§ 4.8 pm
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
I beg to move,That the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 555), which was laid before this House on 7th July 1988, be disapproved.This is a tawdry little measure, made all the more squalid by the circumstances of its introduction. Its effects on the life of the nation as a whole will be imperceptible, but the suffering and hardship that it will cause to a small number of families living in Britain will be immense. Its immediate origins go back over a year to the general election and a promise given by the Home Secretary to a Tory candidate in a marginal seat—a promise to be tougher on immigration and to impose tougher immigration restrictions.
We oppose the changes because of the hardship and suffering that they will cause and because they are part of the Government's political strategy on race and immigration. The Government believe that they gain electoral advantage by first depicting the ethnic minorities as a danger, and immigration as a threat, and then by claiming to be the only party that will face the danger and overcome that threat with suitably harsh policies.
This morning the Minister of State went on radio to refute the charge that the Government are intentionally increasing and exploiting fear about immigration. He did so first by announcing that, on the sub-continent of India, there are 1,000 million potential immigrants to this country. He used that figure twice. He then went on to refer to the risk of Britain being "flooded" by immigrants. Finally, he went on to warn about the perils of "mass immigration". To some of us the opinions of the National Front are not made any less odious by being expressed in the style of Bertie Wooster. It is instructive to measure the Minister's scaremongering against the proposals that we are debating.
Paragraph 3 of the "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules" prohibits the entry of second wives. That measure is geared specifically to the custom of a small group of Moslem men who are presently in this country lawfully. Each year, that provision will prevent 25 women from entering this country—25 women out of the 1,000 million potential immigrants with which the Minister of State tried to make our flesh creep this morning.
That provision will stem the "flood" at the rate of one immigrant a fortnight; it will reduce mass immigration by two a month. It is not, however, the provisions of paragraph 3, for all its pettiness, that are the most objectionable part of the statement. The Government will ask the House—I have no doubt that the most supine Back Benchers ever to support a Government will readily agree —to break a solemn promise given by a Conservative Home Secretary in 1971. In that year Mr. Maudling was explicit:I do not intend that the position of those already in this country, the rights of those already in this country to bring in their dependants, shall be changed. That is what we promised in the election."—[Official Report, 8 March 1971; Vol. 813, c. 47.]That right is now to be abolished and that promise is to be abandoned. The excuse for that action is that the promise was made to men only and that it referred to the right of men living in this country before 1973 to bring in, 419 without restriction, their wives and families. The excuse is that that promise was not made to women. As always with Tory immigration policy, when they claim that they are about to achieve equality, they achieve a sort of equality by increasing the problems for one group rather than reducing the difficulties of another. Men settled in this country before 1973 are now to be subject to the primary purpose rule. It is about that rule that I shall principally speak during the few minutes that I shall allow myself.
I believe that the fact of marriage should, in itself, be the sole qualification for entry into this country and that residence and settlement should be automatically allowed as long as the marriage proves to be a stable relationship. However, the primary purpose rule, as presently defined, is more objectionable than the refusal of that simple principle alone. It is deeply and additionally objectionable for three distinct reasons. First, it requires a husband or a wife to prove to an immigration officer's satisfaction that there is no other reason for the marriage than the marriage itself. That task of proving a negative and proving the reasons why they did not enter into the marriage—proving it to the subjective satisfaction of a junior official—is, in many circumstances, immensely difficult. For young men and young women, nervous in the face of bureaucracy, inexperienced in how to deal with officials and sometimes struggling with language difficulties, that task is often impossible. I have no doubt that the Home Office intends that it should be. I shall demonstrate that the primary purpose rule is not supposed to be a check on improper, arranged and inoperative—in the best sense of the word —marriages. It is meant to be a barrier to entry to this country in all circumstances.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I shall give way a couple of times, but preferably not too often because of the short length of this debate.
§ Ms. Short
I wonder whether my right hon. Friend remembers a press article that appeared some months ago. It stated that the Minister's officials had said that the rule is penalising genuine marriages and is allowing through only those who understand the complicated rule of giving the right answers. Those officials said that couples with genuine marriages had been prevented entry to the United Kingdom, and that the officials were recommending a change in the rules.
§ Mr. Hattersley
There are many problems with this subject and were there time I should like to consider them, but one of them is the nature of the questions that are sometimes asked. By any reasonable analysis, those questions are trick questions and they encourage people to give the wrong answers. I shall deal with the attitude of Ministry officials explicitly in a moment—their attitude is my third objection to the primary purpose rule.
My second objection, however, is the way in which that rule is presently applied. The Court of Appeal, in the judgment in Kumar, requires the Home Office and its officials to take into account the nature of the marriage after it was contracted when applying the primary purpose 420 rule—not just how that marriage came about, but how it turned out when the partners lived together in happiness and in a proper relationship.
The evidence of appeals to the Home Office adjudicators demonstrates, beyond doubt, that the Home Office is not following that judgment and instruction from the court. Too often the primary purpose rule is taken simply to mean the circumstances in which the marriage was contracted. As a result couples with genuine marriages, real partnerships, are kept apart for one year, two years or three years until the long, protracted period of appeal is concluded.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I am willing to give way to the hon. Gentleman who represents all of the opinion that I most detest on this subject. The hon. Gentleman prefers to mumble his opinions rather than to speak in the debate. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Marlow
I shall answer the right hon. Gentleman's challenge. My hon. Friends and I represent the opinions of the ordinary people of our country, which he most certainly does not.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I agree that people do not come more ordinary than the hon. Gentleman, but there is more to it than that. The third objection to the primary purpose rule is a crucial matter of principle.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I made it clear that I would give way twice. We have 86 minutes left to debate this matter and, in courtesy to the House, I do not propose to give way again.
My third objection to the primary purpose rule is the most important because it relates to an issue of principle. The primary purpose rule is now being used not to decide whether a marriage is genuine, but to hold down the numbers of immigrants coming to this country.
Six weeks ago, together with representatives of the Immigrant Widows Campaign, I discussed the primary purpose rule with the Home Secretary. The supervising under-secretary—a civil servant—was terrifyingly frank about the intention of the primary purpose rule. He said that it was intended to slow down the rate of entry. When I challenged that view and insisted that the only possible justification for such a rule was an attempt to detect and deter bogus marriages, the Home Secretary supported his official. I noted his words at that time, which were:The people out there would not understand if a lot more husbands came in.The truth is that the people out there are assumed by the Government to be as racially prejudiced as the average Conservative Back Bencher. Perhaps some of them are, but the rest—the decent majority—are now being encouraged to develop prejudices by the constant representation of the black and Asian British as a problem and a threat. That is why the measure removes the right of some men and women who have stayed longer than their visas allow to appeal against deportation even on compassionate grounds. The measure removes the right of British citizens——
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Tim Renton)
I think the right hon. Gentleman is about to leave the subject of primary purpose and I want to ask him a question about it before he moves on. He will remember that in the Second Reading debate on the Immigration Bill in November he specifically said that he thought the primary purpose rule should be replaced by a quota. Eight months have passed. Has he developed his thoughts on that matter? What would be an appropriate quota?
§ Mr. Hattersley
I have made my position clear today. It is, and will remain, that the fact of marriage should be the qualification for entering this country, as it is in others. Quotas do not arise. There should be a right. The Minister must understand that, in a free society, it is not a right if it exists only in law and we do not allow people to exercise it in practice. A man married to a British citizen should be allowed into this country. If the Minister wants to talk about quotas, what quotas does he propose for husbands entering this country from the EEC? There are no quotas for them. The Minister thinks of quotas only in the context of black or brown—or West Indian or Indian sub-continent—quotas. He knows perfectly well—he has encouraged me to develop this subject—that the way in which the primary purpose rule now operates is such that the French citizen living in Great Britain has the right to bring a husband or wife into this country, yet that right is not available to British citizens living here.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The situation I have described is absurd. The quota, the primary purpose rule, or the limitation is supposed to operate only against the husbands and wives of black and Asian British citizens —and no on else.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I keep saying no. I shall tell the hon. Gentleman again, if he wants me to.
The desire to represent the black and Asian British as a problem and a threat is the reason why the measure removes the right of British citizens to present themselves at Heathrow or Dover and request entry into their own country unless they provide immediately, and have on them at the time, proof positive of their nationality.
No one can honestly doubt how this will work. When a man arrives at Heathrow and claims to be a British citizen and is turned away, he will not be a white South African patrial; he will be a Moslem youth, born in Birmingham and taken as a child to Pakistan. The same will happen to a girl from Jamaica who was born here but went home to live for a period with her parents in Kingston. This is another proposal that explicitly and specifically operates against the black and Asian British. I heard the Minister on the radio this morning saying——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. This is a short debate. I heard the right hon. Gentleman say that he was not going to give way. If the hon. Gentleman is patient, perhaps he will be called.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I am attempting to observe your suggestion, Mr. Speaker, and it is up to other hon. Members to do the same.
422 The Minister says from time to time that these rules are non-discriminatory because they apply to every group in the community. Some rules which apply to every group in theory discriminate against one group in practice. Were the Minister to promise to penalise everyone called Khan or Hussain, he might try to argue that all Scotsmen called Khan and all Welshmen called Hussain would be similarly penalised, but it would be the Moslem British who suffered. That is how the rules work out: no matter how general they appear on paper, in practice the black and Asian British suffer. That is why we propose to vote against the statement.
I want to add a final footnote about this shabby little measure. It is clearly no coincidence that the Government announced yesterday their acceptance of DNA testing— so-called genetic fingerprinting. In the view of virtually every expert, the pilot study on that system was wholly unnecessary and, to most people's minds, was merely an excuse for delay. It has now been widely said—I hope the Minister will tell me whether it is true—that the evidence from the pilot study has been in his hands since at least last autumn.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Not so? Had the DNA test been applied from the moment when it was available it would have allowed into Britain families whose claims have been denied even though they have the right to be here——
§ Mr. Hattersley
The acceptance and implementation of the test have been held back until other barriers to immigration have been erected. The first barrier is the cost, which has risen from £50 a family to £60 a person. The second is today's abolition of the automatic rights of men who have lived here since 1973. That makes the Government's proposal all the more squalid and tawdry and it is why we shall vote against it with passion and enthusiasm.
§ Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)
I will not be taking interventions.
The proposals must be seen against a background of immigration policies over the last generation. It is a background of ever increasing availability of access to cheap international travel and of ever increasing awareness of the cornucopia of wealth that exists in the Western world for those of the Third world who can contrive to gain entry to it.
Devices and abuses are rampant. Conservative Members offer every support to the Government and to our hard-pressed immigration services in their efforts to thwart dishonest access to our society. Ours is a society which, in a negatation of democracy, has had its identity threatened in the past by a massive invasion of tribes and cultures which it neither willed nor supported. Our society's political defences were breached by the immediate enfranchisement of the invaders. It was undermined by the perverted idealism, empty racist cant —a more parliamentary word might be cynicism—and unprincipled vote-grubbing of the Opposition. I am pleased to see that the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) is in his place.
§ Mr. Marlow
I shall not give way.
Freedom of speech has been barred by the thought police of the race relations industry, an incubus on good race relations spawned by Socialists for their own ends and providing lucrative jobs for the boys and for the agitators with whom they have aligned themselves—
§ Mr. Winnick
My first point of order is this. This is a narrow debate on the immigration rules. I wonder whether what the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) is saying meets that criterion.
My second point of order is this. The hon. Gentleman has referred to invaders, which is a deeply offensive term to millions of people who live in our country——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member may not make those sorts of points. The debate is on the immigration rules and the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) must relate his speech to them. He has been speaking for only two minutes, and no doubt this has been his preamble.
§ Mr. Marlow
I intend to be brief and, for the benefit of the Opposition, to get through as quickly as possible.
As the rules are set out, all our citizens are rightly equal before the law. There should be no negative or positive discrimination. No one should use our society while belonging to another. Those who have gained access should be the most fervent in their commitment, if only to discharge their obligation for the privilege that they have gained. To coin a slogan, Asian citizens could well drive British cars.
I support the rules in so far as they go——
§ Mr. Marlow
I shall not give way, and the hon. Gentleman knows why.
I support the rules in so far as they go, but I wish that they went further. There is much talk—we have heard it today from the Opposition—about the reunification of families, a benign objective which I support. But if one family member has left his native land for Britain, we do not, as far as I know, prevent him from returning to the bosom of his family. However, we are rightly anxious about who should have access to our country—minimising those from a different cultural background.
Certain rights have been granted and they should be modified. If two parties to a marriage share a common language, not English, surely it is more appropriate, more humane and more enlightened for the happy couple to settle in the land of their common language. We need to introduce a system of language tests. I am sure that my constituents, and the majority of the constituents of Opposition Members, would support that.
Secondly, the illegal acquisition of abode in our country, although the motive may be flattering, is theft, and thieves are criminals. There is pressure for the introduction of a system of identity cards to support the fight against crime, and if that helps in the apprehension of those criminals, so much the better.
424 Immigration, for most categories of migrants, should be considered not a right but a privilege—a privilege to be earned, not casually dispensed; a privilege the allocation of which must be firmly supervised. That, as we all know, although some Opposition Members would deny it, is our democratic duty.
§ Mr. Keith Vaz (Leicester, East)
I will not comment on the speech of the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow). I was told before I came to the House that it had a number of ranters and ravers and we have just met the ultimate ranter and raver. He is a silly man and his speech, dangerous though it was, should be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Let me deal now with the rules and the Immigration Act 1988 which will take effect on 1 August. Yet again, the Government have come before the House with a proposal that is pernicious and attacks Britain's black and Asian community. Yet again, they have come before the House with a proposal that will divide families and split communities, and put the black community at odds with the police.
I served on the Standing Committee which considered the Immigration Bill for 62 hours along with other colleagues. All our reasonable and moderate amendments were rejected by the Minister. The completion of all the stages of that Bill was marked yesterday with a fiasco of a party held on the 7th floor of the Home Office—a party, incidentally, that cost only £20. One wonders whether one should go to such a party. However, the passing of the Act and the rules were not celebrated with a party in my constituency among the many people who come to my surgeries and those of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner) and others.
§ Mr. Vaz
I shall not give way.
No party took place in the queues abroad in places such as Karachi and Islamabad where people have been waiting for many months, and possibly years, for an interview. The rules and the Act are undemocratic and unjust. They break promises made by successive Governments, Labour and Conservative, since 1971, and they introduce fees that have never existed before for certain cases.
I want to draw the attention of the House to one particular change in the rules. Rule 169 initiates something called supervised departure. It gives wide, undefined powers to the Secretary of State. Certain circumstances are referred to, but it is not clear what they are. There is no time limit on the period before a person is removed from Britain. Those who are to be deported are in a better position than those who undergo supervised departure. Under immigration rules 170 and 171 a person who is liable to deportation has a right of appeal. That does not apply to someone who has to undergo supervised departure.
The rules and the Act must be seen in the context of the Government's legislation over the past few years, including pernicious legislation such as the introduction of visas. An absurd situation has been created whereby constituents of mine who have applied for a visa to come to Britain to visit relatives or to attend a wedding have been refused admission and have then become locked into an appeal procedure that takes several months, possibly 425 years, to complete. That means that by the time the appeal has been completed, even though it is successful, any wedding that w as to have been attended will already have taken place.
The rules and the Act must be looked at in the context of the proposals published last week by the Home Office on the registration of the rights of Members of Parliament to intervene in immigration cases. We must look at them in the context of the new fees that were introduced on 1 June this year. The previous charge was £50 per family; it is now £60 per applicant.
There is clearly a need for legislation. There is clearly a need for Government action on immigration policy. I urge the Minister to start by looking at the length of queues in many of the sub-continent posts. For example, in New Delhi a woman waiting for her fiance has to wait eight months for an interview. In Bombay, it is nine months, in Dacca seven months, in Karachi 11 months, and in Islamabad 19 months.
We also have the figures for other posts abroad. I understand from figures that have been published by the Foreign Office that an applicant in Athens has to wait less than a week, in Copenhagen less than three weeks, and in Paris less than a week.
§ Ms. Short
We should also put on record the fact that a new hidden queue is growing in Britain of families who have been interviewed abroad, who have already waited a year, or perhaps two if it is a second application, and then are kept waiting for more than a year for their sponsor to be interviewed here. The Government will not admit to that. They will not give the figures in reply to parliamentary questions. That is a hidden, secret queue which is making the waiting process longer and longer.
§ Mr. Vaz
My hon. Friend has much experience in these matters and that leads me on to my next point—the crisis that exists at Lunar house.
On 16 November when the Home Secretary introduced the Immigration Bill he talked about providing a better customer service. Throughout the Immigration Bill Standing Committee the Minister talked about customer service and good value for money as if he were a junior manager with Marks and Spencer. The report of that good customer service was made public on 18 April this year when the Select Committee on Home Affairs described the operation of Lunar house as a scandal. It said:We consider that the Home Office's failure to open and acknowledge promptly the 207,000 letters lying unopened or unacknowledged on 21 February 1988 to be scandalous and the overall aim of dealing with all applications for registration by December 1989 to be totally unacceptable.Sir Brian Cubbon, a permanent under secretary of state at the Home Office, described to that Committee the mistakes made by the Home Office. Since this is the first opportunity that the Minister has had to speak on that report,. I hope that he will apologise to the House for what has occurred.
If the Minister listens carefully he will hear the weeping of those in my constituency and elsewhere who have been waiting for friends and relatives to visit them. Mr. Dulkon, who lives at 93 Doncaster road, has been told that his family cannot visit him because there is no guarantee that they will go back—no matter that they have provided affidavits and other information. He will hear the weeping and the tears of people such as Mrs. Jogia of 148 Brandon street who has been waiting for nine years to be reunited 426 with her husband. He will hear the weeping and tears of children, husbands and wives who will be unable to enter the country.
The Government's immigration policy, as reflected in these rules and the Immigration Act 1988, is uncaring, uncompassionate and uncommitted to the family. They thrive on the misery, hardship and anxiety of black and Asian people. Even at this late stage, I urge the Minister to withdraw the rules. I warn him that if he does not he will never be forgiven.
§ Mr. Nicholas Budgen (Wolverhampton, South-West)
There used to be some sort of reluctant agreement between the two great parties about the need to have something in the nature of the primary purpose rule. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) has now moved away from that. He said that wherever there is a marriage it should give rise to the right to come into Britain. When he first put forward that argument he realised, for he is a wise and well-informed man, that that could give rise to a substantial increase in immigration. He covered himself by saying in a vague way that there would be some form of quota. He knew that it would be unpopular with his constituents if it were known that he was advocating a major increase in immigration.
There is no doubt that the primary purpose rule creates sadness and hardship at the margin. Any immigration control is bound to do that. Anything other than completely open ports, allowing the citizen of another country to join a fellow citizen, is bound to create some form of sadness. It is easy to say, pointing to one person or another, that that is harsh and that therefore the whole rule should be swept away. The House should realise that if Britain were to adopt the generosity being suggested by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, it would lead to a major increase in immigration. It would lead not only to an increase in primary immigration but would give rise to secondary immigration.
People coming into this country by reason of marriage would also have the consequential right to bring in their dependants. That is well understood. The right hon. Gentleman understands it because he covered himself by talking vaguely about quotas. Most of all, it would give rise to a major increase in immigration because of the system of arranged marriages. I am not arguing against arranged marriages. As one gets older and looks at the breakdown of so-called love marriages, one wonders whether there might not be a great deal to be said for arranged marriages. However, arranged marriages give rise to massive increases in immigration to Britain. As the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook knows, it would create a great deal of resentment, which would rub off on to the black and Asian community which is already lawfully in Britain. It cannot be in anybody's interests.
§ Mr. Christopher Gill (Ludlow)
Will my hon. Friend accept that there are many people living in my constituency, who previously lived in my hon. Friend's constituency, who already resent the fact that they are almost exiles in their own country because of the way in which the character of our towns and cities has been altered by successive Governments' policies on immigration over the past 40 years?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
Order. I remind the House that we are discussing the proposed changes in immigration rules and not immigration generally.
§ Mr. Budgen
Perhaps he is, but he is well aware of the views of many people in the black country.
A major increase in immigration would create tension. That is the limited point I am making and the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook——
§ Ms. Short
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that if we allow international travel, and we have the European free market and people travel around the world and meet each other, there will be more marriages across national boundaries? If the hon. Gentleman's argument is to hold up, that too will create a problem.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I remind the hon. Lady that we are discussing specific changes in immigration rules.
§ Ms. Short
We are talking about provisions for the control of marriage and immigration under the rules. The argument of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) is that if we do not control marriages from the Indian sub-continent there will be unending immigration. In order to get married, one has to have a partner here willing to marry someone from abroad. That practice is changing and young people who grow up here are looking increasingly for partners who also grew up here. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman's argument is deeply flawed. There is not an infinite potential. There are two partners to every marriage.
§ Mr. Budgen
The hon. Lady is talking about the contraction of what is fashionably called a love marriage. I am confining my remarks to the arranged marriage and arguing that, whatever its advantages—they may be substantial—it could give rise to a considerable increase in immigration.
I want to take up another point raised by the hon. Lady. The arranged marriage creates considerable tensions within Asian households in Britain. Many hon. Members have some experience of the Asian community in Britain and I am one of them. For the past 14 years I have spent half the time that I spend on constituency cases dealing with what are described as immigration problems. One of the most frequent features of those problems is the father who says, "I would like to arrange for young Mr. Somebody from Jallunder to come to this country. Will you please do that because I have arranged a marriage between that gentleman and my daughter?" The next week along comes the daughter and says, "I know that my Dad came to see you last week. Please do not allow that gentleman to come to Britain because"——
§ Mr. Budgen
I will give way when I have finished the sentence.
That daughter then goes on to say that she has been brought up in this country and that for better or worse she believes in the concept——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Will the hon. Gentleman help me by informing me to which of the proposed changes in the rules his speech relates?
§ Mr. Budgen
The primary purpose rule. I am trying to debate the point properly put forward by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. Second generation Asians do not wish to see unrestricted entry to Britain by reason of arranged marriages. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook believes that he is currying favour by suggesting a relaxation of this rule, but he may find that it is unpopular with a large section of the young Asian community.
I accept that any rule is bound to be seen at the margin as restrictive, unkind and even unfair. I suggest to the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and the House that, unless we have something approaching the primary purpose rule, we shall see a re-emergence not only of great tension within Asian households but of fears within the indigenous population. Sadly, the primary purpose rule is an essential tool of the control of immigration to Britain.
§ Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)
The immigration rules are supposedly a system of rules which enables cases to be examined on their merits. As time has gone by, a number of amendments have been made, as we can see in the preface to the statement of changes, which have meant that cases are considered much less on their merits than was originally intended and much more on the basis of political prejudice.
The extravagant exaggeration by the Minister on the radio this morning has done little to enable the public to consider the problems of immigrant families upon their merits and, indeed, has done a good deal to worsen the perception of the problems faced by families who wish to bring spouses and others into this country.
The Minister starts from the premise that there is an enormous desire for mass immigration to the United Kingdom, but there is no real evidence of a desire to enter the United Kingdom in huge numbers, except, possibly, the potential desire in the future of white people from South Africa to enter this country in large numbers. I shall be interested to see, if and when that happens, what will be the reaction of the Government, if they are in office then.
The Government claim to be the party of the family, at least from time to time, but, as described earlier by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), this measure, although modest, does no credit to the Government's attitude towards the family. Their attitude towards the family, in relation to immigration and particularly the primary purpose rule—we are here concerned with paragraph 1B of the statement of changes —is shown by the operation of the new DNA screening system. Of course, I welcome the Government's acceptance of the DNA screening system. I hope that they will not try to take over the system, but will leave its operation in the hands of the company which has skilfully developed it and which can offer the tests at the reasonable cost of about £115.
However, what I find incomprehensible about the Government's attitude to the DNA screening system is that they are not prepared to save money by paying for the tests. If one takes, on the one hand, the cost of the traditional, bureaucratic method of dealing with applications and, on the other hand, the one-off cost of £115 of 429 producing a sure result from DNA screening, it is quite clear, even at a glance, let alone with close examination, that the DNA screening system is much cheaper. The Minister should therefore go back, look at the system once again and come to the conclusion that, where people have eventually penetrated the long queues mentioned earlier and are able to undergo DNA tests, the Government should economise by paying for those tests.
§ Ms. Short
The hon. and learned Gentleman will know that it is possible to obtain legal aid to pay for the DNA test when someone has waited a long time, been through the complex and costly bureaucratic system that currently exists and has been refused by officials. Many hon. Members have come across cases that have then succeeded, which is an even more wasteful procedure. Public funds are going into DNA screening, but there are now double spending levels, which could be done away with if we administered the test immediately someone applied for it. That would save time and money for everyone concerned.
§ Mr. Carlile
The spending of which the hon. Lady spoke is probably at a quadruple or quintuple level because people have had to go to the extent of obtaining legal advice. The Government should adopt the system, not halfheartedly, but wholeheartedly.
I wish to make two other points about the statement of changes. The first relates to new paragraph 90 and new paragraph 150A. Those two new paragraphs specifically exclude rights of appeal. New paragraph 150A excludes as clearly as possible any appeal on the merits. If the Minister were listening, I would be asking him why, particularly in new paragraph 150A, the Government have decided specifically to exclude a right of appeal on the merits. The rules will lose their respect, not just among the legal community, but throughout the world, if they are seen to be the fist of Government rather than a system that ensures fair play.
The second matter that I wish to raise relates to new rule 56 in paragraph 5 of the statement of changes. Is the Minister satisfied that that rule will not prove unfair to legitimate political refugees in the United Kingdom? Those refugees will include people who may well have restructured their lives, for example, journalists from South Africa who have come to this country because they could no longer live with the political system there, but who in restructuring their lives and settling here have only been able to obtain employment abroad. Those people may well be disadvantaged because it may be difficult for them to return to this country for any length of time within a period of two years.
There is no evidence of the need for the changes and no justification for them. The Minister could have made far more constructive changes by, for example, paying for DNA screening for applicants. The statement of changes is merely the annual pandering to political prejudices in parts of his own party.
§ Sir Dudley Smith (Warwick and Leamington)
I shall be reasonably brief, but I should perhaps declare an interest because I represent about 7,000 members of the Sikh community in my area and have done so for quite a number of years. As the years go by, one becomes accustomed to dealing with their problems, and there have 430 been many problems. We cannot just listen to Opposition Members. It needs saying that the race relations system in this country is much better than it was and, certainly in my area, harmonisation has extended very much to the Sikh community, the vast majority of whom are now well integrated. Although there are always exceptions, many people are well satisfied with their situation.
I wish to make two important points in view of the comments of other hon. Members. My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr Budgen), in his excellent and accurate speech, spoke about the people who wish to enter this country. From the beginning of next month, people who want to bring a family or come here for marriage purposes will have to show that they have support and accommodation and that the marriage was not entered into primarily to evade the immigration procedures. As my hon. Friend rightly said, we have all encountered cases in which the girl has come along and said, "I don't want to be married under the arranged marriage system." I wish to take the matter a little further. I am sure that my hon. Friend and other hon. Members have encountered cases in which the people who originally said to us, "Will you arrange for that man to come in to marry my daughter?" have come back and said, "Will you get rid of that man because he married my daughter and came here primarily"——
§ Sir Dudley Smith
No, I shall not give way because Opposition Members have not given way to us. Hon. Members know that I normally give way, but this is a short debate.
Those people have come back and said that they have realised that the young men had come into this country primarily to evade the immigration rules, had paid scant regard to their daughters, gone off to another part of the country and totally abused the rules and regulations. I have had dozens of such cases, as I am sure have other hon. Members. That does no favour to the genuine cases, those people who want and are entitled to come here and wish to make a success of it. That needs to be understood by the House.
Secondly, those who overstay in future will not be able to plead compassionate reasons—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) and others may not like what I am about to say, but it is the truth. They should ask some of my constituents——
§ Sir Dudley Smith
No, I shall not give way. I shall be even less ready to give way if the hon. Lady continues to shout at me.
There have been instances where important com-passionate grounds have existed, but if we are honest and place our hands on our hearts, we know that many others have been bogus. Like many other hon. Members on both sides of the House, I have received applications that have been based on compassionate grounds. However, having examined the details and exercised my judgment, I have been sure that the grounds were bogus. It is right that new rules should be introduced in fairness to those who make genuine applications.
I am sure that my hon. Friend the Minister of State is aware, like many others, that, following the changes that were made to the rules a comparatively short time ago, 431 almost 99 per cent. of those who visit the United Kingdom for a holiday or other special reasons are now returning without any problem. That is an excellent record. It is one to be valued and the minority populations are to be commended. It is welcomed by the Sikh leaders in my constituency. We know now that those who visit the United Kingdom will be honest and arrange to return to their own country at the proper time. The more that we can ensure that that happens, the better.
The references of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) to "shabby" and "squalid" when describing the statement of changes do nothing to improve race relations. Instead, he foments bad relations. It seems that he wants to do so. We must work for a better understanding with sensible and reasonable guidelines. The right hon. Gentleman, who holds the important position of shadow Home Secretary, should realise that Britain is a small island in global terms. We have a large population and over the past 30 or 40 years we have been extremely generous in terms of the number of people that we have allowed in from the Commonwealth, especially the new Commonwealth. I am glad to say that the vast majority have settled extremely satisfactorily. These immigrants have done a good job and they have integrated. I am not prepared to allow the right hon. Gentleman to pretend that the Government are doing everything that they can to work against the interests of these people. However, enough is enough. We have been promised over many years that, having accepted such a large number of immigrants, immigration would tail off. It is beginning to do so.
§ Sir Dudley Smith
I shall not give way to my hon. Friend because I wish to be brief.
Immigration is beginning to tail off, and it should now begin fundamentally to come to an end. If it does, there will be far more hope that further efforts towards achieving the better integration of those who have come here will be successful and better appreciated by those who are here. I am talking of those who are reasonable and sensible, who do not try to politicise the situation. I welcome what my hon. Friend the Minister is trying to do. I think that he is on the right lines.
§ 5.4 pm
§ Mr. Paul Boateng (Brent, South)
The spectre raised by the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith) of all the grateful Sikhs doing obeisance to him because the Government have introduced the statement of changes is the most perverse and wild fantasy. It is nonsense to suggest that the Afro-Caribbean or Asian communities, or any people of good will, would welcome a measure of this nature. It is a sordid and squalid measure. Above all, its great evil is that it is socially divisive. It is the consequence of that division—the rules will create rifts in our society and exacerbate existing rifts —that the House should be mindful of when considering the statement of changes.
The clearest example of that danger was provided for us by the speech of the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow). The language that the hon. Gentleman used and the tone in which the speech was 432 delivered demonstrated the great evils of measures of this sort. I have some sympathy—I see some of my hon. Friends recoiling in horror at my use of the word "sympathy"—for the Minister of State and the position in which he finds himself.
§ Mr. Boateng
I knew that that would be the response.
I have some sympathy with the Minister for having to introduce a measure of this nature. He is sitting on a volcano in his party. It is a volcano of pus that every now and again is bound to erupt on the Government Benches. When it does, the only way in which someone in his position can survive is to introduce a measure of this sort. Whether he introduces it or not, the pus is still there and it creeps through. That pus was represented by the speech of the hon. Member for Northampton, North. How dare he describe black people in this country—Afro-Caribbean or Asian people—as invaders. Afro-Caribbeans and Asians are here specifically at the Government's invitation. They were invited to come here after the war to do the dirty work which many people in this country were not prepared to do. That is why Afro-Caribbean and Asian people are in this country. Having come here, done that work and made a valuable contribution, they are required to respond to rules and regulations that are socially divisive and damaging.
§ Mr. Janman
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the invaders to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) refers—he correctly referred to an invasion—are indeed invaders because the British people have never given any British Government a mandate to allow the invasion to happen?
§ Mr. Boateng
That is an argument that the hon. Gentleman should put to the predecessor of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen). It was Enoch Powell who issued an invitation to women like my mother-in-law from Barbados, and others from elsewhere from the Commonwealth, to work in Britain in the National Health Service. It is an argument that the hon. Gentleman should address to his right hon. and hon. Friends instead of throwing it in the face of Opposition Members.
We then heard talk about people being made aliens in their own land. I have news for the House. The Afro-Caribbean and Asian people who will be affected by the rules and regulations say, "This is our land. We intend to stay here come what may." The Government can put all the rules and regulations on the statute book that they want. They can introduce measures of greater and greater oppression. I believe that the majority of people in this Britain, in this country of ours, black or white, are opposed to measures of the sort that we are now discussing. They know what the social consequences will be. The Minister of State must be aware of the consequences.
§ Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Ealing, Southall)
In the mid-1950s, when there was full employment, there was active recruitment of labour from the Indian sub-continent. Many doctors came here to work in the National Health Service. Indeed, Governments had to put a bar on their coming here. There was active recruitment of medical staff in the Caribbean. A most active member of the Government during that period——
§ Mr. Boateng
My hon. Friend has considerable experience of these matters and his analysis is right.
When we examine the rules against the backcloth of the history to which my hon. Friend has referred, we find measures that, by any rational analysis, are completely unsupportable. It cannot be right to deny people the right of appeal. It cannot be right to require people to go through the sort of hoops that the primary purpose rule imposes on them. It cannot be right to construct an edifice that causes delay, obstruction and administrative chaos, to which the rules and regulations before us will add. The rules and regulations are unfair and they will prove to be unworkable. It does our country and the House no credit that they are being discussed in this way.
We must reflect on the impact that the rules and regulations will have on the reputation and on the perception of our country as being a place where equity counts for something, where it is considered right to be just and to give people access to the courts and review of decisions that affect people's future, their liberty and their quality of life.
What is so sad and sickening about these measures is that, even when the Government recognise the need to make changes, and acknowledge, as they did yesterday in relation to DNA tests, the benefits that changes can bring, still there is a nasty piece of meanness lurking in the background. It is that meanness in terms of who is to pay, and in terms of where the burden will be felt, that suggests to me that the House should rise up and express a degree of protest.
§ Mr. Janner
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is another kind of meanness, which is vicious, and not far removed from the proposed changes to the rules? It is that people who have been excluded in the past but who would have been admitted had the DNA rules applied and who were wrongly kept out and not allowed to join their parents because the Government had got it wrong will not now be permitted to enter the country, even though the DNA rules have been accepted? That is partly due to the changes that the Government propose making.
§ Mr. Boateng
If that is so, that will be of grave concern to hon. Members on both sides of the House who are concerned about fairness. It is for the Minister to answer specifically my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner), who has raised an alarming possibility. I am grateful to him for pointing out that danger.
In addition to the burdens imposed by the new rules and regulations, there will be another imposition in the form of the requirement that people should pay for the oppressive rules to which they are subject. Not only has the application fee been increased from £50 to £60 but each and every member of a family will have to pay that amount. It does not take much of a sympathetic imagination to anticipate the impact of that financial imposition on a family on the sub-continent. They will already have scrimped and saved to accrue £50, and then £60, and now find that for a normal family application they will have to pay £300. It does not take much of an imagination to grasp what that will mean. How can it be 434 justified? Will the Minister justify to the House that degree of meanness? If so, we await his justification, but we have not heard it so far.
What is left behind is the suspicion that these measures are not about revenue or meeting genuine administrative costs, but about ensuring that there is yet another obstacle in the way of families wishing to come together. That, from a party claiming to be the party of the family. We ask the question: what family? Is it only white families that the Government care about? Do they not care about Asian and Afro-Caribbean families? Do they not care about people who just happen to have a different colour skin?
Those are profound moral questions. We have listened to the debate and have not found any answers. It must be appreciated that there are many millions of people outside this Chamber, in the wider world and in this country, who care that we should make the right decision. In this instance, the right decision is to throw out these rules and regulations. They are not worthy of the House, and they are not worthy of our country.
§ Mr. Nicholas Baker (Dorset, North)
The reason why I welcome these rules is that they are part of the containment of mass immigration that I see as threatening our society. The hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) said very forcibly—because he obviously strongly believes this—that this country does belong to members of the Afro-Caribbean community who have come here to live permanently. Of course he is right. It is because he is right that I also believe it is necessary to maintain strong control over immigration at the borders. If the hon. Member for Brent, South does not share that belief, I find it difficult to understand how he can have had any experience of inner cities. I view these rules as a continuation of the process of containment.
Because of the way in which we have mishandled immigration policies in the past, the damage done by mass immigration still poses a threat to the cohesion of our society. We face a number of social and racial problems. Earlier in the debate it was said that some immigrant communities are regarded as problematical. That is rubbish. It is sometimes in the host communities that problems are created. It does not matter in which section of the community the problems lie; they result from major changes to our country's racial content and from mass immigration.
Another reason for containing mass immigration relates to the population. The first experience of my hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith) in inner cities was in Peckham, as was mine. He referred briefly to the over-populated nature of this country. If Opposition Members cannot see that many of the problems our country has today derive from heavily concentrated populations and sheer numbers of people —of whatever kind or race—they are blind to reality.
The burden of the problems we are now debating has fallen overwhelmingly on those living in inner cities. The fact that those problems are concentrated among a particular group of people ought to make us more concerned to limit massive immigration rather than pretend that it is not a threat.
§ Mr. Janman
My hon. Friend spoke about containment, but we appear to be closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Is he aware that one in three children 435 born in Greater London is of ethnic extraction? The national ethnic research group estimates that the country's ethnic population now totals 4.2 million, which is nearly 8 per cent. of the population and twice the Home Office figure.
§ Mr. Baker
My hon. Friend makes his point extremely well. In the past, we have allowed totally unplanned mass immigration, which has produced problems that have not been properly assessed. As a society, we have also failed to provide for the reception and care of immigrants who have come into our communities, and the problems have been exacerbated as a result.
I welcome the proposed changes. It is important to close the loophole. I support the ending of discrimination between male and female spouses. Unless I misheard him, I understood the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) to attack that provision dealing with polygamous marriages. I was interested to hear one raunchy—if one may so describe him in acceptable parliamentary language—African bishop suggesting this week to the Church of England's General Synod that it ought to support and allow polygamy within the Church of England. However, I do not believe that that is acceptable to the Church of England or to British society. I support the rules as a necessary continuation of the containment of mass immigration.
§ Mr. Pat Wall (Bradford, North)
I begin by congratulating the Minister of State. Any Minister who has managed to survive the absolute chaos at Lunar house in relation to British nationality applications, and the equal chaos surrounding the Passport Office, must have done very well to survive also the Prime Minister's midsummer roundabout. The Minister must have some special talents that he has still to exhibit.
Unlike Conservative Members, I shall deal specifically with the rules. I refer, as did my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner), to one rule in particular, and ask the Minister for an explanation. I refer to paragraphs 9 and 11 of HC 555, dealing with deportation. One of the matters that struck my hon. Friends during the Second Reading and Committee stage of the Bill was the whittling away of people's deportation rights. This rule is being introduced against the background of the threatened deportation of Tamils, including Virag Mendis, back to a country where there is absolute chaos, widespread killing, destruction, torture, kidnapping and disappearances.
The rule suggests that in certain circumstances—and I ask the Minister to define them—people can be given a supervised departure. I think that we are entitled to know what that means. After they have been "departed" it seems that those people can be excluded from re-entry, although they may wish to return as students, business people or members of any other legitimate category, for an unspecified period. Perhaps it is my suspicious nature, but I have a feeling that the rule is aimed at political people. It is intended to ensure that those who may have political beliefs that are embarrassing to the Government are excluded. I should like a full explanation of this 436 mumbo-jumbo, because I do not think that many people know what these terms mean or in what cases they will apply.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) was absolutely right to deal with the primary purpose issue. Conservative Members like to talk about numbers: they like to quantify. Some are particulary happy when they can talk in terms of hordes. The principle of the primary purpose rule, irrespective of the numbers involved, is entirely unfair, unreasonable, impractical and arbitrary. Under this rule, someone who can prove that he or she does not want to come to Britain in any circumstances and has just been married will be allowed in. That is nonsensical and entirely subjective.
Along, no doubt, with far more experienced hon. Members, I advise constituents after examining their cases that they have little chance, and they then sail through. Similarly, when I tell them that I can see no objection, they are rejected. Even someone with the most genuine marriage who will have no problems relating to accommodation or other needs is threatened by the rule. As there is already a rule that the marriage must show itself to be genuine, there is absolutely no reason for the primary purpose rule. The Minister should have altered it, or withdrawn it entirely.
Like many hon. Members, I am very suspicious of a system that makes people wait for one, two or three years on the Indian sub-continent—after which their case is referred back here—then wait another year or 18 months for an appointment and a further eight months for the result of the interview. The system has deliberately been made cruel and difficult. Young people in their 20s, men and women, come to our surgeries and say, "I am married to someone whom I have known for years, and the marriage is one of genuine affection." When we know the decent, nice families involved and witness their worry and heartbreak we realise what such delays mean in human terms.
I wanted to ignore some of the bigots on the Conservative Benches, but I must take up one remark. It was asked, "Why do they not go back if we will not let their husbands in?". What would that hon. Member think if he were a Bradford girl of 20 or 22 who had lived here since she was two or three—[HON. MEMBERS: "Born here."]—who has lived only in Britain and knows only the British way of life, and who has a child who goes to a British school and knows only British education? How can Conservative Members suggest that she should go back to a village in Bangladesh, sit on the floor and collect fuel and water every day? What arrogant, cruel, rotten nonsense that is.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Tim Renton)
I thank my hon. Friends for their support for the rule changes during the past hour and a half. Let me say at once what a contrast their remarks have provided, even in such a short debate, to the barren speeches of Opposition Members, full of hatred and lacking in any positive suggestions.
§ Mr. Renton
No. I have only a few minutes.
Even by his standards, the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz) was stupendously silly about the small 437 party given last night by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. He and his fellow party poopers—the hon. Members for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden), for Bradford, North (Mr. Wall) and for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms. Abbott), I understand—instead of attending the small party, paraded outside the Home Office and formed a picket. Doubtless the picket carried placards saying, "Reshuffle Renton".
It caused great surprise to civil servants attending the party to have microphones thrust into their faces and to be asked their views. It is a normal courtesy for a senior Minister on such an occasion to give a small party to thank the civil servants for the work that they have done. No doubt the cost of answering the question posed by the hon. Member for Bradford, West about the party was a good deal more than the cost of the party.
As it has been difficult sometimes to remember what we are debating this afternoon, the subject is the rule changes that followed from the Immigration Act 1988, which we debated at length in Committee earlier in the Session. The rule changes effectively implement the Act and accompany the separate order made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, which brings sections 1 to 5 of the Act into force. Taking those parts of the Act that came into force, automatically on 10 July and those now being brought into force the result is that from 1 August the whole Act will have been implemented, with the exception of section 7(1) and paragraph 1 of the schedule.
The implementation of section 7(1), which concerns European Community nationals exercising their rights under the treaty of Rome, will take place as soon as we are able to bring forward an Order in Council under the European Communities Act 1972 to replace the relevant parts of the immigration rules. The preparation of the order is a complex matter. It will take some months yet. Rather than implementing the rest of the Act, we decided to bring most of it into force now and to change the rules at this stage. We shall complete the process when the Order in Council is ready. Our aim is, if at all possible, to take the opportunity of the further changes to the immigration rules, which will then be necessary, to consolidate the rules into one document. A strong wish was expressed for that in Committee, and I think that it will be welcomed by all.
With only one exception, the statement of changes contains nothing that is not entirely consequential on the provisions of the Immigration Act 1988. That exception relates to the definition of public funds contained in the rules. It is necessary to update the definition to take account of the changes to the social security system brought about by the implementation of the Social Security Act 1986. The revised definition involves changes in nomenclature only; no changes of substance are involved.
§ Mr. Renton
No, I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman.
The question of primary purpose occupied a great part of the remarks of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) rightly pointed out that a large increase in immigration numbers was likely should we have no clause to make certain that marriage was not used simply as a means of obtaining settlement in this country when it would not 438 otherwise be available. I remind the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook that it was the Labour Government who in 1977 produced the first test of this sort to control marriages of convenience. It was never said in 1971 that section 1(5) would remain in force in perpetuity. The intention was to offer reassurance to those men of working age who were already here at that time that they could bring their existing wives and children to join them here, but it has proved to have much wider effects than that, which are both discriminatory and damaging to effective immigration control.
Those who assumed at the time that the 1971 Act was passed that they would be protected by section 1(5) have now had over 15 years in which to bring their families here. After such a period, it is surely wholly reasonable to draw the line and to say that from now on everybody who wishes to bring a spouse or a child to settle here should be on the same footing.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Will the Minister make a definitive statement on the primary purpose rule? Is it the intention to distinguish between genuine and bogus marriages, or is it the intention to limit the numbers coming to this country?
§ Mr. Renton
I shall return shortly to the right hon. Gentleman's demand for a quota. We shall have to explore it because it is the only new Labour party policy on immigration that we have heard of for many months.
§ Mr. Renton
No, I shall not give way. There is very little time left.
I should have thought that the Government's publication of the detailed report on DNA testing, in answer to a question from the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner), would have been welcomed, but instead the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook cast doubt on it.
The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) asked about the cost. That is not an easy question to answer. We are talking not about £115, plus VAT, for one sample but about a cost of between £400 and £500 for a family. Our firm view is that that cost should not be borne by the taxpayer. We accept the principles that underlie the DNA test, but we shall have to work out with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office how the queues of applicants for the DNA tests are to be managed and how the cost is to be most fairly borne, bearing in mind that it is not to be borne by the taxpayer.
The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery also asked about paragraph 150A. That paragraph goes no further than section 5 of the Act, which was the subject of very full debate earlier this Session. The present appeals system has, in our view, been abused by many people who have sought to extend their stay here by arguing at their appeal against deportation factors that should not be allowed to outweigh the fact that they have overstayed or have broken the conditions of their stay. That is why we are making these amendments.
I agree with the hon. Members for Leicester, East and for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) that the past year has put great pressure on the immigration and nationality department. We have simplified the rules. About 20 per cent. of the cases handled by the immigration and 439 nationality department will be dealt with automatically. We have introduced the new Immigration Act and today we are introducing further immigration rule changes.
I take this opportunity to thank the staff at Lunar house for all that they have done to help in this difficult year, but at every stage the Opposition have taken the opportunity to vote against what we are doing. It is only fair to ask about their motives.
What is the motive of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook? In his remarks this afternoon and in the speech that he made in Manchester last night he returned to accusations of racism. Is it because he feels that it is necessary to prove his credentials in the election campaign that is taking place inside the Labour party? Does he wish to prove his credentials as someone who is willing to shout "Racist" from the rooftops against every attempt by this Government to improve the fair but firm operation of the immigration controls? [Interruption.] The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook giggles, but if that is his motive I regard it as pitiful.
In the New Statesman of 15 July the black section of the Labour party——
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I do not think that the black section of the Labour party has anything to do with the changes to the immigration laws.
§ Mr. Renton
With respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the quotation is relevant. Perhaps you will allow me to refer to it. The black section accuses the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook in particular of being its worst enemy and the beneficiary of godfather politics. Is it for that reason that we have seen this sudden increase in the extreme remarks of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook? Our motives in introducing the legislative changes of recent months have been entirely honourable. [Interruption.] If the right hon. Gentleman is making a rude gesture to me, I have to inform him that that is not appropriate behaviour in this House.
§ Mr. Renton
Our motives are that we should have a quicker system that is conscious of everybody's rights, that will be able to interview fiancées and spouses more quickly in this country and that will help us to act more speedily to decide the claims of applicants for refugee status and ensure that those who have a genuine and well-founded fear of persecution in their own country are provided with a safe haven here without having to wait agonising years for a decision. Those are the reasons behind the changes that we have introduced.
The Labour party's motives are suspect. It tries to face two ways at once on this issue. For that reason it ends up by voting even against the simplest measures to improve the operation of the immigration controls in this country. Our motives, on the other hand, are straightforward and honourable. It is to make the immigration rules operate fairly and more effectively and speedily that I recommend the rules changes to the House.
§ Mr. Hattersley
You will recall, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the Minister of State promised to say something about the figures. He has intentionally failed to do so. That leads 440 me to the conclusion that all reasonable people will hold that his only concern is to limit the number of black and Asian people coming to this country. It is a deplorable policy and we shall vote against it.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 205, Noes 259.443
|Division No. 447]||[5.38 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Galbraith, Sam|
|Allen, Graham||Galloway, George|
|Anderson, Donald||Garrett, John (Norwich South)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)|
|Armstrong, Hilary||George, Bruce|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John|
|Ashton, Joe||Godman, Dr Norman A.|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Gould, Bryan|
|Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)||Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)|
|Barron, Kevin||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Battle, John||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Beckett, Margaret||Hardy, Peter|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Harman, Ms Harriet|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Blair, Tony||Haynes, Frank|
|Boateng, Paul||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Boyes, Roland||Hinchliffe, David|
|Bradley, Keith||Hogg, N.(C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)||Holland, Stuart|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)||Home Robertson, John|
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)||Hood, Jimmy|
|Buckley, George J.||Howell, Rt Hon D.(S'heath)|
|Caborn, Richard||Hoyle, Doug|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||Hughes, John (Coventry NE)|
|Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Hughes, Roy (Newport E)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Hughes, Simon (Southwark)|
|Cartwright, John||Illsley, Eric|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Janner, Greville|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||John, Brynmor|
|Clay, Bob||Johnston, Sir Russell|
|Clelland, David||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Cohen, Harry||Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)|
|Coleman, Donald||Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Cousins, Jim||Kennedy, Charles|
|Cox, Tom||Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil|
|Crowther, Stan||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Cryer, Bob||Lambie, David|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Lamond, James|
|Cunningham, Dr John||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Darling, Alistair||Leighton, Ron|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Lestor, Joan (Eccles)|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Lewis, Terry|
|Dewar, Donald||Litherland, Robert|
|Dixon, Don||Livsey, Richard|
|Dobson, Frank||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Doran, Frank||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Loyden, Eddie|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth||McAllion, John|
|Eadie, Alexander||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Eastham, Ken||Macdonald, Calum A.|
|Evans, John (St Helens N)||McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)|
|Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)||McKelvey, William|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)||McLeish, Henry|
|Fatchett, Derek||McNamara, Kevin|
|Faulds, Andrew||McTaggart, Bob|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||McWilliam, John|
|Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)||Madden, Max|
|Fisher, Mark||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Flannery, Martin||Mallon, Seamus|
|Flynn, Paul||Marek, Dr John|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Foster, Derek||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Foulkes, George||Martin, Michael J.(Springburn)|
|Fraser, John||Martlew, Eric|
|Fyfe, Maria||Meacher, Michael|
|Meale, Alan||Salmond, Alex|
|Michael, Alun||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)||Sheerman, Barry|
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Millan, Rt Hon Bruce||Short, Clare|
|Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Morgan, Rhodri||Smith, C.(Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Morley, Elliott||Smith, Rt Hon J.(Monk'ds E)|
|Morris, Rt Hon A.(W'shawe)||Soley, Clive|
|Mowlam, Marjorie||Spearing, Nigel|
|Mullin, Chris||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Murphy, Paul||Steinberg, Gerry|
|Nellist, Dave||Strang, Gavin|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Straw, Jack|
|O'Brien, William||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Owen, Rt Hon Dr David||Vaz, Keith|
|Parry, Robert||Wall, Pat|
|Patchett, Terry||Wallace, James|
|Pendry, Tom||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Pike, Peter L.||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Powell, Ray (Ogmore)||Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)|
|Prescott, John||Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)|
|Quin, Ms Joyce||Williams, Rt Hon Alan|
|Radice, Giles||Williams, Alan W.(Carm'then)|
|Randall, Stuart||Winnick, David|
|Redmond, Martin||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn||Worthington, Tony|
|Roberts, Allan (Bootle)||Wray, Jimmy|
|Robinson, Geoffrey||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Rooker, Jeff||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)||Mr. Frank Cook and Mr. Adam Ingram.|
|Adley, Robert||Butler, Chris|
|Alexander, Richard||Butterfill, John|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Carlisle, John, (Luton N)|
|Amess, David||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Amos, Alan||Carrington, Matthew|
|Arbuthnot, James||Cash, William|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Chapman, Sydney|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Clark, Sir W.(Croydon S)|
|Ashby, David||Clarke, Rt Hon K.(Rushcliffe)|
|Atkins, Robert||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)|
|Atkinson, David||Coombs, Simon (Swindon)|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Couchman, James|
|Baldry, Tony||Curry, David|
|Batiste, Spencer||Davies, Q.(Stamf'd & Spald'g)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Devlin, Tim|
|Bendall, Vivian||Dickens, Geoffrey|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Dicks, Terry|
|Benyon, W.||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Dover, Den|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Durant, Tony|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Dykes, Hugh|
|Body, Sir Richard||Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Fallon, Michael|
|Boswell, Tim||Favell, Tony|
|Bottomley, Peter||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Fishburn, Dudley|
|Bowis, John||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Forman, Nigel|
|Brazier, Julian||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Bright, Graham||Fox, Sir Marcus|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||French, Douglas|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Gardiner, George|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Gill, Christopher|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Burns, Simon||Gorman, Mrs Teresa|
|Burt, Alistair||Gow, Ian|
|Butcher, John||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)||Mitchell, David (Hants NW)|
|Gregory, Conal||Moate, Roger|
|Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Morris, M (N'hampton S)|
|Ground, Patrick||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Grylls, Michael||Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn||Moss, Malcolm|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Mudd, David|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Neale, Gerrard|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Neubert, Michael|
|Hannam, John||Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Hargreaves, A.(B'ham H'll Gr')||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Harris, David||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Hawkins, Christopher||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Hayes, Jerry||Page, Richard|
|Hayward, Robert||Paice, James|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Patnick, Irvine|
|Heddle, John||Patten, Chris (Bath)|
|Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)||Patten, John (Oxford W)|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Pawsey, James|
|Hill, James||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Hind, Kenneth||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Holt, Richard||Price, Sir David|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Rathbone, Tim|
|Howard, Michael||Redwood, John|
|Howarth, G.(Cannock & B'wd)||Renton, Tim|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)||Riddick, Graham|
|Hughes, Robert G.(Harrow W)||Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Ridsdale, Sir Julian|
|Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Hunter, Andrew||Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)|
|Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas||Rost, Peter|
|Irvine, Michael||Ryder, Richard|
|Irving, Charles||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|Jack, Michael||Sainsbury, Hon Tim|
|Jackson, Robert||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Janman, Tim||Scott, Nicholas|
|Jessel, Toby||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Key, Robert||Shephard, Mrs G.(Norfolk SW)|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Knapman, Roger||Shersby, Michael|
|Knight, Greg (Derby North)||Sims, Roger|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Knowles, Michael||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Knox, David||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Lamont, Rt Hon Norman||Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)|
|Latham, Michael||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Squire, Robin|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)||Stanley, Rt Hon John|
|Lilley, Peter||Stern, Michael|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Stevens, Lewis|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Lord, Michael||Stokes, Sir John|
|Luce, Rt Hon Richard||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|McCrindle, Robert||Summerson, Hugo|
|Macfarlane, Sir Neil||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|McNair-Wilson, P.(New Forest)||Thompson, D.(Calder Valley)|
|Malins, Humfrey||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Mans, Keith||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Maples, John||Thurnham, Peter|
|Marlow, Tony||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Marshall, John (Hendon S)||Townsend, Cyril D.(B'heath)|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Tracey, Richard|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Tredinnick, David|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Trippier, David|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Viggers, Peter|
|Miller, Sir Hal||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Mills, Iain||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Walden, George||Wilshire, David|
|Waller, Gary||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Ward, John||Wolfson, Mark|
|Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)||Wood, Timothy|
|Watts, John||Yeo, Tim|
|Wheeler, John||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Whitney, Ray||Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. David Maclean.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.