§ 3.54 p.m.
§ Debate on Second Reading resumed.
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friends on the Liberal Benches I support the Second Reading of this Race Relations Bill. I am aware that there are genuine doubts as to whether legislation can deal effectively with the stresses and strains that arise out 1022 of differences in race and colour, but I think legislation is called for. The question is not whether there should be legislation, but rather what form that legislation should take. As the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, has pointed out, there have been major changes in this Bill since it was first introduced in another place. The emphasis is now on conciliation rather than on criminal prosecution, and in that respect I think the Bill has been improved. I welcome the fact that the Government have listened to the all-Party representations that were made to them on this subject. I do not think criminal prosecutions can ever be of much help in dealing with the causes of racial conflict.
I hope I may be forgiven if on the Second Reading I spend a little more time on the causes of these stresses and strains rather than on the contents of the Bill. One cannot very well discuss this Bill without turning for a few moments to our immigration policy, and I should like to make a few comments on that. It has been suggested in some quarters that this Bill can be approved because it is to be accompanied by a much stricter restriction on the entry of Commonwealth immigrants into this country. It has been suggested that the hard feelings that may be aroused by this stricter restriction can be offset by the introduction of this Bill. My Lords, I think that the subject is much more complex than that.
I admit at once that there is need for some control, but in my view the adoption of a quota is in some respects an admission of failure, and I am disturbed at some of the suggestions which have been put forward. Various figures have been bandied about as to the numbers which we could in the future accept, and I think the worst suggestion is that the Commonwealth immigrants should never exceed the numbers of those who leave this country at any one time. In my view the "one in, one out" policy is quite unrealistic from the point of view of our own economy. It does not take into account the need for teachers and doctors, not to mention those who help to run our transport system. But there is an even more serious objection than that. It would constitute a complete breach of the principle that when an immigrant comes to live here and finds an occupation and wishes to settle down 1023 lie should be allowed to bring his wife and children here to join him.
I can see only too clearly how this "one in, one out" policy would work. A man having settled here would apply for his wife and children to come and join him and he would be told that he could have only one: he would have to choose between his wife or one of the children. I am not suggesting that the Government are going to introduce that policy, but it has been mentioned, and it seems to me it would be inhuman, illiberal and very difficult to reconcile with the concept of membership of a multiracial Commonwealth. If we are going to avoid the discrimination and incitement referred to in this Bill, we must think of the feelings of those who come here and those who are denied coming here, as well as those who have, throughout their lifetime, lived in this country.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, Lord Wade, I would point out that there has never been any kind of suggestion that the Government would go back on this principle of a multiracial Commonwealth.
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, I am very glad to hear that. I would go further and say that I do not believe there is any numerical formula which by itself will solve this problem. Limitation there must be, but I think it should be dependent on our solving the problems of housing, health and education. Many of the fears and prejudices arise from the belief that there are not adequate health checks, from the knowledge of overcrowding in housing, and from the problems of the children's schooling, and there is much to be done in that field. I should like to see it clearly stated that we welcome immigrants from all parts of the Commonwealth and that entry is limited only by the need to safeguard health, to provide adequate housing and also to provide for the children to be educated, and ensuring that there are opportunities for employment. I think it is a tragedy that in this last ten years, while this problem of immigration has built up, so comparatively little has been done to provide for the people coming here to have adequate housing and to ensure that they are welcome.
1024 In a debate in your Lordships' House a little time ago my noble friend Lady Asquith of Yarnbury referred to the situation in Holland. I agree that the circumstances there are not quite the same as in this country, but I think the Dutch Government have shown greater readiness to anticipate the difficulties that arise from bringing in a large number of immigrants, and they have taken steps to avoid the problems that they foresaw. In this country there has been a mass of immigrants struggling along as best they could, and it is not surprising that in some parts of the country the situation has deteriorated. May be we are all, to a greater or lesser extent, to blame for not having foreseen sufficiently clearly the need for welcoming, these immigrants. If what I have said is true, I think it follows that the main solutions lie outside the scope of this Bill. Nevertheless I think the Bill is a worthwhile attempt, and I hope it will succeed. I hope the Race Relations Board which is to be set up, and the conciliation committees, will help towards the solution.
There was a great deal of discussion in another place on the procedure for dealing with discrimination, and certainly the new procedure is an improvement. But I think it must be realised that this will not replace the need for the bodies set up by local authorities and the good work of many individuals and many voluntary bodies who are trying to make the lives of immigrants in this country a little happier. But it will take much time and patience to allay the fears that are held by some of our own countrymen and also lessen the disillusionment of some immigrants who come here. I think that the subject of disillusionment was described very strikingly in an article by Jean Stead, in the Guardian on July 24, writing about a West Indian.
I am aware that one cannot generalise on this subject of integration and discrimination. For example, there are great differences between the Pakistanis and the West Indians. I know something of the problems of the Pakistanis in the West Riding of Yorkshire. I have been into their homes; I have talked with them, very often with the aid of an interpreter. Very often the homes are overcrowded. There ways of life are different. But I have got to know them and found them a very kind and friendly people. But they 1025 do not easily mix; they cannot easily be integrated. Some are here for only a few years, in order to earn enough to go back home and buy a piece of land. While they are here there are problems of language and differences of religion. I remember one representative of their community telling me that in Britain, if you wished to get to know people and become a good mixer and friendly, it seemed to be the normal thing to go to a public house. But their people were forbidden by religion to go to a public house and drink alcohol, and therefore that medium of getting friendly with others in this country was not open to them. I think we have to realise the differences in the way of life of the different immigrants, and much of the discussion that occurred in another place about public houses does not apply so far as the Pakistanis are concerned.
While speaking of them, I should like to refute the belief, that they, or any others who have come from other parts of the Commonwealth, have come here to take away the jobs of British workers, still less to live on unemployment pay. I have made a point of paying regular visits to the local employment exchange, and I am quite satisfied that there are very few who are receiving unemployment pay over any long period of time. They come here to work, and there is a need for them, the jobs are there for them. I think the more one examines the question, the clearer it is that there is very little ground for the fear that immigrants are taking away the jobs of British workers or coming here to live on unemployment pay. But the fear exists; although all the evidence is to the contrary, the fear is very real, and sometimes this leads to discrimination in the realms of employment. I am rather sorry this subject is not touched on in this Bill. I have examined the Bill and it does not appear to be. I agree that legislation cannot be expected to cover all contingencies, but why should nothing be done about discrimination in the realm of employment?
I should have thought that in that connection it would have been possible to adapt the procedure in Clauses 1 to 5, which was described by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and described in greater detail by the Home Secretary on the Report stage in another place. I 1026 should have thought that the procedure, of making a complaint, considering it and trying to conciliate, and ultimately referring it to the Race Relations Board, could have been adapted, except that in the last resort the matter would have to be referred, not to the Attorney General, but to the Minister of Labour or the Board of Trade. It seems unfortunate that nothing is done about discrimination in the realm of employment. The omission suggests that the Government is prepared to condone it, and I hope we shall have an assurance to-day that that is not so.
In conclusion, I welcome the clauses about incitement. I was interested in the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Dement. I think that, generally, one can rely on the good sense of the police, and there are also the further additional safeguards that have been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham. But at least by this Bill we do show that we are striving to create a society in which every individual will be treated equally. regardless of his colour, race or religion.
§ 4.7 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF COVENTRY
My Lords, while recognising, as I am sure we all must do, the potential dangers of this Bill as it affects liberty of speech and of writing, I nevertheless find myself very strongly in support of its main contentions, and I think more in support to-day than I should have been at its First Reading in another place, because the emphasis to-day is rather more on conciliation and rather less on legal sanctions. I am delighted that this Bill once again makes possible a debate in your Lordships' House on this all-important subject of racial integration. This Bill which we are discussing to-day seems to mark a definite and praiseworthy step in advance towards a happier handling of those who are our guests in this country; for that is what they are: our guests, for better or worse, for longer or shorter time. And in so far as law can create good relations, some of the Bill's provisions, such as those for the Race Relations Board and the local conciliation committees, seem to be timely and helpful.
But—and this is perhaps the main contention that I have to raise to-day—if these are to work happily, they are, as I 1027 am sure we all must realise, dependent upon a long-term, patient and widespread process of education which removes certain misconceptions, such as the misconception one often hears, that immigration of coloured people causes shortage of work, and that the coloured man is prospering at the expense of his host community. This, generally speaking, I believe, is not true. On the contrary, many coloured peoples are doing work not easily undertaken by British-born white people, and they have therefore contributed substantially to the general economic welfare of this country. Furthermore, I believe that we ought continually to express gratitude for the kindliness and courtesy of many coloured people in such services as the Underground, on the buses, notably in hospitals, and in many other spheres of work where coloured skins are often to be seen.
A second misconception which must, I think, be got rid of is that coloured people are more prone than white people to traffic in things like drugs and other vices. This belief is seriously open to question, and we should take the trouble, by production of facts and statistics, to destroy once and for all this cruel innuendo. Thirdly, there is the misconception that house occupancy by a coloured man brings down property values. Of course that does happen in certain cases, but it is not always the fault of the coloured man; for as soon as he arrives the white man tends to go, and so the neighbourhood becomes a coloured neighbourhood. In this respect there are faults on both sides. Such misconceptions ought to be removed, and they can disappear only as a result of education and of wise, sane unemotional facing of facts. To aid this, some very wise things are said, in Clause 6 of this Bill, relating to public order. Particular praise should be given to the setting up of local and national conciliation boards, and to the wise provision that prosecution under this Bill can be brought only by the Attorney General, for these provisions ensure that the facts are well established away from the emotional temper of a local situation. Equally important is the provision that requires evidence that the offender is likely to persist in his offence unless restrained by the order of a court of law.
1028 With regard to one small point in Clause 1, I am a little astonished that discrimination in places of public resort does not include taxis and charter 'planes; and I wonder whether "hotels" includes private hotels. I would hope that that point could be looked into on the Committee stage. Of course, we must not be foolish enough to imagine that man in his astute cleverness will not find ways and means of getting round the law in certain directions. For instance, while it may be reasonably easy to enforce the clause dealing with tenancy agreements, it will still be all too easy to set up restrictive practices of some other means or on some other basis. Differential rents may be one way; and one can envisage other ways of getting round the wise provisions of this clause.
That brings me back to my basic contention, that while we should be grateful for a tightening of the law with which to prevent, or deal with, the worsening of race relations, the law itself is inevitably limited in its effects. The long-term way to peaceful racial integration is through education, removal of prejudice, the setting-up of local conciliatory boards, the strengthening—and I underline this—of voluntary welfare agencies, such as the Citizens' Advice Bureaux (for whom no praise can be too high) and an increased number of those (dare I say it?) spiritually-minded people who go out of their way to welcome coloured immigrants, make them feel at home and try to resolve their problems, all in an atmosphere free from distaste and suspicion.
I believe wholeheartedly in the value of local voluntary committees, and to the work of such people in my own City of Coventry I should like to pay a warm tribute, as one could in most great cities in this country. Nevertheless, although the effort throughout the country is impressive, when added together it is still grievously insufficient in relation to the size of the problem. I need hardly add that one of the most hopeful fields of local activity is the school. But even here, although there is as yet little trace of racial prejudice among the under twelves—there is some—one cannot say exactly the same of the position among the over-twelves.
In short, while one must be grateful indeed for many of the provisions of this 1029 Bill, they are dependent upon a clear and vigorously pursued plan of public education on racial issues. Though here one enters upon a controversial field, albeit not so controversial as one might have imagined an hour ago, because one finds that now both political Parties are united in the conviction that we shall be greatly helped and encouraged by planned immigration. But I hope that overall responsibility in this connection will be given to one Department of State and not, as at present, fragmented among several Departments.
A clear national policy along these lines would do much to put an end to irrational fears that white people will lose their jobs, that house property will deteriorate and that we shall have a flood of mixed marriages. I would again remind your Lordships that this country should be perfectly capable of absorbing a carefully-planned, annual immigration of coloured people, and, as the result of wise education and a warm welcome, and a freedom from prejudice, of benefiting greatly by their advent, as we have benefited in the past by the coming of Norsemen, Danes and even Scots and Welsh. Nevertheless, I end by reiterating that the achievement—
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I am a little surprised to hear the right reverend Prelate refer to the Welsh as immigrants. I always thought that we were here first.
THE LORD BISHOP OF COVENTRY
My Lords, for many hundreds of years the Welsh have been immigrants into England, and we have been immigrants into Wales. However, I would end by reminding the House that the achievement of the objects of this Bill depends greatly upon men like Mr. Maurice Foley, who has been asked to do a great work in co-ordinating and developing local groups, voluntary and statutory, thus developing a good and understanding spirit among trade unions and employers. It will depend more upon people like him than upon the vigilant enforcement of the sanctions embodied in this Bill, important and valuable though they are. I should like to end by expressing my warm approval of the provisions of this Bill.
§ 4.16 p.m.
§ LORD SIMEY
My Lords, I recognise that this is a first attempt to deal with what is, in fact, one of the most intimidating, if not the most intimidating, of all social problems of to-day. It is urgent. It has to be dealt with as an urgent problem now, and will need to be dealt with with increasing energy as the years go by. We recognise that we in this country must take up a position in regard to race relations because the problem is upon us. It has created a situation into which we have drifted rather than have been steered into. We have endeavoured to muddle our way through it, but we cannot do so any longer.
We have come to recognise that the problem we have to deal with arises more from the emotional forces which are present in every man's mind—none of us is free from them—and these forces express themselves in terms of ignorance and prejudice. We have discovered that these forces are a great deal stronger than we should like them to be. We cannot take the situation for granted. We cannot, in the opinion of such social scientists as myself, hope that this situation will in some sense right itself. We now have to take an initiative in this matter and do something about it. The onus of responsibility, therefore, is now on us to seize this initiative and to hold it.
If we proceed merely to deal with situations as they arise by using the procedure of this Bill simply and solely, I am afraid the situation will deteriorate. On the other hand, we have at least taken a positive step so far as this Bill is concerned, and I hope that one step can lead to another. I am afraid that, as things are, we know that any activity of this kind will lead to opposition in Britain, and we must not blink that sorry fact. We must recognise that there is a great deal of prejudice—and, in my opinion, we must recognise that to our shame. But at the same time we must act. We must act, first of all, along the lines set down in this Bill. They seem to me to be excellent. As there is so much emotion in this situation, I think we would all agree that it is impossible for us to proceed any further by way of substantially strengthening the criminal law. We have to proceed by education, and 1031 in so far as the criminal law is concerned act only where cases arise which are shamefully difficult, shamefully antagonistic to our democratic way of life.
This brings me to the point of the right reverend Prelate, who tells us that we must have more education. Of course we must. I myself have no complaint with the way in which the educational system of this country is now proceeding in this matter. There are many schools in which we have conducted investigations in matters of race relations and which have been found to be entirely "clean" in this way. Racial prejudice is certainly not encouraged; it is positively dealt with by professional teachers. In regard to boys and girls at school there is virtually no problem. The problem arises when children leave school, go into employment, marry, rent or buy houses, have families, and so on.
How is this matter to be dealt with in the future? We may talk of education, but who is to be made responsible for educating our ignorant fellow-citizens? Would it be possible, for instance, for the Race Relations Board which is to be set up under this Bill at least to start by publishing an annual report? Let it investigate the cases which are of matters of concern. For instance, in my own city of Liverpool we have a large number of coloured people living among us and they have integrated with the community quite well. There is, for instance, absolutely no problem of crime, so I am informed by senior police officers; but, at the same time, they are not rising socially within the community as they ought to. They have been with us now for two generations and more, and there are a large number of locally-born, coloured fellow citizens who are concentrated in an area which is represented by my wife on the City Council. Many of them are our personal friends. Why is it that they have not managed to find themselves employment in keeping with the physical abilities and the mental characteristics which they possess? That is the sort of thing which needs to be investigated by the Race Relations Board. We know, for instance, that some employers are glad to give them employment. We know that other employers are reluctant to give them more senior 1032 posts such as they are entitled to hold. In this matter I feel that we must not allow ourselves to deal in platitudes; we must try to face the grave situation in which we are now placed as what it is.
I now ask your Lordships for permission to turn for a moment from the physical audience that I am now addressing to the unseen audience of which I am fully conscious, the audience composed of those with whom I worked and lived in the Caribbean for some years, citizens of Bermuda and other countries, and my fellow citizens in Liverpool. What would these persons have me say on an occasion like this? They would, I am afraid, be critical of the steps we have taken so far. It is one thing to look at legislation of this kind from the point of view of a knowledgeable English subject; it is another thing entirely to look at this legislation from the point of view of a citizen of an overseas territory. I am afraid they would be critical of the speed at which we are dealing with the problem. They would know full well that the problem needs to be dealt with urgently. They would also remind me that part of the problem is the moral depredation suffered by members of a so-called race which deems itself to be superior. They would also call my attention to the crying need for somebody, somehow—some agency perhaps—to come to the rescue of those people and tell them of the error of their ways.
They would remind me in the course of our conversations of what it means to be, shall I say, a Negro—a person who suffers frustration and whose life is led in terms of spiritual depriviations. They would ask that there should be a wider understanding of such things. It is not only a matter of the position of the Negro; it is a matter of what he feels about the life he is living, and the pain which he suffers in this regard is extremely keen in many respects. I have myself taught coloured students for many years, as well as worked among them. I know how keenly they feel when English people blandly assume from time to time that because these people are coloured they are inferior. We must be jolted out of this complacent frame of mind somehow or other by some agency such as is outlined in the Bill. I would therefore ask that these matters be dealt with constructively.
1033 I am not in any sense opposing the Bill; I am supporting it. I am asking, however, as a matter of policy that it should be made the first step towards measures which go further than the Bill itself does, measures which have some definite bearing on the fact that we in this country will, as the years go by, come to be a rapidly diminishing proportion of the world's population, and quite quickly so. We must recognise that, somehow or other, there must be some kind of world polity which creates one world. We must learn to play our parts in it, not in any sense of superiority, but as colleagues of the people involved in the administration of the institutions concerned. I therefore close by saying that I am extremely conscious of the deep significance and impact of the motto which the Government of Jamica has made its own. They say "Out of many, one people". That must be the kind of motto which must increasingly motivate us in this country in the years which lie immediately ahead.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I suppose that nobody would deny the good intentions which lie behind this Bill, but what one might perhaps question is in what direction the good intentions are leading us, if indeed in any particular direction at all. If I may initially make one comment upon what the noble Lord, Lord Simey, had to say, it is this. He referred to the necessity for "educating our ignorant fellow citizens". I suggest that that is one of the misconceived attitudes on this question. Who are these ignorant felow citizens? Generally speaking, that phrase would comprise those who are in contact with the realities of the immigration situation in this country—the people who live in areas where the immigrants have congregated. Therefore they are in contact with realities which supersede all the beautiful ideas which one may have when sitting in a Chamber like this, or when sitting in a study evolving beautiful thought on humanity. The old remark is very true:The toad beneath the harrow knowsExactly where each tooth-point goes;The butterfly upon the roadPreaches contentment to that toad".Those who preach this sort of thing about the racial question in this country are, I 1034 suggest, only too often the butterflies who know nothing whatever about it.
The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, in his remarks has made my speech even briefer than it will be by referring to the genesis of the Bill. I do not intend to go into any detail myself, because I propose to make a few Second Reading remarks about the principles behind the Bill and to leave details to a Committee stage if such a stage is reached.
I am unable to look upon the Bill with any enthusiasm, because I regard it as a legislative attempt to deal with problems which defy legislation. More than that, the real basic problems as the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, pointed out, are untouched by this Bill, and surely you cannot cure a sick patient by dealing only with the symptoms. I am well aware of the acute problems which have arisen in this country over the flood of immigrants, the bulk of whom, generally speaking, bring with them to an already overcrowded land—and here I would join issue with the right reverend Prelate; I suggest with due humility that there is not plenty of room in this country for many more immigrants—a lower standard of life, different social habits, different hygienic standards, different language, different traditions; in fact, a totally different way of life and outlook on life.
We have had all this before, during the past few years in debates wherein many of your Lordships, myself included, have expressed our views more than once. I do not propose to take up your Lordships' time by restating them in any great detail. My views have not changed, but for the purpose of this Second Reading debate it is, I think, necessary briefly to recapitulate the reasons why I deplore some of the sanctions of this Bill. By all means have the conciliation arrangements and, if need be, reference to civil courts, but surely the sanctions restricting freedom of speech do not properly belong in a race relations Bill at all. Law and order should be dealt with in a comprehensive Bill covering, where necessary, such circumstances as these. Anxious as I am—indeed, as we all are—to encourage interracial harmony, especially in one's own country, I feel that one cannot produce such harmony while leaving untouched the sources from which disharmony arises.
1035 We have already in this country, it is estimated, a million non-European immigrants, and hence the conciliation provisions are a desirable attempt to ameliorate the inevitable friction caused by their presence. It seems obvious that the entry of more immigrants of other races should be drastically controlled in the interests of social peace, certainly while the possibility of integration in any acceptable sense is still very much in doubt. I have the temerity to suggest that it is not at all unlikely that, in the end, we shall be driven to the conclusion that integration, in the sense in which the word is usually used in discussions of this subject, is absolutely impossible for the majority of these immigrants.
To my mind, it is no answer to say that we need their labour for the jobs that our own people dislike and in the same breath to deplore the idea of the growth of second-class citizens. What else are we breeding in this country, my Lords, by allowing people of certain standards who are only too numerous among the immigrants to come to do minor jobs? In the circumstances, how can you stop such a result? However much you may deplore the appearance of second-class citizens you will inevitably produce them by such arrangements. The distinction in reality is almost inevitable.
Equally, it would be unwise to emphasise the problems of housing and employment by creating a special, protected minority. Racial tension can only be exacerbated by the resentment, and the justifiable resentment, which such provocative selection naturally excites. Such resentment is not fundamentally racial prejudice at all; it is merely that the accident of colour marks out the newcomer and easily identifies him. Also, the resident population has great fears, and justifiable fears, for its own material interests. It looks askance at the excessive fertility of these immigrants, and it fears miscegenation. My Lords, you cannot successfully legislate against personal feelings and attitudes of mind which are based on factual experience. It is, indeed, questionable whether the immigrants themselves really want integration in the sense of giving up their own way of life for an alien one.
In the end, one has to rely on an educated public—an educated public 1036 opinion, shall I say—buttressed by the realities of the situation, and the question is: Are these people, or are they not, a nuisance and possibly something more than a nuisance? The imposition of sanctions will, as I have said already, merely provoke opposition, and the provisions curtailing freedom of speech appear to me to have dangerous implications. The freedom to say any unpalatable and unpopular thing is, and always has been, in this country one of the chief pillars of freedom. The question of dealing with law and order is not, I suggest, once more, one to be singled out specially for a race relations Bill. However much our ideas and ideals may change, basic human nature does not change perceptibly over the centuries, and human nature views with natural suspicion and apprehension, and always has done, the influx of strangers within its homeland.
To sum up, my Lords, I suggest that, apart from the conciliation provisions, this Bill is misconceived, and possibly dangerously likely to defeat the laudable object of its sponsors. As has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, the real problems of housing, employment, hygiene and social habits remain intractable problems in a crowded land where there are no large areas able to digest an influx of immigrants. Public opinion is suspicious and anxious, and you cannot eliminate prejudices based on realities by penal legislation. The only hope lies, I suggest, in the steady education of public opinion and, to back that, the amelioration of the conditions which adversely affect the local population of this country. If these immigrants cease to be a nuisance or an irritation to the people among whom they settle, and become an obvious and innocuous addition to the population, then there will be no need of such legislation as this. If that does not happen, then no amount of legislative dragooning will make people of this country accept them without protest, which may even end in violence.
In conclusion, if I may so end, there was a very popular song in a fairly recent American musical which was even more popular than the play itself, and that was, "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun". That principle lies behind some of my opposition to this sort of legislative attempt to deal forcibly with matters 1037 which do not admit of any such treatment. I suggest that if this Bill gets a Second Reading it will still require material alteration.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ LORD ELTON
My Lords, I shall confine myself to Clause 6, which in my view is the most dangerous and unnecessary part of this Bill. The rest of it, I think, will be largely a dead letter, in any case. I have been surprised that, up to now, nobody in the course of this debate, I think, has said anything about the present state of mind of those whom the Bill is likely most intimately to affect—and those are, of course, the dwellers in the back streets of the areas of mass immigration. Because I do not think that we ought to accept at their face value the reassuring statements by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, that this Bill is directed against, and is going to affect, only Fascists. Almost every gagging Bill in history has originally been directed against only one class of person, and almost every gagging Bill in history has ended up by affecting a great many more than that original class. It is the present psychological climate among those whom this Bill is going most intimately to affect, as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, has just reminded us, which makes the Bill so dangerous and so unnecessary, and it is to that aspect that I wish, just for a few minutes, to direct your Lordships' attention.
Like most of your Lordships, I do not live in close and constant proximity to an area of mass immigration, but for the last nine years I have at intervals been writing in the Press or making observations in your Lordships' House on various aspects of the manifold problems of immigration; and in the last year or two I have received many hundreds of letters—only one of them expressing a dissenting opinion—from members of the public in all income groups, all Parties and all areas of the country. I feel, therefore, that I have some knowledge of what is going on in the mind of a large section of the electorate—indeed, according to the evidence of the opinion polls, a majority, both within the electorate as a whole and within each of the three Parties.
Wherever there has been mass immigration there is widespread and deep 1038 seated resentment—not prejudice against the colour of the immigrants, but resentment against their overwhelming numbers, against their sudden arrival, and against the varied social evils to which, not the individual immigrant but the mass immigration itself inevitably gives rise. And yet, if ever a dweller in a back street wishes to voice his legitimate grievances against some distress or disorder in his neighbourhood, he knows already, only too well, that somebody, and very possibly somebody far removed from the back street and from contact with immigration, is likely to accuse him of racialism—a word nowadays used so loosely and emotionally that it begins to remind one of "that blessed word, 'Mesopotamia'."
My Lords, those who live in these back streets can be extremely caustic about advice on racial problems emanating from the Cotswolds or from Hampstead Garden Suburb, or even from Westminster, if the source is someone who is not living in close and constant contact with an area of mass immigration. As one of my correspondents wrote to me, "Let her come and integrate with us in Plaistow". These people feel that their legitimate grievances have been ignored by politicians, of all Parties, who have constantly hesitated to discuss them in public. At the General Election, there was something very like a general conspiracy of silence as to immigration. Mr. Gordon Walker, who had been defeated in one area of mass immigration, did not even mention immigration in his Election address when he set off to contest another; and, in that, he was typical of the politicians of all Parties, who treated immigration as something too embarrassing to mention during the, electoral campaign. After the Election, a Labour Member said that no sooner had he set eyes on his Conservative opponent than he realised that here was a decent fellow who could be relied on not to bring immigration into the Election campaign—much as he might have said, "Here is a man who will never talk obscenity or treason". After that, one can only ask: What in the name of Gladstone, Disraeli and Keir Hardie are democratic politics about if politicians are to be too timid to discuss the gravest problem of the century at a General Election?
1039 Already, without this Bill, the widespread fear of "that blessed word, 'Mesopotamia'", is actually inhibiting remedial action. The Medical Officer of Health for Lancashire, for example, has said that officials are refraining from taking action in respect of overcrowding among immigrants, of a kind which would not have been tolerated among whites, for fear of being accused of racial prejudice; and the author of The Times' articles, "The Dark Million", wrote:Some councils treat facts and figures about coloured people like naughty novels, to be passed surreptitiously from hand to hand and read under the municipal bedcloths. I know of one report which is considered to be so shocking that it is fit to be read only by senior officials; the council are not seeing it ".I know perfectly well, of course, that Clause 6 is ostensibly directed only against those who speak with intent to stir up hatred, and that theoretically it should not in any way inhibit a free and frank discussion of the multifarious social evils which inevitably result from a mass immigration. What I am trying to make clear to your Lordships is that already, and without Clause 6, "that blessed word, 'Mesopotamia'" strikes such irrational terror into all and sundry that, for fear of it, public officials will evade their duty or conceal the facts—and, incidentally, for fear of it, the Conservative Party threw away the prospect of winning the last Election—and that, in this psychological climate, Clause 6 is bound to make much more formidable inroads into the rights of free speech than its framers either expect or intend.
I should like, if I may, to give one more, and very striking, example of the fatal ease in confusing genuine grievances with racial prejudice. In the course of a radio interview, after the sweeping Conservative gains in the recent borough elections, the Secretary of the Labour Party was asked by the interviewer whether he thought that race questions had in any way contributed to the defeat of his Party. At this, the Secretary seemed to shy like a startled horse, and he replied that as to that he had no evidence, for he could not imagine anyone admitting to having voted out of racial prejudice. He assumed instinctively that any votes influenced by racial issues had been cast out of racial prejudice, and not because the voter was genuinely 1040 dismayed by some disorder or discomfort which had developed in the town or street in which he lived.
Now let us suppose that Clause 6 has been passed and that some dweller in a back street gets up at the street corner and says, "This street we were once so proud of has become a slum. It is full of houses in which rooms are occupied, four and five deep, by immigrants. Sanitary regulations are being flagrantly violated, the rate of tuberculosis among the immigrants in our area is said to be anything up to thirty times that among the natives. And, as to integration, we know that these particular immigrants do not wish to be integrated; they prefer their own ancient customs and religions, and even their own language". All these would be plain statements of fact, which have been reported time and again in the Press. The speaker might be just as well aware as your Lordships and I that all these social evils are not the fault of the immigrants, as distinct from mass immigration in itself, and that if there are any villains in the story they are neither the immigrants nor their native hosts but the policies of laissez-faire of successive Governments which have permitted this mass immigration into this already-overcrowded island, since, as I have said for many years past, it is not the colour but the numbers of the immigrants which is the root of the trouble.
Now, supposing our imaginary speaker goes on to say that in his view no more immigrants should be admitted. Again, this is a perfectly legitimate expression of opinion. But let us suppose that in his excitement when referring to the immigrants, he uses some derogatory term of a kind which is current among his workmates. Is he to be charged with using insulting language likely to stir up hatred against an ethnic group? We can be told: "Of course, not. The police and the courts will discriminate. One cannot imagine the Attorney General prosecuting in such a case." But remember the history of other gag Bills. They always went beyond what was originally intended. And I should like to remind the House how extraordinarily sensitive the relationships are in this field, and how easily sensitiveness can lead to confusion. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham, speaking in your Lordships' 1041 Chamber a week or two ago, told of a coloured immigrant who had applied to the B.B.C. for a post as an announcer; he had a bad stammer, and was rejected, and he came out saying that he was a victim of colour prejudice. A Member of another place not long ago told how a responsible leader of the immigrants in his locality had complained to the Press that a local firm was separating the washing of the whites and the coloureds and was stamping the articles of clothing with a "W" and "C" respectively; whereas, in fact, as it was soon proved, the firm had been using not only "W" and "C" but all the other letters of the alphabet in the normal process of organising its laundry.
I was glad to see that in another place it was a Labour Member who stressed the point that I am now trying to make to your Lordships. He saidBoth sides of the House have some responsibility for the resentment felt by many of my constituents against coloured immigrants"—He should have said "against coloured immigration".I am afraid that under this Bill this resentment will be mistaken for racial prejudice and that some action will be taken against it".That is precisely the danger that I am seeking to emphasise to your Lordships now: the danger that this unnecessary clause will make disastrous and largely unintentional inroads upon the right of free speech so that we shall soon find ourselves presented with that situation so familiar in the dictatorships of the Left and of the Right in which a large element of the community are convinced that the Government are determined to make it dangerous for them to voice their legitimate grievances.
Surely, my Lords, what we ought to do is what we have done for centuries: to trust the kindly common sense of the British citizen, and no more rush into panic legislation because an insignificant minority on the lunatic periphery of the Right may sometimes preach racial hatred than we have rushed into panic legislation in the past because an insignificant minority on the lunatic periphery of the Left has preached class hatred. It is difficult not to see this Bill as a mere political gesture, primarily designed to placate that all-too-influential minority of Government supporters who would wish the flood-gates still to be open, who 1042 resent even the retention of the Act of 1962 and who will bitterly resent any further restrictions, if and when the Government propose them. But I never thought to live to see a threat to free speech from a Labour Government.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, rarely have I risen to welcome a Bill on Second Reading more deeply than I do on this occasion. My noble friend Lord Stonham, in introducing the Bill, referred to the fact that I have tried over a number of years to secure legislation on this basis. The spokesmen from the Opposition Front Bench made some play with the fact that the Home Secretary had, after pressure, included a conciliation provision within the Bill, and suggested that that was largely due to the activities of the Opposition. I speak with particular appreciation to-day because I think it unlikely, despite the last two speakers that we have heard, that the Second Reading of this Bill will be opposed. But when the Opposition is claiming that it has secured some Amendment to this Bill, I think it should be reminded of the fact that for over ten years it has opposed in principle any legislation of this kind.
During those ten years I have introduced Bills against racial discrimination very similar to the Bill now before the House; and they have been persistently obstructed by a group of Conservative Members in the House of Commons. One might dismiss that as the obstruction of a minority; but in discussions which I have had with the leaders of the Conservative party, with Mr. Macleod and Mr. Selwyn Lloyd in particular, they have objected to legislation against racial discrimination on the grounds of principle. I can refer to that fact publicly because they have not only said that to me in discussion but have said it in the House of Commons. They have put forward the extraordinary argument that since our Statutes do not include any reference to race or colour, to have a measure which makes racial discrimination illegal is to give recognition to race or colour. They have also argued that legislation is of no value in this field and that it is entirely a matter of education—to this I will refer later. Therefore, facing the Opposition, they will 1043 understand how grateful I am that today, after ten years, the Opposition has retreated from that view and is not going to oppose on Second Reading the Bill that is now before the House.
My Lords, we have to face the fact that there is probably a greater feeling about race and colour in this country than in any other European country. I have often asked myself why that should be so. In part, it may be a sequence of the Imperial authority of this country, an assumption that we had the right to govern and administer peoples of other races and colours all over the earth. However, I do not think that can be the only reason. There have been empires of France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, yet one does not find among those people the same racial prejudice that is so often encountered in this country. I suppose that the real historical reason is the insular position of our islands.
I am going to discipline myself and not speak, except for a few sentences, in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and the noble Lord, Lord Elton. I would, however, just say this to the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. Of course it is true that all through the history of mankind a sense of strangeness has caused prejudice. It began between tribes. It went on to wider areas. It became intensified when there was difference of race, in the pigment of the skin or in the features of the face. But I suggest to the noble Lord that he is quite wrong when he says that because that prejudice has existed in the past, it must necessarily exist in the future. We are now living in a smaller world in which we are intermingling. I doubt whether there is a Member of this House who does not claim among his personal friends people of a different race or colour. There are students from Asian, African and Caribbean countries, thousands of them, at our universities; and there are thousands at the universities of Europe and of America. They are proving the possession of an equal ability with white students, and between the students there is no racial feeling at all.
In the United Nations we now have representatives of every race and every colour, and they are proving in their 1044 representation an equality of capacity, and a greater ability to understand the new and wider world in which we are living than some of the representatives of our own territories have shown in the past. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, that we are now living in a new world, and that in it all the forces of progress, every historical contribution to the future, must tend to break down racial differences and not seek to maintain them.
I welcome the fact that in this Bill there are provisions for conciliation, because the main purpose of every one of us must be to discourage discrimination and expand the sense of racial solidarity and friendship; and not merely to punish or penalise those guilty of discrimination. Experience in America and Canada shows how valuable this conciliation machinery can be in overcoming discrimination. I was in Canada last week and I spoke to those responsible for the quite extraordinary human rights code which is in practice in Ontario. The conciliation procedure adopted there has meant that in less than 2 per cent. of the cases reported to the Commission was it necessary subsequently to have recourse to the law. All of us will wish that every possible effort to bring about racial co-operation by understanding and conciliation will be taken to the furthest possible point before sanctions and penalities are imposed.
I listened with great interest to the speech of the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Coventry. Of course he was perfectly correct; this problem cannot be solved by legislation. It can be solved only by education, by experience and by an acceptance of the ethic which is supremely expressed in the Christian religion. Only then shall we be able to live in the brotherhood which recognises the sanctity of the human personality as above the colour of our skin or the race to which we belong. I suggest to the noble Lords that legislation can be an educational contribution if in their legislation nations adopt the principle of human equality. The very fact that they have done so will create a psychological climate among their people which will be responsive to that new conception.
I recognise at once that there must be limits to the scope of legislation. I suppose that the major sense of racial discrimination which those of a different 1045 race and colour have in this country, particularly students, is when they are declined lodgings in a private house because the landlady either objects herself to their presence in the house or says that other lodgers would object. I recognise that we have no right to ask a woman to take into her home anyone to whom she objects. To me that is a private sphere over which it would be wrong to legislate, and where one must depend upon education. But surely, my Lords, in all spheres of public resort, in all the spheres of normal social opportunities of life, education, employment, housing and the day-to-day provisions for enjoyment and security, we have the right to lay down that racial discrimination shall not be practised.
This weekend I attended a conference of the Campaign against Racial Discrimination. I was a little disappointed to hear their spokesmen express the view that this Bill is useless because it does not go far enough. As I shall indicate, I should myself have wished the Bill to go further, yet I do not take the view that it is useless. I take the view emphatically that it is of enormous value that we should lay down the principle of racial equality in our legislation. I hope that, having laid down this principle in a first Bill, we may be able, after a year, or maybe a few years, to review its operation, find where it is inadequate, find the mistakes that may be within it, and, having begun upon the course of declaring for human equality, expand that until we express it in the fullest way.
Nevertheless, I think that the spokesmen for the Campaign against Racial Discrimination are justified in saying that this Bill does not meet many instances of racial discrimination. I spoke just now of the normal social opportunities of life. I should put education first. I think that all of us should take pride in the fact that, in our schools under public authorities. both teachers and educational authorities seek to educate children together, whatever their race or whatever their colour. But I believe that we have to go a little further than that. We have to extend this principle to private schools. We have to ask that in no schools in this country shall racial discrimination be practised. I know of one public school, for example, which places a limit upon the number of Jews among its pupils. This is not only 1046 an issue of colour and race. Everyone is aware that anti-Semitism has been rife, and we must give some protection.
Incidentally, may I say to the Minister that I very much regret the proposal which is now being made under the Ministry of Education to limit to thirty the number of coloured children in a school? I appreciate the difficulties in teaching children who do not know English, and that special steps have to be taken; but to segregate children on the ground of race and colour and send them to different schools is surely an acceptance of the very principle of segregation against which this Bill is to operate.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, with regard to what the noble Lord has just said, I think that it is fair to say that my right honourable friend has not sent out any mandatory instructions on this point. He simply sent out advice, and whether or not local education authorities follow it will depend on local circumstances.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I thank my noble friend. I did not mean to misrepresent the facts. I am glad to know that a number of education authorities, including the London Education Authority, have rejected this suggestion.
The Campaign against Racial Discrimination also regrets the fact that there is no reference in the Bill to employment. A number of firms decline to accept coloured workers. The managers at the employment exchanges are put in a position of great difficulty. They do not want to discriminate. I think it is unfair that they should have to say to a worker who happens to be coloured that there is a vacancy at a certain firm, if they know very well that at that firm he will be refused a job because he is coloured. In my view, the Bill ought to relate to employment. It ought also to relate to promotion within industry. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, referred to the possibility of second-class citizens being developed in this country. There is a great danger of that in the sphere of employment. If we take the woollen industry in Yorkshire, where the sons of English mill workers are declining to work at night time because of the heat, the noise and nightwork, that work is being done almost entirely by Pakistanis. We have to be careful that in industry 1047 we do not develop, on the basis of race and colour, a second-class citizenship. This is tremendously important at this moment, because now, for the first time, we are beginning to have the children of the immigrant population leaving school, and already, in certain towns, we are getting reports of the difficulties which they have in obtaining employment.
The third sphere which I regret the Bill does not cover is that of the original purchase of houses or leasing of houses through estate agents. I recognise that the Bill covers cases where a landlord has entered into a lease and the tenant subsequently wants to sub-let or pass on the lease, but it does not cover original purchases or leases. In the last year, I have heard of three cases of senior members of embassy staffs in London where the estate agent with the solicitor acting has agreed the sale of a house and then, when he discovered that the buyer was a coloured man, even though high on the staff in an embassy, has refused the house. Actually, in one case, a high officer of the United Nations was refused a house in similar circumstances. I regret that the Bill does not extend to that.
I also regret that the Bill does not cover insurance and credit facilities, which on occasion are refused to people because they are coloured. I regret that it even does not cover advertisements in local newspapers which say, "No coloured". I admit that there is some difficulty about this, because one does not want a coloured person to go to a house and then be informed that, because he is coloured, he cannot be admitted, but after careful consideration, I have come to the view that, from the point of view of public psychology, there is greater harm in having columns of notices in the newspapers week by week, particularly in the London suburbs, saying, "No coloureds wanted" than the effect of refusals to the individuals who knock on doors. My last regret is that clubs otherwise open to the public should be able to refuse a coloured person. I do not think we can apply this to private clubs of a special character or for a special purpose, but where a club is open to the general public I think that some action should be taken if it applies discrimination against coloured persons.
1048 I want to express one regret which goes beyond these factors of race—that is, that, unlike the Bills which I introduced, this Bill does not cover religious discrimination. There is a fear that discrimination may be practised—for example, against Jews—and may be justified on the ground of their religion rather than of their race. There is the possibility that this may be done against Moslems, who may be of Asian race. I especially regret that this Bill does not apply to Northern Ireland, because it is in Northern Ireland that religious discrimination is carried out in its most evil form. I do not think that there is any denying the overwhelming evidence, which has come to other Members of your Lordships' House, as well as myself, of local authorities, Protestant in character, which decline houses to those of the Catholic religion. It may be true that there are certain local authorities, Catholic in character, which refuse houses to Protestants. There is no doubt that religious discrimination is practised in the case of corporations and public bodies in Northern Ireland. My regret is that this Bill does not apply there.
I should like to say a word to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, who emphasised particularly the dangers of the clauses against incitement of hatred. I paused a long time before introducing in my own Bill a clause of that character, because I believe so tremendously in freedoms of speech and freedoms of writing. I eventually did so—and the clause in this Bill largely follows what was then done—because I came to the view that, just as it is possible to take proceedings against an individual for libelling and slandering another individual, so it ought to be justifiable to take action against an individual for slander against a whole group of people and a whole race. I would draw the attention of the noble Lord to the fact that this clause has been carefully drafted so that, before anyone can be prosecuted under it, there must be proof of intent to stir up hatred. I doubt whether the instances he gave would come under the clause as it is now drafted.
My Lords, those are the principal things I want to say about this legislation, but let me conclude by saying this. I believe that the adoption of this Bill will be a great step forward towards what is, 1049 after all, a fundamental human principle of life: that when a child is born it is not the pigment of the skin which makes that child sacred; it is the life within. Whatever be the pigment of the skin of any human being, it is its personality to which we must seek to give every opportunity and which we must develop. Only when we recognise the equality of us all shall we really be a human society. This Bill is a milestone in the advance of our country towards that full humanity which, after all, must be the aim and ideal of all of us.
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ LORD TWINING
My Lords, I am a little fearful at following the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, who for so long has been the champion of coloured people and a crusader against all forms of racial discrimination; but, despite his eloquence and deep sincerity, I am not, and never have been, entirely in agreement with his views. I, too, have spent a great part of my working life trying to establish good relations and to stamp out racial discrimination. To-day I am closely associated with several organisations which are working to the same end. I have always regarded the people I meet for their own worth, whatever their colour, be it white, black, brown or yellow. My approach has been one of human relations rather than of race relations. All my experience makes me feel that the real solution to the problem does not lie with legislation, but in the creation of a healthy public opinion.
It is about the contents of Clauses 1, 2 and 3 of this Bill that I have some doubts, though I recognise that conditions have somewhat changed during the last few years and some special situations have arisen. What, one may ask, is likely to be the effect of these clauses? What impact will they have on the problem? I have no doubt that at first, at least, they will be welcomed by the majority of coloured people in this country, who will regard the Bill as their charter. The Bill will also, no doubt, be well received in those countries of the Commonwealth from which our coloured immigrants and visitors are drawn. But unless the provisions of the Bill can be made effective, there will be disillusionment, and our sincerity will be called in question. Here the danger lies. I fear that the more effectively the provisions of this Bill are 1050 administered, the more will those of our people who are affected resent them; and this could lead to a worsening of race relations, and feelings could be exacerbated. We may expect that every device which can be thought up will be used to evade the provisions of these clauses, and the result could be the opposite of what is intended.
An important question is whether there has been a sufficiently close analytical survey of the problem. Recently, a limited survey was undertaken by the Institute of Race Relations, the results of which have been published under the title of Colour and the British Electorate. But I am unaware of any comprehensive survey having been sponsored officially. I feel that much could be done, and that more active and energetic steps could be taken to educate public opinion. It must be remembered, too, that the problem of race relations is a two-way traffic: it is not only that some of the citizens of this country are at fault, but that some of our visitors are far from blameless. A lot more could surely be done to educate them regarding the standards of conduct expected of them in this country. We should do well to see what steps have been taken in other countries to deal with the problem, often with greater success than here. I hope that efforts to educate public opinion will succeed, because I believe that if determined steps are taken in this direction the time should not be far distant when the necessity for such a measure as this should be as dead as the dodo.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ LORD SOMERS
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, said that he did not think this Bill was going to achieve very much. I feel that it will achieve something, and that the something is rather a mistake. I should like first to take up one thing which the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said. He spoke about religious discrimination, and he started of by referring to Jews and Moslems. I wonder whether the noble Lord is aware of the fact that throughout this country there are well-established synagogues, which are faithfully attended; that the same applies to Moslem mosques, the head of the organisation being at Working; and that practising Jews occupy some of the most distinguished posts in our country. I do not think it can be 1051 said that there is any kind of religious discrimination in this country when one sees this to be the case. And I am glad that there is not. This country has always enjoyed complete freedom to practise any form of religion.
§ LORD SOMERS
If you like to qualify that, I will say that Black Magic is illegal. But apart from that, I should think you can practise practically anything you like.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE EARL OF LONGFORD)
I think that some noble Lords will raise their eyebrows a little, not at the assertion about the present day, but at the assertion that it has always been so.
§ LORD SOMERS
It certainly has not always been so—the noble Earl is quite right there. But for a good many years—I should say a good many centuries—
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I wonder whether I may interrupt? I think I must have stated myself without clarity. I was not suggesting that there was discrimination of religion. I was suggesting that there is discrimination against Jews and discrimination against Asians, and that that discrimination—that is, in employment and in many other ways—might be justified on the ground of their religion rather than on their race, if religion is not included in the Bill.
§ LORD SOMERS
I should think that unlikely, since any discrimination which may exist against Jews—I know it exists in places—is certainly not on account of their religion, because it is chiefly against those who are not practising Jews. In any case, I will leave that.
More nonsense has been talked over this subject of race relations than practically any other subject. Personally, I am all in favour of integration and a healthy race relationship, but I do not think legislation is the way to achieve it. I have no objection to the coloured man as such. The best specimens of them are extremely admirable people. I remember my noble friend Lord Elton, when we were discussing this question a short time ago, saying—I hope I am quoting him accurately—that when he saw a coloured 1052 person in the street his first impulse was to go over and say a kindly word to him. I feel the same. In London to-day you see so many of these coloured people walking about the street, sometimes looking rather lonely, that one feels one wants to help them; but I do not think legislation is the way to do it.
I should like to tell your Lordships of an experience I had three weeks ago when I attended Matins in the Temple Church. Just opposite me was an African, a very fine looking man. He was in the pews reserved for barristers. He was so fine looking that I could hardly take my eyes off him. His face had, as it were, almost something of a saint in it, and the curious thing is that when we came out I found my wife had had the same impression. A man like that would be accepted by everybody. But all the 1 million immigrants who come into this country from abroad are not necessarily like that.
I am as much opposed to the colour bar as I am to any other bar, but I think one has to see this subject in perspective. The colour bar must go, most certainly. But one must remember that it has to go in both directions. Just look at Africa today, where the white man's rights are being gradually taken away from him. He is being chased out of the land; he is being deprived of any rights to sit on the legislative council; he is being deprived of even the right to vote in some countries, I think, though I would not swear to it. Yet we look upon that with a sort of bland indifference—that is all right when the Africans do it, but when we do it in our own country it is the most heinous sin. That is not a balanced view. If one is going to remove the colour bar it has to be removed in both directions. Some would say, of course, that that attitude in Africa is due to many years of subservience under the white man, but that is entirely false. If it had not been for the white man, they would still be living in the jungle. They owe a great deal to the white man, and the best of them appreciate it.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I hesitate to interrupt again, but could the noble Lord—I am really interested—name one African country where a white person who has residential qualifications is not allowed to vote, or is not allowed to become a member of the Legislature—one?
§ LORD SOMERS
I am afraid I cannot, because I have not enough knowledge. I am merely going on what I have read and what I have been told.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
My Lords, I really think the noble Lord should withdraw a remark which he cannot substantiate. The position of the white man in African countries is one of great importance and of some delicacy sometimes, and will not be improved by remarks of the character to which the noble Lord has seen fit to give utterance.
§ LORD SOMERS
Most certainly, as I cannot substantiate them, I am perfectly willing to withdraw them. I leave it to your Lordships to make your own decisions. Once the colour bar has been removed, however, there are plenty of other bars. You can have nasty specimens and rowdy hooligans of any race, be they coloured or white, and no proprietor of a place of entertainment wants to have such specimens within his premises. This, it seems to me, is just where the Bill fails. He can throw out a white man without any offence whatsover, if he considers that he is not suitable for his premises, but if he throws out a coloured man for exactly the same reasons he is liable under Clause 1 to be accused of racial discrimination. Under Clause 3, he is then obliged to go through a lengthy process of inquiry to find out whether or not he has offended in this way. My Lords, why should he have to do that? They are his own premises, and he is perfectly at liberty to throw out any offender of whatever colour. If it is legitimate to treat a white man in this way it should also be legitimate to treat a coloured man so, if one is going to abolish the colour bar in both directions.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, does not the noble Lord realise that this Bill would deal with the white person in exactly the same way as the coloured person? It is against discrimination on the ground of race, and it would apply to a white victim just as it would apply to a coloured victim.
§ LORD SOMERS
I quite agree in theory, but, on the other hand, who is to say whether he did it from racial discrimination or whether he did it simply because the man was making a nuisance of himself? If the coloured man claims 1054 that he did it on the grounds of racial discrimination, he can make things very difficult for the proprietor. Unfortunately, some of these coloured immigrants from abroad suffer from that painful disease known as a chip on the shoulder, and they are only too anxious to take offence on grounds of their colour where none is meant. I well remember a boy we used to have at Epsom College when I was teaching there. I believe he was the son of an African chief. As your Lordships know, boys all go through various patches of bad luck—they do not win a certain race, or they do not win a certain prize, and so on. The others took it in their stride, but his invariable complaint to his housemaster was, "This would not have happened if I had not been black." That was his opinion, but it was not true.
We all want equality of privilege, but we must also have equality of restriction and discipline. I remember well that when I lived in Kew some friends on the other side of the road had next door to them a house which had been bought by a large African family. I think there were about ten of them all told, and they used to have very noisy and lengthy parties which lasted into the small hours of the morning, and I remember our friends saying how they could look through the windows and see them lying out full length on the floor at about 2 o'clock in the morning. You may say that they are perfectly entitled to do that in their own house, but it is not pleasant to have to live next door to a family like that, and I take the opportunity to say this. If the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, is really sincere, he will go and rent a house in one of the immigrant districts for just a fortnight, and he will live there and see what it is like. I think that a fortnight would be enough, and I should be interested to hear his comments when he got back.
If there ever was a Bill to enforce racial discrimination it is this, since it gives the coloured man all the rights, privileges and pre-eminences from which the white man is debarred. As I said before, I am very much in favour of integration but I agree with the right reverend Prelate that legislation is not the way to bring it about. Voluntary social services, I am sure, provide the way in which we shall eventually solve this problem.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, I should like to tell my noble friend Lord Somers that when I was in a black republic a few years ago I was in a bar where, believe it or not, a black man was arrested for racial prejudice against a white man, so I really do not think the noble Lord is quite correct in everything he has said. I shall certainly not oppose this Bill, the motives of which are excellent; I only hope that they can be carried out. But, of course, we have to remember that we are legislating for human prejudices, many of them caused by ignorance. We have had these prejudices for thousands of years. I remember that three years ago we had a Bill in this house, originated I think, by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, and introduced here by the noble Lord, Lord Walston. Of course, the case is not quite parallel, but I remember on that occasion saying it was rather like trying to introduce legislation to ensure that all men between the ages of 20 and 30 prefer blondes and all those between 30 and 40 prefer brunettes.
The great point about this Bill is that it sets a good example, and that is extremely important. The other good thing about it is that, owing to the machinery of the conciliation committees, it will probably help the different races in this country to understand one another. If the Bill had come to your Lordships' House as originally drafted, I should have voted against it, because I understand that racial discrimination was going to be made a criminal offence, which I think would have been very wrong. However, under the present proposals, one would have to be a very persistent offender ever to be taken to court, and in any case the action would be a civil one.
I should now like to mention two clauses over which I find some difficulty. Perhaps the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will be able to help me. To take first Clause 1(2)(a), in the South-East of England, which I know best of all, in the hop-picking and fruit-picking time we have a great many gypsies who come to pick the fruit and help with the hops; and quite a few of the pubs have a sign up saying "No gypsies". I should like to know whether if a publican put up such a notice he would be infringing 1056 the law under this Bill. Are our gypsies a separate race? Can it be said that they are of a separate ethnic origin? The trouble, as I see it, is that there are the Romany gypsies who can be called a genuine race, but, on the other hand, there are a great many other gypsies who are really vagrants imitating gypsy ways. Do the latter come under the term "gypsy"? For instance, if a publican puts up a notice saying, "No tinkers", would he be infringing the law?
While talking about publicans, I would add that there is no doubt at all that this Bill is going to be onerous on publicans. I have often been in a public house, as perhaps the majority of your Lordships have been, although perhaps some have not, and I know that if one is in a bar on a Saturday night just before closing time there are perhaps a hundred or two hundred people present, with possibly a few wild Irishmen and perhaps two or three Jamaicans, all very excited, and possibly one or two Pakistanis. When the barman shouts "Time, Gentlemen!" there is always a rush for drinks and it could happen that, through no fault of the barman, perhaps a Jamaican would not get his last drink. He might then get excited and "cut up rough", and then if the barman told him to leave, or had him removed, the Jamaican might lay a complaint against him. Conversely, under this Bill, if the barman had a rowdy Jamaican—I am sorry to keep on mentioning Jamaicans, but it is only because I happen to have a quite extensive experience of Jamaica—to deal with he might be frightened to evict him for fear of having a complaint laid. In any event, it seems to me that this Bill will make it very hard for publicans. As it is, they have a tough job to maintain order.
My other point is with regard to hotel keepers. We are rather inclined to imagine in this Bill that it is only white people who show intolerance, who show racial discrimination. But consider, say, a Mohammedan hotel keeper in this country. Of course, he will presumably object to having Hindus in his hotel. But under this Bill he has to do so. We are rather legislating against religious customs here, and I should have thought it was an extremely difficult thing to do. There is no doubt, of course, that this does take a freedom from a hotel proprietor; it takes his freedom to choose 1057 his customers, whom he allows into his hotel. But perhaps by taking away that freedom we are bringing in a greater freedom, so maybe it is all right.
The other clause that I am extremely worried about, as was my noble friend Lord Derwent, is Clause 5, which refers to discriminatory restrictions on the disposal of tenancies. The point I should like to get the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor to explain to me, as I am sure nobody else can, is when is a dwelling-house not a dwelling-house. For instance, is a dwelling-house a block of flats, because if a dwelling-house is not a block of flats I would prefer to have the word "dwelling-house" taken out of this Bill. To me a dwelling-house is a house built for private use; in other words, a private house. But the house has perhaps been divided into four or five flats; I think the correct description is "twilight houses". It is perfectly true that if you are going to share bathrooms and lavatories and kitchens you are going to have a great deal of trouble, if you are going to have different races with different habits sharing these amenities. I do really think it will probably make more racial hatred if you force people to share kitchens when they have completely different eating habits, as, of course, have the Hindu and the Mohammedan, or the Mohammedan and Christian. With some peoples you have only to have the shadow of a Christian fall on their food and it is unclean.
In this clause I cannot understand this—it appears to be rather hypocritical to me. Apparently a landlord or the person holding the lease is entitled to refuse to share with another tenant if he does not want to, but apparently a sub-tenant cannot refuse. Why is that? Surely you cannot make one law for the landlord and one law for the tenant regarding racial discrimination. I cannot understand that. But I can quite understand, if it is impossible to differentiate a dwelling-house from a block of flats, why we have to have dwelling-houses in. But it is surely within the scope of the law to differentiate between dwelling-houses and blocks of flats, so that dwelling-houses do not come under this Bill.
I should like to back up my noble friend Lord Derwent in his remarks on Clause 6, because I quite agree one can easily legislate regarding documents, 1058 written propaganda, of a racial nature; you can perfectly well legislate against that. But if you are going to legislate against the spoken word you are going to get very tied up, I think, and it is an imposition on freedom of speech. I should have thought that the existing law to maintain public order is quite sufficient in that respect. Having said that, I will just say that I hope that the Bill does some good. As I said, I am quite sure the conciliation committees are an excellent idea; and of course the Racial Relations Board will have to be very knowledgeable as to how they choose the local people to sit on these committees, because a great deal of the power for good of these conciliation committees will obviously rest on the type of person on them. Having said that, I should like to welcome the Bill; but I hope that if a dwelling-house can be separated from a block of flats it will be done on Committee stage, because I see great danger, having travelled extensively in different places, if different races share extremely personal amenities such as cooking facilities. I welcome the Bill, subject to these remarks.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ LORD ROYLE
My Lords, I am quite sure that the noble Viscount will not expect me to follow him, at this stage in the debate, on the many points he has raised. But I am quite sure your Lordships would desire me to say how we have appreciated his study of the Bill and the very interesting points he has brought out. I found some of them, particularly his reference to the gypsies, most entertaining. Again, at this stage, I do not want to weary your Lordships by delivering the impassioned speech that I expected I might deliver in view of my interest in the Second Reading of this Bill; but because I have had some associations with the West Indies and with its people who are in this country, perhaps I might be forgiven for occupying two or three minutes at the end of this debate.
I want to say, first of all, that I welcome the Bill pretty well along the same lines as my noble friend Lord Brockway and the right reverend Prelate do. These are matters which have occupied my mind for many, many years, and I am happy indeed to see that, after the great efforts that have been made in days gone by by my noble friends Lord Sorensen and Lord 1059 Brockway in another place, we have reached this stage of a Bill of this kind.
First of all I want to express my deep regret that there has ever been a need for this Bill. I do not believe that it is of any credit to our nation that we have even to think of legislation along these lines and, in effect, legislation along the lines which has had to be introduced in the United States as the days have gone by. With my noble friend Lord Simey I had always believed that the way to solve this problem was by education; but it is difficult to know how to apply education. I had hoped through the years that our people would see sense in this matter and would realise the importance of the subject of discrimination, and that they themselves would have made it impossible that we should even be thinking in these days in terms of legislation with regard to race relations. After all, the victims of race discrimination are, in the main, our Commonwealth brethren, or people who have joined us in days gone by, it may be as a result of persecution in their own country, or, on the other hand, people who are not strictly of our blood. The obvious question in that regard is what breed each of us in your Lordships' House can actually claim, when we remember the long history of blood mixing in the United Kingdom.
But the situation has to be faced. We failed to do what we wanted to do by education and understanding. Therefore at this stage I believe it is necessary that we should introduce legislation on the matter. It is because of the existing situation that I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Derwent—he can take all the credit he likes for it—that conciliation is the way to deal with the problem. I do not care who takes the credit. This is the right way to do it, and anything in the way of prosecution must be only the last resort. Therefore we are approaching this matter in the right way at this time.
I believe that this is a good Bill; but I am with my noble friend Lord Brockway in the view that it is not sufficiently comprehensive. It may easily leave many loopholes for some of the people who indulge in discrimination. Briefly and quickly, I think of travel agencies and of private employment agencies—they come to mind at once—of shops, 1060 and maybe particularly hairdressing establishments. I am terribly worried because employment is not mentioned in the Bill. I believe that at some time or other it must be put into this kind of legislation, because any of us who knows anything about, and mixes freely with the immigrants, knows the great difficulties that they have to cope with in regard to employment in certain sections of industry.
We hear many cases of immigrants. particularly coloured immigrants, being refused insurance cover on all manner of things—their lives or their property. As a building society director, I sincerely hope that it does not apply to many building societies, but I know of cases where mortgages have been refused absolutely on the ground of colour. I think this is a deplorable situation. On the question of tenancies and leases, which comes later, I feel that the Bill leaves much to be desired. This is the last thing I want to talk about at this stage. I am wondering whether my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack can help me in my views on this matter. I feel that Clause 5, which deals with tenancies and leases, leaves much to be desired as at present drafted and that a great deal of doubt exists. For example, as I read the Bill and try to think about it, it would, in my view, be possible for a clause to be inserted in the deeds of property stating, "No Negroes", "No coloured people". I fear also that the Bill does not apply to freeholds. The freehold question does not seem to be sufficiently covered within the terms of the Bill. I hope that my noble and learned friend in a word or two may give me some assurance, or may express some view on the matter; otherwise I feel that I shall have seriously to consider putting down an Amendment on the Committee stage of the Bill.
I had intended to say a good deal about incitement, but I realise that your Lordships have had quite a debate on this subject. The other matter that I should really have loved to "go to town" on was what I can only call the reactionary speeches from three parts of your Lordships' House to-day. I restrain myself. I feel that my noble friend Lord Brockway has fully dealt with that reaction. I would conclude by saying that I sincerely hope that that spirit departed 1061 from our country many years ago. It may well be that one of the speeches, at least, would have been popular about 140 years ago; but to-day I believe that the British people do not think like that. I welcome the Bill as it stands, with enthusiasm.
§ 6.7 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD GARDINER)
My Lords, in replying to this debate may I first apologise on behalf of my noble friend Lord Stonham, who has asked me to say that as he has to represent the Home Office at another function he is unable to stay for the conclusion of the interesting discussion that we have had. I am grateful for the general reception which this Bill has received, and, speaking about it as a whole, such criticisms as have been made seem to me to be about equally divided between those who think that it goes too far and those who think that it does not go far enough; and that perhaps should encourage the Government to feel that, on the whole, they are probably about right.
As your Lordships know, this Bill deals really with two different things: incitement to racial hatred and discrimination. If I may deal first with incitement to racial hatred, there has been relatively little criticism of Clauses 6 and 7. I am sure that we all regret that in this country it should ever have been necessary to legislate against intentional incitement to racial hatred. But in the circumstances in which we now live, the law would be defective if it did not provide against it.
The noble Lord, Lord Derwent, first of all expressed the view that there was little to be said against the Bill, and he seemed to be rather disappointed about that. Then he said that he thought there would be circumstances in which this clause would be misused, and, if I followed him rightly, there was a case of two people in a taxi and, when somebody was fumbling about for money, rather reluctantly, or as a joke, the other said, "You are a bloody Jew". In the first place, a taxi is not a public meeting or a public place, and so the clause would not apply at all. It is always possible to find some silly sort of example to take. But, in any event, in that case the other man did not mean to incite hatred against Jews, and nobody would have 1062 taken any proceedings. The clause applies only where two circumstances obtain: first, that the words are likely to incite racial hatred, and, secondly, that the person who is charged intended them to do so. If there is any doubt after all that, there is the safeguard that no prosecution can be undertaken without the consent of the Attorney General.
It is precisely because experience has shown that our existing laws are deficient that it is necessary to have a provision of this kind. At the moment this sort of law depends on two things. First of all, if you can bring it under the law of sedition, the stirring up of groups of Her Majesty's subjects to violence is an indictable offence. But that means a jury, and it is difficult to get juries to convict because they have to be satisfied that violence would take place. The other, although a lesser offence, is where one has to prove that it was likely to cause a breach of the peace. That also is not easy. Therefore, I would suggest that if, under our law, it is not unlawful deliberately to incite to racial hatred, it certainly, however regretfully, ought to be.
§ LORD DERWENT
May I interrupt the noble and learned Lord? Surely if the language used is sufficiently severe to come under that clause, it is likely to cause a breach of the peace. I should have thought that in almost every circumstance that would be so.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
A breach of the peace really means that actual violence takes place. This is not necessarily the effect of somebody's inciting to violence. Under our existing law you could spend a great deal of money placarding every place in a relatively small area saying "Niggers, go home", and it would be difficult under the existing law to prove that there was any offence; whereas under this Bill, if it were established that the acts were intended to cause racial hatred, and were likely to do so, that would be sufficient.
§ LORD DERWENT
I am sorry to interrupt again, but I want to try to get the point right, and it may save time at the next stage. If you placarded a place, that would come under subsection (1)(a), publishing the matter, would it not? That is where I find it difficult to see why it is necessary to have a new law.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
In regard to words at public meetings, the same is true. There are things which I hope would not be allowed to be said under this Bill, but so long as it is necessary to prove that they are likely to lead to physical violence there is in practice difficulty at present in getting a conviction.
The noble Lord, Lord Elton, did not exactly welcome the Bill. He thought that everywhere throughout history there was always resentment against immigrants. To some extent, of course, that may be so. I should not have thought that it was so in France.
§ LORD ELTON
My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt, but I did not intend to say that. Having just read my speech through in the Office of Hansard, I know I certainly did not say that. I did not say that all through history people had resented immigrants. I was once a professional historian.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am sorry that I misunderstood the noble Lord, because I thought that my noble friend Lord Brockway spent some time in answering that argument.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Then the noble Lord, Lord Elton, thought that Clause 6 was an invasion of free speech. Of course, here one has to hold the balance between the desirability of protecting free speech (and I suppose that I have been known as a fanatic about free speech all my life) and ensuring that such limits as are required are placed on it. No doubt at the end of the day this is a matter of opinion. I was not sure whether the noble Lord was saying—here again I may have misunderstood him—that the Tories could win the next Election on racial prejudice but that this Bill might interfere with it, or words to that effect. But I may have misunderstood him.
§ LORD ELTON
My Lords, I am sorry; I must have made myself extremely obscure on this point. What I said was that, just as various people had been afraid to talk immigration during the Election, so the Tory Party itself had thrown away the chance of 1064 winning the Election simply because it did not talk about immigration, which would probably have won it those few extra seats which it needed, owing to the unpopularity of the Labour Party's opposition to the 1962 Act.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I can assure the noble Lord that if the Tories want to run the next Election on immigration, there is nothing in this Bill to stop them, provided that what they are saying is not said with the deliberate object of inciting to racial hatred.
The noble Lord, Lord Twining, said that there might be devices to evade this clause; but, with respect, in view of its terms I should not have thought that that was so. He finally said that the ultimate answer to this whole problem is really the education of public opinion. I am quite sure that we should all agree with that. Still on Clause 6, the noble Lord, Lord Somers, said that the Bill gave privileges to coloured people that white people had not got. Of course, it would be quite possible, under Clause 6 of the Bill, to have a prosecution of a black person for inciting to hatred against white people.
On the question of discrimination, the noble Lord, Lord Derwent, said that there had been a Government change of mind. It is rather difficult to please some people. There arc occasions in which it is complained that the Government will not allow anything in a Bill to be changed and that they have not got sufficiently receptive minds to be able to take advantage of the good ideas which other people put forward. Then, if they do change their minds because of what they have heard, the complaint is that they have changed their minds. The noble Lord also complained that the Bill did not provide an answer to the housing shortage. It is quite true that it does not provide an answer to the housing shortage—or do anything about sending a satellite to the moon. But this is not, if I may say so without offence, the object of the Bill.
Then there was the case of the two Hindu tenants. I think that there is some misunderstanding about this. This Bill does not deal with housing. It is a matter of criticism among some of my noble friends that it does not deal with housing; but it does not, except only 1065 that where a landlord has granted a lease and somebody wants to assign it the landlord's consent is not to be refused simply because the proposed assignee is of a particular colour. The exclusion of dwelling-houses altogether would defeat the purpose of the Bill, because there is little evidence of discrimination in business premises. As I understand the suggestion, it was that the proviso should apply to cases where the accommodation is shared with another tenant just as much as where it is shared with the landlord. This is to misconceive the justification for the proviso. It is not intended to condone the sort of prejudice which would lead a person to object to sharing a kitchen with, for instance, a coloured person. It simply recognises the principle that a landlord is entitled to some choice as to whom he should accept into his own home and share his own accommodation with, however irrational or misguided his choice may be thought to be. This right cannot be held to extend to a tenant occupying under contract premises which are not his own. However, if and when the noble Lord puts down a clause we shall no doubt consider it carefully.
The noble Lord, Lord Milverton—who was courteous enough to tell me that he has to be elsewhere, and therefore perhaps I need not reply to what he said at length—had none of the enthusiasm for the Bill which was displayed by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry. He asked, "Do immigrants really want to give up their own way of life for an alien one?" So far as West Indians, for example, are concerned, they look upon us as the mother country. Their language is English; they wear the same sort of clothes as we do, though they may not be so expensive; they eat the same sort of food as we eat. To-day I was talking to the High Commissioner for Trinidad—not at all about this Bill, but about a point affecting justice—and he was telling me that his No. 2 is a white man, that they went to school together, that they play games together, that they worship at the same church and that they belong to the same clubs. It is quite obvious to me that in Trinidad, where I have been myself, there is no colour bar of any kind at all. Even with marriage—West Indians, Chinese, and Africans—there is no sense of colour bar. When West Indians come here, they 1066 encounter their first experience of there being such a thing as a colour bar, because they have never experienced it before.
My noble friend Lord Brockway thought that the Bill ought to go further than it does in dealing with purchases of freeholds and insurance credit facilities, and in regard to its extension to Northern Ireland, and I can appreciate some thinking that it ought to go further. In relation to what my noble friend and other noble Lords have said, I think that the Bill is quite right not to deal with either housing or employment. Employment, for example, is a very difficult question which varies so much everywhere. It is by no means always the employer who is the difficulty; not infrequently it is the other employees. It depends on the particular place; it depends very often on the particular factory. A great deal is being done in this field by the Ministry of Labour and by the trade unions, and on the whole I think it is very much better left to them. Of course, in relation to employment, if later on when we have our local conciliation committees they appear to he a success in the fields in which they are to start, it may be that we shall find it useful to extend them to employment.
Until the appointment of our friend Mr. Foley, we have never dealt with the whole problem of integration nationally. If we are going to have local conciliation committees and a central board, then for the first time we shall have a central body which will have its ears all over the country. It will really know how the situation in one place compares with the situation in another place and why one particular conciliation committee appears to be more successful than another. It is not a bad English plan to start a thing off without trying to take on too much at first.
So far as Northern Ireland is concerned, we cannot, in accordance with our constitutional arrangements with Northern Ireland, include them in this Bill against their will. They have said that they do not wish to be included in it.
The noble Lord, Lord Somers, rightly said that the Bill will not integrate, and that it is impossible to stop colour feeling, but it may be possible by legislation of this kind to prevent it getting worse. Then the noble Lord was worried about 1067 the brewers. I do not think he need be worried about the brewers, or feel that they have anything to worry about. As it is at the moment, of course, anybody who thinks he has been discriminated against can object at the brewster sessions to renewal of a licence. If he were a coloured man, and was alleging discrimination against him, the first thing he would be asked would be: "Have you been to the conciliation committee?" I should think, if anything, that a licensee would be in a better position than he is now, and I am sure that nobody will find himself anywhere near a court unless there is a persistent course of conduct. Obviously, the conciliation committees will be as anxious as anyone to achieve their object and to effect conciliation.
Lastly, but by no means least, the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, spoke about gypsies. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary was asked in another place about the gypsies, and he gave a very cautious answer, saying that it would be a matter for the interpretation of the courts. I am perhaps being somewhat venturesome in saying that I should have thought that gypsies were probably an ethnic group, and that if some licensee put up a notice saying "No gypsies of any kind, however well-behaved and however respectable" there might be some difficulty.
So far as hotels are concerned, it has of course always been the law that what is called a public inn is under an obligation to take in everybody: they cannot choose. Therefore, so far as the Sikh owner of the hotel is concerned, either he is running a common inn—which you always know, because by Statute the licensee must put up a notice—or it is a private hotel. If it is the former, he is in the same position as he was in before; if it is the latter, the Bill will not apply to him. It has been held that a block of flats can be a dwelling-house, but this is not a Bill to force anybody to share a kitchen. My noble friend Lord Royle, as well as other noble Lords, wished that the Bill had applied to housing in general, but, as I have said, after careful consideration and for many reasons the Government thought that was not practicable. If the Bill, when it becomes an 1068 Act, does well and appears to work well, and if the local conciliation committees are successful, then no doubt an opportunity may arise when we should consider the desirability of extending it to the fields of housing and employment.
I am sorry that I have omitted to say anything about the interesting speech of the noble Lord, Lord Wade. I am sure he will not mind my saying that it was primarily directed to the problem which is behind all this; to the whole question of both immigration and integration. If I may say so, I agree with almost all that he said, and if I have not replied to his speech it is because we had in March a long debate on immigration. I am sure that when we meet again we shall all want to discuss the very interesting White Paper which is rather tantalisingly coming out just after this Bill, instead of before it. I regret this very much, because I should have liked to discuss this Bill in relation to this policy. Unfortunately, the Mountbatten Commission reported only in the middle of June. The Government lost no time, but of course the Home Office have had to consider their views; the White Paper has bad to be written, and so on. But so far as this Bill is concerned, I am grateful to your Lordships for the consideration which you have given to it, and I hope I am right in supposing that as about half of your Lordships think that it goes too far, and the other half think that it does not go far enough, it is probably, in the usual English way, just about right.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.