HC Deb 19 October 1972 vol 843 cc441-2
25. Mr. Rose

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is now taking to control the entry of citizens of States openly harbouring or encouraging acts of terrorism, piracy and murder abroad, and in particular citizens of Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Robert Carr)

I shall not hesitate to use to the full my powers to keep out or to expel any alien who seems likely to engage in acts of violence or to encourage or incite such acts. It would not be in the public interest to give details of all our precautions. But I can say that immigration officers have been instructed to exercise special vigilance.

Mr. Rose

Will the right hon. Gentleman go further and make it crystal clear to Governments that harbour air pirates and terrorists and encourage air piracy and terrorism that there will be no alternative in those cases but to impose restrictions such as visas on their nationalis? I know from personal experience that the security now in operation at Heathrow is frighteningly inadequate and needs tightening up.

Mr. Carr

I would rather not comment specifically now on the first pant of the hon. Gentleman's question but I will certainly look at the second part. I think it is true to say that precautions at Heathrow are receiving far more atten- tion than they used to, and I will see that that improvement continues.

Mr. Kilfedder

May I ask my right hon. Friend not to overlook that a country much closer to us that the countries mentioned by the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose)—the Republic of Eire—has been harbouring and assisting criminals making constant attacks across the border into Northern Ireland? Will he control the entry of those citizens, who, remarkably, receive far better treatment than the citizens of the oldest members of the Commonwealth?

Mr. Carr

As I made clear in my answer, my concern is to use my full powers against anybody who seems likely to exercise violence, and that I do. I do not bear any favour or otherwise towards anybody of any nationality.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

The right hon. Gentleman will recognise that the House has supported him and his predecessor on occasions in the past in permitting legitimate political organisations to establish themselves in this country, but will he confirm that a very close watch is kept on any organisations which might be associated in any way with illegal actions?

Mr. Carr

Yes, indeed I can. It is difficult, as the hon. Lady knows, to talk about these things in as much detail as one would wish, but I can assure her and the House that we are doing our best to do the job properly and are especially on the alert at present.