HC Deb 03 June 1981 vol 5 cc931-94 3.45 pm
Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 9, leave out from 'citizen' to end of line 12 and insert 'unless

  1. (a) his father or his mother is a member of a mission within the meaning of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964; or
  2. (b) his father or mother is a member of a consular post of any State, as defined in section 7(2) of the Consular Relations Act 1968;
and in either case the child acquires the nationality of another State at birth.'.

Mr. Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment (a) to the proposed amendment, to leave out from "unless" to the first "the" in line 7, and amendment No. 77, in clause 9, page 8, line 44, at end insert 'unless at that time he holds another citizenship'.

Mr. Hattersley

The object of the amendment is to re-establish the principle that with the sole exception of children born to foreign diplomats serving in this country every child born in the United Kingdom should enjoy British citizenship automatically, unquestioningly and without the need to demonstrate any other qualification other than that the child was born on British soil. The principle that every child born here should automatically and unquestioningly be British has been at the heart of the definition of British nationality ever since the concept of British nationality has had any meaning. It was generally agreed in Committee that the principle goes back at least 700 years. The Government now seek to change that principle by limiting British citizenship to children one of whose parents was ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom … without being subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on the period for which he may remain. Clause 1 offers citizenship only to the children of settled—that is the term of art—parents. Clause 46(2), as amended in Committee, defines "settled" in the way I have described. Parents are settled if they are ordinarily resident here without being subject to any immigration control or to any restriction on the period for which they remain.

We propose, as an alternative to the limitation on the principle, the simple reassertion of the established idea and, I might almost say, the established ideal. Putting aside the necessary exception of the children of diplomats, clause 1, if the amendment is carried, will read: A person born in the United Kingdom …shall be a British citizen. That assertion seems to us to be right in principle and in practice. To qualify the principle in the way proposed by the Government has two highly undesirable and, for some families, I would argue, disastrous effects.

It disqualifies from citizenship a number of children who will, in consequence of disqualification, suffer certain disadvantage and possible hardship. Secondly, it creates among a much larger number of children who, with the passage of time, will turn into British adults and British citizens, with all the rights of citizenship, a quite intolerable uncertainty about their status and their place in society. In practice, it will create a situation in which a large number of British citizens by birth will be required at some point in their lives to prove that they are British citizens by birth in a way that no British citizen has been asked to prove before.

Those hon. Members who understand these problems will realise that where proof is required, where proof is necessary and where proof is demanded, that proof will invariably be demanded of black British or British children of Asian parents or grandparents. It will not be the children and grandchildren of hon. Members, if the amendment is defeated, who will be required at some point to demonstrate their British status. It will be the children and grandchildren of the immigrants who came here in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s who will be required to prove and to demonstrate that they are free and equal citizens.

Since the Bill, if it is not amended, will have that effect, it is another example of how this measure, whatever the intentions of its authors and no matter how honourable or noble their purpose, will cause specific problems to the ethnic minorities and their families. It is therefore another example of how the Bill is racial in effect whatever the intentions of its sponsors.

I justify that serious allegation by examining the way in which the disqualification from citizenship under clause 1 as it stands and under clause 46(2) will work. Its intention, according to the Minister of State, speaking in Committee, is to disqualify from British citizenship the children of students, visitors, overstayers, and other illegal immigrants. In Committee, the Minister of State dissociated himself from the press briefing that was given by the Home Office shortly before Second Reading, which largely concerned temporary visitors to this country. He said that the proposal was not aimed at births in transit lounges or at public monuments, though he slipped into the old briefing about the temporary visitor who came here frequently because of additional travel facilities by talking about births to mothers who were en route elsewhere. The airlines which fly to Britain are still perturbed and puzzled to think that a Minister of the Crown should regard births to mothers en route elsewhere as possible, since their international regulations preclude the transit of pregnant women. However, that is by the way.

The Minister's real argument was not about the fear of births in the Tate Gallery or the National Theatre, but about people here illegally whose children born during their stay here would subsequently accept and be granted British citizenship. He relied on the justification for this qualification which appears in paragraph 43 of the White Paper. It says: the Government's main uneasiness on this score —that is, allowing people not permanently settled here to transmit British nationality to their children— is that allowing birth to confer citizenship on such a child —that is, a child whose parent is not normally resident here— means … that after he returns with his parents to their country, —the country of his parent's birth— his own children, born years later, will be British Citizens by descent and would form a pool of considerable size". I shall paraphrase that paragraph, because it contains an extraordinary contention—if it means what it says. The Government's main unease that causes them to break the 700-year-old principle that every child born here is British is that a number of children will be born here to temporary residents, they will go home with the parents who were temporary residents, they will then give birth to children who will become British by descent, and those third generation children will then flood back into the United Kingdom. One has only to paraphrase the paragraph to see how absurd it is.

If one reads the paragraph again, one realises the preoccupation that has prompted the Government in this direction. It says that to allow the potential entry of these almost inconceivable categories of persons would form a pool of considerable size —that is, a pool of immigrants. We are back to the watery metaphors so enjoyed and exploited by the Government. The Prime Minister talks, wrongly, about immigrants flooding in. The White Paper talks about pools. They both demonstrate that the Bill is concerned not with nationality but with restrictions on immigration. The basic principle of nationality that everyone born here is automatically British is being eroded, because the Government fear that not to erode that principle would be to allow in people the Government feel should be excluded.

That is an example of the immigration base of what claims to be a nationality Bill, and it is also an example of the divide between the two parties. The Labour Government's Green Paper three years ago said a child born here by accident is not likely, by and large, to exercise his claim to our citizenship. That is surely true. Following that conclusion, paragraph 34 of that document said, quite firmly, that a Labour Government would maintain the principle that every child born in Britain should be British without question and without qualification. The Labour Government said that because of the hardship that would be caused to children who would be excluded from British citizenship by this proviso.

In Committee, I gave an example from my constituency of what might have happened to a family in Sparkbrook had the Bill been law over the past 10 years. It concerned a married couple who were citizens of Pakistan and who were in this country, wholly legally, reading medicine at a British university. During their undergraduate years, they were staying with their parents in my constituency who had been born in Pakistan and who had acquired British citizenship and the right to reside here. During the first year of their student life in Britain the couple gave birth to a son who, under the Bill, would not be British because his parents were not ordinarily resident here.

The child remained in the United Kingdom for the subsequent four years of his parents' undergraduate career. When he was five, he entered a British primary school, even though his parents returned to the country of their birth, Pakistan, and practised medicine in Islamabad. He remained with his grandparents, as many children have done throughout the ages, to obtain the benefits of the superior education that his parents believed were available to him in the United Kingdom. He stayed with his grandparents for the subsequent three years, but, before going to another school at the age of 12, he went home to visit his parents for a year. By spending a year with them, he was disqualified from the Government's one concession that a child, although born to parents not resident in the United Kingdom, may achieve British nationality if he lives here for the subsequent period without long periods of absence from the country.

The child had one period of absence and reached the age of 14, having spent 13 years in the United Kingdom, having no experience of any country other than the United Kingdom, having no education other than that of the United Kingdom, and having no language other than English—an unusual fact—only to discover that under the Bill he was not a British subject.

I put that case to the Minister, who answered in three parts. First, he said that the child would not be British, despite the length and depth of his British experience. Second, the Minister could not give a clear assurance as to what nationality the child would possess. There was a real chance that he would be stateless. The third part was the catch-all on which all beleaguered Ministers depend when they attempt to justify such Bills, that the Secretary of State has the power and discretion to make a specific allowance in such hard cases.

To say that as long as there is a reasonable Home Secretary everything will be all right is not an adequate justification or defence. Hard cases—of which Labour Members can give examples time after time—will involve individuals who know no life other than the British life and who discover that because of this simple qualification they are no longer British and, indeed, never have been British.

The suffering that arises from such a scheme is largely the result of the Government's obsession with overstaying and illegal immigration. No one doubts the existence of overstaying and illegal immigration. No one does other than deplore overstaying and illegal immigration. If there is control of immigration, as there has to be, the illegal immigrant and the overstayer prejudice the chances of the people who have a legitimate right to enter. I in no way defend illegal immigration, but I know, from my experience, that it does not exist to the extent which justifies its being used as the basis for a British Nationality Bill.

Already the Government's obsession with immigration overstayers and illegal immigrants is preventing the entry into Britain of bona fide visitors, separating wives from husbands and preventing children from joining their parents in Britain. That the wrong application of that obsession has such practical consequences is bad enough. That it should be extended into a principle that determines how nationality is defined is more than deplorable: it is a disgrace. It is a particular disgrace in its practical application because of applying it in the way that the Government do and by saying that a child is British if its parents are normally resident here, but not British if its parents are subject to the paragraph 43 qualification, the Government are introducing a major uncertainty into the lives of tens of thousands of immigrants.

4 pm

The case that I described is hypothetical in a sense because it relates to existing law. Under the Bill the consequences that I described will apply. In that case at no time will the boy of 16 know or be told that his nationality or citizenship status is in doubt.

On Second Reading and in Committee the Minister gave an assurance which we welcomed and applauded. He said that when a child is born in the United Kingdom and its mother or father registers the birth there will be no question of the registrar requiring a demonstration that the parents are normally resident here and stamping the birth certificate according to the status of the parents and therefore describing the nationality status of the child.

The Minister and I are at one in believing that it would be intolerable if the registrar or his officials carried out such an inquiry when every registration was made. The registrar is right to do that. However, there is no escaping from the question at some point during the lives of many British citizens.

I can give three examples in terms of my constituency because such problems arise there. The citizenship status and nationality of many children in my constituency will be questioned at three stages in their lives: first at the age of 14 when they apply for a passport to go on a school trip to France; secondly, when at the age of 16 they want to join the Army; and, thirdly, at the age of 18 or 21 when they are no longer children, when they want to enter the competitive examination that may result in entry to the Civil Service.

On each occasion it will be necessary to demonstrate citizenship status. If the Bill is passed unamended, two things will happen. First, some young people—and in the case of the Civil Service perhaps not such young people—may suddenly discover that, despite what they believed about their birth, condition and citizenship, they are not British after all. They might discover that their parents were immigrant students or overstayers and stayed with friends or relations in the innocent belief that they were entitled to do that. Eventually they could discover that they were not British and that the Government did not know or even care about their status. That would be the tragedy of individuals who after inquiry discovered that they did not enjoy British citizenship.

I do not know how many people will be involved. Everyone's guess is as good as anyone else's. On 12 February the Minister said that no figures existed but that we were discussing a matter of principle. Perhaps a substantial number of people will discover to their astonishment that they are not British.

I regard as more important the equally certain fact that a much larger number of people who are British by birth will be required to demonstrate their British status. That is my major objection. By differentiating between the classes of child born in Britain and by making a distinction between children's nationality status, many people will be asked to demonstrate that they are British.

Let us not be mealy-mouthed about who such people will be. If the sons or grandsons of hon. Members go to the passport office and ask for a passport they will not be asked to demonstrate that they are British because they are white and have British names. The people who will be asked to demonstrate their bona fides will be the black British. They are absolutely British because they were born here and their parents were resident here when they were born. There is no question of their going home because they are home already. This is the only home that they have known. However, because they fit into the category of doubt and suspicion, they will be asked to prove that their parents were ordinarily resident here at the time of their birth.

I have no way of knowing how easy or difficult it will be for children to demonstrate their British status. In many cases it will be extremely difficult. The Minister brushed the difficulties aside in Committee. He said that careful and prudent parents would establish their children's citizenship at an early age. He demonstrated how little he understands the problems in the areas and communities involved. He said that school records might be a help. He gave bland assurances about the ease with which a true British status could be demonstrated. I quarrel with him about the ease with which that can be done.

Even if that demonstration were as easy as the Minister says, my main objection to the Government's proposal is that some people will have to demonstrate their citizenship.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

Proving residence here for 10 years might be helped by school records. However, the real difficulty is not that the child has to prove what happened to him because he can produce a birth certificate to show that he was born here. The difficulty is in proving his parents' immigration status when he was born. The child might have no knowledge of that and it might be difficult for the parents to prove their status at that late stage.

Mr. Hattersley

I agree.

Proof might be required in two areas, in both of which it will be difficult. First, the child who is British because his parents were ordinarily resident here at the time of his birth will have to prove his citizenship. A man of about 21 about to enter the Civil Service may find it difficult to prove the status of his parents 21 years before. The second category involves the Government's concession—that, even if a parent was not normally resident here, a child who has been resident for 10 years and not been absent for 90 days in any one of the 10 years shall be allowed British citizenship.

That a man or woman of 18, having demonstrated that his or her parents were not ordinarily resident here at the time of his or her birth should have to prove residence for 10 years without being out of the country for 90 days, is difficult to understand. I hope that the Minister will explain whether the onus of proof will be on the applicant or whether the onus of disproof will be on the Home Office.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Timothy Raison)

The hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon) and the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) seem to suggest that when a child seeks to establish residence for 10 years the parents' status is also involved. That is not so. The parents' status does not have to be established.

Mr. Hattersley

My hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lyon) did not say that. When I answered his intervention, I carefully distinguished between the two categories. In one case there is a necessity to demonstrate the parents' status—British by birth—and in the other there is a necessity to demonstrate behaviour in the last 10 years. They are different demonstrations, but equally difficult to demonstrate—or they will be for many of those involved.

Mr. Jim Marshall (Leicester, South)

While the former category mentioned by my right hon. Friend—those who have to show their citizenship by both birth and the status of parents—will be discriminatory in the way that my right hon. Friend made clear, is it not also clear that that qualification and necessity will be imposed on every future British citizen, irrespective whether he be white, black or yellow? Although in practice it may be discriminatory against the black community, it is nevertheless an obligation on every one of our children and grandchildren.

Mr. Hattersley

I want to dwell on my hon. Friend's point. While the Minister and I may argue about the need and ability to demonstrate British citizenship, the real objection to the clause is the one to which my hon. Friend has referred. There will be a theoretical obligation upon us all to demonstrate that we are British in a way that will he more detailed than in the past. Previously, if one was born in Britain there was no question about status. In future, in theory we must all demonstrate more than the simple fact that we were born in Britain.

If the Minister wants me to be precise, the fact is that people born after the commencement of the powers contained in the Bill will have to demonstrate their British status by proving more than that they were born in the United Kingdom.

My hon. Friend was right to say that a theoretical obligation would be imposed on every new British citizen born after the Bill comes into effect. But I repeat—and I know that my hon. Friend agrees—that in practice the questions about status, the obligations to provide proof, the demands to show the parents' status and behaviour during the past 10 years will always be applied to British citizens whose parents or grandparents are West Indian or Asian. It will not be applied to those who look British as commonly imagined. It will be applied to those who do not look British, as prejudicially conceived. That will be disastrous to community relations in Britain.

It is no good me, or anybody else, saying to the ethnic minorities and to immigrants' children and grandchildren—by definition, we are talking not about immigrants but about those who are British by birth—that they are as British as anybody else because they were born in Britain when their parents were properly resident here, because they know that in practice their status will probably be questioned by every official office, on every official document, and whenever an important matter arises about their relationship with the State. That would not be the case if they were British and white.

The need for the clause has not been justified by anything that the Minister of State and the Home Secretary have said. The Minister of State said that no figures were available. He cannot tell us how many undesirable immigrants might be allowed into Britain if he returned to the old principle that everybody born in Britain is British. He has no idea of what the additional immigration load might be. However, he can give figures about illegal immigration, which are wholly irrelevant, and figures about temporary stays in Britain, which are equally irrelevant. He said in Committee that it is a matter of principle. It is also a matter of principle to the Labour Party. It is a matter of principle about the nature of British society, about the definition of who is British and about our attitude towards those who live in British society. I regard distinguishing between them as both absurd and squalid.

I hope that even now the Government will repent. On behalf of the small group who will be penalised, and the much larger group who will be made uncertain—and therefore penalised also—I hope that even now the Government will change their mind and, will accept amendment No. 1.

4.15 pm
Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)

I want to intervene briefly as one of the sundry persons referred to by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) as having signed the amendment. I assure the right hon. Gentleman and the House that I have not done so in any casual way. Members of both the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party decided to sign the amendment because it is not a technical amendment but one of profound and basic principle, affecting the attitude of our society towards those who live in our midst.

Having read the exchanges in Committee, one basic question still baffles me. The overwhelming majority of children born in Britain to immigrant parents will be British citizens on birth. Yet after the Bill becomes law a birth certificate will no longer be sufficient proof of citizenship. From that simple fact many administrative and human problems will flow. So far, the Government have failed to give the reasons for such a fundamental change.

The Government are introducing uncertainty and complexity into a highly sensitive area of law. They are introducing cumbersome administration and additional cost. They may well unwittingly increase statelessness. The Government gave twin reasons for the proposed change. First, they say, the objective of the Bill is to define British citizens as those with close connections with the United Kingdom, and that that should not extend to a child born to parents staying temporarily in Britain.

As the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was careful to point out, the original argument produced in support of that submission—the increased use of air travel—was nonsense because people do not come to Britain temporarily simply to have children. Even if they did, presumably they can come by land or sea and stay for a considerable time. The numbers who come to Britain deliberately to have a child born here must be minimal.

The second Government argument is more worrying. They say that children having acquired British citizenship may then live abroad and transmit British citizenship by descent. Paragraph 43 of the White Paper states that such people would form a pool of considerable size". That is already the case. If the Government believe that that is a problem they are duty bound to demonstrate why it is a problem under existing law. I am not convinced that there is a problem.

I endorse the argument of the right hon. Gentleman that the certainty of a child born here, irrespective of parentage, that he is a British citizen has been an important factor in encouraging the security of the ethnic minorities. Even a limited departure from that basic principle undermines that security, which is already undermined enough. It has aroused the fear that, in the hands of a different Government or a different Home Secretary. such a change could pave the way to a future denial of citizenship to children born of immigrant parents.

Perhaps the most direct and permanent effect of the change is that it will be necessary not for those affected by the Bill in law, but for the entire non-white community in our midst to be prepared to produce documents or evidence of their citizenship at various points in their lives. I am already disturbed by the cases now occurring. For example, people are being required to produce evidence that, as citizens, they are entitled to treatment under the National Health Service. I am sure that the House deplores that. But that sort of practice will increase if we approve the proposal. There will be other problems, and not only in the hospitals.

What will happen in schools where there is a substantial ethnic minority? When school trips are organised and a collective form of passport is taken up, will the school teachers have to investigate the rights to citizenship of every child, because a birth certificate will not be enough proof of citizenship?

We seem to be in grave danger of paving the way to a pass law society where certain people will have to carry evidence of citizenship, perhaps not in the form of an identity card—we would all react adversely to that—but in the form of a letter from the Home Office, as was suggested by the Minister in Committee. I still find the principle repugnant. It is for that reason that we support the amendment. We hope that, even at this late stage, the Government will have a change of heart and that they will find some Government Members who have resisted the attractions of Derby day to turn their attention to an extremely important change of fundamental principle which is being proposed in British law.

Mr. K. Harvey Proctor (Basildon)

This group of amendments is important and crucial to the Bill. I cannot support the proposition put forward by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), because it would weaken the Bill considerably. It would extend the rights to British citizenship far wider than it would be wise to do. I note that the right hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) talked about the black British and about matters of principle. Most Opposition amendments, both in Committee and on Report, are in some way tied up with supporting the so-called rights of the immigrant community. Hon. Members who tabled the amendments tend to forget or to overlook easily the rights of the indigenous white population.

There has been much talk about a multi-racial society. That has occurred in a way not wanted by political parties in the past and certainly not wanted by the indigenous white population. The question whether there should be a multi-racial society has never been put before the electorate. If the electorate had ever been offered the opportunity to give an opinion I know what the result would have been. It would not have been in favour of the position in which, unfortunately, we find ourselves, with an immigrant community in our midst ranging from 2½ million to 3 million.

The answer would have been that there should be firm immigration control. That has been the view of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party at successive general elections, although not of the Liberal Party. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook mentioned once again his support for firm immigration control. We should pay a little more attention in the debate to the effect on the indigenous white population of amendments that would weaken the Bill by widening the right to citizenship.

I wish to support amendment No. 77 in my name and the names of my hon. Friends on the question of dual nationality. It relates to clause 9, which deals with citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who are to become British citizens at the date of commencement of the measure and proposes that that should not occur if at that time they hold another citizenship. I raised this subject briefly on Second Reading. My worry was that the Bill did not deal with dual nationality.

I understood from the White Paper that was issued before the publication of the Bill that there were thought to be about 3 million citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies with dual nationality who were exempt from United Kingdom immigration control, of whom 1 million were currently resident in the United Kingdom. I should have thought that it was a reasonable contention that when we are looking at British nationality and citizenship we should look also at the question of dual nationality. The matter was raised in vain in Committee. Therefore, the amendment seeks to redress the balance.

Citizenship is a question of loyalty—loyalty to one's country in the basic analysis. It is difficult to have divided or dual loyalties. Therefore, it would be a good idea, especially at this time of recasting the nationality laws, to look at dual nationality. Amendment No. 77 seeks to provide that people who have nationality of another country, whether it be the West Indies, Africa or the Asian Sub-continent, should not automatically gain British citizenship.

Mr. John Sever (Birmingham, Ladywood)

I am happy to support the amendment that was moved so admirably by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). As a fellow Member of Parliament for Birmingham, he is well acquainted with the situation in that area, where members of ethnic minority communities undoubtedly feel uneasy, to put it at its simplest, about the matters that the House is discussing this week.

One thing that disturbs my right hon. Friend and myself is that the Bill, which is crucial not only to representatives of ethnic minority communities, but to many others, pays scant regard to future race relations in Britain. It is a matter of deep concern to those of us who take an interest in the Bill that the Government should have provided an opportunity for those who wish to oppose them to argue that they are not concerned with race relations or racial harmony, particularly in areas such as Birmingham where these matters are important.

The right hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) referred in passing to the fears that substantial numbers of the community have about the way in which the Bill will operate when enacted and whether it may be seen, as many see it, with justifiable concern, as the introduction to a system that will eventually lead to members of ethnic minority communities having to carry identification passes or a wallet full of documentation to prove who they are, where they come from, how they got here and who their mums and dads were. I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would develop his argument, because I am sure that he would have done a good job on it. The fears to which he referred are fears of the sort that a wise Government would have taken steps to avoid in the presentation of a Bill of this importance.

4.30 pm
Mr. Raison

It is nonsensical to talk in those terms. The only occasion on which a person might have to produce documents would be when he was applying for a passport or on a limited number of other occasions during his life. Nothing in our scheme could possibly lead anyone to believe that people would have to carry documents and passports all the time. Such an argument is fallacious. Nothing in the Bill justifies it.

Mr. Sever

At the moment it may be possible to argue that the ethnic minority communities have nothing to fear, but the concern is that at some time in the not-too-distant future there may be an extension or development of the proposals in the Bill that would lead to a worsening of the position, the introduction of the measures I have described, and would mean that people would have to carry passes, identification papers and all the rest.

Mr. David Steel

Surely the Minister does not disagree that, unhappily, this is already happening in some cases. I gave examples. Surely he does not dissent either from the proposition that his proposal will lead to a greater number of occasions on which that will happen. It is no good his shaking his head. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) listed a number of occasions when such documentation will be required, and the Minister has admitted that there will be such occasions. When I used the phrase "pass law" I was arguing that the Bill was leading us down a dangerous slope.

Mr. Sever

That is right. As I suspected, the right hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles has made a better job of putting over the argument than I did. The fear exists. The difficulty is that many people in the ethnic minority communities feel that the Bill is the first step down the slippery slope to which the right hon. Member referred. The Government could have been bold and forthright. They could have produced a Bill that would have tidied up the nationality laws, something that many hon. Members on both sides of the House concede is necessary. They could have done that without introducing any element of fear among the ethnic minorities. The Government have not done that, and that is why they are encountering so much hostility towards their proposals, both within the House and outside.

The burden of my argument remains that we have missed an opportunity with the Bill to tidy up the nationality laws and produce a measure that would be widely accepted throughout the various communities and would not create worry among those who may feel threatened by the Government's proposals.

The Government seem to be going against world opinion, which is that all Governments should reduce the amounts and threat of statelessness. The Government have paid a degree of lip-service to the international conventions aimed at reducing statelessness, but they are now seeking to enact a Bill that will lead to an enormous increase in statelessness and jeopardise the future of many people. They are doing that while appearing to agree that the threat to those whose statehood may be in question should be reduced. They cannot have it both ways. Either they must take positive steps towards reducing statelessness or they must not introduce measures such as the Bill, which will undeniably increase the risk of it.

Those points are crucial to the way in which the ethnic minorities view the Bill, but the Government have been less than helpful about them. Heaven knows, the quality of race relations in Britain is not good enough, but by their action the Government are creating fears in those minorities that it will decline. I therefore hope that the House will express its views today on this difficult and delicate matter by supporting my right hon. Friend's amendment.

Mr. Nick Budgen (Wolverhampton, South-West)

I wish to say a few words about amendment No. 77 One of the saddest aspects of the Bill is that it has not grasped the difficult nettle of dual nationality. Those who are most likely to be disadvantaged by that failure are the members of the New Commonwealth and Pakistan ethnic group. If they had been able to say that they had given up their allegiance to their country of origin and had irrevocably become citizens of the United Kingdom they would have made it plain to all that they were here to stay. They would have demonstrated their common allegiance to the customs, traditions and loyalties of our country.

The disadvantage to those people was perhaps best illustrated yesterday by the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) when he complained eloquently during the speech by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that he had been held to be ineligible for service in the Royal Navy because, he said, his father had been refused naturalisation after living here for 30 blameless years. I expect that in law there was an absolute bar against his father serving in the Armed Forces. It is probable that the hon. Gentleman encountered a discretionary bar.

It is now fashionable for all of us to consider the reintroduction of some form of national service. Hon. Members on both sides of the House talk in terms of some form of youth or national service, or service to the State, to help alleviate the problem of youth unemployment and channel the undoubted idealism of our young people into a worthwhile cause. The great virtue of the old national service was that it was compulsory. Any selective form of national service that could be seen as punishment for those who were unfortunate enough to be unemployed would, I believe, be highly divisive. But what would happen if some form of compulsory national service, directed primarily towards service in the Armed Forces, were imposed now? A substantial minority of people in this country now enjoy, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary would put it, the advantages of dual nationality. But would it be possible or even desirable to compel the members of that minority to serve in the Armed Forces?

I recently attended a meeting in Wolverhampton at which the various groups representing those who were formerly described as immigrants, but who rightly no longer are so described, were giving their views about what they called "mother tongue education". We had a long discussion about whether that would create further divisions in the community. During that discussion I was handed a document by the Indian Workers' Association. I did not obtain it by any subterfuge. The intention was plainly that I should read it carefully.

I find at the back the aims and objectives of the Indian Workers' Association. They are: To organise Indians to

  1. (i) safeguard and improve their conditions of life and work;"
—there is nothing of great interest in that—[Interruption.] There is nothing objectionable in that. It is perfectly understandable. I appreciate that the association makes that its first objective. I hope that the House will listen to its second objective in the light of what I said about allegiance and possible national service: (ii) seek co-operation and unity with the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom towards fulfilment of its aims and objects —I am sure this will be of interest to many hon. Members.— (iii)promote co-operation and unity with the trade union and Labour movement in Great Britain We hope that the objectives of the British Government, as the Government change from time to time, will always coincide with the objectives of the Indian Government, but we cannot be sure that that is so. We would put our Armed Services in a difficult position if, for the sake of argument, we were to recruit by compulsion large numbers of persons whose principal allegiance is to——

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)

I listened carefully to the second object which my hon. Friend described. I wonder whether that second object is more objectionable than the perfectly understandable attitude of many United Kingdom Jews who seek to promote Zionism. I do not think that we would regard that as objectionable. If that is right, I do not see why we should regard the second objective as objectionable.

Mr. Budgen

If there are those who wish to promote Zionism, it is better that they should have citizenship only in the United Kingdom; then they demonstrate in their advocacy of Zionism that it is in no way inconsistent with their loyalty to the British Crown. That is a perfectly reasonable position for them to hold.

Mr. Jim Marshall

I do not wish to encourage the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) to make one of his over-long speeches——

Mr. Douglas Hogg

Who is talking?

Mr. Budgen

I have nearly finished.

Mr. Jim Marshall

Will the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West show the relevance of amendment No. 77 to Indian citizens living in this country? He may be unaware, as he usually is unaware of the most important point, that Indian citizens are not eligible for dual citizenship, so that amendment No. 77 is not applicable either to Indian citizens living in this country or to the the vast majority of members of the Indian Workers' Association in this country.

Mr. Budgen

They cannot in their own country have dual nationality, but they can here.

Mr. Hattersley


Mr. Budgen

Even if in respect of India I am wrong, and I do not believe I am wrong, it still illustrates the general proposition that I am making.

In objective (iv) the Indian Workers' Association makes plain the difference between allegiance to India and allegiance to this country. The fourth objective is to strengthen friendship with the British and all other peoples in Great Britain and co-operate with their organisations to this end". There is a world of difference between strengthening friendship, which is a proper objective in our attitudes towards the Indian Government of the day, and seeking cooperation and unity with the Indian High Commission.

Mr. David Steel

I wonder whether, in his travels overseas, the hon. Gentleman ever had a chance to look at the constitution of, say, a Caledonian society in Canada or a St. George's society somewhere in the middle of Africa. He would find similar provisions there.

4.45 pm
Mr. Budgen

If the Caledonian Society is in the United States of America, where there is no dual nationality, the fears I am pointing to cannot sensibly be put forward. I am simply saying that, so long as we retain a system of dual nationality, the fears I put forward can sensibly be considered and raise real problems.

Mr. John Stokes (Halesowen and Stourbridge)

An even more serious point is that if the United Kingdom should unfortunately ever be involved in a war, would the people over here who have dual nationality be prepared to fight, and if necessary to die, for this country?

Mr. Budgen

Perhaps they would. By continuing the system of dual nationality we deny them the right to make their allegiance plain. We do them a great disservice. Although I know that it is done out of a spirit of kindliness, it is also done because we are not prepared to face a most disagreeable issue.

Mr. J Enoch Powell (Down, South)

I have not hitherto sought to catch the eye of the Chair in this debate because, as amendment (a) to amendment No. 1 which stands in my name and is being considered in connection with it, raises a substantially different issue, it seemed to me right that the debate on amendment No. 1 should develop to a certain point. But there is this that is germane both to the substance of amendment No. 1 and to my amendment (a) and also to amendment No.77 to which the hon. Member for Wolverhampton South-West (Mr. Budgen) has been speaking: It is that they all draw attention to aspects and consequences of the change in the basis of nationality which is what the Bill is really about.

It is the second revolutionary change which has been enacted in the basis of our nationality within a generation. A generation separates those two revolutionary changes.

In 1948, although it was modified by the principle of citizenship basically the old doctrine of jus soli continued. We maintained the principle for which the official Opposition have contended throughout the proceedings on the Bill—I was no more than teasing when I described it as the feudal principle, although indeed it is feudal in origin—namely, that birth within a place determining citizenship derives historically from the old concept that whatever grows upon the soil is the property of the lord of the soil, an aspect of the concept of dominion.

Our nationality by birth within the allegiance, which was altered by the 1948 Act, was essentially nationality by jus soli. It was birth within territory, albeit birth which attracted allegiance by virtue of being born within the dominions of the Crown. That had been the system and the essence of our nationality before 1948.

In 1948 we did a remarkaable thing. We shifted the basis from allegiance to citizenship. We stated that the whole body of British subjects was the total of those who enjoyed one or more various citizenships—the citizenships of the then already independent former dominions and a new citizenship comprising the residuum, described as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. To that extent we altered, although we did not abandon, jus soli. We altered it to the extent that citizenship had to be the gateway through which the basic status of subjecthood was, in the eyes of United Kingdom law, attained.

Unfortunately at that time, and for many years afterwards, we did not base the attributes, rights and privileges of nationality upon citizenship. Indeed, the citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies which we had artificially created was so wide and so diffuse as not to afford a rational basis for the conferment of rights and duties. Instead of that we persisted with the old universal British subjecthood as being the essence of nationality in the law of this country and the key to the exercise of the characteristic rights of a national. It was because we did so that the immense change in our population structure came about that has been experienced in the past 30 years.

Whereas all the other parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth continued to restrict the rights of citizenship to their own citizens and to do so—I make no criticism of this—in a highly restrictive manner which in many instances was a continuation of what had been the policy of the colonial or imperial Government, we did not do the same. We did not, for example, restrict the right of entry to this realm to the possessors of citizenship. We attributed it, as before 1948, to the possessors of British subjecthood.

The result of that is the present situation, for example, in the metropolis. In Greater London as a whole, 20 per cent. of the births that occur year by year are to new Commonwealth ethnic parents. In inner London those births probably account for a third of the total, and in some parts of inner London they probably account for more than a half. That tremendous change, with all its consequences, whatever they may be, arose as a result of what we did and what we failed to do in the enactment of 1948; and stating that, as has been frequently said in the course of these proceedings, I find myself entirely at one with the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon).

We are now, after the revolution of a generation, to make another fundamental change. We are now to shift the fundamental basis from jus soli to jus sanguinis, as anyone may read in the first few lines of clause 1, which state that a British citizen is a child born to a British citizen. However, there is still an admixture of the old principle—for the child is one who is born in the United Kingdom—and there is included an alternative qualification, namely, that of the parent being settled in the United Kingdom at the time of the birth.

Thus we have not moved to a new and self-consistent principle of jus sanguinis, where the credentials of the citizen by birth are essentially the credentials of his parent or parents, as in other countries where the law of nationality is jus sanguinis. Instead we have a mixture.

Amendment No. 1 draws attention to one of the inconvenient consequences. There are apt to be inconvenient consequences in a blend, almost any blend to choice, of two inherently different principles. In admitting the jus soli, we have had to face the question of birth in the United Kingdom to parents who are not themselves British subjects; and on the definition adopted for this alternative qualification the Government have run into real difficulties.

I do not think that the Opposition's arguments can be treated lightly. If, under the second qualification, British citizenship depends upon the status of the parents in respect of their settlement here at the time of the birth, problems of documentation are created which did not exist under the unadulterated jus soli and which would not exist in the same form or to the same intensity under the alternative principle of sanguinis. I do not believe—I think I listened to everything that was said on this subject in Committee—that as yet the Government have addressed themselves sufficiently to this problem of documentation. The Minister of State intervened today to say that it will only be occasionally that the question will arise of the status of the parents of a citizen qualifying under the alternative conditions. So be it. I do not think that one would be disposed to doubt that, and the hon. Gentleman is obviously right when he says that we shall not be stopped in the street every other day and asked to prove our citizenship.

However, it is at crucial times and at crucial moments, often at unexpected times and perhaps in emergency, that a person has for certain necessary purposes to prove what his nationality is.

I do not believe that the Government have so far come to grips with the problem, and I regard that as justification for the narrower debate raised by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). The Government have not brought forward any unequivocal description of the manner in which they would expect those qualifying under the alternative condition normally to provide themselves with the means of proving their status when necessary and wherever necessary.

So the Opposition have said "Let us return to the jus soli. Let us go for simplicity. Let us have a clean solution. Let us return to the old principle that everyone born here is ipso facto a British citizen." That is where the debate on the first principle drifts, as it were, into the debate on the second principle. For if, as things now are in this country, we endow with British citizenship all who are born in the United Kingdom, we shall endow with citizenship a large number of persons who are by birth citizens of the country of origin of their parents. That is why the issue of dual citizenship, which is a material one and is a matter of debate and difference between the nations of the earth, comes to be considered at this stage, as it has been previously, in the study of the Bill.

The amendment that I have proposed to amendment No. 1, like amendment No. 77 that is being taken with it, raises straight out, though it does so in a different context, the question whether dual nationality in this sense is advisable.

If my amendment to the right hon. Gentleman's amendment were accepted, no one born in the United Kingdom would be stateless. That is certain and clear. I make no apology whatsoever for that consequence, because I believe it to be inherently monstrous to accept statelessness on the part of a person who is born in the United Kingdom. But if that person would not otherwise be stateless, it would provide that the nationality which he had by birth under the laws of the country of origin of his parents should prevail, at any rate until the person concerned or his parents availed themselves of the other provisions of the Bill in order deliberately to acquire British nationality.

I admit that this does not display the whole issue of dual nationality. Probably, no single amendment to the. Bill could do that. I am content to treat the matter upon the narrower ground of the amendment to the right hon. Gentleman's amendment which stands in my name.

It has been said throughout and said, when one has translated the conventional expressions, correctly that race relations or community relations dominate much of our consideration of the Bill. That is perfectly correct; and they dominate our decision on the matter which is now raised before the House by the amendments being discussed.

Of the persons being born in this country today to new Commonwealth ethnic parents, a large majority are by birth citizens of the country of origin of their parents. It is true that that majority gradually and slowly diminishes with the effluxion of time, as the second generation born here becomes more and more perceptible. However, for the time being and for many years to come, it will still be true to say that the majority of such children hold the citizenship of the countries of their parents.

My contention is that we ought not by our legislation to impose upon those children the citizenship of this country, especially as in any case it is available to them at their or their parents' option under later provisions of the Bill.

Mr. Greville Janner (Leicester, West)

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the statement which he made regarding the nationality of children whose parents were born in New Commonwealth countries would not apply to the children of East African Asians, of whom some 50,000 or 60,000 live in Leicester, part of which I represent?

Mr. Powell

I am well aware of that. Those people form a minority amongst the births which I am mentioning. I had thought that the hon. and learned Member was not going to say East African, but East European; for the same would be true. In many cases where people have come to this country from Eastern Europe as refugees or otherwise, their former countries have denied to them, and certainly would deny to the next generation, the citizenship of their countries of origin.

I return to the general case why I consider that we are making the wrong choice. I preface this by saying that in my proposition there is no sort of disrespect for other nationalities or those who hold other nationalities. I am prepared to apply to my proposition what is known as the Golden Rule: whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. Let us invert the situation and see how it looks the other way round. Here is a child born, let us say, in China or in Peru—either will do—to British parents. Under our law, including the law which we are here making, he is a British citizen. Does anyone suggest that it would be a ground of outrage or indignation or would be regarded as insulting that that child should not have conferred upon it Peruvian or Chinese citizenship? Should we say that in that case we are devalued if, living in China and having a child who is a British citizen—is of our own nationality and citizenship—this country, where we have been admitted to settle, does not recognise him as one of its own citizens? I believe in most cases the attutude would be that, of course, the children we have in this foreign country shall be British citizens: that is what we desire, that is the status of which we are proud.

A great deal of the argument in the Chamber yesterday afternoon was on behalf of those, not of the first or second, but of later generations, who were not interested in the citizenship of the countries in which they were settled, but maintained as a claim of honour that they should be able to retain by descent, through more than two generations, the citizenship of the country of origin of their parents or grandparents.

Therefore let no one say that by choosing to eschew the dual citizenship which is automatically produced on a massive scale by the Bill in its present form, we place any stigma upon those concerned or upon the nations or the countries from which the parents come. It would be easier to sustain the opposite proposition. I have noticed that those who have argued in favour of dual nationality have not done so on the basis of white parents from European countries. They have not said what a shame it would be for a little German born in this country not also to be a little Briton from birth. Instead they have cited the New Commonwealth countries and their nationalities.

It was claimed by the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) in Committee that noblesse oblige from the days of Empire requires that we should confer upon them, whether they want it or not, the citizenship of this country. I ventured to suggest to the hon. Member—who is not at present in the Chamber, but the view is not restricted to him—that a sort of prejudice lurks behind that attitude, as if the nationhood and nationalities of the citizens of those new countries were not to be compared with those of the older States, and that therefore we were obviously withholding something from them which they ought to value, if we did not automatically superimpose our citizenship upon that of their countries of origin.

On what criteria, then, ought we to decide the question? I believe that there are two. One has been canvassed already by speeches in the debate, namely, that if one can avoid creating unnecessarily and involuntarily dual allegiance—I will substitute "dual citizenship", if the word "allegiance" causes any offence—it is desirable to do so. The doctrine about God and Mammon may not hold good 100 per cent. for the holders of dual nationality; but I believe most hon. Members will agree with me in regarding it as, generally speaking, undesirable for a person—I know that the hon. Member for York dissents from this, but I speak not only as I would feel, but as I think a great many people feel—if a legitimate and legal claim can be urged upon his loyalty by two nations; and I would still say that, even if those two nations were friendly and were not nations with a tradition of hostility or located at the opposite ends of the earth.

My general proposition, then, is that dual nationality in itself—although one would be prepared to admit exceptions—is not a desirable feature of nationality law, especially when it does not arise through a voluntary act—of naturalisation, for example—but is imposed automatically at birth, rather like baptism with the hose by the celebrated Chinese general.

Mr. Jim Marshall

In his usual persuasive way, the right hon. Gentleman may be having a great influence on the way hon. Members view dual nationality. Will he say what it will mean for people who are at present citizens of the United Kingdom and who, if he had his way, would be citizens of India, Pakistan or other Commonwealth countries but not of this country? With his usual fairness, in Committee he elaborated on what the proposal could mean for the immigrant population.

Mr. Powell

A little while ago, rather unfairly, the hon. Gentleman accused another hon. Member of making a lengthy speech; so it was a little hard of him to intervene in my speech before it was drawing to its conclusion. I assure him I had no intention of overlooking serious and practical factors that too often remain unstated because of the inconvenience and even unpopularity of referring to them. However, to answer the hon. Gentleman's immediate point, this amendment, and my amendment to it, do nothing retrospective.

Mr. Marshall


Mr. Powell

I thought that a comment that fell from the hon. Gentleman carried the suggestion that one or the other might have an effect on the status of children already born. Clearly, it does not.

I say then that it is preferable for the future that a German or Pakistani who is born such under the law of those countries in this country should not automatically, under the law of this country, be made a British citizen from birth; but I will not conceal the fact that this is important in 1981 when, so far as I can recollect, it passed without debate in 1948, because of the change in the composition of our population meantime and the consequences and dangers that that change involves.

There are two views as to the likely consequences of that changed composition of the population of the metropolis, to which I alluded earlier. I take the example of the metropolis, although, of course, it is not unique in this respect. Two views can be legitimately held as to whether a London of the future—of which the population will be constituted as a result of the birth proportions that I mentioned— will or can be a peaceable, well-governed city, integrally part of this country and its metropolitan head and centre. One view is that it can and will happen—that it will be found possible for an inner London, 50 per cent. New Commonwealth ethnic, diminishing as one goes towards the boundaries of Greater London to 25 per cent. or 20 per cent., to be something with which all concerned will learn to live. The other view is that the tensions, conflicts and mutual fears—not fears on one side only, but mutual fears—that will result from the inexorable movement towards that eventual picture portend a future damaging and dangerous to all concerned.

Among those who take the latter view, there is again a divergence between those who believe that the consequence can be averted by persuading people to behave differently from the way in which, in human experience hitherto, they have tended to behave and those who believe that human nature will remain true to the experience that we have of it.

What no one can say of this latter view, namely, that conflict on a large scale is portended by the prospective future composition of the population of the metropolis, is that it is an unreasonable, irrational or improbable 'proposition. It can be said that it is a disagreeable or frightening proposition—the Prime Minister said that—but it cannot be said that it is inherently irrational or improbable. We ought, therefore, to take it into account in framing our law.

I wish we had been more far-sighted when we framed our law in 1948, and had endowed, as other nations in the Commonwealth did, our citizenship with the rights and appurtenances of citizenship, instead of trying to go on living a dream of empire by pretending that British subjecthood meant anything outside the shores of these islands.

5.15 pm

I bring that prospect to bear upon the alternatives proposed by my amendment and the clause as it stands.

If the worst comes to be realised, people will seek to avoid and diminish its impact, and one way in which they will seek to do so is by reducing the size of the New Commonwealth ethnic population through re-emigration in various forms. That is one measure that is bound to present itself as rational and humane. If hon. Members believe that those reflections are restricted to an occasional politician here and there on the fringes, they are greatly mistaken. I was interested to read in the Wolverhampton Express and Star—by which I used occasionally to be misreported, as no doubt the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West is now—an article on 15 April which started with the paragraph: Young black people born in Britain would favour voluntary repatriation, according to a startling survey in Birmingham.

Mr. Reg Race (Wood Green)

Because of the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Powell

Whether because of me or not. The poll was carried out amongst teenagers in the Handsworth and city centre areas this week, in the wake of the Brixton riots. Many of those questioned disclosed that they would like to 'go back'—even though they do not have a country to go to. As was noted in the debate yesterday, they may in some cases be mistaken in that—they may find that they do have a country to go to, in the legal as well as the natural sense. Handsworth Labour Party youth officer —who will no doubt be known to one or two hon. Members present— Mr. Michael Laity, who organised the survey, said: 'Some of these people feared that a similar situation to Brixton could develop in Handsworth, as they were tired of poor housing and job prospects and being treated as third-class citizens. Even though they are British subjects they say they would like to live in the West Indies or Africa. None of us would make too much of one individual survey, but what was discovered in Birmingham—and found startling by the Express and Star—was something that those concerned know well to be in the minds of hundreds and thousands of people who look with apprehension to what the future portends.

In demographic terms we know what lies ahead. In those circumstances, will whatever measures and choices have to be taken be assisted if we have imposed British citizenship on those who had the citizenship of their countries of origin—in many cases, such as that of India, thereby effectively depriving them of the citizenship of that country—it has been made clear by the Government and by the Indian High Commission that if they should exercise British citizenship conferred under this legislation it would be incompatible with the citizenship of India—will that be a more favourable background? Or will the background be more favourable if the citizenship of the country of origin is retained and recognised as the due status of those legally here as a result of decisions taken in past years?

By maintaining this pretence, by insisting on the water-hose method of conferring citizenship, we are acting contrary to the Government's claims. They say that they mean thereby to give an assurance of permanence to the New Commonwealth ethnic minority. I assert that they are doing nothing of the kind. They are maximising the anxieties of the rest of the community and doing nothing to remove the anxieties of the ethnic minority.

Once again, after 33 years, we are engaged in legislation on British nationality and once again we are engaged in a game of make-believe. The make-believe we engaged in 33 years ago has come home to men, women and children with its dire consequences. When make-believe is indulged in by legislatures, that is always the result.

I would sooner that the Bill reached the statute book without the make-believe which is involved in conferring dual citizenship upon the large and increasing numbers of children born in this country with the citizenship—no doubt they will rejoice in it when they come to the years of discretion—of their parents' countries of origin.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

Order. Does the right hon. Gentleman wish to move his amendment now?

Mr. Powell

I understood that it was not possible to do so now as it was merely being considered and debated together with the amendment that stands in the name of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It would be in order to move the amendment now.

Mr. Powell

With your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should prefer to take the decision later.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has illuminated an important facet of the debate. The amendment put forward by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) imposes British citizenship on all those born in the United Kingdom. In other words, it is an imposition. It is important for the House to bear in mind the fact that possession of British citizenship also confers certain positive obligations.

If a person possesses dual nationality, he owes not one obligation, but two. He owes an obligation to the United Kingdom, and an obligation to the other country. It is to state the obvious to say that the time may come when the interests of the two nations of which he is a national are no longer reconcilable. By imposing British citizenship in the way suggested by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, we are imposing an obligation on people—by definition, not of their own choice—that may become extremely distressing.

Most hon. Members will agree that the possession of rights and privileges—particularly the privilege of British citizenship—also confers obligations. Rights, privileges and obligations run together. I suggest that the converse is also true. If it is wrong in certain circumstances to impose obligations on individuals, it is at least arguable that it is wrong to give such persons the rights and privileges of British citizenship.

Let us consider the example of a child born in the United Kingdom of parents who are not British subjects and who are not settled in the United Kingdom. That child may leave and go to another country, where he becomes an adult. Let us suppose that that other country indulges in hostilities with the United Kingdom and that war is declared. Let us suppose also that the person, who lives in the country with which he is naturally associated, plays a part in the conflict. There is no doubt that in law the Government could, at the conclusion of hostilities, charge him with treason.

If the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Sparkbrook prevails, that child will be a British citizen although he will have been raised abroad and may have lived all his life there. He will owe the Crown of the United Kingdom all the obligations of a British citizen. An extraordinary situation would arise. In theory, he would be guilty of treason although there would have been no real connection between him and the Crown. Is that reasonable or just? Does it make sense? The answer is manifestly "No". Why does it not make sense? The answer is that there is not the degree of affinity and allegiance that should sustain not merely a charge of treason, but the right to call oneself a citizen.

Therefore, if it would be wrong to attribute to that person the obligations of British citizenship, it is difficult to see how it can be argued that such a person should, as of right, have the rights and privileges of British citizenship. Those things run together. If it is not right to impose obligations, it is not right to confer rights and privileges.

Mr. Jim Marshall

I do not wish to take up the legalistic argument advanced by the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg). Instead, I shall comment on the speech made by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). Those who served on the Committee will recall that the speech that we just heard was the last speech that the right hon. Gentleman made in Committee during discussion of the availability of dual citizenship.

In essence, the right hon. Gentleman's amendment seeks, from the commencement date, to strip those born here—who enjoy the rights of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies and the right of abode here—of their British citizenship and to make them foreign nationals. That is what the right hon. Gentleman seeks to do.

Viscount Cranborne (Dorset, South)


Mr. Marshall

The hon. Member says "No". If he is not prepared to read what amendment (a) says, I am not prepared to listen to any intervention that he may make from a sedentary position.

5.30 pm

I have described what the amendment of the right hon. Member for Down, South seeks to do. He is very good at making comments whereby people misunderstand his position, but I understand his position to be this. Whereas at present children born in this country are United Kingdom and Colonies citizens with the right of abode in this country if their parents were nationals of, say, India, Pakistan or any other New Commonwealth country, if amendment (a) were passed, children born after commencement would automatically be nationals of the New Commonwealth country.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

What the hon. Gentleman attributes to me requires modification in only one respect. He referred to the right of abode. The right of abode does not come into it because obviously the parents, who by definition are not British citizens, also by definition have right of abode, so that is not attributable to me. But it is quite right that if the amendment were carried children so born would not automatically at birth thereby become British citizens.

Mr. Marshall

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. Perhaps the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Cranborne) now also accepts the basic position that I have stated. The right hon. Member for Down, South seeks to create within this country a category of people who in essence and in effect would be foreign nationals. If the right hon. Gentleman's further views were adopted by any future Government, it would enable that future British Government to remove from those foreign nationals any civic rights in the United Kingdom and could eventually result in legislation which could lead to repatriation.

Mr. Budgen


Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

It not only could, but would lead to repatriation.

Mr. Marshall

The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) says that it would lead to repatriation. I am convinced that if the right hon. Member for Down, South had his way it would indeed lead to repatriation. If the amendment were passed, it would have a grave effect upon race relations in the United Kingdom at the present time.

Contrary to the impression that the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) may have, and even, with due respect, the right hon. Member for Down, South, Indian citizens in this country at present, many of whom have been here for 10, 15 or 20 years, are so afraid that their civic rights may be undermined in the future that they are falling over themselves to take British citizenship. So many are seeking British citizenship that there is a waiting list of up to two years. If they are keen to show that they have thrown in their lot with the United Kingdom and to show their affinity with the United Kingdom and, because of the threat which they envisage in the future, are prepared to show that in the only way that they can by taking British citizenship, if amendment (a) were carried—I am sure that the House will not pass it—it would further undermine race relations in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Budgen

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. He is now being very courteous. I wonder whether he would consider this point. Is it not possible that, by retaining this ambiguity about the loyalty of a significant minority of the people in this country, he is actually making it easier for some people to advocate their compulsory repatriation in future? If they had in a significant way chosen the citizenship of this country, it would be far more difficult compulsorily to repatriate them to their country of origin.

Mr. Marshall

My last word on this is that the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West and the right hon. Member for Down, South are using a device, under the umbrella of dual citizenship, to persuade the House to pass an amendment which would enable a future Government easily to pass legislation leading to the repatriation of people who under the existing law are full citizens with full civic rights in the United Kingdom.

Viscount Cranborne

Would the hon. Gentleman therefore advocate that British subjects living in, say, South America or India should enjoy the full civil rights that citizens of those countries enjoy there?

Mr. Marshall

Personally, I would, but I am not sure to which particular British subjects the hon. Gentleman refers.

I find it very sad that in this debate, in Committee and on Second Reading, the Conservative Party—I include the right hon. Member for Down, South in this because he will remember the debates in the late 1940s when the argument about the disintegration of the British Empire was at its zenith—a party which was once proud to be the party of Empire and to say that a large percentage of the world's population were British subjects should now be the party to bring in a new citizenship which has the following two main effects.

First, it removes any meaningful form of citizenship from a quarter of a million of a people who will be British overseas citizens from the commencement of the legislation. Secondly, it defines British citizenship in terms of birth in the United Kingdom so narrowly as to exclude children born to students, to people on holiday in the United Kingdom, to people on work permits, other visitors, overstayers or illegal immigrants. I do not wish to get involved in the numbers game, but the numbers involved in those categories are very small. The Home Office cannot quantify the figures. Yet citizenship is being defined in terms of birth in such a narrow way as to remove any possibility for the children of a large majority of that category to become British citizens.

This leads to many strange devices which the Government have had to arrange to cope with people who fall foul of the new system. Clause 1(2), for example. deals with the foundlings' charter, which provides that if any new-born infant is found in the United Kingdom after commencement it shall be deemed to have been born in the United Kingdom and of parents who were either British citizens or were legally settled here. Under the present system of citizenship by birth, irrespective of the status of the parents, a ridiculous provision of that kind would rot be needed.

To cover the children of illegal immigrants or overstayers, there is the so-called 10-year rule which the Minister, donning his Liberal cap for a short period in Committee, looked upon as some kind of generous concession to the pressure from ethnic communities in this country. It means that the child has somehow to evade capture by the many public authorities in order to be able to qualify under the 10-year rule. Even if he is able to take advantage of the 10-year rule, in order to prove that he had not been out of the country for more than the requisite period in any 12 months, school records, medical records and any other records available to the public authorities would be scrutinised. That was explained by the Minister in Committee.

It is disgraceful that we should need this kind of clause to cover up the difficulties which are being created by the Government's refusal to maintain the present position whereby every child born in the United Kingdom would from commencement be a full British citizen.

What annoys me is the way that the fear of future immigration, the immigration potential, the flood of immigrants, is always used in this context to underpin and reinforce the Government's arguments. I hesitate to use for the third time in five or six weeks in the Chamber a word that I have already used twice, but it is hypocritical to advance arguments of that sort when the Government are not able to quantify the numbers of children involved in the various categories to which I referred earlier.

It appears that the Government find it easier to get the support of hon. Members such as the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West and the hon. Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) for the Bill if it is cloaked in the language of immigration. That is one of the most despicable aspects of the Government's policy on nationality.

The Government have said time and time again that this legislation is not racially discriminatory. My view is that it is racially discriminatory in principle, and that beyond any shadow of doubt it will be racially discriminatory in practice. How will that discrimination arise? If I wish to prove that I am a United Kingdom and Colonies citizen by birth, I have only to produce my passport. If I wish to obtain a passport for the first time, the only proof that I have to send to the Passport Office is my birth certificate. I do not have to prove anything about the citizenship of my parents or the settlement status of my parents at the time of birth. That is just as well, because I would be unable to produce proof of my parents' citizenship.

My father, who is no longer alive, did not bequeath his passport to me. I presume that he was a British citizen at the time of my birth and that he was legally settled at the time of my birth. But it is not the custom and practice of working class families to pass down through the generations documents proving citizenship status or settlement status.

In future, for any of us in the community, irrespective of our ethnic origin or our colour, to prove our citizenship, we shall have to produce a birth certificate and evidence of our parents' citizenship or settlement status in this country. In future, the only proof of citizenship—as has been said by the Leader of the Liberal Party—will be a passport. In Committee I asked the Minister of State whether he would have sufficient civil servants at the various passport offices throughout the United Kingdom to cope with the flood of applications for passports—not only those in the pipeline but those which are likely to follow in consequence of the passage of the Bill. There will be pressure on all of us—but particularly on those in minority ethnic groups—to obtain a passport in order to prove citizenship.

5.45 pm

In what ways will the legislation be discriminatory in practice? My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said that if the sons or daughters of Members of Parliament were in future to write to the Passport Office asking for a passport, the probability is that it would be issued without further question. I put that point in Committee when I referred to any grandchildren that I might have in the future. If the name is Marshall or Powell, the likelihood is that no further questions will be asked. But if the applicant's name is Suli Mohammed or Abdul Sattar—a mentally retarded child who was kicked out of this country by the Minister of State—the probability, not the possibility, is that further questions will be asked. Not only will that applicant be asked to produce his birth certificate; he will be asked to produce strong evidence of the citizenship of one or other of his parents at the time of birth or their settlement status at the time of birth.

Inevitably and inexorably, the legislation will be racialist in practice. For that reason, if for no other, I urge the House as a whole to support the amendment in the names of my right hon. Friend and others of my hon. Friends.

Mr. Laurie Pavitt (Brent, South)

The speech of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) on amendment (a) to amendment No. 1 convinced me that I could not support his amendment, and his succinct definition in the course of an intervention during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, South (Mr. Marshall) put the matter beyond doubt.

The House always listens with great interest to the right hon. Gentleman, who contains in one personality so many disparate and different attitudes. I am sure that we all follow his logic and the way that he develops his argument from point to point, but I usually part company from him when he gets to the purple passages at the end, and suggests that doom and disaster threaten my constituency.

I believe amendment No. 1 to be the most important amendment that we are discussing today. Ten years ago the right hon. Gentleman did me the honour of suggesting that the greatest number of black babies were being born in the area that I represent in this House. We are still top of the league, as one in every three of my constituents comes from the New Commonwealth.

In spite of what was claimed 10 years ago, I am proud to represent a multi-racial intergrated area of London. I say that in particular to the hon. Member for Basildon, (Mr. Proctor). Despite the differences of culture and background, we have secured in schools, factories, and generally throughout the area an integration that is second to none in Britain.

We do not need to look into a crystal ball or to consider the hypothetical cases outlined by Conservative Members and by the right hon. Member for Down, South. We can read the book. Representatives of areas that include ethnic minorities do not say that there are no problems. There are some problems in all areas, but this disastrous Bill will make it far more difficult for us to cope with them. I support amendment No. 1, because it goes to the heart of one of the difficulties, namely, the uncertainty facing so many families. The amendment would remove some of that uncertainty.

Integration is important in schools, especially junior and primary schools. I have not followed the minutiae of the debate in the Standing Committee on the Bill and I shall be glad if the Minister of State will explain how the Bill without the amendment proposed by the Oppostion will affect families that have three or four children covered by previous legislation and have another child after the Bill becomes law. Will there be any difference in the status of those children?

Mr. Raison

On the assumption that at least one of the parents is a citizen, or is legally settled in this country, the new-born child will have citizenship in the same way as the other children.

Mr. Pavitt

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his explanation. I was not clear on that point. However, uncertainty will arise in the Home Office and in our constituency surgeries, because the Bill will create an enormous queue in addition to the queues of people who already come to see us on matters affecting the ethnic minorities. I take the opportunity to pay tribute to the Minister of State's personal staff, who help me by dealing with at least four or five matters a week concerning ethnic minorities. Sometimes I have to contact them at midnight on a Saturday over what are known as Heathrow cases and they always respond.

I do not know how the Minister's staff and I will manage with the additional problems concerning nationality rights that will arise when the Bill becomes law. The Government are asking for fewer civil servants and less public expenditure, but the Bill will require more public and civil servants and greater expenditure by local authorities. It is nonsense.

The Government do not seem to have learnt from their errors. The nationality rules and regulations are in a mess and need to be cleared up, but the Government's proposals are parallel to the action of the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) on the reorganisation of the NHS. Integration of the NHS was necessary, but the right hon. Gentleman's Act of 1973 produced a result that was much worse than the previous situation. We now need to clear up nationality matters, but the Bill will make things much more complicated and difficult.

There has been fear among ny constituents, even though they are legally settled here, about their entitlement to local authority social services, particularly school buses, and concern about the recent announcement of the Secretary of State for Social Services on the possibility of charges for NHS services. It is interesting to note that within a short time of the right hon. Gentleman making that statement of intention to charge at St. Stephen's hospital passports were being demanded at that hospital from people who were legitimately seeking free treatment.

I do not suggest that the Bill will immediately take us into apartheid, but it will start us on that road, and my constituents and I fear that it will inevitably result in discrimination on the basis of recognisable differences in communities. The obnoxious "sus" law has already been a problem in Harlesden, where the ethnic minority group comes mainly from the Caribbean.

Family life in communities will be affected by the uncertainty. I have already raised with the Home Office one or two cases of people waiting more than two years for British nationality. There is a long queue under the present law, as I know from my weekly surgeries. That queue will be more than doubled.

My local borough council and nine other London boroughs concerned about the Bill held a meeting at Brent town hall last week. A statement issued after the meeting said: The Bill will not only undermine the council's past efforts, but will make it imperative for more resources to be devoted to counteract the disastrous effects the Bill will have. For the Government to do this at the same time as it is pressurising councils to achieve economies is plain nonsense. That statement could be echoed in any area where there are large ethnic minorities. The Secretary of State for the Environment told me yesterday that my area is likely to face another drastic, penal cut in its rate support grant, yet the Bill will make more demands on local authorities to deal with problems.

The right hon. Member for Down, South said that he wanted to see communities that were peaceable and well governed. I assure him that my constituency is such a community. We now have third-generation immigrants in the area. The right hon. Gentleman said that Gujeratis who have come from East Africa were in a minority among those from the New Commonwealth, but in Alperton in my area they are the majority.

The people who came here originally, whether from India or the Caribbean, have already shouldered obligations. We called on many people from the Caribbean islands to do work that released people from this island to fight in the Second World War. The obligations were always accepted, and it does the House no service when hon. Members suggest snidely that because people have a different ethnic background they do not accept the rights and responsibilities of being British citizens.

I hope that the House will support the amendment. My view remains that the Bill is a disaster. The sooner that a Labour Government repeal it and put something sensible in its place, the better will he the life of every family in the area that I represent.

6 pm

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Without wishing to question the selection of amendments, I regret that the debate has become confused through the acceptance for discussion of the amendment to the proposed amendment of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). In many ways, the issues are not inter-related. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to relate them by arguing that dual nationality arises out of the application of the jus soli with the jus sanguinis. So it does. However, it operates both ways. It would be possible not to have dual nationality if one only operated the jus soli. That is the impact for Indian members of our community who are not allowed to pass on their citizenship to their children who are born here because India frowns on dual nationality and thereby sets emphasis upon the jus soli in relation to children of Indian descent born in this country.

It is possible that, if the right hon. Gentleman's amendment were carried, the practice of India would be applied throughout the New Commonwealth to ensure that their decendants, who came from their territories who were resident and settled here and who intended to stay here, would not be citizens of that country. If that was the case, the irony of the argument that the right hon. Gentleman has put against dual nationality is that they would have nowhere else to go. The right hon. Gentleman's argument that we should repatriate them in some humane way would be stymied by his own argument.

What the right hon. Gentleman stated, whether inelegant or not, is the same tired red herring that he has dragged across the debates on race and immigration for years. No Government of this country now, in the foreseeable future, or probably ever would conclude that we should repatriate any section of our community to the country of origin, not just of themselves but of their forebears. The more that we have to consider the origin of their forebears, the less likely it becomes. The situation that the right hon. Gentleman is always prophesying for our inner cities is the kind of situation that obtained, in Watts and in Washington and other parts of the United States in the late 1960s. No one in the United States argued that the blacks in Washington should be sent back to Sierra Leone or Ghana because their forebears came from there. The reason was obvious. It would have been intolerabe so to argue, and no one would have considered it practicable.

The argument that the right hon. Member for Down, South puts for repatriation gets weaker with each year that passes. An increasing number of the black population of this country were born here and this is their country. it is probably the case already that over 50 per cent. of the black community of this county was born in this country. This is their country.

The right hon. Gentleman quoted a report from Handsworth. I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman, with his knowledge of race relations, has never heard of the Rastafarian cult, which is strong among West Indian youth in Handsworth. I have no doubt that those who were answering the inquiry were Rastafarian by belief. The Rastafarians are about as crackpot as the right hon. Gentleman in their extremity about their relationship with the country in which they were born. They take the view that the real spiritual home of Rastafarians is Ethiopia and that their God was Haile Selassie whom they also believed would never die—but he did. They take the view that this is Babylon, as, indeed, it was believed that America and the West Indies were Babylon. Their belief is that they have to get back to their country of origin.

All these arguments sound so familiar that they might have dropped from the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman. They did not. They came from the descendants of Marcus Garvey. They stem from the same kind of intolerance that manifests itself when the right hon. Gentleman gets down to his gut feeling about race—the idea that a community cannot exist if it comes from various areas of the world, from various cultures and various ethnic origins. This country exists precisely on that basis. It has been stated over and over again. There is not one person in this country who is pure British. We are all mongrel, descended from generations and waves of migration over the years—and here is another entering our debate now.

Mr. Stokes

The hon. Gentleman's knowledge of history is weak. Those who came to this country in the past arrived in small numbers. They included the Huguenots, the Poles, the Hungarians and the Jews. What has happened in the past 30 years is quite new in our history. Millions of people are involved. That situation cannot be compared with the small numbers who came previously.

Mr. Lyon

I am sorry to take the hon. Gentleman's classical history back as far as the Celts. They were invaders. The Romans were invaders as were the Anglo Saxons and the Normans. This country is a great melting pot of waves of migration. The only difference between the waves of migration of that generation or, indeed, of the Huguenots or Jews of the last century is that the present generation of migration is black. It is argued that they cannot mix with whites. That is nonsense. It must inherently be nonsense. If a man who is black is born by the side of a man who is white and they live in the same street, attend the same school, meet the same friends and go to the same place of work, the background and origin of the black man, by the time he is mature, will be the same. The pigmentation of his skin will not make the slightest difference to his approach to life, save for only one thing. The right hon. Member for Down, South, the hon. Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) and the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) will have created a kind of attitude to the blackness of his skin, which says "You are perpetually different because your skin is different". That is nonsense.

Mr. Budgen

The hon. Gentleman will surely agree that an Indian doctor, listening to a Rastafarian expressing the views that appeared in the report in the Express and Star, might wish to dissociate himself from those views. What better way exists of doing so than to say that he chooses this country and that he wants no dual nationality?

Mr. Lyon

Of course, that is so. A Glaswegian docker might be talking to a Surrey stockbroker on the train from Edinburgh to London. The only place where they would meet is the bar because they come from different classes of carriage. They would have differences of view about a whole range of matters, including the kind of country and the kind of attitudes that we should have. There would be cultural differences of a most general kind. There would be cultural differences between people descended from different migrants. There would be cultural differences between those of Jewish origin and those who came to this country in the last century. That is not to say that all this cultural divergence cannot be encompassed peaceably within one country.

The great virtue of Britain is that its cultural diversity has given it a sense of tolerance and a breadth of vision that make up the whole nature of what we mean by being British. That will be passed on by our children, who will also learn from the new migrants. The intervention of the right hon. Member for Down, South is beside the point. The right hon. Gentleman stresses that it is dangerous for the Minister of State to have introduced this reduction in the jus soli for the purpose of the Bill. It was never suggested in any previous document that manifested itself before the White Paper last year that the jus soli would be reduced in this way. A nationality provision does not, of course, have to encompass the jus soli. The right hon. Gentleman is right. In some countries, it is not the case. I do not know that any country has only the jus soli. There are, however, many countries besides this with a mixture of jus soli and jus sanguinis.

The great virtue of the jus soli is its simplicity and assurance that the person's status is clear from the moment he is born. The person is here; therefore he is British. The person might be something else. It is argued that dual nationality in some way leads almost to schizophrenia on the part of those who hold it. But, if that were true, not only Pakistanis and West Indians would be affected. It would affect Americans and Australians.

The hon. Member for Basildon said that the White Paper stated that there were 3 million citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who had dual nationality, of whom 1 million were living in this country. Two million people living outside this country are not black; they are white. They are people who are descended from British citizens who are living in America, Australia, Canada and South Africa—all over the world. They have dual nationality, but they do not come back here and say "We have dual nationality, you must take one of them away. We are suffering from the awful schizophrenia described by the right hon. Member for Down, South and the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West".

That does not happen. They express, through the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), the desire to keep dual nationality. They should not be robbed of their Venezualan or Argentinian citizenship, and they should also have their British citizenship. They have no difficulties. They do not feel that they have to fight for the present dictator in Argentina against Britain if Britain goes to war about the Falkland Islands. Such difficulties can arise, but they can be overcome in a sane world.

The only difficulty that could arise would be if the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West were to prosecute them at the Old Bailey for treason, and I should have thought that the defence to that charge would be easy. The number of cases that he has prosecuted at the Old Bailey for that offence over the years must be infinitesimal.

So let us talk sense. There is no reason why we should not have dual nationality. Its great virtue is that the people who have to decide never have to make up their minds about what they are before they want to. It is not good enough for the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West to say "You must tell me now whether you are British or Indian or Pakistani". It is up to them to decide as they go along. Many first generation migrants—not only blacks—never know until the end of their days whether they intend to stay in this country, die in this country, or go back to their country of origin. Many Jews from Russia thought that they might go back to Russia in due course. Many West Indians think that they may go back and spend their declining years on West Indian beaches. They put down their roots in this country, their children are born here, they go back and find that things have changed, and they then decide what they are.

I concede that the great difficulty in race relations is that people should be able to establish their own identity. One of the difficulties that we impose upon them at present is that they can find an identity only within a group. They can only be West Indian or Pakistani. They are not yet themselves as individuals. However, that will come with time. Moreover, it will come a lot quicker if we do not prod them into it and constantly undermine their status, as this provision will do.

The provision is not about the small minority of people who will be born in this country of parents who were not settled here. It is about the great bulk of people who are born in this country who are descended from someone who was an immigrant here. In every case, they will have to prove their status when they apply for passports.

6.15 pm

The more I think about this clause, the more repugnant I find it. It is repugnant in principle that people who are born in this country should not be able to say "I am British". It is repugnant that at some stage in their lives they will be denied that right because of the status of their parents, even though they wanted to remain in this country and to be British.

The administrative difficulties boggle the mind. The Minister sought to allay our anxieties about the 10-year provision, saying that it would be possible to consult school records and produce passports to prove that one had not been out of the country during the 10 years. Perhaps we overestimate the difficulties about the 10-year provision.

However, the difficulties about the status of parents is something else. No doubt the Minister would argue that this would apply in only a limited number of cases. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) suggested that all of us would have to prove our status. For most of us it would not be difficult because most of us would be able to produce our parents' birth certificate when applying for passports. Those certificates—those of our parents and our own—would be sufficient in normal circumstances to assure the passport office that we were entitled to citizenship.

What is the position when that certainty is more and more undermined by descent from someone who arrived here as a migrant, and one applies to that person the difficulties that have arisen in court judgments over the past five years? Unless the Government eradicate the monstrous principles that have been established by the courts about fraud and deceit—when a person has not even been asked a question and has not volunteered information which, had it been volunteered, would have meant that he could not come in—the status of every migrant here may be questioned. The mere fact that the person can produce a passport from which the conditions have been removed is no safeguard for him. It is no safeguard that he has acquired citizenship. The courts have argued hat, if citizenship is acquired because status was originally achieved as a result of deceit or fraud, that citizenship can be removed.

So, years after the event, when the child applies for a passport at the age of 18 and says "My parents were settled here, and I can produce their passport from which the conditions were removed", the Home Office is entitled to say "That is not good enough. What questions were your parents asked when they came here? Did they volunteer information to the immigration officer on which, had we known about it, we might never have allowed them in?" It is no answer to say that they obtained their citizenship, because that citizenship might have been obtained by deceit.

Thus, every case that is put forward in that way is a possible minefield for the people putting it forward It will not affect the people who are most concerned, the people who came through immigration control. It will be their children, born in this country years afterwards, who will be seeking to prove that.

It is a monstrous proposal. It is so detestable that, if the Minister had thought it through, I am sure he would not have accepted it. He has been led into this perversion of what was a simple, sure and safe way of achieving nationality only because of his fear that there may be a few more immigrants in years to come who may be descended by birth from people who were not legally here. That is an absurdity, given the fact that we have had citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by jus soli since 1948, and we had British subject status for years before that and we always allowed the jus soli. No one has ever argued that a great crowd of immigrants could come to this country simply because of jus soli.

I suggest that the Minister takes this proposal away and thinks about it again before it goes to the Lords. It is a bad idea. The more I think about it, the worse it gets. The consequences for race relations could be enormous. If, when the Bill is enacted, every child who goes for a passport years after his birth is asked to establish the status of his parents just because they came into this country—more often than not they are black—it could go on for years.

The awful prophecies might be proved, not by the blacks but by the Minister of State. There is more than a ripple of fear. We face an undetonated load of dynamite that might blow up in our face in any year because of the anxiety. By then the people will have been here for many years and many of them will have been born here. Many others will be born to people born here. I can imagine the Minister of State jumping up and saying "In that case they would be able to assure the passport office of their parents' status". That is not so. The difficulty about the provision is that such children, because they are born to people here as a result of migration, will also be subject to scrutiny. Such scrutiny could apply for generations.

I hope and believe that that will not happen, even if we approve this silly provision. I hope and believe that a future Government will put the matter right. I hope that we shall put it right after the next election. Even if the practice were to continue, I hope that eventually the fatuous fear about migrants coming here, when the country is built on migration, will disappear. I hope that a future community will be sufficiently tolerant and stable to be able to say that it is nonsense.

Viscount Cranborne

I did not intend to take part in the debate, but I was stimulated to do so by the speech of the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon). When he argued that immigrants should be given the time to make up their minds whether they are Indians, Russians, English or Peruvian, he advocated a remarkable idea. In his populist way he was advocating the spread of one of the most undesirable features of international life, the café society—or what is known as international white trash.

The hon. Gentleman argues that people who settle in Britain should decide whether they like it and, if they do not, should be able to reject the obligations as well as the privileges of being a citizen. That is a negation of one of the advantages of being a citizen of any country.

We have heard a great deal about the dangers or advantages of dual nationality. Despite Britain being a melting pot—whether or not that is on balance an advantage—countries which have grown by virtue of being a melting pot have recognised the manifest dangers of allowing dual nationality in nationality law. The United States is perhaps the greatest example this century of a melting pot. It does not allow its citizens to have dual nationality. The reasons have been explained in another context by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). I accept the reasons.

I welcome many aspects of immigration. When I go shopping to find food after a late night session in the House the only shops open are run by Asians. I do not know why, but they provide a useful service.

Mr. Proctor

Does my hon. Friend recognise the magnitude of immigration from the New Commonwealth and Pakistan over three decades?

Viscount Cranborne

I accept what my hon. Friend implies about the danger of the magnitude of immigration. Nevertheless, I should recognise the dangers less if the home population were a little less sceptical about the dangers. For instance, if there were a more obvious readiness to mingle and inter-marry among black and white in Britain the explosive dangers that are beginning to emerge and which are so often prophesised by the right hon. Member for Down, South would be less. Because of the prejudices and habits of the British people, the dangers to which my hon. Friend refers are infinitely greater.

Let us suppose that the existing white population of Britain showed such a readiness to intermingle, similar to the readiness to intermingle with the Polish, Jewish and German immigrants of the last century. The dangers then would be much less. To a certain extent I must accept what my hon. Friend implies. However, that does not deter me from my illustration. The country has benefited over the centuries from immigration. The hon. Member for York took us back to Celtic and Iberian times. We benefited demonstrably from the immigration of Jews in the last century. We also benefited from the immigration of the Huguenots as a result of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. No hon. Member would deny that.

I cannot go along with the hon. Member for York in his contention that it is desirable that Britain should countenance dual nationality for its citizens. By implication, Britain would then say that any member of the British community can give himself time to decide whether he wants to be British, West Indian or Peruvian. That is a nice and handy privilege. It is a privilege which the rich members of society in Paris, all over Europe and the West Indies enjoyed. The sad disintegration of that dubious society is one of the consequences of that privilege. Members of that society enjoyed all the splendid privileges of being able to go to London or Paris, but they did not take on their shoulders the responsibilities of being citizens of the community in which they lived. That is one of the great dangers of dual nationality.

My doubt about the wisdom of the amendment is not so much that it modifies or reintroduces the question of jus soli but more that it countenances the possibility of dual nationality. That is a strong disadvantage.

If we are to assert that being British is a privilege and desirable and if we are to welcome citizens of whatever race as part of the community, by implication they should not only enjoy the privileges but the obligations attendant upon British citizenship. The obligations are as important a part of life in Britain as the privileges. Therefore, the House has no alternative but to reject the idea of any form of dual nationality. Such a thing cannot be consistent with a harmonious future for the inhabitants of Britain. I urge the House to reject the amendment without hesitation.

6.30 pm
Mr. Greville Janner

The hon. Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Cranborne) spoke eloquently of the problems created by those with dual nationality, but there is a greater problem for those who have no nationality at all. In a moment of brightness that illuminated an otherwise dark speech, the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) correctly referred to the scourge of statelessness and the fact that the Bill would result in children being born in Britain who, because of the law, would not be British citizens or citizens of any other country.

We talk about the problems of choice, to which the hon. Member for Dorset, South referred. But a child has no choice of its place of birth, of its parentage, or the citizenship of its parents. Whether a child can prove where its parents have settled is a matter not only of documentation but of language and of intelligence.

I represent part of a city which has happily absorbed about 60,000 immigrants, mostly Asian from East Africa. That has required tolerance, understanding, kindness and courtesy on all sides. It is a credit to the people of Leicester. It has not been made any easier by the customary speeches of the right hon. Member for Down, South—one of which he made this evening—nor by the comments from Conservative Members which show that they do not understand the problems of those less fortunate than themselves. It is not a child's fault that he happens to be born in Britain of parents from overseas.

Such people are not in the position referred to in that marvellous Gilbert and Sullivan epic of the person who might have been a Russian, a Frenchman, a Prussian or an Italian but in spite of all temptation to belong to other nations he is an Englishman—not a Welshman, Mr. Speaker, but an Englishman. The people we are discussing had no choice. They were turfed out of countries into whose soil they had sunk their roots. They received refuge in Britain.

That is not unique to them. I listened with care to the whole of this debate, including the many, and mostly kindly, allusions to the Jewish people who have come to Britain over the centuries. I wonder what all my four grandparents would have thought had they been able to listen to the debate, remembering that they emerged from Russia.

Unlike the choice offered by my hon. Friend the Member of York (Mr. Lyon), there was no question of my grandparents returning to Russia because they came to Britain to escape from pogrom and from conscription into the Czar's army. It was a similar flight to that which has evicted so many of my constituents from East Africa. But the essential for my grandparents and for new citizens of Leicester and other parts of Britain has always been that once they are British citizens they are treated no better and no worse than anyone else.

While we may argue between one side of the House and the other, and even within the same side, about policies of immigration about how many should be admitted and under what circumstances—there has never been any doubt that once people are in Britain and are British citizens, there should be no difference between them.

Mr. Jim Marshall

I think my hon. and learned Friend and I agree that Britain showed great moral courage when it accepted refugees and aliens from different parts of Europe. He referred to refugees from East Africa. Will he make it clear that those about whom we are talking in Leicester are not aliens or foreigners but citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies? Britain has a legal as well as a moral obligation towards them. It is made doubly difficult for those people when Conservatives Members point fingers at them and question their loyalty to Britain.

Mr. Janner

I was not aware that I had suggested anything to the contrary. I said that as British citizens they are entitled to live here. They are part of our country. They have the same rights, responsibilities and duties as anyone else. No distinction should be made between them and other citizens, whether or not they were born here.

Many of us will remember a remarkable Indian High Commissioner called Apa Pant. The first time that I attended a large Asian gathering in Leicester I was accompanied by him. He said to the Asian community, "You are citizens of Britain. You have duties to this country. You should take part in its political and civic life. That does not mean that you give up your Indian culture and background. You do not serve Britain better by trying to be the same as everyone else". That has always been the basis of our democracy and of our citizenship.

I know of no way in which any Government have sought to make a distinction between citizens, as is now being done in this Bill. We discussed yesterday a distinction based on the differences between the rights of those born in Britain to pass on citizenship by descent. We are now talking about rights that will differentiate between those born here, depending upon the citizenship of their parents.

The Bill is a most divisive, evil, unkind and relentless measure. It can cause only harm to good race relations at a time when many hon. Members on both sides are spending vast amounts of time trying to build up good will. Instead of all children born here having the same rights if a child is born in Britain and—through no fault of his own—his parents are not British citizens, he must now prove that they were settled here, if he is to acquire citizenship other than through the excercise of a benevolent ministerial discretion, which is sometimes excercised and sometimes refused.

Proof of "settlement" is not easy to give in practice. The right hon. Member for Down, South spoke about the future problems of documentation. I suggest that those problems are here already. Hon. Members who deal with the anxieties and wretchedness of people who are genuine visitors, stopped at Heathrow and elsewhere without proper documents, and who do not understand the language of their interrogators, know that that reality is upon us. It is not a matter for the future.

Those who try to help people from overseas to obtain their rights appreciate that documentation problems already cause enormous difficulties—for this generation who come as visitors, for those who live here and for the next generation, who, if we closed our eyes as we listen to them talk, we would not know had origins anywhere else. They do not have the documents available to them because they come from countries where people are neither trained nor educated to prepare such documentation.

People born in this country bitterly resent being called "immigrants" because they did not immigrate; born here, they should be entitled to precisely the same rights in law as all other people born here—and so they were until the advent of this divisive clause which my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) is trying to put right through his amendment.

In his intervention, the Minister said that it is only on rare occasions when people want passports to go abroad that this problem of proof will arise. I have here a memorandum from the National Union of Teachers which takes a wider view. It says: the Bill hangs a question mark over the citizenship status o f a number of pupils in schools. One practical effect of this will be that pupils applying for a passport to travel abroad with a school party or applying to be included in a collective passport might find the status of their family subject to enquiries. Parents of these pupils might mind difficulty in producing adequate proof of their status, especially as the courts have widened the definition of illegal residence in the United Kingdom with the result that some adults are declared to be illegal immigrants years after they were settled. I would add that some children do not know who their parents were. That is again no fault of theirs. Some parents leave their children; some die; some separate. The number of broken families in indigenous homes, never mind immigrant homes, is vast. It is the children who will suffer, not the parents.

This wicked clause creates problems not for the parents who may or may not deserve what they have imposed on themselves but for the children. It creates agonies for the children who bear no responsibility whatever for it. It is the view of those who represent the teachers that their role will become much more difficult as a result of this legislation. They will have great problems in explaining to children that they cannot, for instance, go on the day trip to France and that they are not to be treated in the same way as others in their class or school because, although they were born here, they cannot show that their parents were citizens or do not know who they were or cannot prove that they were "settled" here, whatever that may mean.

Perhaps the Minister will say something about the problems of adopted children, abandoned children, children from broken homes and those who know not their parents or whose parents do not wish to, or cannot, supply proof to them of their settlement. The Minister may say that he has a discretion. I pay tribute to him for the occasions when he has been kind enough to exercise that discretion on behalf of individual constituents. Alas, there have been other occasions when he has not done so and there is no appeal against his decision.

Clause 1 says: A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement shall be a British citizen if at the time of the birth his father or mother is—(a) a British citizen,"— then the onus of proof will rest upon him— or

  1. (b) settled in the United Kingdom."
Presumably, that, too, he will have to prove. How he would do it in the circumstances I have described is beyond me. The answer may be that the adoptive parents, the children's home, the foster parents or the school will have to ask the Minister to exercise his discretion. In a decent society that discretion may have to exist as an ultimate resort but it should be the main path for a person acquiring rights which he should have by the simple process of having the same rights as other people who are born in the same place.

The times for concern are when the child is in school, when others may know what it is about or when he is applying for a passport. The time for concern for all of us is when a provision in a Bill causes division when we want unity, when it causes anxiety when we want good relations and when it causes ill-feeling, especially in inflammatory times when above all we need good feeling. That hon. Members should throw up the Brixton riots at this time as a reason for the Bill is an amazing contradiction. When the community is under pressure that is a time for introducing legislation to bring us together, not legislation to split us further apart, as this does.

6.45 pm

Arguments flow back and forth as to how the Bill will affect citizens and their loyalties. Perhaps that is the right place to end. Today I had the pleasure of meeting one of the diplomats at the Indian High Commission who is especially concerned with good relations between citizens of Indian origin and the rest of the British community. There is no question in his mind or in the mind of anyone else that people who have settled here or whose parents settled here are British citizens with undivided loyalty to this country. There is no question of that loyalty being diminished in any way by their retention of their own customs, ways, religion and background or that their integration is in any way less valuable because they retained their links with the homelands whence they came—any more than it is for the millions of Americans who trace their ancestry to Denmark, Poland, Germany and other countries.

When one tears up the roots of people one does not increase their value to the country in which they are living and on whose soil they are settled. When their roots are gone they are inevitably less able to serve that country. It is in the belief that the clause harms those roots that I oppose it and invite the Minister to consider whether in all conscience he can refuse the amendment moved by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Edward Lyons (Bradford, West)

The debate has been wide-ranging. We ought to remember that for many years every child born in Britain has been British and that the purpose of clause 1 is to eat away at that right by providing that in future one will have to apply tests before deciding whether a child who is born here is British.

One point about which there is no argument is that a child born here of parents one of whom is a British citizen should be British. There are arguments about other categories. The Bill provides that a child born here of parents one of whom is settled here at the time of his birth shall be British. Then we come to an argument on that as to what is meant by settlement, because settlement is determined by what is meant by ordinary residence.

Another class consists of those who are born here of parents neither of whom is British and neither of whom is settled here. Those children do not obtain British citizenship unless they live here for 10 years from the date of their birth and are not out of the country for more than 90 days in any year up to the age of 10. There is room for argument on these considerations. The Government have decided to replace a simple law to determine citizenship, namely, the law that says that if one is born in this country one is British, by a superstructure of other ways of becoming British and a bureaucracy to determine who shall be British in future.

Let us take the category of settlements. Upon application for a passport by a boy or girl of, say, 20 or 21 the Government must decide whether the parents or one of them were settled in Britain if neither was a British citizen at the time of the child's birth. That involves the child in having to prove to the Home Office his parents' circumstances 20 years before. That may be impossible for him. He may want a passport three months after the date of application but be unaware of the difficulties that will be encountered. He will find that the Home Office, in its usual fashion, will take two years to determine whether either of his parents was settled here, and he will have to consider taking out a temporary passport, always assuming that such a passport exists and that the Government would be prepared to issue it in the interim bearing in mind that it was not clear which citizenship the child enjoyed.

There is ticking away here a time bomb that is likely to explode not immediately after the Bill becomes law, but 20 years later when many people, unaware of the intricacies of the law, want passports, and encounter a whole series of problems in seeking to establish their citizenship. Of course, one may say that parents should take steps to protect the position of their children. However, we are dealing with babies and infants who have no means of protecting their position and who cannot know the law or know that they should be advising their parents to retain documents and to provide statements by their solicitors and notaries about their intentions at the time of the child's birth.

Ordinary residence depends on a number of factors. It depends on where the person is living and for how long he has lived there. It depends also on how often he has taken a business trip abroad, on future intentions, and on such matters as whether he owns a house. It is impossible in many cases to know at any given time in respect of persons who are not British citizens whether they are settled here.

The Government have said that, none the less, they will introduce this new category of children who will be British only if they can prove settlement. If the Government could say that in recent years they had found that the old system was not working well, that thousands of people were coming here for holidays and were having children specifically in order to give them British citizenship, thus enabling them subsequently to re-enter the country without the usual immigration impediments, that might justify their action. But they have produced no statistics of the births of children of persons settled here but not British, or of persons who are neither settled here nor are British but are here temporarily.

The Government recognise the difficulty and tell us that all is not yet lost. They say that if a child stays here for 10 years he can obtain British citizenship automatically by registration upon application. The problem is that the child must not leave the country for more than 90 days. If the child is unable to make his own decisions and is taken abroad by a well meaning parent for a holiday lasting 100 days in only one year out of those 10, even if he does not leave the country in the other years he loses the right to automatic citizenship.

The parents should be studying the Bill. They should be aware that they must bring the child back not later than the eighty-ninth day. But how many parents will do that? How many will be able to make that choice? The father may have to go away on business or because his mother is dying abroad. He could not always calculate the number of days. In Committee the Minister said that if the parents took the child away 90 days before his birthday and kept him away for 90 days after, he could stay out of the country for 180 days without losing his rights. Does that mean that the father must solemnly work out that if he has to go away on business for six months he should go 90 days before the child's birthday in order to obtain the necessary time? If he miscalculates, the child will lose its automatic right to citizenship.

Mr. Jim Marshall

How could the parents that the hon. and learned Gentleman has described go to such lengths? The people who will qualify under the 10-year rule—if the child is here for seven or eight years the adults will be here illegally—would be unable to undertake the perambulations around the world in the way that the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests.

Mr. Lyons

The answers are simple. First, the illegality may not have been discovered. There could have been entry by deception. Secondly, a person who is working here for a foreign firm may be living here regularly or for a number of years and his child may be born here. But if he has to leave the country for more than 90 days and take the child it will lose its right to citizenship. That could happen in a number of ways.

What happens if a child has complied with all the rules until the age of 8 years and the Home Office orders the parents to leave the country? The Home Office would be putting the parents in a dilemma. In effect, it would be telling the parents to take the child with them, in which case it would lose its right, or to abandon the child to whomever they could find in order that it could remain here for 10 years. Or would the Home Office permit them to stay for two years so that the child could qualify?

As the years go by I expect that the Government will find themselves in trouble with the European Court of Human Rights, because under the convention they are required to respect family unity and family rights. Since they must also not create statelessness, potential contraventions of the convention may arise.

The most remarkable aspect of the Bill is that it provides a positive encouragement for those who are unclear whether they are settled here, and for those who know that they are here for only a limited period, if they are keen on their children becoming British citizens, to abandon their children. Clause 1 makes it clear that a child born here and then abandoned—a foundling—is assumed to be British. So illegal immigrants will have to make the painful sacrifice of abandoning their children—turning them into artificial orphans—if they are to ensure that they have British citizenship.

None of these curious complications needs to arise. The Government have only to remain with the principle that has served Britain well for so many years. We have heard a lot of nonsense about how we must get rid of dual citizenship. But the amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) does not achieve that. Everyone accepts that under the Bill a child born to parents, one of whom is British, is itself British. If the mother is British but the father is foreign, the child may still have dual citizenship according to clause 1.

7 pm

All this talk about dual citizenship is inappropriate to clause 1. It has been dragged in by a sidewind. Clause 1 keeps dual citizenship; it was decided in Committee that dual citizenship should remain. We are concerned that there should be no increase in the superstructure of bureaucracy to determine whether people are British. We do not want to increase the bureaucratic delays which will occur while inquiries are conducted about passport applications.

Hon. Members have asked how we can rely on the loyalty of people born of those who are living here. No evidence has been brought by the Government to justify abandonment of the rule that people born here are British citizens because they have turned out to be traitors. In future a child born here of a Uruguayan father and a British mother and taken back to Uruguay remains British, although he may never come back to Britain. That has been the position hitherto. Where is the evidence that such people are scheming against Britain or were arrested for treason in any war?

My conclusion is that the Government's purpose must be directed at eliminating the entitlement to British citizenship of a small number of people who are born here of transients. We are told that there are likely to be such people, but not how many there are. To turn the law on its head to make this big change to prevent a few people from having British citizenship is very strange.

Children born of transients often go back to the country of origin of their parents. Those who go back with their parents and apply for a passport 15 years later are often told that the birth certificate does not provide sufficient evidence. No photographs are taken of the child at the age of 6 months or 18 months. There is no concurrent series of photographs showing the development of the child from the age 3 months to 18 years. The person is unable to prove that he is the person whose name appears on the birth certificate, and he does not get into the country. For a change of this sort there must be good reasons, and no good reasons have been advanced by the Government.

The effect of abandoning the simple principle that a person born here is British spreads uncertainty. It makes people feel that the Government are against them. It causes insecurity. All minority groups tend to feel insecure. They are worried about their reception in the host community. Anything which unnecessarily increases uncertainty and insecurity is likely to produce the very result that we do not want. It is likely to make minority groups feel alienated from the country and reduce the chance of their being integrated and becoming a part of the population.

Unless the Government have a convincing argument up their sleeve which was not advanced in Committee, they should think again about this provision. When the Bill reaches the other House all these arguments will be rehearsed, and it will have another rough passage. There is no support for the change among any of the organisations, including the Church organisations, which have been interested in the Bill. The Government stand alone in producing a change in the law for the sake of just a few people. They must be aiming at the few people who, being British citizens by birth, children of transient parents, might leave the country and come back later.

If the authorities find an illegal immigrant who has arrived in Britain in the last few years, they send the illegal immigrant back and normally any child of that illegal immigrant, who is a British citizen, will go back with the parents to the country of origin. I can only assume that the Government are motivated by a worry that in future children of transients may apply to an embassy abroad for a British passport to enable them to get back to this country. To give any substance to that argument, huge numbers of people would have to be involved. Even then, I do not know how morally right it would be.

In 20 years' time I can see Home Office officials wishing to examine passports for the preceding 20 years to make sure the child was not out of the country for more than 90 days in any one year. But the child will have been included in the parents' passport, which may not exist. Not all countries stamp passports. At the very least the burden of proof should be put on the Home Office to prove that the child has been out of the country for more than 90 days in any one year of 10 years rather than on the child. The Government should reserve the right to say that a child can be out of this country for longer. A child cannot make the decision whether to stay in the country or not; he is in the custody of his parents.

The Minister in reply is likely to say that clause 3 gives him overall discretion, but the criterion for granting citizenship to minors is nowhere set out, and people are left in the throes of uncertainty.

The Government have had a bad press. Nasty accusations have been made, but the Government have denied them. It would assist the Government's case and show that they have no bad intentions if they returned to the simple law we have enjoyed so long which provides that the child has the nationality of the country of birth and a child born in Britain is British.

Mr. Race

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) on the breadth of the amendment and my hon. Friends for attacking the racist arguments of some speakers. Some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Government Benches have been arguing for a white society in Britain, and there has been much sophistry in the arguments advanced against a multiracial society.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) used the phrase "voluntary re-emigration", not "repatriation". We all know that he meant repatriation of large numbers of black people. I can only assume that he wanted that, as did some Tory Members who dislike the concept of a multiracial society and dislike Britishness being defined as applying equally to black and white people. The Government argue that, with the insertion of the no-racialism subsection, they are not introducing racialist legislation. They may take that view in general and they may believe it, but it is not believable in the eyes of the ethnic minority communities. It is not believable when we consider what is happening to those communities.

The impression given by the Bill and by the speeches of some right hon. and hon. Members is that it is difficult for black people to be British in every conceivable sense. Members of the ethnic minority communities are especially badly affected by unemployment, bad housing conditions, prejudice and discrimination. They are affected especially by the operation of the immigration rules, which are continually stated by Home Office Ministers to be non-racialist.

It is my experience that it is difficult to understand how the rules can be other than racialist when those who attend the surgeries of their local Member of Parliament are overwhelmingly black people-people from the Mediterranean, from the Asian sub-continent, from the West Indies and from Africa. During my first two years as a Member of Parliament I have had to refer to the Home Office only one case involving a white person. As the Minister of State will know, I refer many cases to him for his consideration and for him to use his discretion.

The Bill is building on the edifice and the legacy of the policies to which I have referred. It is thoroughly racialist. The amendment seeks to remove one of the important planks of the Bill—namely, that a child cannot be British automatically be virtue of the birth of that child in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Proctor

May I revert to the hon. Gentleman's comments about repatriation? Is it his view that those from the new Commonwealth or Pakistan who wish to return to their home country should not be assisted to do so in some way by the Government?

Mr. Race

People are free to return to any country they like if that is their wish. I would not stand in their way if that were their real intention. However, I object strongly to the encouragement of the belief that they should return and that they should be forced to go back by the comments of those who are Members of this place. What we are doing—what Conservative Members are doing—is creating a climate in which many in the ethnic communities believe that that is the Government's real intention and the intention of all politicians in the Conservative Party. I object to the creation and the encouragement of an atmosphere in which those in the ethnic minority communities believe that the only way in which they can maintain a decent life without being harassed and suffering from prejudice is to return to a country that they might not have seen for 20 or 30 years, if at all.

We are advancing arguments for a multiracial society. It is argued that we have a multiracial society in Britain. We say that the colour of a person's skin is irrelevant when considering whether that person is a good citizen. We want no impediment and no obstacle to be placed in the way of those who may have been born here in acquiring citizenship merely because their parents may not have been born in the United Kingdom.

7.15 pm

There will be serious problems about documentation and people's entitlement to Health Service provision and the provision of housing. It is open to a local authority—some authorities do this—to say that an individual cannot go on the housing waiting list if his immigration and nationality status is unclear, or if he is not permanently settled in the United Kingdom. The Bill will encourage local authorities that take that view to carry forward their policy and to impose it even more strictly. We shall see it being applied by housing action centres and housing authorities throughout the country. Those who sit behind the desks will ask applicants for passports, documents from the Home Office, proof of identity, proof of nationality and proof of where they were born. That policy will spread. It will spread into areas where those requirements are not really justified.

The Bill and other changes that the Government are making will have an affect on the NHS. There will be a great temptation for ward clerks, who may in some instances be prejudiced against black people or people from ethnic minority communities, to say to someone who has a black face "We want to see your passport or other documentation that will prove to us that you are entitled to National Health Service treatment as of right, and that you are not a visitor to this country who has to pay under the regulations introduced by the Government." That approach, that broader discrimination and difference of treatment between black people and white people, will be a further important source of friction between the two communities. Any hon. Member who doubts that is taking a crazy view.

The arguments that we have been advancing on birth—the country of birth leading to a right and entitlement to nationality—are especially important. However, one problem that arises in my constituency and in the part of the borough that I represent has exercised me somewhat since the Bill was published. I have not yet seen any clear explanation of how the Home Office will implement the Bill for Cypriot refugees.

I ask the Minister of State to give a clear indication of the way in which children born to Cypriot refugees who came here after 1973 at the discretion of the Home Office, who are not permanently settled and who were born after the commencement of the Bill's provisions, will be treated when it comes to determining nationality and applications for naturalisation. Will it be necessary for those persons to prove ordinary residence? Will the child of a Cypriot refugee be regarded as ordinarily resident in this country? How will the Home Office view that matter? That is an issue that we shall need to clear up.

I have had considerable representations from Cypriot groups in my constituency and in the borough of Haringey on that issue. That is because Haringey, Islington and other parts of North London have great concentrations of Cypriot refugees and of other Cypriots who have been here for considerably longer.

In conclusion—I do not want to detain the House for long—the general provisions of the clause will cause immense confusion and immense harm to large numbers of people. The operation of the 10-year rule will he particularly damaging to children from ethnic minority communities. In some of those communities, it is the practice to send back the children to the Indian subcontinent for the duration of the summer holidays from school. What will happen to them? Those children will lose out on the 90-day rule. They will not be able to qualify for application for British citizenship at the discretion of the Home Secretary because they have been sent back for a holiday in the Indian sub-continent, Cyprus or anywhere else during the period that they have been in the United Kingdom.

That rule will cause immense difficulties. Many children will not have a clear nationality for many years in the future. People of 20, 25 or perhaps even 30 years of age will not have had a clear 10-year period of residence in this country outside the 90-day rule on which to fall back when making an application.

Under the Bill and this clause, the Conservative Government and the Minister of State are encouraging those people in our society who believe that Britain should not be a multiracial society, that somehow black people are inferior and that they are not capable of being British in every sense of the word. That encouragement to racialism and discrimination is a disgrace to the Government.

The Government should make a start proving their good intentions by making a reality of the promise which they made in another section of the Bill, that nothing in the Bill would mean discrimination against black people or people from ethnic minority communities. That promise will be totally hollow if they do not move on clause 1 and accept the amendment which stands in my right hon. Friend's name and if they do not make some other fundamental and important changes to the way in which the Bill is drafted.

I believe that the Bill will set back community relations for a long time. I hope that the House will make a start on rectifying the situation by accepting amendment No. 1.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell (Southampton, Itchen)

Clause 1 offends against a basic principle enshrined in our law, that the sins of the fathers should not be visited on the children. If the children of a person who comes here illegally are born in Britain and are British subjects, they cannot compulsorily be returned if the father and the mother are returned. It does not always work like that. Often the parents feel that they must take the children back with them.

The Minister will be aware of the case, which I mentioned yesterday, of the person who had been settled for 21 years in this country. He was a bus driver and was buying his own house. He suddenly discovered that, originally, he had come here illegally. He brought over a wife. The wife had committed no crime, but because, technically, he was not entitled to bring her in in the first place, she had to go back too. There were two young children. The parents had to make a heart-rending decision—the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) spoke of it earlier—whether to leave the children behind or to take them with them. In the end, they took the young children with them. Within 10 days of returning to Pakistan the younger of the two children died of cholera. As I said yesterday, that case will always be a blot on the Home Office's administration.

As I understand the new regulations in clause 1, there will not be an option in such a case because, if the father of the two children, although they were born in Britain and never knew anything else but this country—they were born here, lived here and may have started school—suddenly discovered that he had entered this country illegally, they would not be British and under the immigration rules could be returned, with no choice. I hope that the Minister will tell me if that is wrong. As I understand the Bill, those children who were born in this country with a parent who came here illegally will have the sins of the father visited upon them and will not be British subjects, as they are now. I believe that that is what the Bill means. If it does not, perhaps the Minister will tell me when he winds up.

I do not believe that this clause is designed for the transient white visitor who comes here for a short period, and whose children are born here. As my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) said, it is aimed at getting rid of some of the immigrant community—for example, those whose parents came here illegally. I cannot see any other reason for making such a fundamental change, except to reflect the Government's philosophy on immigration and race.

For years it has been a fundamental right that if one is born in this country, one is a British citizen. The Bill is tied in with immigration and the right to stay here. If the Government were not wishing to change the immigration rules and constantly stiffening them, the Bill would not be before us today. It is linked with the immigration rules. The Bill, and the clause in particular, has caused a great deal of uncertainty in much of the immigrant community. Those people are afraid. They come to us in our advice centres and ask whether the Bill applies to them. It is difficult to give an answer, unless one has been a member of the Committee on the Bill, dealing with it every day.

Miss Jo Richardson (Barking)

Even then it is difficult.

Mr. Mitchell

It is difficult, as the matter is so complex. The fact that one cannot give those people an instant answer makes them even more afraid and worried.

The Bill—this clause in particular—has increased uncertainty in the immigrant community and has harmed race relations. People who are afraid and worried will react in particular ways. Like many other Members of Parliament, for many years I have worked towards improving and maintaining good race relations. We have all done so by every method we can use. Now we find that the Bill has set back what many people have been trying to do for many years. A cloud of suspicion and fear has been created in the community. This clause can do nothing but harm. I hope that the Minister will withdraw it.

7.30 pm
Miss Richardson

I wish simply to underline the difficulties that the Bill has caused and will cause. As my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Mitchell) said, in our surgeries, when we receive deputations and at meetings of minority groups we see written all over everyone's faces the fear and uncertainty that the Bill is causing. Those of us on the Committee, which started only in early February, although it feels like years ago, have become more and more aware of the difficulties that the Bill creates.

We asked for an undertaking from the Minister that, in whatever form the Bill finally emerges from the House of Lords, individuals will be made adequately aware of what their status is and will be, but he has not yet given that undertaking. On the last occasion on which he was asked, he repeated that it would be a costly operation and that the Government could not undertake it. It is the height of cynicism and lunacy to introduce such a complex Bill, which is causing so much uncertainty and fear among those who have come to live here and many who are born here and not to describe in a simple way that everyone can understand what their position will be. I hope that the Minister will reconsider the matter.

I wish to deal with a narrow point to which I referred in Committee. Although it was not ideal, we were pleased that the Government made a concession by writing into the Bill that children who have been here for 10 years and have only been out of the country for a maximum of 90 days in each of those 10 years can claim British citizenship. We moved amendments to shorten the period. We discussed verification in the case of children applying to register under the provisions for those resident for the first 10 years of their lives. The Minister stated: the NHS medical card can be clearly of considerable significance. I hesitate to attach absolute values to some of these documents, but under normal circumstances an NHS card will be a valuable piece of information."—[Official Report, Standing Committee F, 26 February 1981; c. 225.] He went on to mention child benefit and school records.

I am particularly concerned about school records. Has the Home Office asked the view of the National Union of Teachers about the school records being examined for that purpose. The Government may not like its view, but before they use school records—it may be difficult, as children move from one part of the country to another or to different areas within a borough—it would be wise to consult the teachers' unions.

In the London borough of Barking and Dagenham, part of which I represent, in about three weeks we recently had the misfortune to have three schools burnt down. I do not know whether the records were kept on the premises or in other civic buildings in the borough, but what happens if buildings are destroyed and records are not available? The whole question of verification is dicey, and the Government should look for a better method or accept the word of the individuals concerned, without snooping into their records.

It has been said that clause 1, which is the nub of the Bill, merely increases racial tension. I do not for one moment suggest that that was the Government's intention, although some hon. Members on the Government Benches are more reactionary than the Minister of State. If he has not seen the evidence for himself, either from his contact with constituents or in the Home Office, I beg him to realise that the Bill is causing tension. No one doubts the need to reconsider our nationality law, but to do it in this way, to remove an important and undeniable right that has been in our law since 1948 and to introduce this note at this stage does a disservice to race relations.

Whether hon. Members on the Government Benches like it or not, we were a multi-racial society long before people from the New Commonwealth countries came here. Every one of us has strains from other races, and they enrich our society. The problem in the minds of certain hon. Gentlemen concerns the colour of a person's skin, which is a shameful element to introduce into British society.

Mr. Alfred Dubs (Battersea, South)

A number of hon. Members have attacked the idea of dual nationality, although it has been with us for a good many years. Although I was not in the Chamber all the time, I listened hard to what has been said, and I did not hear a single instance quoted of where the dual nationality permitted to people living here had had a notable adverse effect on our lives. If a departure from existing practice is argued for, we should have evidence to show that the present practice is not working satisfactorily. Had there been any such evidence, it might have been easy to find it. For example, one would have expected comparisons between people from Pakistan, who have dual nationality, and people from India, who do not. I am convinced that we should continue to permit people to have dual nationality.

A number of irresponsible views were put forward. Sometimes only thinly disguised, the case was put for repatriating people who are not white. Those who advanced that argument talked about voluntary repatriation, but there is only a thin line between that and compulsory repatriation. The concept of voluntary repatriation is reprehensible because the more that it is talked about as the possible basis for policy, the more will people feel threatened and coerced and that they are not wanted here. That is the danger that we must avoid. Some people already feel that the host community does not want them here. Those who feel that they are not wanted here cite as evidence some of our legislation, such as the immigration rules, and point to this Bill, saying that it is another example of a Government measure that suggests that they are not completely accepted or wanted here.

I hasten to repeat that the Government have said—and I hope that they will contine to say—that they fully accept the right to dual nationality. However, some of the other features of the Bill make people feel that they are not living here as equal members of society. On more than one occasion—including in Committee—the Minister said that the Bill had been unjustly criticised. That is not true. Most of the criticisms are fair. For many of us, the Bill's worst feature is its attempt to deny British citizenship to all those born here.

If the Minister wished to do something positive to improve race relations and to increase the sense of security felt by blacks or Asians living in Britain, he would accept amendment No. 1 and give all children born here the right to British citizenship. The fears of the black and Asian communities are real. The Minister may deny that such fears exist, but they do. All Opposition Members have evidence of the concern and anxiety experienced by such people. They anxiously and desperately want to be accepted by the host community. They see the Bill as a further impediment to their acceptance. The Minister has not given enough assurances to the contrary and I hope that he will give some assurances today.

Mention has already been made of the onus of proof that will fall on people to establish that their children are entitled to British citizenship. Recently there have been a number of unfortunate episodes. In some hospitals people have been asked to produce passports. Notorious raids were made on employers' premises to see whether their employees were illegal immigrants. In such cases, the burden of proof has fallen on such people to show that they are entitled to live here, that they are settled here, have permission to stay, and so on. It is hard to satisfy the burden of proof unless one has some form of documentation, such as a passport.

As a result of the Government's proposals, the trend will become worse. We are often approached by members of the Asian community who ask what they should do. They want to know whether they should carry their passports about with them. They want to know whether it will become even more important to do so if the Bill is enacted. The Minister may shake his head. Indeed, I thought that he would. However, what does one say to those who feel insecure, who are liable to be stopped and questioned and who need to produce evidence of their entitlement to live here? Surely this proposal will only make things worse.

Another difficulty about the burden of proof has already been mentioned. I refer to the "concession" that the Minister put forward about those children who had been here for 10 years and to the proviso concerning the number of days that they should not be away for in any one year if they wish to qualify for citizenship after the 10-year period. It will be difficult for people to prove whether they have been away for a certain number of days. In Committee there was argument about whether those who were settled here at the time of the birth of their children might, as a result of subsequent court action, be defined as unsettled. That is another area of uncertainty

My next point is not of one enormous principle but of practicality. I refer to the extra burden that will be thrown on the Home Office. We already receive letter; every week from the Home Office in response to queries about naturalisation and about delays in granting it. The Minister has heard such things many times before. Would he care to estimate the amount of extra work that will be thrown on the Home Office as a result of the new procedures and difficulties? The Home Office will need an enormous increase in staff if it is to cope with the extra difficulty. Without extra staff in the Home Office we shall be faced with years of uncertainty while constituents wait for their applications to be dealt with. Either in terms of the principle or in terms of sheer practicality, will the Minister concede the merits of the case put forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) and accept amendment No. 1?

7.45 pm
Mr. Raison

We have had a long debate. We always expected that on Report this would prove to be one of the major debates. In a sense, we have had two debates which have, perhaps, jostled a little uneasily together. There has been a major and a minor theme. It might not be prudent to say which was the major and which was the minor theme, but in terms of time spent there can be no doubt that the major theme involved the question of citizenship by birth—the jus soli. The question of dual nationality was also raised.

It will prove most convenient to speak first about the jus soli and amendment No. 1. I shall then turn to the subject of dual nationality, which was raised both by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) and in the amendment to which several of my hon. Friends addressed their remarks. As the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said, his amendment is clearly designed to remove from the Bill the Government's proposal that in future a child born in this country should be a British citizen only if one of his parents is a British citizen or is settled. We believe that our proposal, embodied in clause 1(1), is eminently reasonable and should stand.

As several hon. Members know, the matter was rightly debated at great length by Standing Committee F, which rejected amendments that would have had a similar effect to the one sought by the present amendment. During those debates I pointed out that it was only recently that the Opposition had put forward the arguments of high principle against the acquisition of citizenship through the status of a parent rather than through the place of one's birth.

With respect, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was not accurate about one matter. The Green Paper of the last Labour Government did not argue in that way. It is true that it ultimately favoured retention of the present all-inclusive method of conferring our citizenship on everyone born here. However, it is not true that a matter of principle was involved. The right hon. Gentleman used the word "principle". The Green Paper admitted that there were drawbacks to the present method. Its conclusion that, nevertheless, the present method should be retained was based more on its convenience than on any argument of high principle. The following words were used: On the whole the Government consider that the simplicity and inclusiveness of the jus soli method outweighs its drawbacks. That is far from being a resounding statement. This Government attach greater weight to the drawbacks mentioned in paragraph 34 of the Green Paper.

Mr. Hattersley

Perhaps I should not rise to intervene every time that the Minister makes semantic errors. However, if he considers the matter for a minute he will understand that inclusiveness is a principle. It is that principle on which the Green Paper specifically stood and it is that principle on which we stand today.

Mr. Raison

Any hon. Member who reads that part of the Green Paper will accept that the flavour is very different from any discussion in terms of principle. That section of the Green Paper is rather pragmatic.

The Government attach greater weight to the drawbacks mentioned in paragraph 34. Let me remind the House what those were. The Green Paper said that our present method of conferring citizenship on everybody born here confers citizenship indiscriminately on all who happen to be born here … we confer citizenship on children who, though born here, may be brought up and live their lives abroad, and on children whose parents, though entirely unconnected with the United Kingdom, have arranged for the child to be born here to acquire citizenship for its possible usefulness later". The present Government, like the previous Government, see no strong reason in principle why our citizenship should be conferred on children born here in those circumstances. Indeed, many of the arguments of principle would appear to lie entirely on the opposite side. The White Paper pointed out that, in addition to the arguments advanced by the Green Paper, one had to take account of the fact that the children concerned were able to pass on their citizenship to their children born overseas. As the White Paper said The additional British citizens so created … would have little or no real connection with the United Kingdom. That is very important because, as I think the House knows by now, what we are looking for in the creation of our new scheme of British citizenship is real connection. We are looking for citizens who have a real connection with the United Kingdom.

The question must be faced as to what rational reason there is for the children of people who are here purely temporarily or, for that matter, illegally, expecting to have the right to acquire British citizenship. The more one thinks about that fundamental point—I shall come to the practical arguments in a moment—the more doubtful it becomes as to what is the rationale in terms of principle for saying that everybody born here should be a British citizen, even if the person is merely born here, goes away after a few weeks and spends the next years or decades of life in some remote part of the world. That is fundamentally what we are talking about in terms of our switch from the old, historic principle to one which seems to us to be right for the present day and present circumstances.

There are also, of course—and I do not seek to disguise this—important implications for the effectiveness of our immigration control. The White Paper referred to people who were here temporarily or had remained here in breach of conditions of entry or who had entered illegally. It concluded that in many such circumstances there seemed no real justification for continuing to allow the child to have our citizenship unless—and this is quite important—one of the parents was subsequently accepted for settlement here. That is not the overriding factor, as the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook seemed to suggest, but it is a significant factor.

I also referred in Committee, to what the Government regard as an important point, namely, that two people who are here illegally, for whatever reason, should not acquire a right to remain simply by having a child in this country. Home Office Ministers of successive Administrations have always made it clear that the birth here of patrial children is not a bar to the removal of the parents. But there is the difficulty that, when the parents are deported in such cases, they cannot be compelled to take their children with them. Of course, the parents nearly always take their children with them voluntarily, but there is an anomaly here. Also, as I told the Standing Committee, we should take into account the various international bodies whose jurisdiction we have accepted. We cannot rule out the possibility that one of them might find that it was wrong to remove the parents of a child who had the right of abode here.

As members of the Standing Committee know, it is not possible to give any precise estimate of the numbers who may be affected. I gave the Standing Committee some figures which could be indicative, although no more than that. As I said then, in 1979, between 59,000 and 64,000 children were born in England and Wales to parents both of whom were born outside the United Kingdom. It is a reasonable assumption that in some of those cases neither parent was settled here. Even if one assumed that 90 per cent. to 95 per cent. of the parents were our citizens or were settled, that would still leave between 3,000 and 6,500 children born here each year to parents who were neither citizens nor settled.

Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras, South)

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the arguments that he has adduced prove beyond any doubt that the measure he has put before the House is an immigration measure and not a nationality measure, in that he gives greater weight to the immigration problems which might result for the authorities from problems about the parents than to the problems of the child, who might be rendered stateless by his proposition?

Mr. Raison

They prove absolutely nothing of the sort. I told the House a few minutes ago what were the major reasons for our decision. I said perfectly frankly that there were immigration implications. But because there are immigration implications in one particular ingredient of the Bill that does not mean that the entire Bill is to be seen as an immigration measure rather than a nationality measure.

The use of the term "settled" in this context has been the subject of criticism. This has been on the grounds of the claimed practical difficulties for the child in establishing his parents' settled status. This was raised by a number of hon. Members, including the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner). In my view, however, the difficulties have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, the very use of the settled criteria in this context indicates the Government's non-racial approach. Settled parents who are not citizens can have children here who would become citizens. As the House knows, this is more generous than is usual with systems which confer citizenship on the basis of the status of the parent. Most countries with jus sanguinis systems require the parent to be a citizen before he can transmit citizenship to the child.

It is said, however, that the term "settled" includes ordinary residence, and this is not a clear concept. For someone who remains out of the country for long periods, this can sometimes be so, although usually a sensible judgment can be arrived at when the facts are examined. Otherwise, it will normally be quite clear whether a person is settled here or not. Generally speaking, anyone who is living here free of conditions on his stay will be regarded as settled. Of course the term "settled" excludes illegal entrants and overstayers and indeed anyone who is not free of restrictions on his stay here. But, in the Government's opinion, it is right that people in these categories should be excluded.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Generally, therefore, a person would be regarded as being settled if the conditions had been removed. Will the Minister make that an absolute bar to investigations beyond the removal of conditions? If he did that, it would certainly remove a great deal of my difficulty. If he will say that the Home Office will not go behind the removal of conditions in order later to assert that the conditions were removed as a result of deception or fraud, I should certainly feel a good deal more relieved.

Mr. Raison

I cannot answer "Yes" off the cuff. We must look at this problem in terms of the law as it stands and as it has been laid down by the High Court, and it is clear that a person is no longer settled if he achieves entry by deception. That is what the law says. I believe that we shall always look very carefully at the particular circumstances of cases that come before us. I know that this is a very sensitive area, but if the hon. Gentleman is asking me to give a categoric "Yes" in response to what he has said, I am afraid that I am not in a position to do so.

Mr. Lyon

It is not such a preposterous suggestion as the Minister makes it sound, because until this class of case arose the Home Office regarded the fact of removal conditions as being an absolute barrier and did not question it thereafter. It is only since these conditions have arisen that cases are now being questioned, long after the conditions have been removed and over a far wider area than alleged fraud.

Mr. Raison

What I have said is that the law has been laid down by the High Court, and it is not for me to stand at the Dispatch Box at this moment and say that we can disregard the law as laid down by the High Court.

8 pm

With regard to settled status, I should like to say something in answer to the point raised by the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) about Cypriot refugees. The people to whom the hon. Member referred are not regarded as refugees for the purposes of the United Nations convention. Their admission has always been concessionary and on a temporary basis. The children born after commencement would not, therefore, be British citizens unless the one parent had been accepted for settlement by the time of the children's birth.

I cannot accept the arguments that have been put forward—I say this in particular to the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon).—about the effect of court judgments on illegal entrants. It may be that a parent who might have hoped that he was accepted as settled at the time of his child's birth is later discovered to have been here illegally all the time. What has happened in such cases is that someone who entered illegally is ajudged to have done so by the courts. The Government cannot condone illegal entry. I cannot see why the existence of recent court judgments on the question should lead us to interfere with the long accepted definition of "settled". But I say again to the hon. Gentleman that we have shown in all these cases of deception that we look at the matter very carefuly and with a good deal of sympathy. But I cannot go beyond what I have just said in regard to the law.

Mr. Lyon

This is an absolutely vital part of the whole argument. I accept, of course, that in the cases where the Home Office considers the question, it does so with a considerable degree of care and with such sensitivity as it can command. The real issue is that, as a result of the court judgments, the police and immigration officers are questioning the status of a great many people against whom there is no suggestion of illegality. It is simply that they now have to scrutinise a much wider area of case.

Mr. Raison

In the whole process of passing the Bill through the House we are talking about what the law of the land is to say and what it does say. The Bill uses the word "settled". It is there in clause 1. I cannot get up in this House and reinterpret the word "settled". It is not for me to do so. The word "settled" is there and it is an important prop of our whole position. It would be absurd for me to do what the hon. Gentleman is asking me to do.

There will, of course, come a time when a child born to a settled parent will need to establish that he is a British citizen. This is one of the features that has played a substantial part in our debate. It will be done as the occasion arises—when, for example, he wants a passport. I repeat that there is no question of determination of citizenship becoming part of the birth certification process. Parents of children born here after commencement might well, of course, welcome a leaflet setting out the new citizenship provisions, and we shall be looking at that. I assure the hon. Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) that I am concerned in general that after the Bill has received Royal Assent its contents should be widely known and understood.

The Government see no particular reason why difficulty should normally arise when the child needs to assert his claim to citizenship. It was a gross exaggeration for the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook to say that proof will invariably be demanded of black children. That was not a fair thing to say.

In very many cases the parents will set out the claim on the child's behalf while he is still a minor, and there seems to be no reason why they should not be able to produce evidence of their settled status. I agree that there must be some differences in the procedure for passport applications. This is because a simple birth certificate showing birth in the United Kingdom will in future be insufficient by itself as proof of citizenship. But we do not see why the application form could not be simply designed so that the parent could give details of his own claims to British citizenship or of his settled status in the United Kingdom.

I should like to say a word or two more about passports and the process of application. I said in my Second Reading speech that we shall be relying basically on the declarations of applicants for passports and their parents and on those who act as sponsors. It is at present an essential feature of a passport application—I am referring to applications made in the United Kingdom—that reliance is placed on the sponsor or counter signatory to establish the identity of an applicant. We intend to use that method for this category, too. But because a birth certificate showing birth in the United Kingdom after commencement will not itself be proof, as it is now, of nationality status, the application form would be designed so that the parent could give details of his own claim to British citizenship or of his being settled in the United Kingdom. We believe that such proof as is needed would be readily available.

Passport applications would normally be made during the child's minority by a parent. Where the parents have not taken British citizenship but want their children to have it, experience suggests that they apply for a passport when the child is young. In these cases we see no reason why the parents should have difficulty in establishing their settled status satisfactorily for this purpose. It is in the interests of everybody that status should be established at an early stage.

Where one of the parents is a citizen, evidence of that will often be forthcoming naturally. For example, the application may be for the addition of the child's name to a parent's United Kingdom passport, or the application may be made when the parent is applying for or renewing a passport. Passport applications from persons born after commencement would form only a very small part of the total passport applications for some years to come. We have time to develop a practice in the light of experience without imposing onerous evidential requirements or accepting heavy additional work loads.

Mr. Jim Marshall

As the hon. Gentleman knows, from the Opposition Benches we are continually referring to the discriminatory nature of the legislation. The hon. Gentleman has referred to the normal practice of getting a passport during the minority of the child. That may be his experience but it is not my experience with the indigenous population. It is within the experience of the immigrant community of this country that it is the only way in which people can prove their status in this country at the moment. The hon. Gentleman is saying that the tradition that has grown up in that community, because of fears of immigration rules and regulations, will continue when the Bill becomes law. How does the hon. Gentleman square that with his view that the legislation will not be discriminatory in practice?

Mr. Raison

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman says about this matter. The fears that are being generated are not justified. I am not denying that there are fears and I have never sought to do so. But as people come to see how the Bill works in practice they will realise what fantasies most of these fears have been.

The right hon. Member for Roxborough, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) and the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Sever) talked about moving to some kind of pass law society, on the basis of what is contained in the Bill. That is absolute rubbish. There is no justification whatever for the argument that the Bill will have that kind of effect. It is utterly contrary to the intentions of the Government and of myself.

We have also moved the important amendment to clause 1 that was accepted by the Standing Committee and is now incorporated as subsection (4). It provides that a child born here who does not become a British citizen through his parents' British citizenship or settled status shall have an entitlement to registration 10 years later if he has resided here continuously since birth. Short periods of absence would be permitted. That entitlement could be claimed by anyone failing to establish his parents' status and should be more than sufficient to deal with the exceptional case where there might be long term difficulties.

The hon. Member for Ladywood talked about statelessness arising out of the Bill. But I remind the House that there is not merely the provision that I have just described. We fully meet the requirements under the international conventions, and, specifically in schedule 2, we have our provisions for meeting statelessness.

Questions have also been raised about the immigration rules that would apply to children born here who do not obtain citizenship. As I told the Committee, at this stage I can give only a broad indication of what might be done, but obviously provision would have to be made for the child who applies to remain here or to enter after absence. The basic approach would probably be to bring his conditions of stay into line with those of his parents or of his mother if she were on different conditions of stay from his father.

I hope that I have reassured the House that many of the points raised by Labour Members have no substance in fact. They have looked for every possible complication—sometimes they have found points that are worthy of note; I do not deny the value of our Committee discussions or the importance of getting the matter right—but on the fundamental question whether we are right to bring the new provision into our nationality law there can be no doubt that what we are doing makes sense and will be seen to make sense by the great majority of the people of this country.

I turn to the theme outlined by the right hon. Member for Down, South and my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) in speaking to the amendments in the names of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Sir R. Bell) and others. Amendment (a) provides that all children born in this country will acquire British citizenship unless they acquire the nationality of another State at birth, presumably by descent by one of their parents.

There are several serious objections to that proposal. It would be difficult to operate, would cause considerable hardship and dislocation and would run counter to our declared policy on dual nationality. I shall deal with those objections.

First, there would be no records of which children born here held another citizenship. A person born here and claiming British citizenship when, say, applying for a passport could be asked whether he held another citizenship, but there would be no means of checking on those who said that they did not. Searching inquiries would be necessary if the bar on dual nationality were to be enforced effectively.

Secondly, the amendment would apply to those who had involuntarily acquired another citizenship through one of their parents. That could be particularly harsh. It would apply to those who, though they had a claim to another citizenship, had never sought to avail themselves of it, because they had no real links with another country and had spent all their lives here.

It would presumably also apply to those whose parents held different nationalities, even if one were a British citizen. Moreover, there would be no choice in the matter and no opportunity to renounce the other citizenship. That would be unacceptable and impossible to justify and defend. Even countries that severely restrict dual nationality normally impose restrictions only on adults who are given an opportunity to renounce any other nationality that they may have acquired during their minority.

As we made clear in the White Paper, we do not believe that it would be right to have any general restriction on the holding of other citizenships in addition to British citizenship. To do so would make it more difficult for people who have come here from overseas to settle down in this country and make their contribution to the life of the community. It is natural that such people should wish, at least initially, to retain their links with their country of birth, and we do not think that they should be compelled to choose between those links and those that they are developing with this country.

We see the links as normally complementary rather than conflicting, and we think that a generous policy on dual nationality, far from hindering integration as was suggested by the right hon. Member for Down, South, will assist it. I must make it clear, as I did in Committee, that the Government are fearful that the object of the right hon. Gentleman is in some way to encourage black repatriation or, as he called it in his speech, re-emigration. I made my view clear in Committee. It is not the aim of the Government to do what the right hon. Gentleman wants. I cannot believe that it is right in a society such as ours to make that our aim. The purpose of the Bill is not to divide communities.

Mr. Budgen

If any future Government wished to repatriate a section of the former immigrant community it would surely be infinitely more difficult to repatriate those who had voluntarily chosen to take British citizenship and to renounce the citizenship of their country of origin.

8.15 pm
Mr. Raison

That is not a path which I wish to go down. I cannot accept my hon. Friend's point.

The purpose of the Bill is not to divide communities. Most of those born to people in the ethnic minorities in this country who are, for the most part, settled here, even when they have not acquired our citizenship, will be British citizens. That is right. To do anything to disturb that will only exacerbate unnecessarily existing racial tensions. There are no grounds for the belief of the right hon. Member for Down, South that to omit those settled here from the provisions allowing citizenship would be a means of removing conflict. Indeed, I believe the reverse to be true

I accept that many countries have chosen a different route, but our choice is based on different circumstances. It is based on our history and the fact that we had not only an influx of people after the war, but an influx that followed the transformation of the old Commonwealth. The history of our Commonwealth and our Empire is that of many countries linked together by all sorts of ties. We do not wish to compel people to have to choose between their association with Britain and with another country as the price of acquiring British citizenship.

It may interest the House to know that not only the ethnic minorities have asked us to keep dual citizenship. The Governments of Australia and New Zealand have expressed their concern that British citizens in those countries should not be compelled to choose between their ties. There are dual loyalties in the network of relationships that has grown up and it would be a mistake to make it impossible, in formal terms, that they should exist.

I advise the House to reject the amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, and I must also advise hon. Members to reject the amendments that seek to prohibit dual nationality.

Mr. John Tilley (Lambeth, Central)

The House will have noted the contrast between the approaches of the Minister of State and the Home Secretary over the two days of our debates. The Home Secretary spent all yesterday afternoon fighting the idea that his decisions on nationality and naturalisation should be subject to legal processes and appeal to the courts or a tribunal. The Minister of State told us today that in carrying out his discretion he is bound by the decisions about the law made by judges.

Mr. Raison

That is not what I said. I do not say that how we exercise our discretion is bound by the law set out by judges. Discretion is about moving away from the law. I said that the law, which is what we are talking about, is as set out by the judges.

Mr. Tilley

The hon. Gentleman has merely confirmed what I thought he said and what I judged him to be saying—that he is bound by the judges in the interpretation of the law and in exercising discretion. I stick to my point about the contrast between the two approaches, but both Ministers were wrong.

The law is created by Parliament and when we find that it has been interpreted by judges in ways that we never intended it is the job of Ministers to bring the law back to Parliament to get it changed in order to ensure that the will of Parliament is carried out.

I shall be brief, because we wish to discuss other matters before the guillotine falls. I agree with everything that my hon. Friends have said about the injustices and impracticalities of the proposal in clause 1. They have demonstrated the widespread concern that exists about the motives behind the Bill and how it will work. That concern is widespread in the sense that it is felt in many parts of the country and also in the sense that all the ethnic minorities, and many people who are not members of ethnic minorities, are concerned about what will happen.

I disagree slightly with my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lyon) and also with the Minister over the suggestion that the removal of jus soli—automatic citizenship by birth—and the removal of dual nationality are separate. I believe that they are connected. This debate has shown how they are involved in what can be called the dynamic of racialist demand. Once there is no longer automatic citizenship by birth, this engenders the demand that there should not be automatic citizenship for people who are citizens of another country. This is followed in logical sequence by the demand for mass deportation of black people, misnamed repatriation, by those who favour the proposal. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has thought of another euphemism today—re-emigration. The House and the country will be shocked by the mildness of the Minister's repudiation of that idea.

Our debates have established that for the Government the abolition of automatic citizenship by birth in this country is the most important part of the Bill. This emphasis supports our view about the racialist intent as well as the racialist effect of the Bill. The Minister guesses that the number of children affected each year will be between 3,000 and 6,500. Of those, one can say, for the sake of argument, that 500 are stateless, apart from not becoming British citizens. They have no statehood at all, even thought they were born in this country. They are the children of students, work permit holders and illegal entrants.

The vast majority of those groups are black people. The majority of black children born in this country will be full British citizens because their parents are either full black British citizens themselves or settled in this country. However, the Minister will not accept that the number of stateless children, say 400 or 500 a year, will cause concern throughout the ethnic minority. One stateless child in an Asian community within one city will spread fear throughout the community. This fear, I believe, is, in many ways, justified.

It is nonsense for the Minister to suggest that parents will be aware of the details of the Bill, that theywill know about the 10-year concession and that they will be aware, once the baby is born, that an amendment moved by the Government means that, so long as the child is here for 10 years and during those years he or she is not away for more than 90 days, citizenship can be obtained. The reality is that those people are not only largely black but largely poor. Many of them—students, work permit holders and so on—are very young. Their problem in society will be to survive as a family rather than to keep detailed legal records and obtain detailed legal advice.

Another problem will be that parents, either through ignorance or a desire not to undermine the confidence of the child, will not inform their children of the situation and that those kids will find out only when they apply for a passport. If they apply after the age of 22, the provisions to reduce statelessness—I nearly said, for getting rid of statelessness which, unfortunately, the Bill does not do—would not apply and the young adult would have no chance of getting citizenship other than by naturalisation. The Opposition have pressed this matter because it is not necessary for a new nationality law to get rid of jus soli—the qualification that birth in this country makes one automatically a British citizen.

All the matters of revision, splitting of citizenship and eliminating the problems of citizenship of the United Kingsom and Colonies could have been handled without getting rid of jus soli. The insistence of the Government on this provision makes us more convinced that their concern is immigration control. To be more precise, they are concerned about giving the appearance of tightening immigration control. There is no evidence that, between 1948 and 1980, people born in this country in transit or to parents who were here only temporarily, having gone back to the country of their parents' origin, grown up and had kids of their own, have exercised their right to come to this country. There is no evidence that this pool, as Ministers describe it in the White Paper, has ever drained, dripped or poured back into this country.

All that Ministers are doing is trying to pander to prejudice and to give the impression of tighter immigration control. I should like to contrast statements made by the Secretary of State with those of the Minister of State, who is now present. The hon. Gentleman did not repudiate on Second Reading, and I am sure he will not do so now, a speech of the Home Secretary to a Conservative audience in Leicester on 7 April 1977 when he stated: A Conservative Government will therefore seek to introduce a new nationality law early in the next Parliament. This will remove some of the possible sources of future immigration. That is all that the right hon. Gentleman said to his Conservative audience. Three years later, the Minister of State, who was not addressing a Conservative audience but speaking at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Sikh temple at Slough on 15 March 1981, said: It has also been said that the Bill is primarily an immigration measure. This is transparently not the case. Hon. Members would like to be told which Minister was telling the truth and which reflects real Government policy. Which face of the Conservative Home Office is the true one? The removal of jus soli is not only objectionable in itself; it is also preparing the way, as the debate has shown, for the right hon. Member for Down, South and those who support him in their demand for further measures that we would regard as racialist. They are pressing for more measures in this sphere. We have heard the hon. Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor), the voice of Back Bench Toryism on this issue. No other voice from the Conservative Benches has argued why this Bill should not be the first of many proposals in immigration control of the sort that the hon. Gentleman has suggested.

The Government cannot buy off racialist prejudice. If they start to pay the Danegeld to the racialists, they will never be rid of them. They feel that by appearing to tighten immigration control, they will be able to buy off the prejudice. They will not be able to do so. Those who get one concession will demand more. The aim of the people we are talking about—we have heard some of them today—is to get every black face off the streets of this country. The right hon. Member for Down, South was more open than usual about that ambition. He knows, but he will not say, that what he proposes can be achieved only by methods that are compulsory and authoritarian—in many ways, totalitarian.

8.30 pm

I take issue with the right hon. Member on one issue. He spoke about the future of inner London. He has a right to speak on that issue, because he lives in South Eaton Place. I have a right to speak about it not only because I represent Brixton, but because I live on Brixton Hill. He said that there were two views, although he outlined three. One view is that everything will he all right and that there is no problem. The two other views are that there is likely to be tension and conflict, and that there is a future of conflict because of mutual fears. He said that there are those who believe that it can be averted by persuading people, and that there are those who think that it is inevitable because of what we know about human nature and history.

I take issue with the right hon. Gentleman on that matter. I do not believe that it is necessarily inherent in human nature for there to be conflict of the kind that we have seen, and of which there may be more. Nor do I believe that it is the lesson of history that conflict of this kind is inevitable. The lesson of history is that it is the responsibility of politicians such as ourselves to try to avert and help to reduce those tensions. The lesson of history is that it can be done, that conflict and tension can be averted, provided that the Government of the day give a lead and show that they believe in a multi-racial society of equals, and ensure that the inner city areas about which the right hon. Gentleman spoke so glibly get the resouces of housing, social services and jobs that they need.

I refuse to accept the right hon. Gentleman's message of pessimism about the future of inner city areas—certainly not in my constituency, not in Handsworth. When he spoke about Handsworth, he said that many of us who represent inner city areas know perfectly well that there are members of the ethnic minorities—black people, some young, some old—who wish to return to the country from which they or their parents came.

Mr. Proctor

In that case, is the hon. Gentleman prepared to help them to do so?

Mr. Tilley

The hon. Member misses the point. The right hon. Member for Down, South said that they would be assisted in some way if they were no longer dual nationals. That is not true. From my experience of dealing with constituents, there is no problem for people who want to go back—for instance, to Jamaica—because they are dual nationals of Jamaica and of this country. It is nonsense to suggest either that they would be assisted, or that in many cases they would be deprived of the citizenship of their country of origin because they held British citizenship.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned India. There, it is a matter of taking up the rights that might deprive people of Indian citizenship. Certainly, that does not apply to any of the West Indian islands.

Finally, I take up another comment made by the right hon. Member for Down, South. He said, after giving what I regard as a spurious set of reasons for not having dual citizenship, that if we had dual citizenship it would maximise the anxiety of the rest of the community. There is no evidence for that. The right hon. Gentleman is trying, as he has done before, to make his prophecies self-fulfilling. I and my right hon. and hon. Friends are determined that that will not happen. We believe that we can resolve the racial tensions in this country if the political will and determination are there. That is why we are so concerned about this debate.

Two great assets are enshrined in our law to achieve the purpose of removing racial tension and having a harmonious multi-racial society. One is dual nationality, which I am glad to say that the Government are maintaining, although it is threatened by the amendment to our amendment, and the second is the jus soli—the great cohesive force of the fact that any child born in this country is an automatic full British citizen. If we preserve those two assets, they will help us to create a harmonious multi-racial society.

The Government are doing two things. They are throwing away one of those great assets. That is bad enough in itself. However, in doing so, they are weakening the position of the other, the right to have dual nationality. In doing so, they are opening the floodgates to racist attacks and racism on a scale that we have not yet seen. I appeal to the House to reject the amendment to our amendment, and to accept our amendment to preseve the great assets that we have in British law.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 227, Noes 280.

Division No. 198] [8.34 pm
Abse, Leo Dalyell, Tam
Adams, Allen Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)
Allaun, Frank Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Anderson, Donald Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Deakins, Eric
Ashton, Joe Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)
Bagier, Gordon A.T. Dempsey, James
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd) Dewar, Donald
Beith, A. J. Dixon, Donald
Benn, Rt Hon A. Wedgwood Dobson, Frank
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't' N) Dormand, Jack
Bidwell, Sydney Douglas, Dick
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Bottomley, Rt Hon A. (M'b'ro) Dubs, Alfred
Bradley, Tom Duffy, A. E. P.
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dunn, James A.
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Dunnett, Jack
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W) Eadie, Alex
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Eastham, Ken
Buchan, Norman Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're)
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)
Campbell, Ian English, Michael
Campbell-Savours, Dale Ennals, Rt Hon David
Canavan, Dennis Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Cant, R. B. Evans, John (Newton)
Carmichael, Neil Ewing, Harry
Carter-Jones, Lewis Faulds, Andrew
Cartwright, John Field, Frank
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Flannery, Martin
Conlan, Bernard Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Cook, Robin F. Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Cowans, Harry Ford, Ben
Craigen, J. M. Forrester, John
Crowther, J. S. Foster, Derek
Cryer, Bob Foulkes, George
Cunliffe, Lawrence Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n) Freud, Clement
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Newens, Stanley
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
George, Bruce O'Halloran, Michael
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John O'Neill, Martin
Ginsburg, David Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Golding, John Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Gourlay, Harry Palmer, Arthur
Graham, Ted Parker, John
Grant, George (Morpeth) Parry, Robert
Grant, John (Islington C) Pavitt, Laurie
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Penhaligon, David
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife) Prescott, John
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Race, Reg
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Radice, Giles
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)
Haynes, Frank Richardson, Jo
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Heffer, Eric S. Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Home Robertson, John Roper, John
Homewood, William Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Hooley, Frank Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Howell, Rt Hon D. Rowlands, Ted
Howells, Geraint Ryman, John
Hudson Davies, Gwilym E. Sandelson, Neville
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Sever, John
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Sheerman, Barry
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Janner, Hon Greville Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Short, Mrs Renée
Johnson, James (Hull West) Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Skinner, Dennis
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
Kerr, Russell Soley, Clive
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Spearing, Nigel
Lambie, David Spriggs, Leslie
Leadbitter, Ted Stallard, A. W.
Lestor, Miss Joan Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW) Stoddart, David
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Straw, Jack
Litherland, Robert Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Lyon, Alexander (York) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Thomas, Dr H. (Carmarthen)
McCartney, Hugh Tilley, John
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Torney, Tom
McKelvey, William Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Wainwright, E. (Dearne V)
Maclennan, Robert Wainwright, H. (Colne V)
McNally, Thomas Walker, Rt Hon H. (D'caster)
McNamara, Kevin Watkins, David
McTaggart, Robert Weetch, Ken
Magee, Bryan Welsh, Michael
Marks, Kenneth White, Frank R.
Marshall, D(G'gow S'ton) White, J. (G'gow Pollok)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Whitehead, Phillip
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Whitlock, William
Martin, M(G'gow S'burn) Wigley, Dafydd
Maxton, John Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Maynard, Miss Joan Williams, Rt Hon A. (S'sea W)
Meacher, Michael Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Wilson, William (C'try SE)
Mikardo, Ian Winnick, David
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Woolmer, Kenneth
Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Wright, Sheila
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton Itchen) Young, David (Bolton E)
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw) Tellers for the Ayes:
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Mr. James Tinn and Mr. Allen McKay.
Morton, George
Moyle, Rt Hon Roland
Adley, Robert Alexander, Richard
Aitken, Jonathan Amery, Rt Hon Julian
Ancram, Michael Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Arnold, Tom Garel-Jones, Tristan
Atkins, Robert(Preston N) Glyn, Dr Alan
Baker, Kenneth(St.M'bone) Goodhart, Philip
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Goodhew, Victor
Banks, Robert Goodlad, Alastair
Bendall, Vivian Gorst, John
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Gow, Ian
Best, Keith Gower, Sir Raymond
Bevan, David Gilroy Gray, Hamish
Biggs-Davison, John Griffiths, E. (B'y St. Edm'ds)
Blackburn, John Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)
Body, Richard Grist, Ian
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Grylls, Michael
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gummer, John Selwyn
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Hamilton, Hon A.
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Braine, Sir Bernard Hampson, Dr Keith
Bright, Graham Hannam, John
Brooke, Hon Peter Haselhurst, Alan
Brotherton, Michael Hastings, Stephen
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Browne, John (Winchester) Hawkins, Paul
Bruce-Gardyne, John Hawksley, Warren
Bryan, Sir Paul Hayhoe, Bamey
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Heddle, John
Buck, Antony Henderson, Barry
Budgen, Nick Hicks, Robert
Bulmer, Esmond Hill, James
Burden, Sir Frederick Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Butcher, John Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Cadbury, Jocelyn Hooson, Tom
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Hordern, Peter
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Chapman, Sydney Kaberry, Sir Donald
Churchill, W. S. Kershaw, Anthony
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Kimball, Marcus
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Knox, David
Clegg, Sir Walter Lamont, Norman
Cockeram, Eric Lang, Ian
Colvin, Michael Latham, Michael
Cope, John Lawrence, Ivan
Corrie, John Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Costain, Sir Albert Lee, John
Cranborne, Viscount Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Critchley, Julian Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Crouch, David Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Dean, Paul (North Somerset) Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Dickens, Geoffrey Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Dorrell, Stephen Loveridge, John
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Luce, Richard
Dover, Denshore Lyell, Nicholas
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward McCrindle, Robert
Dunlop, John MacGregor, John
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) MacKay, John (Argyll)
Durant, Tony Macmillan, Rt Hon M.
Dykes, Hugh McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Eggar, Tim McQuarrie, Albert
Elliott, Sir William Madel, David
Emery, Peter Major, John
Eyre, Reginald Marland, Paul
Fairbairn, Nicholas Marlow, Tony
Fairgrieve, Russell Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Faith, Mrs Sheila Mates, Michael
Farr, John Mather, Carol
Fell, Anthony Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Mawby, Ray
Finsberg, Geoffrey Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Fisher, Sir Nigel Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) Mayhew, Patrick
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles Mellor, David
Forman, Nigel Meyer, Sir Anthony
Fox, Marcus Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Mills, Peter (West Devon)
Fry, Peter Miscampbell, Norman
Moate, Roger Shepherd, Richard
Molyneaux, James Shersby, Michael
Monro, Hector Silvester, Fred
Montgomery, Fergus Sims, Roger
Moore, John Skeet, T. H. H.
Morgan, Geraint Speed, Keith
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Speller, Tony
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Spence, John
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mudd, David Sproat, Iain
Murphy, Christopher Squire, Robin
Myles, David Stainton, Keith
Neale, Gerrard Stanbrook, Ivor
Needham, Richard Stanley, John
Nelson, Anthony Steen, Anthony
Neubert, Michael Stevens, Martin
Newton, Tony Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Onslow, Cranley Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S. Stokes, John
Page, John (Harrow, West) Stradling Thomas, J.
Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby) Tapsell, Peter
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Parkinson, Cecil Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Parris, Matthew Temple-Morris, Peter
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
Patten, John (Oxford) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Pattie, Geoffrey Thompson, Donald
Pawsey, James Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Percival, Sir Ian Thornton, Malcolm
Peyton, Rt Hon John Townend, John (Bridlington)
Pink, R. Bonner Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Pollock, Alexander Trippier, David
Porter, Barry Trotter, Neville
Powell, Rt Hon J.E. (S Down) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Price, Sir David (Eastleigh) Viggers, Peter
Prior, Rt Hon James Waddington, David
Proctor, K. Harvey Wakeham, John
Pym, Rt Hon Francis Waldegrave, Hon William
Raison, Timothy Walker, B. (Perth)
Rathbone, Tim Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal) Wall, Patrick
Rees-Davies, W. R. Waller, Gary
Renton, Tim Walters, Dennis
Rhodes James, Robert Ward, John
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Warren, Kenneth
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Wells, John (Maidstone)
Rifkind, Malcolm Wells, Bowen
Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Wheeler, John
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Ross, Wm. (Londonderry) Whitney, Raymond
Rossi, Hugh Wickenden, Keith
Rost, Peter Wiggin, Jerry
Royle, Sir Anthony Williams, D. (Montgomery)
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Wolfson, Mark
Scott, Nicholas Young, Sir George (Acton)
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Tellers for the Noes:
Shelton, William (Streatham) Mr. Spencer le Marchant and Mr. Anthony Berry.
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 2, in page 2, line 23, leave out from 'Where' to `ceases' in line 26 and insert 'an order to which this subsection applies'.—[Mr. Luce.]

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

I understand that this amendment is being taken with Government amendment No. 3. The difference between the amendment and the text of the Bill appears partly to consist in the omission of the Adoption (Hague Convention) Act (Northern Ireland) 1969. May I be permitted to ask whatever happened to the Adoption (Hague Convention) Act (Northern Ireland) 1969? Perhaps we could be satisfied about that before making the amendments.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Richard Luce)

I appreciate the point. Clause 1(6), as it was originally introduced, referred to four Acts which contained a definition of a convention adoption order. One of them, the Adoption (Hague Convention) Act (Northern Ireland) 1969, is now omitted because it provided for orders which are specified orders within the terms of the other Acts referred to in the clause. I hope that that answers the question.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 3, in page 2, line 29, at end insert— `(7) Subsection (6) applies to—

  1. (a) any Convention adoption order within the meaning of the Adoption Act 1976, the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 or the Children Act 1975; and
  2. (b) any specified order within the meaning of the said Act of 1976, the said Act of 1978 or the Adoption Act 1968.'.—[Mr. Luce.]

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