HC Deb 20 June 1989 vol 155 cc286-309
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wish to raise what I regard as a most serious matter. A document prepared by the head of the immigration and nationality department of the Home Office has been leaked. By arranging an early morning debate on DNA and immigration rule changes, the Government are, according to the leaked Home Office report, seeking to avoid two separate rows about immigration issues in quick succession". Although in his statement last Wednesday the Home Secretary implied that no decision had been taken about the funding of a centrally organised DNA scheme, the document also makes it clear that the Government have made a decision about how they intend to fund a centrally organised DNA scheme. They will do so by a flat-rate increase across all the entry clearance applications. The document also makes it clear that the Government do not intend to allow the House of Commons—[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

Order. The hon. Gentleman is raising a point of order and I must respond to it. I hope that the House will understand that, but I also hope that the hon. Gentleman will understand that a point of order has to be addressed to the Chair, to be within the Chair's responsibility and to be something that the Chair can answer. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will come to his point of order immediately.

Mr. Madden

I am sure that, as the guardian of Back Benchers' rights, Madam Deputy Speaker, you will be concerned that senior Government officials have been advising the Home Secretary and other Ministers, with the knowledge of the Leader of the House and the Prime Minister, that this House should be denied the opportunity of discussing either the principle or the detail of how entry clearance fees are to be increased to pay for a centrally organised DNA scheme.

Lastly, the document also makes it clear that a controversial DNA announcement with the immigration—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. What has this to do with the Chair? [Interruption.] Order. The hon. Gentleman is making a point which should be made in the debate, the time of which he is now usurping. If he is wise, he may catch my eye. I suggest that he raises his points during the debate.

Mr. Madden

Further to the point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The document makes it clear that the Government's intention in combining a debate on DNA with the immigration rule change is to divert attention from the fact that the Government have no new provisions or promises to make to the people of Hong Kong.

In conclusion—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The Chair must, of course, be open and ready to listen to points of order, and I am tolerant. However, the hon. Gentleman is now abusing the Chair and this House. I ask him to come immediately to his point of order, which must be a matter for the Chair, and something that I can answer.

Mr. Madden

Indeed. I therefore ask that you, Madam Deputy Speaker, urgently allow the Patronage Secretary, who is in his place, to make it clear that, in view of the revelations made in this document, the Government will do what they should have done in the first place, which is to make a statement about the DNA testing scheme and provide a debate at an earlier hour than this to enable the House to debate the scheme. The Government should abandon this debate on immigration changes and provide another debate, but at an earlier hour.

That is my request and in the interests of democracy, of Back Benchers and of the general public, having been found out, the Government should now—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. These are matters which must be raised in debate.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker

Is it a fresh point of order? I have already dealt with the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden).

Mr. Dalyell

It is a fresh point of order. It concerns the abuse of the House of Commons. My hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) showed me the document, which is signed by a senior civil servant. The point of order for you, Madam Deputy Speaker, is this. Is it right that a senior civil servant, in this case Mr. Stadlen, should produce documents that go into detail about how the House of Commons should be handled? No one quarrels with him producing documents about the substance of the issue, but surely the handling of the House of Commons is not a matter for senior civil servants. It is a matter for the Chair.

In these circumstances, may I make a suggestion, Madam Deputy Speaker? The hour is late. These documents are a disgrace. I suggest that you ask that the document be put before Mr. Speaker and that Mr. Speaker make a ruling at 3.30 pm tomorrow on the propriety towards the House of Commons of this kind of document being produced by a senior civil servant. Some of us think that it is entirely improper.

Madam Deputy Speaker

These are matters that should be properly raised in debate. I can assure the hon. Member that Mr. Speaker will certainly read the points of order in the Official Report.

12.20 am
Mr. Alistair Darling (Edinburgh, Central)

I beg to move, That the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (House of Commons Paper No. 388), which was laid before this House on 14th June, be disapproved. The rules are a reflection of the Government's attitude towards a large number of citizens in this country. They further restrict the ability of people from selected countries to enter the United Kingdom. Sex discrimination persists in the case of female students. No changes are proposed that would facilitate family reunion. Double standards and double-talk are applied throughout the rules and the explanatory memorandum issued by the Home Office. Indeed, the whole thing is summed up by the ridiculous hour at which the House is being invited to discuss this crucial matter—in the early hours of the morning.

The mind of the Government is revealed in the internal memorandum that has already been referred to by my hon. Friends. That memorandum, which has been made available to us, should also have been published alongside the Home Office rules, because it makes it clear what the Government are really about. The rules and the explanatory memorandum are in many ways grossly misleading. I shall refer to the internal memorandum, because it makes clear a number of points of which the House and the public should be aware.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Tim Renton)

May I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he withdraws his remark about the ridiculous hour? These new immigration rules were laid last week. They were prayed against by the Opposition, as is the Opposition's right. The debate could have taken place any time within the next 40 days but was purposely arranged, at the request of the Opposition, at an early time so that it could take place before the imposition of visas on Turkey this coming Friday. That is why the debate is taking place today.

Mr. Darling

With respect, I took the opportunity of consulting the Opposition Whips to find out exactly what happened. I would not have made my remarks without first checking the position. It is not the case that the Opposition said that they would accept a debate at this ridiculous hour of the morning. I understand that it was put to the Opposition Whips that we might use Opposition time, but this is Government business and ought to be discussed in Government time. Indeed, the memorandum that has been referred to makes it clear that the Government were keen that there should be a debate earlier than the imposition of visas on Turkey simply to deflect the otherwise understandable opposition if there had been no debate.

Mr. Renton


Mr. Darling

I will give way once more on the point, but I do not think that the House wishes to be detained on this argument when the substance of the rules is far more important.

Mr. Renton

Will the hon. Gentleman please accept that we were willing to have the debate yesterday at a reasonable hour? It was at the insistence of the Opposition that it is taking place at an unreasonable hour tonight. Why is it this week rather than next week or the week after? It is because the Opposition wanted to have the debate before the imposition of visas on Turkey this Friday.

Mr. Darling

The Minister should know that the Government regulate the business timetable. If the Government had wanted to discuss Government business yesterday, they could have done so. It is disgraceful that they did not want to do so.

The internal Home Office memorandum makes clear what is in the Government's mind. When it refers to the merits of the immigration rules, it refers also to problems facing the Government about an announcement on the future arrangements for citizens within Hong Kong. It talks about the timing of the announcement of the immigration rules. The postponement of tonight's debate was discussed within the Home Office team. The document states: postponement would arouse expectations which we cannot at this stage be sure of meeting, leading to possible presentational problems later on. Proceeding with the rules now, by contrast, enables us to say that they have been in the pipe line for some time and are being introduced without prejudice. It observes—how accurate this is—that new rules and a potentially controversial DNA announcement, are quite a handful without the Hong Kong dimension." It is no wonder that the Government are trying to roll into the one debate the question of DNA and immigration rules. The document continues: The Home Secretary will wish to consider how far he should volunteer to break surface more publicly on Hong Kong: should it be mentioned in the arranged Rules PQ, the Press Notice and the letter to Mr. Darling? It was not mentioned in the letter sent to me. We wait to see when it will be mentioned.

The attention that the public have focused on Hong Kong, quite understandably, demonstrates the problems faced by many other people. The Times thundered: People from Hong Kong should be admitted to this country as a matter of honour. What about the British men and women who wish to be united with their children or elderly parents, or those who are refused leave to be joined by their spouses because of the primary purpose rule? We read recently of a blatant attempt by the Government to influence the immigration appeals tribunal system against granting admission. The people to whom I have referred want unity with their families like all other citizens. When we consider matters of honour, we should consider those people.

Mr. Tim Janman (Thurrock)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Darling

I shall not give way now. I have been delayed, and I know that many right hon. and hon. Members wish to contribute to the debate.

Mr. Janman


Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) has made it clear that he is not giving way now.

Mr. Darling

We have responsibilities also to the east African Asian voucher holders. The Government say that they want to be flexible about Hong Kong. What is to happen? The internal memorandum states: As agreed, however, we have set aside for the time being the intention to increase the minimum financial resources required of business men and persons of independent means because of the potential effect that it might have on Hong Kong. Note the passage set aside for the time being". Does that mean that index-linked compassion is to be limited to Hong Kong? Perhaps it means that the limits are to be raised, but at a less sensitive time—for example, when Parliament has risen for the summer recess. Why is it that the Government are contemplating allowing rich people to buy a place in Britain when the great majority will not have that sort of money, and will apparently be excluded? That solution for the elite is no solution.

Mr. Janman

The hon. Gentleman has implied that the Government wish to allow only rich people to leave Hong Kong to come to Britain. Will he tell the House whether the Labour party believes that no one should be allowed in or that everybody should be allowed in?

Mr. Darling

With respect, the hon. Gentleman is missing the point. We think that it is thoroughly offensive that a rule should be made for those who are rich, who have assets of more than £150,000, that is different from the rules that will apply to others. The Labour party's position on Hong Kong is clear. We have said that we do not feel able to make promises that we would not be able to fulfil. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we have made that clear time and time again.

The double standards to which I have referred—

Sir Nicholas Bonsor (Upminster)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Darling

No, I shall not.

The double standards—

Mr. Renton

I must take up what the hon. Gentleman has just said. In the Labour party's policy review document, which was published a few weeks ago, the following statement appears: We shall hold discussions with the Governments of Malaysia and Hong Kong with the object of providing them with an effective Nationality with the right of abode. How does that fit in with the hon. Gentleman's remarks?

Mr. Darling

The policy review document refers to the 10,000 people, in Hong Kong, in particular, who have no nationality whatever. [HON. MEMBERS: "Come on!"] It does say that. With respect, as I am one of the authors, I know what it says. With due respect, the Minister is trying to muddy the water. What he says has nothing to do with the point at issue.

The double standards that persist throughout the rules are nowhere more clearly illustrated than in the Government's attitude towards the provision of DNA testing. The Government had an opportunity to end the injustices that have been suffered by many people who have been wrongly refused leave to join their families. The Government, instead of abolishing the arbitrary, and frequently wrong, decision-making process based on subjective tests, have elected to allow DNA testing only after the same tests are applied and the entry clearance officer is still not satisfied that relationship exists. As a result, applicants will still have to go through bureaucratic, time-consuming and expensive interviews and be faced with the test if the entry clearance officer is not satisfied. The Government had an opportunity to do away with that red tape and those bureaucratic controls and to introduce a simple test that would prove, once and for all, and quickly, whether people were related.

In this statement, the Government imply that they have not yet reached a decision on costs, yet it is clear from the Home Office memorandum that that is not the case. The Government say in their internal memorandum that the statement does not indicate how the scheme will be financed, beyond reiterating that the cost will not be met by the taxpayer. The intention is to make a separate announcement on the funding arrangements shortly before the scheme comes into effect, to avoid a rush of applications aimed at beating the associated increase in settlement fee. In other words, it is abundantly clear that the Government have already decided to increase settlement fees and that a statement will be made at some quiet time, perhaps during the parliamentary recess.

Will the Minister tell us what he proposes with regard to cost? We have a right to know what is being proposed. The Government know. If the Minister has any respect for the House, he will tell us what the arrangement is to be.

It is no better for applicants who, it now transpires, were wrongly refused permission to come to Britain. The Government have said that they are prepared to consider their cases provided that they pass several subjective hurdles that have been erected in their way. Again the memorandum makes it abundantly clear how limited the Government's compassion is to be. It says: we are looking for compassionate features which distinguish the particular case from the generality of average reapplicants. It would be crucial to hold this line to ensure that the concession remains the exception rather than the norm in cases involving overage reapplicants. In other words, most applicants are effectively being told, "Don't bother. You need not apply because we will not exercise any compassion." These are people who have been wrongly refused as a result of the process that we have set up. They have been denied the right to come and live with their families. If it were happening to white people or anyone else, it would not be tolerated. The Government say one thing in public and another in private.

The double standards that are employed to impose restrictions on people who want to study in the United Kingdom illustrate the point. Under the proposed changes to the immigration rules, visa nationals cannot switch from visitor to student status. Again the memorandum makes interesting reading. It says: the changes on admission for study are directed at bogus students, mainly from West Africa. How on earth can any rational person make such a generalisation? Where is the evidence? Why can a United States visitor decide to study in the United Kingdom when a Nigerian national may not, no matter how powerful his or her case is? Are they not two individuals whose cases ought to be considered on merit rather than on their race? Has a United States visitor never abused the rules?

The same double standards are applied to the visa changes. Visas are now to be imposed against Haiti because, we are told, it is the Government's policy to harmonise visa restrictions in the European Community. Since when? No public announcement has ever been made about it. We know about it because, thanks to some helpful source, we know that the Government have discussed, in secret, with our EC partners the harmonisation of procedures and the erection of a ring fence around Europe. Yet there has been no public announcement; private discussions are the order of the day.

Which country is next? Will it be Jamaica? Jamaican nationals are now experiencing the same problems as were experienced by those countries that now need visas, with increasing numbers of people being refused leave to come to this country. Perhaps the Minister will tell us whether it is to be Jamaica. The Government should think about the hardship caused by visas to those who wish to visit this country for a wedding or a funeral, but are told to come back and reapply at some future date. That is not an option for most people.

Turkey is to be added to the countries requiring visas. What will happen to the Kurdish refugees who are leaving Turkey in growing numbers? The Government look on refugees as a problem, but if they stop them coming to this country they will think that there is no longer a problem. Is it really the case that a man in fear of his life is expected to go to the British embassy in Turkey and queue for a visa in the full view of those he fears? That is not an option, and the Government know it.

The rules are discriminatory and riddled with double standards. The memorandum should leave no one in any doubt that the Government are prepared to treat many of our citizens in a second-class way. It shows that the Government have no scruples. A cynical attempt has been made to mislead the public and hon. Members. To the Government the rules are a matter of presentation, but to parents separated from their children and to husbands separated from their wives it is a matter of decency. That is why we will oppose them in the Lobby tonight.

12.36 am
Mr. Tim Janman (Thurrock)

I hope to keep my comments brief because I know that a number of hon. Members wish to speak. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister on the rule changes, especially that which will prevent people from coming to this country on the false basis of a genuine short-term visit and then switching status to become students on temporary courses. They do one course, complete that, move to another, complete that and so on until they have been here for seven years, after which they can remain permanently. That has happened with large numbers of people. It is morally illegal immigration on a technically legal basis. My hon. Friend is right to introduce changes to close that loophole.

The point made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) about the changes being applied to west Africans but not to Americans was ludicrous. We do not have vast numbers of Americans entering this country on a false basis to secure permanent residency. The whole point of this legislative change is to direct it at where the problem lies—people from west Africa, not from America.

I also congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister on the introduction of visa requirements for Turkish nationals. Many Conservative Members are well aware of the problem of illegal immigration of Turkish nationals. However what will my hon. Friend do in the next decade if Turkey's application to join the European Community is accepted? That would make it difficult to prevent the influx of unrequired, unwanted and unneeded immigration from Turkey that could ensue.

My hon. Friend is also right to make changes in DNA testing. That testing is vital to establish that there is a proper and bona fide relationship between the person wishing to come to this country and the rest of the family who are already here. I cannot for the life of me understand why that testing is not mandatory. It is the only real and genuine way of firmly and scientifically establishing the evidence necessary to prove that there is a bona fide relationship. I cannot understand why it is carried out on a voluntary basis.

As we are debating immigration rule changes, it is appropriate that I should state in this debate that the vast majority of the British people see no need for immigration rule changes vis-à-vis Hong Kong. The British Government's first duty is to the people of this country, not to the people of Hong Kong.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

When I went to Hong Kong a few years ago, I asked vast numbers of people whether they thought of themselves as Chinese or British. They told me with an overwhelming voice that they wished to be Chinese. They wished to follow a Chinese culture, be part of the Chinese community and be part of China. Would it not be ludicrous in those circumstances for the Government to take into this country 3.2 million people who have no wish to be British, no wish to abide by British customs and no wish to be part of our country?

Mr. Janman

The point that my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor) has made is absolutely right. He reinforces the point that I was making. The danger of making any immigration rule change to accommodate more than 3 million people in Hong Kong is that we might write a blank cheque. If that change were made in the belief that only a few thousand would take it up, we would be powerless in law to prevent the other hundreds of thousands or millions from taking it up if they so wished. The Government would be extremely foolish to write that blank cheque and it seems to be clear from comments made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister that that blank cheque will not be written, and that is absolutely right.

Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, North)

The siren voices from the Opposition Benches about the continuance of Labour's open-door policy—which seems now to extend to 3.25 million Hong Kong Chinese—will not have escaped my hon. Friend's attention. Does he agree that if such a policy were followed the British Government would have an equal duty to tell the 800,000 or so white South Africans that they also have similar rights of abode in this country? With regard to exemptions, is it not interesting to note that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) refused to take an intervention asking him whether Labour would impose visas on South Africans? If a policy is applied to the 3.25 million people in Hong Kong, a similar policy must apply to white South Africans and people in other countries.

Mr. Janman

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that very interesting tangential point. His logic and rationale are irrefutable and the House will have taken note of his comments.

When I intervened earlier in the speech of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central, he was totally incapable of telling the House what the Opposition's view was on the Hong Kong issue, and whether they were in favour of writing a blank cheque or of taking a more illiberal and tighter view of who should be allowed into this country than that taken by the Government. We are still waiting for the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central to clarify the Opposition's position. I am sure that the electorate is also waiting to hear the Opposition's views.

Good though the changes are, they are too late. The door is being shut after the immigrants have bolted in. I shall give the House some figures, not from the Home Office but from the National Ethnic Research market research company—a Caribbean company which has done extensive research, for commercial reasons, into the ethnic population of Britain. The figure is not the 2.4 million that the Home Office trots out; it is probably much nearer 4.2 million. The company, which is run by a member of the ethnic community, has produced figures to show that one in three children born in London today is of ethnic origin. Its definition of ethnic origin does not include the Arabs and the Turks: it relates only to Indian, Pakistani, Caribbean and African people.

That is a frightening concept for the country to come to terms with. We have already seen the problems of massive Moslem immigration, with the recent events in Parliament square and in Bradford—[Interruption.] I am willing to give way to any hon. Member who stands up and wishes to intervene, but if no one wishes to do so, I suggest that Opposition Members remain silent. That figure of one in three children is true not just of London, but of Leicester, Nottingham, Bradford and many other cities.

I welcome the changes, but I must tell my hon. Friend the Minister that unless we want to create major problems in the decades or the century ahead, we must not only stop immigration but must move to voluntary resettlement to reduce the immigrant population.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes (Harrow, West)

I fail to understand how my hon. Friend can make a differentiation on the basis of the colour of someone's skin between one person who is British and another person who is British. To do so is patently racist.

Mr. Janman

I have made no differentiation. We have not had mass immigration from Canada, Germany or the United States. What we have had, and what many British people, and I suspect the majority of my hon. Friend's constituents, object to, is mass immigration from countries which he knows have caused the immigration—India, Pakistan and the Caribbean. It is fatuous to suggest that we are talking simply about colour. We are talking about country of origin, culture and religion. Those factor; are important, and they cause great anxiety to our constituents.

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have been listening closely to the speech of the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Janman). Is it in order for an hon. Member to address the House in such overtly racist terms?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

I have a strong impression that the hon. Gentleman is about to finish.

Mr. Janman

You are right, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I would have finished by now had it not been for the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes).

Those people who defend mass immigration and who are not prepared to find a civilised and practical method of reducing the immigrant population are courting massive civil strife in years to come.

12.49 am
Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

We have just heard expressed a vicious streak of racism that hon. Members on both sides of the House had hoped was buried some years ago, for the sake of this country.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I find it grossly offensive that Opposition Members should seek to make such a point, given that my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Janman) was speaking from his heart and in the interests of his constituents—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. This subject arouses strong emotions on both sides of the House, but I hope that we shall debate it quietly.

Mr. Fraser

In answer to the intervention of the hon. Member for Upminster (Sir N. Bonsor), may I say that that vicious streak of racism to which I referred may be sincere but that that does not excuse it.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fraser

No, I—

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fraser

I was about to say that I believed that many Conservative Members would wish that streak of racism to be buried. It is regrettable that it should have reared its head tonight.

I have only one good thing to say for the Minister. Having pressed him for some time to consolidate the immigration rules, I am glad that he has taken the opportunity to do so. Instead of nine or 10 instruments, we now have a single cat-o'-nine-tails with which to control those who wish to come to the United Kingdom. We thank the Minister, therefore, for the comprehensive nature of the rules, although certainly not for their content.

I suppose that there is a further tribute that one could pay the Minister because under his presidency there has undoubtedly been an increase in the efficiency—and to some extent the courtesy and responsiveness—of Lunar house, not least as a result of the pressure that the Opposition exerted on Ministers last time we debated the immigration rules. That is a good thing, because efficient immigration control is effective immigration control. I do not think that anyone makes any great complaint about that; indeed, long delays and inefficiency can place people in a hopeless position.

What is now happening, however, is that that efficiency, which I welcomed, has gone a stage further, to the point at which it has become a ruthless and summary execution of harsh immigration laws. Immigration officers are using administrative custody to cow prisoners into abandoning their rights and making so-called supervised departures. The Home Office is using methods that attempt to avoid the supervision of judges and magistrates that follows on the bare-faced abrogation of the facilities of Members of Parliament to approach the Minister or his Office. I am surprised that a Minister, who is a Queen's Counsel, should mastermind a policy intended to have the effect of bludgeoning people into leaving the country without access to a judicial system—except by way of judicial review, and that is not easy—or even an immigration appeals system.

The bludgeoning is done by administrative imprisonment—literally detention without trial. One must conclude that the use of detention without trial under the immigration system is a concerted and deliberate Government—directed practice. Let me give two examples of detention without trial. The first involves the use of the notice of intention to deport. Suppose that an immigrant—usually a student—is working part-time. The Government seem to want all the other students to work part-time but not immigrant students. An immigrant student who is found working part-time—a perfectly honourable tradition—[Interruption.] Can the hon. Member who has been making a noise return to the bar, Mr. Deputy Speaker? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]

That immigrant will not be charged with any offence. He will not have access to a magistrates' court. Instead, a deportation order will be made with considerable rapidity and he will be detained in administrative custody. The Immigration Act 1988 will then be applied to him. He will be told that he will have no appeal on the merits of the deportation order but only on the power of the Minister to make that order. He will be given the choice between custody and an unwinnable appeal or what is known, under the immigration rules, as a supervised departure. That is what I describe as a use of administrative custody and detention without trial.

The use of custody in connection with deportation orders should be used only rarely. Before any deportation order is made, full consideration should be given to representations made by the person who is affected. Deportation matters should be treated mercifully and understandably.

Deportation is being used not as a form of immigration control but as a hugely disproportionate—

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fraser

No, I will not. It is being used as a hugely disproportionate, non-judicial and virtually unappealable punishment and sentence. That practice must stop.

The second form of detention without trial is the use of removal powers, as opposed to deportation, where there is at least the possibility of appeal to an immigration adjudicator. An example is of someone who comes here on a visit and then asks to stay as a student. That is common. Indeed, it has been institutionalised by the changes in the rules. If an immigration officer can get some kind of stated intention from that immigrant that at the back of his mind he thought that he would study when he came here, the leave to enter as a visitor is revoked, irrespective of the merits of the situation. The person is then kept in administrative custody and is removed from this country without any form of appeal, except access to the Divisional Court by way of judicial review. That is an abuse of the powers of removal.

Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)

That is an excellent point. Is not the position worse than that? Is there not an opportunity for entrapment? The immigration officer may ask, "Would you like to study?" The immigrant may reply, "Yes, I would. I would not mind if I had the chance." That person is trapped, whether he intended to study or not.

Mr. Fraser

That is exactly what happens.

Recently, I came across the case of a person who was supposed to have made an admission that false representations had been made. When I spoke to the immigrant, it was clear that the command of English was not adequate and the conversation was conducted in Yoruba. Because of that conversation in Yoruba, it became clear that the admissions that were supposed to have been made to the immigration officer in English were unsustainable. If there had not been an intervention on that occasion, the system of supervised departure would have been used and the issue of administrative custody—detention without trial—would have been raised. The system is deliberately geared so that where there has been even a minor criminal offence, no charge is brought because, if it were, the immigrant would at least have access to a magistrates court and an application could be made for bail.

I condemn the heartless and brutal refusal of temporary admission by the Minister of State, except in what he calls exceptional compassionate circumstances. A family in my constituency may have saved for a lifetime to spend thousands of pounds to bring two or three members of the family to this country for a two or three-week holiday. Those people may not be admitted on a temporary basis because the immigration officers say that there are no exceptional compassionate circumstances. That shows heartlessness. In recent changes, the Minister has prevented us, as Members of Parliament, from making direct representations on such matters.

I condemn the failure to humanise the operation of the primary purpose marriage rule, which creates an absurdity. If a spouse wants to remain in the United Kingdom, he or she cannot do so, but if they do not want to remain in the United Kingdom, they can do so. That is the absurdity of the primary purpose rule. The judges cannot make sense of it, and seem to lack the courage to expose its absurdity. However, when Mr. Justice Henry recently eroded the harshness of the primary purpose rule, the Home Office immediately sought to undermine his judgment by writing to the president of the immigration appeal tribunal.

It is clear from the cases now before the courts and the tribunal that incontestably genuine love-match marriages—[Interruption.] Right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House happen to believe that love in marriage should not be the subject of scorn, though it might be the subject of consideration by a future chairman of the Conservative party. Genuine love matches are being frustrated by the artificial residence test. The rules are harsh and increasingly are being heartlessly applied. I shall vote against the motion.

1.1 am

Mr. Peter Thurnham (Bolton, North-East)

I listened carefully to the speech of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) in the hope that he would clear up some of the anomalies and confusions surrounding Labour's immigration policy. We know that Labour are pledged to repeal the legislation that they themselves enforced when in power, when the number of immigrants entering this country was as high as 80,000 per year. However, he neither did so nor answered the questions that were asked of him.

The remarks of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central contrast with the Government's action in enforcing existing legislation and with the positive rule changes that are the subject of the debate—which I welcome, and which will reduce abuses and allow genuine applicants to enter the country under a fair and firm policy.

I shall give three examples, two from my own constituency, that demonstrate Government policy in action. I believe that I was the first Member of Parliament to organise the entry into this country of a constituent's son by use of DNA testing. I inherited from my opponent in the 1983 general election a large file on a constituent named Mr. G. M. V. Patel and his son Ishaq. Despite exhaustive inquiries in my constituent's home village in India, no evidence could be found to allow his son's entry to Britain, although Mr. Patel was adamant that he was a true son of the family.

I visited the Home Office and discussed the case at great length with the then Minister of State, Home Office, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Waddington), but no decision to enter could be reached. I then read about the work of Professor Jeffries at Leicester university, and after I wrote to him the Patel family arranged for Ishaq to undergo DNA testing. There was a long wait while the Home Office evaluated the long odds that were arrived at by Professor Jeffries, and then great joy when it was announced on 24 August 1986 that, although Ishaq was over age, he would be allowed entry. I am grateful for the Home Office's handling of that case, which illustrates that it applies policy in a firm and fair way. I thank my hon. Friend the Minister for the way in which other cases have been similarly dealt with.

Although I have had no personal experience of Kurds wishing to enter this country from Turkey, the grandson of one of my constituents, an Iranian, was imprisoned in Turkey. My constituent came to see me because her grandson was about to be returned to Iran, where he would face immediate execution. Less than 30 days remained to deal with that case, but with the help of Prisoners Abroad, whose present director is a former hon. Member of the House, Mr. Keith Best, the case was put to the Home Office sufficiently well to allow that individual to enter Britain and to escape the almost certain execution that would have been his fate in Iran. That is another example of the way that the Home Office implements existing legislation fairly and firmly, and allows entry in genuine cases.

My last example is rather different: it concerns Hong Kong, which must be very much in our minds. We must do all in our power to press for Hong Kong's plight to be treated as an international problem, and urge the international community to bring all possible force to bear on China both to improve its internal policies and to respect the treaty drawn up in 1984. We must, however, adopt towards Hong Kong the same policies that we adopt towards all other aspects of immigration, and keep our minds open to the genuine needs of genuine cases.

I have just received a letter from some people whom I visited when I was in Hong Kong two years ago, at a remarkable establishment known as the Home of Loving Faithfulness Fellowship. It is run by two ladies, Wendy and Valerie, who had set up a home to care for severely handicapped Chinese children whose families were unable to look after them. They had arranged for a number of adoptions so that children could leave Hong Kong and find homes elsewhere. The letter says how worried they are about the present situation. Although they have British passports, they feel guilty about that distinguishing them from others with whom they work. One of them has been away for 27 years, and they feel that they have no home in the United Kingdom.

The letter ends: Our own plans are just to go on doing what we have been doing for 24 years here … in this beautiful little place called Hong Kong. I ask my hon. Friend to see that as an example of the need to keep an open mind about what is happening in Hong Kong and to put maximum pressure on all other members of the international community to make the Chinese understand exactly how we feel about their domestic situation, and about the importance of their respecting every line of the 1984 treaty.

1.6 am

Mr. Pat Wall (Bradford, North)

First, let me join in the protest made at the beginning of the debate about the DNA issue—which has been the subject of much discussion between many of us and the Minister of State—being lumped in with a general discussion on immigration rules. I think that DNA deserves a separate debate apart from the Adjournment debate that my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) has obtained for the early hours of Thursday, and I hope that that can be arranged.

The rule changes that we are discussing mark, in most instances, a further tightening of the screw—a process that began with the introduction of visas for five countries and continued with the provisions of the Immigration Act 1988. Now we see a complete ban on nationals of visa countries switching from temporary admission—mainly as visitors—to student status, which further reduces their rights as against those of non-visa nationals. We also see rules aimed at preventing Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin from obtaining asylum in Britain, although, having been nerve-gassed by Iraq and hounded by Iran and Turkey, they are among the most persecuted peoples in the world, and the most deserving of the right of asylum. Under the rules, only Turkish Kurds who escape to a third country can be considered for asylum in Britain, and that must be a tiny handful of those who need it.

I feel that we have a right to relate these rules to our constituency experience, and I wish to raise two specific issues with the Minister. First—although I feel that the issue of Hong Kong should, and undoubtedly will, be debated separately—let me say that we can have little faith in the Government's ability to deal with the problems of three and a third million Chinese in Hong Kong when a woman in Pakistan can obtain neither consistency, compassion nor speed in her application for a visa to visit a grandchild born in Bradford.

The first of the issues with which I want to deal relates to asylum for Sri Lankan Tamils. Last Wednesday my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs the following question: Is the Minister aware that three out of five Tamil refugees who were forcibly returned to Colombo in February 1988 have been tortured? What do the Government intend to do about that? The Minister replied: I am sure that if the hon. Lady can substantiate her assertion we will draw it to the attention of the Sri Lankan Government."—[Official Report, 14 June 1989; Vol. 154, c. 890.] It is proper to draw the matter to the attention of the Sri Lankan Government, but is it not time that it received the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office? Are we to believe that they are unaware of the circumstances of the case?

Are the Government unaware of the fact that the five male Tamils arrived separately in the first half of 1987, that all five were refused the right of asylum and the right of appeal, that while awaiting deportation their case was taken to judicial review in the High Court on 25 September 1987 and that their appeal was rejected, that on 12 October 1987 their appeal against that decision was upheld in the Court of Appeal but that it was again reversed on 16 December in the House of Lords? The five were then deported. Under the ridiculous rules that now apply, after their deportation they had the right to appeal against the refusal of asylum in this country.

This case—the first of its type—was heard on 16, 17 and 18 January of this year. The appeal of all five was upheld, but they have still not been given the right by the Home Office to come to this country and take up their asylum. The Minister is aware of the fact that Amnesty International has produced conclusive proof that three of the five were tortured. The Government sent them back to Sri Lanka. They would not allow them to appeal here. They are responsible for the torture of those people.

Mr. Renton

The hon. Gentleman knows very well that we do not accept the decision of the adjudicator. We have been give permission to apply for a judicial review of the matter. That is taking place. I am very surprised that the hon. Gentleman makes detailed allegations and comments upon the case without waiting for the final decision of the court.

Mr. Wall

I am sure that the three Tamils who were tortured in the gaols of Sri Lanka will be as reassured by the Minister's comments as he hopes that hon. Members will be, but I am sure that they have not been reassured.

In a recent judgment Mr. Justice McCowan found that the Home Office had unfairly treated Miss Amarasingham. Mr. Justice McCowan therefore asked the Home Office to review her case. I hope that the same decision—to continue fighting the case until this girl is deported—will not be taken in her case.

One of the most quoted remarks of Karl Marx is that History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. I am afraid that I must refer to a farcical case in my constituency. A well-known cricket club in my constituency, Undercliffe cricket club, runs an exchange scheme with Australia and New Zealand and brings over to this country young cricketers from those two countries. The scheme is run by three prominent local business men who are connected with the Undercliffe cricket club. They invite teenage youngsters from Australia and New Zealand to Bradford. They stay with them at their expense and play cricket for that club, at a level depending on their ability on arrival.

In April this year they invited an 18-year-old man called Schofield Hewitt from Barbados. Schofield did not understand that he did not need a visas, so went to the consulate in Barbados, and asked for a visa. When he was told that he did not need a visa he became a little uptight and an official stamped his passport, "Visa not granted". When he arrived at Manchester airport, quite reasonably the immigration officer questioned the stamp on his passport. One of the three Bradford business men was called in as Schofield's sponsor. He explained the situation and, quite reasonably, the immigration officer at Manchester airport agreed to grant temporary admission and transferred the case to Leeds-Bradford airport.

Leeds-Bradford airport claimed that he needed a work permit. He is not Leary Constantine, Manny Martindale or Ernest Achone—all West Indian Test cricketers who made the Bradford league, brought enormous pleasure to Bradford people and raised the level of Yorkshire cricket. By bringing young Schofield Hewitt to Bradford, we were only repaying our debt to West Indian cricket. He did not need a work permit and he was deported, despite the fact that he had a return ticket and did not need a visa and despite the fact that Australian and New Zealand youngsters who were white and came from richer backgrounds were allowed to play for the Undercliffe cricket club.

Mr. Renton

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way to me for the second time. I do not want to delay the House, but it is a very great pity that he did not apply to the Department of Employment for a work permit or come to me for advice. Cricketers coming to Britain temporarily need work permits and are given work permits. We deal with them all the time at the beginning of the cricketing season without any problem.

Mr. Wall

My experience as a Member of Parliament was that when I phoned the Home Office and asked for a stop on the case I was told that it was not urgent or important enough. I wrote to the Minister on 25 April and I am still waiting for a reply. When a young, white New Zealander playing rugby for Bradford and Bingley rugby club overstayed, he was told he could stay on without a work permit because he was playing rugby union and he was white.

The case is a mirror of the unfairness of the Home Department and of the completely inefficient way in which it operates. Young Schofield Hewitt was taken to Manchester airport by one of the three members of the Undercliffe cricket club. He was told when to get there and he arrived with his sponsor 10 minutes early, obeying the laws of the land, to discover that the plane had left two hours earlier. That is typical of the way in which the Home Department is run, its inhumanity and its inefficiency.

1.17 am
Mr. Gary Waller (Keighley)

First, it is welcome that a consolidated version of the rules has been published. It is difficult for practitioners to work with rules which have been amended, sometimes in a quite complicated way, nine separate times. I hope that consolidated rules will be published more often.

I wish to say a few words about over-age applicants and the use of discretion by my hon. Friend. Many applicants who are now over age still reside in Bangladesh. Some of the applicants are over age essentially because their applications were turned down 10 or more years ago. In almost every case, their applications were turned down for reasons of family relationships. As the House knows, documentation in Bangladesh is sparse. To some extent, some applicants or their sponsors brought the problem on themselves because there were false claims for tax purposes for families who did not exist.

Be that as it may, because of DNA testing, it is now possible to prove once and for all whether applications at that time were justified. I understand that, of the DNA tests that have been carried out, 86 per cent. have proved conclusively that the applicants were related as claimed.

It is a matter of natural justice, if a claim failed for that and for no other reason, that those applications should be processed as speedily as possible. In some cases, applicants have waited a long time—many years—for their cases to go through. Even since the DNA test was carried out, they have had to wait a considerable period. Applications should be dealt with in such a way that there is a presumption that discretion will be exercised in their favour unless there are clear reasons why that should not be the case.

I hope, therefore, that, although this matter is not spelt out in the rules, my hon. Friend the Minister will exercise his discretion fairly. I would find it difficult to explain to my constituents why, if a claim failed many years ago because of the lack of DNA testing at that time, they should still be turned down now that it is available. I hope that, when considering such cases in future, my hon. Friend will deal with them compassionately and speedily.

1.19 am
Mr. Paul Boateng (Brent, South)

The debate has been redeemed by the speech of the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) and by the intervention of the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes). One of the most unpleasant aspects of this measure is the way that it brings to the surface all that is basest in our country, and no baser speech could have been made tonight than that by the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Janman). It was vile and venomous in every respect. To suggest for one moment that the birth of a black child in this country is somehow a cause of concern is contemptible beyond belief. The Minister must reflect on the emotions and attitudes that measures such as this cause to rise to the surface. It is a squalid and unnecessary measure, and it has been introduced in a shroud of subterfuge from the Home Office.

Two aspects of the changes in the immigration rules give rise to particular concern. The first relates to students and the terms and conditions on which they may enter and remain in this country and the proposals that are contained in the rules in respect of them. It is worth looking at them in some detail. Underlying the thought that seems to have gone into this measure, particularly this aspect of it, is a common misconception by the Government and the Home Office, which is that the whole world is just dying to converge on the United Kingdom and that every black, brown and yellow person wants nothing so much as to live in the United Kingdom. [Interruption.] One can see from the instant recognition by Conservative Members that that is seriously what they believe. [Interruption.] They honestly believe that we are going to be swamped. That phrase is resonant, because it was with that phrase that, at a stroke, the Prime Minister the right hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) sought to capitalise on the racist vote back in 1979. Ever since, we have been living with the legacy of that. Every so often, with an unerring and knee-jerk reaction, the Home Office feels the need to expel from its bowels measures of this nature. It is particularly unpleasant.

I am glad to see the Minister's nose curl up in distaste. My nose and those of many hon. Members curl up in distaste whenever we have to deal with the immigration rules. That happens whenever we are obliged to deal with the Minister and his officials because all these rules stink and the racism behind them stinks. We have good cause to turn up our noses in the way that we do.

Mr. Jeremy Hanley (Richmond and Barnes)

The hon. Gentleman talks about the racist Government since 1979. He must admit that since 1979, over 500,000 people have been given permanent settlement in this country, the majority of whom have come from the Indian sub-continent, from the West Indies and from other parts of Asia and Africa, and there have been 30,000 refugees. Is that not a record of which we should be proud? If we were a racist Government, nothing like half a million people would have been allowed permanent settlement since 1979.

Mr. Boateng

Our record, sadly, is not one of which we are entitled to be proud. We have cause to be ashamed of it in terms of our standing in the world. We must redeem it as a matter of urgency, which is why my hon. Friends and I oppose these rules.

Let us consider the issue of students and the change of status. We say that what is proposed is unfair because of the way in which it discriminates between visa nationals and non-visa nationals. The Government have not produced a shred of evidence to show that there is more likely to be abuse from visa nationals than from non-visa nationals. If there were such evidence, they would be in a position to produce it.

The Minister must know what the impact of these measures will be on genuine students. They will have to leave Britain and return to their countries of origin before being able to apply for entry clearance. They must be aware of the temptation to overstay that that will cause. They must also appreciate the disincentive that measures such as this, being unjust and oppressive, will provide to genuine students to come to this country.

I do not take any heart from the fact that it will be more difficult for students from west Africa and from the Indian sub-continent to come here to study, because all experience—one need only consider the commercial and diplomatic links between our country and those countries, in particular since the movement for colonial freedom began—shows that Britain benefits from students coming here. Despite that, we have imposed a series of increasingly restrictive immigration rules on them, and we have imposed charges in the form of overseas fees that are unconscionable and cause great hardship.

Why have we done that? We have done it to keep out a few—the Home Office does not have the figures—would-be overstayers, a handful of those who would undoubtedly abuse their right and permission for entry. Consider the cost to us of that policy in terms of our reputation overseas, our moral standing and our self-interest resulting from fostering links between students which in turn benefits our commerce and international relations. There is nothing in these measures in relation to students that is in any way warranted. Indeed, the honest student is penalised by the rules. They represent disincentives to comply with them and they are harmful in every way.

Mr. John Carlisle

Will the hon. Gentleman agree that the position of honest students who want to come here to study has been prejudiced by those—however few they may be, and I accept what he says about that—who overstay? Will he further agree from his constituency experience, which by now must be considerable, that some stay on and claim to be students, thereby prejudicing the chances of genuine students who want to come here?

Mr. Boateng

I do not demur from that in any way, save to say that the scale of the abuse does not warrant the measure and that the measure goes over the top and is not merited by the problem that is faced.

In perpetuating a discriminatory measure between visa and non-visa countries, the Government are identifying certain countries in west Africa and the Indian sub-continent—and everybody who comes from those countries—as a problem. Hon. Members of all parties must have noticed that as a result of that discriminatory tendency more and more countries that are not visa-national countries are becoming tainted in the same way. In my constituency experience, I have noticed that those who come from Jamaica are treated as though they are visa nationals. There is therefore a quickening of discrimination and disadvantage in the way in which the rules are administered.

I should like a clear undertaking and assurance from the Minister of State that he will look into the experience of Jamaican nationals currently seeking to come to this country, because there is evidence that they are being treated in a discriminatory way by the immigration service and by the Home Office generally.

Another most important matter is the question of the imposition of a visa requirement on people from Turkey.

Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood)

On the subject of students, has my hon. Friend noticed that the new rules contain a provision that male students are allowed to bring their wives and children to this country, provided that they can all maintain themselves, but that female students are not? Does he agree that it is outrageous that talented women from around the world might win scholarships to our country, but that they are not allowed to live with their spouses and children when men are allowed to do so? Does my hon. Friend not suspect that that is illegal under the European convention on human rights?

Mr. Boateng

It is outrageous, sexist and seemingly in contravention of international law. We look forward to hearing from the Minister of State the advice that he has received so that he can assure the House that we are complying with international law in these rules which seem to fly in the face of the relevant convention.

The imposition of visas on people from Turkey has a particular impact on asylum seekers because—this reality is disguised in the Home Office press statement—it is no comfort for people to be told in the statement that the imposition of a visa requirement will not stop any Turkish national who qualifies for admission under the Immigration Rules from entering the United Kingdom because, as the Minister of State knows, asylum seekers from abroad are not covered by the immigration rules which make no provision for disputed asylum claims other than those made within the United Kingdom.

I see that the Minister of State is anxious to reply to the points that have been made in the debate so perhaps he will answer this one. One has very much in mind the advice that the Minister has received from his officials that he should seek to speak at the end of the debate. That advice was given to let the Minister off the hook. Well, we do not intend to allow him off the hook so easily.

In conclusion, perhaps the Minister will get his mind around the edition of Echo Sounding, the newsletter that is circulated to all entry clearance staff overseas, which dealt with the position of refugees and asylum seekers, and tell us in what circumstances it will be possible for someone coming from Turkey successfully to obtain asylum in this country. While he is at it, will he also tell us why all callers to Latchmere house today, who were seeking information about Kurdish asylum seekers, were told that the office was not able to give any information and why they had their queries referred to the press office at the Home Office? Will he make a statement about what Kurdish asylum seekers are experiencing at this time, which their lawyers and friends may not be told? Perhaps he would tell us. It is no use the Minister nodding and smiling benignly because we know what lies behind that face.

In relation to the Hong Kong potential refugees whose fate has been ensnared in the debate, in the past few days Dame Lydia Dunn has said: I believe that the British people will wish their Government to do the honourable thing. I have no doubt that that is what the British people wish their Government to do, but in this measure, as in so much else, the Government have failed to do so.

1.35 am
The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Tim Renton)

Unfortunately, the hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) has left me extraordinarily little time in which to answer either his questions or those asked by other hon. Members. In the eight or nine minutes available to me, I shall do my best to answer the serious questions raised in the debate.

I start by saying that it has been a strange debate. From the protestations of the hon. Members for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling), Norwood (Mr. Fraser) and Brent, South one would have thought that we were introducing earthshaking changes in the immigration rules; we are not. The rule changes that we have laid before the House are modest. They include two extensions of the visa requirement, to Turkey and to Haiti, and two main changes of general application. One represents a tightening of our immigration control—the prohibition on visitors from visa countries switching to being students after entry.

The other change is a relaxation of our immigration control. Needless to say, that has not been mentioned by any Opposition Member in the debate. I refer, of course, to the fact that we are now enabling a woman working here to be joined by her spouse and children under 18, just as wives and children can already come to join a man working in the United Kingdom.

The rule changes that we are introducing in the new consolidated rules will maintain the effectiveness of our immigration control. They are consistent with our policy of operating a system that is both firm and fair.

Doubtless the Opposition will vote against the improvements just as they have voted against all the improvements of the last two years. What then would be their course of action? We now know from the Labour policy review what Labour immigration policy would look like. It would he unfair. It would be full of loopholes. It would encourage bogus applications. It would give comfort to those who are acting illegally and it would lead—

Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Minister is speaking, as I understand it, by leave of the House for a second time. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. The Minister is speaking for the first time.

Mr. Renton

That goes to show the total ignorance on these matters. We have wasting of time through filibustering by the Opposition.

Mr. Dobson

Is it not the case that the Minister, in reply to the debate, is supposed to be dealing strictly with the rules and should not be taking up valuable time that other hon. Members could have used by talking about Labour party policy? He is supposed to be dealing with the rules.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The Minister has very little time. I think that we had better get on.

Mr. Renton

This is a disgraceful filibuster by Opposition Members. They know that their immigration policy is full of holes. It would lead to a substantial increase in immigration and they do not want it discussed.

I should like to thank my hon. Friends who have spoken in the debate. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Janman) for his support for our immigration rule changes, although he would like them to go further than I would at present.

Mr. Darling


Mr. Renton

I will not give way. I have only six more minutes to speak and I wish to speak about the rule changes.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Thurnham) for his kind remarks about cases that we have dealt with in the Home Office. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) for his remarks, particularly about the DNA tests. We shall be debating DNA testing tomorrow night in an Adjournment debate that has been initiated by the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden). As the issue does not arise in the rule changes, and as time is short, I propose to leave my remarks about it for tomorrow night.

Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Renton

I want to talk about our intention to introduce—

Mr. Madden

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is outrageous that the Minister is saying that he is leaving his remarks on the DNA testing scheme, which the Government deliberately made part of this debate, for an Adjournment debate that I shall introduce tomorrow night.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Renton

It would seem—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I remind the House that it is expecting a ministerial reply to the debate. The Minister has little time left.

Mr. Renton

I have come to the conclusion that the opposition are interested only in wasting time on immigration. They are not prepared seriously to discuss immigration changes. The hon. Member for Bradford, West is the worst offender. He will introduce an Adjournment debate tomorrow on DNA testing and yet he is insisting on talking about matters that are not in the rule changes that are before the House.

Mr. Madden

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Minister has made a good case for the Government providing further time to debate the DNA testing scheme. The matter is part of this debate—it was deliberately made so by the Government—and the Minister has not responded to the remarks which have been made about the scheme. I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to consult. Mr. Speaker and to arrange a separate debate at a reasonable hour so that hon. Members can comment on the proposed scheme.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Renton

What a disgraceful waste of time by the hon. Gentleman. There is no mention of DNA testing in the rule changes, and he knows it.

As for our intention to introduce a visa requirement for nationals of Turkey, I must tell the House—

Mr. Darling

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I appeal to the House. These are not genuine points of order. The debate can continue for only a few more minutes. I hope that in the limited time that is available to it the House will listen to the Minister's reply.

Mr. Darling

I would not make a spurious point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. At the start of the debate it was said that Mr. Speaker would read Hansard's report of the debate and would note that serious allegations were made by the Opposition about the true intentions of the Government as revealed in the confidential internal memorandum, which dealt, among other things, with the Government's proposals for charging for DNA testing. The memorandum makes it clear that a Minister intended tonight to deal with this matter. These matters are crucial—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. These are matters for debate. At the beginning of the debate the hon. Gentleman raised a point of order. I doubt whether it is a matter for Mr. Speaker, but the occupant of the Chair at the time undertook to report to Mr. Speaker what he had said.

Mr. Renton

The need for introducing visas for Turks has arisen primarily for operational reasons. The number and proportion of Turkish passengers refused leave to enter and removed from the United Kingdom have been rising for several years and have now reached significant levels. We have experienced a sharp rise in the number of Turks claiming asylum at the ports of entry. Today alone we had 243 applications for political asylum by Turks at our airports. That, in one day, is four times the total for 1987.

Mr. Corbyn

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Renton

I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Among the applicants there may be some genuine refugees. Every one of them has to be given a detailed interview, and that takes a great deal of time. Without doubt there are some economic migrants among the new and large total and there is a possibility that the genuine refugees will not have a chance of being examined and interviewed nearly quickly enough.

There are those who say that we should not talk about economic migrants. Since 1 May—

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 14 ( Exempted Business)

The House divided: Ayes 113, Noes 170.

Division No. 255] [1.45 am
Abbott, Ms Diane Loyden, Eddie
Archer, Rt Hon Peter McAllion, John
Armstrong, Hilary McAvoy, Thomas
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Macdonald, Calum A.
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) McFall, John
Barron, Kevin McKelvey, William
Battle, John McWilliam, John
Beckett, Margaret Madden, Max
Beith, A. J. Mahon, Mrs Alice
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Marek, Dr John
Blair, Tony Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Boateng, Paul Martlew, Eric
Boyes, Roland Meale, Alan
Bray, Dr Jeremy Michael, Alun
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Morgan, Rhodri
Clay, Bob Morley, Elliott
Clelland, David Mowlam, Marjorie
Cohen, Harry Mullin, Chris
Corbyn, Jeremy Murphy, Paul
Cousins, Jim Nellist, Dave
Cryer, Bob Patchett, Terry
Cummings, John Pendry, Tom
Cunliffe, Lawrence Pike, Peter L.
Dalyell, Tam Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Darling, Alistair Quin, Ms Joyce
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Redmond, Martin
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Rooker, Jeff
Dixon, Don Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Dobson, Frank Rowlands, Ted
Dunnachie, Jimmy Ruddock, Joan
Eastham, Ken Salmond, Alex
Fatchett, Derek Sedgemore, Brian
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Sheerman, Barry
Fisher, Mark Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Flynn, Paul Short, Clare
Foster, Derek Skinner, Dennis
Fraser, John Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Fyfe, Maria Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Galbraith, Sam Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
George, Bruce Spearing, Nigel
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Steel, Rt Hon David
Godman, Dr Norman A. Steinberg, Gerry
Golding, Mrs Llin Strang, Gavin
Gordon, Mildred Straw, Jack
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Harman, Ms Harriet Turner, Dennis
Haynes, Frank Vaz, Keith
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Wall, Pat
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Wallace, James
Illsley, Eric Walley, Joan
Ingram, Adam Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Janner, Greville Wise, Mrs Audrey
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Kennedy, Charles Tellers for the Ayes:
Leadbitter, Ted Mr. Allen McKay and
Leighton, Ron Mr. Frank Cook.
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Alexander, Richard Boswell, Tim
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Allason, Rupert Bowis, John
Amess, David Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes
Amos, Alan Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Arbuthnot, James Brazier, Julian
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bright, Graham
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Burns, Simon
Ashby, David Burt, Alistair
Atkinson, David Butcher, John
Batiste, Spencer Butler, Chris
Bellingham, Henry Butterfill, John
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Bevan, David Gilroy Carrington, Matthew
Blackburn, Dr John G. Carttiss, Michael
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Cash, William
Boscawen, Hon Robert Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Chapman, Sydney Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Chope, Christopher Mitchell, Sir David
Churchill, Mr Moate, Roger
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Morrison, Sir Charles
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Cope, Rt Hon John Moss, Malcolm
Cormack, Patrick Moynihan, Hon Colin
Couchman, James Neubert, Michael
Cran, James Nicholls, Patrick
Currie, Mrs Edwina Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Norris, Steve
Day, Stephen Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Dorrell, Stephen Oppenheim, Phillip
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Page, Richard
Dover, Den Paice, James
Durant, Tony Patten, John (Oxford W)
Dykes, Hugh Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Fallon, Michael Porter, David (Waveney)
Forman, Nigel Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Redwood, John
Freeman, Roger Renton, Tim
Garel-Jones, Tristan Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Sackville, Hon Tom
Gregory, Conal Sayeed, Jonathan
Hanley, Jeremy Shaw, David (Dover)
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Harris, David Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Haselhurst, Alan Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Hawkins, Christopher Speed, Keith
Hayes, Jerry Speller, Tony
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Heddle, John Squire, Robin
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Steen, Anthony
Hind, Kenneth Stern, Michael
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Stevens, Lewis
Hordern, Sir Peter Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Howard, Michael Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Stokes, Sir John
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Summerson, Hugo
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Hunter, Andrew Temple-Morris, Peter
Irvine, Michael Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Jack, Michael Thurnham, Peter
Janman, Tim Townend, John (Bridlington)
Jessel, Toby Tracey, Richard
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Tredinnick, David
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Trippier, David
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Twinn, Dr Ian
Kirkhope, Timothy Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Knapman, Roger Waddington, Rt Hon David
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Waller, Gary
Latham, Michael Ward, John
Lawrence, Ivan Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Lightbown, David Watts, John
Lilley, Peter Wells, Bowen
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Whitney, Ray
Lord, Michael Widdecombe, Ann
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Wiggin, Jerry
Maclean, David Winterton, Mrs Ann
McLoughlin, Patrick Winterton, Nicholas
Mans, Keith Wolfson, Mark
Maples, John Wood, Timothy
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Maude, Hon Francis Tellers for the Noes:
Miller, Sir Hal Mr. Kenneth Carlisle and
Mills, Iain Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory.

Question accordingly negatived.

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