§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams (Hitchin)
I beg to move,That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control on Entry (H.C., 1971–72, No. 509), a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd October, 1972, in the last Session of Parliament, be disapproved.There is a second Motion on the Order Paper:That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control after Entry (H.C., 1971–72, No. 510), a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd October, 1972, in the last Session of Parliament, be disapproved.I trust that there will be no objection to the two Motions being debated together.
This is not a satisfactory way of dealing with rules of such import. We are able to have this debate only because of a long argument during the passage of the Immigration Bill through the House when it was conceded that these rules would be subject to the negative Resolution procedure. Had that not been conceded we would have been able to look only at the rules as laid.
As I understand it, if the House decides not to accept the rules the Home Secretary will take them back, re-draft them and submit the re-drafted rules to the House within 40 days. The Opposition's case is that in places the rules are so offensive to natural justice, to decent human treatment, and to the long tradition of links between this country and the Commonwealth, that the Home Secretary should withdraw them and re-draft at least some of them—and because I like to be as constructive as I can I shall try to indicate to the Home Secretary which rules the Opposition feel should be re-drafted.
The Opposition's view—and I hope that it will commend itself to many hon. Gentlemen on the Government benches—is that if the House decides that the rules should be amended, before they are laid again the Home Secretary should seek the advice and help of the Select Committee on Immigration and Race Relations, and that its request to look at these rules should be acceded to because of the excellent work that it has done in an extremely difficult situation.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
Is not the procedure that if the House decides not to approve the rules they remain in force unchanged, but under the Act of the Minister has a duty to lay proposals for change within 40 days?
§ Mrs. Williams
That is my understanding of the situation, but I am stressing that within the 40-day period the Home Secretary should consult the Select Committee as well as others whom he has seen fit to consult.
This is a strange vehicle by which to make a fundamental change in the whole basis of British immigration law. Let us be quite clear about this. These rules, to a greater extent than the statute upon which they are based, introduce fundamental changes into our immigration law. In Committee my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and a number of my hon. Friends tried to discover the Government's intentions with regard to the regulations to be made in the light of the sections and article of the Treaty of Rome which lay down rules for the free movement of labour between the European Community and this country as a member of the Community. Time and again my right hon. Friend and his colleagues were told that the Government could not finalise the issue because negotiations were still going on. We now find that, under a strange parliamentary procedure, we are considering fundamental changes in the future position of this country vis-à-vis Commonwealth citizens, EEC nationals, and aliens who belong to neither group.
The Government could have been—indeed, they would have averted a lot of trouble if they had been—very much more helpful in Committee. They knew that they were negotiating our entry into the EEC. They knew that one condition of that entry was the free movement of labour. One is bound to ask whether the Government had not thought about the consequences of entry in terms of immigration policy, and why they were not able to tell the Committee in much more detail than they did what their intentions were. If they had done so the House would probably not now be facing a crisis with regard to its relationship with citizens of both the old and the new Commonwealth.
1345 The Government's recommendations have been wheeled in to the considerable amazement of many hon. Gentlemen opposite. Many of them are surprised to discover that, under the rules, EEC nationals are treated better than Commonwealth citizens. Hon. Gentlemen opposite who are surprised at this should have concluded that it was inevitable following the passage of the Immigration Act and our entry into the EEC.
I have a great deal of sympathy for the early day Motion that has been tabled by a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I have one reservation about it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are right to recall the debt which this country owes to Australia, Canada and New Zealand, but many of us on this side of the House and, I have no doubt, on the benches opposite, would wish to associate that with the debt that we owe to many members of the new Commonwealth who helped us in two world wars. During my recent holiday in France I recall seeing a notice which said "Imperial War Graves Commission: Indian Cemetery". We ought to remember that many members of the new as well as of the old Commonwealth laid down their lives when this country was in trouble.
I could accede to some of the recommendations made in the campaign being run by the Daily Express, but others I find rather offensive. Certainly the cartoon in the Daily Express was extremely offensive, and not one which the Opposition could, for a moment, support.
The Government have tried to get round the problem of Commonwealth entry and of the distinction between EEC nationals and Commonwealth citizens by the introduction of the principle of patriality. That is a nasty word for a nasty concept, because patriality is divisive within the Commonwealth. The old Australians—the people who emigrated to Australia two or three generations ago and who are in many ways closest to the habits and traditions of this country—possibly find it more offensive that patriality is conceded to first-generation Australians than that patriality was invented at all.
§ Mrs. Williams
We did not. It was invented by the Lord Chancellor in another place.
In Canada, the concept of patriality is divisive in a disturbing way. The Canadian Government have repeatedly attempted to unite their citizens of British and French descent, but by introducing the concept of patriality we distinguish between them. A Canadian of French descent has none of the rights of patriality that are enjoyed by a Canadian whose father was born in the United Kingdom. It does not help the Commonwealth to divide the citizens of one of its members in this way.
I believe that the problem remains unresolved by the introduction of the patriality concept, and I suggest to the Government that whatever happens to these rules tonight they should seriously consider taking a fresh look at the whole question of citizenship of this country and immigration into it. What the Opposition have repeatedy called for, namely, consideration by the Commonwealth, in conjunction with the United Kingdom Government, of a policy of citizenship and a single immigration rule, might put an end to many of the distinctions with which we have to live as a consequence of our imperial heritage.
If I may say so without elaborating on it, for reasons that will be clear to the House, the situation with regard to United Kingdom citizens, United Kingdom citizens without the right of entry—such as Uganda citizens in the past—British-protected persons, Commonwealth citizens with the right of abode, Commonwealth citizens with patriality, Commonwealth citizens without patriality, and so on, is in such a mess that virtually no Member—and I include myself—can begin to understand what is allowed and what is no longer allowed.
This is a bad law and a bad situation for our citizens and Commonwealth citizens. That also applies to Irish citizens. We urge the Government seriously to re-examine all the citizenship and immigration provisions with a view to framing a single and simple law of citizenship, in conjunction with the members of the Commonwealth, so that as far as possible we can put forward a policy which is broadly acceptable to them.
1347 I come to the basis of comparison. I deal first with the position of nationals of the EEC. The House will consider me dishonest if I do not say that I have always believed in the maximum free movement of people possible. I believe that that should apply to Commonwealth citizens and Europeans. When Ernest Bevin was the Labour Party's Foreign Secretary after the war he said that one of the objectives which he would most like to achieve—he did not live to achieve it—was the removal of borders and passports throughout the world. The House might say that that is an impossible ideal. Nonetheless, it is not a bad ideal towards which to strive. We do not want more restrictions between nations; we want fewer restrictions. I am not saying that I am opposed to the concept of easier movement of peoples between one country and another.
Articles 48 and 49 of the Treaty of Rome provide for the free movement of labour. That entails, as we know, that EEC nationals can come to this country for six months seeking work, and after that time they can stay—if they can get work—for four years, subject effectively to no conditions except that they do not become a burden upon the State's public moneys. They have the right to bring in their dependants without let or hindrance—children under 21 years, parents and grandparents. They are not tied to any employer or job. After succeeding in holding a job for four years they can seek the removal of restrictions on future residence and seek permanent residence in this country.
My first question, which is strictly technical, is whether the Government have satisfied the Community's treaty in the way in which they have presented the question of free movement of labour to the House. My right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East was assured during the passage of the Immigration Act that there would be full discussion on this matter at a later stage. If the Opposition had not put down a motion tonight—or possibly if some hon. Members opposite had not signed an early day Motion—I am not sure that that pledge would have been carried out. That is an unsatisfactory position for Parliament. When France attempted to 1348 introduce the free movement of labour by a circular to its immigration officials—that is, in effect, what these statements are—the Community found it unsatisfactory and later France was obliged to put a decree in the Journal Officiel of this year.
Secondly, are the Government satisfied that this procedure—first, technically in terms of the Community but, secondly, much more widely in terms of the rights of this House—is the proper way to introduce such a major change? A more important question for many hon. Members is that if the Government find that the free movement of labour—which I support in principle—has an unfortunate or unfavourable effect on employment in this country, which is already in a fairly serious state, will they consider the possibility of asking for the exemptions which are open to them?
The first exemption is provided under Regulation 1615/68, where temporary revocation of certain free movement provisions is allowed in a situation in which, to use the rather curious language of the Community,There are regional disturbances in the labour market.If the Government were to satisfy themselves, or be pressed by the Opposition to satisfy themselves—which seems to be more likely—that there was such an impact on unemployment in the regions, would they seek the implementation of the provisions in that regulation?
The second exemption is provided by the Joint Declaration on Free Movement of Workers of 25th January, 1972. At the end of that declaration there is reference to,Certain difficulties for the social situation in one or more Member States.That is a somewhat obscure phrase. I should have thought that serious unemployment was a social difficulty, and that under the Treaty of Rome the Government would be allowed to bring the matter before the Community's institutions. It would be helpful if the Government could give an assurance tonight that they will do that if there is any unfavourable effect on unemployment as a result of the free movement of labour.
I now turn to the position of the Commonwealth. As I have previously mentioned, under the 1971 Act and under 1349 the Statement of Rules there are no fewer than five different kinds of Commonwealth citizen. They fit into a sort of order of hierarchy which might be best described by that famous passage from the Victorian hymn, which says:The rich man in his castle,The poor man at the gate,He gave to each his station,And ordered their estate.That is what the Government have done. They have created five kinds of Commonwealth and United Kingdom citizen. The rich man in his castle is the United Kingdom citizen with a right of abode in the United Kingdom. [Interruption.] On these terms, that is absolutely right. That person has every right on his side. Under these terms he gets the most favourable treatment of all.
Secondly, there is the Commonwealth citizen who has no right of abode. The Ugandan Asians are an example. They are Commonwealth citizens, holding United Kingdom passports, who have no right of abode. There are still many United Kingdom citizens in the world with no right of abode in this country. Most of us are conscious of what that presents to us in terms of a dilemma which as yet is unsolved.
The third group are Commonwealth citizens holding certificates of patriality, and the fourth group are Commonwealth citizens who held residence when the Act was passed. Under the Act and the rules of Commonwealth citizenship they had the right of abode when the Act was passed. They are to be treated no worse than they were treated before the Act. Finally, at the bottom, there are Commonwealth citizens who are not patrial and who are not here. They are the people who will be less well treated under the rules.
These people, who are all Commonwealth citizens—patrial, non-patrial and the rest—will require some sort of papers to get into this country. They will require a certificate of patriality, an entry certificate, or a work permit under Rule 11. Under Rule 4, rather strangely, the proof of the right of abode in Britain is a certificate of patriality, but under Rule 49 the proof of right of abode is that a person was in Britain before the Act was passed.
I ask the Secretary of State—this is crucial, as the two rules say quite dif- 1350 ferent things—to confirm and assure us, in order to put at rest the fears of Commonwealth citizens, that Rule 49 overrides Rule 4. That is not clear from the rules. Commonwealth citizens therefore depend upon the certificate of patriality, an entry certificate, or a work permit. The House must understand that the right of entry of a Commonwealth citizen, old or new, will depend, on his arrival at a port of entry, upon whether he holds a certificate of patriality, an entry certificate, or a work permit.
The experience of many of my hon. Friends is that in many parts of the Commonwealth it is extremely difficult to achieve prompt and efficient handling of requests for certificates of patriality, work permits or entry certificates. Most Members will recognise the difficulty. If the Home Secretary is to put the entire weight on having those pieces of paper, applications must be dealt with promptly and efficiently, and they must be given to people entitled to them as quickly as possible, because this is the source of a great deal of ill feeling in the old and new Commonwealth.
I come to three distinctions which are to be made in future and which I believe are unnecessary in terms of the rights, after entry, of Commonwealth citizens and EEC nationals. I repeat "after entry" because we recognise that the Government have power to restrict the entry of Commonwealth citizens to the numbers which they feel this country can absorb.
First, I deal with the question of dependants. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East pointed out time and again during the passage of the Immigration Bill in 1971, under the new rules there is no statutory right for the dependants of Australians, Canadians, Indians or other Commonwealth citizens to come to this country. It has been replaced by the weak vessel of Rule 37, which provides that citizens of the old or new Commonwealth who are settled here are entitled, under very strong restrictions, to bring in their dependants. That is much less satisfactory than a statutory right.
Therefore, I ask the Home Secretary for an assurance that no change will be made in Rule 37 without a full debate taking place in the House. Rule 37 is crucial. It is all we have to replace the 1351 statutory right which has disappeared and about which Commonwealth citizens feel very strongly.
Consider what the situation will be for citizens, in this country, of both the old and new Commonwealth. They will be able to bring in their dependants—very restricted groups of dependants—only if they can satisfy the authorities that they are willing to support and accommodate them without recourse to public funds. Even if they can do that, they must go further. In the case of children they must show either that both parents are in this country or that the only parent in this country is the parent with full care and maintenance responsibility for them. There is no question of what is in the best interests of the child if the parents live in different countries. The only question is who is responsible for maintaining the child, with the onus of proof against the Commonwealth citizen.
A Commonwealth citizen cannot bring in his parents unless they are over 65 years of age and are wholly dependent on him. I know of an Australian family who want their mother to join them. She is under 65 years of age. Under the rule she will not be able to join them unless they can show that she is wholly dependent on them. Dependent relatives who may be very distressed can join their relations in this country only if they can show that they are wholly dependent upon them and that they would be living at a distressed standard of living in their country if they did not. Yet nothing like such stringent conditions are applied to the grandparents and parents of EEC nationals.
We are talking about a very small number of Commonwealth citizens who come here for permanent settlement—about 4,000 or 5,000 a year, of whom about 500 are Australians, 200 are Canadians, 100 are New Zealanders and 1,000 are Indians. Is it essential to make the dependants distinction so sharp between EEC nationals and Commonwealth citizens for the sake of a few thousand people?
Next, there is a sharp distinction in the rules on the basis of citizenship. For many years Governments in this country have taken powers to restrict the entry of Commonwealth citizens for permanent settlement, but they have always recog- 1352 nised that a central feature of the Commonwealth is that if a person is accepted here for permanent settlement he has an automatic right to become a citizen of this country if, after five years, he satisfies all the rules and regulations attached to his entry. That right is withheld only when danger to national security might arise.
That automatic right disappears under the statements. It is replaced by a wholly discretionary right to become a citizen after five years of settlement in this country with full satisfaction of all the conditions. Yet after five years an EEC person can seek the removal of all time limits and, according to Rule 40, he or she will be permitted to do so unless there are objections.
I draw attention to this distinction. Under Rule 4 a Commonwealth citizen will be allowed to become a British citizen after five years only at the discretion of the Home Secretary. Under Rule 40 that time condition will be removed in the case of EEC nationals unless there are objections. In other words, there is a negative procedure for EEC nationals and a positive procedure for Commonwealth citizens. I do not understand why we cannot provide the negative procedure in both cases. The right of citizenship should be maintained after five years unless there are objections in either case. This distinction is wholly unnecessary, and very disappointing to the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth citizens will be allowed to settle for five years only if they have a work permit which ties them to an individual employer and a specific job. Their opportunity to remain here will literally depend on the good reports of that employer. I do not necessarily expect to carry Members opposite with me, but I hope that I shall carry my hon. Friends with me when I say that this gives employers a wholly disproportionate power which is totally unacceptable. It should not be right for an employer to have this life-and-death power over a Commonwealth citizen.
I come to the third set of distinctions which concerns the civil liberties of Commonwealth citizens. This is not now a matter of comparison between the EEC and the Commonwealth. It is something which the House, in its wisdom, should consider very carefully. On 8th March, 1353 1971, my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) said that:one cannot separate off the civil liberties of immigrants from those of the rest of the community."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th March, 1971; Vol. 813, c. 153.]Nor is it necessary to do so. But the statements do it.
By Rules 43, 55 and 56 we have taken into English law the wholly unacceptable concept of deporting innocent people, namely, the family of somebody who has given cause for deportation. Under Rules 55 and 56, even if a woman can show that she is able to maintain herself and her children she can be deported against her will if the head of the household is deported. It is time that the House woke up to the fact that men and women increasingly expect to be treated equally, and that women should not be deported simply because their husbands have committed an offence. It is not suggested that husbands should be deported if their wives have committed offences.
Under the Rules there is no appeal against the condition that the arrival or entry of somebody is notconducive to the public good.There is no appeal against refusal of leave to entry and no appeal to remain in this country. Under Rule 69(b) of Control on Entry the immigration officer on his own can decide to refuse leave to enter on the ground that the entry of the person concerned is not conducive to the public good—and such a person may not then appeal.
This is serious, but what it further involves is that those who do not come with the proper papers may not appeal in this country; they may appeal only if they go home. Let us consider for just one moment what that rule means in practice. In the last fortnight it has meant that certain refugee families from Uganda have been refused leave to enter and sent back to Uganda—and presumably it is suggested that they appeal from there. What nonsense can we enter into when we do not look very carefully at these rules?
Surely the House can agree, on straight civil liberties grounds, that anyone who holds a United Kingdom passport or who is a Commonwealth citizen should at 1354 least be allowed to stay on bail in this country in order to appeal, and that arrangements should be made to enable that to be done. If there is doubt that he will jump bail, keep him in detention, but do not let us send him back 10,000 or 6,000 miles before he can appeal.
Under Rule 38, if a Commonwealth citizen arrives in this country without his entry certificate he is refused leave to enter, and cannot appeal in England. But if a foreign non-visa national appears in this country without a Home Office letter he may be admitted for a short stay and allowed to appeal.
I am not sure that the House realises what this rule means. It means that if a forgetful Australian turns up without an entry certificate he will be sent back to Australia. If a forgetful Japanese turns up without his entry certificate he will be allowed to appeal in this country. If a forgetful Nigerian turns up without his entry certificate he will have to go back to Nigeria to appeal. If a forgetful South African turns up in the same circumstances he can stay here and appeal. There begin to be great advantages in being chucked out of the Commonwealth, and this seems to be one of them. I ask the House to consider what the effect would be on an Australian on seeing that a Japanese was allowed to appeal in Britain while he had to go back 12,000 miles before being allowed to appeal.
I turn to one last group of cases because, again, it is not clear from the rules how they are to be dealt with. There are many references in the rules to what are called cases of a political nature. There are three sorts of cases—national security cases, cases where there might be a breakdown of diplomatic relations between Britain and some other Power, and, finally, these mysterious cases of a political nature. It is not clear from the rules whether or not someone who is refused entry or is refused the right to extend entry, on grounds of a political nature, is entitled to appeal.
In Committee on the Immigration Bill the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), a former Home Secretary, referred to a right of appeal through an advisory board—not the courts—for those excluded on grounds of national security. He did not make clear what happened in the case of those excluded on a political 1355 basis, but I believe that the House would be right to try to find out what is in the Home Secretary's mind about this very sensitive group of cases.
Because of our long imperial heritage and because, perhaps, of the burden of history, our citizenship and immigration laws are now in an almost totally inextricable mess. It is high time we began to sort this mess out—began to get clear, obvious and easily enforceable rules. We on these benches say that those rules should not make distinctions between people on grounds of whether they belong to the old or to the new Commonwealth, but because that is necessarily a long-term solution, in the short term I ask the Government—on the ground of the totally unnecessary distinction between Commonwealth and EEC nationals introduced after entry and on the ground of rules which are profoundly offensive to civil liberties and to civil rights—to take these statements back, redraft and change these most offensive provisions, and bring them back to the House for its further consideration.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Robert Carr)
The hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) has asked very many questions. Some of them I will try to deal with, and later my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will also seek to deal with some of them. But I want to take up at once a number of the points that she put.
The hon. Lady made much both at the beginning and at the end of her speech about the urgent need for a basic review of our nationality law, and this is a point which has also been raised by her right hon. Friend. I certainly take note of that point, but it is not within our terms of reference tonight. I am sure that she realises, and I believe that she so indicated at the close of her remarks, this will be a profound, complicated and not at all easy operation, and in any case it could not affect the form that these rules should take, though we should take them into our consideration in future. I cannot therefore enter into detailed debate on that aspect tonight.
I should like to deal with one or two questions put by the hon. Lady about the 1356 European Economic Community. We are certainly satisfied, and the Community itself is satisfied, that in presenting these rules we have taken proper account of the Community's free movement of labour requirements. I can assure the hon. Lady of that. I can also assure her that the British Government will invoke the provisions in the Community treaties and regulations and clauses about the social difficulties she mentioned. If the free movement of labour were to result in, to use the Community's term, disturbance of our labour markets in this country, this Government would make full use of all those provisions were the need to arise.
I assure the hon. Lady at once that Rule 37, about dependants, will not be altered, that it will be implemented in full, and that it will certainly never be altered without reference to Parliament. I repeat: Rule 37 will be adhered to in full, will not be altered, and will never be altered without our coming back to Parliament. I can give the hon. Lady that assurance.
It is right, too, that the hon. Lady and the House should bear in mind that the rules about dependants generally, and indeed many of the other rules she mentioned, show no material change as they are at present compared with what she and her colleagues had when in power. It seems to me that the trend of many of her questions implied a very strong desire to relax our controls. I am sure that many of us as individuals would wish to do this, but most of us, certainly the Government, and I am sure the overwhelming majority of my right hon. and hon. Friends, believe that, however much we might wish to do this as individuals, our duty to the country pushes us in the opposite direction. The hon. Lady does not make a point which would commend itself to the overwhelming majority of our people if she suggests that these rules should be relaxed.
§ Mr. Carr
The hon. Lady is exaggerating when she takes some of these rules and quotes the maximum stringency which we can apply. If she is realistic about the pressures on this country to take immigrants from various parts of the world and the devices which the 1357 Minority—only the minority, thank goodness, but still a substantial minority—try to use to overcome the obstacles which, alas, we feel we must put in their way, she must admit that the sort of powers that we have in these rules are necessary.
Of course, we do not always have to use those powers to the maximum. I believe that we have always used them with reasonable discretion and compassion, and I assure the House that we shall continue to do so. But that these powers are necessary to resist some of those pressures I have no doubt, and I would be failing in my duty if I advised the House that they should be relaxed.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams
I will not interrupt the right hon. Gentleman again, but may I ask him this? His reference is clearly to Commonwealth citizens, since, obviously, the Government have opened the door vis-à-vis Europe. In view of the fact that the Government have total control over work permits, why does the right hon. Gentleman feel that an equivalence of treatment of dependants would create the pressures that he is talking about?
§ Mr. Carr
It is largely a matter of experience that we believe this to be the case. We have not yet had the experience of membership of the European Community. But one thing that anybody realistically believes is that the pressure of inward movement from other countries in the Community is almost certain to be fractional compared with the pressure of inward movement from the rest of the world and, in particular, from large parts of the Commonwealth. This is one of the facts of life, and if any Government disregarded that fact of life they would be guilty of gross irresponsibility to the wishes and interests of the British people.
These new immigration rules do two things. Their first and main purpose is to implement the Immigration Act of 1971. They are, in fact, a working document which lays down how the principles and policies incorporated in that Act are to be implemented in practice. Many of the points which the hon. Lady has raised today are the very points which were in dispute and were debated during the passage of that Act. I cannot deny that they are in dispute now, but, equally, we are still convinced that we are right in doing what we are doing, in the interests of the people of this country.
1358 The second purpose of these rules is to make changes in our immigration practice consequential on our membership of the European Economic Community. When this Government were returned to office in 1970 we were pledged to introduce a much tighter control of permanent immigration into this country of the citizens of other countries. We made that pledge in recognition of the widely-felt need—I think that that is not too strong a word to use—arising from the fact that we are an overcrowded island and that we are not short of labour, least of all unskilled labour.
We said that we would implement this pledge by putting together the separate system which had hitherto applied to immigration, of aliens and Commonwealth citizens, into a single system of control applying to all immigration. We felt that this would be not only more effective but more easily understood, and in the end a fairer basis of control. That was the policy that we advocated at the General Election, that is the policy which Parliament endorsed in passing the 1971 Act, and that is the policy which these rules now implement in practice, springing from that endorsement—
§ Mr. Carr
I am glad to have the right hon. Gentleman's agreement that we are implementing exactly what we said we would do and what I am sure the majority of the country wished us to do and still wish us to do.
What I now want to do is explain to the House the principal new features in these rules compared with our previous practice—
§ Mr. Callaghan rose—
§ Mr. Carr
If the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me, play started late.
The most important and the most obvious change, of course, is that in future all immigrants coming to this country for employment will need a work permit a particular job with a particular employer. These permits will not be issued if suitable resident labour is available or if the wages and conditions offered by the employer are less favourable than those obtaining in his area for similar work. Morever, they will be issued in the first place for a maximum period 1359 of 12 months, although, once here, the immigrant worker will be able to apply for further 12 months' extensions and also be free to change his job, subject to the permission of the Department of Employment.
The immigrant worker will be able to bring his dependent family with him for so long as he is permitted to remain. If he stays for more than five years in all, he will then be able to apply for registration as a United Kingdom citizen if he comes from the Commonwealth or for naturalisation if he is an alien.
The objective which the Government believe that they will be able to achieve by this new procedure is the maintenance of the strictest possible control over the number of people who come here for employment, and the ability to do so in a much more flexible way than at present, since we shall no longer have to balance to the same extent as hitherto the need for immigrant labour to meet a particular shortage of labour in the country against the longer-term disadvantage of a permanent increase in our population resulting from an automatic right to settle here permanently.
The total number of permits issued each year will be kept under rigorous scrutiny, but there will be no fixed numerical limit on the issue of permits to Commonwealth citizens or foreign nationals except in seasonal employment in the hotel and catering industry and also except for special allocations for Malta and the dependent territories.
The Secretary of State for Employment will, in the near future, place a detailed statement of these revised arrangements in the Library, but I think that I have said enough to explain their main principle and purpose and to make it clear to the House that we are acting on the underlying beliefs that in this country we ought in future to be able to maintain our economy without steadily increasing numbers of immigrant unskilled labour brought in from abroad, and also in the belief that our population is already uncomfortably high.
While this work permit system will be the basic system on which we operate in future, there are four important exceptions to which I must now refer. The House will be well aware that the first 1360 is the nationals of European Community countries. They will be free to come here to work and live, as we shall be free to go there. As has been long and widely understood, the concept of the Community as a free travel and free work area is fundamental to its whole idea and is certainly not negotiable. Nobody knows that better than the Labour Party.
Judging by experience in the existing six countries of the Community, however, the movement of labour into and out of any one country is not likely to be very large and is on the whole showing signs of decline.
§ Mr. Carr
Judging by experience, it is not likely to be very large. But, as I have already made clear, if it were to prove much larger than was expected, and if it were to be in a unilateral direction—this was the question that the hon. Lady asked me—I repeat the assurance that I have already given, that the Government would not hesitate to use the machinery available under the Community rules and under the understandings to take action to correct, and protect ourselves from, such imbalance as would be caused.
The second exception to the work permit rule is that, of course, we shall continue to allow entry without work permits to people in certain specialist occupations, such as doctors, dentists, ministers of religion and those coming for employment from an overseas Government or by international organisations.
But there remain two further big exceptions of great importance to the Commonwealth. The first is that all Commonwealth citizens who have a mother or father born in this country will be free to come and go and to work and to settle here as they please without any restriction. The hon. Lady seemed to think that this was a very nasty concept. I find it difficult to believe that close family ties of that kind are a nasty concept, and I simply do not accept that the maintenance of direct family ties implies discrimination against others who do not happen to share them. There would be a pretty funny state in our social life if that were ever accepted.
1361 Hitherto, this freedom has applied only to those with fathers born in this country. Now it is to be extended to those with mothers born here as well, and this will add substantially to the numbers who enjoy this unfettered freedom, particularly in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I myself have a nephew and nieces in Australia who after 1st January will be able to enjoy this freedom, which they did not do previously, and there must be many like me in this country. I cannot believe that that greater freedom will help or in any way accentuate discrimination.
§ Mr. Skeet
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the New Zealand general elections will be held on 25th November and the Australian general elections will be held early in December, and that this matter is causing acute embarrassment to those Governments? Does he recognise that by what he is saying to them he is playing into the hands of the Socialists abroad?
§ Mr. Carr
I should have thought that in this House we should be concerned with the government of our own country and that we ought to mind our own business. That is what I am doing.
I believe that this is an important new freedom, and I wonder whether it is widely realised in the House, in this country and among the many residents in those Commonwealth countries who care about this that there will probably be some 5 million Commonwealth citizens with these family ties who will be able to come and go and do as they please with no control at all. We estimate the number as about 5 million.
The Government had hoped and intended that this number could have been still larger because, as the House will know, we had proposed in the original Bill that this system should apply to all those of the Commonwealth who had had any of their grandparents born here. Unfortunately, though, an amendment 1362 moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West achieved the wholehearted support of the Opposition and the active or tacit support of some of my hon. Friends, so that the freedom was severely restricted and was given only to those whose mothers or fathers were born here. Still, even with this restriction there is complete freedom, as I have said, for probably some 5 million of our relatives in the Commonwealth—mainly, it is true, in Australia, New Zealand and Canada—to come and go in Britain as they please.
The second important exception to the work permit system as it applies to Commonwealth citizens is under what is known as the working holidaymaker scheme. This enables young people—principally, again, from the old Commonwealth countries, but not entirely—to come to Britain on a work permit and to work here for periods of up to three years. This system has been operating for a number of years already and will continue unimpeded under these new rules. On current form, about 15,000 young people a year take advantage of this scheme so that if they were all to take full advantage of the possibility of three years here we could have about 50,000 young Commonwealth citizens in this country under this scheme at any given time. That is also a very substantial number.
I now draw attention to a number of other changes in practice which will result from the 1971 Act and the rules which implement it.
§ Miss Quennell
I am obliged to my right hon. Friend. Can my right hon. Friend explain the apparent anomaly in paragraph 55 of the House of Commons Paper No. 509 compared with Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome, which allows for freedom of movement of workers within the Community countries, from one country to another, provided they have a work voucher and a job to go to? Paragraph 55 allows them to come into 1363 this country to look for work. It may be that there is a provision in EEC Regulation 1612 that I have overlooked. If my right hon. Friend would look into this matter I should be very grateful.
§ Mr. Carr
My hon. Friend has certainly asked a highly detailed and technical but, nevertheless, important question. It is true, as I understand it, that members of the Community countries can come here to look for work and do not have to obtain any permit in order to do so. Equally, it is untrue, however, as I understand it, that they can remain here indefinitely if they do not find work, unless we wish them to do so. I believe that that is the general situation. If my hon. Friend does not reply in greater detail tonight, I shall make sure that my hon. Friend receives a letter.
§ Mr. Simon Wingfield Digby (Dorset, West)
Will my right hon. Friend refresh his memory about Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome, which states clearly, in paragraph 3(a), that it is "offers of employment actually made" that they can come for?
§ Mr. Carr
I think that there is some misunderstanding here—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—because I do not think that this applies to offers of work actually made to individuals. As I understand it, under the Community system it is contemplated—though I think it is not yet in existence—that there will be basic information available for vacancies in different sorts of occupation. For example, supposing that we were short of 10,000 bricklayers in this country—
§ Mr. Carr
In view of the rising house-building programme, I suspect that a shortage of bricklayers may be one of our problems before very long. But for any category one cares to think of we could register with the Community the fact that there were so many vacancies in a particular job or occupation. That is a very different thing to offering a particular job with a particular employer to a particular person. That, I think, is the very big distinction between the Community practice and the work permit 1364 system which we are offering to everyone else.
I now draw attention to a number of other important changes which have been mentioned. The first concerns the right of Commonwealth citizens to register as citizens of the United Kingdom when they have been here for five years. Hitherto, as the hon. Lady pointed out, this right has been absolute. Now it will become discretionary. Every Commonwealth citizen, however, after five years will retain the automatic right to apply for registration, and this, I assure the House, will normally be granted.
§ Mr. Carr
But we shall now have the power, which many have thought for a long time that we ought to have, to refuse registration in odd cases if it is thought that a person is unsuitable for United Kingdom citizenship, either on grounds of character or on grounds of a lack of adequate knowledge of our language.
Those are the same tests as have been applied for a long time in considering an application for naturalisation by a foreigner, and we believe that this is a proper extra power. But I repeat that the automatic right to apply for registration remains and it is a right we should normally expect to grant.
The second main change concerns the individual's right of appeal against a refusal to admit or to extend his stay, or against a decision to curtail his stay or to deport him. With one important exception which the hon. Lady mentioned, the rights and machinery of appeal continue unchanged. The exception to which the hon. Lady referred and to which I now refer relates to the decisions taken personally by the Home Secretary of the day on grounds conducive to the public good.
If the Home Secretary decides to refuse admittance to a person on those grounds, that, as the hon. Lady says, will be the end of the matter. If, however, a person is already lawfully in this country but the Home Secretary decides that it is in the interests of national security, or relations between the United Kingdom and another country, or for reasons of a political nature, that he should leave the country, 1365 the person affected will have no statutory right of appeal but he will have the right to have his case referred to three advisers who will operate on the same lines as the Civil Service appeal procedure operates now for security cases.
I realise that this is a very heavy responsibility to place on any Home Secretary, but I believe that it is the way which best matches the reality of the need. In the final resort, every country has to have the right to exclude people whose presence would not be conducive to the public good. By their very nature these decisions are not only difficult to make but, as I think we have learned from experience, difficult to submit satisfactorily to the normal judicial processes.
They are, above all, matters in which, certainly under our system of government, the Minister is, and ought to be, directly answerable to Parliament. Fortunately, these cases are rare, but they are difficult. I repeat that in every case in which an appeal is barred the decision will have to be taken personally by the Home Secretary of the day. Although it is a difficult change to make, I believe that it matches the realities of the situation, and that the accountability of the Minister to Parliament is the best, and in the end the only, way of dealing with these difficult cases.
§ Mr. Will Griffiths (Manchester, Exchange)
The right hon. Gentleman says that the Minister will be answerable to Parliament for the proceedings of the tribunal. Our experience over the years has been that where security cases in the Civil Service and elsewhere have been submitted to such a tribunal and hon. Members have tried to elucidate the reasons from the Minister they have consistently failed to do so. The Minister has only to say that it is not in the public interest to divulge the reason and that is the end of the matter.
§ Mr. Carr
It must be admitted that matters of the security of the State are very difficult, and by their very nature they would not be in this category if they could be freely discussed. In the very difficult circumstances which arise I believe that the opportunity which the House has to question and demand such replies as the Minister can give is the best safeguard that we can have.
§ Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)
Under Rule 69(b) of the Control on Entry Rules an immigration officer—not the Secretary of State acting personally—may refuse leave to enterin the light of the passenger's character, conduct or associationsifit is undesirable to give him leave to enter.If that occurs, will that person have a right of appeal at the port of entry, or is he to be returned to his country of origin to exercise a right of appeal there?
§ Mr. Carr
I should like to look into that question, but I believe that it is possible for such a person to have a right of appeal here. However, I do not want to mis-state the position, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand that it is difficult for me to answer precisely on the spur of the moment. I think that the answer is that the appeal can be here. If I am wrong, I will ensure that my right hon. Friend puts me right. We will confirm that one way or the other.
The third change to which I want to draw attention concerns deportation. Hitherto, any Commonwealth or Irish citizen who has been here for more than five years could not be deported on any grounds. As from 1st January any such citizen who enters this country will remain liable for deportation no matter how long he has been here. This has always applied to aliens.
There will also be a new power, referred to by the hon. Lady and subject to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal, to deport the members of a family the head of which has been ordered to be deported. I know that this provision causes alarm, and that it caused much concern during our debates on the Bill. If the head of a normal family group has behaved in such a way as to merit deportation, and if the wife is clearly unable to support the rest of the family herself, it does not seem reasonable in the public interest to have to maintain that family for years at public expense. Nor do I believe that it would normally be in the interests of the family to be so separated. After all, we pay great attention—I have heard this argued by the hon. Lady herself—to the need to unite families in connection with the Ugandan Asian problem.
1367 I stress that this power will be used with great discretion and, I hope, humanity, and that the family concerned will always be given the chance to leave voluntarily rather than suffer deportation. I believe that from now onwards this right should be there.
In closing this part of my speech I emphasise as strongly as I can what I hope is already clear—that it has from the start been the Government's intention that this new Act and these new rules should bring about no material change in the rights of immigrants already settled in this country prior to 1st January next. I assure the House that no such changes flow from these rules. We are talking entirely about changes which can affect people who seek to come to this country after 1st January next.
In the last part of my speech I want to turn to those fears and emotions which have been expressed in recent days and weeks about the effect of these changes on Commonwealth citizens, particularly those with long and family connections with this country. I know that these feelings run deep, and they are none the less real or worthy of respect because many of them are founded in emotion rather than in reason.
However, many of the fears are based on major misundertandings of the realities of the situation. The degree of understanding has hardly been helped by the treatment that this subject has received in some parts of the Press. I know from my own experience—and I expect that many hon. Members share this experience—that many people have had a fear put into their minds, for example, that they will no longer be able to be visited freely by relatives and friends in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. I assure the House and the country that there is no foundation for any such fear.
§ Mr. Carr
I assure the hon. Gentleman that my letters show this every day. Neither these rules nor our membership of the Common Market will put any obstacles in the way of visits of this kind.
The number of visitors from the old Commonwealth countries has been rising 1368 substantially in recent years. In the first eight months of this year, 109,000 came from Australia, 26,000 from New Zealand and 216,000 from Canada—about 350,000 in all from these three countries. Out of this vast total only 125 were refused admission on arrival at our ports.
This welcome and growing flow of visitors from the Commonwealth will be able to go on without obstruction of any kind from the changes we are discussing today.
§ Sir Robin Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
Can my right hon. Friend tell us how many were limited in their stay to a period of two months?
§ Mr. Carr
No, not without notice, but I believe the number to be very small. It is normal for the stay to be limited anyhow for six months and then to be extended in most cases. In a few cases it is limited. It is right to keep that power for the immigration officer; because if, in cases of doubt, immigration officers did not have the right to give a short period of entry they might be forced to make actual refusals which they do not make at the moment. I therefore believe that flexibility is right. I am sorry that I cannot, at any rate immediately, give my right hon. Friend the answer that he seeks. I have said that I believe that the number whose initial stay is less than six months is small. I will try to have the answer obtained for my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
This is a most important point for many of us. Will my right hon. Friend give discretion to enable an extension of those visiting periods beyond six months, at any rate for a period such as 12 months? This, I think, is the heart of many of the objections of my hon. Friends who feel that these people should have a special chance to stay for a fair period in this country, particularly as they come such long distances.
§ Mr. Carr
I will consider that point, but it is difficult to give practical guidance to our immigration officers. Six months is a normal and reasonable first period for a large number of people. If they have to give no less than six months they might feel that they have actually got to refuse far more people than they do at 1369 the moment. If they are encouraged to give longer than that they might start asking more questions than they do at the moment, and from my experience of the complaints that I have had, one of the things that Commonwealth citizens dislike most is having too many questions asked. Therefore, it is a matter of judgment, on the whole, that six months is about right.
§ Sir Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
Can my right hon. Friend say what objection there is to extending to Commonwealth citizens who are not patrials and who are in this situation no less favourable treatment than EEC nationals receive?
§ Mr. Carr
On the contrary, I do not think it is. It is less favourable, I think, in that immigration officials can on occasion allow less than six months. They can and sometimes do. But I ask the House to realise that this control of all Commonwealth citizens has to be exercised against a very strict inward pressure on immigration into this country. That is something we can never forget. It is no good hon. Members wishing they could forget it. They cannot forget it if, at the same time, they wish to maintain a strict control on Commonwealth immigration. We do put it on one side for what are called the patrials. We would have put it on one side for a much larger number of patrials. But the difference is—[Interruption.]—and I hope the hon. Gentleman is not too stupid to understand it—that there is novisible sign of any large-scale pressure, either actual or potential, for mass immigration into this country from the Common Market countries, whereas there is evidence of such pressure from the Commonwealth.
§ Sir B. Braine
I am sorry to interrupt my right hon. Friend again. He is obviously trying to cope with this 1370 question with some difficulty. A moment ago he said that Commonwealth citizens who were in the category that we were discussing were not less favourably treated than were EEC nationals. If he will direct his attention to paragraph 54 of the Immigration Rules for Control of Entry he will see:When an EEC national is given leave to enter, no condition is to be imposed restricting his employment or occupation in the United Kingdom.How does my right hon. Friend reconcile that with his statement?
§ Mr. Carr
As I admitted a little earlier—I must say I thought that we had moved on to a different point—of course we realise that there is inherent in the EEC concept—and there always has been; it has never been cancelled—the basic idea that it is an area of free movement and of free work. That is true.
To that extent, of course—I have never sought to deny it—it is not true that this is more favourable than the privileges given to patrial Commonwealth citizens. It is true that in that respect it is more favourable than the conditions given to non-patrial members of the Commonwealth. But when it comes to the normal amount of time for which someone is admitted—six months before having to register, or anything of that kind—six months is the automatic time in practice with the EEC; it is the normal time for Commonwealth citizens of the non-patrial kind; it is a period which is easily extended and is usually extended merely by the asking. I do not think it would be right to lift that automatically, because if it were I fear that as a result immigration officers would have to ask more questions and refuse more entries. Therefore, on balance, I think that that would cause more rather than less ill will to the vast majority of Commonwealth citizens.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. To revert to the point that he made, that there is no evidence of large numbers coming from the EEC, is he aware that during the peak summer period large numbers of Italians come into the catering trade? At the moment they are controlled by work permits, but once the EEC rule applies they can come and stay provided they produce a Press 1371 advertisement to say they are coming. If there is a shortage of housing and schools my constituents are not concerned whether the person concerned is Italian, French, German, or a Commonwealth citizen; they want to be satisfied that there will not be a large influx of these people, which will happen with EEC immigrants.
§ Mr. Carr
If it were to happen, there is provision under the Community rules to practices to deal with it. Secondly, I would point out to the hon. Member—who mentioned Italians—that under this Act, and even without it, the work permit system allows us greatly to reduce the number of Spanish and Portuguese, for example, who also come into the same industry. There is no doubt at all that we can reduce—indeed, we are this very year reducing—the number of alien workers.
§ Mr. Carr
Does the hon. Gentleman wish people to be directed in this country? If so, he stands on his own. That is a complete red herring. There is nothing in these rules or in European membership which in any way threatens the hon. Member's constituency or any other constituency.
Some of the reports that we have had suggest that citizens, particularly from the old Commonwealth, are now to be treated no better than aliens and worse than the citizens of EEC countries. If hon. Members will look at the situation as a whole they will realise that it is not only not true but is actually the reverse of the truth. An EEC citizen travelling to and from Britain will have to fill up landing and embarkation cards; a Commonwealth citizen will not. An EEC citizen who stays here will have to report to the police; a Commonwealth citizen will not. An EEC citizen who comes here will not be able to vote and stand for election. He cannot be elected, for example, to this House. A Commonwealth citizen can and will continue to be able to do so. An EEC citizen who comes to this country will not be able to join the public and Crown services; a Commonwealth citizen can and will be able to do so.
1372 These are no mean or minor privileges which Commonwealth citizens will continue to enjoy along with British citizens and with no one else. If one looks at the total package one sees that it simply is the reverse of the truth to suggest that Commonwealth citizens are going to be treated as aliens, or less favourably than citizens from EEC countries. What is true—
§ Mr. Peter Shore (Stepney) rose—
§ Mr. Carr
If there be any question of my misleading the House, the right hon. Gentleman who is to wind up for the Opposition, can point out in what way I am said to have done it, and my right hon. Friend, I am sure, will be able to reply.
What we must face is that, because our island is crowded and because our own labour force is large enough for our needs, we have had to limit with increasing severity permanent working settlement from the Commonwealth. That is the will, and that is the wish, of the great majority of the British people. It is the policy on which the Government were elected, and which we are carrying out.
Short of permanent settlement, however, there is no doubt that large numbers of people of all ages come from the Commonwealth, and will continue to come from the Commonwealth, to Britain. They will be ever more welcome, and the changes which we are discussing today will not impose any additional disadvantages on them in their wish to do so. As I have already made clear, the advantages which they enjoy once they are here compared with citizens of EEC countries and other aliens are considerable.
I want to do everything I can in addition to make their actual entry into this 1373 country as easy and as welcoming as possible. I am, therefore, giving instructions that at every port, sea port or air port, where it is physically possible, there shall be provided, as quickly as we can do it, four channels, one for the United Kingdom citizen, one for the Commonwealth citizen, one for the citizen of the European Community, and one for all other aliens. I intend to do everything possible to ensure that a special Commonwealth gate is always open and, if it is not, that it is made clear that Commonwealth citizens have then an automatic right to go through the United Kingdom gate.
Furthermore, I want to do my best to see that any unnecessary frictions are removed in the actual processes of entry. I believe—I think that it is fairly widely agreed—that the standards of courtesy and efficiency shown by British immigration officers stand very high by comparison with what happens in any other country. I am sure that the House would wish to congratulate and thank them for the services which they give in dealing with the ever-increasing number of those who pour through our ports. The complaints which we receive are very few.
However, I am now repeating and reinforcing the long-standing and generally well-observed guidance that Commonwealth citizens stand in a special relationship with this country and that, while the necessary questions must be asked and formalities gone through, the object must be to create an impression that a Commonwealth visitor is one whom we particularly want to welcome and to see among us. As next year progresses I shall be keeping a special watch on the way this new procedure is working, and at the end of 12 months' experience I shall have a full-scale review.
There is one other point which I should make. Recognising as we do the fears which exist and how important it is that our policies and practices should be properly understood throughout the Commonwealth, and that they should be moulded to take account as far as possible of feelings in the Commonwealth which result from their operation, the Government propose to enter, at ministerial level, into consultations with Commonwealth countries as early as may be convenient to the Commonwealth Governments concerned when these new powers come into operation so that if 1374 they are causing frictions and troubles—which we do not expect—we may understand and give them the active consideration which we would wish.
§ Mr. Callaghan
That will be most welcome news, although perhaps such consultations ought to be prefaced by meetings of officials first. But now that the Government have made that decision today, will the Home Secretary explain why they refused an exactly equivalent proposition when it was made in Committee on the Immigration Bill as long ago as March, 1971, when his predecessor was told that this trouble would be coming?
§ Mr. Carr
In fact, we have been having considerable consultations at official level and exchanges of view when Ministers have met. What I am promising now is new further consultations. I am promising, whatever may be the preparation at official level, that there will be consultations at ministerial level at the earliest moments convenient to all the Governments concerned.
I want in conclusion, to make sure that we are clear about what the situation will be after 1st January. Shortly after that date there will be four categories of people coming to Britain—two kinds of Commonwealth citizen, and two kinds of alien, as the hon. Lady said. From the Commonwealth there will be those with close direct family links with this country whose fathers or mothers were born here, and there will be those without such links. From foreign countries there will be EEC nationals, and there will be other aliens.
Commonwealth citizens with mothers or fathers born in this country will have more privileges than those who do not, because they will have no restrictions of any kind. EEC nationals will have more favourable treatment than will other aliens. But what is perhaps more important to understand in the context of our debate today is that patrial Commonwealth citizens will be more favourably treated than EEC citizens, and non-patrial Commonwealth citizens will be more favourably treated than non-EEC aliens.
It is, therefore, simply not possible to maintain that in passing the Acts and bringing forward these rules we have not in every way possible, consistent with the 1375 overriding need of this country to have a strict control of permanent immigration, given every privilege we can to the Commonwealth. That is what we have done. That is what we shall always continue to do.
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Bottomley (Middlesbrough, East)
The Home Secretary has not answered the suggestion put by my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) that the new rules might be submitted to the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration. Our hope is that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary will do so when he winds up.
It was my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) who first suggested that there should be a Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration, and it was my privilege to be the first chairman. Together with the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), we brought together a group of Members of Parliament, and it was agreed by all of us that we should study race relations and immigration factually and be objective in our reporting.
That Committee worked for a long time—two or three full days a week—and three major reports were produced, the one on coloured school leavers, the one on housing, and the one on the police. It is my belief that reports of that kind have done a lot to ensure that 20 years hence people will be able to say that that Committee of Parliament, by its objectivity, had made race relations in Britain better than they might otherwise have been.
I was pleased to hear the Home Secretary say that the new rules will not apply to immigrants already in this country. That is right. The majority of Commonwealth immigrants here today were recruited by employers to come here to help us at a time when our economy was at its lowest ebb. By their efforts in the factories, in the hospitals, in the transport service and so on, they have helped to make Britain a better place to live in than it might otherwise have been.
I take that view of immigrants generally. I believe that over the generations the British way of life has benefited be- 1376 cause of immigrants who have come here and blended their cultures with ours, bringing new skills and all kinds of opportunities and benefits. They have made Britain a stronger nation than it would otherwise have been. Over the weekend I read with interest the report of the Conservation Society. I agree with much of that report. We cannot escape the fact that Britain is an overcrowded island. For this reason we have to consider what population our island will bear, consistent with our economic and social development. I believe that we have reached saturation point. I am not suggesting that we have no right to have the Uganda Asians here—the obligation was clearly upon us—but I do not believe that the Government took the action that was necessary at the time to ease the pressure upon us.
The Foreign Secretary may remember that when the statement was made I asked him whether other Commonwealth countries could absorb some of the Uganda Asians. If he had taken earlier and more positive action Canada and Malawi might have been more responsive at the beginning, and if they had come out at the time as ready to share the burden other Commonwealth countries might have joined in.
It disturbs me to have to make my next point because there are many who will say that it is likely to engender too much emotion, but I believe that before long we may have on our doorstep many thousands of other African Asians.
I was recently in Africa, where I spoke to many responsible African leaders. I found them under very strong pressures. There were accusations that the Asians were exploiting the Africans, who were being treated as second-rate citizens. I also met African leaders who were concerned and disturbed at General Amin's behaviour. They believed that he had lowered their standards, and they were as resentful as anyone else about him. But I could not find any African leader who would openly condemn General Amin and say that the Asian problem was one that they were prepared to share with us.
Upon my return from Africa I saw Lord Garner, the Chairman of the Commonwealth Institute, and various hon. Members who are interested in race relations, and told them that I was disturbed about the situation which was developing 1377 in Africa, and that Britain might have thousands more Asians arriving sooner than it expected. I said that I would not say anything about it because I did not want to encourage that sort of thing. Last Wednesday, however, the BBC and other Press men said that Kenya was going to kick out the Asians—fortunately an exaggerated statement, but nevertheless a statement by a Permanent Secretary in one of the Government Departments. One does not fly a kite like that without some thought or consideration having been given to the matter.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
Surely my right hon. Friend does less than justice to what the statement said. It is quite true that there was a false report, which disturbed many of us. All that the Permanent Secretary's statement said was that a number of licences had been withdrawn from Asian traders in accordance with the Africanisation policy, which we knew about and which we expected to take place. There was no flying of kites about mass expulsion of Asians from Kenya. My right hon. Friend is wrong to repeat that fear.
§ Mr. Bottomley
That is a matter of judgment. For the reason that I gave a moment ago, I knew that there was a danger in saying what I did. I believe, however, that time will show the truth of my words. I hope that I am wrong. Nothing would please me more than for that to be the case.
The Home Secretary has suggested that Commonwealth officials should meet and consider the problem arising from immigration rules generally. I should like to go further. The most burning issue in the world is that of race relations. We must get race relations right, never mind about the ideologies, and the conflict between East and West. I believe that the conflict will be between the "haves" against the "have-nots", and that it is obligatory upon the West and upon the Commonwealth to try to resolve the problem. It is worth a meeting of Foreign and Commonwealth Ministers to consider immigration generally. The Home Secretary said that the British Nationality Act was not a matter that we could consider tonight, but it is a fact that that Act placed an obligation upon all Commonwealth countries to create 1378 their own nationality and to accept Commonwealth citizenship for all. Britain accepts Commonwealth citizenship, but it is not generally accepted. I think that I am right in saying that Britain is alone in recognising other Commonwealth nationals as Commonwealth citizens. There are several matters which must be considered in race relations and immigration, and this has to be done at the top level.
The last proposition that I want to make may be regarded as far-fetched, but it is worth making because race relations is an important issue in the world. It is not inconceivable for the United Nations to create, in a depopulated part of Africa, a neutral State like Switzerland. The United Nations could provide generous and substantial aid for the purpose of helping refugees from whatever part of the world they may come to settle in that State. Time prevents me from examining the new rules, but I share with hon. Members the view that the Government have bungled this matter, and I have no hesitation in supporting my hon. Friends in the Division Lobby.
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ Sir Robin Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
This is one of those great opportunities when the House can act in a consultative capacity. After we have criticised the rules they can be taken back and amended.
So far the debate has not helped to alleviate my worries. I do not dispute the point about immigration for settlement. But the rules show a lack of imagination in their treatment of visitors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The background to the debate does not consist merely of the documents we are examining. The background is the numerous complaints that have been mounting up of inhospitality, sometimes amounting even to discourtesy by immigration officers towards Australians and New Zealanders in particular. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary dismissed that suggestion as emotional and said that there was a major misunderstanding of the realities of the situation. I felt that there was when he was speaking.
1379 There is the position of those people who cannot enter the country as patrials. It is a silly distinction because often a third, fourth or fifth generation Australian feels much closer to this country than someone who went out to Australia for a job and stayed there. If they come to this country they will want to travel around. They will probably want to go to Europe and spend their money. They may even take a job for the holidays. Those are the 30,000 cases where the documents completely fail to meet the situation. There is no mention of them in the rules for control on entry. I regard them as guidance to the immigration officers on what they should do to a man coming on a working holiday, but that is dealt with only in the rules for control after entry. These say that on a working holiday a person comes in normally for 12 months, which can be extended to three years. My right hon. Friend said that such people were given only six months, but that that period could be extended.
I have four recent cases of young men from Australia and New Zealand who spent £500 each to visit the mother country and, if possible, to see their own Queen, and who were told by the immigration officer "You can have two months''. When they later applied to the Home Office they were given a two-month extension, and then a final extension of two months, making six months in all. They were then told that they had to go. Those are the realities of the situation.
My right hon. Friend must face up to the problem. I suppose he will say that I have talked about citizens of Australia and New Zealand, and that he cannot make special provisions for those Commonwealth citizens. But they are in a different situation from others, because they have to save up about £500 to come here, and what is the good of their travelling from Australia to Britain for the experience of a lifetime and then to be told "Your total limit is six months"? They are terrified of the immigration department of the Home Office.
On 12th November a noble Lord who is a colleague of the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) spoke to the 1380 Australian people about the matter in a broadcast. He said:Four years ago I found great and genuine concern here for the way things were going in Britain.We can understand that, because that was in 1968. He continued:On this particular visit I have discovered that the concern is there, but alongside there has grown up a bitterness and a resentment of Britain which I find almost unbearable and unbelievably sad. This resentment and bitterness is based as far as I can tell on two things—Britain's decision to enter the Common Market and her new immigration policy.Australians feel doubly let down. They have always believed that there was a special relationship between the UK and themselves. I was in Canberra only last week and a very senior politician told me he would never again go to Britain, which he loved, unless the immigration laws were altered and he no longer had to queue as an alien to enter Britain.That was said by Lord Willis. My correspondence tells me that he expressed what is felt in Australia.
I had hoped that in the guidance to immigration officers, which is how I regard the statement of rules for control on entry, the Government would put the matter right. I beg my right hon. Friend to do so. If he says that that would be discrimination, my reply is that the statements abound in discrimination. Perhaps I may give a ridiculous example. Under paragraph 39 of the statement of rules for control on entry, an Australian girl who marries a British citizen is' to be admitted for settlement, but under paragraph 45 an Australian man who marries a British girl has no claim to settlement unless to turn his wife, who was born here, out of the country would involve particular hardship. We cannot stand for that. I beg my right hon. Friend to examine those paragraphs and at least put them right.
In view of the vast number of unemployed, I shall not ask the Government to make any concession on the question of employment. But I must give this warning. Under the paragraphs dealing with EEC nationals we are taking a great risk in opening the gates wide. Every EEC national who comes in will take a job from somebody in Britain, and probably have a claim for a house over someone who has been waiting on 1381 a housing list for a long time. I do not want to enter the Common Market argument because it is something quite different, but Commonwealth subjects of the Queen should have an equal claim. Nowhere in the documents is there mention of Commonwealth subjects of Her Majesty the Queen. That is inappropriate in the week in which we celebrate her Silver Wedding.
I beg my right hon. Friend to take the documents back for further consideration. There would be no question of that being a Government defeat, because we are all trying to do the same thing. I want there to be clear guidance to the immigration officers to be more friendly, to be less like those we found in Germany before the war, which they are felt to be by the young Australians after their experience at the hands of my right hon. Friend's officers. There are far too many instances of discourteous behaviour to their guests.
I say to my right hon. Friend "Take these documents back and try to replace them with documents that can have the unanimous approval of the House."
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)
I agree with the basic point made by the Father of the House, the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton), that the debate could provide a useful forum for a discussion and could have a positive rôle to play in framing our immigration rules and regulations.
This is one of those occasions on which it is possible to make a long speech detailing many issues. I shall resist that temptation and concentrate on just one or two, but the fact that I do not list all the civil liberty objections that could be listed, objections that are well documented by now, does not mean that I regard them as unimportant. I agree with what the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) said about some of them. One of the reasons why I should like the regulations to be reconsidered is that we should look again at their civil liberty aspects.
One of the most powerful reasons why we should reject the rules and regulations has not yet been made. It is that unless we do so the House will have lost all control over immigration policy, 1382 because we are no longer in the old situation where at least we had an annual debate. If we approve them the power passes to the Government, to the Home Secretary. Unless he proposes amendments and lays them before the House as statutory instruments—and he is not obliged to do so—have we any further say over what is to happen with regard to the rules and regulations for immigration?
That is wrong, and what I should like to see in a redraft, which I hope the Government will present to us next month, is that the draft rules and regulations will exist only for a year and that the Government will undertake to produce a completely fresh draft in the light of the experience of working the regulations in the first full year after our entry into the Common Market. That is a reasonable request, and it is reasonable that the House should keep as much control as possible over what is admittedly a very complicated subject.
As have many hon. Members, I have received representations against the rules, some of which are based on a complete misunderstanding. This morning I received a telegram from a constituent in New Zealand:Please do all possible to ensure no change in the status of New Zealanders and Australians as a result of impending legislation.There is no change in the status of New Zealanders and Australians. As we go into the Common Market and embrace the European concept of the free movement of labour, it must be supposed that the Government intended the consequences of their action. The commitment to the freedom of movement of labour was clearly known at the time the previous Conservative Government, the Labour Government and the present Government applied to join the EEC. Although we are embracing new policies within Europe, that does not of itself bring a change in the position of citizens in the Commonwealth.
Although I have come to the same conclusion as certain other hon. Members, that the rules should be redrafted, I do not share some of the objections that have been raised. Moreover, those who claim a special position for what in brief we may call the white Commonwealth must be clear what they are 1383 asking for. In an article which appeared in the Daily Express by a New Zealander in Hong Kong the writer admitted that the last member of his family to leave Britain left five generations ago. Is it seriously being argued that we should redraft our legislation for the New Zealanders, Australians and Canadians who five generations ago left Britain to make their living elsewhere, to bring up their families elsewhere and to become citizens of other countries?
§ Mr. Steel
That may be what the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) believes in, but if that is what people are arguing, let them say so. I do not believe that Britain or any other country in 1972 could decide to have completely free and open access for permanent settlement by anyone from any other part of the world.
§ Mr. Steel
I give the hon. Gentleman the credit for that. In that case he is perfectly logical in his argument, but no one who voted for entry can object to the free movement of labour.
I will list three objections which I and my colleagues have to the rules as drafted. First, we find, as we always have done, the concept of patriality objectionable. It did not arise in the 1968 legislation but stemmed from the thinking 1384 that was introduced by the Labour Government in 1968. One fundamental principle of our immigration rules—which I have even heard advocated by Conservative Ministers—is that once people are here they should be treated as equals. That is particularly true of those who are our citizens. One objection to the rules is that they embody the unilateral declaration of citizenship which the Government have created in respect of our EEC entry. For example, I understand that those who are our citizens who come here will not all be entitled to take part in the free movement of labour—only those who hold a certain type of passport. Those who hold the second category of passport will have to have been resident here for five years. That is a breach of the fundamental principle that all our citizens should be treated as equals. It is an objection which encroaches still further on the legislation which we embarked on in 1968. There is no reason why that should not be changed to allow all our citizens who are resident in Britain to participate in the free movement of labour.
Secondly, I emphasise the comment made by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton. Some time ago I had a constituency case which horrified me at the time, and still does. A woman who comes into Britain from abroad, whether from Australia or anywhere else, and marries a British citizen in this country has a right of abode, a right to bring up a family and a right of security to live here. If, on the other hand, a young man of any nationality comes in from overseas and marries a British girl, under our rules we say to that British girl "You have forfeited your right of abode in this country unless you are prepared to be separated from your husband." That cannot be right. It is a discrimination against women. It is fundamentally objectionable that we should tell any of our citizens that they have a choice between marriage and the right to stay here. That, surely, should be changed.
Thirdly, what is to happen to United Kingdom citizens of East African origin once these rules are introduced? The European Commission on Human Rights has already asked the British Government to engage in a dialogue with other Governments about our treatment of this category of persons before possibly referring the matter to the European Court. 1385 What is happening about these discussions? What is the Government's intention. In the wake of having cleared up the Ugandan Asian situation we should be told what is to happen to the vouchers that are being issued in Kenya.
When I was in Kenya three or four weeks ago my impression was that there was no need for us in this country, or indeed for the Asians in Kenya, to panic about the continued programme of Kenyanisation in that country. It is some little time since the last batch of trading licences was revoked. Closer examination of the revocation of trading licences shows that, although they were revoked on paper, many revocations have not been implemented. Indeed, there are complaints, even from the Asian community in Kenya, that the process of Kenyanisation has not been seen to operate as well as it should have done. Although certain licences have been revoked, there is no reason for the Press to panic and imagine that there will be a repetition of the Ugandan situation. Two members of the Kenyan Government to whom I spoke said that they were determined to avoid a repetition there of the Ugandan situation.
Nevertheless, we are left with a clear commitment to British citizens of Asian origin in Kenya. Is it the Government's intention to transfer to Kenya those entry vouchers which were formerly allocated to Uganda? This would be sensible because it would help to reduce any possibility of tension there and would assist the orderly entry of United Kingdom citizens who have lost their means of livelihood in Kenya.
I strongly support the plea which has been made many times in the House for a thorough-going inquiry into our citizenship law and for us to start again on the basis of a law of citizenship as distinct from a law of entry into and exit out of Britain. Far from being a sop to those who are unhappy about the rules, the Home Secretary's announcement that throughout the country we shall solemnly erect four gates at every point of entry merely means that we shall erect monuments of folly over the present muddle of our immigration legislation.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Sir George Sinclair (Dorking)
I warmly welcome the Home Secretary's assurance that he will without delay con- 1386 suit at ministerial level with the Commonwealth countries over the working of these rules. I hope that those consultations will begin almost immediately, because there are matters that can be usefully discussed before the rules have been working for long.
By these rules the basis on which EEC nationals will be admitted to the United Kingdom after 1st January next is one of reciprocity. Community nationals can come here to work and settle, and our nationals can go to the countries of the EEC to work and settle on similar terms.
Within the Commonwealth for many years there has been a heavy migration of our people from the United Kingdom to Australia, Canada and New Zealand to work and to settle. I am sure that our Government would wish these opportunities to remain widely open to our people. If so, I am sure that they must grant greater reciprocity to citizens of those three Commonwealth countries to come to the United Kingdom to work and to settle. In recent years the numbers coming here to work from the three Commonwealth countries have been few, while those coming to settle have been far fewer, compared with the numbers of those emigrating from the United Kingdom to those countries. We should now consult with the Governments of these three Commonwealth countries and seek agreement with them on reciprocal arrangements. We should aim to accept each year, without procedural difficulties, reasonable numbers of their citizens seeking to come here to work or to settle.
In suggesting this, I am aware that the citizens of these countries do not all have their origins in the United Kingdom. Canada has indigenous groups as well as a great French-speaking community stemming from France, and, in addition, many from other countries. Australia and New Zealand, too, have populations drawn not only from the United Kingdom, but from many other countries, and they have their own indigenous groups.
Such arrangements of reciprocity should be subject to review at regular intervals, because we must in the end retain our right of control over the pace of immigration from whatever country, whether from the EEC, the Commonwealth or elsewhere. We must retain control, because we owe a duty to our 1387 own citizens in this country, whether newly arrived or long-established.
I regard reciprocity as a perfectly sound and commonsense principle on which to base our relationship with all Commonwealth countries. Except to the three countries that I have mentioned there are few Commonwealth countries to which there has recently been a significant and sustained flow of emigrants from the United Kingdom seeking both to work and to settle. This principle of reciprocity is infinitely preferable to the device of patriality by one grandparent, put forward in the 1971 measure. I voted against that provision because, in a Bill which sought to impose comprehensive controls over immigration, this provision—which was mercifully rejected—would have landed the United Kingdom with an open-ended commitment to grandchildren throughout the Commonwealth and not only in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as the Home Secretary seemed to imply in his remarks. The idea of patriality by one grandparent was, in the long term, far too wide a relaxation of control, and we were justified in rejecting it.
The principle of reciprocity is a far better one. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will give an undertaking that the Government will have another look at this principle. I hope that, in particular, the Government will agree—and will say so tonight—to put this subject on the agenda for consultation with Commonwealth Prime Ministers at ministerial level.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Davidson (Accrington)
This would normally have been a rather cosy and erudite little debate about the application of the immigration rules, but instead we have had an emotionally charged debate, not about the rules but about the merits of the Bill which gave birth to them. It was a little surprising that when the Bill was debated on Second Reading hon. Gentlemen opposite did not raise the objections they raise now. My recollection of that debate was that it was not held before the most packed of Houses. Over and over again in Committee the Government were asked what the effect on the Bill would be of their plans to enter the Common Market. They refused to answer.
1388 There were many distinguished and eloquent Conservative Members on that Committee but not one made a speech about it, and not one was prepared to support the posture and questioning of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). It is a little surprising that they should be kicking up all this fuss today. I wonder how many would have been here today, and how much interest would have been taken in the debate, had it not been for the campaign of the Daily Express. I pay tribute to the Daily Express; it ran a very effective campaign. It was evident at the time the Bill was going through the House, in conjunction with the Government's commitment to enter Europe, that these anomalies of which hon. Gentlemen are now complaining would arise.
§ Mr. Edward Milne (Blyth)
My hon. Friend has referred to the campaign of the Daily Express. I would like to make the point that had the Daily Express conducted its campaign against the Market with sufficient courage it, too, would have been raising this point at the time that we were voting for entry.
§ Mr. Davidson
I have said what I want to say about the Daily Express. It can answer for itself; it has a slightly larger area of the public for an audience than I have, unfortunately.
I do not base my objections to the EEC regulations contained in the rules on any prejudice towards foreigners; I hope that no one does. The time has now come for the full facts to be given to the public about how many people are likely to enter this country as a result of this measure. It is not an unusual request; it is a perfectly natural one. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) with whom I very seldom agree, has repeatedly and rightly said that the British public should be told the full facts.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
Perhaps my hon. Friend will go one step further and ask the Government to do something positive. The Government should ensure that on entry these people go to areas which can accommodate them. The trouble arises because they are all gravitating towards areas where there are housing, education and social welfare problems. If the Government would only do something to encourage these people to go to areas where 1389 they can be absorbed they would ease matters.
§ Mr. Davidson
My hon. Friend can go one step further. I shall not go one step further. I have made the plea. My hon. Friend is capable of going one step further if he wishes.
I feel almost embarrassed to refer to the rules, but I intend to do so briefly. I find one or two features about the rules objectionable, and I hope that the Foreign Secretary will deal with them in his reply.
First, I want to ask about the Home Secretary's powers for deporting people on the ground that their presence is not conducive to the public good. I agree that there should be some residual right in the Home Secretary—or any other Minister concerned—to keep or send out of the country people whose presence is clearly undesirable, be they criminals or a threat to security; but there are many other people, particularly businessmen who import undesirable business techniques into this country, whom I should like to see get the boot. However, I believe that they should have a proper right of appeal.
In Committee the Government were reluctant to give any right of appeal in security and political cases. They have now conceded—not just today, but in the Bill—that there should be a right of appeal to what has been colloquially termed the "three wise men". I should like the Foreign Secretary to spell that out a little more clearly. Will those who are to be deported or are to have their cases heard before that tribunal have a right of representation by lawyers or others, and will their cases be fully and completely heard? That is important, because the power to deport is very great. I do not think that any Home Secretary likes having that power and I should not like to give it to him. The present Home Secretary is likely to use it as fairly as any other, but it is not a power which should be given. If it is given, it ought to be used in the minimum number of cases and with the maximum number of safeguards.
The second rule, referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin 1390 (Mrs. Shirley Williams), is the offensive provision of the power to deport the wife of a man who is about to be deported. This is a power to deport somebody who has not committed an offence and whose conduct has in no way been anti-social.
§ Mr. Davidson
As my hon. Friend points out, it is the worst form of guilt by association. It is also treating the woman as a chattel, which, in this day and age, is a litle old hat anyway. In Committee I understood that this power would rarely be used. I am sure that that will be so. I have no doubt that in most cases the wife and other members of the family will want to go with the husband to preserve the family unit, so that leaves very few cases indeed. Why, therefore, in perhaps three or four cases a year at most, is it necessary to inflict this hardship on somebody who has in no way offended and might well have exercised a good influence on the husband?
I notice that this rule, quite rightly, does not apply to a wife who is separated and living apart from her husband. I do not want to put ideas into people's heads, but I think that this could be the greatest inducement to any woman to get rid of her husband and to break up the family unit. It shows that a rule which is itself offensive will always lead to unfair practices. This is a particularly offensive rule. In view of the few cases in which it would apply, I ask the Foreign Secretary seriously to consider whether it is necessary.
There are many other rules which I should like to debate at length, but I should not be popular if I did.
I was interested to hear that the Home Secretary is to set up four channels at Heathrow. That is very good. The immigration laws are chaotic, and it is time that a proper, sensible Bill was introduced—not a Bill of this kind, which should never have come before the House—to put them right. I believe that the chaos at Heathrow at those four channels will be even worse than the chaos that exists in our immigration laws.
§ 8.25 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)
I know that many hon. Members are anxious to have the opportunity to take part in the debate; so I want to refer to three points only, and that briefly. Two have so far not been mentioned in the debate; but they arise directly from the rules. The third leads on to the main preoccupation of most hon. Members who have already spoken in the debate.
First, I want to refer to dependants and the definition of "dependants" under the rules. Since control of Commonwealth immigration was introduced 10 years ago, it has been basic to it that, to put the matter broadly, those who are admitted or are settled in this country shall have the right, under certain conditions, to be accompanied or joined by their wives and children.
In both the 1962 and the 1968 Acts the meaning of "children" in this context was defined by Parliament as children under the age of 16, it being evidently maturely thought that children under the age of 16 could properly be regarded as dependent. Of course, there always was, and there was bound to be, a discretion on the part of the immigration authorities to admit as dependants children who were over the age of 16. Nevertheless, Parliament on two occasions deliberately fixed that age as the limit of dependency; and nothing in our experience of the control of Commonwealth immigration in the last 10 years has suggested that that age was then fixed too low.
In the 1971 Act, under which these rules are made, the right of admission of wives and dependants is, with one exception, left to be implemented by the rules. We therefore turn to the rules to see how that right is to be put into effect. We find that throughout the rules the dependent child is defined as a child under the age of 18. This means, in effect, that administratively, by the rules, a right which was defined previously by Parliament in one way has been redefined in a different way. It is, in a sense, a use of the suspensory power of the Executive to have substituted 18 as the age up to which admission as a dependant can be claimed as of right in the appropriate cases for the age of 16 which 1392 was laid down by Parliament, not once, but repeatedly.
I do not think that this is right. While I do not think the House would wish to deny a discretion in the identification of dependants, I believe that on a matter of such considerable importance, where substantial numbers are involved—not merely in the first instance, but subsequently as a consequence—the rules should not basically alter what was the previous law as established, and twice established, by this House after due debate.
I am aware that under Section 1(4) of the 1971 Act it was accepted, as a result of an amendment in another place, that wives and children of those settled in this country at the time of the Act should be in no worse a position and have no less rights as a result of rules made than they would have done under the previous law. But it was the previous law, the 1962 and 1968 Acts, which defined those rights; and those are the rights which Section 1(4) continued. I hope that this important matter of the definition of a dependent child will be looked at, and looked at again, because the House ought to be jealous about the alterations to its past decisions which these rules represent.
A few days ago I put a Question to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. I asked:whether Pakistan is regarded by Her Majesty's Government as a Commonwealth country.My right hon. Friend the Minister of State replied conclusively and monosyllabically:NO."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th November, 1972 Vol. 846, c. 241.]So over this matter we are in the clear. Since Pakistan is not a Commonwealth country and is not the Republic of Ireland, it is a foreign country, and it follows, also, that those who are citizens of Pakistan under the law of that country are foreign nationals.
In these rules, as has been pointed out several times, foreign nationals are subject to more and different restrictions and different forms of control from other nationals, and very rightly and properly so. I take only two examples. The appendix to the rules for control of entry sets out theforeign countries whose nationals needs visas.1393 It lists "Asia", with the exception of certain countries there set out, which do not include Pakistan. It follows from that that in future Pakistani citizens will require visas to enter this country. Again, under paragraph 31 of the rules for control after entry, the obligation to report to the police is applied to "a foreign national".
There follows from all this a very difficult consequence. During the last ten months the Home Office has repeatedly asserted that Pakistani citizens in this country have the full rights of British subjects; that, for example, they are properly entered on the roll of electors, and that no election offence is committed if they exercise the vote. So one of two equally unthinkable consequences follows. Either those Pakistani citizens who after 1st January enter under these rules are to be in a different position from their fellow countrymen already here—who, under the law of their own country, have exactly the same status—so that the post-January, 1973, entrants are not to vote here, are to report to the police, are to require visas, and so on, whereas the pre-January, 1973, entrants are to be treated exactly as though they were Commonwealth citizens.
Either there is that absurd and intolerable contradiction, or else, if the Home Office asserts that its ruling applies to all those Pakistanis who have passed through which ever gate or channel it may be, we have the ludicrous consequence that those who, in the eyes of Her Majesty's Government as well as in the eyes of their own Government are "foreign nationals" are, by an administrative decision, to be treated in this country as if they were British subjects; that is, as identical with those who are undoubtedly British subjects, of whatever grade or status.
§ Mr. Edward Lyons (Bradford, East)
When South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961, was there not a time when South Africans were aliens to this country? But did they not remain Commonwealth citizens with voting rights in this country until the introduction of the Republic of South Africa (Temporary Provisions) Act? The present Government have not brought in such legislation regarding Pakistan, so that we now have the same situation as we had in South Africa before there was legislation.
§ Mr. Powell
The hon. Member is proving my point. It was because South Africa's becoming a foreign country would otherwise have immediately rendered its citizens in this country aliens that the Temporary Provisions Act had to be passed, and had to have effect from the material date. Indeed, the South African Act is one of the strongest links in this general argument.
What I have just pointed out is one of many illustrations of the truth spoken by the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) when she said, as those of us who have concerned ourselves with these affairs know perfectly well, that our law of citizenship is in a mess. I see that the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) is on the Front Bench opposite. I do not think that he or I would care to recall on how many occasions the argument on successive pieces of legislation has led us both to the conclusion that this country requires a new definition of "citizenship" and that immigration policies, unless they are founded upon a definition and concept of citizenship, are stumbling about in the void.
We have now an intolerable accumulation of legislation on this subject. There is the British Nationality Act, 1948. I was no admirer of many aspects of that Act at the time. However, a quarter of a century has elapsed since that Act was thought appropriate. Immense revolutions have taken place not only in the world but in the relationship of this country with the rest of the world. Therefore, definitions of status and concepts of citizenship which might well have been defensible 25 years ago are worse than useless today. Yet on to that Act, without altering the concepts which it introduced into our law, we have piled first one, then another and now a third Immigration Act, and finally, we have put the EEC on top of the lot.
Every hon. Member taking part in the debate is well aware of the wide and deep sense of public dismay which in recent weeks has been evoked by the realisation, produced by the publication of these rules, of what the situation will be as from the beginning of next year. That dismay has crystallised upon the position, real or supposed, of the citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It often happens that a strong and deep public emotion of this sort latches on to 1395 the wrong provisions in the wrong legislation. The public get the small print wrong. But when the public get the small print wrong, they very often get the heart of the matter right; and public opinion is, in fact, seized of an extremely important and real change which will take place from the beginning of next year.
It is technically true to say that, viewed in isolation, the Australian citizen—I am talking about not the patrial Australian but any Australian who in the eyes of Australia is a citizen of Australia; and they are all the same in the eyes of the law in Australia—has suffered and will suffer no loss of status as a result of the changes in the law which will come into force on 1st January. But status is not an absolute. Surely we all know that? The important thing about status is its relativity. That is true of poverty: poverty is relative. So is status; and the relative status of the citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Canada will fundamentally alter from 1st Janury.
What we have done is to take the reality of citizenship, which is a single, consistent whole—this is what the public will understand—and torn it into two parts. We have said to one set of people "You cannot come in except under certain pretty stringent controls. But, once you are in, you belong to us and you are not distinguishable from anybody else: you have the full rights of a British subject; you can vote, join the police, and have all the other glittering prizes available to British subjects." To another set of people we have said "You can all come in for work", and, as the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) pointed out, "not just a particular job; but in general principle you have a right of free movement and entry. However, once you are in, you are an alien: you cannot vote, or join the services of the Crown, or any of that."
That is an absurdity. The right to enter and leave the realm cannot be dissociated from the other aspects of belonging; it is one of them. If we tear these things apart, we find ourselves in irresolvable difficulties. That is the paradox with which we should be presented on 1st January. It is a paradox deeply wounding and injurious to the Commonwealth citizens—to the citizens of Canada, Australia and New Zealand—but it is 1396 also intolerable to the people of this country, because they know that it does not correspond with reality.
During the debates on the European Communities Bill, as a matter of theory the question of full hearted consent was raised over and over again. Those of us who opposed that bill said—we were only repeating "Our Master's Voice"—that such a thing can only be achieved, and will only stand, if it is wholeheartedly willed by the generality of the nation. Of course, it would have been possible for the people of this country to have felt that they could embrace the citizens of Western European countries and that they were closer to them than to the citizens of Australia and New Zealand. But the fact is that they do not feel that way. They have not "turned away from the open seas", to use the famous phrase which President Pompidou put to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. In this matter, what people do not feel, the way in which they cannot feel, is not capable of being given reality and permanence as an institution.
If Britain's membership of the European Economic Community is not built—and it is not built—on the whole-hearted will and acceptance of the people of this country, then it is built upon sand. Hitherto these statements and discussions have been theoretical. Now we are to see them tested in practice. Even before 1st January we begin to see the first demonstration. The people out of doors do understand. In the end we shall have to hear them.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham)
I believe that I am right in thinking that the hon. Member for Malden (Mr. Brian Harrison) and I are the only two actual Australians in the House, though I think it is also true that there are one or two hon. Members who have sought to become honorary members of Australia in one capacity or another. That being so, perhaps the House will allow me tonight to take off the cap I normally wear as the Member for Feltham and on this occasion wear my Australian cap.
For me, at least, the Motions that we are discussing are not merely a culmination of a long and, as I believe, politically dishonest progress whereby the British people have been led into an 1397 association, the European Economic Community, which the majority of them do not want and, indeed, view with the deepest suspicion. The debate is also for me a moment of deep sadness since it symbolises in a very practical and effective way the end of the Commonwealth relationship between Britain and the country of my birth, a relationship which has not only been productive of great economic benefits in the shape of providing, particularly for the British people, good and cheap food, but has been a source of continuing benefit to our various export drives over the years. It has also played a not inconsequential part in protecting the security of this country in time of war.
§ Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)
Would not my hon. Friend also agree, following on all that he has said—which is so true—that if the Government, and the Prime Minister in particular, had not been so obsessed with the Common Market and had listened to some of the appeals from both sides of the House to call a special conference of Commonwealth countries, many of these problems might have been resolved, and at least we would have acknowledged the great debt we owe them?
§ Mr. Kerr
There will be few hon. Members who could disagree with the infinite wisdom of my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy).
Like my father before me, who fought as a member of the Australian Imperial Forces on the Western Front in the First World War, my first experience of this country was as a Serviceman, as a wartime member of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command flying Lancasters over Germany with, be it noted, a mixed Commonwealth aircrew. It never occurred to most of us who arrived in Britain to play our modest part in winning the anti-Hitler war that there was anything very special in young men 12,000 miles and more away downing tools, or it might be downing pens, and volunteering to playing a part anywhere in the world to win a war which obviously had to be won if the basic decencies of democracy were to be preserved and a new Dark Age was to be avoided. Commonwealth, we acknowledged, not only meant very considerable benefits in both 1398 economic and political terms but also carried with it, we thought in our young, innocent way, many definite responsibilities.
It is not my purpose tonight to dwell on the romantic side of the Commonwealth relationship. Its record as a multiracial grouping of nations which has contributed substantially to world peace needs no special emphasis from me. But what does concern me is the quid pro quo that we have received in exchange for turning our backs on the Commonwealth and its peoples by our decision to join the European Economic Community, which has produced the need for these Motions. According to our European friends—the Euro-fanatics as they are sometimes uncharitably called—this major disruption in our affairs will all be all right in the end because Britain will have new economic opportunities as being part of a bigger market, and, therefore, the economic sacrifice of the Commonwealth is a regrettable but necessary step towards our economic viability.
Time alone will tell whether this turns out to be so, but personally I have the gravest possible doubts and so, more importantly, do an impressive array of top-level columnists who question very seriously whether a nation such as ours, situated on the periphery of Western Europe, with an industrial complex much older and, on average, much less efficient than that of West Germany, Holland and Italy—and joining the Community, let us remind ourselves, some 16 years after the original Six—is likely to be able to offset the major penetration of its own markets by corresponding penetration of Community markets. This, I repeat, is a highly dubious proposition.
What is not in doubt is that the Government, by trying to transplant the homeland of the British Commonwealth into alien soil, have effectively destroyed that Commonwealth. This is not the place to expound upon the ending of Commonwealth Preference and the cheap food policy and the reciprocal easier markets for British exports which was the other side of that same coin. It is sufficient to note in passing that, to its credit, my own country, Australia, saw the writing on the wall a decade ago and by and large has made "other arrangements", which very much—I think regrettably—include the 1399 USA and increasingly Japan and China, but which substantially—I very much regret this—today exclude the United Kingdom.
This is not something that most Australians wanted to see, but they had to face facts. The most prominent of these facts was that, despite ties of kinship which were greatly strengthened by a common peril surmounted in two world wars, Britain or, rather British Governments thought that they saw their salvation in Europe. So, with mixed feelings of sadness and incomprehension, Australia began to go its own way.
Unhappily, our sister Commonwealth nation in the Antipodes, New Zealand, has not been so far-sighted, and still rather pathetically clings to the hope that when the present interim guarantees expire in a couple of years prospects will continue fair. I hope for its sake that it is right. Unfortunately, we in this House know only too well the form of the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, whose capacity for concealing from the House the underlying truth of any situation has been demonstrated on so many occasions, and never more so than on those occasions when he was telling us about the so-called guarantees that he had allegedly extracted for Commonwealth countries from his prospective European partners.
I do not wish to rub salt into the serious economic wounds of our New Zealand cousins, but I devoutly hope that the impending election there will result in a Government a little less gullible and innocent than the one which has just had the cleaners expertly put through it by the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon). Apart from being fine rugby players and splendid farmers, New Zealanders can fairly claim to be among the most loyal of Commonwealth countries, and their likely end at the hands of this Government will, I fear, be a warning and an object lesson to all.
It is bad enough for New Zealanders to have to suffer, along with Australians, Canadians and the rest, the indignity of being denied access to Britain while European Community citizens come and go as they please. What is even worse is to see ruined, through the glib assur- 1400 ances of a smooth-talking political salesman, the work of generations in the shape of one of the world's finest farming communities, which has provided this country, as I said, with good and cheap food for generations and which may well now be facing a period of sharp economic distress. New Zealand surely deserves of us much better than this.
Thus, we face tonight the melancholy spectacle of a great nation which many of us here, born in Commonwealth countries many thousands of miles away, had learned to look up to and even to regard with, perhaps excessive, nostalgia as our homeland, which had, in a relatively short space of time performed the near-miracle of transforming an empire with a dubious past into a meaningful Commonwealth mainly based upon democratic decencies and the rule of law, but which now, because of the short-sightedness and lack of a sense of history of our temporary masters, is about to be sacrificed upon the altar of an alleged larger market for our goods in Western Europe and a wholly spurious internationalism which, in fact, is little more than a rich man's club designed to protect the economic interests of the favoured few of this earth at the expense of that half and more of the world's population who will go to bed hungry tonight.
If this is, indeed, to be the last chapter in the story of the British Commonwealth—I fear that it very nearly is—not only does it fill me with a deep sense of shame and sadness; it makes me angry as well. Speaking on this occasion not only for my constituents and a majority of the British people but also for countless millions of other Britons who, whether by chance or design, live in Commonwealth countries overseas, I deplore the two-faced, mean-minded and shortsighted attitudes which have brought this once proud nation to the abject posture symbolised by the Motions upon which we shall be voting tonight.
I hope that sufficient hon. Members on the Government benches—I begin to doubt this, though, when looking across the Chamber—who pride themselves above all on their patriotism and their loyalty to the Commonwealth ideal will join with me tonight in throwing out a measure which would deny our birthright and brand this once illustrious country as a "dingo" nation, unwilling and afraid 1401 to shoulder the great and noble responsibilities of leading what could still be a major factor in world peace, the British Commonwealth of Nations.
§ 8.56 p.m.
§ Sir Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
I have the greatest respect for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, but I found his speech singularly disappointing. Surely he must be aware—indeed, the whole Government must be aware—of the very deep concern felt by the people of this country and certain Commonwealth countries overseas. Let us be clear as to why there is concern.
It is quite true, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) said, that for Commonwealth citizens coming here, whether or not they have a right of abode, since 1962, the situation has not changed in an absolute sense, except in one very small particular, but it is naive in the extreme to lead us to believe that their relative position will not be changed adversely as a result of the arrangements for European Economic Community nationals who come here after 1st January. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary glossed over that, although I thought that I put the point to him quite clearly. From that day, EEC nationals who mean to take a job or to establish a business in this country will be admitted automatically. The rules are quite explicit on that. No questions will be asked. After six months they will be given residents' permits if they have secured jobs or established businesses.
Let me make it plain that I do not question that provision. It was an obligation which we accepted—or, at least, the majority of us accepted—when we decided to enter the EEC. It is a reciprocal obligation. If EEC nationals come here, our nationals have the right to move freely in the Community. In company with many hon. Members on both sides of the House I happen to believe that this presents great opportunities for our people, but I see no valid reason why the creation of new rights and privileges should be at the expense of older and proven relationships.
It is clear from the flood of telegrams and letters that I have received in the past few days that great numbers of people in this country value their con- 1402 nection with our kinsfolk in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and are praying that the Government will listen to them. Some of the messages I have received are most moving. I do not wish to make any appeal tonight on a basis of sentiment or feeling, but I must say that the flood of messages that I have received has deeply moved me.
I refuse to accept that people of British stock coming her should be treated worse than aliens, but this is happening. Consider the anomalies in the present position. We grant patrial status to an Australian who has a British mother and a Yugoslav father, but we deny it to someone all four of whose grandparents may have been born in this country. A British girl who marries a nonpatrial New Zealander—I have a particular case in mind—and who wishes to go on living here is obliged to leave the country if she wishes to remain with her husband. Is that right? Is it moral?
§ Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
Will the hon. Gentleman explain why, on Report he did not move an appropriate amendment to the patriality clause in the Immigration Bill?
§ Sir Bernard Braine
I am not here to talk about what happened then. There were many discordant voices. If the Government had stuck to their guns, as I wished them to do, and had preserved the grandfather patrial provision we would have covered practically the whole living population of Australia and New Zealand of British stock. The hon. Gentleman need not ask me for the reasons why the Government did not take that course.
§ Mr. Hughes
The hon. Gentleman misunderstands me. He had the opportunity on Report, when the Bill came back from Committee, to make the very point that he is now making. Yet he remained silent and allowed the Bill to go through. Why did he not protest and move an amendment then?
§ Sir Bernard Braine
One might well ask why the other 629 Members did not grasp the point at that time. This is a futile argument.
The hon. Gentleman interrupted me in the middle of an argument based upon the realities of the situation. Consider, too, the insensitive and stupid treatment 1403 of non-patrials by the authorities which operate these rules. I have here details of a number of cases. The House should understand how the present rules are being operated. I quote from a letter written by a former major of the Grenadier Guards—an Australian who served 16 years in the British Army and who arrived back in this country where his family lives and where he has property:There was no passport officer at the barrier marked 'Commonwealth and Irish'. I had the alternative of going through the United Kingdom or the alien barrier. You would be very mistaken to believe that an Australian subject of the Queen will willingly accept the appellation of an alien in that same Queen's Kingdom. I was rejected from the British passport desk by an Indian passport officer and told, so that all could hear, 'You bloody Australians want the best of both worlds'.Why should not this Australian who served in the British Army for 16 years have the best of both worlds? Britons in their turn, providing that they have a clean bill of health and no criminal record, can take a job in Australia or New Zealand without let or hindrance.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon rose—
§ Sir Bernard Braine
I will not give way, because I have a number of illustrations to give and I think that the House would like to hear them. One of my correspondents writes:My local vicar is an Australian. Incidentally, he served nine years on the staff of Westminster Abbey during the 1950s and then spent eight years back in Melbourne and is now back here. His son aged 22 is finishing at his university shortly and then must return to Australia within six months. He happened to be born in Melbourne but has spent practically all the years of his life in this country.Is such treatment necessary? Does it make sense?
Or take the case of a young New Zealand solicitor who is a non-patrial. He writes:I am a solicitor, and normally my wife and I do not dress in what might be regarded as "hippie" fashion. Yet on almost every occasion when we have passed through the Immigration Department on returning from holidays on the Continent we have had an unpleasant experience. A typical occasion was when returning to this country from Holland at Christmas time via Harwich, we were told by the port immigration official on duty that as a married couple we were not allowed in this country on a working holiday and should therefore have approached Immigration singly 1404 and separately. On that occasion we were detained and had to wait with a handful of intending Asian immigrants whose papers were not in order.Finally, let me mention the case of a Member of the other place, a former ADC to Her Majesty, who commanded a British regiment in war and who returned recently from a trip abroad accompanied by two Members of this House. The latter were admitted through the United Kingdom barrier, but because he had an Australian passport he was made to queue up and was asked by an official, whose origin—so far as one could gather—was not from this country, what was his purpose in coming to this country.
That sort of thing is happening every day of the week. I want an assurance tonight that such administrative stupidities will be brought to an end. As long as treatment of this kind is handed out to people of British stock, who in my view have every right to come to this country, the Government cannot expect me to give my approval to these draft rules.
For me the matter does not end there. It is not just sentiment that causes me to reject the idea that Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders should be treated less favourably than EEC nationals, although I am not unmindful of the sacrifices that people from Australia, New Zealand and Canada have readily made when our country has been in peril since the beginning of the century. But it is my profound belief, as a Commonwealth man, that in the long run it is in our own interest and that of the enlarged Community that we should not damage connections with our kinsfolk overseas, which spring from a common race and language, natural affinities, and a good deal of shared experience in good times and bad.
There is a way out of this dilemma, if the Government have the will to take it. It is to accept the principle of reciprocity of treatment. It happens that Australia, Canada and New Zealand are all lands not only where Britons have settled in large numbers but where it has been the deliberate policy of successive Governments in this country, certainly since the Empire Settlement Act, 1922, to encourage them to settle. Indeed, the Australian and New Zealand Governments contributed by giving assisted passages. Over 1405 many years taxpayers' money here has been voted in support of this policy. It is that which distinguishes Canada, Australia and New Zealand from other Commonwealth countries.
To be fair to the Government, they originally proposed a patriality provision which would have extended to persons with a grandparent born in this country. Had that provision been accepted and not struck out of the 1971 Bill, practically all Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders of British stock would have been covered.
My proposal is that we should have the courage to recognise what has been reality all along, namely, that since 1922 at least it has been recognised that there is a special relationship in this field between ourselves and certain other countries. Since 1946 over 2 million Britons have emigrated from this country to Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
I am very glad to hear from the Home Secretary that the Government have taken the advice of some of my hon. Friends to enter into negotiations with Commonwealth Governments. But the Home Secretary did not spell out exactly what form those negotiations will take. Will they be with all Commonwealth Governments, or, as the Motion that I put down—signed by many hon. Members—suggests, with the three Governments most closely concerned? What are the discussions to be about? My Motion suggests that they should be about the principle of reciprocity, because that is what the public in this country expect the Government to discuss.
It is essential, before we make up our minds on what we should do tonight, that my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary makes absolutely plain what the discussions will be about. For my part, at least, on the strength of that I shall decide what to do.
What I have proposed cannot be regarded as discriminatory against the new Commonwealth countries, for they are not countries of British settlement. They do not offer our citizens reciprocal rights. It is perfectly understandable that they do not do so, and I have no criticism of them on that score.
Indeed, we have already discriminated in the matters that we are discussing 1406 tonight. We discriminated long ago, when we recognised citizens of the Irish Republic—which is outside the Commonwealth and, in a technical sense, is a foreign country—and accepted that they should have the full privileges of citizenship in this country, including the vote. I do not question that at all, because the Irish are one of the mother races of the British empire and Commonwealth.
Second, we discriminated in favour of Gibraltar. If we could discriminate in favour of Gibraltar, why not in favour of Australia, New Zealand and Canada? Third, in the 1971 Act we discriminated by extending the patrial provision from reference only to a father born in this country to reference also to a mother born in this country.
The Government have clearly breached their election pledges in respect of immigration. I make no complaint on that score, but if they accept the suggestion which I have made they will have widespread support, certainly from these benches and, I believe, from the country as a whole. I again urge them to withdraw these draft rules, otherwise I cannot find it in my heart to support them in the Lobby tonight.
§ 9.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Archer (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
This is a narrow debate, and we are subject again to that pressure of time which sits constantly upon our proceedings in the House. Were it otherwise, I should be tempted to comment on some of the interesting questions which have already been raised, and, in particular, to join issue with the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) on his theory of the position, in private international law, of Pakistani citizens. I suspect that he was having a little fun with us, since he knows very well that the definition of British citizenship stems from the British Nationality Act, 1948—which he himself mentioned—and that the countries to which it applies are listed by name in Section 1(3). Pakistan is there, and that remains the law of this country.
§ Mr. Powell
So on that assumption the hon. and learned Gentleman is agreeing that the nationals of a nation which we say is a foreign nation are in this country British subjects? As long as 1407 he admits that absurdity I shall not bother about the details.
§ Mr. Archer
For once, I find myself in the unusual position of being wholly in agreement with the right hon. Gentleman. I go further—I am wholly in agreement with him when he goes on to conclude from that that we urgently need an overhaul of the whole of our citizenship laws. In that respect we both agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams). However, as I said at the outset, I shall resist the temptation to pursue that and similar issues because the question of our citizenship laws, the need to permit greater freedom of movement among nations, and the need to produce a kindlier and more hospitable world, are matters which we must debate on another occasion. I only hope that the Leader of the House will take due note of the fact that this is a narrow question, and that there are much wider issues which many of us wish to debate.
§ Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)
Before my hon. and learned Friend leaves the question of the law and embarks upon the politics of the matter, may I take up one point? He has mentioned the British Nationality Act, 1948. That Act has given me considerable trouble in a recent matter about which I have been trying to knock some sense into the Foreign Office. Is he aware that under that Act it is sometimes difficult for a British subject, of British birth and of British parents, who has been in the Services abroad—the situation of a constituent of mine—to obtain a British passport? [Interruption.] I am not blaming anyone, and I am not making a party political point.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member or Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) is making an intervention. Mr. Archer.
§ Mr. Archer rose—
§ Mr. Price
I would have been brief and I would have finished by now if it had not been for the rude interjection by the Prime Minister. I put it on record that a British person who has served in 1408 both World Wars—in the Navy in the first and in the Army in the second—was denied a British passport until I took up his case with the Foreign Office.
§ Mr. Archer
I am sure that my hon. Friend is right. But I have one eye on the clock. My hon. Friend's comments all stemmed from what I regarded as an innocent comment that this was too narrow a debate. We would like an opportunity for a wider debate, and I look forward to that occasion, when my hon. Friend will be able to develop his argument.
Tonight I confine myself to four very narrow points on four specific rules. They all relate to what were referred to earlier as civil rights matters. I do not care whether they apply, on any specific occasion, to someone from the old Commonwealth, someone from the new Commonwealth or someone from the EEC. In my book they apply to human beings, and they relate to those human rights which all of us here would claim for ourselves. If these matters are regarded as Committee points it is because, unhappily, there is no Committee stage. The first relates to Rule 41 of the rules governing control on entry. Among other things, that rule sets out the circumstances in which a child might be admitted to join a single parent in this country.
The first of these situations is where the other parent is dead. That is understandable. The second is where the parent in the United Kingdom has had sole responsibility for the child's upbringing. One might have thought that that meant sole responsibility as between the two parents; that it related to the situation where the other parent had abdicated responsibility for the child, but, as I understand it, it has been interpreted by immigration officers as excluding the situation where anyone else has at any time shared in the responsibility for the upbringing, of the child. If the grandparents have ever lent a hand, the child is excluded from the benefit of the rule. I hope that the Government can take these rules back and—assuming that the rule in question did mean what, in common humanity, it should mean, rephrase it so that in future it is interpreted accordingly.
The third situation in which the child may be admitted to join a single parent 1409 is where, because of family or other considerations, exclusion is undesirable. The rule offers one instance as an example. It says—as an example—that exclusion is undesirable where the other parent is incapable of looking after the child. That has been interpreted for some reason not as an example but as a ground for excluding all cases which fall outside it, so that where the other parent is capable of looking after the child but has deliberately abdicated responsibility and lost interest in the child, the child, having already been deprived of one parent, is precluded from being cared for by the only parent who offers parental affection
If those two instances stood alone they would be examples of sheer heartlessness, and in my book would justify voting against the rules tonight.
I come now to Rule 43, which provides for the admission of dependent parents over the age of 65. Many of those affected come from countries where people are physically worn out in their mid-fifties, and, where, normally, they retire and look to their children to keep them at an age at which in this country a man is very much in his prime. The result of that rule is that many of them are not likely to be admitted before they are dead.
I was told today that the expectation of life in India at the age of birth is only 57. In most Indian states people in the Government service retire automatically at 55. Even in this country there is pressure for earlier retirement, so that folks can enjoy a period of ease while they are young enough to be active. But some of us can recall a time, only in the 1930s when, in conditions of undernourishment and the absence of medical attention, people were retiring in their fifties not to enjoy life but simply because their health had broken. There are still countries suffering from that degree of undernourishment and lack of medical attention.
If we turn to Rule 44, which relates to other distressed relatives, we find the following exception at the end:The concession should not be extended to other relatives or to people below 65 save in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances.There is no equivalent provision in Rule 43. That seems to entail that parents under the age of 65 are not to be ad- 1410 mitted, even in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
I can add to that. The appeal tribunal has ruled that that is its understanding of the rules, with the result that even in the most distressing circumstances parents from abroad who are quite unable to work and who have not yet reached 65 cannot be allowed to enter unless the Secretary of State uses his residual discretion, which is not appealable.
§ Mr. Archer
I am most grateful to my hon. Friend. That is an instance of what has happened to individuals, and I know it is a matter that my hon. Friend regards as being of considerable importance that, although the discretion of the Secretary of State is appealable, his refusal to exercise his discretion to override the rules is not regarded as being in itself discretion, and therefore it is beyond appeal and none of the appeal provisions apply to it.
With one eye on the clock, I turn briefly to Rules 23 and 24, which apply to au pair girls. When we are trying to eliminate discrimination, I am not clear why there is no such creature as an au pair boy. I do not see why a young man who wants to come to England to learn English and is prepared to lend a hand knocking in nails—a job which, in my house, is always waiting for the next parliamentary recess—should be precluded from doing so.
All that is required for the admission of an au pair is that the immigration officeris satisfied that an 'au pair' arrangement has been made".It may be of the loosest nature—one in which each side is completely vague about its obligations and expectations. After the au pair has arrived there is, so far as I am aware, no provision for supervision.
The relevant rules for control after entry—Nos. 17 and 18—make no provision for anyone going to see what has happened in the working out of the arrangement. No one asks whether the au pair is happy, whether she has been turned out of the house the day after arriving, or whether she has walked out—[Interruption.] Some Conservative Members seem to find that amusing, but we have heard most disturbing stories that 1411 girls have discovered on arrival at a house that they are expected to share it with a single male, or that because they have come home late they have been turfed out without notice and without the opportunity of packing their things, though, happily, this does not happen on many occasions. There are Conservative Members who take a more serious view of the matter, including the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dame Joan Vickers), who has a very distinguished record in this respect.
Why do the Government persist in their refusal to insist that there should be a clear written agreement before someone is admitted for au pair purposes? There has been drafted by the Council of Europe a convention on au pairs which the Government have declined to ratify. We have still not been told why, although there have been several vague parliamentary answers. The Government are refusing to accept responsibility for the people they have admitted. If our daughters were in a similar position we might find it disturbing.
Rule 58, happily, preserves that tradition of political asylum in which Britain has a most distinguished record. But how is that rule to be reconciled with Rule 69, which states that a person may be refused leave to enter on the ground that his exclusion is conducive to the public good? Recently, two officers from Morocco sought asylum in Gibraltar. Although they claimed that if they were returned to Morocco they would face a capital charge, they were returned. It was never explained in what way their presence was otherwise than conducive to the public good, but they were returned, protesting that they would face a death sentence. They were, and they did—to the eternal discredit of the authorities who returned them.
The Press has speculated lavishly on the politics of this debate. It has been predicted that various sections of the House would haves particular axes to grind and would vote accordingly in the Lobbies. This may be a political question, but it relates to men and women, families and individuals. All they ask is to be permitted to live as families in peace, in a way which we take for granted. In rejecting these rules tonight the House will 1412 demonstrate that we care about the way in which people live.
§ 9.27 p.m.
§ Sir Paul Bryan (Howden)
I count myself among those hon. Members who are genuinely disturbed that our immigration policy and these rules in particular are doing a lot to sour our relations with the old Commonwealth. That is brought about as much by a misunderstanding of the rules as by the rules themselves. I understand those misgivings. I have three brothers and sisters who have spent most of their lives in Canada, and about a month ago I came back from a visit to my sister in Australia. She is married to an Australian who served with distinction in our Royal Air Force in the war. I therefore have heard it all at first hand.
Nevertheless, concerned as one is, the best way to show that concern is certainly not by voting against the rules tonight. To do so would be to show complete confusion as to what the rules are about and from where they came.
The Bill that gave rise to the rules was given a Second Reading in March, 1971. Its main object was to control immigration; to control coloured immigration—let that be quite clear. It was not said so in print because we are sensitive about these things. But early in his speech the Home Secretary of the day said that the purpose of the Bill was to "help with our community problems." That is exactly what he meant.
The Bill was passed by a majority of 30, and it implemented one of our election pledges.
The rules are the logical outcome of the Act; and if put into force they will produce the effect at which the Act was aiming—the control of immigration.
While achieving its objective, without harm to the present position of our friends in the old Commonwealth. Had the Bill gone through in its original form it would have been more advantageous to them because the patrial clause in the unamended Bill was stronger, and some millions more citizens in the old Commonwealth would have had patrial status.
We are continually told by those who know more than I do that the state of our law of citizenship is in great disarray. If it is in such disarray that we cannot have it theoretically correct, let us at 1413 least see that it works and copes with the realities of the situation. Great play has been made comparing the position of Commonwealth citizens with those from the EEC. We have had fanciful statements about floods of citizens from EEC countries coming here and receiving a great welcome while the door is shut to our Commonwealth relations. At a more moderate level the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) made the same comparison.
What sort of flood will come? I hope that the Foreign Secretary will give us as good an estimate as he can of the numbers of immigrants we are expecting from the EEC countries. I believe there will be practically none. Why do people leave their home country to work in another?
There are three obvious reasons. They may leave for higher wages, in search of a higher standard of living, because jobs are easier to get or because the climate is better—as in California, where the population has doubled every 20 years.
Perhaps 20 years ago people might well have come from other countries to the United Kingdom because of better wages, but not today. Wages in this country are slightly below the average of the EEC countries.
§ Sir P. Bryan
Our wages are certainly below such countries as Germany and Sweden. As for jobs, in the last five years it has been easier to get a job on the continent than in this country. People are unlikely to find our climate attractive.
If hon. Members really think they will came, will they say which industries will attract them? At the moment 57,000 immigrants come from Europe every year to work here. Well over half are employed in the service, restaurant and hotel trades. Only about 4,500 apply for work in industry The numbers of applicants went down by 29 per cent. last year. It can be seen that there is no trend in the direction some hon. Members have suggested, and I feel certain this influx will not materialise. The flow is growing in the other direction. We cannot get figures from all the countries, but recent figures from the German census showed that 1414 15,000 skilled Englishmen are working in the industry there.
My hon. Friends who say that they will vote against these rules are really saying to the Government "Take these away and bring them back in 40 days, improved to our taste." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not think that is a good plan; not much can be done in 40 days. The rules as they are are effective in carrying out the main object of the Act. As to their defects I prefer the assurance of my right hon. Friend that he will start, with Commonwealth Governments, discussions at ministerial level. I hope that when he does so he will not fail to stress and acknowledge our special ties with the old Commonwealth.
I would have talked about reciprocity, because I believe that is where the most hopeful policy lies, but my hon. Friend the Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) has already done that extremely effectively, and I leave those thoughts with the Foreign Secretary. A policy of reciprocity would work out in favour of the old Commonwealth as regards numbers. Some people may say that we are discriminating in favour of the white Commonwealth.
§ Sir P. Bryan
People in many places will probably say that we are discriminating by race. However, our record in racial matters is so good that we can stand up to any charges of that kind, especially after this Government's record on the whole question of the Ugandan Asians.
I am extremely glad that the debate is to be wound up by the Foreign Secretary. He was a most distinguished, humane and admirable Commonwealth Secretary, and no one understands the Commonwealth better. I look forward to his assurances.
§ 9.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Lyons (Bradford, East)
The Immigration Act, which has given birth to these rules, was born in the Conservative Party's manifesto and was supposed to reassure the British people about immigration. I should like to ask the Foreign Secretary how the Act and the rules will affect immigration into this country in terms of what went before.
1415 The streams of immigration into this country are not large, but they fall into easily discernible categories. One is the stream of dependants. Nothing in the Act or in the rules, if the Government's assurances are to be believed, affects the rights of dependants of Commonwealth citizens to come here. Last year 28,000 of the 38,000 Commonwealth citizens and United Kingdom East African Asians who came here were dependants. If we take out dependants from the reckoning in the rules and the Act we are talking about a small number of people.
The next group covers United Kingdom East African Asian citizens who, although not Commonwealth citizens, are now lumped in with them in the statistics. Excluding the recent Ugandan crisis, they are coming in at a rate of about 12,000 a year. Excluding dependants and United Kingdom East African non-dependent adults, a very small number of people is entering this country.
For example, the official statistics for the first six months of this year show that total immigration into Britain of Commonwealth citizens and East African Asians—black, white and brown—was 18,104. Of those, 6,000 East African Asians came in with British passports, which brought the number down to 12,000 Commonwealth immigrants. Of those, 1,250 or 1,300 were Australian, New Zealand and Canadian. Therefore, we are running down to comparatively low figures—about 10,500—in the first six months of this year. Excluding the dependants and the East African United Kingdom citizens who are not affected in any substantial way by the rules or the Act, astonishingly enough we come down to 2,421 non-dependent Commonwealth adults coming in in the first six months of this year.
Taking out what I call the ANZAC element because many people do not seem to object to or regard them as in any way dangerous, on the Government's figures we get down to 1,860 in the first six months of this year.
As the Act and the rules do not operate on dependants and East African Asians, presumably the Government's object was to do something about immigration by operating on employment vouchers. The rules and the Act do not come into 1416 force until 1st January, 1973. Yet in the first six months of this year, using the present system, only 826 Commonwealth employment vouchers were issued, and of those 230 were issued to the ANZAC countries. Fewer than 600 employment vouchers were issued to the new Commonwealth under the old system. That is 1,200 in a year. The Government say that they will cut out employment vouchers—which will save 1,200 vouchers in a year—and replace them with work permits. It is clear that, although there is provision for 8,500 people to come in on employment vouchers, the total entry this year under the existing legislation will be a fraction of that figure.
The Government are clearly issuing employment vouchers—there is no appeal against the refusal of one—only where the case for granting one is 100 per cent. That is precisely the sort of case in which the Government will issue work permits next year. The fact is that the Act and the rules do not affect net immigration into this country, but in order to justify what they have put in their manifesto, the Government invented a polyglot Act with patrials, nonpatrials and various classifications. Not only should the rules be taken back and reconsidered, but the Act, too, should undergo the same treatment because it was a fraud on hon. Gentlemen opposite who supported it.
The reasons for opposing these rules are not that the Australians are said to be affected. I do not see how an Australian will find it more difficult to come to this country next year than he did this year or last year. I say that because the EEC rules affect only people coming here to work. If an Australian wants to work here he will find himself at a disadvantage compared with someone from an EEC country, but if he wants to come here as a visitor he will be able to do so quite freely.
As the Australian present position will not be affected by the rules in any fundamental way, I cannot see why the points that have been raised today were not raised during the last year or two. Only 1,000 vouchers will be issued this year to Australians and New Zealanders to work here, which shows either that they have been discriminated against for years or 1417 that few of them want to work here. That being so, I feel that those who have been speaking for them have not fully understood the effect of the rules. Many of the speeches tonight have been based on anything but a close study of them.
I can understand hon. Members objecting to EEC nationals coming here to take jobs. If that is the basis of their objection, that is an argument for objecting to the increased right of members from EEC countries coming here to work, and not an argument for more Australians and New Zealanders being allowed in to take jobs in this country. A person in Britain would not understand the difference between his job being taken by an Australian and his job being taken by a Frenchman. One would have thought that the argument more logically would have been against the new EEC advantage and not in favour of allowing increased Australian labour, and I therefore do not understand the basis on which the case is put.
The rules offend civil liberties. Reference has been made to the rule under which a wife and children can be deported because the husband is being deported. It is clear that that rule will not affect many people. That is why the Government should think again about it. They can afford to be generous in this instance. It is interesting to note that no dependant will be subject to deportation if the breadwinner has been here for more than five years. In other words, we are talking about people who have come here since 1st January, 1968; that is, in the five years up to 1st January, 1973. No breadwinner from the Commonwealth can be deported under the new Act if he arrived before 1st January, 1968. Therefore, his wife and children are safe. Since then only 18,000 adult breadwinners from the Commonwealth have been allowed into this country with employment vouchers. That is roughly 4,000 a year from 1st January, 1968, until the end of 1972. There has been a fall this year. Substantially only those 18,000 breadwinners are liable for deportation under the Act. Many are Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians.
In five years only 7,600 Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh and West Indian male adult voucher holders have been allowed into the country. Therefore, the Act will 1418 mean that for a range of offences any of these 7,600 could be eligible for deportation. The rules and the Act say that when a person has been here for five years up to the date of conviction in respect of which he is liable to be deported, or when a person has been here five years altogether, he becomes free of the risk of deportation. That means that on 1st January, 1974, a quarter of the 7,600 will drop out as they will no longer be eligible.
Within five years no person at present resident in this country, nor his dependants, will be eligible for deportation under the rules and the Act. The rules create a situation where if a man arrived here four years ago with a wife and child and he has a child born here—for example, last year—and he is ordered to be deported, his wife and elder child can be deported but as the baby is a United Kingdom citizen by birth it has the right to stay. The parents could take the child away but they would not be obliged to do so. Consequently, this provision can divide families. The Government should reword the rules to make the situation a little easier.
It is true that if someone has settled here by a trick—for example, a person who has exceeded his limited stay here and by a further trick gets his wife and children in—his family will be eligible with him for deportation. However, it is unlikely that there will be many such cases. It would be interesting to know how many families would have been deported if the Government had had this power in the last five years. That might give us a guide for the future. Certainly in the future decreasing numbers will provide little opportunity for such action. In five years the deportation rules will be dead in respect of these people.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the next speaker, I remind the House that if speeches are restricted to about seven minutes each I can call every hon. Member who I think should be called.
§ 9.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)
This morning The Times got the point of this debate in persective when, in its leading article, it said that this wasThe price we pay for hypocrisyand referred to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act. 1962, which is the beginning 1419 of all the trouble which we have been debating. In that Act no differentiation was made between the old and the new Commonwealth, despite many representations which were made to Ministers and many objections which were raised. The result was that we lost many friends overseas, we angered our friends in the old Commonwealth, and we did not grasp the nettle of the social problem that we were facing in this country as a result of immigration.
I oppose the Motion and intend to vote against it unless we are given very strong assurances by the Government, because it tends to codify a situation which I resent and which was brought about by the 1962 Act and subsequent Acts, and because it gives preference to a number of groups of people over people and members of the old Commonwealth with whom we have always had a special relationship.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said that certain regulations and administrative arrangements were being made to make it simpler for people from the old Commonwealth to come to this country. It was said that they were allowed to come here originally for six months a a time. However, my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) confirmed what I have found in a number of instances—that young people from the old Commonwealth are allowed in for two months at a time and then must have their passports endorsed.
Over the last 18 months things have become very much tougher for young Commonwealth migrants or visitors to this country. This has led to it being extremely difficult for them to obtain first-class jobs. A large number of young Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians have been working in the City of London and in industrial firms. These people, furthering their professional experience, have returned to their own countries and have tended, in their business dealings, to be oriented by and to purchase British products. But, as the regulations are drafted, they are at a disadvantage compared with people who come from Europe.
Much has been made of the emotional and sentimental arguments adduced in 1420 some newspapers and in what people have said. But we must look at the hard cash reasons for allowing young Commonwealth people freedom to come to this country and enjoy the special relationships and special positions which they previously enjoyed by means of the working holiday. That will not operate if a restriction of two months or six months is put on them. They must be allowed a reasonable period from the word "go", and should not have their passports endorsed periodically.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Lane)
My hon. Friend is making a case concerning the restriction on young visitors from the old Commonwealth who wish to come to this country. Will he take it from me that the number of cases in which such people have been allowed in for less than six months over the last few years is infinitesimal? My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary confirmed today that the working holiday arrangements, to which we attach just as much importance as my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Brian Harrison), will, under the rules, continue entirely unaffected from 1st January next year. I wished to make the position clear in order to avoid misunderstanding.
§ Mr. Harrison
I am most grateful for that intervention, but I hope that the period for which these people will be allowed to stay will be on the two- or three-year basis of about 18 months ago, and that they will not have their passports endorsed for a six-months' stay as they are at present.
§ Mr. John Fraser
The hon. Gentleman makes his point about the old Commonwealth, but why should his argument not apply with equal force to a country like Jamaica, which has had a longer association with this country than has had Australia, and was, indeed, a colony of this country before Australia was even discovered?
§ Mr. Harrison
The important thing in relation to the old Commonwealth countries is our reciprocity over migration. Those older countries take emigrants from Britain, and we should be prepared to take short-term or reasonable-term immigrants from them.
1421 These rules put us in a most ridiculously anomalous position with regard to some of our colonial territories. For instance, a number of French territories and some Dutch territories will be able to send people directly or indirectly into the United Kingdom. People from Guadaloupe will be able to go to France and then come into the United Kingdom, or come straight into the United Kingdom, because Guadaloupe is a department of France. The same thing applies to Martinique, Reunion and French Guiana as well as to some of the Dutch territories. How ridiculous it will be for British subjects in the Seychelles to find people from Martinque and Réunion able to enter Britain more easily, with less restriction, than can old Commonwealth people, or even they themselves.
The hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) missed making the point that in the previous rules of entry—and it is a very personal matter to both of us—Members of the United Kingdom Parliament were to be admitted without hestitation. This provision, I notice, has been removed, so perhaps when one of us wants to go out of the country we must both go, because of a fear that the one might be kept from returning and so upset the Government's majority.
A simple way in which the whole matter can be dealt with is, if we can, to put those countries which take our emigrants into exactly the same position as that referred to in the statement on the common travel area. In other words, people from the areas that have had settlers under the Empire Settlement Act should be allowed into a travel area as defined in the rules—that is, the common travel area comprising the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and islands which are associated with this country. if such an arrangement is to be pursued by our Government I will be prepared to support them tonight, but I shall not do so unless there is a very firm undertaking that it will be done.
§ 9.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
My opposition to the rules we are now discussing has nothing whatever to do with my opposition to the European Economic Community. In fact, the only thing on the credit side of our entry into the EEC is the easier exchange of 1422 nationals that will be permitted between the different countries. Had this provision been tied up with the freer movement of people from the Commonwealth to Britain and into the EEC we might have been beginning to think about a Socialist case for joining the Community.
It is quite disgraceful that we should be taking action against Commonwealth people and putting them at a very great disadvantage compared with EEC nationals.
What upsets me about the non-patrial Commonwealth citizen who comes here to work is that he is first allowed to come here for 12 months on a work permit. His ability to stay for any longer period will depend entirely on the report that he gets from his employer. What would happen to any active trade unionist from the Commonwealth, a non-patrial, who kicked up a fuss about wages and conditions? His employer could say "We know what to do with him—out he goes, back to where he came from." This is one of the most sinister aspects of the rules. It is wrong that employers should have such a strong power over workers, wherever they come from. If the Government are defeated tonight, I hope that they will at least be prepared to change that.
I ask hon. Members opposite who disagree with us about the patriality provisions to realise that they themselves bear some responsibility. When the Bill came back from Committee, they remained silent. It is a bit much for them tonight to attack people who reduced patriality from the grandfather down to the father or mother on the ground that they disagreed with it. If they disagreed with it, they might at least have raised it on the Floor of the House.
There is a lot of false emotion about the patrial. I have often asked myself why there are no patrial aliens. We have patrial Commonwealth citizens. Often we have trotted out here, especially from hon. Members opposite, remarks about how the Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders fought on the British side in two world wars, particularly the latter. There are aborigines in Australia who fought during the war and they have no patrial rights. There are Maoris in New Zealand who fought in the war and who also have no patrial rights—never 1423 mind the Indians and the people from Ceylon and other parts of the world.
What will happen to a British citizen who leaves this country and emigrates to the United States, who may have had an excellent war record? He may keep up his ties with his homeland as much as anyone in the Commonwealth. Because one of his children is born in the United States, that child will have no right of patriality. There is no logic about this. It is a matter of emotion and of whom one wants to get into this country and whom one does not.
I hope that the Prime Minister will be told that people other than English people died during the last war. Many Scotmen were bitterly upset when he kept talking at the Remembrance Day Service about "England's fallen dead". There were Scotsmen, Irishmen and Welshmen too who died, as well as other people from the Commonwealth.
One of the most damaging features of these rules is family deportation. It is nonsense that even when a woman is able and willing to look after and support her family she will be deported from this country with the children. It is an even bigger nonsense when the majority of the children are United Kingdom citizens by birth. Is it not nonsense to have the power to deport someone at the age of five when at the age of 18 he will be able to come back with an automatic right of entry? Is it not nonsense to be able to deport them at 15, perhaps, when in three years they can automatically return? I do not see how the Government can square that with any sort of compassion.
Among the categories of people exempt from conditions of entry, in addition to businessmen, are religious leaders, under paragraph 27. I would ask the Home Secretary to take one point particularly on board. I understand that in the Islamic and Hindu faiths there is great concern that a number of their religious leaders should have been subjected to severe restrictions while the members of the Christian faith are allowed into this country freely because they happen to wear the requisite clerical collar. I hope that the conditions of religious leaders will be taken into account and that this will be put right at immigration level.
1424 This whole business was properly exposed by the right hon. Member for Howden (Sir P. Bryan) who said that the whole basis of the 1968 and 1971 Acts was to prevent coloured immigration to this country. He at least was honest. Many hon. Members opposite share that feeling but do not express it openly.
I hope that tonight we shall send these rules back, because they are utterly inhumane. Let us contrast the possibility of a worker who comes to this country being tied to his employer with, for example, a businessman who comes here on a visit and is allowed to carry out his business as he wishes.
For the reasons I have stated, I hope that we shall oppose the rules, but not simply on the basis that they will allow free access of people from the EEC.
§ 10.5 p.m.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)
I shall accede to your request, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for the shortest possible speeches.
I was glad to hear my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary make the point that there has been a great deal of exaggerated emotive opposition to these rules in certain sections of the Press and elsewhere. Having said that, let us acknowledge that there has also been a good deal of special pleading on the other side of the argument, to which some of us have been subjected. We have, for instance, been told that all we are doing in these rules is to follow our pledge in "A Better Tomorrow", which it would be quite wrong to breach.
Passing lightly over the reflection that those pledges have not proved wholly sacrosanct, page 24, which is the main, new immigration feature of "A Better Tomorrow", says,We will establish a new single system of control over all immigration from overseas.We have already broken that pledge. We have made an exception, an administrative exception, in the case of Gibraltar. I thoroughly applauded it. We have also made an exception in the case of patrials, about which we all know, even though they may be currently one generation away as opposed to two. Tonight we shall be making an exception in connection with the European Economic Community. So already that pledge is broken, and I cannot see why if common sense 1425 demands it, we cannot vary it more from now on.
A little further down on the same page we were told that work permits in future for permanent settlements of Commonwealth immigrants here would not include dependants. We all know that that restriction was included in the original Immigration Bill in 1971 and was overturned in the other place, and that dependants are now included for future immigrants as well as past immigrants. There have been these two changes, and, whatever view one takes, I hope that we shall hear nothing more of the fact that certain pledges made in 1971 must remain irrevocable because they have already clearly proved to be not irrevocable.
There are two obvious ways out of the difficulties that we face. First, we were defeated by only two votes in Committee on the question of extending patriality to two generations; in other words, to any one father or mother or to any one grandfather or grandmother. Had the Government shown the same readiness to make amendments in the other place in this matter, which they did not make in this House, as they did in other cases we should not be in this mess tonight. Everyone knows that to be so.
There would be nothing whatever wrong in the Government now attempting, in a very short amendment, to return to what they were saying, which is to extend patriality as they originally desired. This is not a rebel movement It is simply saying to the Government "You ought now to do what you ought to have done and what you said you would do in the first place."
If there are any hon. Members present—as there appear to have been—who say that this is racialist—[Interruption.] I should like to make my speech without silly interruptions which only bear the possibility of antagonising me.
With regard to the accusations that patriality is racial in concept and that to return to grandparents would be even more racialist, I should like to quote what was said in Committee on the Immigration Bill by the then Home Secretary, which was not differed from by the Opposition spokesman:This principle—1426 of patriality—has been adopted Governments—of all political complexions—over many years. The precedents for giving special consideration to ancestral connection appear in the 1968 Act—when the Labour Party was in power—and in the various independence Acts during the past 20 years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 30th March, 1971; c. 157.]Apart from the 1968 Act, which applied precisely these criteria, it is a fact that all independence Acts during the last 20 years have given a special position to anyone whose father or grandfather was born in the United Kingdom. So let us have less humbug from the benches opposite to the effect that patriality has introduced any new aspect of racialism when they put into every independence Act precisely the aspect that they have been describing as racial.
If the Government do not see their way to introducing a one-clause Bill which would do no more than restore the position which they, after all, put before the House and which they could have put back in the Lords and carried through here after if they had shown the same enthusiasm in that regard as they have for many of the other contentious measures that they have pushed through the House in the last 12 months—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear hear."]—I am all for being consistent. If the Government want their programme to get through they should have all parts of their programme and not select bits and pieces of it.
In the Lords the Government made two changes in the Immigration Bill which they apparently found impossible in this instance of patriality. In one case they did what many of us would have liked, which was to remove the necessity for Commonwealth immigrants to register with the police. We discussed this matter at great length in Committee, and at that time the Government insisted that Commonwealth immigrants had to register with the police. When the Bill went to the Lords the Government took that provision out. Today the Government are patting themselves on the back for the fact that Commonwealth citizens do not have to register with the police. That is an example of Satan rebuking sin if anyone wants one.
1427 My second suggestion for dealing with this difficult problem is that it he dealt with administratively. It could be done simply as we have in the case of Gibraltar, by our saying that these rules should not apply in certain instances where there is reciprocity and where there is no inward pressure of large numbers of people coming here. This could be done easily.
Finally, those of us who are unhappy about the Bill and who are still looking for some reassurance from my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary which will enable us to support him in the Lobby are not the rebels. We are those who are asking the Government to stand by the programme which they put before the House more than a year ago.
§ 10.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
The only fair and honest way to conduct any kind of immigration policy is the one that most moderate countries apply, namely, that their citizens shall have free right of access and everyone else shall be subject to some kind of control. We have always got ourselves into a mess because for as long as one can remember there has not bum a British law of citizenship which applied a simple test.
Therefore, everyone will agree that to get out of the present mess we must have a new law of citizenship. When that was said by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) there was general assent among hon. Members on the Government benches. However, it does not get us out of the problem, because once a definition of these citizens has been given we shall take away British citizenship as we know it—namely, citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies—from a large number of people who have no other citizenship.
This means that this action can be taken only with the consent of other countries in which those people now live and which are prepared to grant to them their citizenship. That can be done only by a Commonwealth conference, where all these problems can be ironed out. That is a long way ahead. Meanwhile, we must live with these rules.
Living with a mess, how can we best rationalise it so that we treat people 1428 coming here who are not citizens, as that word is now defined—namely, those who have a right of abode—in a way which is equal and fair?
These rules are not simply general instructions given to immigration officers, which they can apply according to their discretion; they have the force of law for the purpose of appealing to the tribunal. Under the appeals provisions of the Immigration Act the tribunal is empowered to allow appeals, where a discretion is granted by these rules, if they think that the immigration officer has wrongly exercised that discretion. But if these rules contain no room for discretion—if they explicitly rule out any application by the applicant, or do not mention a situation in which the applicant could hope to bring himself into this country—the tribunal is not allowed to interpose its discretion. It then lies only with the reserve discretion of the Secretary of State, who has the right to allow anyone whom he wishes to come into this country, whatever the rules say. But that discretion is not subject to appeal to the tribunal.
Therefore, for most people who want to come here these rules have almost as much effect as any Act of Parliament, and they should be so drawn. They are not so drawn. They are drawn in the language of a normal official letter or bulletin that might be sent to any Member of Parliament. They are not drafted as if they were going to be dealt with as laws in the same way as an Act of Parliament or a regulation made under an Act of Parliament. It seems to me that this is the real source of concern for us from the civil liberties angle.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis (Hackney, Central)
Does not my hon. Friend think that it is also an act of monumental folly for the Government not to have consulted those organisations which have day-to-day experience of immigration case work about the formulation of these rules?
§ Mr. Lyon
Yes, and it is even more alarming, when I go before the adjudicators and use the appeal machinery, to find that they themselves complain that these rules are not sufficiently precise for them to administer. They say, "We make recommendations to the Home Office and these new rules come out with the same defects in them as the old rules," showing clearly that either their representations to 1429 the Home Office were not considered or, if they were considered, they were not acted upon. If the adjudicators themselves, who are living with these rules every day, are not listened to by the Home Office, what hope has anyone of introducing a rational immigration procedure? It really requires a further look at the rules in the light of the experience not only of the immigration officers but of the organisations that my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) suggests—in particular the advisory council, but also the adjudicators and the tribunal who daily have to administer them.
Let me call to the attention of the House one provision that has already been mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. Peter Archer). The real difficulty about the difference that has now been brought in between EEC nationals and those who are Commonwealth citizens coming into this country is not their right to enter. Clearly, there must be some kind of control on the right of people to come here to work. We recognise that in relation to all those who are within our control. The EEC rules mean that there has to be free movement of labour, subject to exceptions. But for everyone else there is now a very tight control.
But once they are here and are accepted for settlement, surely they ought to be treated in the same way as any EEC national in relation to their dependants. The dependants of an EEC national include any children under the age of 21. Under these rules the dependants of any Commonwealth citizen include only children under the age of 18. The EEC national can bring his wife and children with him as of right. That is not the case with Commonwealth citizens.
Even worse, if a Commonwealth citizen wants to bring in his elderly parents, he can do so if they are over the age of 65, if he himself will provide for them as long as they are alive, and if they will be no charge on the State.
I cannot for the life of me see why we need to have a proviso relating to the age of 65. If the child will provide for the parents, whatever their age, and if they will never seek work and never 1430 be a charge on the State, does it matter that someone from India, Tanzania or somewhere else—where retirement is so much earlier than it is in this country—wants to bring in his elderly parents and look after them in their declining years? Yet under these rules, even in the most distressing circumstances the immigration officer may not allow entry to parents under the age of 65, and, moreover, the tribunal cannot over-ride the ruling of the immigration officer.
In the case of any other near relative, on the other hand—grandparent, uncle or aunt—who is in distressing circumstances and is yet under the age of 65, an exception is provided for in the rules, and entry may be allowed.
Clearly, that cannot have been intended—I am sure that the Home Office did not intend it—but, because the rules are accepted as having the force of law, the tribunal has ruled that it has power to intervene in the case of relatives under 65 years of age who are not parents, but not in the case of those who are parents. That is an obvious nonsense, which the Home Office could not have intended, and it shows how badly drafted the rules are.
If we are successful tonight in getting the rules taken back for reconsideration, let us, for goodness' sake, go through them with a fine comb, look at each of the discrepancies, and see whether there is a way by which we can make our laws humane even if, on the question of relationships and citizenship, they will still remain a mess.
§ 10.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Fowler (Nottingham, South)
I believe that the Press campaign over the last few days has been valuable in at least one respect, for it has concentrated the public's mind on one of the fundamental issues in immigration policy; namely, whether we need to have the same kind of checks in relation to countries with close ties with this country, where family links exist, as we do in our general immigration controls.
I do not believe that we need the same kind of checks with such countries. Any nation must be free to determine which people shall have the right to come and settle, and it is, surely, nonsense 1431 to say that it is racialist to give special treatment to those who have family connections with this country simply because they happen to have the same colour of skin as we have. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear my hon. Friends agree with that, because that is what my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), then Home Secretary, said when introducing the Bill in 1971. Had his advice been taken at that time, we should now have had the grandparent provision in relation to patriality. I regard it as a great mistake that that provision was removed, for it would have specifically benefited those about whom we seem most concerned tonight, the Australians, the New Zealanders and the Canadians.
It is instructive to look for a moment not only at who opposed and voted down that provision but why they did it. As I understand it, the reason which moved my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) was that he believed that it was an open-ended commitment. In that, he was consistent with his general view on immigration policy, though it is not a view which I accept in these circumstances. More particularly, however, I think that the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr), who spoke earlier, should look with care at the grounds on which the Labour Opposition opposed that provision.
In Committee, although they had used the grandparent definition in their 1968 Act, they opposed that provision on the ground that it was racial, that it made distinctions between the old and the new Commonwealth. It was not an apologetic approach. It was set out openly, in unmistakeable terms, by their Front Bench spokesman at that time, the hon. and learned Member for Dulwich (Mr. S. C. Silkin). The hon. and learned Gentleman is a man who would be regarded as one who, by training and inclination, chooses his words carefully, and he described it as a "white settler benefit clause". Those were his words, and it was on that ground that the Labour Opposition voted against it. I hope that the public, who are now so concerned about this issue, will note what Labour's stand was.
1432 I believe that we now face a situation which we would not have faced had we accepted provisions in the Bill. I am surprised to find we are now joining battle again on this section at this stage, and I have great sympathy with the hon. Member opposite who said that it was unreasonable to expect the Government to change their legislation at this point.
I welcome what my right hon. Friend said about his consultations with other Commonwealth countries but I hope he will also do a number of other things. I hope that he will take a cool look at legislation as it affects this country, and I suggest that there are three points that he should examine. First, he should decide which citizens should be given preferential treatment. The public have shown that they do not support the same kind of restrictions on New Zealanders and Australians as they do on anyone else. But everything depends upon the terms and details of the legislation. We must never forget what we are trying to do. Our chief concern, certainly in my constituency, is to restrict coloured immigration from the new Commonwealth.
Secondly, I believe that what is now dogging community relations in this country is uncertainty about who and how many have the right to settle here.
§ Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall) rose—
§ Mr. Fowler
I cannot give way. We must recognise that fact. It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to say that this should not be the case but we cannot deny the facts. We should now be concerned with the proposal put forward by hon. Members that we should be examining the whole question of citizenship, and we should examine it urgently and well.
Another vital point about immigration control is that we are concerned with control on entry and control after entry. But the plain truth is that our immigration control system depends upon controls on entry and not after entry. Illegal immigration is possible because once an illegal immigrant has entered the country the mechanics of getting a national insurance card and work within Britain are all too easy. I hope that the Home Secretary will examine that point. For those reasons I hope that he will find 1433 some way of accommodating the Australians and the New Zealanders, but, above all, I hope that our general immi- 1434 gration control system remains strong. I very much support what the Government are doing.
§ 10.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)
I had no intention of taking part until I saw that four Conservative Members wished to speak but that no one from the Labour side was attempting to intervene in the debate.
I am against the orders because they are unfair. We cannot trust the Government. They have broken their promises many times. Under the rules people from the Common Market countries will be allowed into Britain without let or hindrance. The certainty is that they will go to settle in the industrial areas which already have an immigration problem. It is no good shutting our eyes to the fact that the entry of immigrants—coloured, Australians, Canadians or whatever—into areas where there is a shortage of housing, schools and welfare services aggravates the problems.
I am glad to see that my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones) is present. We have a housing problem in Newham. To try to overcome it, our progressive local authority has tried to introduce a new scheme for houses for young couples. But we find that the Government do their utmost to prevent us from getting over the problems that they know exist.
We know that the Government cannot direct immigrants to certain areas, but their appeals to immigrants not to go to the red areas will not be honoured and cannot be honoured. The immigrants will naturally gravitate to where their friends and relatives are—the red areas.
I am glad to see the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary arrive. I suggest that he has a word with some of his landed aristocracy. Many of its members have acres and acres of land that they keep for nothing else but grouse- and pheasant-shooting. It might be as well if they allocated some of it for housing for the immigrants. If the right hon. Gentleman arranged for that to be done, perhaps somewhere in Scotland, I and my right hon. and learned Friend would help him; we might get some of our immigrants to take over houses on that new Scottish housing estate.
That suggestion was a bit facetious, but, seriously, the Government could and should do something to help areas with an immigration problem. I hope that the 1436 Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and the Home Secretary will reconsider the documents, and in doing so see what they can do to help such areas to overcome their problems of housing, schooling, welfare services and so on. If they do not, they will find many problems in the weeks and months ahead.
§ 10.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine (Rye)
In the few minutes available to me I shall try briefly to explain to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary why I find some difficulty in going into the same Lobby as he will be in tonight.
Rule 54 of the rules for control on entry says that no condition is imposed when an EEC national applies to come to this country. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) summarised the position by saying that the relative status of the people who were in the Commonwealth would be altered by these rules. My hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Brian Harrison) referred to some of the difficulties that arise as a result of the rules. One is that a person coming from part of the EEC can travel anywhere within the area.
What my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary failed to appreciate is that there are people who have been living in New Brunswick and some other parts of Canada for many years because they want to be loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen. Most hon. Members know that I have a Canadian "hat". I have relatives who went from Connecticut to New Brunswick in 1776 and have been living there or in other parts of Canada ever since because they do not want to be republicans but want to be subjects of Her Majesty the Queen. Although they have never lived in Britain, they come here to fight when we need them, and they are surely just as entitled to be allowed in as anybody else.
What my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has not appreciated is that the island of St. Pierre et Miquélon, which is only a few miles off the coast of the Atlantic Provinces, is a Department of metropolitan France. So the Frenchmen on that island who have done nothing for us will be perfectly entitled to enter Britain with no conditions, whereas the people who have lived in New Brunswick 1437 for 200 years will be subjected to the conditions set out in rule 36 and will require "a special voucher" before admission.
I have always understood that documents such as these rules are carefully examined before coming to the House. As several hon. Members have said, it is clear that the rules have not been examined with sufficient care. I have looked to see where the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments is, but the small notice in the "No" Lobby is reversed so that Committee does not appear to be available to examine the rules. In that Committee when we were in opposition my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Development gave us a great deal of help. I want to know who has looked at these rules and whether they have been examined with sufficient care.
Those are two reasons why I shall have difficulty in going into the right Lobby unless my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has something to tell us which we have not yet heard.
§ 10.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Shore (Stepney)
It is clear from the speech of the hon. Member for Rye (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine), as from many others from both sides of the House, that the debate has touched upon profoundly-felt emotions and, further, that the rules cover many separate issues all of great importance.
One issue is how the human and civil rights of the many millions of people who come to our shores each year will be affected by the way they are received by Customs and thereafter. The majority of people who come to Britain come as visitors and not as immigrants. Therefore, I take well the point made by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) that it is important for us to treat those who come as visitors in a liberal and friendly way. Our actions affect their well-being and at the same time add to or diminish the reputation of our country.
The questions asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) should he answered. If the Foreign Secretary cannot answer them all, I hope he will at least deal with one or two which are of great importance. I refer particularly to what has been said 1438 about the deportation of families under rule 56. The Home Secretary seemed to misunderstand that rule. The point that was being made was not that people who cannot sustain their families when the bread-winner has already gone should be deported, but that people who can sustain their families should not be deported. That point needs looking into and answering.
The point was made from this Bench that in paragraph 69(b) of the statement of immigration rules for control on entry there is a right of appeal against a decision of an immigration official not to let someone in. It matters enormously where that appeal is heard. Does the person concerned have to return whence he came before his appeal can be considered or can he have the appeal heard while waiting in this country? While I shall say no more on this aspect I would not want the Committee to think that these important matters affecting the wellbeing and freedom of many people coming to this country as visitors or would-be immigrants should be overlooked.
We are not only discussing detailed conditions of entry and stay. The two great subjects lying just below the surface of these rules are the new and unprecedented provisions for the free movement of labour in the whole of the Western European area and the new pattern of preference in terms of access to the United Kingdom that we are to grant to the peoples of the EEC, as from 1st January, and to people from the Commonwealth and to others.
It is to these two matters that I must turn, as others have done. The Home Secretary sought to be reassuring about the free movement of labour. He did not challenge the facts of the virtually absolute right of free movement of labour which are established not in the immigration rules but in the legislation and the treaties. In some ways I am surprised to see that these documents are not on the Table, because they are so relevant. Basically, what now determines the conditions between the countries of Western Europe and Britain is not what appears in White Papers and immigration rules but what is written into the laws of Europe and particularly in the document 1968/1612 and in the directive of the same date which we have to apply.
1439 Faced with the problem of having to explain why it is that if we suddenly open the door to the possibility of 200 million people entering Britain we have really done nothing at all the Home Secretary said "Look, they do not want to come here." When we consider what has happened to this country in the last two years we can understand why he takes that view. It is a little short-sighted. These things can change.
The reason why we do not today expect any substantial movement of people into Britain is that our rate of growth and our national prosperity are beginning to fall behind those of the continent of Europe. [Interruption.] I do not dispute that. The question between us is whether our prosperity is more likely to be secured if we take charge of our own affairs or if we collapse into Europe under the policies being pursued by the Prime Minister. That is a slightly separate matter. The free movement of labour is highly relevant to our discussions.
On the short-term prospects the position is roughly as the Home Secretary described it but he has not begun to give all the facts of the matter. For example, he should have said something about the arrangement with Turkey which begins in 1976. This is highly relevant, because I understand that at the moment there are about 500,000 Turks in the countries of Western Europe and a waiting list of almost 1 million more. Greece as well, although agreement there is in suspense at the moment, may come in. We must consider these matters fairly and soberly. The short-term likelihood is that under the free movement of labour provisions people will leave this country and go in search of work in the various parts of Western Europe.
I do not take the view that this ability to move is a totally unmixed blessing. I am not afraid to have people of other races from other lands in this country. However, it is one thing for people to choose to go to another country, or indeed to another part of their own country—that is an extension of freedom—but it is no freedom to be driven out of their own communities and across their own frontiers in search of work. We on this side of the House, in the whole em- 1440 phasis we have given to regional policies, have always tried to counter these effects and give what we consider to be a greater freedom to people so that they are not driven by the whips of economic circumstance.
§ Mr. David Steel
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain the difference between people who, during the lifetime of the Labour Government, left my constituency to work in the prosperous regions of this country and those who leave to work in Europe? Surely it is economic pressure in both instances.
§ Mr. Shore
I concede that. I am most concerned that not only in the hon. Gentleman's constituency but in Scotland, Wales and the many other development areas of this country those pressures should be reduced. That is why we have gone in for and emphasised regional policies.
I now turn to the other great issues raised in these codes. Henceforth, as I have said, we are to give overriding priority to the citizens of the eight countries of the enlarged EEC regarding access to the United Kingdom and put into second place citizens of the Commonwealth, both old and new. There should be no doubt that this will be the effect.
First, rule 55 of the statement of immigration rules for control on entry makes clear that any EEC national who wishes to work in the United Kingdomis to be admitted without a work permit or other prior consent.Therefore, anyone who comes from the EEC to Britain after 1st January, 1973, to seek work is to be admitted without further dispute.
There has been some confusion about what is involved. As I understand the directive and the regulations, there is to be no control at the Customs point. That is not where the control is to operate or, indeed, is to be allowed to operate; it is specifically ruled out. A person who comes here to seek work is required only to show his passport or, in the case of some continental countries, his identity card. When he is in, having found or sought work—he does not have to come in for a specific job; he can come in to look for work—he applies for a residence permit. Again, provided that he can show 1441 his passport or identity card and evidence that he has a job, he must then be given a residence permit, which is valid for five years in the first instance, with the proviso that after four years it no longer needs to be renewed. So it goes on. It is a total admission for both residence and work, with the minor qualifications which are written into the codes of which the Home Secretary is aware and which I doubt would stand up to scrutiny in the European Court. The same degree of discrimination applies to the families of people who are coming in to work.
§ Mr. Wingfield Digby
Is the right hon. Gentleman now arguing that Rule 55 is on all fours with the regulation which he has just described, which requires a residence permit showing evidence of work?
§ Mr. Shore
I am not certain whether it is all square with it. [Laughter.] The House should take this a bit more seriously. There are at work four documents from which bits have been quoted by various hon. Members. There is the basic provision of the Rome Treaty, the directive, the regulation and the codes. The task of finding how they fit together is one which we might have to unravel on another occasion.
I have made the point that the happy circumstances which attend any person who comes from Europe to Britain also attend his family. He has the right to bring his family, including his children under the age of 21 years and any other dependent children, presumably, even if they are over that age. That is a very important contrast between the European worker and any Commonwealth immigrant who seeks to come to this country.
It is no good the Secretary of State assuring the House as he assured his constituents during the weekend that Commonwealth citizens have only lost their place in the entry queue. To them that is an important loss. It is not enough to tell them that they should be happy because they retain the immense privilege of British citizenship, including the right to vote. The plain truth is that that privilege can be exercised only if they are in the country, and there will not he many people in that position given the close control over entry of numbers which we already have and which is clearly planned for the future. [Hon. Members: "Get on with it."] I assure 1442 hon. Members opposite that the problem with this speech is that there is so much to say. There is also the problem of selecting what to say.
These arrangements involve a real contrast in treatment between Commonwealth immigrants and the nationals of the EEC. They are deeply offensive to most people in this country, who feel a far stronger connection with most of the Commonwealth countries than with most of the countries in the Common Market. They are perhaps even more offensive to the Commonwealth. For Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which share with us the same Head of State, operate a substantially open door for our own citizens, and are peopled predominantly with British people, the change of status to, as the Rome Treaty puts it, that of being "third countries" is a deep and unforgivable offence.
Let me dwell for a moment on that difficult matter. I do not take the view that the association between this country and the countries I have mentioned is just a matter of sentiment. Nor is it only the fact that in the last 20 years nearly 2 million of our fellow countrymen have gone to settle in those lands, although that is important. There is another reason. Looking back over our history, what was unique was not the experience of empire, which we shared with many other European countries, but the settlement and even the discovery of vast and nearly empty lands in North America and Australasia. When our people sailed to those new lands they were not like immigrants in other countries starting a new life in a foreign country. They went to what they regarded as, and what we said for so long were, extensions of Britain overseas. That is why the connection is specially close.
No other country in Europe or in the world has had this experience of its people forming separate yet linked States in other continents as we have done in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The nearest analogy I can find—it is not a good analogy—is where people have been divided by war between countries or civil war. There are two Germanies, two Koreas and two Vietnams, but nobody doubts that there is but a single people in them. Who doubts that if, as we hope, the Ostpolitik prospers in 1443 Germany and the walls which separate West from East Germany are gradually demolished the people of East Germany will be denied access through West Germany to the whole of Western Europe? They will be treated as part of a single Germany.
Consider the case of France. Her great overseas settlement in 1958 was Algeria. It was then defined—this was the French remedy—as a debt of France, just as Guadeloupe and Martinque and others are today. Who doubts that if three French or German nations existed outside Europe those countries would have agreed to exclude them from a European community or agreed that they should be treated simply as third nations?
The same objections, although they are of a different kind but they are equally strong, are felt by the new Commonwealth. It has a great claim on us, and it, too, will resent being pushed into second place by the EEC. Reluctant as the countries of the new Commonwealth are to concede that there should be any distinction between members of the Commonwealth in relation to the United Kingdom, they still understand the argument that we are a densely-populated island and that we need to control immigration for both economic and social reasons. But what they will not understand is how the need to control in relation to Commonwealth countries should suddenly disappear in relation to Europe. They will not understand how we, who feel that we must keep a virtually closed door to them, can give an unfettered right of entry to 200 million people of Western Europe.
Like others, I believe that the Government should take back these statements. Up to a fortnight ago I had a very serious doubt whether the Government retained the power to do so—that these codes expressed, as from 1st January, 1973, the superior law of the European Community—but the Government only last week, in their Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Bill, legislated against the obligation which they had assumed under the Treaty of Accession. What they can do on the important matter of prices they can surely do on the still more important matter of legislation affecting immigration rights.
1444 Then, having withdrawn the Statements, the Government should have serious—and prolonged, if need be—discussions with the Commonwealth countries. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster—I am surprised to notice that he is not present—should take an early plane to Brussels and begin the renegotiation of those parts of the treaty and those regulations which deal with the free movement of labour. He should point out that, while we are prepared to accept, and (indeed, welcome, liberal, sensible and reciprocal arrangements, the present regulations are not acceptable, that we will not have conditions of inferiority imposed on immigrants from the Commonwealth compared with those from the Common Market, nor will we agree to the transfer of the lawmaking power in this very sensitive area of our affairs to the institutions of the Community.
If the Government do not accept this course—in this debate we have not yet heard much indication of a more pliant spirit—we shall vote against them, and I very much hope that there will be many hon. and right hon. Members on the Government side who will join us.
§ 11.2 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)
I have listened with the closest attention to the great majority of the speeches in this debate and, I hope, with a sincere desire to identify those aspects of immigration policy which are worrying hon. and right hon. Members and, having marked them, test their validity against the facts of the situation and see what can or should be done about them.
Immigration, as the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) has said, is always a subject which engages the emotions, and at this particular time it is one of peculiar tension. I need not make the point that every word we speak on it is carefully registered abroad. As the hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin (Mrs. Shirley Williams) said, immigration is the more sensitive at this particular point in time for two reasons. First, the problem of adjustment from Empire to Commonwealth raises acute questions of the law of nationality. The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) drew attention to this last week, and the hon. Lady drew attention 1445 to it again today and recognised the restraint with which this subject and any reform of the citizenship law would have to be approached. It would raise profound difficulties and need long and deep consideration. I was grateful for the care with which she and other hon. Members approached the problem. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said that he would note the content of her speech, and I am content to say that the problem is well understood by the Government. It is a very big problem, indeed.
There is emotion, and this has come out time and again in the debate, because the conditions in the European Treaty on free movement of labour raises the question of the impact upon Commonwealth immigration of the Community rules. It is no use pretending that these situations do not present us with dilemmas—they do. With one such situation we are already familiar. The Labour Government were compelled, because of the changes and circumstances of the modern Commonwealth, to cut Commonwealth immigration hard. This Government have curtailed it even further. We did this because there was overwhelming proof of the need for control in relation to the employment problems of our own people in this country, and the social conditions under which we in Britain live. It would be humbug for anyone here to say, as some got very near to saying, that these controls could be lifted. They could not. They must be retained. This was well understood, I thought, in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Fowler) not long ago.
In this changing pattern from Empire to the modern Commonwealth and to partnership in the European Community—against that background—it is the desire of all in this House to strike a balance which is fair.
Particular concern has been expressed that immigrants from Australia, New Zealand and Canada may suffer undue hardship. None of us would like to see this. A number of hon. Members have made the point, and I agree, that the ties with those countries have nothing to do with discrimination in a bad or offensive sense. Not at all. These countries are largely peopled—although less now than before—by immigrants from here. Their ways are our ways. They 1446 are loyal subjects of the same Queen, and have proved it over and over again. Everyone will share the desire, in conditions of change above all, to be fair to them.
It has been stressed that entry into the European Community, involving as it does free movement of labour—some have discovered this for the first time today although it has always been understood from the beginning that that would be so—would put Commonwealth immigrants at a disadvantage. I should like to examine that proposition, but here I would interpolate and put one matter into perspective by describing the experience of the Community in the movement of labour in the last six years or so. I was asked by a number of hon. Members to do that.
The fact is that the number of nationals of member countries moving between each other in the Community fell considerably between 1965 and 1969. Such movement as there was in that time is largely accounted for by acute shortages of labour in Germany which were filled from Italy. Conditions here are totally dissimilar.
It was rather cheeky of the right hon. Member for Stepney—even for him—to talk about rate of growth. He should have kept off that subject, if I may say so. Conditions here are totally dissimilar, and there seems no likelihood of a large influx of people to this country seeking work here. It is more likely to be the other way. [Interruption.] That is certainly true, and it was not for the right hon. Gentleman to talk about rate of growth. He might note the improvement that there has been since he was in office.
As the Home Secretary reminded the House, the number of those desiring entry from Europe is infinitesimal compared with those who want to come from the rest of the world.
Our rules about the need of immigrants to have a job will apply in relation to Community entrants. In the papers this morning an impression was given, which I should correct, that jobs have to be offered to nationals of the European Economic Community before they can be taken up by Commonwealth citizens. That is misleading. Commonwealth citizens who have already been admitted for employment form part of the national 1447 labour market and can compete on equal terms with EEC nationals.
For Commonwealth citizens overseas there is a provision in the relevant regulations which exempts them from the terms of the regulations as citizens of countries with which we have institutional ties. While remaining subject to our work permit control, they will not be at a disadvantage vis-à-vis European nationals in applying for jobs. This will be the case as long as employment continues, as it does, with no significant flow at all from the continent to this country. After six months the immigrant from Europe cannot stay here if he has no job.
Now I come to the situation with relation to Commonwealth citizens in general. Let two facts be absolutely clear: they are not treated as aliens and there is no intention that they should ever be so treated In order to weigh up, as the right hon. Gentleman did, whether Commonwealth citizens suffer a disadvantage and whether it is an absolute or a relative disadvantage, I shall try to balance up the considerations so that the House may judge.
Commonwealth immigrants will have advantages which are not granted to immigrants coming from the European Community. They have been described to the House, so I will go through them shortly, but they are important. Commonwealth immigrants can vote, they can join the armed services, the Civil Service and the police. They do not have to complete landing and embarkation cards, they will not have to report to the police, they will continue to come to the United Kingdom as what is known as "working holiday-makers" for up to three years, students will be able to come here in exactly the same way as usual, and any Commonwealth citizen whose father or mother was born here will be able to come here freely. This affects 5 million people in the Commonwealth countries concerned—Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams
The Foreign Secretary has given a list of ways in which Commonwealth citizens will be better placed vis-à-vis EEC nationals. Will he deny that Commonwealth citizens will not be free to seek work? Will he deny that they will not be able to take 1448 jobs except with a named employer? Will he deny that they can be deported on seeking entry into this country if their papers are not correct, whereas an EEC national cannot be so refused entry without a right of appeal in the United Kingdom?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
No, I do not deny some of the things that the hon. Lady says.
I want to deal with the three countries. So many confusing and misleading things have been said and written that we must be clear about the make-up of the immigration figures for Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I will take 1971, on which the 1972 figures may well improve. There were 414,921 admissions into Britain of Commonwealth citizens from these three countries, and of that total 411,877 were short-term visitors, including working holiday-makers. A total of 3,044 were admitted for permanent residence.
I repeat emphatically what I have said outside this place: there is nothing arising from our membership of the Community which will prevent us from continuing our present Commonwealth immigration policies.
I was interested to see a comment from an Australian who has sometimes criticised us fairly harshly, Mr. John Gorton:I do not myself believe that the administrative rules proposed will impose any additional disadvantages on the citizens of Australia or New Zealand or Canada—certainly not on the citizens of Australia. I see no new disadvantages being imposed on Australians. I see them retaining the existing advantages which they have, and I believe that those existing advantages are quite considerable.There is an independent Australian point of view. I repeat it because, while it is absolutely right that we should be alert and that if we have an experience which proves that there is unfair treatment it should be exposed and remedied, it is a shame if the people of those loyal and friendly countries are led to believe that the people of Britain or the Government of Britain have lost interest in them and do not care. That is a shame, and it is not true; we care deeply, all of us.
1449 If these figures of entry into Britain and the pattern of entry are correct—I am trying to analyse the problem—the grievances must arise, if there are grievances, in the category of those who wish to settle permanently in this country. This is a comparatively small number of people that I have just described, but they are important, people who feel that they are handicapped in regard to the granting of an entry permit, which may be refused in Australia, Canada or wherever it may be, or that, having arrived in this country one way or another, they are subjected to inconsiderate treatment at airports or ports, or perhaps have to go home to get a permit or something of that kind.
Sir Elwyn Janes (West Ham, South)
Is that all? All the way to Australia?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I do not in the least object to the interjection of the right hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones), because I understand that this may be a very heavy handicap to apply to Australians. But these are the two categories about which there may be genuine anxieties: those who may be refused an entry permit in a Commonwealth country a long way away and may not understand the reason why it has been refused, and those who are subjected to inconsiderate treatment at airports and ports of this country.
Let me put the first of these problems into perspective. Up to now the proportion of those who have not been admitted for permanent residence is 1 in 200 of the total of those who wish to come here for all purposes. We shall readily examine this aspect of the matter in the Ministerial discussions which are to be held. These Ministerial discussions will be held at the level of senior Ministers, and senior Ministers will be involved in them. Various matters will be raised in these discussions, properly so. I took note, for example, of what my hon. Friend the Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) said when he talked about the possibilities of limited reciprocity. This should certainly be discussed at the ministerial discussions. There could well be possibilities in following this line of country.
I may be wrong, but, having examined the first of these categories of people 1450 who want permanent settlement, I do not think that it will be found on further examination to be a serious problem. However, we ought to look at this problem and the question of reciprocity when the ministerial talks take place. They cannot take place until the elections in New Zealand and Australia are over, but I suspect—
§ Mr. Bidwell
In the kind of discussions which the right hon. Gentleman envisages, does it mean that Indian people will be at a disadvantage compared with people of the old Commonwealth?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
The hon. Gentleman should not draw that conclusion. There are certain aspects of reciprocity which it is possible and right to consider. This should be done, and at the highest level.
What has been corroborated by a number of speeches is that much of the feeling that is generated comes from the difficulties and frustrations experienced by a good many Commonwealth citizens at airports and ports. My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) raised that question.
My right hon. Friend and I have noted all the complaints that have been made today and the suggestions for meeting them. They come under the heading of how should we best organise reception at our airports and ports so as to lead to the minimum of delay consistent with security and make the Commonwealth citizen feel that he is welcome in this country.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton) rose—
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I normally give way often when I am winding up a debate, but I sat through the whole of the debate without once interrupting and I must now get on.
§ Mr. Heffer rose—
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
It must be the aim to try to make all Commonwealth citizens feel that they are welcomed as such.
1451 There is a dilemma. When the question of entrance at the airports and the number of gates to be used was raised earlier it seemed that this question was almost frivolous. People care a great deal about it. My right hon. Friend will examine every aspect of how entry into the ports and airports can be made easier so that there is the minimum of delay and people do not think that they are neglected, ignored and left alone.
Some say that they have a very nasty time at the airports. Six million people go through London Airport each year. I am not sure how any of us would stand up to the test of continuing patience at the reception end. I think that there is a double obligation to employ people who have perception and possess outstandingly the qualities of patience, sympathy and understanding of people who travel by air to this country. We will, therefore, try very hard to improve upon our present policies and will consult the Commonwealth countries which feel that particular difficulties apply to them.
I hope that what I have said will give reassurance not least in Australia. New Zealand and Canada that their immigration will continue and that we seek by all means to receive them with consideration and the friendship which is their due.
I said at the beginning that I and my right hon. Friend would give the most careful consideration to the points that have been raised, and that we will do.
The hon. Lady the Member for Hitchin raised what she thought was an anomaly between paragraphs 4 and 49 of the rules for control on entry. The short answer is that paragraph 4 deals with the position of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and Commonwealth citizens who are patrial and paragraph 49 deals with people who come into neither of these two categories. Therefore, there is no conflict. I realise that this is a very complicated matter. If the hon. Lady is not satisfied, my right hon. Friend will write to her.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon rose—1452
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) raised a number of points. As to the definition of a dependant, my right hon. Friend said that it seemed to have been changed by administrative methods from the age of 16 to 18. That has happened since 1962. I will look further into the matter, but these are the facts.
My right hon. Friend was right about Pakistan. We have said time and again that Pakistanis who were in this country before independence will find themselves no worse off through Pakistan having left the Commonwealth. We stick to that pledge, but legislation will have to be introduced because Pakistan is now a foreign country.
§ Mr. Powell rose—
§ Mr. Powell
Is my right hon. Friend confirming that there will be a difference of treatment between Pakistanis in this country according to whether they entered before or after the date of independence?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I confirm that. There may have to be a provisional period, but they will have to change their status because they are now foreigners. This is a fact of life.
§ Mr. Lyon rose—
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I have a number of questions to answer.
The hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) asked whether, if an immigration officer refused a person entry under paragraph 69(b) of the rules for control on entry. an appeal could be heard before the person was sent back. My right hon. Friend said that he thought the answer was "yes". Perhaps I can elaborate slightly. He can remain in this country to bring an appeal if he has an entry clearance or work permit. If he does not hold these documents, an appeal can be allowed only after he has left.
There are various other questions which I should like to answer, but I do not think I have time. I or my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department will write to hon. Members in answer to their questions.
1453 To sum up, I think there are two categories where action can properly be taken in relation to immigrants coming into this country. The first is administrative—
§ Mr. Callaghan
The Foreign Secretary will realise that he has reassured nobody by that last answer. Is he not going to tell us that he will look again at the ridiculous notion that somebody has to be sent back to Australia if he does not have a work permit in order that he can appeal and return here?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Yes, we will certainly look again at that. This is not exactly the point with which I was dealing, but it is one of the situations that we shall look into.
§ Mr. Lyon rose—
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I think there are two categories where action can be taken. The first is administrative. My right hon. Friend will examine all the suggestions which have been made in this debate. The second relates to those subjects of substance which can properly be raised with the Commonwealth Governments concerned, and reciprocity is undoubtedly one.
With these possibilities in prospect, I hope that hon. Members, having had a full debate, and having put forward their arguments, will be sufficiently convinced that action can be taken in respect of the immigrants so that they will reject the Motion. I myself, as Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, have given this matter the closest consideration, as I am bound to do, and I am satisfied that the action that we can take in an administrative way and in consultation with our Commonwealth colleagues is such that we can make changes which will help the immigrant. That pledge I can give.
§ I trust that the House will reject the Motion.
§ Mr. Lyon rose—
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
May I ask my right hon. Friend—[HON. MEMBERS: "No".] We are very grateful to my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary for saying that discussions are to be undertaken with the Commonwealth Governments concerned. But will not my right hon. Friend now withdraw these rules for consideration in the light of those discussions?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
My answer to my hon. Friend must be "No, Sir". I have just made it plain that I think action can be taken to alleviate the situation as a result of ministerial discussion.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order at this stage, having regard to the debate which we have had, to invite—
§ It being half-past Eleven o'clock, Mr SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business).
§ The House divided: Ayes 275, Noes 240.1455
|Division No. 19.1||AYES||[11.30 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Bidwell, Sydney||Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)|
|Albu, Austen||Blenkinsop, Arthur||Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara|
|Allen, Scholefield||Booth, Albert||Clark, David (Colne Valley)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)|
|Ashley, Jack||Boyden, James(Bishop Auckland)||Cohen, Stanley|
|Ashton, Joe||Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne,W.)||Concannon, J. D.|
|Atkinson, Norman||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Conlan, Bernard|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Brown, Ronald(Shoreditch & F'bury)||Corbet, Mrs. Freda|
|Barnes, Michael||Buchan, Norman||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Crawshaw, Richard|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Cronin, John|
|Baxter, William||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Bell, Ronald||Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Benn, Rt Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Cent, R. B.||Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)|
|Bennett, James(Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Carmichael, Neil||Cunningham, Dr J. A. (Whitehaven)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Davidson, Arthur||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Pendry, Tom|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Prescott, John|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Deakins, Eric||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Judd, Frank||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Dempsey, James||Kaufman, Gerald||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Devlin, Miss Bernadette||Kelley, Richard||Richard, Ivor|
|Doig, Peter||Kerr, Russell||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Kilfedder, James||Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Kinnock, Neil||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lambie, David||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Brc'n&R'dnor)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lamborn, Harry||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lamond, James||Roper, John|
|Edelman, Maurice||Latham, Arthur||Rose, Paul B.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bliston)||Lawson, George||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Leadbitter, Ted||Rowlands, Ted|
|Ellis, Tom||Leonard, Dick||Sandelson, Neville|
|English, Michael||Lestor, Miss Joan||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Evans, Fred||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Ewing, Harry||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham. N.)||Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Short, Mrs. Renee (W'hampton,N.E.)|
|Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||Lipton, Marcus||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)||Loughlin, Charles||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Sillars, James|
|Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Silverman, Julius|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Skinner, Dennis|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McBride, Neil||Small, William|
|Foley, Maurice||McCartney, Hugh||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
|Foot, Michael||McGuire, Michael||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Ford, Ben||Mackenzie, Gregor||Spearing, Nigel|
|Forrester, John||Mackie, John||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Stallard, A. W.|
|Gaipern, Sir Myer||McNamara, J. Kevin||Steel, David|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Marks, Kenneth||Storehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Golding, John||Marquand, David||Strang, Gavin|
|Gourlay, Harry||Marsden, F.||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Marten, Neil||Swain, Thomas|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mayhew, Christopher||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Meacher, Michael||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Tinn, James|
|Hamling, William||Mendelson, John||Tomney, Frank|
|Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Mikardo, Ian||Torney, Tom|
|Hardy, Peter||Millan, Bruce||Tuck, Raphael|
|Harper, Joseph||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Milne, Edward||Urwin, T. W.|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Molloy, William||Varley, Eric G.|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Hattersley, Roy||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Moyle, Roland||Wallace, George|
|Hilton, W. S.||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Watkins, David|
|Hooson, Emiyn||Murray, Ronald King||Weitzman, David|
|Horam, John||Oakes, Gordon||Wellbeloved, James|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Ogden, Eric||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||O'Halloran, Michael||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Huckfield, Leslie||O'Malley, Brian||Whitlock, William|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Oram, Bert||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Orbach, Maurice||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Orme, Stanley||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Oswald, Thomas||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Hunter, Adam||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Padley, Walter|
|Janner, Greville||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Paget, R. T.||Woof, Robert|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Palmer, Arthur|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Pardoe, John||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Jennings. J. C. (Burton)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Mr. Donald Coleman.|
|John, Brynmor||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Adley, Robert||Astor, John||Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord|
|Allson, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Atkins, Humphrey||Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Awdry, Daniel||Batsford, Brian|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)|
|Benyon, W.||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Blaker, Peter||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Percival, Ian|
|Boscawen, Hn. Robert||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Bowden, Andrew||Haselhurst, Alan||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Bray, Ronald||Hastings, Stephen||Pounder, Rafton|
|Brewis, John||Havers, Michael||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hawkins, Paul||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Hayhoe, Barney||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Heseltine, Michael||Raison, Timothy|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Hicks, Robert||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Buck, Antony||Higgins, Terence L.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Burden, F. A.||Hiley, Joseph||Redmond, Robert|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G. (Moray & Nairn)||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Holland, Philip||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Holt, Miss Mary||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hornby, Richard||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Channon, Paul||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Chapman, Sydney||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Howell, David (Guildford)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Churchill, W. S.||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Hunt, John||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Cockeram, Eric||James, David||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Cooper, A. E.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Cordle, John||Jessel, Toby||Scott, Nicholas|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Cormack, Patrick||Jopling, Michael||Shaw,Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Costain, A. P.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Critchley, Julian||Keliett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Simeons, Charles|
|Crouch, David||Kershaw, Anthony||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kinsey, J. R.||Speed, Keith|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.Jack||Kirk, Peter||Spence, John|
|Dean, Paul||Kitson, Timothy||Sproat, lain|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Knox, David||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Dixon, Piers||Lambton, Lord||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Douglas-Home, Rt Hn. Sir Alec||Lamont, Norman||Tapsell, Peter|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lane, David||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Le Merchant, Spencer||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geolfrey(Sut'nC'field)||Tebbit, Norman|
|Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Temple, John M.|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Longden, Sir Gilbert||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Elliott, R.W.(N'C'tle-upon-Tyne,N)||Loweridgt, John||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Emery, Peter||Luce, R. N.||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Eyre, Reginald||MacArthur, Ian||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||McCrindle, R. A.||Tilney, John|
|Fidler, Michael||McLaren, Martin||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice(Farnham)||Trew, Peter|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Maddan, Martin||Waddington, David|
|Fortescue, Tim||Madel, David||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Foster, Sir John||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Fowler, Norman||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Walters, Dennis|
|Fox, Marcus||Mawby, Ray||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Fry, Peter||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Warren, Kenneth|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Gardner, Edward||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Miscampbell, Norman||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Money, Ernie||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Wilkinson, John|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Monro, Hector||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Goodhew, Victor||Morrison, Charles||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Gorst, John||Mudd, David||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Gower, Raymond||Murton, Oscar|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Neave, Airey||Worsley, Marcus|
|Gray, Hamish||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Green, Alan||Normanton, Tom||Younger, Hn. George|
|Grieve, Percy||Nott, John|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Onslow, Cranley||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Grylls, Michael||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Mr. Bernard Weatherill and|
|Gummer, J. Selwyn||Osborn, John||Mr. Walter Clegg.|
|Gurden, Harold||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That the Statement of Immigration Rules for Control on Entry (H.C., 1971–72, No. 509), a copy of which was laid before this House
on 23rd October 1972, in the last Session of Parliament, be disapproved.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
I now ask the Prime Minister, since this is a matter of major constitutional importance 1459 —[Laughter.]—if he is not going to tender his resignation—[Laughter.]—to inform the House what the Government intend to do in the circumstances of this vote.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)
The House has rejected two statements made in accordance with Acts passed by the House. Statements to replace them will be laid in due course.