all times the word "voluntarily" has been stressed on both sides as being of paramount importance. I would not dream of misleading the House or the country by suggesting that official Conservative policy, as espoused by either the Home Secretary or by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, was one of forced repatriation in the sense of saying that there is to be a quota of people who will leave this country whether they like it or not. What we are concerned about is how far voluntary removal from this country is closely tied up with harassment, which can take many forms; it does not have to be the form which leads to marches through immigrant areas, shouts of "Go home" and so on. It can be very subtle. Those of us who have followed very closely the harassment of tenants whom landlords want to remove know how subtle it can be, with the legal letters alleging all kinds of things flying backwards and forwards constantly, and so on.

I believe that as drafted the Bill would allow a Home Secretary, pressed by the clamour of people who know no better, to move towards a subtle kind of harassment, particularly if the policy espoused in Committee were introduced. I know that the idea of a take-up campaign was sold in Committee as something of humane value. There can be no mincing of words. It is harassment if, whenever an immigrant worker becomes unemployed and goes to the labour exchange to try to find a job, or to the Social Security office to try to obtain means to maintain his family whilst he is seeking another job, it is suggested that he might return to his country of origin, and if there is money available to take him back. It was suggested in Committee that every immigrant who experienced difficulty should have it brought to his attention that the Clause allows the Home Secretary to spend money on voluntary repatriation. That will be seen by the immigrant community as being harassment.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)

Will the hon. Gentleman say that it is justifiable to withhold from someone the knowledge of a public provision which is available to him? Is he really stating that when Parliament has deliberately provided facilities, the knowledge of those facilities should not be brought to those for whom they are available?

Mr. Hughes

I think the right hon. Gentleman anticipates the point I am about to make. The borderline between harassment and encouragement, between saying to someone who is genuinely seeking to go home that there are facilities available and say that every time an immigrant seeks help from any authority he is to be told that those facilities are available, is very narrow. I believe that they are the same thing. I seek to make absolutely plain to the House and the right hon. Gentleman the difference between harassment and encouragement. If an immigrant who tells an authority, "I am in serious difficulty. I think that on balance I should like to go home "is told," We are prepared to help you to go home in those circumstances ", that is encouragement. But if on every occasion the immigrant is told, "You must go home ", that is harassment.

The policy put forward in Committee was one of saying that the immigrant will be told on every conceivable occasion when he has housing difficulties, health difficulties, employment difficulties, or financial difficulties, no matter how temporary or transient they may be, "You must go home "That is how the policy will be expressed and accepted. We must beware of the very dangerous path on which we are proceeding.

The Home Secretary said on Second Reading that one of the most important points in the introduction of his Bill was to encourage the sense of community and the adoption of immigrants into the institutions of this country. How he could say that and accept the kind of proposals put forward for repatriation, I do not know. Nothing will discourage people from taking part in our institutions and in ordinary life more than the suggestion that they are not welcome. What kind of welcome is it for an immigrant who gets into difficulty if perhaps the very first thing he is told when he seeks assistance is not how he can get help from the Social Security Office, not how he can get help to better the education of his family, but that there are provisions in the Bill, introduced by a liberal and humane Home Secretary, to allow him to go home? This cannot work and never will work.

I hope that the method we have suggested will deal with the problem. Ideally, we should have liked Clause 29 to be removed from the Bill altogether and the arrangements to assist people to go home to be put under the Department of Health and Social Security and extended where necessary simply by regulations to give them a little more flexibility. It would be even better if there were a voluntary organisation concerned with immigrants who wanted to go home.

There is much talk in the country about the number of immigrants who tell public opinion polls or consumer research organisations, in reply to a questionnaire, that they would like to go home. Those who lay stress on these numbers can only be people with no understanding of first-generation immigrants. I have had experience of first-generation immigrants, having once been an emigrant to South Africa. I know of many British people in South Africa who have been there for 20 or 30 years but have always had a hankering to return to the country of their birth and their youth. That is natural; there is nothing to be ashamed of in it. But the truth is that very few of them do return, and a great proportion of the few who do so very much regret having left the country where they have lived for 25 years.

Precisely the same applies to immigrants in this country. The first-generation immigrant naturally has an affinity with his own country. It is the feeling of some of them that they do not belong here and never will, which suggests to them that they ought to go back as quickly as possible. I reject the philosophy that people who come to this country to live their lives here and to bring up their children here are not of this country simply because they may have a hankering in their minds to go back and because they may at some stage run into financial or other difficulties.

This Clause is a monstrosity as far as human relations are concerned, and I ask for the support of the House in changing it.

Sir George Sinclair (Dorking)

I am largely in agreement with the views on repatriation expressed by the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees). Those views are of course very close to those expressed by the Home Secretary in Committee. The Home Secretary has shown clearly that any payment would be confined to those who, of their own wish and initiative, sought to return to their country of origin, and that decisions would be made on the basis of individual need.

The Home Secretary made it clear that an individual's wish and need would be the basis of the payment. He also made it clear that he did not accept the idea put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) that this Clause should be used as an instrument for the major repatriation of people to their countries of origin.

I do not believe that this Clause needs changing as suggested in the Amendment. The Clause, in itself, is perfectly clear and the Home Secretary has made clear beyond any doubt whatever what the Government's thinking is behind it. It is confined very strictly to meeting cases where people wish to return and are in need of help to enable them to carry out their wishes. Nor do I believe that this Clause should be supported by the issue of public notices. What the Clause does and the thinking behind it will be well known through all the immigrant organisations who will see to it that they have available to them the record of the Committee and the Bill.

The Government's thinking on this subject will be clear beyond doubt to the immigrant groups and to the people seeking advice when they are in real difficulties and wish to return home. It is because of the restricted nature of this repatriation Clause that I am happy to support the Clause without the Amendment.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), in an intervention a little time ago, made it appear as if we were discussing a Clause that dealt with the availability of free milk for children in large families. He pretended—with a style that I do not normally associate with him—that we could just pass on and regard such an announcement as the equivalent of bringing home to those affected what is in effect an invitation to leave this country.

Surely we are discussing something quite different from provisions whereby a Government mounts large-scale publicity so that those who are entitled to a certain welfare benefit, but may not be aware of it, are made aware of it. We should not make such wholly inadequate comparisons. We should carry this argument on manfully and in an open manner saying what we mean.

I do not like the terms being used in this debate. Recently I visited India as a member of an all-party parliamentary delegation organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary association and, with six Members of this House, was a guest of the Indian Parliament. One of the events organised for us was an open meeting attended by 80 members of the Indian Parliament of all parties from both Houses. We six were answering questions. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) is not here at the moment; neither is the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dame Joan Vickers), who led our delegation. But they would bear witness to what I am about to say. They would confirm that one of the problems we were most profoundly questioned upon at this meeting was the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West to this problem of expelling people because they are of a different colour. I am only relating this as a fact that we experienced.

There were present at the meeting Indian Members of Parliament of all generations, some of them aged between 65 and 70 years of age. Throughout many years of difficulties in the relationship between the people of Britain and India they have maintained a profound respect and admiration for British institutions and for the British sense of fair play. It was deeply moving for us to observe their great worry about the British Government having plans to implement legislation which would mean harassment and threat of expulsion to so many people because of the colour of their skin.

No one who was a member of that delegation can be in any doubt about the harm done by wild speeches and agitation of this kind. This could be multiplied in every other part of the Commonwealth. Attitudes are important here, just as important as words in a Clause. Anyone who thinks that they will be able to use such a Clause to stir up trouble and make demands for the expulsion of people—repatriation is a euphemism—or who encourages those who have racialist feelings in our community—happily, to my knowledge only a minority—is to be condemned.

I have not yet spoken on this matter in the presence of the right hon. Gentleman. What I hold most against him is not that he has aroused certain feelings which may have been dormant, but that because he is a Privy Councillor and a former senior Minister he has given the stamp of respectability to such feelings. This has been noticed throughout the Commonwealth, and clearly understood, as it would not have been noticed had someone in a less prominent position been engaged in this sort of speech-making.

My right hon. and hon. Friends are asking here for a minimum. What is at stake is not the attitude of the Home Secretary to enforcing repatriation, expulsion or harassment. I do not think there is any evidence that the view of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, rather than the view of the Home Secretary represents the view of the Conservative Party, and I do not make this charge. Many arguments are taking place within the governing party, and it does not help if we assume that the worst interpretation is the official one. People throughout the country who are most directly concerned with these matters hold that the Home Secretary by introducing this Clause is in danger of giving way to some of the views expressed within his party.

In the middle 1950s I belonged to a standing conference organised by the then Lord Mayor of Sheffield to consider the problems which might arise from large-scale immigration. People who have been members of that conference from the beginning are now telling me that they are disturbed by the introduction of this Clause.

Sir G. Sinclair

Would not the hon. Gentleman concede that when there has been so much doubt about the scope of this idea the insertion of this Clause in the Bill, combined with what the Home Secretary said in Committee, reduces the area of doubt and does a service by taking the matter out of controversy at last?

Mr. Mendelson

Although I accept the sincerity of the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair), I cannot accept his logic. The introduction of the Clause by the Home Secretary will not be interpreted in the way in which the hon. Gentleman has suggested. People know that when the Government are wholly unaffected by pressures in a direction in which they do not wish to go they will make no attempt to introduce such matters into legislation. Now that the Home Secretary has decided that he wishes to have the Clause, he should show that none of the suggestions and allegations made against him has any basis by accepting the safeguards which my right hon. and hon. Friends are urging upon him. He has nothing to lose by doing so and much to gain. Anyone with a knowledge of history and of what has happened when it has been suggested that people who are racially different should be invited to go elsewhere will fully understand me when I says that the Home Secretary will be judged more by his attitude on this matter than by anything else he does in his whole administration as Home Secretary.

Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)

Throughout our debates in Committee and to a lesser extent, on Report there have been running arguments about the merits of writing immigration procedures into the Statutes or into regulations. The arguments have been based on the necessity to safeguard ourselves against the possibility of a Home Secretary not having the liberal Conservative approach of the present Home Secretary. I am not convinced by the intervention of the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair), assurances given by a Home Secretary can never have the weight of a Statute.

The Home Secretary in Committee used the words to the effect that his Depart- ment ould not be saddled with the mechanics. Our argument is that the Clause is totally in contradiction to what the people of this country want. The Home Secretary said that this is a minimal matter and he does not want to be personally involved. By accepting the appeals machinery for family deportation cases the Home Secretary has removed from himself a considerable amount of future anxiety. If this is an incidental matter as the Home Secretary argued in Committee, he does not need to deal with it by the deliberate inclusion in the Bill of a Clause which has become known to people involved in community relations as "the repatriation Clause". The notion of repatriation has been identified with the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), so inevitably it is thought that our liberal-minded Home Secretary, in his easy-going way, has pandered to his right hon. Friend by including the Clause.

I know that the Home Secretary listens to me with close attention, because he knows that what I have to say stems not from theory but from practical knowledge of this subject. As a member of the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration, I recently visited West Indian homes in London, in company with a Conservative councillor, who persistently pumped West Indian citizens of this country about whether they would like to go home, although his place was to stand back and let me do the questioning. I think this chap got the sack at the recent local authority elections, as so many Tory councillors did.

The fears of immigrants about this Clause are well-founded. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West worked out in a recent speech that the amount of overseas aid we gave to developing countries would be sufficient to give the immigrants at present in this country £2,000 a knob with which to go home.

Mr. Powell

It would be laborious and tedious to the House for me always to have to correct the inaccuracies of the hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Bidwell). In this case it is not necessary, because the speech in question has been printed and re-printed and is readily available for anyone to satisfy himself of exactly what I said.

Mr. Bidwell

Indeed, we can satisfy ourselves about many other matters connected with the right hon. Gentleman. We have a file of his speeches on this subject and we can explore them, as some scholar in the future will explore them, and expose the hollowness of his whole concept.

Most of the hon. Members who represent constituencies with large immigrant communities are on this side of the House, although there are some, including the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, on the Government side of the House. In the end, we do not want the view of the present Home Secretary, or whoever may succeed him; nor even the view of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), the former Home Secretary, who may be returning very shortly to that position.

When the question of repatriation has been put to people to enable them to return to their land of origin they have said "No dice". It is horrific to think that in the years ahead people could even be thinking in terms of machine guns. We should be thinking about improvement in housing and better opportunities for such people to take their place in British society. This is not just a fear on the part of "do-gooders"; it is an important question which the Home Secretary must have in mind.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

I have great regard and affection for the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair), but he is wrong about this matter. I suspect that he is wrong because he, too, has regard and affection for the Home Secretary and his judgment is clouded on that account.

When one reads the Committee proceedings on this Bill one sees the complete difference in philosophy between the Home Secretary and the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). However, either of those philosophies would fit into the wording of the Clause. If the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West were Home Secretary, he could apply his philosophy of repatriation in terms of this provision in the same way as the Home Secretary in the light of the very same wording could apply his philosophy. No alteration in the law would be required. All that is required is a change in a Home Secretary's attitude.

It is true that in present circumstances it is unlikely that the Home Secretary would change the view which he expressed in Committee, but even he might come under pressure if there were a deterioration in race relations, if the war prophesied by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West were to break out in the ghettoes, if a generation of immigrants born here were to press their demand for jobs and if, because of frustration and bitterness, the situation so deteriorated that a Detroit type of situation were to arise. If that were to happen there might possibly then be a right wing backlash which would urge repatriation on a mass scale. In those circumstances even the present Home Secretary might feel that he had to change his attitude. He would not need to change the Statute which gives him the widest possible power to do as he will.

It is essential that the House agrees to our Amendment which would put a legislative bar on any wider view of the position. Any check involving the tabling of an Order or a debate in the House at ten o'clock at night could crumble under the agitation of a right-wing backlash. That is the sort of situation we must foresee. I accept the Home Secretary's explanation in Committee about his intentions, but if there were a deterioration in race relations in the years ahead we would have to face the situation. I hope the Home Secretary will think again, for I am sure that his heart is in the right place.

The hon. Member for Dorking must remember the history of this matter. F this involved just the odd family that gets into difficulties and the family wanted to return home and had not the means to do so, the matter could surely be put right by an administrative regulation under the provisions of the Supplementary Benefits Commission.

Mr. Maudling

indicated dissent.

Mr. Lyon

The Home Secretary does not agree, but there have been a number of occasions when the Supplementary Benefits Commission, after pressure, has changed its attitude about its rules and adopted a wider interpretation. The Commission could surely adapt such rules in marginal ways to provide for any case the Home Secretary has in mind.

The reason that this Clause is in the Bill lies in the pressure of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, which was taken up at the Tory Party conference. This has meant that the Prime Minister has had to commit himself to some kind of repatriation idea. We know that the Home Secretary has interpreted this as narrowly as he can. I suspect that he never wanted to shackle himself with this provision in the first place but, having been shackled, he must put it in the Bill. There are right wing pressure in the Tory Party which must be resisted from all who have at heart good race relations. For that reason we should agree to the legislative bar provided in this Amendment.

Mr. Maudling

It is fascinating to listen to accounts of how one has reached certain conclusions and to hear all about the pressures under which one has operated and the alternatives one might have considered but did not, and then to compare them with reality. The reality of the situation is that the Clause is in the Bill because I believe it to be a sensible Clause which carries out a commendable purpose. Without such a Clause individual cases could not be helped.

I welcome this opportunity to say clearly and firmly that the Government do not believe in the concept of large-scale repatriation as an act of policy designed to change the pattern of population in this country. Such a policy is not the intention of the Government and it is not the intention of the Clause. It would be inimical to a policy of better community relations to give the impression that, by the action and policy of Government, our first purpose was to get rid of the people whom we are trying to make welcome here. It is perfectly clear and straightforward.

There are cases where people who have come to this country as immigrants have tried to settle down here and have found that they are not happy, but have not the means to return to their own country. It seems a commonsense and humane approach to be in a position to help those people. This is what the Clause is designed to do, namely, to give to people who want to go home, because they would be happier there, the chance to do so and not to deny them such an opportunity because they have not the money.

The hon. Member for York (Mr. Alexander W. Lyon) said that this could be covered by the Supplementary Benefits Commission. I went into this matter with care since it appeared obvious that that was the way to go about the matter, but the limitations upon such a course are considerable. It was clear to me, after considerable consultation with the Commission, that it could not undertake what we had in mind. The Commission could not go beyond its narrow terms within the Supplementary Benefit Regulations to cover, not who are destitute, but people who are not in a position to pay what often may be a substantial sum to enable them to return home.

We envisage this being operated as a welfare service. This is why I do not wish to see it operated by the Home Office although the Home Office is nothing like as negative a Department as is sometimes thought. I believe that this should be administered as a social service. We are having discussions with the International Council for Social Services, a body of great eminence, to see whether it can undertake this task for us, and I hope it will be able to do so. They would surely be the right sort of people to handle this matter, but it is a question of looking into individual circumstances and saying that, if people would be happier if they returned home, then they should receive financial assistance for that purpose. We envisage this being operated by a voluntary body.

The fear which underlies the Amendment and which has been expressed during this discussion is that the scheme will be operated in a totally different fashion. There has been talk of harassment, compulsion, threats and inducements. It would certainly be wrong if somebody went to the employment exchange to ask for help and was told, "You can always go home". I agree with my right hon. Friend that, where facilities are available, they should not be concealed. But that is not a job for the Department of Health and Social Security or for the Department of Employment. They have no intention when people approach them of saying, "Why don't you go home?". What they do is to provide them with the benefits to which they are entitled as a resident of this country and to provide them with opportunities of employment. It is certainly not the intention to harass people. I am prepared to consider whether it is necessary to send out some sort of circular to make clear that it is not the intention of any Government Department to harass people.

6.15 p.m.

The next point which was made was to examine the situation that would arise if there were a change of Government policy. It may be there could be a change of Home Secretary, which might happen because of exhaustion, accident or some other cause. Supposing there were a change of Government policy, I do not foresee any change of this particular issue. But if any question of compulsion, threat or inducement is to be covered, is the Amendment the right way to go about the matter? I certainly would be loathe to accept this Amendment. If the scheme were run by a voluntary body, then I do not feel it would assist such a body to be saddled with this sort of administrative machinery and complicated arrangement. Such a voluntary body would not want such an unwelcome task. I want to see an informal scheme run by a respectable voluntary charitable body, with the scope and freedom to do what it feels right. If we were to use the words of the Amendment, it would have to ensure that a person applied for help voluntarily. The only alternative to a voluntary arrangement would be a compulsory one, and there are no powers of compulsion to compel families to go away or to apply for assistance. The Government do not possess such powers of compulsion.

The second is whether such people would be subject to any threat or inducement. Does this mean threat or inducement by Government, or by someone other than Government? I do not think the Government have any power to threaten people. We have no power to compel people to be repatriated, we have no power to threaten anybody nor have we power to induce them to do anything. If we were to take such power, it would be contrary to the Government policy which I have announced and we would certainly be challenged about the matter in Parliament. It would not be left to a voluntary organisation to challenge the Government about whether they had acted improperly.

If there were any threat or inducement from private sources, again it would not be for a voluntary organisation that was giving aid to work the matter out. In those cases any threats could only be illegal and should be reported to the police who would take action under the criminal law. On the question of private inducements given to people to go home, there might be cases where this would be a good thing. This might involve somebody in the home country saying "If you come home we will help you set up a business when you get here." I do not think the Amendment could be operated by a voluntary body.

I see the purpose and spirit behind the Amendment. I believe that it is designed for a purpose which we have in common, namely that the facilities of the Clause should be made available to those who want to go home on the form of assistance from funds made available by the British taxpayer.

Mr. Clinton Davis

The Home Secretary spoke about the possibility of invoking the criminal law to deal with the possibility of harrassment. Would he elaborate on that? Is there any aspect of the criminal law which would cover that matter?

Mr. Maudling

I should think that there is a great deal. There is the general law against menacing people. The race relations laws passed by the previous Government make it an offence to do things of that kind. I think that the individual is protected by the criminal law against threats. He would not be protected against threats by a voluntary organisation set up to help people to go home. The Amendment is misguided and would not help those who are trying to help immigrants who want to go home. It would make their task impossible.

I hope that the House will accept the Clause as it is. I believe that it will serve a useful purpose. If people who have not settled and will not settle cannot go home they will be unhappy, and their unhappiness will spread to others. If they want but cannot afford to go home, then we should help them. If we have a sensible organisation which will pick out the deserving cases, it will be a real contribution to the happiness of many people. If we do not have the Clause we shall not be able to do that. Therefore, I hope that the House will accept the Clause as it is.

Mr. Callaghan

I shall not keep the House long. We cannot respond to the way that the Home Secretary has put his case, desirable though it is. He reminds me of Ernie Bevin in some ways—not in all—who, when shown a resolution, used to say, "It don't matter what it says; it is who says it".

The Home Secretary's difficulty is that, whilst he seems to be putting forward a perfectly reasonable proposition, which has been accepted by all my hon. Friends, the shadow behind him is responsible for the fear which many people have about this matter.

The debate has been worth while. We feel that although the Clause is limited to non-patrials—perhaps I might make this point as the Home Secretary did not—we can remove, as the statute will stand, any fear that those who are patrial—that will be the great majority of people already in this country—can be sent or be induced to go home and that funds can be spent on that purpose. In the interests of good race relations, it is important that I should stress that the ambit and extent of the Clause applies only to non-patrials. Nevertheless, our fear arises from the attitude which has characterised some of the support for the Clause. That is why we want the Amendment, although the Home Secretary may feel that it is deficient in some ways.

If the right hon. Gentleman can make an arrangement with the International Council for Social Services, or some other reputable independent body of that kind, I shall welcome it, although any voluntary arrangement of that kind can be subtracted by a different Administration.

I suggest that—I do not think that the Home Secretary will differ from me on this point—reflecting on the great tides of history and seeing how Governments have driven from or, indeed, kept people in a particular country against their will—for example, the position of the Jews in the U.S.S.R. or the position on the borders of Pakistan and India today—it is undesirable to give power to any Govern- ment to try to influence the movement of people.

We have legitimate fears about the way that this kind of power could be misused if it got into the wrong hands. Therefore, I ask my hon. Friends, and anyone else who feels inclined to join us, to register that view in the Division Lobbies. We put the Government, or any succeeding Government, on warning that any attempt to misuse this power will be met by strong opposition not only in this House, but by the good sense and humanity of the ordinary men and women of this country who would not want to see persecution, intimidation or harassment of anybody living here. For this reason we shall vote for the Amendment.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House proceeded to a Division, and Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER having directed that the doors be locked-

Sir Elwyn Jones(seated and covered) (West Ham, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Owing to physical impediment at the entrance to the Chamber a substantial number of hon. Members were unable to record their votes in the Division which is now in progress. Is that a circumstance which requires the retaking of the votes?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

So far as the Chair is aware, adequate and correct time was allowed for those who wanted to do so to get through to the Division Lobby. The Chair was carefully watching the door in easiest view, and it is bound to express the view at this stage that there were those who were not unduly hurried who perhaps had misjudged the time. That is all that the Chair knows so far.

Sir Elwyn Jones

If I may continue that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Quite a number of hon. Members were seeking to enter the Chamber to proceed to the Division Lobby. There was physical obstruction, not, of course, of a deliberate character but merely occasioned by the bottleneck of the narrow entrance. I understand that one of your predecessors ruled that in those circumstances it was proper for the vote to be retaken.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The Chair was not aware of any such circumstance, but I think the Chair is aware that at this time on this day of the week there is occasionally some difficulty.

Mr. Frederick Willey (seated and covered)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My impression was that at least a dozen Members were held on their way to the Division Lobby. It took me an exceptional time to get through.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It is very difficult for the Chair to hear the right hon. Gentleman, because of some of the other comments that are being made simultaneously. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would be good enough to repeat what he has just said.

Mr. Willey (seated and covered)

I was confirming the impression given by my

right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones) that there were exceptional difficulties in getting through to the Lobby. My estimate is that at least a dozen Members faced the predicament that I did.

You spoke about supplementary noises, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As I understand those noises, they are confirming what I am saying to you.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The Chair has had the advantage of being better able to hear without some other noises on this occasion. The Chair is never averse to recalling a Division and, if is the wish of the House, that is what I propose to do.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 220, Noes 241.

Division No. 382.] AYES [6.35 p.m.
Albu, Austen Dempsey, James Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Doig, Peter Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Allen, Scholefield Dormand, J. D. Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Ashley, Jack Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Ashton, Joe Driberg, Tom Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, w.)
Atkinson, Norman Duffy, A. E. P. Kaufman, Gerald
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Dunnett, Jack Kerr, Russell
Barnes, Michael Edelman, Maurice Kinnock, Neil
Barnett, Joel Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lambie, David
Beaney, Alan Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Lamond, James
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Ellis, Tom Latham, Arthur
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) English, Michael Lawson, George
Bidwell, Sydney Evans, Fred Leadbitter, Ted
Bishop, E. S. Faulds, Andrew Leonard, Dick
Blenkinsop, Arthur Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Lestor, Miss Joan
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Booth, Albert Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lipton, Marcus
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Foley, Maurice Loughlin, Charles
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Foot, Michael Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Buchan, Norman Ford, Ben McBride, Neil
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Forrester, John McCartney, Hugh
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Fraser, John (Norwood) McElhone, Frank
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Freeson, Reginald McGuire, Michael
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Garrett, W. E. Mackenzie, Gregor
Cant, R. B. Gilbert, Dr. John Mackie, John
Carmichael, Neil Ginsburg, David Mackintosh, John P.
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Golding, John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Gourlay, Harry McNamara, J. Kevin
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Grant, George (Morpeth) Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Cohen, Stanley Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfield, E.)
Concannon, J. D. Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Marks, Kenneth
Conlan, Bernard Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Marsden, F.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Hardy, Peter Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Crawshaw, Richard Harper, Joseph Mayhew, Christopher
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Dalyell, Tarn Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mendelson, John
Davidson, Arthur Hefter, Eric S. Mikardo, Ian
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Horam, John Millan, Bruce
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Milne, Edward (Blyth)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Huckfield, Leslie Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Deakins, Eric Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Delargy, H. J. Hughes, Roy (Newport) Moyle, Roland
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Janner, Greville Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Murray, Ronald King Roderick, Cacrwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ogden, Eric Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
O'Malley, Brian Roper, John Tomney, Frank
Oram, Bert Rose, Paul B. Torney, Tom
Orbach, Maurice Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Urwin, T. W.
Orme, Stanley Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Varley, Eric G.
Oswald, Thomas Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Wainwright, Edwin
Paget, R. T. Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Palmer, Arthur Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton. N. E.) Wallace, George
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Watkins, David
Pardoe, John Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Weitzman, David
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Silverman, Julius Wellbeloved, James
Pavitt, Laurie Skinner, Dennis Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Peart, Rt. Hon. Fred Small, William White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Pendry, Tom Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Whitehead, Phillip
Pentland, Norman Spearing, Nigel Whitlock, William
Perry, Ernest G, Spriggs, Leslie Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Staltard, A. W. Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Prescott, John Steel, David Williams, Mrs, Shirley (Hitchin)
Price, William (Rugby) Stoddart, David (Swindon) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Probert, Arthur Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Rankin, John Strang, Gavin Woof, Robert
Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Rees, Mcrlyn (Leeds, S.) Summerskril, Hn. Dr. Shirley TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Swain, Thomas Mr. James Dunn and
Roberts, R t. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon) Taverne, Dick Mr. Ernest Armstrong.
Robertson, John (Paisley) Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff. W.)
Adley, Robert Drayson, G. B. Iremonger, T. L.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) James, David
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Eyre, Reginald Jessel, Toby
Astor, John Farr, John Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Awdry, Daniel Fell, Anthony Jopling, Michael
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Kimball, Marcus
Batsford, Brian Fidler, Michael King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Bell, Ronald Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Kinsey, J. R.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Knox, David
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Fookes, Miss Janet Lane, David
Biffen, John Fortescue, Tim Langford-Holt, Sir John
Biggs-Davison, John Fowler, Norman Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Blaker, Peter Fox, Marcus Le Marchant, Spencer
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'ford & Stone) Longden, Gilbert
Body, Richard Calbraith, Hn. T. G. Loveridge, John
Boscawen, Robert Gardner, Edward Luce, R. N.
Bossom, Sir Clive Gibson-Watt, David MacArthur, Ian
Bowden, Andrew Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) McCrindle, R. A.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) McLaren, Martin
Braine, Bernard Glyn, Dr. Alan Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Bray, Ronald Goodhart, Philip McMaster, Stanley
Brinton, Sir Tatton Goodhew, Victor McNair-Wilson, Michael
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gorst, John Maddan, Martin
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Gower, Raymond Madel, David
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Gray, Hamih Maginnis, John E.
Bryan, Paul Green, Alan Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Grylls, Michael Marten, Neil
Buck, Antony Gummer, Selwyn Maude, Angus
Bullus, Sir Eric Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray&Naim) Hall, John (Wycombe) Mawby, Ray
Carlisle, Mark Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) MaxweM-Hyslop, R. J.
Channon, Paul Hannam, John (Exeter) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Chapman, Sydney Harrison, Brian ((Maldon) Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Chichester-Clark, R. Haselhurst, Alan Moate, Roger
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Havers, Michael Molyneaux, James
Clegg, Walter Hawkins, Paul Money, Ernie
Cooke, Robert Hay, John Monks, Mrs. Connie
Coombs, Derek Heseltine, Michael Montgomery, Fergus
Cooper, A. E. Hicks, Robert More, Jasper
Cordie, John Hiley, Josepn Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Cormack, Patrick Holland, Philip Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Costain, A. P. Holt, Miss Mary Mudd, David
Critchiey, Julian Hordern, Peter Murton, Oscar
Crouch, David Hornby, Richard Neave, Airey
Curran, Charles Hornsby-Smith. Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Howell, David (Guildford) Normanton, Tom
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Nott, John
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Hunt, John Onslow, Cranley
Dixon, Piers Hutchison, Michael Clark Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Russell, Sir Ronald Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Osborn, John Scott, Nicholas Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Sharpies, Richard Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Trew, Peter
Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Shelton, William (Clapham) Tugendhat, Christopher
Percival, Ian Simeons, Charles Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Pike, Miss Mervyn Sinclair, Sir George Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Pink, R. Bonner Skeet, T. H. H. Waddington, David
Pounder, Rafton Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Soref, Harold Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Price, David (Eastleigh) Speed, Keith Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Spence, John Ward, Dame Irene
Proudfoot, Wilfred Sproat, Iain Warren, Kenneth
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stainton, Keith Wells, John (Maidstone)
Quennell, Miss J. M. Stanbrook, Ivor White, Roger (Gravesend)
Raison, Timothy Stewart-Smith, D. G.(Belper) Wiggin, Jerry
Redmond, Robert Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Wilkinson, John
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Rees, Peter (Dover) Stokes, John Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Sutcliffe, John Woodnutt, Mark
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Tapsell, Peter Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Ridsdale, Julian Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Younger, Hn. George
Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N. W.) Mr. Keith Speed and
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Tebbit, Norman Mr. Tim Fortescue
Rost, Peter Temple, John M.
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