HL Deb 29 February 1968 vol 289 cc917-1217

3.30 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill be now read a second time. As your Lordships know, there are questions of policy behind this Bill on which honest people take differing views. I have to explain those and also, of course, explain to the House the contents of the Bill. I think it will be easier to consider the questions of policy when we are all clear about exactly what the Bill does. The Bill does two things. First, it imposes immigration control on a number of people for whom control does not now exist, and secondly it increases the Home Secretary's powers over the procedures of control.

May I deal with the latter first? It imposes additional restraints by inserting a section into the Commonwealth Immigration Act 1962. So perhaps I should start by reminding the House what that Act does. It is the 1962 Act, and as a matter of history when it was passed it applied to Asian Commonwealth subjects in Kenya. Under that Act, the immigration officer can admit or refuse, and can impose conditions as to length of stay or as to employment. The controls do not apply to those who have diplmatic immunity, to members of the Commonwealth Armed Forces, to a person born here, to a person holding a United Kingdom passport issued here or in Ireland, or who holds a United Kingdom passport and is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

Entry cannot be refused to a person who is, or has been within two years, ordinarily resident here, or a person with an entry voucher, or a bona fide student coming here to undergo an educational course, or a person who can financially support himself, or a wife or child under 16 of a resident, or who accompanies one who is allowed to come in, except that entry is not permitted, first, to a person convicted of a crime which is an extradition crime; secondly, to a person un- desirable on medical grounds; and thirdly, to a person who is undesirable on grounds of national security. I have mentioned children. A child under that Act includes stepchild, adopted child and illegitimate child. Lastly, the immigration officer may examine the immigrant—that does not mean a physical examination; it means asking him questions—he can examine his documents at any time within 24 hours, and the immigrant—not his wife or children—may be medically examined.

These controls have been found in practice since 1962 to be inadequate in the following respects. First of all, clandestine entry is not an offence. Most people are very surprised to hear that. It is for aliens, but it has not been for Commonwealth citizens. Under this Bill it will be an offence to enter without examination by an immigration officer. Next there is to be a change in relation to children. At the moment about 8,500 vouchers a year are issued. They Are not all taken up. What has risen very much has been the number of children coming in—and this will interest the noble Lord, Lord Elton, who has always maintained that it is a fatal mistake to allow those who settle here to bring all their dependants at any future time. In 1965 there were 24,000 children, in 1966, 26,000, and in 1967, 35,000. Altogether, in 1967, 58,000 immigrants in all came in, and as a matter of interest 19,000 were from India, 18,000 from Pakistan, 12,000 from the West Indies, and there were 7,000 others.

The Government have always thought—and, if I may say so, I entirely agree—that we have been right to say that anyone who is allowed in may either bring with him or have subsequently reside here his family. I can understand the attitude: "It is all very well to have a man who is going to do some work, but to have his wife and children here, too, only adds to our problems without our getting any benefit from it." I do not think that is right or humane. The unit on which most civilisations are planned is the family, and we have always thought that this is right.

I suppose we are all affected by our own experience. I remember being shown round some native townships outside Johannesburg by a very kind South African official—being white I could not have got there if he had not done so—and I remember a large building for contract men who come in from the country. They are bound to leave their wives and children for a year or two years. There was a little room with a wooden table, a wooden bed and a wooden chair; and the whole place was completely surrounded by barbed wire. I said: "These men go out to work. Why do they have to be shut in with barbed wire?". He said to me: "That is not to keep the men in; that is to keep small boys out." I think that, even from the point of view of our own population, it is not a good thing to have large numbers of men who are in fact married but are separated from their wives and children.

But one difficulty has arisen, and it is this. The children are allowed in up to the age of 16. The social service organisations have drawn attention to the very large numbers coming, particularly from Pakistan, at 14 and 15. Their mothers do not come. They live often in crowded conditions in an all-male household. The father may be on night shift, and the children may be on the day shift. Accordingly, we are restricting entry to those who have both parents living here or whose only parent is living here. Under the existing controls there are a large number of miscellaneous circumstances, infinitely variable, which nobody could possibly put into an Act of Parliament, for which the immigration officer has discretion to allow. But that is intended to be the broad rule.

Your Lordships may remember that on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, on November 28 last, the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, mentioned this. He said at column 74: If large numbers are coming in at the age of 13, 14 and 15 they are going to have but little chance of passing through a British school education, which I trust that all the younger children of immigrants will have, and will move almost at once into the labour market. They are in fact coming in as workers rather than as children. Then he said: I am quite sure that we should continue to admit freely dependants who are genuine dependants—wives unquestionably, and children who are coming here to join their parents and to be educated in British schools. But I am not at all sure that we ought to admit so freely those children who are coming at an age when they are really ceasing to be children and are passing almost at once into the labour market. I feel also that we owe a considerably greater obligation to those children whose mothers are in this country than we do to those whose mothers are in their country of origin and are intending to stay there, because by admitting the latter group of children we certainly shall not be creating the sort of family units that it is our general desire to see, if it is the intention of the family to remain permanently divided. That, of course, is true. We are not really uniting the family; we are merely dividing them in a different way. That is the reason why this provision is in this Bill.

Then there was an extra statutory discretion whereby very old parents who have retired, in poor circumstances, with a son who has established himself here and who would like to have them here to live with him, could come in if they were over 60. It is proposed to increase that age to 65 simply because an awful lot of fathers have been arriving, looking about 50 but saying they are 60. They at once go and get a job, and that is not really the purpose for which that provision is made. Then, at the moment there are not conditions of entry for dependants, and it is sought in this Bill to make it possible to impose conditions of entry for dependants.

The sort of situation which arises is this. A student, who may have a wife and child, is coming here to undergo a course of instruction of twelve months. He has been accepted by whatever the educational course is; and when it is over he, of course, has to go home. But he says, "My wife and child have decided to stay here, and you cannot do anything about them, because there was no power to impose a twelve months' condition on them. So, while I have to go, because it was a condition I should stay for only a twelve months' course, you are going to split a family." It seems absurd, if conditions can apply to someone like that, that conditions cannot be made similarly for the dependants he brings with him.

At the moment, the period for examination by an immigration officer is only twenty-four hours; and if an immigrant is not returned within twenty-four hours, then he cannot be. Nobody knows, I think, why so short a period was chosen, and the Bill makes it twenty-eight days. Then, lastly, there has recently been an increase of deliberate smuggling of immigrants. Accordingly the Bill makes the smuggling of immigrants by those who operate aircraft or ships an offence. Those, in short, are the additional immigration regulations which the Bill will insert in the 1962 Act.

If I were sitting somewhere else in the House and was simply told this, I should say at this point, "What about the Wilson's Committee Report?" because, with many others, I fought, I suppose for twenty years, first to try to secure that complaints by the public against policemen are decided by somebody other than the police; and, secondly, that disputes by immigrants against a decision of an immigration officer on matters which mean so much to them should be heard by somebody other than the Home Office. There are a lot of appeals to the Home Office from the decisions of immigration officers. I know the Home Office deal with those appeals most conscientiously and, no doubt, according to the best of their judgment. But this is, in effect, an appeal from the Home Office to the Home Office, and I have always thought that there ought to be an outside Committee, even if it was only advisory, to whom immigrants could appeal. So I was naturally very glad when the Government appointed the Committee of which Sir Roy Wilson was Chairman; and when they reported the Government said they were going to accept the Report.

Now we were going to have this Session what we might call a package deal, a Bill which, on the one hand, would provide for the additional regulation of immigrants to which I have just referred, and, on the other hand, would implement the Wilson Committee's Report. Like a great many. I expect, I should very much have liked to see the recommendations of the Wilson Committee implemented in this Bill. There are several reasons why that is not being done. The first is that there simply is not time. The recommendations of the Wilson Committee set up quite a complicated appeal machinery. They were strongly against appeals to the courts, but they are going to have at every port adjudicators, and if the decision of the immigration officer is challenged the immigrant can appeal to an adjudicator. Then there is a further provision whereby either the Home Office or the immigrant can appeal, with the leave of the adjudicator, to a Committee, which was to be appointed by the Lord Chancellor. It is quite clear that this is a complex matter and could not possibly be done in time for this Bill.

In addition, there were two other reasons. The Government have pledged themselves not to increase the number of civil servants this year, and hive set a limit on their expenditure; and this would involve both. But although I do not think it can be this Session, we are still determined to implement the recommendations of the Wilson Committee as soon as we can. In this particular context what is really important is not to get appeals here; not to get the immigration officers work here, but to have it done in Kenya, for obvious reasons—we hope with the co-operation of the Government of Kenya. That is why immigration officers have already gone out. Sir Derek Hilton, a former President of the Law Society, and Mr. Trevor Reeve, Q.C., are, I think, prepared to leave tomorrow, and they will hear appeals on the spot from decisions of our immigration officers; and the Government have agreed to accept whatever their finding is.

I now come to Clause 1. Your Lordships will remember that in the 1965 White Paper this Government dealt with the whole history of immigration and gave the figures. Immigration was something comparatively recent in this country, so far, at all events, as coloured people are concerned. I mention coloured people because it is a feature of that which creates racial tension. It was not until 1955 that we had 42,000, that next year 46,000, and then, 42,000, 29,000 and 21,000. It was not until 1960 that we had 57,000, and then in 1961, 136.000, By the middle of 1962 it was 94,000; that is at the rate of 180,000 for that year. It was that that induced the then Government to introduce the Act of 1962.

One thing we have always maintained here is that we do not want No. 1 citizens and No. 2 citizens. This has its penalties, but we have always said the immigrant is here, and he is to be treated in exactly the same way as everybody else. This does not obtain in all countries, and the contrary may have its advantages. I do not know much about the Dutch system, but, as I understand it, they are not allowed to come until they can speak Dutch fluently. When they arrive they are put into camps to be trained in the Dutch way of life, none of the Indonesians is allowed to live next to another Indonesian, and I think their work is fairly controlled. Our view, which we have continued, I think, rightly to maintain, is that there is to be no distinction between citizens. But this means that they go where they like. It means that they tend to congregate together. They tend to live in houses alongside one another, and so we have the situation in which there are 10,000 immigrants only in the whole of Wales, and 10,000 in Huddersfield.

In the debate to which I have already referred, the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, who ought to know, as Home Secretary said this of the effect of the 1962 Act— I well remember, for instance, when I was Home Secretary how I used to get reports from the police in different parts of the country about the potentiality or the actuality of racial tension; and after the 1962 Act had come into force the police in nearly all parts of the country said that the risks of racial tension were lessening because it was felt by the natives that they were not up against an absolutely overwhelming problem, now that a control over immigration was being exercised, and it was the intention, as they thought, of the authorities to limit the number of immigrants to that number which the country could successfully absorb. … It was when there was immigration of coloured persons on such a scale that it seemed impossible for those areas where they congregated to absorb them successfully into our national life that this problem really began to burn. My anxiety is to take as much of the heat out of it as can be taken."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28/11/67, col. 73.] I imagine that anybody with any experience of this problem would agree that it is one of degree, and that there is a rate of addition of immigrants, not only coloured immigrants but all immigrants, which makes the solving of racial conflict more and more difficult. Take a place like Huddersfield. Five years ago the percentage of immigrants in the schools was only 2 per cent. It then rose to 4 per cent., then 6 per cent., then 8 per cent.; now it is 10 per cent. and 12 per cent. in the primary schools. And as soon as one gets 60 per cent. in a class it is not simply a question of colour—because, thank goodness! children do not mind about colour. But if they can understand only half of what the teacher says, and he can understand only half of what they say, it is no good pretending that the other 40 per cent. are not being held back; and it is no good pretending that their parents do not realise it.

The position from the point of view of racial tension improved after 1962, but by 1964 we were getting into difficulties again. In October, 1964, there was the question of Smethwick. In January, 1965, there was Leyton, and it was because of the increase in racial conflict that the Government published their White Paper in the summer of 1965, in which they announced that they were going to cut down the number of vouchers. The House may remember that Lord Mountbatten of Burma had been all round the Commonwealth and was able to secure agreement among the countries from which immigrants came. In the White Paper the Government also dealt with evasion of the control, health problems, education problems, and with the steps to be taken in the field of conciliation. They also announced the Race Relations Act, making it for the first time an offence to incite people to racial hatred, and to secure an absence of discrimination in public places.

Now we come to 1968, and of course in those places to which the immigrants particularly go there is still great difficulty in regard to discrimination. It only needs a bus conductor to be promoted to an inspector and trouble follows. As your Lordships know, we intend to introduce, before Easter, a further measure applying the provisions of the present Act to the fields of employment, housing, insurance and credit facilities.

The people to whom this Bill applies are people who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Perhaps I should just tell your Lordships who they are. These are all people who can come here to-morrow, or next week, or next month, free from any control at all. The figures, of course, are all approximate. Though, of course, we have a Census, most of these countries do not, and therefore one can only get the best estimates from our High Commissioners. There are 30,000 of these people in Uganda, 20,000 in Tanzania, 6,000 in Malawi, something like 167,000 in Kenya (although, obviously, fewer this week than a month ago), 3,000 in Jamaica, 4,000 in Cyprus, 40,000 in Trinidad and Tobago, 55,000 in Singapore, 10,000 in Sabah and Sarawak, 600,000 Tamils in Ceylon, 100,000 Indians, Pakistanis and Cingalese, and 1 million Chinese in Malaysia, and an unknown number of Chinese in Singapore.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble and learned Lord, because this point is terribly important? Is it the case that all these peoples to whom the noble and learned Lord has referred are parallel cases to those in Kenya? Is it not the fact that in Kenya they have no citizenship except that of the United Kingdom and Colonies, while in nearly all the other territories they have citizenship of the territory to which they belong; that their registration is local and does not have the authority of the United Kingdom, given through the High Commissioner, as it is in Kenya?


My Lords, I am sure my noble friend will have every opportunity of developing his argument. It is true that they are divided into two halves, and one may be said to have a better moral claim than the other. At the moment I am dealing with the legal position, and the position is that there are, for example, a million Chinese in Malaysia who are entitled to arrive here next week.

We are ourselves in a difficult economic position and we cannot really help other people much unless we get our economy right. Perhaps we have tried to do too much, and I, in common with many members of the Government and of the Government Party, was deeply distressed when, among the reductions of increasing expenditure to which we had recently to agree was that of a reduction in the housing programme, so that we shall be unable to carry out our pledge of half a million houses a year. As I say, all these people are entitled to arrive and go, I suppose, to Huddersfield or Bradford, or wherever it may be, and say, "You build the schools; you train and employ and pay the teachers to teach our children; you build the hospitals and find the doctors and nurses. We have a right to come here and you must find the houses for us to live in".

Of course what has been said all these years—and I think we would have said the same until last summer—is that this is all theoretical. "Why on earth should Chinese from Malaysia come here, or Asians from Kenya? They are the middle and upper classes, who have all the money. They are the doctors and lawyers, the commercial men, the shopkeepers, the men who drive the trains and who make the telephones work. The Kenyans could not get on without them. They are doing very well, why on earth should they suddenly want to come here? They have never been here before." But I hope it is realised that what has happened in Kenya might happen in any other part of the world, whether it be Malaysia or anywhere else, and there would be absolutely nothing we could do unless we had an Act of this kind.

I should now like to say a word in reply to some of the sharp criticisms that have been made of the Government of Kenya. My daughter and I were out there, merely as tourists, in August and I discussed this with Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Charles Njonjo, the Attorney General, whom I have known for years: he used to be in the chambers of our present Attorney General. They say, and I think quite rightly, that they want to be a multiracial society. They are determined that no citizen shall be treated any differently from any other citizen, whether he is white or African or Asian. It has been possible for all the Asians out there to become citizens of Kenya if they chose, and if they have done so then they are treated in exactly the same way as every other citizen of Kenya.

One of the difficulties, I think, is the degree of racial tension between the Asians and the Africans, not simply that the Asians are the people who have all the best jobs. I talked to a number of Africans and Europeans out there, as well as to Asians, and it seems to me primarily to be due to the way in which the Asians treat the Africans. They treat them publicly as if they are a wholly inferior race. They are, of course, less well educated, and the Asians are naturally liable to get the better of them in commercial transactions, but it is really a question of human approach and there is no doubt of the very strong feeling which all Africans, including the most educated Africans, have about the attitude of the Asians to them. It was only in the middle of last summer that the Government of Kenya first took powers to make a statutory order applicable to some particular trades—at the moment broadly speaking simply clerks—and say that anybody who was not a citizen of Kenya would have to get a work permit.

From that time on, we have realised that we have been in a dilemma. If we said a word in public about the prospects of passing an Act to impose control then there would be a rush at once. We could not honestly say that we would never to so. So we have been in this difficult position, while gradually, from September last, the numbers coming in have increased. And then, when a former Commonwealth Secretary said he was going to introduce a Bill to stop them from coming, of course this did it, and we had to act. We have not acted in panic. The panic has been created by speeches made here and widely publicised in Nairobi that there was going to be a Bill to prevent them from coming. It is impossible for this country to remain in this position. We have one of the highest densities of population in the world—I think there are only four or five places in the world with a bigger density of population; certainly we have a higher density than India.

These people can come in if they can financially support themselves, but of course they cannot. We are not in a position to build the schools. There are already, in one or two places where immigrants chiefly go, children of all races who simply cannot get into a school because the accommodation is not there. We have, too, in the course of time, owing to our defence decisions, 75,000 men in the Armed Forces who are coming home and being demobilised. We have to find houses for them. The immigrants go, for example, to Glasgow. There are 150,000 people on the housing waiting list in Glasgow. I do not like this Bill, but I really do not see what alternative we have.

May I go back to what is sometimes said to be the pledge we have given? This is a slightly complex story. Origin- ally we said that everybody in the whole of the Commonwealth being British subjects and British citizens, all owe the same oath of allegiance to the Crown. This got into slight difficulties, even before Indian Independence, because as soon as Australia, New Zealand and Canada became independent their Parliaments passed laws which we could not control; they could not control the laws we passed; and laws as to citizenship and nationality began slowly to conflict.

In 1962 Mr. Butler, in moving that Bill, said—and I will read two passages if I may: The justification for the control which is included in this Bill, which I shall describe in more detail in a few moments, is that a sizeable part of the entire population of the earth is at present legally entitled to come and stay in this already densely populated country. It amounts altogether to one-quarter of the population of the globe, and at present there are no factors visible which might lead us to expect a reversal or even a modification of the immigration trend which I am about to describe."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Commons), 16/11/61, Col. 687.] And then, when he came to Clause 1, he said: Part I begins by defining in Clause 1 the persons to whom control of immigration is and is not applicable. The objective here is to except from control—and, therefore, to guarantee their continued unrestricted entry into their own country—persons who in common parlance belong to the United Kingdom."—[Col. 695.] It is said that a pledge was given when the 1963 Act was passed. One can, of course, have a statement made in Parliament upon which other people are justified in relying, but the position is this. The 1962 Act applied to Asians in Kenya.

Perhaps before I explain the position further I had better mention what was said, because there are only two passages, during the course of the Kenya Independence Bill in the House of Commons. On November 22, 1963 Mr. Sandys said: The Bill will enable them to recover …"— that was recovery of United Kingdom citizenship for those who had been here before. There was then this intervention: Mr. Thorpe: Will the right honourable Gentleman deal with the point about immigration? Do I take it that they would still be subject to the operation of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act unless their passports had been issued to them from within this country? Mr. Sandys: I should like notice of that question, but, with reservations lest I make a mistake, I would think, once they have acquired a Commonwealth citizenship and have given up their United Kingdom citizenship, they would be treated as citizens of the Commonwealth Countries to which they belong;"— in the case of Indians, India— but they may for a period still have United Kingdom citizenship before they opt for Commonwealth citizenship. That is the point I had in mind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 22 /11 /63; col. 1394.] whatever that was—and I am not suggesting it was right—it was not only not a pledge but was putting the position as far as the Asians were concerned less favourably than it might have been put.

In your Lordships' House on November 28, 1963, the noble Duke, the Duke of Devonshire, opened the debate on the Kenya Independence Bill, and he said: As has already been announced in another place, the Government propose to introduce as soon as possible legislation which will enable people with close connections with this country, who have had to renounce their citizenship of this country as a condition of acquiring or retaining the citizenship of another Commonwealth country, to regain it without being required to fulfil the normal conditions for registration."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28/11/63, col. 762.] And then a noble Lord intervened. His name, I see, was Lord Shepherd, and he said: My Lords, I appreciate that the noble Duke is speaking under difficulty, but can be say whether this will apply also to those Asian peoples who live in Kenya who are British subjects and have retained their British passports? The noble Duke used the word 'Europeans'. I hope that this will include the Indian community who have this close connection with this country. And then the Duke of Devonshire said: My Lords, I should like to answer that question with some reserve, but, as I understand it, the intended legislation will include the Asian community who live in Africa. I hope and believe that I am right in this. My understanding is that the Asians will be covered by the umbrella of this Bill. The noble Duke was clearly wrong and was clearly told so—I say this with the greatest respect, but this is the position—because when he came to reply at the end he said: I should like to say a word on citizenship. I did deal with this fairly fully, but I have an uneasy feeling that I may have misled the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, who is not here at the moment. He asked me whether the new legislation about the resumption of citizenship which is to be introduced as soon as possible would apply to the Asian community in Kenya. I have now clarified the position. Whereas the new legislation will apply as of right to those who have a substantial U.K. connection—that is, by birth or ancestry—those who have not will have the benefit to reassume United Kingdom nationality at the discretion of the U.K. authorities. It will be at their discretion, but I feel sure that the discretion will be liberally interpreted. But I must make it clear that the Asian community will, not be on a par with those of British birth. So far from giving any pledge at a11 that Asians in Kenya would always be entitled to come here, he in fact said the exact opposite. That is not surprising, because the position was confused.

At that time, when the Act was passed, Asians in Kenya were ordinary Commonwealth subjects who were subject to all the controls of the 1962 Act. On Independence Day those who, will their fathers, had been born in Kenya automatically became citizens of Kenya. They were still entitled to come here subject to the controls of the 1962 Act. Secondly, anybody whose father had not been born there, while he did not automatically become a citizen of Kenya could apply; and it was an absolute right which the Government could not refuse.

That situation continued, I think, until April, 1966, when the Government made an alteration to the Constitution, to turn that right, which up to that time they had had, into a discretion of the Government whether or not to give them citizenship. So for two and a half years every Asian in Kenya has had a right to become a citizen of Kenya, if he wanted to. If or to the extent that he was not made a citizen of Kenya, and did not apply, then he had to have a nationality, and he then became a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. And so it is fortuitous, in a sense, that since Independence (but this has, of course, happened with other countries on obtaining Independence) they have moved out of the control which up to then they had been under by reason of the 1962 Act, and they became altogether free from the control.

As your Lordships know, the number of vouchers available at the moment is 8,500 a year. It is proposed to have a new category of vouchers, simply for Asians in Kenya, of 1,500 a year. The situation is always a little difficult, because it varies from time to time as to the number of vouchers and the number of dependants. Sometimes it is as little as four dependants to one; sometimes it has been eight dependants to one. But 1,500 with dependants means, anyhow, 6,000 to 7,000 people, and these will be in addition to all those who now come in under the controls from elsewhere. So that we are in fact, by this new category, increasing immigration. We cannot get away from this, but it seemed right. Of course, it might have been preferable to try to obtain a reduction. We could reduce the 8,500, but this figure was negotiated with all the countries of the Commonwealth and the House might feel that it would not be right to alter it, at all events without negotiation with them.

How this plan works depends entirely on how it is worked. It is the Government's intention to work it flexibly and humanely. A Government has not only a duty to anybody who comes to this country but, perhaps still more, a duty to those who are already here—and I am not thinking just of our own people. I was struck by statements made in another place yesterday as to the number of letters received by Members of Parliament who speak for constituencies where there are large numbers of immigrants, hoping very much that this Bill would be passed, because of the appalling effect on race relations if, in a place which already has a housing waiting list of 150,000, the number of immigrants there, which is already enormous, is suddenly increased. My Lords, we are not saying by this Bill, "You cannot come here". What we are saying is, "You cannot all arrive tomorrow". There can be no question as to whether this is constitutional or not. We did this in 1962. There is not a country in the world which does not claim and exercises the right to decide who shall come into that country. The United States have recently altered the whole of their immigration laws. They are quite entitled to do so. Nobody ever said to the Asians in Kenya, "We will promise you that Parliament will never alter the present position". Nor, of course, would anybody have given such a promise.

I think that in fairness to those who are here, and not least to the immigrants we have already got here, there must be some control over the rate of entry. As I say, it will depend greatly on how it is worked. The Government of Kenya is a civilised Government. I do not for a moment believe that there is any reason to suppose that they will not work this happily with us. Kenya is a country which literally could not be carried on if it were not for the Asians. Obviously, what they are doing is this. They have a big political movement among the Africans for Africanisation. Of course, the Europeans there have been sensible and have employed mostly Africans. The trouble is that the Asian shopkeeper will not employ even an Asian who is not a member of his own family; and they have made no move at all towards Africanisation. What the Government of Kenya are doing is gradually to take those positions which they think Africans are now sufficiently educated to take—for example, as clerks. It is within quite a small field that they have done that, and we feel that once this Bill is passed, the Government of Kenya will sit down sensibly with us out there and will agree a common programme with us.

I am sorry that I have left out one class that I had forgotten. There are some tens of thousands of Somalis and others in Aden. Of course this is a developing situation. All these Somalis are entitled to arrive to-morrow at Huddersfield, or wherever you like, where anybody they think is most close to them is already living. Unless this Bill is passed there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent that.

My Lords, I do not like this Bill. I do not suppose that any of us likes this Bill. But, in face of these hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom have an absolute right to come here, to demand schools for their children, demand hospitals and, above all, demand houses, it is a situation which we simply must control. That is all this Bill does. It does not say, "You cannot come". It does say, and rightly, "You cannot all come to-morrow". My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.


My Lords, may I ask the noble and learned Lord one question before he sits down? He referred to the United States of America changing their immigration laws, which I accept is the case. But, is he aware that it is clearly contrary to the written Constitution of the United States to forbid entry to that country of is own citizens? And that is what we are doing?


My Lords, the Constitution of the United States is whatever it is.


My Lords, may I ask the noble and learned Lord a question before he sits down? There are 1,500 vouchers which are to be issued. Does this allocation apply to women as well as to men? There are cases where the woman may be the head of the family.


My Lords, yes, certainly it applies to women as well as to men.


My Lords, may I ask the noble and learned Lord one question?


Order, order!


My Lords, may I just intervene at this moment? I appreciate that there may be a number of questions in the minds of noble Lords; but of course we do control our own order, and it is rather unusual for a number of noble Lords to start questioning a speaker who has just sat down. I am sure the question is a most important one but, in terms of our own good order in the House, I hope noble Lords will not press their questions.


My Lords,—


Order, order!


My Lords, I was slow to rise, being unaccustomed to the procedure in your Lordships' House. I was under the impression that the Question had to be put before I rose to speak.


My Lords, I am indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor.

Moved, that the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

4.20 p.m.


My Lords, whatever view we individually take about this important Bill, I am quite sure that we all feel indebted to the noble and learned Lord Chancellor for his long, pains-taking and unemotional explanation of the Bill. I feel particularly grateful to him for having quoted, apparently with approval, two former speeches of mine—an experience which seldom comes to an ex-Home Secretary at the hands of a Minister of an opposing Government.

Even if we did not realise it before, we realise now in all quarters of the House that these are grave matters which we are discussing to-day. I have always held that we should so conduct our affairs that everybody who is lawfully in this country, whatever his race creed or colour, should be treated with absolute equality under the law and should be given equal opportunity in all respects. That is important for adults; it is ten times more important for the children who are here, because they are the citizens of the future, and it is most essential that they should all have fair opportunity in this land of ours.

With permission, my Lords, I should like to remind your Lordships of the last two sentences of the Statement by the Home Secretary, which was repeated here by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, on Thursday of last week, forecasting this coming Bill. The Home Secretary said: The Government are satisfied that these measures are necessary in fairness to the people of this country and in the interests of equitable treatment for the citizens of the Commonwealth as a whole. The Government's purpose is to create a climate in which good community relations in this country can be fostered."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 22/2/68; col. 660.] I do not have, and I do not covet, the reputation of being a frequent supporter of the present Government, but I accept those words. I will explain why I accept them, and why I hope noble Lords in all parts of the House will, at the end of this debate, be prepared to accept them and to support the Second Reading of the Bill. I am assuming as background that the Government intend to bring in, I trust next Session, a Bill concerned with appeal procedure. I will not argue that now. We shall have plenty of opportunity to discuss its merits or demerits when the time comes, but I am assuming that we are going to have that Bill. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said that the only reason why it is not included in this Bill is for reasons of time and other causes which he mentioned.

We are obviously at the start of a prolonged debate, and I shall keep my remarks brief on Clauses 2 to 5. They are of less fundamental importance than Clause 1. They are largely in line, as the noble and learned Lord indicated, with suggestions which I and my noble friend Lord Derwent made in earlier debates in your Lordships' House; and, in addition, there are some twenty Amendments on the Marshalled List which will give us the opportunity to discuss those clauses in detail on the Committee stage. If I pass over them quickly now, it is not because I wish to diminish their importance, but simply and solely for reasons of time.

I will dwell on Clause 1 and first say something about the present situation as I see it, and then subsequently about the background history which seems to me relevant to our consideration of it. Yesterday, I exercised my rights as an ex-Minister to go to the Home Office and refresh my memory on my papers which had a bearing on these matters during my term of office as Home Secretary between July, 1962, and October, 1964. I ought to explain, in passing, that I was not Home Secretary when the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill of 1962 was going through Parliament. I was appointed to that office some few weeks after it had begun to come into force, and I had the difficulty—and perhaps the odium—of administering some of its more complex provisions. But of the period between 1962 and 1964, and particularly the period in 1963 when the independence arrangements of Kenya were being negotiated, I can speak with certainty and, I hope, with authority.

First, the present situation. It is a problem of numbers. The noble and learned Lord sought to place on my right honourable friend Mr. Duncan Sandys the main responsibility for this present rush from Kenya. I am bound to say that I would judge that the first cause of that rush is the action, which appears to Asians in Kenya highly discriminatory, on which the Kenya Government, wisely or unwisely, embarked in 1967. We have now Kenya Asians arriving here at a rate of 30,000 a year, and, according to the Statement of the Home Secretary, the rate is increasing. That is on top of a net influx of Commonwealth immigrants from all other parts of the Commonwealth which, as the noble and learned Lord said, was 58,000 last year and has been running at a figure of the order of 60,000 a year. We know that there are some 200,000 people in East Africa who under our present legislation have the undoubted right to enter this country without restriction.

There are some others from other parts of the world. There are 1 million Chinese. I recognise—as I think the noble Lord, Lord Brockway was seeking to point out—that those Chinese have dual nationality, but that does not affect their legal right to enter this country. Those who argue on abstract grounds against this Bill must ask themselves, or must be asked if they do not ask themselves, whether they could maintain their argument if discrimination in Malaysia were to force 1 million Chinese fellow-citizens of ours to exercise their present undoubted right to come here—a right equal in all respects to the right of an Asian in East Africa. By those words I am not suggesting that there is any risk of this happening; I do not think there is. But surely, after all our experience, we must take all contingencies into account and not ignore those countless others who, under the law as it stands, could enter this country to-morrow.

There are other colonial territories reaching independence now. The noble and learned Lord mentioned Aden. There are other territories which may achieve independence in future months or years, and a similar situation, though doubtless on a smaller scale, may arise there. If in this country we are, to use the Home Secretary's words, to create a climate in which good community relations can be fostered", we must accept that there is a limit to the rate of immigration which this country can successfully handle and absorb. The present rate of 60,000 a year is, in my judgment, very near the safe limit if we are to avoid, as we have hitherto managed to avoid, a backlash from the native-born population in places in this Island where the proportion of immigrants is highest and is continuing to rise. I submit that 90,000 a year—60,000, plus 30,000 from Kenya—would take us over the danger level. If noble Lords say that we should make room for an extra 30,000 a year by cutting down other immigration, I must ask them to explain. I must ask them how.

Nobody would dispute that a marginal difference could be made. You could reduce, as I suggested, the age limit for children from 16 to 14. You could make other changes. You could somewhat cut down the number of vouchers. But I must ask the House to believe that to make room for 30,000 more Commonwealth immigrants a year by cutting down the categories at present at liberty to come could not be done except by forbidding wives to join husbands who are already here, or forbidding young children to join parents who are already here. If noble Lords who are opposed to this Bill believe in a solution along these lines, do they propose that we should alter our law so as to stop wives joining husbands or children joining parents? Should we alter our law to stop that, in order that we may be able to make room for immigrants who have no previous connection at all with this country? Would that be regarded as just by immigrants who are already here, or, indeed, by British public opinion generally? No, my Lords. Those who sincerely believe that the Government are wrong to impose this new control which is proposed in the Bill take upon themselves squarely the responsibility for letting the rate of Commonwealth immigration rise from its present 60,000 to 90,000 or 100,000 a year, and for all the accentuation of racial tension inside this country which will follow.

Those who live at a distance from the places with big immigrant populations are not always sufficiently close to see the effects in human terms of the policies they advocate. Indeed, if I may say this with respect, they are not sufficiently close to take a personal part in the magnificent efforts which are being made by devoted people, both white and coloured, to help all the communities there to settle down in harmony together.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he is suggesting that all the vouchers are taken up to the hilt every year? Is it not a fact that of the 8,000 issued, only about 5,000 were taken?


My Lords, I belive that is a fact. I do not know whether the noble Lord is s liggesting that we should somehow get those others used and thus increase the number of immigrants coming here. But if 5,000 a year come now whereas 8,500 vouchers are issued, I am not quite sure how, by reducing the number of vouchers issued, the noble Lord proposes to reduce the number of immigrants coming here.


My Lords, I am only suggesting to the noble Lord that the fact that there are something like 3,000 vouchers not issued every year invalidates the argument which he is putting forward.


My Lords, I cannot accept that from the noble Lord, but I expect he will be speaking later in the debate, and if his argument is better than mine then the House will be able to judge.

I was grateful to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack for quoting what I said to your Lordships some time ago about those police reports, which I called for after the 1962 Act had come into existence. It is difficult always to get hard evidence on these matters, but it seemed to me significant that at that time, some months after the 1962 Act had come into force, the police, from almost all parts of the country affected, reported that the risk of racial tension was less because the local people were confident that the Government of the day were now determined to keep the level of immigration down to a rate which could reasonably be absorbed. I know it was also an encouragement to many to take a greater part in the voluntary organisations which were seeking to help, and which were in danger of being swamped when the figures of immigration were at the enormous levels of 1961.

I know that those who think they must oppose Clause 1 of the Bill feel that this is their duty because in their belief Britain is breaking her word—some say devaluing the British passport—I am not altogether enamoured of that phrase, but it is a convenient shorthand, and so I will venture to use it. That attitude is a perfectly logical standpoint for those who opposed the 1962 Act on grounds of principle, and still believe that the 1962 Act is wrong and that there should be unrestricted Commonwealth immigration into this country. It is perfectly logical for them. But for those who now accept that the 1962 restriction was unavoidable, it is not logical now, as I shall show, on grounds of principle or conscience to reject Clause 1 of this Bill.

In fact, the great majority of people who opposed the 1962 Act on grounds of principle have now come round to the view that they were wrong at the time, sincerely wrong, and that events have shown that some form of control was inevitable. I urge those of my noble friends and others who are thinking of opposing Clause 1 of this Bill, to pause and make sure that they may not be repeating the mistake made by those who at the time opposed the 1962 Bill, but who have subsequently seen its necessity. The 1962 Act devalued the British passport, if we are to use that phrase. Its effect was that millions of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who held, or were entitled to hold, passports issued under the authority of Colonial Governments in the Queen's name, and by virtue of those passports had the right of unrestricted entry into the United Kingdom, were deprived of that right by British Act of Parliament. The right was given them by the British Parliament, and it was taken away from them in 1962 by the British Parliament.

Were we wrong to take that right away? The moral arguments in favour of continued free entry were no less strong on that Bill than they are on this Bill and, if I may say so, they were magnificently deployed by the late Mr. Gaitskell in the House of Commons. Yet, seeing all that we can see now, ought they to have prevailed? In exactly the same way as this Bill is described as devaluing British passports, the 1962 Act devalued passports issued with the authority of the British Parliament by Colonial Governments to the people of each Colonial territory, people who were declared on the passports to be citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, but who have not been free since 1962 to enter freely into the United Kingdom.


My Lords, this is a very important point that the noble Lord is discussing. May I ask him whether it is not true to say that before 1962, and in the case of Kenya 1963, British passports that were issued to Colonial subjects were issued in the countries in which they resided, and they began: I, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of … the country, et cetera. I think it is a different question with the Asians in Kenya to-day, whose passports—I am subject to correction by the noble Lord—were issued in London and merely delivered in Nairobi. Am I not right in this?


I think the noble Lord is quite right, and I am coming to this. But I think he will grant that all these passports issued to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies are issued in the name of Her Majesty. I was about to say that the 1962 Act exempted only the holders of passports that had been issued by the United Kingdom Government; and, as anybody who reads those debates can see, that was intended to exempt from the control those people who in 1962 genuinely belonged to the United Kingdom.

But a new and, so far as I know, unanticipated situation arose after the 1962 Act became law. The framers of it had supposed, I feel sure, that when, thereafter, a colonial territory became independent all the people in that territory—certainly all the people who were born there and undoubtedly belonged there—would automatically become citizens of the new independent State. That was what had happened hitherto. But as we know, it is not what happened in East Africa; it is not what happened in Kenya. Kenya refused to act in this way. The Kenya Government did not grant automatic citizenship to all their inhabitants. It became clear in the course of the 1963 Kenya Independence negotiations that considerable numbers of people in Kenya, both Europeans and Asians, were not likely to become citizens of the independent Kenya. Some were United Kingdom citizens by birth, and would retain United Kingdom citizenship. Others had no United Kingdom connection themselves, but were, up to that time, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of their residence in a colonial territory. If, when Kenya became independent, those people did not become Kenya citizens, then there was a risk that they would be left Stateless. The Kenyan authorities were pressed, I know, and strongly pressed, but they refused absolutely to make them all Kenya citizens automatically.

My Lords, it has been long-established British policy to avoid rendering people Stateless, and this is the reason why the British Government agreed in 1963 to recognise as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies those people living in Kenya who did not become Kenya citizens. It was in those circumstances that the British Government agreed to these people retaining their citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies—not for the primary purpose of giving them free entry into this country, but for the primary purpose of saving them from being made Stateless. It was a consequence of this that the source of their passports—and I now come to the point to which the noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, was referring—became the British High Commission, and that thus their unrestricted right to enter the United Kingdom, which had been taken away by the 1962 Act, was by a side wind restored to them.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? Is that not exactly the point at issue—not a moral point, but a legal point? In the case of the Asians in Kenya we gave them United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship—otherwise, they would have been Stateless—and they had to go to the High Commissioner, representing the United Kingdom, to get that status. In the case of these others, in so many territories. that is not true. They had their national status; they had a dual status. They had not been given the right to enter this country as United Kingdom and Colonial citizens because they had registered locally in that way for protection in their own territories. Is that not the legal issue which is involved in what the noble Lord is saying?


No, my Lords. If the noble Lord will allow me to continue, I will seek to explain further. The people in Kenya who did not become Kenya citizens were permitted by the United Kingdom Government to retain the citizenship of the United King- dom and Colonies. Up till then, if they had passports they were passports issued by the local Government, and those passports rendered them subject to the 1962 Act. After Independence, when there was no longer a Colonial Government there, in order to obtain passports they naturally had to go to the British High Commission, and they received passports which did not bring them under the restrictive elements in the 1962 Act. But except in relation to the terms of the 1962, Act I cannot recognise this profound distinction between the authority of these two types of passports which the noble Lord thinks was there. However, I know he is going to speak later, and, perhaps, if he will allow me to conclude—I shall not be long—all this can then be thrown open.

I was about to say that it was well realised by British Ministers at the time that this situation over passports was bound to emerge in Kenya. I can vouch for that personally. It was not, as I have said, an act of purposeful policy: it was a situation which we had to accept in the face of Kenya's absolute refusal to give automatic Kenya citizenship to all established Kenya residents. Whit was not realised in 1963—and this is the new element in the situation—was that the Kenya Government would in 1967 embark on a policy which certainly seems to many people (I do not want to prejudge it absolutely) a policy of del berate discrimination against non-citizens in Kenya; in effect, a policy in favour of Africans and against Asians. It is this policy, which certainly appears to me to be a racial policy pursued by the Kenya Government, that has created these grave problems for us.

My Lords, if I may say so, I do not think that the newspapers of the past few days have helped the public to see the issues clearly. There has been much reference to a "pledge", conveying the idea that somebody pledged the United Kingdom Government's word that free entry into Britain for Asians in Kenya would be guaranteed for all time. Like the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, I have read the 1963 debates in both Houses. Like him, I can find no such pledge given to Parliament. Nor do I believe that any such pledge was given elsewhere. Naturally, I do not know what may have happened later, but in the time of the Conservative Government I do not believe any such pledge or guarantee of permanent right of entry was given, any more than there had been a pledge given to Commonwealth countries or Colonies before 1962 that free entry into Britain would be guaranteed for ever. What was done was to pass legislation to protect Asians against possible Statelessness, and it was that legislation, read in conjunction with the 1962 Act, which conferred on them as a consequence free entry into Britain, but with no guarantee that free entry would continue for all time.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord, whom I am following with very great interest: is this guarantee not inherent in the passport itself?


My Lords, if it is inherent in the passport itself it is very difficult to understand how the British Parliament passed the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, because at the time, when that Act was passed, millions of people throughout the British Commonwealth were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies—they were not just citizens of the Colonies; they were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies—and what that Act said was that, despite the fact that their passports declared them to be citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, they could come into Britain for permanent residence only if they satisfied certain conditions. That is what happened as a fact; and it appears to me—the Government can make their own case—that the Government in this present Bill are seeking to do something of a similar character.

What this Bill seems to me to do is closely parallel with what the 1962 Act did; that is, to remove a right which was highly prized by those who possessed it but which carried no binding guarantee of permanence. In this Bill now the effect of passports that have been issued by the High Commissions in the name of the Queen to certain citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies is being modified, exactly as the effect of passports that had been issued by the Colonial Governments in the name of the Queen to certain citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies was modified six years ago by the 1962 Act. I must say that I should find it easier to understand why Mr. Macleod opposes the present Bill if he had opposed the 1962 Act likewise and on similar grounds. Those who oppose—


My Lords, the noble Lord will pardon me for interrupting. I thought he was leaving the matter of the two Acts. Is he aware of any occasion on which the result of the 1962 Act had been to make any person Stateless?


My Lords, I am not aware of that; nor am I aware of any way in which the effect of this Bill would render any person Stateless. But perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, will clear that point. The whole object in making these people in Kenya citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies was to save them from becoming Stateless. Over a long period of years British Governments, of whatever colour, have a record second to none in saving people for whom they had any responsibility from becoming Stateless.

My Lords, those who opposed the 1962 Act and still think we could have done without any control at all over Commonwealth immigration will be acting logically if they oppose this Bill. But those who in retrospect believe that the 1962 Act was necessary, even though they may have opposed and hated it at the time, must, I submit, search their thoughts and be very sure that if they oppose this Bill they are not making the same mistake again; for the parallel between 1962 and 1968 is very close. I am certain that if we had not imposed control in 1962 race relations in some parts of this country would by now have reached exploding point. The noble and learned Lord mentioned Huddersfield. I was impressed by the honourable Member for Huddersfield in another place, a Labour Member, saying that this Bill was distasteful to him but that he believed it not only necessary but inevitable.

If your Lordships' House were to throw out this Bill, those who opposed it would be answerable at the bar of history for the explosions that would follow in towns and cities where the numbers of immigrants have already reached near-saturation point. I beg noble Lords who are inclined to speak or vote against this Bill to bear that in mind, for we may be painfully right or we may be nobly wrong, but on such a matter as this we cannot afford to be irresponsible.

4.53 p.m.


My Lords, I believe there is a considerable feeling of unease both in this House and outside as to the effects that will follow from this Bill. I believe there is also considerable confusion; all the more so since the statement by Mr. Callaghan in another place yesterday. In outlining the Liberal attitude I will endeavour to be as clear and concise as possible. I hope to keep to the main issues. If a Bill had been introduced containing only Clauses 2 to 6 of this Bill (which deal with certain aspects of the Act of 1962) we should no doubt have been putting forward Amendments but we should not be asking for the Bill to be thrown out. The crux of the debate on this Bill is Clause 1; and it is the attitude to Clause 1, the approval or disapproval of Clause 1, on which I think one's decision on the Bill must rest.

In considering Clause 1, I suggest that it is important to put on one side issues which are not directly and immediately relevant. Mr. Callaghan, in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, referred to a million persons or more in various parts of the world potentially able to come to this country although most of them have local citizenship; and the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack also referred to these people. Let us, by all means, discuss this problem at some appropriate occasion when we have ample time; because I cannot believe that these million or more people knocking about the world, most of them, as Mr. Callaghan himself said, having local citizenship, create such a serious effect on our immigration policy that it is essential to get a Bill through this night. I think that that is somewhat of a red herring. The real and immediate issue is our concern for a community of people of Asian origin living in Kenya and relying on the safeguards of what they regard as United Kingdom citizenship and United Kingdom passports. I think there is no doubt that options were granted, that they were exercised in good faith, and that if there had not been this oppor- tunity some of them might have acted differently.

I have listened carefully to the arguments put forward as to whether or not a pledge was given and as to whether or not it was clearly spelled out; but I must say that I think those arguments are far too subtle for the people whom they affect to understand them. Thee were led to believe that they could rely on Britain. They believed that United Kingdom citizenship meant United Kingdom citizenship and that a United Kingdom passport meant a United Kingdom passport. I agree that at the time of independence no one could clearly foresee what the future had in store. I was present in Nairobi at the time of the Independence celebrations and I took a considerable interest in Kenyan affairs luring the years up to Independence. There was great enthusiasm at the time of Independence and great hopes for the future and, on the whole, I think it would be fair to say that the Government since Independence has been more enlightened than some of the critics anticipated. At the same time there were uncertainties as to the future of the white and the Asian minorities.

Obviously the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, is in a much better position than I am to explain what were the intentions of the Government at that time. I find it a little difficult to reconcile what he said with the statement of Mr. Macleod. If, as the noble Lard has said, the intention was to create a citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies to cover the event of someone becoming Stateless, surely in the event of such a happening we could not turn round and say that United Kingdom citizenship never meant that they could come to the United Kingdom. I think it is very difficult to explain that. However we look at it, I think that the Bill does involve a breach of faith.

It is rather ironical and rather sad that this should happen in the middle of Human Rights Year. It so happens that I am chairman of the Yorkshire Committee for Human Rights Year and I have been going round explaining its implications and why Britain is officially backing it. If I were to vote for this Bill, I could not continue to hold office on that Human Rights Committee; I should find it too inconsistent. Some people—and I am not suggesting that this applies to any Member of your Lordships' House—are salvaging their consciences by saying that if the Bill were not passed, there would be an unmanageable inflow. I prefer to use the word "inflow" because the word "flood" is emotive. I do not think that this is an accurate statement of the position. It seems to me that the objection to the Government's policy, apart from the question of principle, is that they are saying to these people, "This year, next year, sometime, never". No one quite knows who will come into the category of "Never". Therefore the uncertainty will continue and the pressures will continue. Furthermore, the Government having gone back on their word once, there will be uncertainty as to whether they will go back on their word again.

I agree that if the Bill had not been introduced, if there had been no threat of legislation, if no speeches had been made of the kind made by Mr. Duncan Sandys, which I greatly regret, the situation might have been different. That is clear from a letter from Mr. Michael Young, director of the Institute of Community Studies, in The Times of February 27, in which he refers to a survey in Nairobi. If there had not been all this. I do not think that there would have been this sudden inflow of people of Asian origin from Kenya.

I quite understand how some people feel, in certain parts of the country, certainly in the congested areas where there is a concentration of immigrants, that it is very much a social problem, particularly of schools and housing. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack and the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, have both mentioned Huddersfield. It so happens that for 15 years I represented Huddersfield in another Place, and I know the conditions pretty well. I would say that the main problem is one of background and language. This does not apply to the community we are discussing, the Asian community in Kenya. Furthermore, the idea that this Bill will solve the problem of overcrowding in certain parts of the country is a complete delusion, and that should be made clear to the people. This Bill, good or bad, will not solve that problem.

Another point which I should like to get across to the public is this—and I have already referred to it by implication. I do not think that the public are fully aware that on the whole the Kenyan Asians are the sort of people we need. They are not the sort of people who will become a burden. They are doctors, nurses and businessmen, people of that class, and most of them are well educated. May I quote from a letter written by a doctor to my noble friend Lord Amulree regretting this Bill. I will only read the postscript, which says: As overseas secretary of the B.M.A. I met in Nairobi in '66 many of our members, who are mostly Asians. They are of course just the kind of experienced doctors which the National Health Service needs … Of course one must not generalise about any particular group of people, but they are people who would find it comparatively easy to adapt themselves to our way of life. They have been under British rule for over eighty years. English is their main language. I believe that if accepted willingly and not grudgingly, some would respond to an appeal to help in the task of creating better racial harmony in this country and bridging the gulf in mutual understanding between the different races, certainly so far as Asians are concerned. I fear that all this is being thrown away. We may have missed a golden opportunity.

Thirdly, I think that the inflow from Kenya should be regarded as a challenge. To meet it, we require the fullest possible use of all voluntary services willing to help to ensure that these people are met, are welcomed, shown that there is concern for their welfare and, so far as possible, with the co-operation of local authorities, dispersed. While I do not press the analogy too far, I would recall the case of the Hungarian refugees in the winter of 1956. That was accepted as a challenge, and on the whole we were able to cope. About 17,000 came in in a matter of weeks. In some respects the present problem is less than that, because these Asians are British people and speak English. I mention this only as an illustration: but, like the illustration, this is a special case. If this problem were tackled successfully, I believe that it could be a beginning of a new approach to the whole subject of immigration and a more positive approach to the conditions of those who are already here. I believe that if the matter were presented to the people of this country in this way, many would respond. I have not said much in criticism of the Bill. There will be ample criticism of this Bill before the night is out.

To sum up, I should like to put forward as a positive alternative a four-point policy. First, by all means deal with the necessary amendments to the 1962 Act, but scrap Clause 1 of this Bill; stand by our pledges and preserve our honour. Secondly, organise a concentrated effort with all the voluntary bodies to provide advice, both here and in Kenya, and ensure that these people are looked after on arrival and, so far as possible in co-operation with local authorities, are sent to areas that are not overcrowded. This kind of policy should be applied to immigrants under the 1962 Act as well as to these Asians. Thirdly, let us appeal to the leaders of the Asian community to assist us in reducing racial tension in this country. Fourthly, having shown that we are prepared to act in this way, let us make a new approach to the Commonwealth countries (and I was glad to hear on the news this morning that Canada may be willing to help) for co-operation in granting hospitality to these people who find themselves in this difficult situation. These are practical suggestions which I hope will be taken up. But if nothing of this sort is clone, if this Bill is pressed through, I believe that the tensions, the distrust and the uncertainties will far outweigh any of the advantages claimed for the Bill.

5.10 p.m.


My Lords, I am going to be brief. I will try not to raise the temperature, and I am going to inject into my remarks some constructive suggestions. I want to dwell first on the subject of race relations within this country and the effect of this Bill upon those relations. My knowledge of the problems is linked with the fact that for the last two and a half years I have worked with the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants. That body has the task of promoting good community relations—I prefer the phrase "community relations" to the term "integration"—in the areas where there are immigrants from other Commonwealth countries.

The Committee is the centre of a considerable work done throughout the country, in which municipal authorities and many voluntary helpers work. There are 30 full-time officers at work in different towns and cities, and the London staff of the Committee comprises about 30 people drawn from different races from this country and from other countries. The Government give to the National Committee an annual grant of £170,000; and finance is partly provided by municipalities and partly comes from bodies such as the Gulbenkian Trust.

My own share in the work is not a large one. As Chairman, my role has been no more than to help many different people to work together. But I have been able to learn something about the splendid work that is being done for the building up of good community relations in the towns and cities where tensions exist and where tensions are threatened. In particular, through this organisation much has been done in the realm of helping schools to grapple with the problems created by the influx of children from other countries. Much also has been done by voluntary actions in the field of housing—actions to prevent the development of what might be ghettoes in some of the cities. Much has also been done to give a friendly help to immigrants to find their way to places where they will be useful and where relations are likely to be happy. And all the time a good deal has been done through these bodies in the education of public opinion on both sides. This means helping immigrants from other countries to understand the ways and customs in the United Kingdom which are unfamiliar to them, and also helping our own English born citizens to understand the ways, the cultures and the backgrounds of those who come from other parts of the world.

Inevitably, matters concerning entry into this country react sharply upon the question of integration and good relations in this country. It is often, said. and quite rightly—and it has been said to-day notably by the noble Lord. Lord Brooke of Cumnor—that if the numbers are fewer it is easier to tackle the practical problems. But, my Lords, while that is so largely true, it is also a rather dangerous half truth in this sense: that if there is a genuine injustice in connection with any matter of entry, then the reaction upon trust and mutual good relations in this country can be very considerable.

Now I come to this Bill. No doubt the Home Secretary thought that if this action was taken to stave off a particular threat of influx the result would be that the problem of race relations and the problem of good community relations in this country would be prevented from being more difficult for those who are grappling with it. No doubt the Home Secretary supposed that. But I believe that if he had consulted those whom I have mentioned, who are doing the practical work in many localities, under the aegis of the Government's own appointed National Committee, he would have had rather different advice—advice from which I think he might have benefited in the formulation of policy, and certainly in the psychological mode for the presentation of the policy. I thought that the non-consultation with the National Committee—I do not mean with myself, but with the very skilled persons who are its workers at many levels—very odd. Or perhaps I should say that I should have thought it very odd were I not also a Trustee of the British Museum.

The fact is that the Bill, and the sudden launching of it on the country, has brought a good deal of dismay to many of those who are working in this country for good community relations, and a good deal of distrust not only among the immigrant communities, where a new handle is being given to the somewhat more extremist elements, but also among those who are trying so hard to get on with this devoted work. Why distrust, my Lords? Because the Bill virtually distinguishes United Kingdom citizens on the score of race, and because the Bill virtually involves this country in breaking its word. I use the word "virtually" because technically arguments can be adduced, and have been adduced this afternoon in the opposite sense.

First, let us take the question of race. Clause 1, on any showing, creates two levels of United Kingdom citizens. Strictly, the level is not that of race; strictly the grandfather clause means not race, but geography. But the actual effect on the bulk of the human situation with which the Bill is dealing is that the one level is the level of the European and the other level is the level of the Asian citizens. And that is so because the object of the exercise, and the apology for the exercise, is that we must keep an influx of Asian citizens out of the country. It is inevitable, but virtually the clause is thus read in its practical effect and implication and, indeed, underlying purpose.

Then, my Lords, this country and the word of this country. The technical arguments have been put the other way: that in strict law the Asians still retain citizenship: they cannot have the citizenship that operates in India, they have not a citizenship that guarantees their coming to this country, but they are still citizens. That is making the word "citizenship" really a technicality devoid of living contact. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke, made much of the argument that the position about citizenship under this Bill is parallel to the position about citizenship under the 1962 Bill, and that those who accept the provisions of the 1962 Bill ought not to complain of the treatment of citizenship under this Bill. I believe that that is logic, but I do not believe it is human reality at all, for the reason that there is all the difference in the world between Commonwealth citizens who, if they do not have a citizenship they can operate here, have a citizenship that can operate somewhere; and, on the other side, persons in Kenya who have not got a citizenship which operates there and were encouraged to have a United Kingdom citizenship in the belief that it would be for them an operative citizenship, somehow or other, within the world of Asians. And this Bill evacuates it, I believe, from really being an operative citizenship.

For that reason, I do not believe it is a misreading of the situation when we say that the Bill virtually implies a race distinction in citizenship in Clause 1; and that it virtually means the breaking of this country's word. In saying that last thing, I am not meaning that particular statesmen made promises and broke them. No. What we are saying is that the country, by its total action, involved itself in a certain obligation, and that this Bill abrogates that obligation. For that reason, however much the Bill may be improved by the efforts of your Lordships' House and the efforts in another place between now and the small hours of the morning, there is at the heart of it something that is really wrong.

None the less, there it is. And if your Lordships set about the task of improving it, what can be done? First of all, I think we should ask for the removal of the figure of 1,500, not only as a flexible figure but as a figure at all, because it is quite inadequate to the justice of the situation towards a community of Asians who have relied upon us as they have. As to the method of entry, might there not be an office of this country in Kenya which, not limited to 1,500, or not limited to a flexible 1,500, whatever that mathematics may mean, and not simply taking first those who have enough money to come first, would look into the whole matter of why people want to come, what are they going to do when they come, and so on, with a far more scientific and humane handling of the matter? Surely, my Lords, that could have been done if there had not been the disastrous rush.

Secondly, the grandfather element in Clause 1 must, I think, go, because it brings to the Bill that virtual stigma which I mentioned. And, thirdly, we want a promise for the full implementation of the Wilson Committee's proposals, not only concerning appeals but also concerning the comprehensive welfare system which was thought at the time to go hand in hand with the system of appeals. It is a good many months—I cannot remember how many months—since the Wilson Committee made their Report.

I agree wholeheartedly with the noble Lord, Lord Wade, that there is a great deal that can be done in this country, more widely than this country, and in connection with other Commonwealth countries, again, in grappling with this problem. Indeed, in discussion with other Commonwealth countries it might be seen how the very great skills of Asians at present in Kenya might be used, some in this country, some in other countries—not as a kind of problem, as a service, but as human beings with something scientific to contribute to the lives of particular communities, if those communities would shed their particular racial prejudices, whatever they are, and enjoy their help.

But, my Lords, whatever we may do to retrieve the situation, the harm has been done by this Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke, referred to those who opposed this Bill on abstract grounds. I do not know what the word "abstract" means: I would say ethical grounds; and ethical grounds ate never nearly abstract, because ethical grounds always have practical consequences, and it is some of the practical consequences in race relations that are dangerous, on account of what is written into this Bill.

That there is an implicit breaking of something seems to be borne out by the great unease about this Bill. I heard that in another place the Second Reading passed in a kind of sepulchral silence; and I think it will pass, if it does pass, in your Lordships' House in a very sepulchral silence. Why this unease? It really is an unease, and I believe that it is an unease we all share. We all find this vast human problem too much for us, and there can be no sort of "more righteous than thou" attitude in any single one of us on this matter.

I think the unease is this. From tine to time, on occasions when a great event or a great man is being commemorated, Members of your Lordships' House and Members of another place go across the road to Westminster Abbey. I think the last time that happened was when so many of us went to Westminster Abbey for the funeral of Clement Attlee. During that very moving service a psalm was sung, and I think we were all very moved by the way in which the psalm touched us. whatever our religion, or those of no religion. The psalm touched us by its accurate, photographic reference to the character of Clement Attlee. In that psalm, with its description of that man, there was the sentence—and I think it moved us: He that sweareth unto his neighbour and disappointeth him not: though it were to his own hindrance. And that, my Lords, is what lies at. the bottom of the unease about this Bill.

5.30 p.m.

LORD BROCKWAY moved as an Amendment to the Motion, "That the Bill be now read 2a" to leave out "now" and substitute "this day six months". The noble Lord said: My Lords, it is difficult for anyone in this House to follow the most reverend Primate who has just addressed us. I would say only this, that in speaking it is my desire to approach the subject without heat and in the same temper. All round the House there is deep feeling, but I think the very depth of that feeling will cause us to approach this debate in a serious way which puts aside personal prejudices.

My Lords, the unhappiest feature of the time in which we are living is the growth of the feeling of racialism everywhere. While the world becomes technically smaller, all round the world the minds and emotions of people become more antagonistic. That is not merely so in the case of the countries with which our legislation will deal, and it is not a matter of black and white. In the Continent of Africa there are more refugees from persecution than in any other Continent. It is the same whether one looks to the Middle East with its conflict between the Israelis and the Arabs, or to South-East Asia with its appalling conflict in Vietnam, or turns to the scenes in America. The problem which we are facing tonight is not a national problem or a problem between us and communities in the Commonwealth; it is a worldwide problem, and the contribution which we make to the settlement in our sphere is important to that much greater issue.

I do not think any of us can doubt that this Bill is racialist. I am not saying that that is the emotion or the mind of members of the Government, but I think we are not being true to the facts if we do not recognise that it arises from circumstances of racist psychology and conditions which encourage it. To that I will return a little later.

First, I want to meet an argument which is frequently put forward by those who urge that they are not concerned with racial prejudices, and who argue on the ground that our population cannot accept further immigration. There is one simple answer to that, that in the last three full years the net outward balance of migration was over 60,000—that is the last three years for which the statistics are available as given in the report of the Registrar General's Quarterly Return, No. 4173 of 1967.

The second thing that is worth saying is this. This Bill would never have been introduced if the Asians from Kenya pouring into this country had been British and had been white. That fact alone makes it a racist Bill. At the time of independence it was not only the Asians who, failing to register as Kenya citizens, became citizens of the United Kingdom and the Colonies; it was also the Europeans. Seven years ago there were 64,000 white people in Kenya; now the number is less than 46,000. Nearly 20,000 have left. Almost all of them have come here, but there has been no agitation to keep them out on the ground of population, or on the ground that we could not absorb immigrants. There are now 45,000 whites and Europeans in Kenya who did not become Kenyan citizens. In fact the number who did so was only 975, and therefore the great majority were in exactly the same position as the European Asians. Yet they can come here freely. It is only when there is the challenge of the Asians who are there that we bring in a Bill of this kind to keep them out. It is a racist Bill. In effect, as Dr. Ruth Glass has said in The Times this week, if you are white your British passport is valid; if you are brown, it is not.

My Lords, I want to recognise that the background to racism is in Kenya as well as in this country. I have visited that country many times since 1950, and over that period there has been some African-Asian antagonism. The African antagonism was due to the fact that the Asians had a practical monopoly of retail trade, and considerably of commerce, and the Africans were seeking in their development to enter those spheres. If the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will forgive me for saying so, I did not entirely accept his statement as to the degree of conflict between the African and Asian peoples. It is by no means all the Asians, and by no means all the Africans, who are concerned. The Asians were divided into two organisations, one of which co-operated closely with the Africans. I have many African friends who co-operated in mutually formed organisations (rather like our local inter-racial fellowships in this country) for the co-operation of the two peoples, and I think all of us must recognise that when independence was given to Kenya extraordinary tolerance was shown in racial issues. The Europeans and the British were surprised at the tolerant policy which was pursued by Jomo Kenyatta and other members of the Government. Every Britisher and every Asian born in Kenya or whose parents were horn in Kenya automatically became Kenyan citizens. For two years, others were allowed to become Kenyan citizens on application and the Kenyan Government again showed extraordinary tolerance. It did not lay down any residential condition for the application of Kenyan citizenship within those two years.

Like the noble Lord, Lord Wade, I was in Nairobi at the time of independence. Indian leaders made appeals to the Asians to adopt Kenyan citizenship—Pandit Nehru from Delhi, the Aga Khan to the Ismaeli population in Kenya, which is large—and the authority of the Aga Khan was so great that more than 80 per cent. of the Ismaelis did become Kenyan citizens. I was present at a meeting of the Indian community addressed by Indira Ghandi, the Prime Minister of India. She made a great appeal to the Indians to become Kenyan citizens and in actual fact about one-half of the Indians in Kenya did so.

The Asians who did not respond did not do so for two reasons. One was partly racial, for the reasons I have described; for the other we have a direct responsibility. I have no doubt at all, from my mixing with Asians at the time of independence, that one of the reasons—this was a matter of controversy between us—why so many Asians did not register as Kenyan citizens was the fact that the Government of Britain at that time had agreed that if they did not do so they should become citizens of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. I recognise now that the present position in Kenya is complicated because of the priority which is given to Kenyans.

I should like to correct one point which is, I think, misunderstood. It is not so much the Africanisation of the country which the Government is now pursuing but its Kenyanisation. Asians who become Kenyan citizens and British who become Kenyan citizens are in no way excluded, but the Kenyan Government is giving priority to those who are Kenyan citizens. There is heavy unemployment and they give priority to those who are Kenyan citizens. I want to say at once that I regret that. No Government should have the right to give a priority within its own territory against people who are legally resident there. There is great difference between saying that people shall not come in and therefore will not be given work permits, and saying, when people are already there, that they shall not have equality of opportunity of any jobs which are available. It is on that respect I criticise the Kenyan Government though I understand the reasons for it. And this also should be recognised: that the possibilities of naturalisation there are more generous than in this country. Any Asian in Kenya, if he has been resident four years in the last seven, can become a naturalised Kenyan citizen. I wish more would do so. I am not approaching this Bill just from the point of view of identity with the Kenyan Asians.

There has been a great deal of discussion about whether or not a pledge was given. I do not take the view that a pledge was given to the Asians or the British there in actual terms that they would be given permission to come to this country. But I seriously say to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and, if I may, to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack as well, that even if no pledge was given the implication was there, and among Asians in Kenya there was no doubt at the time of independence that they would have the full right of United Kingdom citizenship. Eightyseven thousand Asians have now obtained the British passport. I would remind noble Lords of what that British passport says: Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs reouests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary". In view of that pledge given in the passport, which 87,000 Asians in Kenya now have, it cannot possibly be said that we are not guilty of a betrayal if we now say to them, "You cannot come in", or "You can only come in as you form a queue at a date in the future which we shall establish".

I want to take up just one point which the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, made, and that is with regard to vouchers. The noble Lord, Lord Byers, was absolutely correct when he said that the number of vouchers which have been issued is much larger than the number which have been taken up. The vouchers issued under the existing immigration controls are 8,500 annually. Fewer than 5,000 were taken up last year. That is, 3,500 of the admissible vouchers were not accepted—3,500 not taken up. And yet we are now fixing a figure of 1,500 as a maximum figure for Asians from Kenya.


My Lords, may I intervene, so that there should not be a misunderstanding? I think the fact is that 8,500 vouchers have been issued. The number who have entered are those who have presented vouchers—in other words exercised their right under the voucher. But that number of vouchers has been issued.


My Lords, the noble Lord has said much more clearly what I was trying to say, and I thank him because he has emphasised the point I am making. The point is that we issued 8,500 vouchers. Of those 8,500 vouchers for immigrants, only 3,500 have been taken up. I was urging, in view of that fact, that the maximum of 1,500 a year which we put down for Asians in Kenya should be increased, because even the number of vouchers we have issued for other immigrants have not been taken up at the present time.

I want to come to the conclusion of my speech. I know the difficulties in concentrated places—we had them in Slough, which I represented in another place—and I recognise at once that it was because of my attitude on this issue that I was defeated even by a small majority in Slough. In Southall, Brixton, Notting Hill, Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Huddersfield — I recognise the problem everywhere. It is partly educational, partly housing. The educational problem will not so much arise in the case of the children who come from Asian families in Kenya. These children probably speak English better than we could at their age; they are as English children in speaking. There is, therefore, not the same problem of the reception classes to teach them our language.

I was a little hurt, when I raised this matter in a Question the other day, when my noble friend Lord Shackleton suggested that I was introducing class into the matter. That was the last thing in my mind. What I am trying to show is that in this particular case both the problem of language and the problem of housing standards would not arise as sometimes it has arisen.

The other point about which I want to ask before I sit down is this. It concerns the one million by whom we are threatened. I am not a lawyer, and when I interrupted my noble and learned friend I was not doing it to bring up the moral point, but was really trying to find out what is the legal position. I have consulted with those who are lawyers, and they say that in three respects these one million people are different from the Kenyan Asians who are now threatened with being kept out of this country.

They say, first, that a considerable number of those one million are nationals of their own territories, as the Asian Kenyans are not. Secondly, they say that a considerable number of them have dual nationality—that is to say, both the nationality of the country in which they are resident and nationality here; and they have urged that in that situation these people can fall back upon their other nationality, whereas the Asians in Kenya have no other nationality.

Thirdly, they say (and I admit that this is a difficult legal point) that there is a distinction between registration as United Kingdom and Colonial citizens in Kenya and the position of the people in many of these other territories—Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Trinidad, Fiji, and others. What they say is that in Kenya one goes to the High Commissioner and, through the High Commissioner, obtains a British passport. There he is acting for the United Kingdom; he is acting for Her Majesty the Queen. It is the same passport as I have just read out. But, as the noble Lord from the Cross Benches brought out, in these other territories that process is not followed. The British rights which are obtained are much more rights to protection within those territories than rights enabling people to leave those territories and come to this country.

I want a quite definite answer to this question, my Lords. I am not saying that what I am remarking is accurate. But I say, quite definitely, that this advice has been given to me by men of legal standing. It is an important issue, because this idea of one million coming to this country has frightened everybody into supporting this Bill. It is a point which must have the most careful and authoritative decision before we pass this Bill.

In conclusion, I just want to say that this seems to me to reflect the greatest issue of our time, the relations between peoples of different race and of different colours. My noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor, concluded by asking us to remember our responsibilities, if we do not accept this Bill, for explosions in the towns where there is a concentrated immigrant population. I would just say this to him: that this issue is one which will bring an explosion in the world. if we continue to approach it on racist grounds. It is for the future the greatest danger of an explosion that I know. The old idea of ideological differences hardly counts. It is now becoming an issue of race and of colour in the world, and we should realise that, if we pass this Bill to-night, we may have the responsibility of extending and intensifying that feeling which is so dangerous for the future.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down has he moved his Amendment?


My Lords, yes. I began by doing that.

Amendment moved— Leave out ("now") and insert ("this day six months").—(Lord Brockway.)


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down (if I am entitled to ask him to say something before he sits down), can be tell us what is his attitude, as a life-long democrat, to the prospect of this House rejecting an important measure passed by the elected Chamber?


My Lords, I do appeal to the noble Lord: this is quite contrary to our procedure.

5.57 p.m.


My Lords, I find myself in complete agreement with the last words of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. The greatest problem that has ever faced mankind is perhaps this problem of race and of colour division. Humanity, in the course of its long journey from the slime to the stars, has managed to find a way in which it can tear itself apart on every issue—economic grounds, religion nationality; and now perhaps it has found the most potent cause of disagreement, that of race and colour. But this is merely to state the problem. Yes; I agree with the noble Lord that that is the problem. But we shall solve this problem only if we get down to the brass tacks of it.

The most reverend Primate, I thought, in the course of his speech, rejected the idea, or expressed a non-understanding of the use of the word "abstract" and chose instead the word "ethical". I am not going to deal with either the abstract or with the ethical, or perhaps I may use another phrase, the moral problem. My purpose in venturing to intervene in this debate is because too, recently sat in another place for 22 years for a constituency in which an explosion of the kind that has been referred to occurred. It occurred after the passing of the 1962 Act. It occurred in the August of 1962, and for several days we had scenes of major disorder, and as a result a number of decent honest people went to prison. Law and order were restored.

I do not think these incidents—they were not riots—were racial in character, but it was race that started them off. That was the difficulty which arose, and grew on us, little by little, almost without our knowing it; and the situation has not got any better. The situation is all the time getting a little worse; and it will only need another incident (I hope not in Dudley, but somewhere else) to provide the spark that may cause another explosion.

The noble Lord who has just spoken seemed to find it a satisfactory argument that there was a favourable outgoing balance between emigration and immigration which, he thought, showed that a great deal more could be done, and he seemed to think that that swept the problem on one side. Later in the course of his speech he came a little nearer to reality when he touched on the problems of Huddersfield, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Birmingham, and similar places. The limit has nearly been reached, if it has not already been passed, as to what some of those areas can take. In Birmingham every week 75 more children are presenting themselves at school than in the week before. Birmingham has to find classrooms and teachers. Just the other side of Dudley in Wolverhampton, the figure is 25 to 30. But the problem, more than school admission, is a basic human problem.

I have lived and worked in the Midlands. Folk there do not aspire to very much, but one will find no more honest, decent, hard-working Christian people than the people of the Black Country. I would remind your Lordships that the economic greatness of this country was born in these areas—the limestone, the clay, the iron ore were taken away. The guts was torn out of the countryside. What was once the most beautiful part of Britain—and in parts outside the industrial areas it still is beautiful—was scarred and disfigured. People grew up, as did their children, in conditions which one could only describe as bestial. Through the efforts of all political Parties many of these sores have been removed, but many have remained. Into those areas—because these are the areas where highly-paid work is easily found—week after week are injected people coming from other lands, who are determined, and one does not blame them, at all costs to retain their own way of life. They have their own religion, they bring their own culture and their own ways, and it is not wholly acceptable to those who live there already.

I have a pile of correspondence on this matter which I am not going to inflict on your Lordships, but this correspondence is growing. It is a fact that a chap works very hard to buy a little house perhaps through a building society, worth say about £2,000. Then, suddenly, in the same road will come a black chap—poor chap!; he has to find somewhere to go and nobody blames him for that—and then another and then another. Then the man who thought that his house was worth £2,000 finds that he cannot get £1,000 for it. The stories grow and the tensions grow. Then they find that their children at five years of age cannot get a place at school. In Wolverhampton there is a waiting list of hundreds of children, waiting to go into the schools, and they just cannot get in. And every week that goes by the problem gets worse. If this Bill is not passed, the problem will grow out of hand. These are the practical issues, not abstract moralities, which have got to be faced.

How have they come about? Those who have spoken in this debate have all expressed unease and disquiet at this Bill. It is no good trying to find out who was responsible. That goes back a very long way. The practical problem which has to be faced in the last days of February, 1968, is what are we going to do if this Bill is not passed? One can be absolutely sure that if the Bill is not passed—if, as a result of the speech of the noble Lord who has just spoken, or the speech of the most reverend Primate, the Bill does not pass—they personally must face the responsibility for the inevitable explosions which will come in various parts of these islands, explosions which will be caused not because of wickedness or because of stupidity, but because the people in those areas gradually, bit by bit, are losing hope. That is the fact and it hits people where it hurts most.

I have a letter here from a man with two sons who bought a house in a road such as I have described. One of his boys is fairly bright; he got seven "O" levels, but did not do so well with his "A" levels. His father had hoped that he might go to university. He believes that the boy did not do so well because of the continued noise next door. The man has a daughter and he is worried about the moral problems. He has had to fetch in the police on various occasions. I am not suggesting for a moment that those who come to live among us are worse people than we are. The point is that they are different people and that they refuse to be assimilated. Nobody is going to tell me that more could not be done in the area of welfare; I am sure that it could; but I am equally sure that in Dudley and in Stourbridge, indeed throughout the Black Country as a whole, there are hundreds of well-meaning people—some whose faces are white and some which are not—who have done their best with the resources which are available.

But, my Lords, let no one in this House get up and say that this gigantic problem can be solved by good will, or by voluntary effort, or by backing the local authorities. The truth is that the local authorities are losing heart. Go and talk to local government administrators throughout the Black Country and they will tell you, "Yes, at the moment we are just managing to keep control of events. But unless the situation is brought under control and kept under control, things are going to slip."

I do not want to detain your Lordships for very much longer except to say this. I am no racialist. My wife and I have taken into our home in her holidays a little black girl who nurses, and I myself have served for too long in the ranks of the Army. My visits to Kenya have not been voluntary ones—they have all been involuntary ones, like all my visits to Africa—and I assure your Lordships that there is no racialist in me. The longer I stay there the whiter they all get. I am no racialist, but I am a practical politician, and am not ashamed of it. I am not an abstract idealist, because I feel that misplaced idealism is the way to anarchy. I do not want to see inflicted on any other parts of Britain scenes of disorder of the kind that disfigured Dudley, a decent community; scenes which could only sadden all those who believe in democracy. For that reason I shall go into the Lobby to-night quite clear in my mind that the issues are simple: whether I support the Government in their proposal, or whether I am prepared to face the responsibility of the chaos which I believe will inevitably follow if it is not supported. I shall vote for the Bill.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down—




My Lords, I should like to ask one question before the noble Lord sits down. The noble Lord mentioned that these people, I suppose referring to Asians generally, were people who refused to change their way of life. Has he any material to dispute the conclusions and the material which I have with me that the Asians in Kenya, about whom we are talking, are people who identify with their parent group and are extremely sophisticated and who will certainly want to adopt the English way of life?


My Lords, I cannot say. It would mean a detailed analysis of the way of life of the people in Kenya. But I have served in Kenya, and I must say that, unlike the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, I did not think that the Asians there showed much desire to assimilate. In fact, the one thing which they wanted to do at all costs was to maintain their own way of life. I can only speak the truth. I never went there on a Parliamentary visit lasting only a few days. I served there for a long while and I got a different impression.

6.10 p.m.


My Lords, nobody could have put the case for the Bill on practical and expedient grounds better than my noble friend has done. I think he has put the most powerful case it is possible to make. But he has completely closed his eyes to the other side of the case, that is, to the promises, the obligations. He pointed to the moral issue only to brush it on one side, and he never said one single word about the obligations to the Asian people in Kenya into which we have entered.

I do not need to go again over the ground that has already been covered, but the fact is that the Asians in Kenya accepted British citizenship on the representation that it meant what it said; that is, that they would be free to come here with a British passport. They were given the option, and they accepted the representation in good faith. I am not concerned with whether the representation was a verbal one or not. The fact is that the possession of a British passport, which my noble friend Lord Brockway read out, meant that they were being guaranteed free entry into this country. Now this Bill takes that right away from them, and that is a factor which we must take into consideration. It is no good brushing that on one side. It is a question of whether we are going to honour our word and the obligations into which we entered. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, said that we made those promises because we recognised that there was a danger of the Asians in Kenya becoming Stateless, but that is exactly what is happening. They will become Stateless if we do not honour those obligations. Therefore, I think the issue is fairly clear.

I am not going to deny the problems that exist in Dudley and in other places. They have their problems, and it would be very wrong in a debate of this kind to ignore them. I shall be saying a word later about those places. I have just been informed, whether on good authority or not, that the Kenya Government have stated that no Asians may in future enter Kenya without a visa—in other words, they will not be allowed to go back again if they are refused entry here—and that India has done very much the same.

The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor—and I am sorry he is not here, but I quite understand—said that this is not the first time that we have done this, since we did it in 1962. Commonwealth citizens, members of the Commonwealth, had the right to British passports but the right of free entry was taken away from them under the 1962 Act. Presumably, therefore, the noble Lord would argue that we are entitled to do the same thing again. But many of us thought it was wrong at that time, and we think it is wrong to-day. Of course, there was no question with the 1962 Act of people having been induced to accept British citizenship under the representation that they would have free right of entry into this country. That element was not present at all. While I am not going to argue in favour of the 1962 Act, there is at any rate that distinction between the people who were affected then and those who are affected under this present Bill.

My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, and the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, both referred to the very large numbers of people from the Commonwealth who would have the right of free entry if this Bill were not passed. Theoretically, that may be so, and I am prepared to accept that if there was a likelihood of something like 1 million people coming from the Far East a new situation might arise, and we should have to consider that situation on its merits. But that situation has not arisen. It is purely hypothetical, and we are to-day merely considering the question of the Kenya Asians. As I have already indicated, there is a special case there in which our honour, our good faith and the reputation of this country are involved. And I fear that we are going to suffer very much indeed if, having induced these people to accept British citizenship, we now deprive them of the benefit of their rights under it.

I have said that the issue is a difficult one, and my noble friend and I must make up our minds one way or the other. There is a problem of deciding between doing the right thing and doing the expedient thing. But I have always felt in life that when you are faced with that issue you should do the right thing and be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice. I agree with the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, that even if it hurts we ought to do the right thing by these people whom we have induced to accept British citizenship.

Of course, we must try to mitigate the effects. I do not know whether we have made any efforts in that direction. Obviously, there are parts of this country where it would be most undesirable to add further to the coloured population. Dudley, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Huddersfield and, possibly, Brixton and Notting Hill may be cases in point. But if it were possible to spread over the whole country the number of people who could come in, the effects would he virtually negligible: it becomes a problem if they are concentrated in a few places.

While it would be inconsistent with the grant of British citizenship to tell people where they are to live—we could not do that—we could, at any rate, with the help of the various movements in this country, exercise a good deal of influence in that direction by giving them very strong advice, and helping them to go to places in this country where the problem has not yet arisen. In that way we could ensure, so far as possible, that the ill-effects would be reduced.

I believe that in this matter the Government are seeking to act with compassion and to do all they can to reduce the ill effects; but in the end, if this Bill stands as it is, with the limited number of permissions to enter (and it will take many years, at that rate, to absorb all those Asians who desire to come), then all the compassion in the world is not going to be very helpful to these Asians. They will be left, as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, feared, Stateless, and what they are to do is anybody's guess.

In the course of the Committee stage in another place my right honourable friend Mr. Callaghan said that he would use his discretion to ensure that people who were Stateless would not suffer; that they would be permitted to enter this country. If he really went as far as that, then he was really giving the whole case away, because according to my noble friend Lord Wigg the same problem would arise if all those people who were going to be Stateless were allowed to come in. Again, one wonders what would be the point of this Bill at all if Mr. Callaghan really means what he says. But, of course, nothing is being written into the Bill. Nor did he agree, even, that it should be written into the instructions to the immigration officers. So we are left merely with a statement by the Home Secretary, well meaning as it may be, that this is what is in his mind.

I agree also that the Home Secretary has gone some way to mitigate the evil effects of this Bill by permitting a right of appeal; but, of course, nobody knows better than my noble and learned friend that the right of appeal will be only on matters that are permitted under the Bill itself. There will be no discretion for the tribunal to go outside the terms of the Act; they will merely be ensuring that the administration of the Act has been properly carried out. I am quite prepared to accept that, by and large, the Act will be honestly and fairly administered, and therefore the number of appeals which will be successful will be very few indeed. While it is worth while having a tribunal of appeal, it will not help very much in increasing the numbers of people who will be permitted to enter.

My Lords, I would be reconciled to the Bill if people who had lost their nationality were able to come here without any question but, as I have said, if that were the case there would be no point in the Bill at all. If the Government wanted a Bill of that kind, I should not be against it; but as it stands I am afraid there is no alternative but to oppose this Bill. This is, as everyone has said, a very painful and difficult issue. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, said that he had considered this with much heart searching, with a heavy heart, and that it was a very painful measure to have to decide upon. Other noble Lords have said much the same thing; and certainly in private conversations with noble Lords in this House every one of them has said the same thing in different language. This I cannot help interpreting as a feeling of guilt, and I think they are justified in this guilt feeling. But, my Lords, at the end of the day, we have this awful conflict between what many of us think is right and what others think is expedient. I propose to take the line of deciding this on the issue of what is right.

Now there is a dilemma which the Liberals do not suffer from but which supporters of the Government do—and members of the Opposition may feel the same way. That is: can we really vote against a Bill which has been promoted by the Government, which is Government policy and which has passed through the House of Commons? It would not be in the tradition of this House to oppose such a Bill, and that is my difficulty. I have made my protest, and I find myself in a difficulty about actually voting against the Bill. But I will certainly do the next best thing and will try ostentatiously to abstain.

6.27 p.m.


My Lords, I have listened with interest to all that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has said; and I can quite understand his expressing that point of view if he expressed the same point of view, as I think he indicated he did, with regard to the 1962 Act (or Bill, as it then was), when it came before this House. I had a considerable amount to do in another place with the passing of that Bill through that House. It was the most difficult operation. It is true to say that on that occasion the whole of the Labour Party was bitterly opposed to it, as well as the Liberal Party and some members of my own Party; but if ever there was a justification for that measure I think it came from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Wigg. And when people reflect upon that measure, they should contemplate what the position in this country would be now if that Act had not been passed.

My Lords, I listened with the greatest interest to the speech of my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor. I think it was one of the best speeches, if not the best, that I have ever heard him make. I agree with him entirely when he says that it was in 1962, with the passage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, that the big decision was made—that, subject to certain limitations and conditions, there should be restrictions on the rights of British subjects to enter this country. That was the big decision. I think the trouble really goes back twenty years, to the passage of the British Nationality Act of 1948, when we declared that there should be citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and enacted that the terms "British subject" and "Commonwealth citizen" should have the same meaning. That was when there was dropped that distinction which, in debate on these matters, has been called the distinction between belongers and non-belongers. I am sorry that the noble Baroness, Lady Asquith of Yarnbury, found some difficulty the other day in understanding the meaning of that phrase. I should have thought that it was fairly clear.

It is not a question of devaluing the British passport. I think I am right in saying that no British subject requires a British passport to enter this country. Despite what the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said, I should have thought it was clear from what was said by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and my noble friend Lord Brooke that there was no question of a pledge being given at any time since 1962 to allow free entry to any Kenyan Asian who liked to come to this country.

I was more than surprised to hear the most reverend Primate suggest and assert, after he had heard the speech from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, who went into the matter in some detail, and the speech from my noble friend Lord Brooke, that the passage of this Bill virtually involves this country in breaking its word. That really is no less a charge by the insertion of the word "virtually" in front of the words "involves this country in breaking its word", and it is a very grave charge to be preferred by the most reverend Primate of this country. The word "virtually" was frequently used by the most reverend Primate in that speech—and when one says something is "virtually" true, it usually means that it is not entirely true. I hope that he used the word "virtually" with that meaning, as it would appear to be in that context. He brought forward no evidence at all to justify that grave charge. I was astonished to hear him make it after what had been so fairly and excellently said by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and by my noble friend Lord Brooke.

The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, felt that here was involved a pledge of faith. He said that the honour, reputation and good faith of this country were involved. I beg to differ from him. He asserted at the beginning of his speech that the Kenyan Asians had accepted British citizenship on the representation that they were free to come here. I do not accept that. From 1962 onwards, people resident in Kenya, Kenyan Asians, were subject to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act. From 1962 onwards their right of entry into this country was restricted by that Act. Then, in 1963, we had the Kenyan Independence Act and that made provisions in relation to citizenship.

When one turns to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act one finds that it says in clear terms: This section applies to any Commonwealth citizen not being … a person born in the United Kingdom; … a person who holds a United Kingdom passport and is a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies, … Those are the material words. After Independence, Kenyan Asians who did not choose to become citizens of Kenya remained as they were before, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. But, under the Act of 1962, if I understood it aright, they became entitled to enter this country only if they were granted a United Kingdom passport. That is defined in the Act of 1962 as meaning … a passport issued to the holder by the Government of the United Kingdom, not being a passport so issued on behalf of the Government of any part of the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom.


My Lords, may I intervene for a few moments? Surely, that is the very issue. The noble and learned Viscount has clarified the issue for your Lordships. Before, they were entitled only to a passport that was issued in the Colonies in which they resided. So far as I know—


Will the noble Lord allow me to continue my speech?


But this is very important.


My Lords, I hope that what I am saying is important, too. I am not wasting time. I gave way to the noble Lord to enable him to ask a question, but not to make a speech putting forward a point of view of which, no doubt, we shall hear later. The point I want to make is that unless they were both citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and holders of a United Kingdom passport they were not entitled to come here free of the restrictions imposed by the 1962 Act.


My Lords, 87,000 have come—


My Lords, I am not giving way to the noble Lord, if he will forgive me. I want to speak as shortly as I can. I want to make my points as clearly as I can to other Members of your Lordships' House. Other speakers will no doubt deal with the point the noble Lord is raising.

Then comes this question. How has it come about that they have obtained United Kingdom passports?—which according to the words of this Act are: issued to the holder by the Government of the United Kingdom. My noble friend Lord Brooke said that they had been issued by the High Commissioners. For all I know that may be right but no one has a right to the grant of a British passport. You have to apply for it. If they have got it, they are outside this.

In this connection I must say that I am extremely puzzled by the figures given by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor of the numbers of people who, if this Bill were not enacted, would be able to come to this country without being stopped at all. I will not go through the figures that he gave; but it seems to me implicit from what he said that all those millions of people—hundreds and thousands of them are Chinese—are at this time holders of United Kingdom passports issued by the Government of this country. I find that difficult to accept.

But it then comes down to this: that although, under the 1962 Act, a Kenyan Asian who got a United Kingdom passport issued to him came outside the scope of that Act, what this Bill is doing is bringing him back within the scope of the 1962 Act, as he was before. I must say that I can understand the viewpoint of those who were completely opposed to the 1962 Act, but I find it difficult to understand why those who think that it was necessitated by practical requirements should regard it as a matter of such high principle, of such ethical consequence, to oppose this Bill.

The most reverend Primate sought to suggest that the position to-day in relation to this Bill differs completely from that in 1962. But many of the arguments he advanced to-day had to me a very familiar ring: "virtually racialism", and things of that sort. Then he said that we must bear in mind that ethical grounds had practical consequences. The noble Lord, Lord Wigg—and it is very seldom, if ever before, that I have agreed with him—demonstrated, I thought convincingly, what would be the practical consequences in many parts of this country if this Bill were not enacted.

Subject to one matter that I want to raise and which I regard as being important, and which was touched upon by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, I take the view that it would be disastrous, not only for white people in this country but for the immigrants, too, if we admitted to this country bigger numbers thin we could deal with. That seems to me to be the fundamental issue of the Bill. It comes, I think, to this. Is it right to make the 1962 Act apply to those who became outside its scope consequent on the Kenya Independence Act? That there were gaps in the 1962 Act I would be the first to admit. I am glad to know that some of them will be filled.

I should like now to come to the question which I regard as of vital importance, which the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, touched upon, but which I should like to expand a little in the hope that before this debate is concluded we shall get a clear and positive answer upon it. These Kenyan Asians are citizens not of Kenya, but of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Therefore, once they leave Kenya, Kenya is not bound to readmit them. The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said that there had been an announcement—I have not seen it myself—that they will be admitted only with a visa. What will be the position? We ought to face up to this in considering the Bill.

Imagine that these Kenyan Asians come here and are refused admission. They are put on the aeroplane to go back to Kenya. They are refused admission there. What happens to them then? If they are to come back here and then be admitted, what will happen to the long queue of people who are waiting for admission? What will happen to all the machinery under the Bill? I must say, it seems to me that there is a very real risk indeed of those citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who leave Kenya and who are Asians not getting visas to be admitted into that country. What will happen to them? The Government should deal with this. I know that the Home Secretary made a statement about it yesterday, but it seemed to me to go a long way to defeat the purpose and the object of the Bill. All that the Lord Chancellor said about this to-day—and I noted his words with great care—was that, "We feel that once the Bill has passed, the Government of Kenya will sit down and agree to a procedure with us". I hope that that is true, but I cannot see any reason why the Government of Kenya will be any more ready to sit down and agree to a procedure when the Bill is passed than they were before its introduction, particularly in view of the statement by the Home Secretary that if they refuse to admit the Asians back again, they will be admitted, I understood him to say, into this country despite the Bill.

My Lords, that is a very real problem which the Government ought to face. If they can provide a satisfactory answer, my support for this measure would be wholehearted, not because one likes restricting movement, not because one is racialist at all, but because I believe that it is absolutely essential in the interests not only of our people, but of the Kenyan Asians. It seems to me that perhaps the situation which may arise of these poor people going backwards and forwards between Kenya and this country could be solved if only we could institute the immigration controls in Kenya before they leave Kenya and come to this country. If that could be done, I believe that it would avoid a lot of this trouble.

It seems curious to me that although we have had the statement that two distinguished lawyers have been sent out there to conduct the appeal procedure, so far as I know nothing has been said to suggest that it is at that stage, before these people leave Kenya, that the control will be effectively operated. If only that can be done, the problem of sending them back again and getting them back here will be to a large degree solved.

Whether there will be a Division on the Bill to-night, I do not know. Although the most reverend Primate was most critical of the Bill and, I thought, harsh in his observations about the attitude of this country in talking about this country breaking its word, he did not say that he was prepared to vote against the Bill. I should have thought that after the speech which he made, and however late the hour may be, on this occasion his vote should follow his word.

6.46 p.m.


My Lords, it is the known custom of this House that a new Member on speaking for the first time should so declare it, which I now declare. It is the further custom that his words should, as far as possible, be non-controversial, and it is the further custom that he should be short. As regards the last, we have an old riddle in Scotland, "Why do Presbyterian Ministers speak longer than other men? "The answer is that they do not, but it seems much longer. I certainly intend to be short, because I feel that the essence of the issue being discussed should be in the hands of those responsible, such as the speech we have just heard from the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, on what was happening in 1962, and other speeches which will be coming from those who are known in the Commonwealth and those who have given their life in Colonial Service.

I might here declare why it is that in the event I find myself standing here at all. It is because—and I think that this is cogent to the debate—I received more communications from people outside urging me to speak than on any other debate which has taken place since I became a Member of your Lordships' House. Not one such communication has been from a burdened soul, such correspondence as all of us sometimes get, seized of passion or held down by some prejudice. All of those communications have come not simply from individuals but from groups such as the Human Rights Year and other ethical and religious groups.

I plead for delay in the passing of the Bill. The sole subject before us, as we have been reminded several times, is whether it is to be delayed for six months. I find myself speaking on behalf of the many who have written to me, first in general criticism, then in particular criticism, and finally in moral criticism of allowing that the Bill should go forward. We should have time to consider it for the next six months.

On the general grounds, may I try to speak to those of your Lordships who are, like me, not expert in these matters and try and consider for a moment, almost telegraphically the kind of thing that arises in our somewhat superficial minds. I was happy at the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, delicately touched upon the question of race. He just had to talk on race because this really comes first in the whole issue. He gave the instance of those who have come in, who had their own passports; Britishers who have come from Kenya since it became independent.

Without wishing in any way to raise the temperature, is it not worth while to consider the problem of the Irish? I come from Scotland. Why is it that this kind of issue has never been raised although in Glasgow there have been grave problems of an incursion of people who are white? Why never at all has this question been raised? It is important, with all good will and not raising temperatures, to point out that this is a racial issue; and it is a supremely racial issue when we emphasise that it has nothing to do with race!

Such people are very often against the question of the inflow of people into this country. Yet, and the point has been made, the outflow of people from this country is at present in excess of the people who are coming in. There is a letter in The Times this morning which says that the people who are going out are white. But are we aware of the type of people coming in? If we are going to have an expanding economy, there are a number of areas in which we have not got enough workers at the present time. So this inflow is not altogether to be despised. We are told that there is a housing shortage. Has anyone ever worked out in detail how many houses we should not have been able to build except for people who have come in from Asia with their skills? We should have fewer houses if we did not have this inflow, controlled as it may have to be in some degree.

Which one of us has not been horrified by the tragedy in the mental home at Shrewsbury where, because of the shortage of nurses, patients had to be locked up? Anyone who has worked in hospitals, whether in England or in Scotland, knows that two-thirds of the nurses are people from other lands. On these general points I think that we should hold off for at least six months so that we could go further into the situation. I am mystified why we should legislate against this particular group of people. Surely they are the sort of people we should not exclude.

To return to a point already made by the noble Lords, Lord Wade and Lord Brockway, of the 750 doctors in Kenya at the present time, 695 are of Asian extraction. Again, how many are aware that 93 per cent. of these people speak English and that their families have spoken English for two generations? How many people are aware of the extent to which Asian children have secondary education? I think it is a pity that the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, took instances of education when the real problem of education does not occur in connection with this Bill. Many of the Asians are people who can make good nurses or have had training as builders, shipbuilders and electricians. No one is going to deny the problem brought forward by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, but why should we suddenly deal with this problem in terms of people who are going to become the least problem in education and the greatest help in nursing and doctoring?

My last word is on moral grounds, and this to me is the most important. Some weeks ago the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, made a notable speech, in which he said that the moment of truth has arrived. The East-West relations which have been our intense concern for the last 25 years have now been replaced by the problems of North-South relations. These latter are the tragedy of our time, as the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, was so eloquently saying at the end of his speech. We may have it at the top of our minds, but we must realise that a vast change has to take place in the direction in which we must look for the real crisis of our time. We know that Poland and Hungary can talk back to Moscow, and Rumania can talk back to Czechoslovakia. The classical monolith of a vast Marxism is no longer there. If I may dare to make the point, in a personal way, I think it is important.

Not very long ago a young member of my own family was keen to see Mr. Kosygin when he was in Edinburgh, where I live. We decided that the only way was to go at 11.30 to Waverley Station and see him go off. I was rather intrigued to see how far the proletariat were going to be present to honour Mr. Kosygin, especially after the vast amount of money spent to tell us what a terrible place Russia was. I wondered what representation would be there for Mr. Kosygin. In the first place, the proletariat was not there at all. Cars proliferated along the pavements up to 300 yards away. About 500 people, all of them in smart overcoats and the latest style homburg hats, were there to see Mr. Kosygin away. When Mr. Kosygin turned round, with the light shining down on him, and waved, there was a loud cheer from the bourgeois of Edinburgh. I am bound to say that one young lad about 18 dared to get up on a barrow and say, "Doon with the Commies". He was arrested! I am coming to a serious point in the fastest possible way. In the consciousness of our people the East-West crisis is now over.

But what is this terrible thing that is coming up between the North and the South? We hear, "Ichabod, Ichabod, our glory is departed," said about Singapore and our power in the world. But are we sure our power has gone? Are we sure that power is not changing in its nature in the world? Are we sure that Darwin is not to be applied sociologically as well as in his own science? Is the survival of the fittest the survival of the beefiest? That is the opposite of what Darwin is saying. He said that the paradox is that the ever more sensitive forms of life grow up while the dinosaurus and plesiosaurus go down. His teaching was that only those forms of life that can come level with their new environment can survive. Is it not cliché upon cliché that our new environment is co-operation? The old methods of power have lost themselves and do not know where to get in this nuclear age. Is it not conceivable that the new power of the future is the power that can live in the environment of co-operation? Is it not conceivable that the glory has not departed?

If this is the world into which we are moving, is it not a terrible thing if we unintentionally lay the seeds of hatred? Can we make it possible to realise the dangers that arise from the "lesser breeds without the law"? I am sure that every Member of this House and every responsible person regrets anything that gets racial hatred going. Is it not a pity that people are saying that at last the Government are coming level with what they have been saying ought to be done? Do we realise one danger arising? "The lessed breeds without the law", the prejudiced, the racialists, are beginning to refer to this Bill as proof of what they, in their prejudices, have been saying all along, when it is the last intention of the Government to say any such thing.

Is it for nothing that at the other extreme there is the profoundest danger that race war is going to be started in this country? Cliché on cliché, we all know that before the Presidential elections in America it may well be that in the Southern States the whole racial issue will be even more serious than Vietnam? How far are we quite certain, if this kind of legislation goes through, that it will not start the pulsating beginnings, the germination of race war in this country, and race hatred from all the people in the South of the World. It is no longer East-West. The truth is that it is North-South, and, as has been said, this is the greatest issue of our time.

I was sorry when it was claimed in the otherwise able speech of the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, that practical possibilities are what the doctor orders, and abstract morality leads to chaos. If abstract morality leads to chaos, then what are we trying to do at all in coming to any decision about anything? If practical possibilities are the things on which this world is going to be set, let us remember that when you deal with practical possibilities only, you are dealing with expediency; and if anybody imagines that expediency is going to deal with this vast situation they are wrong. Our world is full of such tremendous hope for our people if we get the new view of power. That view of power must be co-operative. The most reverend Primate in his last words said the ultimate words, so much more lasting than the final words of the noble Lord, Lord Wigg.

7.2 p.m.


My Lords, it is a great privilege to be the first to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod of Fuinary, on his extremely able maiden speech. As a theological student I was once listening to a lecture given by the noble Lord, with every word of which I disagreed. Since then it has taken me some time to realise that I should have agreed with every word that he said then, and I hope that it will take the noble Lord less time to convince your Lordships' House than it took him to convince me. I hope, also, seeing that there is no right reverend Prelate to speak later in this debate, that the Lords Spiritual will not take it amiss if I say how pleased we who are members of the Anglican Ministry are to welcome such a distinguished Free Church Leader to the House. I hope that the noble Lord will speak many times in the future.

My Lords, I think that this is a bad Bill; and I think it is a bad Bill, like a great many other Bills, because it is unnecessary. It is true that a certain amount of responsibility for the situation that has arisen, for the way in which a number of people in this country have reacted and panicked, can be laid at the door of the Kenyan Government. A sudden acceleration in the Kenyanisation of jobs and businesses is, to a certain extent, the result of internal Kenyan politics and a jockeying for position among those who see power obtainable in the not too distant future. It is also true that a certain amount of the trouble has been caused by incompetence in planning ahead, and a considerable failure to let people in Kenya know what the position was. For instance, when I left Nairobi last Tuesday no decision had yet been taken on the form that business licensing was likely to take, and whether business licences for non-Kenyan citizens would last for a year, two years, three years, or less or more. This was in spite of the fact that the Trade Licensing Act in Kenya was due to come into operation on April 1. But I do not think that we in this country need necessarily cast stones at people who pass legislation without knowing exactly how it is going to work.

But having said this about the Kenyans, we must admit that they have very real problems, and their determination to see that the present lot of Kenyan school-leavers, of whatever race, with higher education than they have ever had before, should be able to get jobs and should not be frustrated by those who have not chosen to apply for Kenyan citizenship, is understandable.

There are rights and wrongs on both sides, but I hope that we shall not hear too much talk in your Lordships' House of the racial prejudice in Kenya. We are dealing with the actions of a country that has been extremely careful to base its measures on the full acceptance of multiracial citizenship; and we are not in a position to criticise that. By the Commonwealth immigrants Act 1962, with its exclusion of the Irish, we have already moved into the racial field. And with the measure now being put forward before your Lordships' House, we are about to pass an Act which, in Clause 1, goes as near to setting up a purely racial discrimination as any measure which does not actually name races possible could, and which, in complete contradistinction to what is happening in Kenya, discriminates against citizens very largely on the basis of their race.

I must say that I was amazed by the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, when he said that he did not understand what the most reverend Primate meant by "virtually racial". I know that repetitions are not very acceptable in your Lordships' House, but if I may repeat what the most reverend Primate said, he said there were exceptions which would mean that technically this was not a purely racial Bill, but that virtually, for the large part of it, as it struck people and in its general operation, it was a racial Bill. I stand to be corrected about that.

The motive for this Bill is a panic engendered by some people in a way which I find it impossible to describe within the conventions of your Lordships' House. I found in Nairobi last week that, in spite of a certain amount of quite obvious disturbance and panic among ordinary members of the Asian community leaders in general, the educated ones, Asian and European, had no such reaction. To be quite frank, there were very few informed and educated people in Kenya last week who dreamt that a British Government—and a British Left-Wing Government at that—could behave in this way. My political reputation, for what it is worth—admittedly, it may be very small—is zero in Kenya, because I did not believe it either; and I said so.

What would have happened if no action had been taken and if the Government had said quite firmly that they stood by the rights of citizenship which existed? There would have been a continuing flow of East African immigrants into this country. It is extremely doubtful whether the number of such immigrants in the first year would have begun to approach the total number of vouchers which, until the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, intervened, I understood had not been taken up under the 1962 Act. I hope that when he comes to reply the noble Lord will clear up this situation. Is he saying that the vouchers allowed over the last two years will almost all be taken up sooner or later; or is he admitting that there is a gap (and I believe there is a gap) between what the Government have legislated for and the number of people who come in? I think we should be told this. If there is a gap, and it is Government policy to allow as many people as that to come in, and they do not come in, then this amounts to quite a large number of people in all.

We are talking by general consent, I think, of about 60,000 Kenyan Asians who might want to come. It is almost inconceivable, I should have thought, that one-third of those would come in the first year, particularly as it is to Kenya's interest to save this exodus, both from the point of view of the skills still needed in Kenya and from the point of view of the enormous amount of foreign exchange currency which Kenya needs. It is a country which has not devalued, and whose currency is open to attack, a currency these people would have to bring with them. It seems very unlikely that as many as that, 20,000, would have tried to come in in the first year. And that is not a very great many people in terms of what we are talking about.

This Bill is a measure of the Government's reaction—I would call it panic: I must continue to say—that they wish to take away the rights of citizens, solemnly and deliberately granted in the not too distant past. To those who say that there were no pledges, all right; maybe technically there were not any pledges. But when Mr. Macleod can say, "We did it and we meant to do it", is he not letting the cat out of the bag, giving the game completely away? He meant it, and at the time so did a great many other people; and the Asians believed that we meant it. When I was in Nairobi one church leader said to me, "You have an obligation to these people". He did not say, "Don't rat on it", because, as I say, they did not believe that we would. He just said, "For Heaven's sake! do not appear grudging about it. They will be the best set of immigrants to England since the Huguenots." I have more that I can say on that subject, but I think it is probably generally admitted in your Lordships' House that these are a very high quality class of citizens.

But panic has prevailed. The Bill has been put forward. Racialism—and, again, I am not ashamed to use this word—is virtually being written into the British Statute Book. The rights of British citizens are being taken away: rights which, though they may not be immutable, were there, and are there still, until we pass this Bill. Immense chaos is being caused to the lives, not only of the people who remain in Kenya, but of the people who, because of the way the Government have handled this, and because they do not believe they would get in in future, have disrupted their lives in the last few days. They did not have arrangements made. Families have been temporarily broken up. There must be a great deal of genuine hardship in the flight from Kenya. This is laid at the door of the British Government, because these people trusted the word of a British Government in the past.

I should like, before I close, to interrupt my argument just to draw attention to the decisions, to the opinions, of the United Kingdom Committee for Human Rights Year. I have the honour to sit on the Executive Council of this body. It is a completely non-Party body. It is not, to my mind and in my opinion (and I think noble Lords who sit in this House with me and serve on it will agree) biased in any particular way, except for the care of human rights. This body, which has nothing to do with Party politics, registers its complete opposition to the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, and calls on all Members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons to vote against it. I hope that we shall have the courage to throw this Bill out; to say that is shall be read "this day six months". In fact, we might even say "this day one year", because February 29 does not come up for another four years. We might say that—it is an interesting point.

May I appeal to noble Lords opposite, most of whom know in their hearts, and many of whom have said, that this measure does act against the multi-racial Commonwealth for which so many of them have fought; and to noble Lords on my left, whose proud tradition has always been the keeping of the word of a British Government. We shall be told that if we reject this Bill we shall cause immense chaos. The problem is not that. We may be told that we must never reverse the decision of another place, because it is democratically elected. But, my Lords, the right does rest in us. Rights rest in bodies so that they may be used when necessary. I think that this is an obvious necessity, because it involves the rights under the Crown of so many people to whom England has virtually given its word and who are not represented. Therefore, let us be counted to-night as standing for England's word, and against discrimination, however well-meaning and however disguised.

7.16 p.m.


My Lords, it is a pleasant tradition of this House for subsequent speakers to pay a measure of tribute to those who have made their maiden speech. It is therefore my pleasant responsibility to pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod, for the very delightful way in which he expressed a great deal of what I do not believe. I think that most of us were charmed with many of the illustrations which he expressed. But I am afraid that the purpose to which he put them was not of the character which I would entirely go along with.

My noble friend Lord Brockway, in putting forward this Amendment, has indicated the appalling problem this House has to face. With that I agree. He has indicated, too, that the most vital, the most significant, problem that confronts the people of this country to-day is that of race relations. With that I agree. But I do not agree with him when he expresses the view that to reject this Bill and open wider the door for increased immigration will create circumstances that would make possible better race relations. I think precisely the opposite, would be the case. Perfect race relations, good race relations, are not dependent upon a capacity for one to absorb the other, but they are dependent upon the ability of one group to respect another group, to be able to live with another group. And all the laws in the world cannot change the opinions of people on the matter of race relations overnight. It must be done by the process of education and the process of living, of living together.

We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, some vivid illustrations of the profound difficulties which have arisen in areas he knows well. I regret very much that many of those who in all honesty are opposing this Bill have attempted to use, in my opinion, rather discreditable arguments and tried to create the idea that this Government is almost racialist in character, and, therefore, that this Bill is pursuing a racialist policy. Nothing is further from the truth. Indeed, I would go so far as to say—and I speak as one who I think can claim to have some understanding of, and respect for, people of another colour—that I believe that at this particular point of time increased immigration, with the inability on the part of this country to receive the immigrants, particularly in the areas where they usually go, would add to the difficulties of to-day.

It is easy to apportion blame in this matter. If anything, I think the circumstances of to-day have been created by our chaotic immigration laws. We have had chaotic immigration laws that have taken no heed of the capacity of this country to accept those immigrants, nor of the needs of the community. I know that what we are suffering to-day may be a legacy from, and the price we have to pay for, the old colonial system. There may also be some truth in the fact that a measure of responsibility lies on the shoulders of the Party opposite for actually creating the circumstances that have led to the confusion of to-day. There may also be a measure of responsibility on the part of the Indians themselves, who either found it difficult, or refused, to integrate into the Kenya community—because, let us face the fact, as has already been stated, they do not find it possible to integrate in Kenya, and therefore it would be ridiculous to expect easy integration in our own community.

I know that prejudice on the part of one group against another is a deplorable thing, but it is wrong to believe that this prejudice, stupid though it is, is concerned solely with colour. If I might introduce a note of light relief into this serious discussion, I remember some years ago I was called upon to speak at a miners' rally—a May Day demonstration—in Doncaster. It was a great event; all the pits used to ballot for the honour of leading the procession with their own colliery band. That particular Sunday was a bonanza for the newspaper photographers because the pit that won the ballot and headed the procession was one that was out on an unofficial strike against the employment of Polish labour, and the inscription that they carried on their banner was "Workers of the World Unite". There was no colour involved, because I imagine that when one gets down into the bowels of the earth it is impossible to tell one from the other when they have been there a few minutes. But there was prejudice—prejudice born out of fear.

Therefore I believe that this House must support the Government in their recognition of the facts of life. That is, that we will attempt to develop a multiracial community, but with the recognition that experience over past years shows that the concentration of these people in five or six conurbations has created serious difficulties in those areas. One cannot escape those facts. This has been repeated time and time again by the responsible people in those areas. There is even a threatened breakdown of the educational system and of the health facilities in some of those areas. And what do opponents of the Bill suggest should be done, as a demonstration of our belief in good, sound race relations? That more should come, and thus the situation be exacerbated.

Let us make this quite clear. Those of us who support this Bill do so not on the basis of "Little Englander" but on the clear recognition that it takes time for communities to weld themselves together. We support it on the basis of facing the facts of life and recognising that if more and more immigrants come in, unrestricted and uncontrolled, we are being fair neither to the people in our own country nor to the immigrant coming in. Therefore I believe it is the responsibility of this House to recognise our obligation to the people of this country and to those from abroad who are already living here.

It is the easiest thing in the world to apply a legal quibble, and I suppose from the purely legalistic standpoint one could offer many points of condemnation with regard to this Bill. I am not concerned about that. It would not be the first time a Government, possibly quite legitimately, had pursued a policy that was not quite legalistic according to past practice but which recognised that the Bill was in the best long-term interest of the people they were supposed to represent. Therefore I repeat that I, who have had quite a long association with people overseas—probably as close an association as most of your Lordships—can count many of those people among my friends, and yet I give full and wholehearted support to this Bill, simply because I believe it denotes a realistic attitude towards the situation as it is to-day and offers the time and opportunity to build up the circumstances which will truly create better race relations. If we believe that the mere passing in a few months time of a Bill relating to race relations will cure the situation, we have "another think" coming, because we shall not change an attitude of mind merely through legislation. Therefore I suggest that we have here at least some small opportunity to effect a measure of control, recognising the serious problem that it is; and in doing so there is no suggestion of racialism or anything of that kind.

My last word is this. I have been very much concerned at the almost hysterical opposition expressed by many people as soon as the Bill was announced. I am sorry the most reverend Primate is not in his place, because I might have had some most uncomplimentary remarks to make. At least the House is spared that. But I will conclude my speech by expressing a deep faith in the development of good race relations, and a belief that a full support of this Bill is not in conflict with that principle or that idea.

7.27 p.m.


My Lords, like others of your Lordships, I was charmed by the gay and unprovocative speech of the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod of Fuinary. I follow a vigorous and aggressive speech on the opposite side to myself, and my case is not to underline this Bill as one where race prejudice is the main characteristic. I should like to start by saying how relieved I was when the noble Lord, Lord Byers, said that this Bill had been introduced with unreasonable haste. I am a person who lives on the very edge of the map. I try to take part in your Lordships' debates and give all the counsel I can, in accordance with my oath, when it comes on to my pitch, and it has been exceedingly difficult to prepare anything in this short time. Were it not for the newspapers and the B.B.C. I should have known next to nothing about it, and I think their correspondence columns have been quite excellent.

Among other difficulties, I have prepared a speech based on certain figures which quickly became out of date. They were apparently in date yesterday. I thought the figure of entitled persons with British passports who could come here without control was 1 million yesterday, but today it is 2 million. I think about 1 million Chinese escaped when the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack rose to speak, and that added to the numbers.

I should like to answer a challenge which I understand the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, made to those who disagree with this Bill and who are going to vote against it. He referred to the 1962 Act and asked people to declare whether they were in support or against. I, in principle, am a supporter. I regard the 1962 Act as ending an unlimited promise to anything up to 1,000 million people to come into these islands without control. If the number is not 1,000 million, it is not far off; the Commonwealth is not far below that number. It is rather like the promise on the £1 note of the Bank of England, the promise to pay on demand the sum of one pound. It is one of those obsolete promises of history which cannot be fulfilled, and is not fulfilled. The 1962 Act seems to me to have been legislation catching up with the march of history many years after; the thing was obsolete.

In the 1963 Kenya Act, however, machinery was devised, with great deliberation, to give a certain category of people (they were not the only ones, but Kenya is the part I should like to dwell upon) this right of entry into this country. And if that right were removes from them my contention is that they would not be restored to where they were under the 1962 Act, because surely under the 1962 Act they were protected by this country. In other words, what we took away in 1963 was our protection, because we could bestow it no longer, and what we gave instead was the equivalent of a right of return to this country, a right of return even though they had never been here.

It is said that it was done simply because the Kenya Government would not give automatic Kenyan citizenship. My contacts in 1961 and 1962 in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya at this time suggested that there were very considerable apprehensions on the part of the white community and the brown lest they should be left to the mercies of people whose record was highly controversial, and their views swayed what was done. They certainly swayed me, and if I had not thought that this right was going to be available I think I should have spoken on that matter, as well as making some several speeches on the Somali problem, because I took a considerable part in the debates on that Kenya Independence Act.

It seems to me that what is happening now is that we are withdrawing the only right that matters, the right of return, because the right of protection did not exist; and we are choosing the moment when the men to whom we are refusing it are in serious trouble. And that is what I think is wrong with this Bill. I should be willing to concede that after due deliberation we might extend the 1962 Act to cover the one million Chinese with dual nationality, and maybe others, if we had the time to deliberate on the merits of each case—and it is a very varied pattern all over the world. But we have chosen the moment when people in trouble, in persecution, want to come to their home; we are depriving them of their home, their asylum, at a moment of disaster to them. That is what I think is so unlikeable about this Bill. If only we had not done it in haste I can see myself voting for almost all the provisions, suggesting some others, inviting Her Majesty's Government to consider the position of the Goans who have been left, as one of them wrote to me, like one of the lost tribes, former citizens of Portugal. But we have chosen this moment of disaster to the Asians of Kenya in order to deprive them of their rights. If they had not got the right we should not be here, so that how they got it is really somewhat irrelevant. We are forming a queue, but I think it is 100 years long—it may be 1,000 years, depending on whom you count as eligible to join the queue. We are depriving them of their nationality as British subjects at a difficult moment.

I think that at some time or other, before depriving them of the only right they wish to exercise as British subjects—coming home for refuge—we should debate the matter very thoroughly; but it has been rushed through in the face of what seems to me to be a panic. Supposing that 130,000 came, that is only a quarter of one per cent. of the population of this country. As the numbers would be less, and might tail off altogether and reverse, the problem is not one which could not be handled. We have done the sort of thing. I served in the War Office at the time of the evacuation and various other events. We can manage large numbers if we really want to. It would be a difficult situation. But it does seem to me that we have chosen this worst possible moment in order to do what ultimately will be a reasonable thing to do, to sort it out.

I should like to refer to the brown Asians of Kenya, whom I have known since 1922. I visited them again in 1961 and 1962. They were unlike other Indians from the Indian community, and Goa, of our former Empire, in that they were specifically invited and pressed to come, and they came under the auspices of the British Government, repeatedly, for decade after decade, first to plan and construct the Uganda railway, which was to connect the Indian Ocean to the source of the White Nile, and complete that pattern which started with Disraeli's buying the Suez Canal shares. All that vital strategy they were asked to take part in. And then, because the railway was a great burden on the British taxpayer in this country, they were brought in as middlemen for what was decided to be done, to establish the White Highlands producing an economic product from a vacuum of vacant land to a large extent. For this purpose the Indians were indispensable, and they were brought in under the auspices not of the settlers but of the British Government. The settlers were brought in by the British Government. That is a different thing which has grown up.

There are liabilities in Kenya which are not the same in other parts of our former Colonies. These people have come in their own way, and they have settled in confraternities, many of them religious confraternities. They have their own welfare to a large extent. For a great many years they looked after all their sick, all their unemployed, their children's education, their orphans, their widows. They are a self-contained brotherhood. I should like to refer to one of them. If you look at the Kenya telephone directory, in the 1961 edition you will find that there are 500 people with the name of Patel. They are a confraternity of the Indian Hindu section. But there are many others.

They have always been disliked by the other communities to some extent—not by everybody, but there has been a general undercurrent of dislike. Many of the whites have disliked them. Most of the Africans I used to come across could not stand them. And that is at the bottom of the trouble; they do not like them. They are peculiar in this sense; that they employ the people of the same race to do all the functions, whether it is in the shop, the duka, the fundi the building clan—the Sikhs; they do all the functions. It is not ordinary for outsiders other than their community to be employed at all. That is the way they do things. If now they are told "You must employ an African", and thus displace an Indian, who on earth will employ the Indian if he is not employed by the Indian? Nobody at all. They are told to do something utterly impossible. It is the character of these confrontations which is not understood. They belong to each other. They live in a huddle. They may be compared, I suppose, to the Jews in Vienna before the war. They are not liked by other people. Here I do not say that I do not like them. I do not say that I did not like the Jews in Vienna. I am merely saying that they excite distaste in other communities. That is a large part of the trouble.

I do not think the authorities in Kenya are capable of controlling what the masses say. think and do; and what is happening in a number of cases, or what was happening in 1961 and 1962 when I was there and could take some steps to check, and what I hear has continued since, is that there is what I might call a widespread "racket" of Africans going to Indians and saying, "Will you fill up my car to-day? I want a car. I can do you good if you provide me with a car". It was not the Indians who persecuted the Africans in 1961 and 1962 when I was there; it was the other way round. They were being blackmailed to provide services and goods to Africans who said, "Now we are coming into power".

These Asians are the people in difficulties, and I think they are in trouble. I do not like the idea of the British Government, when men are in trouble, kicking them back and saying, "No". I think some other steps ought to have been taken. I repeat that I am not against the spirit of a Bill of this kind, suitably delivered at a proper time, calmly, when there is not this menace in front of us.

7.43 p.m.


My Lords, I intervene in all humility in your Lordships' debate, but I do so because I have lived and worked among Asians for the greater part of my life. It is against this background that I want to develop my argument, based upon what I know and from the experience that I have gained. I hope your Lordships will bear with me. I am torn in various directions in the situation in which we find ourselves. This is an emotional experience for me, and I shall hope to be constructive.

First, I should like to pay my tribute, as I should have done at the opening of my speech, to the maiden speech which we heard from the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod of Fuinary. We hope we shall hear him on many future occasions. There was one speech with which, with the background which I possess, I agree as to nearly every word that was said. It was the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Peddie. In considering this Bill the issues seem to me to be of two principal kinds. They are clearcut. I think the issues are these: first, the practicability of absorbing 100,000 Kenyan Asians into this country without serious racial trouble, those people having retained their British passports and, secondly, the honour and integrity of this country which is at stake, since if we deprive Kenyan Asians of their right of immediate entry here under the passports which they possess, then, as I see it, we are depriving them of something to which they are entitled.

I want to deal with the first point, the practicability of absorption without racial conflict. Let us face this situation and be honest with ourselves. What is the position of the British people, let alone what will be the position of largo numbers of Asians, if they were to come in large numbers and at great speed into our midst and to our shores? At the present moment there are not enough houses, there are not enough schools, and there are not enough hospitals or doctors. The social services are strained to the utmost, and we have slipped from one economic crisis to another. This is what these people would be coming to. There is a danger here of real trouble and conflict. Is this fair to our Asian friends? I submit that it is not.

I wish that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham were here taking part in your Lordships' debate. He and I were together in Changi Prison in the last war. He was in the next cell to mine. He would confirm that we owe our lives to the efforts of our Asian friends. I merely wish to say this because I have every reason to want to help the Kenyan Asians in their present predicament. It is from a long practical experience of service abroad that I say that when peoples of different races, cultures, customs and religions are expected to sit down in harmony with other people of different races, colour and religion, this process takes time, and if you try to do all this too quickly inevitably you will get racial strife and disharmony. You must therefore move with great caution.

Before I was sent to prison in the last war I knew of a little Eurasian child who was looked after by a Malay amah. This child's mother, who was a Dutch Eurasian, was evacuated to Java and Sumatra. During these long four years this little child was brought up, fed and looked after by this Malayan amah. About two or three years after we returned to the country, the Dutch mother who had been evacuated prior to our incarceration came back to the country to claim her child. There was the most tremendous racial strife that I can ever remember over that incident. We had riots in Singapore, and the police had to open fire. I give this as an example of the emotions that can be roused among communities of different cultures and races in circumstances of that kind. I think it is illustrative of the position which we must all consider.

There is one other thing which exists in this country at the present time. It is an aspect of our way of life which upsets and angers me, and is not the fault of the immigrants in this country at present. These are the views expressed by the British people themselves, the theorists and intellectuals, and even some of our political leaders. These people, sincerely desiring to further racial harmony, are always denigrating our past, are always depicting our Colonial administrators as oppressors and exploiters, suggesting therefore that we must somehow pay an atonement for our past errors and help the downtrodden people of our former territories. These people, in interviews on television and in the newspapers, are not creating the atmosphere in which racial harmony can flourish in this country. They are creating the opposite effect, and I regret to say that there are politicians, and even leaders in our own community, who do this. This theme is then taken up, and the same cry followed by some Asian leaders in the speeches they make in this country at the present day. All this is extremely dangerous, unless you have some form of controlled immigration.

That is the situation which has been created. This situation angers a large number of our own population, because what is said of Britain is untrue. The lie to the situation falsely presented by these theorists in their speeches is exposed for all to see in the large number of immigrants from the Commonwealth who come to Britain and who continue to come here. That completely justifies the wisdom of former Parliaments and everything that decent people in this country stand for.

Therefore I say emphatically that I support the Government in this Bill to the extent that, in the interests of this country, you must have some form of control over immigration at this time. But finally, my Lords, dealing with the other issue of the 100,000 Asians from Kenya with British passports, as I see it a question of our honour is at stake, and I should like to suggest to the Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs, the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, that the three points I want to make should be considered: first, the cessation at present of the issue of any new labour permits to other Commonwealth immigrants other than to Asians from Kenya; secondly, the Government to give a guarantee that they will exercise the strictest control on illegal immigration, thirdly, a tightening of the provisions affecting Commonwealth immigrants already here. By this I meant to prevent any unauthorised entry of dependants who do not qualify. If all this were done, it is estimated that it would reduce immigration from the Commonwealth by 20,000 per annum, and in five years we should have reduced our obligations to 100,000 Kenya Asians now apparently displaced in Kenya.

7.54 p.m.


My Lords, this debate to-day has been presented by some of the speakers this afternoon as being an argument between dreamy idealists on the one hand and, as the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, said, practical politicians on the other The noble Lord, Lord Peddie, said that we have got to look facts in the face. The general attitude has been that those of us who oppose this Bill are not being practical and that we are not really facing up to the situation. All I can say to that is that it was the practical politicians who drew up the Kenya Independence Bill; it was the practical politicians who in 1962 drew up the immigration laws. And apparently on that occasion they forgot what we have now been told this afternoon, that there is this dreadful "yellow peril" approaching these shores of 1 million Chinese and various other factors of this kind. Those of us who oppose the Bill have been accused of showing hysteria. It seems to me that the hysteria lies in exactly the opposite direction, with the people who have introduced this Bill in such a hurry.

I want to make it quite clear from the beginning that I am not against immigration controls. I believe that the 1962 immigration restrictions were right. Reluctantly I accepted them. I think that we had a very big meal and it is only reasonable that we should have time to digest it. One can understand the dismay of social workers, educationists and local authorities in some already over-crowed areas at the thought of a flood of new immigration coming in to dislocate their services and put upon them additional strain. I will say a word on this matter later. That would be a strong and potent argument and would weigh with me if it were not for one important factor. The factor is this—and wriggle how you may you cannot escape it. The Asians in Kenya are in a different category, and we have a solemn obligation towards them. Mr. Macleod has made that clear. If we did not sign a contract with every individual Asian, we gave them what used to be something better, a good British handshake. They were given, whatever the qualification, a clear and unmistakable understanding, and it was all the more valid for being implied.

The tangible evidence lies in that British passport which makes them citizens of the United Kingdom. There were no strings on it at the time, and—let us make it quite clear—no qualifications. Thousands of people took us at our word, as they were entitled to do. We did not say, "We may have to look at the situation again in three or four years' time." We did not say, "We have already taken in thousands of Commonwealth immigrants and there may be difficulties." We did not say, "You may have to join a queue." We quite deliberately put these people into a special category. We did not promise them priority. We promised them unrestricted right of entry. No Labour politician of any standing stood up and opposed this at the time. No Labour leader said, "If we win the next Election we shall refuse to be held by this promise or obligation." Not one voice was raised at that time to say that if these people took us at our word it would crate for us an impossible situation. That cannot be denied. These are the facts, and they are not the words of a dreamy idealist.

On the contrary, at the time there was a general feeling of smugness, that we had acted in the right liberal, progressive British way. The Home Secretary has acknowledged the existence of a promise, but he has also said that no Administration can be bound by the promises of its predecessors. Is this right? Is this what government is all about? Will all future treaties carry the reservation that they may be cancelled if there is a change of Government? Do Ministers now sign agreements on behalf of the Labour Party or on behalf of this country? Clearly this is nonsense. The promise and obligation was given on behalf of Britain and should be honoured by Britain. It may be uncomfortable and awkward and difficult at this time, but that is usually the case when the time comes to redeem a promise. It is always "the worst time". An obligation is an obligation: no amount of special pleading can alter that. No amount of argument can turn a firm "Yes" into a flabby "Maybe". Respect for pledges given in good faith and accepted in the same spirit is a fundamental principle of any decent society. It is vital in commerce; it must be vital between nations and between peoples.

It is even worse when, in this case, the recipients of the promise are a small minority caught by the circumstances of history between the upper and the lower grindstones. It is more than ever essential that a great people like the British should honour their obligation to a people who find themselves placed in this difficulty. It is no help to say that the Asians have made their own bed because of their attitude towards the African. My only comment to that is that they had good teachers. The white man taught them very well how to deal with the lower so-called "black brothers".

Not to honour this obligation is, in my view, indecent—and this Bill is indecent.

By this Bill we are not only robbing thousands of innocent and trusting people of something that is theirs by right; we are robbing ourselves of dignity and honour. This is not abstract morality, it is not idealism; but is something which is vital to this country. It used to be argued that Britain bought herself a seat at the top table of nations by her possession of nuclear weapons, that our position in the councils of the world was measured by the strength of our armaments. I am not going to comment on that matter now, but I am old-fashioned enough to believe that part of a nation's strength lies in her ability to keep her word and her willingness to do so. It is this which earns respect, not nuclear weapons. We cannot always earn agreement, but we can earn respect if we are a nation which respects the obligations which it has undertaken.

I believe that in this week, through this Bill, we are throwing away a weapon far more valuable than any nuclear bomb or Armed Service. We have devalued and debased the status of our diplomats and Ministers. Any British Minister who rises to his feet in an international assembly and makes a solemn promise on behalf of this country will be met with mocking and mournful laughter. And those who laugh will have every right to do so, because at this moment, when a small minority are asking us to honour our obligation, this great country of ours says, "We cannot afford it. We cannot face up to the difficulty."

We have been told that there is no alternative; that we have been forced into this situation by circumstances beyond our control, that people like myself who insist that our promise should be kept are not facing up to reality. I admit the difficulties. I admit the problems. But I submit that there was an alternative and that there still is. What shocks me is the absolute negative nature of this Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Wigg, said that we have to face responsibility, and the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will know that during the last Election, and since, Labour spoke of creating a special relationship between Parliament and people. Those words to me now have a hollow sound and taste very bitter on the tongue.

Has anyone consulted the people on this matter? Suppose the Prime Minister and the leaders of the other Parties had gone on television and the radio and put the issue bluntly to the nation; suppose they had said quite bluntly and firmly, "This obligation was undertaken in our name, in the name of our country"; suppose they had said that to 20 million people watching their television sets; suppose they had said, "Shall we break this promise or shall we keep it?"; suppose they had said, as they should have said, with courage, "We intend to keep this promise. There are immense difficulties. It will create problems for us all, but we believe it is better to face those than to break a solemn obligation"; suppose they had said, "We cannot allow these people to go to the already overcrowded areas where they already have too many immigrants. We are proposing to open new reception centres in various areas where there are not so many immigrants"; suppose they had said, and appealed, "Will you take an Asian family into your house for a few days? Will you help them to get a job? Will you help them to get settled?"—does anybody in this House deny that the response of the British people would have been absolutely tremendous, because they would rather face that than they would face a broken promise?

But it has not been done. No attempt has been made to do anything. There is not even anything in this Bill which suggests that any extra help is going to those areas which are already overcrowded so far as the immigrants are concerned, and to which this new flood of Asians have already gone in the last week. The Government have not faced the difficulties, they have succumbed to them. They have run away without firing a shot. I hope I shall never ever hear another Minister of this Government speaking of the need for the Dunkirk spirit.

What worries me is the frank admission that this Bill has been introduced for reasons connected with possible racial tensions. I am not accusing anybody in the Government—I know them too well—of being racialist. Let us put that away once and for all. But it is one thing to be non-racialist and another thing to introduce a measure which in its consequences can be racialist, and that is what I fear about this one. The fact is—and the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, in what I thought was the best speech I have ever heard him make, said so—that these people are being turned away because they are coloured, and do not let anybody try to wash their hands of that one. They are.

Had it been the white settlers in Kenya or anywhere else, there would have been no Bill and we should have had the Party leaders on television appealing for help for our kith and kin who have been turned out of their homes, and that would have been the end of the matter. But these people are coloured. These grave and dignified people that we have seen on television this week, looking perplexed and puzzled as if something has hit them between the eyes, are people who have rested on an obligation given by the British Government and cannot understand why it should be taken away.

There has been some criticism of the Kenya Government in all this, and I believe that the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, addressed in that direction are correct. But, whatever their fault, let us be clear about one thing. The Asians in Kenya were offered a clear choice over a reasonable period, either to take Kenyan citizenship or British. For various reasons many of them opted for British citizenship. The Kenya Government has not gone back on its obligations in that respect. It respects, and continues to respect, the rights of its full citizens, whether Asian, African or white. We are the ones who are denying the rights of our citizens. We are the culprits. We are the ones who are slamming the door. It is we who have turned a passport into a non-passport.

There are many other things that I should like to say, but I have no doubt they will be said. I believe that this is a week of shame for Britain such as I never want to live through again. I cannot remember any other issue on which I felt so deeply or so strongly. This is a week of shame that has shaken to its foundations the loyalty that I have felt for over thirty years to the Labour movement. I never believed this sort of thing was possible. I respect very deeply the sincerity of Minister who have spoken for this Bill, and I do not claim that my loyalty is greater than theirs, but I cannot see how, by any possible standard of measurement, they can square this mean, shabby, sordid, dishonourable Bill with the principles of human rights and the principles that the Labour Government stand for.

Shakespeare, as always, had words for an occasion like this. He said in Richard II, when John of Gaunt speaks, This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land, Dear for her reputation through the world, Is now leased out … Like to a tenement or pelting farm: England, bound in with the triumphant sea, …is now bound in with shame, With inky bolts and rotten parchment bonds: That England, that was wont to conquer others, Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.

[The Sitting was suspended at 8.7 p.m. and resumed at 8.35 p.m.]

8.35 p.m.


My Lords, I am sorry that there has been this interval between the finish of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Willis, and my small speech on this occasion, because I should have liked to have had the opportunity to congratulate him in person. It seemed to me that the speech which we heard from the noble Lord just before we adjourned expressed the case against this Bill with a passion and eloquence which were equal to the occasion. He has in fact relieved me to some extent of what I was intending to say, because he has expressed more eloquently than I could have done some of the things which I wanted to put to the House.

My Lords, I must say that when this debate opened, and particularly when I heard the speech of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor followed by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, I was surprised to hear the argument in which they followed each other. As I understood the argument addressed to us by the Lord Chancellor, it was this: that there has never been any pledge or commitment to these Asians who are in Kenya; and he appeared to be supported in that view by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke. It surprised me because, as I understand it, there is nobody left in the other place who contends that there was not a pledge and was not a commitment, except Mr. Duncan Sandys. In the other place it has been conceded that the pledge was given and that the pledge is being broken. I can only assume that the reason why we have had these somewhat contradictory speeches from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, is that, because of the indecent haste with which this Bill is being pushed through, there has been a failure of communication. The Lord Chancellor has apparently not discovered what has been said in the last two days in the other place.

In order to argue and debate this question, the first thing that has to be established, as I see it, is whether there was a pledge, and if that is now being put in issue then we have to go back and look to see what happened. What happened was this. In the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, it was provided that all people in the Commonwealth—and indeed aliens—would then come under immigration control. But there were certain exceptions, and one of the exceptions was a person in possession of or entitled to receive a full United Kingdom passport. That is contained, of course, in Section 1 of the 1962 Act, at subsection (2)(b). That says: This section applies to any Commonwealth citizen not being…a person who holds a United Kingdom passport and is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, or who holds such a passport issued in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. My Lords, when we came to the stage of discussing and negotiating the Kenya Independence Act, the question then arose as to what was to be done to protect the independence of the minorities, who were, of course, the Europeans and the Asians. The question which arose was: how can we protect them? Mr. Macleod has told us in no uncertain terms that he and the Government had grave alarm at that time lest these people might be persecuted and might have to flee the country, and that the question was how to protect them. It was decided that we should say to these people, both the European and the Asian minorities in Kenya, "We will protect you in this way. If you like to stay on here, and if you like, after independence, to take Kenya citizenship, well and good; but if you prefer not to, then you can have a British passport and you can have a British passport which is exempt from immigration control". That is what we said.


My Lords, if the noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting, may I ask him: can be point to any passage in which anybody said anything of the kind? I have, after all, read the only two passages in both Houses which said the exact opposite.


I am much obliged for that intervention, because it enables me to say this. I am not contending for one moment that anything was said in the other place or in this House which could be interpreted as a pledge. What I am saying is that when we told these minorities, as Mr. Macleod has made perfectly clear, that we would give them a passport of that kind, which exempted them from immigration control altogether, there was clearly implicit in our doing that the undertaking that these people could take advantage of that passport and could come to this country as freely as they wished. If it did not mean that, and if we were intending to say to them, "If you try to use this passport which we are enabling you to have to come into the country, then we shall impose controls upon you, controls similar to those under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act"; if we had meant to say that, why did we not say it?

From 1963—during 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968; during all these years—these Asians and Europeans have been coming into this country without let or hindrance. For five years this has been going on. And nobody has suggested up to now that there was any limitation or restriction upon the pledge that we implicitly gave them at that time. As we know—we have heard it from a number of noble Lords in this debate—the Asians in Kenya relied upon it. They did not apply for Kenyan citizenship. They said, "We can always fall back on our British citizenship; we can always go to Britain." If that does not constitute a pledge and an obligation, I do not understand the meaning of the English language.

Then the question arises, as it seems to me, that if the pledge—or commitment; call it what you like—was given, I must ask myself, as I have no doubt your Lordships will be asking yourselves anxiously, "In what circumstances are a British Government entitled to go back on their pledge, to withdraw the pledge or the commitment?" What are the arguments that have been advanced in another place and here to justify what is now being done? We are told, first of all, that it would be very onerous, that it would be very inconvenient, for us to carry out this pledge. I have not much observation to make upon that, except to say that it seems to me pretty shameful that that argument should even have been propounded. Consider, if you will, what argument might prevail in any court of equity to excuse a person from carrying out his covenant? Would any court be prepared to listen to the argument that it has become inconvenient to carry it out?

Then we are told that there was some misunderstanding, that the British Government did not really understand quite what they were doing. But, my Lords, there was no misunderstanding. Mr. Macleod made it clear that he knew what he was doing.


My Lords, will the noble Lord permit me to intervene? The whole of the British Government knew clearly what they were doing. They were granting citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies to these people. They were not giving—and indeed they had no power to give—a guarantee that all future Governments would grant them free entry into this country.




My Lords, I accept that, of course. As a guarantee of the citizenship that we were conferring on them, we gave them a passport; and the terms of the passport were that, "You can use this to get into the United Kingdom without being subject to immigration control." That is what it meant.

The third approach, the third argument, advanced was, as I think, a compelling argument, and it was an argument to which I had the pleasure of listening the other day in another place from Mr. Quintin Hogg. And in many ways it was an argument developed here with much force, if I may say so with respect, by the noble and learned Lord to-day. It is this, as I understand it. What is the correct approach to the problem? Should we not consider it in this way? Should we not ask ourselves how we can in this country create a homogeneous multiracial society which will be viable and successful? Naturally, I entirely sympathise with that approach, as I have no doubt do all noble Lords. Then the argument goes on, as I understand it, to say this: that, clearly, if we are going to solve this problem in this country to the best advantage, in the best way, we must have control over the inflow. And thus the justification for this Bill.

I sympathise with that argument as it was put to us most eloquently here and as it was put to another place; but it is, perhaps, in my view, based on a false assumption. It assumes that we are now constructing a racial policy—if you like, an inter-racial programme—in this country and that we are starting with a clean slate. The approach of Mr. Hogg, at any rate, was this: Let us work out what is the best way of managing this in this country, and then let us see whether there is some commitment that we have made which is in the contrary sense; and if there is we will abandon the commitment. My Lords, I would respectfully suggest that the proper approach is to ask ourselves, first of all, what are the commitments, what is on the slate already, and then say: "How can we best try to establish this homogeneous multi-racial society in this country within the ambit and limitations of the commitment?"

The fourth argument which is addressed to us is this. "Well, we may have given these people a passport entitling them to come into this country without let or hindrance; but we did not agree to take them in all at once". We are not, of course, taking them in all at once. But if I understand the theme to have any meaning at all it is this: we did not undertake to let them in as and when they wanted to come in. If the argument means anything that is surely what it means. But, my Lords, to allow them to come in as and when they want to come in is precisely what we did agree to do. If we had intended to say to them: "We will let you in in a queue, and we will subject you to immigration control", why did we not say so? Why did not we say, "Yes, we will give you this passport, but you must understand that you will be subject to the same controls and limitation as the people who come in under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act"?

To my mind, the commitment was plain beyond any misunderstanding. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, produced a passport and read the preface, "without let or hindrance". There was nothing there about change. Had he turned to the back of the passport, he would have seen some notes. Down at the bottom, it says "Caution". One of the cautions is: On no account should this passport be altered in any way, except only by the British Government. They will have to alter the notes before they make any new issues. But I do not know that many people will be interested in taking up devalued passports.

One of the phrases which has been used to describe the recent inflow to this country from Kenya is the word "exodus". It seems to me to be a rather unhappy word to use in this context, because your Lordships may remember that the first great exodus in history took place in reliance on a covenant. The present exodus is taking place, not in reliance on a covenant, but because the covenantees anticipated, and rightly, so, that the covenant would be broken. It is a good thing that the Children of Israel did not have to rely upon a covenant from the British Government, or they would not have got far beyond the Red Sea. The other parallel or contrast of the first exodus is that when the Children of Israel were wandering in the desert, and their spirits were flagging, they were on every occasion fortified by the renewal of the covenant. I am glad to see the noble Lord, Lord Soper, nodding his head in assent. This is something which I learnt in my Christian upbringing, to which he was kind enough to refer the other day. The covenant was renewed. That is precisely what the British Government should have done on this occasion. If, instead of abandoning the pledge, they had renewed it, that would have been the one thing that would have staunched the flow coming into this country.

We are driven back inevitably to the only excuse for the Bill, and that is that it is inconvenient for the British Govern- ment to carry out their obligations to these people. I am unwilling to argue this matter on a basis of balance of convenience and advantage. It seems to me to be pretty squalid that we should be discussing the vested rights of British subjects and the removal of those rights as a matter of convenience. If we have to discuss it, however, is it necessarily true that the balance is in favour of the Bill? Put on the credit side of the balance sheet, if you will, the immediate advantages which will be gained in avoiding the difficulties of letting these people come in—and we have heard from many noble Lords that that may be a very small credit item. There is a lot to be said for the view that the people will bring something to us. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor spoke about these people coming into this land and saying, "Build schools for us. Build houses for us. Supply us with all your social services." Is that really what will happen with these people of whom the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod, was speaking? Are these the people who will become a liability? May it not be that they will be a great asset?

If you are talking about drawing up a balance sheet, what damage will be done to inter-racial relations inside this country? The question of racial relationships in this country and the solving of that problem is not only a matter of houses, of bricks and mortar, schools and teachers and the rest. If it is to be successfully solved, it is dependent on establishing confidence and self-respect between the white people and the coloured people, and between the coloured people and the British Government. What could be more damaging to that basis of self-respect than what is being done in the Bill? How many of these people will ever again be prepared to rely on the word of the British Government, whether it is contained in Hansard, whether it is written on a passport, or however it is conveyed to them?

The last thing I want to say is this. If you are talking about a balance sheet, and you are trying to add up the advantages and disadvantages of the Bill, as has been so eloquently pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Willis, you have to consider what the effect of this will be throughout the Commonwealth, throughout the United Nations, and throughout the world. My brother the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, was speaking in this House not many weeks ago about the problems with which he and the other British representatives were confronted at the United Nations. We were reminded by the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod, of what the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, had to say on that occasion: how to-day the struggle, the confrontation, is not between East and West; that confrontation, if not resolved, is at least pacific. The terrible confrontation which will be the problem of the next quarter of a century is the confrontation of race, and the confrontation between the great rich and white nations and the poor coloured nations. What sort of contribution is the Bill to the solution of that appalling problem? I do not know my brother's views of the Bill as a Minister of the Crown, because our communications and liaison are tenuous. I will only say that I do not envy him the job of explaining the Bill in the Assembly of the United Nations.

8.58 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod of Fuinary, on his maiden speech. I am probably a member of what may be a minority of your Lordships' House in having closely studied at least one of his books. If I remember aright, it was called, Only One Way Left. Although the theme of his speech to-night seemed rather to be "The Left is the Only Way", it was none the less very agreeable and exhilarating for that. I think that I am probably the only Member of your Lordships' House present in the Chamber, or possibly in the entire building, who can claim to have voted in every Division in an all-night sitting in your Lordships' House before the war. I think it was in 1935. My memories of that experience made me anxious to see as little as possible of it re-enacted this evening.


That was the day there was no supper.


I think the noble Lord is right. I had forgotten that he was present also on that occasion. I have my gruesome memories, but I am sure he will sympathise with me when I say that I have torn up my notes. I shall not make a speech, partly for that reason and partly because I want to see the Bill on the Statute Book as soon as possible and I do not want to waste time in repeating other people's arguments.

I want to see the Bill on the Statute Book, incidentally, for the same reason as Lord Silkin wants to keep it off the Statute Book. He, if you remember, presented us with a sort of moral crossroads and said, "Come here, and on one side you see what is right; on the other side you see what is expedient. So you damn the consequences and choose the right." I want the Bill to go through because I believe it to be right, and I believe it to be right because I believe that our first responsibility is to the people of this country.

I have been in close touch with this question for the last seven or eight years, close enough to know the terrible things which have been happening and the terrible problems which are building up in places like Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Bradford, to which the noble Lord, Lord Wigg, referred. Therefore I am ready to vote for any measure which seems likely to close the door on an intensification of that sort of problem for our people. Of course, I am not thinking merely of the Kenya Indians, but of all those others who are potentially in the same position, to whom the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack referred.

As I have mentioned the noble and learned Lord, I would say that I entirely accept his view of what has been called the pledge given by the Government. Even if he had not told us that, I think that I should be prepared to go so far as to argue that circumstances alter cases. For example, if I had issued a standing invitation to visitors to my house at a time when I had four or five empty bedrooms and when the time came I had the bedrooms with three or four occupants and there were 200 encamped in tents on the lawn, I think I should be entitled either to phase or even to withdraw my invitations for the time being.

Finally—because I said I would not make a speech—may I say that there is one argument of over-mastering importance which has hardly been mentioned. I have not the slightest doubt that the great majority of the electorate—probably at least 80 per cent.—want to see this Bill speedily passed. We have recently seen dangerous evidence of a growing disregard, amounting almost to something like contempt, for Parliament and for politicians, and I have not the slightest doubt that the major contributory cause of that alarming state of affairs has been a growing sense that Parliament is all too likely not to do what the electorate, rightly or wrongly, wishes it to do, and all too likely to do what the electorate, rightly or wrongly, wishes it not to do. The importance which noble Lords may attach to that argument will depend, of course, upon the value which they set upon democratic institutions. I hope that your Lordships will be grateful to me, if for nothing else, for having been by a long chalk the shortest speaker this evening.

9.3 p.m.


My Lords, in view of the number of speakers and the long list of those as yet unsatisfied, I propose to make a very brief contribution to this debate. I have listened to every speech that has been made and shall endeavour to apply my own conclusions from what I have heard, based upon a fairly wide—a world-wide, I may say—experience of racial relations. I suppose that we all should accept, certainly all of us who know anything about it, that time is the most essential factor in making a success of racial relations anywhere in the world.

I want to start by saying that I give my unreserved support to this Bill and I should like to say why I think it deserves that support. If I may branch off for a moment, may I say that I listened with great appreciation to the brilliant speech of the noble Lord, Lord Foot. Of course, to-day it is open only to a Liberal to have that unlimited imperialist outlook in the realm of thought. Speaking as an administrator by trade, I think that we have to relate our ambitions and ideals to the possibilities of life and must never forget that human nature is the one factor in the situation which never changes.

I should like to emphasise that I am not in any way lacking in sympathy for the Asiatic residents in Kenya who have been caught in this complex situation. But, as I see it, there are three major responsibilities resting on any British Government in this sort of situation: first, a desire to be fair to the Asiatics in question who elected to retain their eligibility to hold British passports; secondly, an urgent need to foster and preserve if possible racial harmony in this country, and last, but certainly the most compelling of all, a responsibility to be fair to the British people in this country, an outlook which I may say with confidence is too often overlooked.

Even the most reverend Primate in his speech to-day talked of the practical consequences of the ethical outlook on life in relation to these Asiatic visitors of ours, but I think I may fairly say that neither he nor several other speakers ever thought of applying also the practical consequences to the people of this country. After all, it is their country. Surely we cannot allow an unrestricted Asiatic invasion of this country without jeopardising in the very process the cause of racial harmony which receives so much public commendation to-day, and without inviting the bitterness which must arise there from with a grim future of predictable social disaster of an increasing gravity. We cannot, I submit, be so indifferent to the social happiness of our own country as to sit idly by while an indigestible number of people of alien birth descend upon it and exercise as an immovable right apparently, in the view of some people, the technically legal right to cause this explosive confusion in our country.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question? In view of the fact that he says these people are of alien birth, would he consider my children born in Kenya are also of alien birth?


I should not, because I would carry the ancestry a little further back. As I view the situation, the British Government would be forced to accept its overriding responsibility for safeguarding social order and respecting the innate feelings of the vast majority of British people in this country, if it were to refrain from some restrictive action such as is embodied in the purpose of this Bill. There is a very natural insistence, surely, on the preservation of our own way of life. I also believe that racial prejudice and disharmony would be of our own creation if this complex situation were not handled at once with the firm and sympathetic consideration provided for under this Bill.

I do not concern myself to-day with the way in which this situation has arisen, whether or not it be due to the political astigmatism of some politician many years ago when Kenya became independent. We are concerned now—and, my Lords, do let us try sometimes to remember—as Members of this House, or as statesmen, or whatever we call ourselves, mainly with the facts of life. I pay great attention to the present and the future in these things without, of course, forgetting something of the past which has caused the present situation. After all, past errors of judgment or lack of foresight have no claim to be regarded as Holy Writ. Are we never to correct mistakes of the past? Are we to be accused of a dishonest abandonment of pledges because altered circumstances, or circumstances never foreseen, have arisen which would cause any person accustomed to administrative authority to look at a situation anew?


Would not the noble Lord agree that these circumstances were foreseen, and that is exactly why the pledge was given?


To begin with, I should like to issue a denial of both of those statements. I do not think this situation was foreseen, and it would have been indeed a very heavily endowed with foresight person who would have foreseen it. I also am not convinced that any pledges of the nature referred to were ever given. I decline to accept that. As I have said, there must be an authority which any Government will claim, to look at the present and the future with the wisdom born of experience of a possibly mistaken past. I claim that we do not want to provide a classic example, because of an alleged breach of an alleged pledge in the past, where we ask the British Government to dishonour their responsibility for the welfare of the people in this country in the present and in the future. That surely is what matters, and I should personally hope never to see any British Government deserving that old saying about, "unfaithful make him falsely true". I do not wish to see a British Government falsely true to a mistaken presentation of the past. The people of this country would never in the future forgive such an indifference to their happiness. The sudden and wanton multiplication of the present shortages of which we have heard to-day—housing, teachers, schools, hospitals and so on—would inevitably undermine the very foundations of the Welfare State here, and, incidentally, would be rendering no service whatever to the immigrants who are the subject of our debate.

It is a natural human instinct, I know, to want to protect one's own way of life. I see no reason why the British people should be exempted from this human instinct. And knowing that it is part of human nature to resent the stranger when he comes in indigestible numbers so as to gravely accentuate the existing problems of life, I think it is the duty of any Government to take the necessary action. I do not accept the suggestion that this is racial discrimination or anything of the sort. I consider it as the application of common sense to administration. So, my Lords, I suggest that this Bill is a sympathetic attempt to be fair to all concerned in a complex problem where the only choice is between compromise or chaos; and as I am against the latter alternative, I support this Bill.

9.18 p.m.


My Lords, I rise to support the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, for the rejection of this Bill, this panic measure—I can call it nothing else—scrambled together with indecent haste, and which the Government are now attempting to force down the throat of Parliament within the space of three days. Perhaps they think that that is the easiest way to make us eat our own words—or, rather, eat their words. This procedure is in itself an insult to Parliament, to both our Houses. I think it means the temporary suspension of Parliamentary Government, and on these grounds alone it deserves to be rejected by us with contumely. But there are other and graver grounds for its rejection. Our Government, whatever its complexion, is the trustee of the honour of this country. Only once in my experience —and it is a quite long one now—have I seen the honour of this country so flagrantly violated and betrayed, and that was at the time of the Munich settlement.

The situation which this Bill is designed to meet is of the Government's own making and creation. It was not the measures of Africanisation or Kenyanisation in Kenya long ago which started the panic rush to get into this country; it was the Government's own attitude to these measures. Had the Government made at the outset a clear and unequivocal declaration that they meant to keep their word to our Kenyan fellow citizens, that they meant to honour their pledge of United Kingdom citizenship in the fullest sense of the word, the rush would never have started. Your Lordships may have read Dr. Michael Young's letter, to which my noble friend Lord Wade has already made allusion, which appeared in The Times last Tuesday. I should like to read to your Lordships a quotation from that letter describing a survey carried out by his own institute in Nairobi, which revealed that so long as entry remains open, movement will be gradual and easy to absorb. Three-quarters"— of the business community— claim British citizenship, but about 40 per cent. of these hoped to remain in Kenya for the rest of theft lives, and the same proportion would advise a boy of their own community to remain there. My Lords, this suggests that, in spite of their discriminatory legislation, the Asian community were in no hurry to leave until the Government, led by Mr. Duncan Sandys and Mr. Enoch Powell—strange bellwethers to lead and to stampede a Labour flock—panicked and threatened to break faith; and that is how the rush began. And as a result, we have this Bill, which The Times, a normally temperate newspaper, describes as probably the most shameful measure that Labour Members have ever been asked by their Whips to support. How many, I wonder, are going to put their consciences before their Whips tonight? I know one who is going to: Lord Willis.

It was once said by some great statesman—I am afraid I cannot remember which, but it is always safe to attribute such sayings to Mr. Gladstone—that "all great political issues are matters of right and wrong." If this is true of any issue, it is surely true of the one on which we must here and now make our decision tonight. The Asians in Kenya are, as we know, a gifted and an industrious people, for whom we have a very special and direct responsibility. For we uprooted them from their own native land and we transported them to Kenya to make railways there, a task which was beyond local skills to perform. And they have lived there ever since. When Kenya was given Independence they were given the choice, as we know, between opting for Kenyan or United Kingdom nationality, and they freely chose to become our fellow-citizens, for one reason, because they trusted us. They believed that our word was our bond. It never occurred to them that a British passport would be treated as a "scrap of paper".


Perfectly true.


For !some of us it is shaming and humiliating that it should be this, their trust in Britain, that is making them workless in Kenya to-day and may well make them Stateless throughout the world to-morrow. The pledge we gave in 1962, I think, at the time of the Independence Bill—or was it 1963?—was a clear one. Mr. Macleod, all honour to him, has quoted it. He quoted it in an open letter to Mr. Duncan Sandys. These are words used in another place by the Colonial Under-Secretary: There is no question of anyone becoming Stateless as a result of this Bill's provisions"— that is, the Kenya Independence Bill. Why, this Bill is nothing less than a decree of Statelessness for every Asian in Kenya who is not admitted to this country, and they will be Stateless for one reason only: because they trusted Britain; because they believed we would keep faith with them. These are not arguments, these are just cold, hard facts.

What are the Government going to offer them? Not bread, but a stone. It is making them a derisory offer of 1,500 work permits a year. How many years of queueing would that mean? Perhaps twenty years, or more. Many will be dead before they reach this country. We must more than double this figure, even if it should involve postponing the entry of other immigrants from our Commonwealth who enjoy dual nationality. But, to add insult to injury, a new privileged class has been created called "Belongers". I first heard of them from the noble Lord the Leader of the House, and he was good enough to apologise to me for using what he called an "ugly name". It is true I dislike the name, but I like the concept it embodies even less. Belongers will be endowed with a new status: they will be given the right to jump the queue and get into this country ahead of other Kenyan and U.K. citizens.

Who and what are belongers? I asked the question, and I was told that to qualify as a belonger you must have an English grandfather: I believe that grandmothers were thrown in last night in another place. Though sex discrimination has been eliminated, racial discrimination remains. A belonger usually has a white face. Of course, there are exceptions to this, as to every rule. Someone objected to me that, for instance, the Duke of Edinburgh would not have a dog's chance of becoming a belonger and jumping the queue because he has not the right sort of grandfather. Well, what a loss to this country that would be! It just shows what nonsense the whole thing is; and what pernicious nonsense. It is racialist through and through.


My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Baroness would be kind enough to allow me to intervene, because she used the word "pernicious". As to the word "belonger", I did not apologise for the sense of what I was saying; I apologised simply because it was an ugly word. I am sorry; the noble Lady is herself a belonger. We are all belongers. It is a well-established phrase, and I hope that noble Lords and other Members of your Lordships' House will not impute racial prejudice to words where no racial prejudice is implied.


My Lords, may I say that people who have grandfathers in this country—


We all have grandfathers.


—usually have white faces; not always, but usually. I have given a good exception through my fairness—the Duke of Edinburgh. But, then, he would never have become a belonger.

We have heard in this debate—we have often heard it urged by the defenders of the Bill—that to keep our word would damage race relations in this country. May I suggest that it is the Government's duty to set a good example in race relations, if they wish ordinary citizens to practise it. Their example has been deplorable. I believe that the Government's attitude and action have already done untold harm to race relations here in this country—and not only in this country, but with our friends abroad, and particularly, as we see, in India. I have read in the papers that India threatens to leave the Commonwealth. We are also, as noble Lords will be well aware, in danger of falling foul of our obligations under the Charter of Human Rights. It is because I believe this Bill to be a flagrant breach of faith, because I believe it to be a betrayal of the trust of thousands of our fellow citizens in Kenya, because I believe it to be a stain on the honour of this country, that I beg your Lordships to reject it.

9.28 p.m.


My Lords, I rise to support the Bill without the slightest hesitation, in spite of what the noble Baroness said. I think we all regret the unfortunate circumstances which make this Bill necessary. The treatment of the Asian communities by the Kenya Government is deplorable. It is a display of bitterness and racial discrimination unworthy of a new Commonwealth State. We find ourselves in a very genuine dilemma, caught between the obligations owed by the Government to the Asians of Kenya and the fear about the social consequences of a sudden large-scale influx of immigrants. The issue of 1,500 vouchers to the Kenyans, which in practice may well mean some 6,000 or more people coming into this country, looks on the face of it rather small, but measured against the allocation of 8,500 vouchers to all the other Commonwealth countries it seems to me to be very generous.

My Lords, I do not regard this Bill as one of racial discrimination; I regard it as one of seeking to keep the intake within manageable limits. The real problem is that immigrants flock to the large industrial areas, causing serious difficulties for the local authorities and for the people generally. Health, housing, education and employment are very real problems. The people in these industrial areas have shown a great restraint but they are coming to the breaking point. The Government have recognised this fact and have wisely taken it into account. The crowding of immigrants into houses and the constant danger to public health, and the filling of our hospitals, particularly the maternity wards, to the exclusion of our own people are building up a feeling of anger. So is the effect upon our educational system.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for one moment? Would he not agree that those of our people in the maternity wards might not get any treatment at all were it not for the immigrant nurses in those wards?


My Lords, I should be the last person in the world to criticise the tremendous public service which coloured nurses and others are rendering in our hospitals throughout the country, but I am trying to make a point. I am not opposing people coming into this country on a reasonable basis. My objection is to the desire of the Liberal Party and other organisations to open the flood gate in order to let in people who will become eventually a charge upon the funds of this nation, and I believe we are entitled to say that while we appreciate what the coloured nurses and other people have done in the hospitals throughout the country, we are also entitled to say that there is a limit to the number of people we can reasonably absorb in this country.

Let us look at the position in Birmingham. A statement was made by the Chairman of the Birmingham Health Committee only yesterday. It appears that because of the influx of immigrants the health service in Birmingham is being maintained only with the greatest difficulty. Councillor Franklin, the Health Committee's Chairman, said: It is time the public knew the facts. If more immigrants arrive the services will be in danger of collapse". He went on to say that the City's coloured population was now 72,000—one in every 15—and the immigrant birthrate was 46 per 1,000, as compared with a white average of 19.4 per 1,000. Of 13 typhoid cases in the City last year, 12 were among Asians. One Pakistani typhoid carrier cost hundreds of rounds in compensation. Apparently he was traced only after some difficulty. He was a butcher, and had to be persuaded to turn to another form of occupation.

We cannot very well dismiss very lightly these problems in Birmingham or elsewhere. They are real problems that are confronting the ordinary people of this country, and they are problems that Parliament has got to meet in a sensible and adequate way. The people of this country have for too long been neglected by Parliament on this issue. Parliament has fallen for the arguments of a small group of people in this country who, if allowed to continue, will destroy the very British nature of this country.

I had the honour to be one of the representatives of the City of Bradford in another place for many years, and I was in the midst of the real problem arising from mass immigration. Bradford, like other large industrial cities, is really a magnet to those who wish to find work in Britain. The people in Bradford, although they did not like so many coming into the City, extended to those who did come in a hand of friendship and a real understanding of their problems.

But, my Lords, however tolerant we may feel, we are all human beings, and there comes a time when the best of us feel concerned by the problems that confront us. The question of public health is seriously endangered by the way in which these people crowd together in the limited housing accommodation available. In Bradford this has caused one serious epidemic, and in my view we have been extremely lucky not to have further trouble. It is all very well to say that more houses should be built for them; but there is a shortage of housing accommodation for our own people. In the cities and towns of this country there are long waiting lists of British subjects who are waiting, year after year, for housing accommodation and who cannot find it because it is physically impossible to provide either the finance or the building materials for these houses.

But what are we going to do? In view of the shortage of housing accommodation, the shortage of hospital accommodation, the shortage of all kinds of public services and of education, I repeat, what are we going to do? Are we going to allow people to come into this country when there are no houses for them and the hospital accommodation is so limited? The only thing one can do is to create a racial position in this country, a situation that will not be due to the Fascists or anybody like that, but will be due to the folly of Parliament in allowing this situation to develop.

Parliament has a responsibility to the people of this country. The other House is responsible to the electors. I believe that the electors are coming to the point of view that Parliament has failed them because we are not prepared to stand on our feet and say at least, "Britishers come first". You might say, "Oh, I am a Britisher and proud of it, and I am proud of the sacrifices we have made, not only in war time but in peace time, in order to preserve the principle of freedom and democracy throughout the world". I am sorry that many people in this debate have appeared to treat Britain as something that should be a convenience for anyone who wants to come in. I am strongly of the opinion that the social conditions in the large cities and towns of this country now are so serious, with the immigration problem, the lack of accommodation and so forth, that Parliament will very shortly have to consider the whole question of whether there should not be a five-year standstill, so far as immigration into this country is concerned, in order to give us a chance to settle those who are already here, to provide them, if we possibly can, with work and with decent housing and proper hospital facilities.

We must, however, be certain that the British people are entitled to consideration first. I know it is very easy to say to someone waiting to go into a maternity hospital, "We are awfully sorry; we cannot take you because we have so many cases which are far more serious from the immigrants". But the ordinary working man and woman fails to appreciate why services for which they have paid their rates and taxes over the years, to build them up, are not available when they require them.

I have tried as best I can to put the ordinary working-class point of view before the House; I have tried to bring before your Lordships the dangers which beset our policy if we are not correct in our attitude towards this immigration problem. I should like to see all those who are here happily settled in decent housing, provided, first of all, that our own people, who have been waiting so long, have first consideration. That is not racialism; that is common sense. I do ask this House, I do ask your Lordships, to vote for the Bill, because at least it gives us a break; it gives us an opportunity of looking at the Position. I cannot understand the attitude of the Liberal Party.


My Lords, if the noble Lord does not understand the attitude of the Liberal Party, will be put himself in the position of an Asian Kenyan likely to be sent out of the country who has a British passport and cannot get in under the quota? What sort of speech would the noble Lord make then?


My Lords, that is a very easy point to put, but let me reply to the noble Lord. The position would be extremely difficult, but it does not justify the attitude of the Liberal Party. What they want us to do is to allow these people to come in in greater numbers when they know in their own hearts that that is going to cause, in the areas in which the people settle, increased difficulties for the local authorities a id the communities concerned.

I am not prepared to go on arguing with the noble Lord. I know that it is easy for the noble Lord and his friends to be generous to everybody, because they will never be asked to fulfil their promises. Their pledge can be given a hundred times; they can give the most beautiful pledges, knowing full well that they will never be called upon to fulfil them. But the Government are responsible for tackling these problems, and I am delighted that they have tackled them in toe way they have done. But I believe fundamentally that the only way of getting a real co-ordination between the immigrant population and ours is so to limit the further intake that we can have a chance, through our local organisations, to provide some measure of co-ordination. Therefore, my Lords, I hope that your Lordships' House will give an overwhelming majority vote to the proposal of the Government.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord—


Order, order!


My Lords, I think I am entitled—


Order, order!


Before the noble Lord sits down may I ask him—


My Lords, may I intervene, because I do not want to have to ask the Clerk to read the Standing Order on Asperity? I think it is perhaps that some of the noble Lord's colleagues have been a little inclined to interrogate speakers after they have well and truly sat down. It is an accepted custom of your Lordships' House, provided it is not exceeded, that when a noble Lord sits down it is possible, using the formula, which should not be abused, "Before the noble Lord sits down", to ask a question; but it is one with which I think your Lordships are apt to get rather impatient if there have been a great many interruptions.


My Lords, I am sure the noble Lord did not mean to lecture me. Both of us have had a good deal of experience of this House. I think he will agree that when another noble Lord has refused to give way on three occasions—


Order, order!


It is a perfectly reasonable convention—


He gave way.


This House is meant to be a debating Chamber. I am not going to press the question, but there are perfectly reasonable conventions and we should not change them. The noble Lord did not sit down when I rose.


The noble Lord is too excited. I was trying to help him, to enable him to ask the question because the rest of your Lordships were so reluctant. I was not entirely intending to lecture the noble Lord, although there are times when I wonder just how long he has been in your Lordships' House.


My Lords, it is quite obvious that it is not only Kenyan Asians who do not speak English.

9.48 p.m.


My Lords, it is already fairly late, and I am very conscious of speaking at about half time in this great debate. I am only thankful that it was not my function but the function of the noble Lord the Leader of the House to blow the whistle at this particular point. I am very conscious that, speaking at this stage as I do, almost everything that could have been contributed, put in one way or another, to this great debate has already been said. I hope I am not thereby discouraging other noble Lords from continuing to say what they will be saying after me; I am sure their wisdom will provide new approaches to this problem.

I wondered very much, because what I felt so deeply has been said much more eloquently, with more pungency and cogency, by others, whether I should get up at all. I felt very deeply on reflection that I should do so because this is a time to stand up and be counted. I came here this afternoon with a deep sense of the moral obligations, the moral issues at stake. I almost hoped to be persuaded by the sincerity and eloquence and great wisdom and experience of such noble Lords as the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, and the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and others who have spoken in favour of this Bill. I am bound to say at this stage in the debate that I am completely convinced, and remain unshaken, in my objection, in my opposition, to this measure, both on moral grounds—not only as a starry-eyed idealist which would indeed be irresponsible on an occasion such as this with such great issues of the future at stake—and because I disagree with the practical grounds of expediency which have been advanced in its favour.

In my opinion there is no reasonable doubt. And remember, we are talking this evening on a question that has been sensibly narrowed to the particular issue before us, which is that of the Kenyan Asian. This great scare of one million or more other people who may come from other colonial territories in a sudden inflow or invasion to this country is a complete red herring. It has nothing to do with the particular need for urgency impressed upon us by the Government to push this measure through and spend the night, and possibly part of to-morrow, doing so.

On this particular issue of the Kenyan Asians there is no reasonable doubt at all that we have, in my opinion, a clear moral obligation towards these people; and if this Bill is to become law we are in clear breach of that obligation. Whether we call this a breach of faith or not is not at stake. This is a breach of our obligation to these British subjects holding British passports, the same as you and I do, expecting, and rightly so, to have the same rights, the same security, as we do in using those passports.

I respect and accept the Government's protestations that in putting forward this Bill for your Lordships' approval to-night they are not in any way motivated by thoughts of racial prejudice. Indeed, from some knowledge I would say that the Government's record as regards the problems and the opportunities of immigration in this country has been outstandingly good. But I think there is equally little doubt that this step is conditioned by the colour prejudice of a great many people outside this Chamber, outside Parliament and in the country. As to such expressions as we heard Mr. Duncan Sandys say on television the other evening, when he said, "I want to keep Britain British", I cannot speak for what he had in mind in saying it, but many people use that expression with no other meaning than the expression of a colour prejudice.

With the greatest respect, I fundamentally disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Elton, when he spoke of the need for the Government in all things to reflect public opinion. How can it be right for a Government to reflect a popular opinion, however deeply and strongly held that popular opinion may be, when that feeling is morally wrong? That is leadership from the rear, and the most pusillanimous form of leadership of the lot.

A great deal has been made in this House this evening, and was made in another place, of the dangers of a sudden over-saturation of immigrant problems. Let us face it, they are problems which are being tackled, and tackled with tremendous devotion, in a number of cities and county boroughs in this country. These dangers, quite clearly in the opinion of the Government, outweigh the consideration of devaluing the British pass- port; and let us accept the fact that if we pass this Bill we shall be devaluing all the British passports held by all those Kenyan Asians. What else are we doing? In particular, we are dashing their natural hope and confidence in us.

No doubt this bogey of saturation has a considerable serious basis in fact, if, as a Birmingham councillor said on television the other evening, his estimate of 16,000 new Asians were to arrive at short notice in his city, where the immigrant concentration in one particular district which I happen to know, Sparkbrook, is already very considerable. In terms of the school problem, it has already produced a proportion of over 12 per cent. coloured children in the schools there. This presents a sombre picture of increased tensions, and the aggravation of all the social and racial problems which are being faced in Birmingham and other cities. And equally we heard the Director of Education, Wolverhampton, the other evening explaining the difficulties he was facing in his city. He has some 15 per cent. of coloured children in his schools. Haringey, one London borough, has 18 per cent.

I put this forward only to indicate the other side of the picture and to pose the question: is it inevitable in such a crisis that the Kenyan Asians are now facing that they must crowd into the few county boroughs such as those I, have mentioned—West Bromwich, Smethwick, Bradford, parts of Manchester, some of the London boroughs, and perhaps parts of Bristol and one or two other places? Is this absolutely necessary when most other cities in England alone to say nothing of Wales or of Scotland have but few, and some none at all, of these coloured people? The overall percentage of immigration in this country, not only coloured but including the Irish, is no more than 2 per cent.

We all know that the solution to this great problem of integration, the great ideal of integration lies in dispersion, if our coloured citizens are to gain the benefits of housing and all the other social amenities that they should benefit from; and it is dispersion both within the cities where they gather in certain parts and are over-concentrated, and dispersion into other cities which so far have not had the benefit and the problem of these new visitors.

As the noble Lord, Lord Wade said, this is a tremendous challenge. The emergency which is presented at the moment by the situation in which the Kenyan Asians find themselves presents us with an opportunity to start this dispersion. One or two noble Lords said this in other words, and I believe that this opportunity, this challenge, would be welcomed by many corporations and councils in England, Wales and Scotland who would rise to it; but they have not been asked.

I know that it calls for special measures to organise the reception and deployment of these unhappy people. We have heard that the Dutch do it. Why cannot we do it? I am perfectly certain that in the crisis they are passing through the Kenyan Asians would accept this kind of organisation and would be dispersed where we wish them to go. There is no doubt in my mind that sooner or later the Government of the day must take powers to achieve dispersion. Why do we not do it now? Why is this not a Bill to take this power instead of the miserable Bill that we have?

I have said enough—perhaps too much. On all these counts, believing most strongly that we can and should receive these fellow human beings, convinced that most of them have a great contribution to make to this country, hoping that the Government will not leave it to others to put us to shame by coming to their aid, I am determined, if we divide, as I hope we shall, to vote against this Bill.

10.0 p.m.


My Lords, I must apologise to the House for having missed several hours of this debate. But I hope that I shall be excused when I tell the House that I have had an engagement, which I made in December, as Chairman of the Camden Committee for Human Rights, and tonight was the first meeting of that Committee. I want to thank my noble friend Lord St. Davids for generously allowing me to come in at this point.

I wish to comment on this Bill from two standpoints: one, as a Member of the House on the Government side and, two, as a representative of the Govern- ment on the Human Rights Committee in the United Nations. Last Thursday, when the noble Lord the Leader of the House repeated the Statement of the Home Secretary on the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, during various exchanges he used the phrase "United Kingdom belongers". The noble Baroness, Lady Asquith of Yarnbury, not slow in these matters, rose and asked him for a definition and clarification of this phrase. I am afraid that she received a fairly "dusty" answer to her question, which was indeed most pertinent.


My Lords, may I interrupt? I do not know whether my noble friend Lady Gaitskell was in the House when the noble Baroness, Lady Asquith, and I had a full and not entirely conclusive discussion on this matter. I think perhaps my noble friend will feel, when she reads it to-morrow morning, that that exchange was enough on this matter.


My Lords, I am very sorry, and I apologise to the noble Lord. I was not here but I could not help being away.

If your Lordships can suffer a very brief biographical note on myself, may I say that I love this country, but I was not born here; nor was my father, although he lived here for over 65 years. My grandfather never knew this country. I must confess that when I read Clause 1 it made me feel somewhat alien, and the Home Secretary's speech in the other place did not do much to dispel this feeling. On Tuesday night the spectacle on the television of the Home Secretary, Mr. Duncan Sandys, the Kenya High Commissioner—the three chief players in this drama—all trying to justify themselves, was a very sad one; and it did not seem to me that it succeeded. Mr. Sandys and President Kenyatta have much to answer for. The original remarks of Mr. Sandys can be described as a disaster—at least that is how the Kenya Asians view it. It was a sad line-up, and sad for me to find Mr. Callaghan, for whom I have a feeling of great friendship and respect, denying the validity of a British passport while Mr. Sandys denied the validity of the pledge which he had given.

To turn now to my work as Government representative on the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the implication it would have for me there if this Bill were passed, I must say that I have not had great difficulty in defending the Labour Government's efforts in race relations. I think that the Government's record is a good one. I do not believe in quick solutions for these most provocative and most irrational of human emotions. I do not believe, as do the Soviets, that race prejudice can be eradicated by legislation alone; and I do not even believe that one can make massive frontal attacks on it. I believe that it has to be done by conciliation, by persuasion, by education, and even by public relations. One of my criticisms of this Kenya Asian influx is that the Government failed to take advantage of a good legal case for entry, building on this an appeal to British tolerance and sense of justice, instead of taking their cue from the most prejudiced members of the public. As the Guardian leader to-day pointed out, our immigration policy up till now has been as generous as that of any other Commonwealth country, if not more so.

I am not usually unduly daunted by the fact that in the United Nations the Afro-Asians are obsessed, because of apartheid in South Africa and colonialism in Southern Rhodesia, by racial discrimination problems. I can counter some attacks by accusing them of turning a blind eye to manifestations of race discrimination rapidly springing up after their independence. President Kenyatta has provided me with a perfect example, and I cannot wait to denounce him. But to blame Kenyatta is not to excuse ourselves. And here it is not good enough to blame immigration for all our shortcomings in health, housing, employment and education. I was very interested to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, had to say about this. and I agree entirely with every word of it. Why have we not a Bill for the dispersal of immigrants who come to this country? We try to send our own workpeople to places to work in which are under-populated. Why cannot we do that for immigrants, too?

I am afraid that the talk of grandfathers, and now of grandmothers, in Clause 1 has about it a slight smell of apartheid. It is very disquieting for those of us who are aware of all the fears and anxieties of the less affluent Afro-Asian world whose delegates sit in the United Nations, and it weakens the position of British delegates who are proud to uphold the reputation of Britain there. Naturally, I "plug" those human rights on which we are strong, which we all cherish and which I believe are very important. Not least of these is the right of freedom of movement, the freedom to leave one's country and to return to it. This freedom is written into the main international instruments. It is written into the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, into the Convention Against Racial Discrimination, into the International Covenants on Human Rights and into the European Convention. We have signed all these except a e International Covenants, but we have not yet ratified them; and this Bill will prevent ratification. We perhaps rightly refuse to ratify any obligations to w rich we cannot give effect. We are very meticulous almost to the point of reluctance, I sometimes think, but we cannot opt out of the moral obligations which we incur by signing.

I repeat that I have boasted about this freedom to leave or return to one's country. It has been one of my strongest cards against the Soviets, because they are afraid of this right—they have not got it in their country. To use I mixed metaphor, this Bill pulls all my arguments from under my feet and does not leave me a leg to stand on. I can almost hear the jibes: "Have you not given the Kenya Asians British passports? What, then, is British citizenship? Your people can leave your country and come back to it—you know, the brain-drain and all that. There you go again. Human rights for yourselves but not for others, especially if they are coloured!"

Because we enjoy so many human rights ourselves we should be in the forefront of fighting to increase them for those people who lack them. In this Bill we are bypassing both the legal and the moral obligations. Any talk of regulating the flow is no excuse. No one—I repeat, no one—is in favour of unlimited immigration into this country, but a human policy is of mutual benefit to us and to the immigrants. It was President Kennedy who said that an immigrant policy should be generous, flexible and fair. None of those epithets was apparent when this Bill was introduced. I am glad the Home Secretary realises that there is a gap between his words and intentions and the letter of the Bill, and has made some small concessions; but, even so, the spirit of Clause 1 is utterly objectionable.

This Bill is not generous in blaming all our shortcomings on the immigrants who come here. The immigrants come to work, not to sunbathe. It is not generous in not taking advantage of a very good legal case, and in not showing a reluctance to make many people stateless. It could have been flexible in this situation, because Kenya Asians have greater skills than some other immigrants; and in our own interests it might have been wise to let them in freely. All Governments have at one time or another to eat their words, especially the words spoken when in Opposition. What Governments have to avoid is not to make words their staple diet.

My Lords, I am not in the habit of wearing my conscience on my sleeve, nor in displaying it like some flag that I roll up every time my indignation is aroused on any particular interest. But on this issue, I am afraid—and I regret it—I cannot support the Government—I am going to run up a flag and keep it at half-mast until the Government amend this Bill seriously, or get rid of it altogether.

10.11 p.m.


My Lords, I believe the House will forgive my speaking even at this late hour, when I point out that there is one excellent reason why I should do so. I very seldom address this House, even when I feel strongly on matters. For example, I am one of the very few Members who has never addressed the House on the subject of Rhodesia, in spite of the fact that I have had very strong feelings about it throughout, and many excellent occasions for showing them. But I have refrained, and I hope the House is duly grateful.

On this occasion I must speak, and for a very good reason. I have sat on these Benches and supported the Labour Party for a great many years—although I am not quite the oldest Member on these Benches—and throughout all those years I have never once voted against a Labour Bill. But I intend to do so to-night, and since I intend to do so I think I owe it to both sides of the House to say why. I believe this Bill to be both wrong and unnecessary. On the subject of why it is wrong, I am not going to weary the House with a speech. What I want to say has been so much better said by my noble friend Lord Hunt, and also by the most reverend Primate, who is of course so much more concerned in this field, and I am very glad to adopt his words.

I should like to tell your Lordships why I think it is unnecessary, because I have not so far heard this point of view expressed to-night. If the Kenya Asians were simply another instalment of alien immigration into this country, in exactly the same circumstances as the others, I would feel somewhat differently, because I would feel that we were increasing the strain on the resources of this country in the way so eloquently put to your Lordships by my noble friend Lord McLeavy a short while ago. But this particular group of Asians will not increase the strain upon this country in this manner.

I do not have Lord McLeavy's experience of local government and Parliamentary representation of a constituency with a large immigrant population; although as a schoolmaster, I addressed a class of school-children this morning in which there were certain members who were unable to understand English. It does not make teaching any easier, I agree. That argument cannot be used in the case of this particular group of immigrants, and it is this group to whom we owe more than we do to other groups, because I think we are doing them wrong. This group of immigrants is composed of the people we want to leaven the ones we have already. If you want to make bread, you need the dough, yes, but you also need the yeast. We have the dough: now it is the yeast that is coming in.

If we have large quantities of Asians who cannot speak English, what better to help us put the matter right, to help us integrate them into this country, than a group of Asians who do speak English? If we are troubled with large strains upon our Health Service through Asians bringing in illnesses or having a large birthrate, what greater help can we have than a large group of Asian doctors to come with them? If we want more houses and more things done and we have a large quantity of Asian workers without industrial training or knowledge of our language, what greater help could we have for putting the matter right than a group of Asian entrepreneurs who know their habits, know their languages and who are accustomed to working with them? These are the people we should be bringing in. After all, the Health Service sends representatives abroad and actually subsidises the bringing in of nurses from the West Indies. I know, because I have come back to this country with a group of them and a whole number of other people whom we need for our hospitals. Yet here we are deliberately keeping Asian doctors out.

Surely, my Lords, this is an occasion when we ought to let our brains follow our hearts. If we do, both our brains and our hearts will be satisfied with the result. These people should be let in, because they are the people we need to have with us to help us assimilate the others. If only the Government would let their brains follow their hearts in this and would accept the advice being given to them by a large group of their long-term, ardent supporters on these Benches, if only they would base their policy on the bedrock of their old supporters rather than upon Sandys, they would do a great deal better, their structure would stand for longer and they themselves would be in less danger of falling.

10.19 p.m.


My Lords, as some of your Lordships may know, I was resident in Kenya most of my working life, until some three years ago. I was also closely involved in the political scene prior to Independence. I think I can say that I have some little knowledge of what it is like to be caught unprotected, as a minority, in the turbulent waters of African nationalism. I was lucky in the one respect that I had a country to which to return, but some 120,000 Asians in Kenya, according to the estimate given recently by the Kenya High Commissioner in London, have no Kenya status. If this Bill is passed by your Lordships, they will have no right to come to the country whose passport they hold.

I want to make my position quite clear. I believe that it is absolutely necessary strictly to limit the flow of coloured im- migrants into Britain to the degree which this country can absorb. This is a matter of urgency which few who face the facts can deny. To that extent I recognise that Her Majesty's Government have taken a belated, and in some quarters unpopular, step in the right direction. I can sympathise with those noble Lords who speak for policies which perhaps they may dislike but which they believe to be in the national interest. But my sympathy cannot extend to support for all the measures in this Bill which we all know are directed to avoiding our responsibilities to a group of virtual refugees most of whom hold United Kingdom passports with rights which this Bill will now abrogate.

There is a clear conflict of interest before us: the need to safeguard the interests of those now resident in Britain and the need to be just and humane in our dealings with our nationals resident overseas but forced through no fault of their own to leave the country in which they have lived over successive generations. This is a bad Bill which makes no allowances for special cases needing special treatment, and it is entirely framed to exclude people who were given the protection of opting for British nationality as a safeguard against the very discrimination which has now finally occurred.

I should like to remind your Lordships very briefly of a few facts regarding Kenya that I believe to be relevant to this debate. At the beginning of 1960 there was a prosperous multiracial community in Kenya with an expanding economy. Due to the decision of Her Majesty's Government of the day, and for reasons largely connected with the "wind of change" in Whitehall rather than in Africa, the substantial improvement in Kenya's fortunes following those years of Mau Mau were undermined, and a lack of confidence in the future for both Asian and European communities was a feature of all the negotiations prior to the date of independence. The future prospects for these minority races under all-African Government was doubtful. But Her Majesty's Government chose to ignore all the warnings from those who were principally concerned in order to absolve Britain as rapidly and conveniently as possible from a responsibility which she no longer wished to exercise.

To achieve this act of policy in 1963 with the minimum friction Her Majesty's Government of the day gave verbal assurances that everything would be quite all right, that nobody had anything to worry about and passed the Act of Independence, which, incidentally, whether by deliberate intent or by just plain oversight, gave the Asian community the right to opt for British nationality by acquiring United Kingdom passports issued by the Foreign Office in London—with the concomitant right of free entry into Britain, as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, and even the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, admitted this afternoon. The sorry spectacle of two of the former Colonial Secretaries principally responsible for the sequence of events in Kenya between 1961 and 1963 disagreeing with each other over what was or what was not the solemn undertaking given at the time of the negotiations is a rather sad commentary on the lack of understanding during those negotiations for which they hold responsibility. The lack of judgment shown then is before us in its naked and distressing form to-day.

This problem of the Asians is not a new one. It was obvious to everybody in 1963 and has become increasingly so for anyone who has studied East African events since. Plain warnings were given to the Government and to the Opposition. The Kenyan Government announced its intention of introducing work permits for non-citizens, and it must have been crystal clear to the British High Commissioner in Nairobi and Her Majesty's Government here what the likely consequences would be. What I want to know is what advice Her Majesty's Government received from the High Commissioner in Nairobi, what representations were made to mitigate the effects of this legislation and what action Her Majesty's Government took in the interval to protect the interests of her nationals and to avoid the very situation which we face to-day.

I suspect, my Lords, that the whole matter was carefully pigeon-holed to avoid giving offence, to avoid facing as issue that nobody wanted to face or even believed could happen, and to keep up the fiction, so valuable in another African context, that racial harmony in Kenya was perfect and that the minority races were being ideally protected by an Afri- can Government. That there was discrimination in the issuing of work permits and trading licences is not in doubt. The Kenya High Commissioner is reported as saying that this is a matter of citizenship and not of race. The Kenya Government's own White Paper on African Socialism, published in 1965, makes its intentions quite plain in this respect. Not all the verbal utterances given by Ministers in Kenya will hide the fact that British nationals are being deprived of their chance to earn a living in Kenya, and delays in dealing with applications for Kenya citizenship are notorious and probably deliberate.

The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, implied earlier this afternoon that Asians could still quite easily apply for Kenyan citizenship. To the best of my knowledge, some applications have been in the pipeline for two and a half years, and there still does not seem to be much chance of their receiving it. I fear that the policy of the Kenya Government is not only to Africanise the jobs and trades that the Kenya Asian has previously occupied, but also to squeeze them out of Kenya and leave the responsibility for them at Britain's door. This is an act of policy, whatever else it may be called, and all that we are doing about it is to make quite sure that no more than 1,500 voucher holders and their families can come here annually. This may be all right for Britain, but what happens to those United Kingdom passport holders in Kenya now sacked from their jobs and told to leave the country by a date in June? What are we going to do about it? Are we to let them stay in Kenya, creating an even more dangerous situation? I can assure your Lordships that this is a human matter which must be solved by this country. We cannot leave them in suspense like the wretched Arab refugees in the Gaza strip.

There are other possibilities that we cannot leave to chance, remembering, as I hope we do, some of the other events which have happened elsewhere in Africa in recent times. One thousand five hundred voucher holders a year will not solve the problem or even cope with the birth rate. The tribunals promised by Mr. Callaghan are, to me, really a face saver. It needs saying that there appears to be an attempt by some to over-magnify the numbers likely to come to Britain. The representative of the Kenya Asians gave his estimate on television on Tuesday that out of 78,000 passport holders whom he considered to be left in Kenya, only approximately 40,000 might wish to come to Britain. According to statistics published in the Financial Times yesterday, that is no more than came in from the Commonwealth in 1967 and about one-third of the total immigration in that year from all countries.


My Lords, is that not also the same number of white Kenyans as have already left that country and come here?


I should not like to take upon myself to give any estimate of the number of Kenya Europeans who have left. I believe we heard earlier from the other side of the House that it was probably some 20,000. I think that is a reasonably approximate figure.

I have some suggestions to make which may perhaps go a little way to solve this dual problem. First, all holders of United Kingdom passports who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies on a given date this month should be told that they are eligible to enter Britain if they so wish to do under existing law, but that notice of their intention to do so must be given. Their immigration will be phased over three to five years. In the first three years, only cases of urgent necessity will be accepted. We have heard from the proceedings in another place that some understanding of this may arise. I hope that the arrangements being made by the Government may be agreeable, but I think that there is a need for clarification.

Secondly, in my view there should be a total cessation of immigration from other Commonwealth countries until those United Kingdom nationals are absorbed whose condition is urgent—and I include those wives and necessary dependents the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said were in the pipeline and covered by vouchers. Thereafter, when these urgent cases have been let in, the situation can be reviewed. Thirdly, a renewed approach should be made to India and Pakistan to facilitate entry into those countries of Asians from Kenya who are more likely to feel at home on the Asian mainland, and perhaps a suitable sum of money could be allocated to help those of our nationals who are unable to provide for themselves in the initial period. The ban announced by the Indian Government during the course to-day would be lifted, I feel sure, if this Bill was not passed.

Fourthly, I feel that direct talks, should now take place with the Kenya Government to encourage the rationalisation of the Africanisation policy by more careful phasing of their work permits. In this respect I cannot do better than quote some words which were reported is coming from the United States Embassy in Nairobi: Africanisation is a sensitive issue, since it must proceed at a rate which is Politically acceptable but not economically disruptive. I would suggest that the present panic exodus of Asians is already ca sing a great deal of economic disruption that must be stemmed by joint Government talks both here and in Nairobi.

These four proposals are not exhaustive, and I do not pretend that there is anything very new in them, but I seriously suggest that Her Majesty's Government, before ruthlessly bringing in this Bill, should now endeavour to control and guide events and make provision for the refugees that always appear at the end of Empire. It is no good just making promises to suit our convenience and then refusing to honour them when they are presented. What manner of men are we? Is this the way to usher in the new Britain, by washing our hands of all those problems which are this country's undoubted responsibility? This Bill, I feel, should be delayed and reintroduced when suitably amended and after consultations have taken place and reached an honourable solution, a solution which will largely avoid going back on our obligations while recognising that Britain cannot absorb more immigrants than those for whom there is no alternative country. For all these reasons I hope your Lordships will delay this I fully accept the need for further limitation of immigrants, but I cannot support the Bill as it stands, and will vote against it and for the Amendment.

Finally, my Lords, those of us who have seen at first hand the impact of Imperial withdrawal and the hazards of life for minorities in the emergent countries know well of the events that can lead to deprivation and despair. If the British nation at the end of the Imperial story cannot afford refuge and comfort to those comparatively few dispossessed by events quite outside their control, and which arise out of Britain's withdrawal from power, then history will not deal kindly with this country, and we shall deserve far less than I believe we should receive for our past contributions to the welfare and safety of mankind.

10.32 p.m.


My Lords, I have listened with great interest to the noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, and the solutions which he put forward to deal with this difficult problem. I was struck with the one that he mentioned: that we should give preference to the Kenyan immigrants over all other immigrants from the Commonwealth. My industrial experience teaches me that if a solution of that kind were adopted the immediate response would be that every other Commonwealth country would create all the difficulties they could in the hope that they would be given preference. We cannot solve this problem simply by giving preference to those who are most difficult. On the contrary: I am sure this problem will have a lot more consideration than it has had up to now.

The issue about devaluing passports I thought would have been concluded by the opening statement of the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor. I consider it was a magnificent exposé of the legal situation, and it was an exposé that must have been known to the Kenya Government in all its details. If it is argued that it was not known to the immigrants, that should be accepted, I think, because they were bewildered by the different interpretations put on the validity and the power of their British passport. The danger that was arising from this, as I saw it, was that we should, if we were not careful, create Stateless and jobless people, and this would indeed have been an international crime. I am glad that the Home Secretary jumped quickly into that breach and assured us that we were not going to create Stateless and jobless persons. I think that now the validity of the British passport, and the matters that arise from it, have been amply dealt with, and if we are to lay the blame at anybody's door it is not the door of the Government of this country, whichever Government it was, but at the door of the Government of Kenya.

I am probably the only man in this House who has been elected by black Africans to be their chairman to discuss problems of this sort. As an international trade union movement we had anticipated what was going to happen, and I have sat in the chair when these people have moved resolutions against British imperialism, British colonialism, and demanded freedom from the oppression they were suffering. I told them on more than one occasion that I was glad they moved these resolutions and I hoped they were carried; and indeed they were often carried. I said, "I promise you that you cannot attain the advantages you demand in these resolutions without accepting the responsibility which goes with them. And when the Government make these changes much more quickly than you think, these responsibilities may well be overwhelming."

We had our problems, probably more, when, if it had not been for the Marshall Plan from America, more countries than just the African countries could well have been overwhelmed by their economic problems. The cash which flowed from America through the Marshall Plan to all the countries in the world which would accept it prevented international problems from arising, because it enabled those economic problems to be solved. The countries concerned were not told how to solve them; they were just given the means to solve them.

What disturbs me in the whole of this discussion in both Houses on this particular subject is that we apparently think we can solve the African nationalist problem by letting people emigrate to this country. I do not think there was ever a greater folly perpetrated in this respect, because they themselves will have to solve these problems in the countries where they are. The nationalism which is growing in these countries is not going to help them solve these problems. There must be something of an international atmosphere; international help, economic help. Maybe in the meantime there will be some emigration to this country. But it is a strange thing that the Mother Country, which has had all these people demanding freedom over the years, having given them freedom, now finds them wanting to hold on to the Mother Country's apron strings. This is what is happening, and Britain is having to carry an international problem, which I think she can well carry, but also an economic problem, which I know she cannot carry. For that reason, there is bewilderment at the present time.

As to the people coming to this country, they look for jobs. Where do they look for those jobs? They go where they know there are most jobs. And they get the bottom jobs; that is inevitable. We have had discussions here in which the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, I think it was, and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said we ought to have dispersal of these immigrants over the country. When I hear talk like that, I wonder what they mean by dispersal. Do they mean direction of labour?




Lady Gaitskell says, "Perhaps". I want to tell her that in this country every immigrant has equal rights with the British citizen, and nobody has suggested that those rights should be taken away from them. In the international discussions we have over the years we hear that practical people do not want direction of labour in their countries. We stand for freedom. If you are going to direct them, where would you direct them? To Scotland? That country has 10 per cent. unemployment already. Could you do that? Would you direct them to Wales? That country is in a similar position. What are you doing? Are you running away from the problem or trying to solve the problem? It seems to me that every time you get a problem in one place you suggest it could be solved if it were taken to another place, and you cannot get away from it.

On dispersal of labour, what have this Government done? It was decided that, because of the congestion in the Midlands, and because of the unemployment on the North-East coast, in Scotland, in Wales and other parts of the country, we should encourage labour to go to those parts of the country where a high rate of unemployment existed. We built factories there; they could have free factories. We gave them investment grants which were twice as much in the development areas as in the congested areas. It takes a long time for these things to work out. The econcmics of this country do not move quickly. Some people thought that once we had passed the resolutions to deal with matters of this character, immediately a fairy would wave its wand and the problem would be solved. The problem is being gradually solved—and these things do only solve themselves gradually. But what is happening? We are filling up the development areas with people and factories from the Midlands, and God knows it is difficult enough with our own people! The magnet which is attracting our immigrants is attracting them to the very places from which we are trying to clear away the difficulties. If you add to that the colour questions which are inevitable and will take years to solve, you will have some idea of the magnitude of the problem.

I should like to go on and talk about economics for a long time, because I have been immersed in this subject in this country for some years, in places where it matters and also in the international field. We shall not solve this international problem of the Africanising of the different countries by allowing people to migrate to this country. But when they do migrate here, as they have a right to do, they must be treated as British citizens, they must be given all the freedom that British citizens have, and if we want them to do things we must persuade them to do them. The insecurity from which they have suffered over the years has created a nervousness in them which makes them suspicious of most people, even their friends. The people who have done such magnificent voluntary work will tell you that the greatest problem is to overcome the suspicions of these immigrants. Thank God those suspicions are being overcome because of the sincerity of the British people!

But what are we going to do with these people who are now getting Clings moving? I do not want to talk about schools and hospitals, because they have been fully discussed already. We are going to say to the people who are solving these difficulties with an ever-growing intake of families, "Thank you for doing what you have done in helping us to deal with this problem of gaining the confidence of these people; and, you having done that, we are now going to swamp you with a flood of immigrants which will make everything impossible ".

That is the reason why I am supporting this Bill. It is not on sentiment, it is on sheer common sense and economic sanity. I am asking everybody to drop the foolish sentiment we have, because I never got on with Africans by being sentimental with them; they are too hardheaded for that. I know from years of experience that they want to know what you are going to do for them. They will accept what is just, and there are problems which can only be solved by these people themselves. Having risen to a point in the Labour Government where we are getting some solutions of these problems, some understanding and some sincerity, for goodness sake do not loose a flood that will wash it all away!

10.48 p.m.


My Lords, I feel some diffidence in following the noble Lord, Lord Douglass of Cleveland. As your Lordships are aware, I come from Scotland, where the problem of coloured communities is not really a problem at all, except in the City of Glasgow. Our climate is too hard, and it is rendered even harder by the wretched British Standard Time Act. However, I have a little to add because I cannot remain silent, not only on the racial nature of this Bill—and we must admit that—but because I have been associated for so long with India and Pakistan, and I cannot contemplate with equanimity the betrayal of these people who may soon be, if they are not already, refugees from Kenya. Most of these people stem from the peoples of the India which we served.

It is clear from what has been said to-day that the whole situation is a muddle, and that the crisis has been brought about by racial discrimination in Kenya and reckless talk in this country. How many poor oppressed folk up and down the world to-day must be regretting the final disappearance of the benevolent British Empire and the Pax Britannica which went with it? Some of those who are now knocking at our gate must be ex-Servicemen—few perhaps; but the rest are kinsfolk of such men who fought from Eritrea to Monte Casino and from Rangoon to Kohima and back. We should not dream of deserting them now. We must remember that they were part of the greatest volunteer army the world has ever seen.

It is for this reason that I cannot suport the Bill; nor is it in my nature to abstain in a matter on which I feel strongly. It follows that I support the noble Lord's Amendment. I make bold to say that most of the speeches in this debate to-day confirm me in that view. I speak, too, as a member of the now defunct Migration Board which died of inanition in June, 1966, because successive Governments denied it the scope which could have made it an instrument that might have anticipated this state of affairs. I cannot help regretting the Board's demise.

Be that as it may, I realise that an ever-open door is out of the question, and of course one must accept—one cannot do otherwise—what the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, so ably said in his opening speech on this side of the House. I do not agree altogether with what the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, said. Need this influx be indigestible? Much of what has been said by, for instance, the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, and the noble Viscount, Lord St. Davids, confirms me in this view. I believe that we are running away from an undertaking without due notice of withdrawal and we are breaking a bond on presentation. It is the panic nature of this measure and the manner of its presentation to your Lordships' House which "gets under my skin".

But to those who ask: "What can we do?" I would reply, can we not face the music, and act with energy and with compassion—energy such as the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, indicated, and as was spoken of by the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley? Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Wade, suggested some energetic attack upon the situation as it is to-day: a limitation forthwith of the inflow of immigrants from other directions. What about tackling straightaway the existing work-permit arrangements. These have been referred to, and figures have been given, but I make no excuse for again drawing attention to this important factor. Surely the currency of outstanding work permits which have already been issued but not made use of could be curtailed, so that they are cancelled if not made use of within a reasonable time. Can we not confine the issue of all available permits to those people who are knocking at our gates to-day carrying in their hands a British passport?

Might I follow up what the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said, and urge the appointment of a special group of officers, who have knowledge of these people's languages and traditions, to supervise their absorption and dispersion or their disposal abroad. This gives me an opportunity of referring to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Macleod of Fuinary, which we all enjoyed very much and in which he drew out the fact that many of these people are highly skilled craftsmen, useful in the building trade, as builders, joiners, electricians and the like. He also mentioned, as others have done, the fact that they doubtless include medical personnel, not only doctors but nurses, who could be of use in helping with the work that is being done to-day in many areas with immigrants from overseas.

Canada has offered help—that has been mentioned. These people are skilled people and, as has been said in your Lordships' House already, English-speaking people. Can Canada perhaps give still more help? Could Australia collaborate? Admittedly this is a delicate matter, but I imagine that many of these folk could make a valuable contribution to the northern areas of Australia which are now so rapidly developing. Can we make out a bill of costs of what this is bearing upon our Exchequer and knock some of it off aid to Kenya?

My Lords, let us use all our energies to stand by our word and to reject this Bill, or at least to delay it—which amounts to the same thing. I would end, with due apologies to the most reverend Primate, with the words which I had in my note before he spoke—the last few words of Psalm XV as contained in the Bible itself: He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not…nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth those things shall never be moved.

10.57 p.m.


My Lords, I think your Lordships' House will think it right that those who take part, particularly at this stage, in this debate should equip themselves with two preliminary requirements of knowledge. The first is that we are in the face of a real problem; chat this is no imaginary issue with which we are to contend, and that there must De some attempted solution on the broadest scale to that multi-racial issue which is upon us, which is unavoidable, which will be continuous. Even if at this moment we were further to prevent any more people from coming into this country whose colour of skin is different from ours, that problem would still remain and would need most of the kind of comment that has been constructively offered to your Lordships already.

Secondly, those who speak should, at least imaginatively if not at first hand, have some acquaintance with the problem and should not talk somewhat nonchalantly from the position of advantage and security. I cannot claim that I live next door to immigrants who might disagree and become disagreeable to me. But I have been responsible for a multiracial church for some years in the middle of Noting Hill. I do not there-for intend to submit to the kind of accusation which might otherwise be brought, that I am talking as if the problem has no relationship to any considerations that come first hand to me. It does.

Looking at the Bill, I shall have to vote against it, and I shall have to vote against it because I believe that in principle it is wrong. If I refer quite briefly to perhaps the most cogent reason for that opposition, I suppose that what I have to say could have come perhaps better from the most reverend Primate, or indeed from the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod, whose speech I greatly enjoyed and was entirely entertained by the congratulatory remark afterwards that he was a Free Churchman. That is enough to set the heather on fire, though of course he is a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, which is not a Free Church, whatever the individual habits of its Moderators must be. What I am sure they both would have said, and indirectly probably did say, was that if this Bill goes through it will make it much harder to commend the Christian faith in Kenya. It will make it almost impossible for those who now stand for that Christian faith to commend it; it will make it very much more difficult for us who stand about in loud places regularly to commend the Christian faith to our coloured friends in this country; it will exarcerbate the kind of tension between Christianity and other creeds in Hyde Park and elsewhere. For that reason we have enough trouble on our hands already without this gratuitous addition to problems which could be avoided if this Bill were rejected. Therefore, I hope that it will be.

There is a horrid continuity and sequence about any process in which you begin by being so bemused by the problem of activism that you think that it is better to do the wrong thing quickly than to take sufficient time and trouble to do the right thing in the end. Indeed, if you begin with that process, then because those who are animated by the desire to do what is right though they are committed to do that which is wrong—and to this category belong, of course, our friends in the other place and your Lordships—then in as much that those who have propounded a Bill that is wrong are not the sort of people who would cook their potatoes in the tears of the widow, but are genuinely desirous of doing what is right, they will begin with the bitterness of injustice and thereafter endeavour to sweeten it with some kind of benevolence or some kind of philanthropy. But the inevitable result will be, as in the case of this Bill, that instead of any precision which might have been arrived at from a thorough-going evil, you have now the unhappy imprecision of a Bill which, beginning with that which is wrong and then feeling some kind of sense of conscience about this, now endeavours to amend that which is wrong by making nonsense of the Bill itself. I suggest that is precisely what Mr. Callaghan has proceeded to do.

For those reasons this is a throughly bad Bill, but to be precise I believe that whatever has been said in your Lordships' House does not alter one whit the impression which must have been given, gained and experienced by Kenya Asians, that the word of this country has been broken and that which they had a right to expect has been taken away from them. It is sheer, contemptible nonsense to talk as if a commitment or breach is something which has to do with words. It has to do with people—and simple people.

I should have thought that the coerciveness of the arguments presented by a number of noble Lords to-day has been sufficient to persuade even the most adamant in your Lordships' House that this undertaking was believed and accepted, and it will be assumed in the widest sense that our word is not being kept. We have in fact devalued the passport. This is not a question of academics or a question of law, but a question of personal relationships. I would add that in my judgment there is no substitute for those personal relationships if you are endeavouring to do the very things which your Lordships, almost without exception, have said to be the intent of those who would try to make a decent multiracial society in these Islands.

Secondly, it is equally frivolous to say that this is not a racial measure. You have only to ask whether, had these people been white, this particular Bill would have appeared at all. We all know very well that it would not have appeared at all. This is a racial measure, and though it may have certain circumstantial evidence to support it as a practical measure in principle, it only adds fuel to a furnace which is already brightly lit and will tend in these circumstances, not to ameliorate the conditions under which we now suffer but to make them even more difficult to proceed upon and to solve.

There is a third and to me overwhelming answer to those who would seek to support this Bill. It is that we have no sufficient evidence that the problem which we face is pre-eminently an economic problem. I believe that it is preeminently a social problem. I do not accept, and have had no evidence to contradict this conviction of mine, that we are so heavily involved in an economic crisis that we could not act upon some of the sensible advice offered to us by noble Lords, such as the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, and others. It seems to me preposterous to assume that here is a problem which is so overwhelmingly economically dangerous that, even with 3,000 less than those who could come in, and 1,500 or more of those who now might be permitted to come in, we should so exacerbate the situation as to turn ourselves into a profitless or a bankrupt community. I believe that, with a measure of public co-operation and an entirely new approach to this problem, we should be able to solve it, and in such a way as to keep our honour and our cash, and our well-being.

Finally, as has been said I think almost sufficiently by a number of speakers, it would be foolish to lump together immigrants as if they all belonged to the same cadre, as if they all belonged to the same group, as if they were all spongers upon the Welfare State. The fact of the matter is that so many of them can add a contribution which otherwise might not be made in the very near future. For that reason it is impudent to talk of immigrants as if they are somehow the poor relations, quite apart from the breaking of our word to them in principle.

It is late and I do not intend to make a long speech. In fact I have almost come to the end. If this were a Bill which could be improved because it was basically all right, I should be happy to consider what Amendments could improve it. As it is a Bill which is basically dead wrong, I intend to oppose it.

11.6 p.m.


My Lords, a couple of days ago I flew into Heathrow from some warmer climes, and not having the advantage of a British passport I was ushered through the second-class citizens' entrance, while at the same time there were a large number of people from a charter flight coming in through the major entrance. Doubtless that is very good for one's soul. I should like to say straight away that if anybody is going to be allowed into this country as an immigrant, I am very much in favour of the Kenya Asians. However, I happen to be of the opinion that the country is suffering from indigestion and it is about time we were given sufficient opportunity to digest what we already have.

The people of this country are colour blind, and long may they remain so!—and they will, if the opportunity is given. I think that this Bill is the first step in the direction of giving them the opportunity to digest this terrific influx which we have had in recent years. In fact, I think the chief offenders for the state into which we have got to-day are the people whom I called the inverted racialists, who are the whole time "bellyaching" about this subject and stirring up trouble which if we had the time we could get over.

A couple of years ago I was photographing in Los Angeles the damage done after the riots in Watts County. My negro driver, while sucking on his cigar, said, "Well, I hear you have got a little problem like this coming up in your country, boss." I replied, "I hope rant," to which he said, "Anyway, I hope you've got a good National Guard" I hope he was not being prophetic, especially as the Government have just abolished the Civil Defence and the Territorial Army.

I had a lot more to say but, thank heavens!, it has all been said by other people. I should just like to conclude by referring to passports, about which there has been a lot of talk. The noble Lord, Lord Beswick, will remember when I applied for the renewal of my son's British passport. That was turned down, even though I was a serving officer when he was born and both his grandfathers were Members of your Lordships' House. What followed was a long correspondence between my noble friend Lord Saltoun and the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, which was rather fruitless, except, I think, for the way in which my noble friend Lord Saltoun ended up. He said in his letter to Lord Beswick: I think I now understand the Government's policy—that is, a litter of daschunds born in a foxhound kennels are foxhounds". I have only one more point and that is to say how annoyed I am—and I know a lot of other people are—that India has joined the others who are preaching the "holier-than-thou" attitude to the nest of us at this time. I think the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said that we had 19,000 Indian nationals in last year; and that the Indian Government should have the effrontery to take this attitude towards our Government at the present moment is, I think an infernal cheek.

11.11 p.m.


My Lords, like many people taking part in the debates in this House and the other place, I have a crisis of conscience, and I feel myself in a very unhappy position. It is very painful to me not to be able to support my Government on a Bill, but I find it is quite impossible in this instance. The reasons against voting for the Bill have been put so cogently and so often during this long afternoon and evening that I do not intend to repeat them. There is a problem in immigration, both from the point of view of immigrants coming here and from the point of view of our settling them when they are here, but what has happened now surely is that panic has accelerated the problem and the Government's policy has accelerated the panic.

I do not know how many of your Lordships are aware of the fact that while we have been sitting here debating it has come through on the tape that Asians at Nairobi Airport are already being stopped because they have not got certificates or employment vouchers. This is happening before the Bill has been passed and has become an Act of Parliament. So perhaps anything more we say will probably just go up like hot air. I think this Bill has racial discrimination implicit in it, even if this was not the intention of the Government, and for these reasons I find myself unable to support the Government.

11.13 p.m.


My Lords, ever since this debate started it has seemed to me that one thing has been lacking; that is, the presence of a coloured colleague among us who could say what the effect of this Bill is, and will be, on himself and his people. I believe that if he were here he would come to what I feel to be the nub of the problem. I believe that, with their eyes open, the Government have done a large number of things which they very sincerely regret. They have broken their word, and they know it. Whatever the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has said, I saw that his colleague in the other place, Mr. Ennals, was man enough to admit this. I believe that the Government have been party to a measure which is, in effect, depriving citizens of this country of one of the two most essential rights of citizenship—the right to enter the country. They have been a party to a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of International Law; and they have been a party to a measure which makes nonsense of efforts to promote human rights here. I believe that they know this, and I believe also, as I have said, that they regret it.

They are doing it, I think, solely because they claim that, by passing this Bill to-night or to-morrow, they will have enhanced the prospects of a multi-racial, harmonious, tolerant society in this country. My experience, and the experience of many of my friends who are working either full-time or part-time in this field, is totally and absolutely the contrary. Far from improving race relations, this Bill will first legitimise the prejudices of the white community and, secondly, alienate, embitter and destroy the hopes of the coloured community. It has struck, I believe, a devastating blow, as the most reverend Primate has said so well, to the work of inter-racial organisations all over the country. I am secretary of one such organisation, and in the absence of the coloured colleague to whom I have referred, may I, in all humility, ask your Lordships for one moment to think what it is like to be a coloured immigrant in this country at this moment?

Try to put yourselves in a position in which you are outcasts, in which you are discriminated against: for we all know-we have evidence—of the discrimination which exists. You have great hopes, however. You have hopes, above all, in a Labour Government whom you believe to stand for the principles of equality. Then, about two or three months ago this campaign of vituperation and scaremongering begins. It starts with the speeches of Mr. Sandys and Mr. Powell, and is taken up like a flame in the popular Press. The way in which it is taken up is quite shameful. It is as if the immigrant coloured people—that is to say, in my example, your Lordships—are sweeping over the country like an epidemic which must be checked. I feel ashamed when I see a coloured man in a bus or in the Tube reading some of these headlines.

It is at this point that the Government, the Labour Government, capitulates to join hands with Sandys to produce a panicky Bill, and then to have what I believe to be the hypocrisy of saying, "We are acting in their interests". If you doubt this—


Is the noble Lord suggesting that the popular Press of this country is racialist?


I am suggesting that the headlines in the popular Press of this country—I make no particular accusations—have been highly inflammatory. If you doubt this reaction among the coloured people in this country, you should have been in Whitehall on Sunday, you should have seen the solidarity of the West Indians, the Indians and the Pakistanis on this issue in their thousands at a few days' notice. You should talk to the coloured people and see the bewilderment, the anger, that this measure is creating.

I find it an ignoble Bill really for two reasons. First, it is bred out of cowardice; secondly, it is undisguised racial discrimination. Let me begin first with the cowardice. I notice that several speakers for the Government, both here and in another place, have tried to "get off the hook" by blaming Mr. Sandys and Mr. Powell as being one of the contributory causes of this Bill. As the noble Baroness, among others, has pointed out, this is completely untrue. The Government know quite well that if they stood firm on this issue, if they had the moral guts to say, "We will not break our word", the scare-mongering would have stopped. They know well that if they showed leadership in respecting the Government commitments to equality and the rights of man, they could—and I still hope against hope that they later will—make a substantial impact on race relations in this country. The case for this Bill, as deployed by many noble Lords, seems to be that the British people are, in large degree, infected by prejudice. I do not believe this is so. I believe that they are afraid; that they are certainly susceptible to inflammatory headlines of the kind I mentioned and also susceptible to the leadership which comes of justice and equality.

The noble Lord, Lord Wigg, said—I do not know that these are his exact words—that all over his old constituency of Dudley there was worry about this issue. I talked this evening with one of the Labour candidates of Dudley. I was assured that all the five candidates were given long interviews for their candidatures, but that not once in any of those interviews was the race question raised. It may be that there are problem areas. I am bound to say, however, that at least in Birmingham and many other areas, the problems have, been created by the neglect of the local authorities. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, supported by other noble Lords, suggested, quite rightly, that the humane thing to do in that case is to set up, not a banning Bill, but a reception centre, a welcoming centre, and completely to change our approach to people who want to live in this country.

It may be that there are immigrant families who, for reasons of poverty, language or education, are not able within a short time to take their full part in our society. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, in his opening speech, mentioned these problems. I am not quite sure whether he mentioned those cases as an argument for the Bill. Is it necessary, because of these problem families, to go into utter panic and exclude a community which, as many noble Lords have said, is well-to-do and comparatively Westernised? I was reading about the younger generation of Kenyan Asians—symbols of a new generation, I was told, and eminently suitable immigrants to this country. The answer of the Government is that their action is necessary because these people are coloured. They are all lumped together under the great blanket heading of "Coloured". That is an attitude that we should do away with In my opinion, it is an attitude calculated not to, diminish prejudice, but to increase it.

Those of us who have to deal with discrimination, for instance, in e employment, find that the most frequent argument used by someone practising discrimination is, "I am not prejudiced, but I have to think of my customers." It is a wholly fallacious argument, and it is always proved to be fallacious, when one goes to the next door shop w licit is employing coloured immigrants and is suffering no loss of custom. It is this argument which the Government are using when they say, "Obviously, we are not prejudiced, but we have to think of the prejudice of the British people." If that is not their argument, it is certainly the argument of many of the supporters of the Bill.


Will the noble Lord therefore withdraw his attribution of that to Her Majesty's Government?


My attribution of what? I am sorry, I do not understand.


The noble Lord is well aware of the point he has just made.


My Lords, the point I was making was that the Government were providing a wrong-headed argument for discrimination. I never accused anybody of being prejudiced. That was not what I said.


Does not the noble Lord agree that there is a problem facing the country in the absorption in industry and in jobs all over the place of large numbers of people coming here to seek work and housing, and the facilities of schools, hospitals, and so on?


My Lords, there are certainly difficulties of absorption in jobs of people who have no skills, but we are talking to-night of the Asians in Kenya, and I am not aware that there will be any difficulties whatever of absorption. Indeed, I am confident that if they came here they would create their own jobs.

I come to the aspect of the Bill which, above all others, I find impossible to stomach: the hard reality of the Bill which will do more than anything to reinforce white prejudices and alienate coloured people. I refer to the words whose meaning was revealed with devastating clarity by the noble Lord, the Leader of the House when he talked of alarmists. I say at once that I was present at the interchange between the noble Lord and the noble Baroness, but I must ask the indulgence of the House to take the argument a little further. This is a wholly new and, in my view, deplorable concept in our immigration law.

I do not think it is disputed that, at least as far as the Kenyan Asians are concerned, this is a colour division. There may be a handful of babies who are unable to trace a grandparent who was born in the United Kingdom. There may be a handful of Asians who, by inter-marriage or a freak of geography, can trace such a grandparent. But essentially this is a colour division. Following this logic, presumably Australians, Canadians, settlers in the West Indies, the white Rhodesians, are "belongers".


My Lords, the expression "belonger", which I agree is not a particularly euphonious one, derives from the expression, "people who belong to a country". I must make clear to the noble Lord, because he can do damage by his remarks, that those who belong to a country are those who have close associations with a country, and among those who belong to this country are many people of Asian and African descent, who are full citizens. I urge the noble Lord to accept this, because I am sure that he does not wish to add fuel to this fire. Admittedly it is a general phrase and it is wrong to attach a precise meaning to it. If the noble Lord looks at my words, he will see what I said.


My Lords, I have no wish to add fuel to the fire. I wish to extinguish it. But I must maintain my position. This is a new conception in immigration law.


My Lords, the noble Lord says that this is a new conception in immigration law, but he overlooks the fact that this phrase is used in practically every Act that has been passed, with the same definition. Take, for example, the Kenya Independence Act itself. Section 3(2) says: Subject to subsection (6) of this section, a person shall not cease to be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies under section 2(2) of this Act if he, his father or his father's father—

  1. (a) was born in the United Kingdom or in a colony; or
  2. (b) is or was a person naturalised in the United Kingdom and Colonies; or
  3. (c) was registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies;…".
The Act passed in March, 1964, similarly says: A person has a qualifying connection with the United Kingdom and Colonies if he or his father or his father's father was born in the United Kingdom or in a colony.


With the greatest reluctance, I take issue with the noble and learned Lord. I am talking about our immigration law. I was going to make the point clear by pointing to one of the keystones of our immigration law, the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962. The Party opposite were absolutely fair in applying that Act equally to members of the white Commonwealth and to members of the coloured Commonwealth. If there had been introduced into that Act a phrase such as this, exempting from control those who have this substantial connection with the United Kingdom, what an uproar there would have been in the Labour Party! That is why I say this is introducing a new conception, a quite unnecessary one. I believe the Labour Party in 1962 would have branded this phrase as a piece of monstrous racialism. I implore the Government to expunge it. I am sure that this is going to be regarded by the coloured community in this country, rightly or wrongly, as a provision which in some way makes them, who were not born here, less acceptable citizens than those who were.

I have said enough on this Bill. There is much more to say, particularly on the other clauses which will be discussed, and we will have to go into the night to discuss them. But I can tell my noble friends that for me this has been a week of acute distress. For many of my very good personal friends this single measure—as I think my noble friends well know—has been the breaking point with the Labour Party. For me it is desperately close. Certainly I could not in all conscience advise a coloured citizen in this country to vote Labour at this present time. For those reasons, with a heavy heart and a very anguished heart, I shall support my noble friend Lord Brockway.

11.30 p.m.


My Lords, at this hour, having listened to most of the 30 of your Lordships who have spoken previously, I have cut what I had intended to say, but I hope that I may be able to raise one or two points which have not yet been discussed. I think it is fair to say that all in this House, as elsewhere, agree that this Bill is a sad Bill. Nobody is happy about it. Some say it is necessary, and others says that it is not. What we have to decide is whether, though it is sad, it is necessary; and secondly whether it will work.

I should like to adopt what the most reverend Primate said earlier this afternoon in its entirety, and in particular perhaps I may refer to one or two of the headings under which he spoke. First, I would refer to his remarks concerning race relations internally within the United Kingdom. There is a problem; there is a balance; there is a question as to whether the passing of this Bill will do greater harm or greater good within this country. The noble Lord, Lord Douglass of Cleveland, was making rather a different point in relation to the economic consequences of immigration; and others referred to the social consequences. For myself, I am glad that over the long centuries, and particularly in the last half century, the Government of this country, whichever side it was, has rather played down the economic difficulties of accepting dose in trouble, and I believe in the end have benefited from doing so.

I do not deny the difficulty which the noble Lord, Lord Douglass of Cleveland, mentioned, but I think it is a difficulty which has to be overcome, possibly in the manner mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, or possibly in a. manner which others have mentioned in this debate. It is a question of opinion; it is a question of balance; but I would say on the point of internal relations that greater harm is done by the acceptance of this Bill than by its rejection. So far as external race relations are concerned, there can be no doubt that this B11 can do only harm, damage us in our external relations and constitute a diplomatic setback for us, in relation not only to countries which are coloured but others which are not but could not accept the general outlook which this Bill and the debates which have taken place indicate.

Of course, there is the question of breach of faith—I particularly do not use "breach of our word"—and I should like in a moment to refer to that. Why then is it that we are all sad? I think we are sad because, as the most reverend Primate said, we are uneasy in ourselves, because we have not lived up to the ethical standards which we have set ourselves; we are not, in fact, being true to ourselves.

It is, I believe, a mistake to think that Asians were not entitled to assume that the citizenship which they acquired carried with it a right of residence here. I think the date factor has perhaps been somewhat overlooked. In 1962 there was a great debate in this country concerning the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of that year. This was undoubtedly known to the Asian leaders, who are competent, learned and able men, and they must have understood the difference between what they were being offered and the sort of passport which was covered by the 1962 Act. The 1962 Act must have been in the minds of everybody in 1963. It is inconceivable that the point could have been overlooked. And certainly so far as those in Kenya were concerned, they must have been aware of the differences between what they were being offered and the passports affected by that 1962 Act.

I think that the references to the various comments in debates of that period are, frankly, of little interest in this discussion, because at least the Kenyans would not read Hansard; and I cannot believe that, whatever a Minister has said—and one noble Lord mentioned that the answers were not altogether clear—greater weight was going to be paid to something which a Minister said, which was perhaps not very clear, without due weight being given to the clear distinction between what they were getting in 1963 and what was a less satisfactory passport under the 1962 Act, passed perhaps six months or a year before the Kenyan discussions came to a conclusion. The nature of the passport they were getting must surely have entered into their considerations, as well as the question of whether or not they would take Kenyan nationality, as they could have done then, but cannot now do.

I should like to turn to the effect of this Bill if passed into law, which I think has not been much discussed this evening. On the face of it, its effect is, and is intended to be, to prevent those coming within its provisions from entering the United Kingdom. Will it work? The first point, I think, is that Asians in Kenya of whom we have been speaking this evening have no nationality other than that of the United Kingdom and Colonies. I think that is common ground. I think it is also accepted that, under International Law, Kenya can properly refuse to retain them in their own country, whatever we may think of the political desirability of that. I think they could in law refuse to keep them, and for one reason—because they had the opportunity, but failed to take it, of Kenyan nationality.

This, I suggest, leads to a number of consequences. The first is that, unless these Asian Kenyans are accepted as immigrants by other countries than Kenya, where they are, and other than this country, which refuses to have them, they will undoubtedly have difficulty in travelling or being accepted in any other country. I do not know whether this is fully appreciated. The normal method with regard to travel, which is certainly adopted by this country, is that a country will not accept a visitor from another country unless there is a clear possibility of deporting or returning him to his home country. The position here is exemplified by cases, which others may also have had, where people coming from East of the Iron Curtain have sought to remain here. And it is a matter for careful consideration by the Home Office as to whether, if they stay here for three or four days, they will then forfeit their right to return to the country from which they came and, if that is so, we are landed with them. But the general rule, I understand, certainly as administered—and, I think rightly—is that if a person comes here who has no country to which he can be deported or sent back, then on the face of it he cannot get in. I am not suggesting that the rule is administered roughly or without compassion. Far from it, but that is the basic rule, and if they are to get in there must he some discretion and some compassion granted. The effect of this must be to make it difficult (to put it mildly) for these Asians in Kenya to travel. I think it will be agreed that it is quite an important matter if one cannot travel on one's own passport.

If I may, at this point I should like to read a short paragraph from an answer of the Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office in another place yesterday. The question with which he was dealing was, what are the Government to do with an Asian citizen in Kenya who, with a British passport, leaves Kenya—as he is perfectly entitled to do—goes to Paris and, after staying there for a short time, goes in an Air France aeroplane to London Airport. Of course, he was very lucky to get to Paris at all. In fact I do not think he would get there. The answer of the Under-Secretary of State was this: The effect of this Bill will also be known in other countries which will, therefore, have to decide for themselves whether they will admit or will not admit persons who will not have entry certificates entitling them to come to this country. I cannot say what will be the actions of other Governments. I can only say that Her Majesty's Government will inform other Governments of the situation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 28/2/68, col, 1448.] I suggest that this amounts to notice that we will not take people from third countries, and that the effect of that upon third countries will be not to take these Asians who wish to travel. At stage one, therefore, I suggest we are, by this action, preventing any Kenyans from travelling outside Kenya, even though they have a valid and effective passport and on the face of it their nationality has not been affected.

Now suppose that a third country does accept these people, and perhaps connives—and I am not using the word in a sinister sense—with some of these unfortunate Asian Kenyans. If they have got into country X, it does not matter whether it is in Africa, Europe or anywhere else, that country X can take steps to get rid of them. It is a matter of basic international law that the home country is bound to take back its nationals if they are deported from a foreign country. It may be asked: which is the home country of a person who has lived in Kenya and whose passport is said to be British? They will not be able to get into Kenya unless the Kenyans wish to have them, and now there is the business about a visa, on which I do not think any of us are fully informed. A person deciding this issue would not look to Kenya, they would look to the passport, and they would say: "Here is X, the holder of a British passport: you take him". The words I have quoted from the Under-Secretary of State indicate that perhaps we will not do so. This puts us in a very odd position and directly contrary to the whole practice of international law, quite apart from the unratified conventions recently made. It is quite basic that the home country of a person must take that person from a third country. Therefore, either the third country will refuse to accept an Asian from Kenya, in which case there will be no travel, or it will do so and this will form a tremendous loophole in the whole structure of the Bill.

There is then the possibility, since they will not easily be able to travel from Kenya, I suggest, that they may be prevented from staying in Kenya, in which case the Bill, as we are told, is not to operate. I quote, from yesterday's Commons Hansard, the Under-Secretary: For instance, if a United Kingdom citizen in East Africa holding a United Kingdom passport were to be expelled—and we hope that would not be the case—from the country in which he now finds himself, this would create an overwhelming case for him to be admitted to the United Kingdom, whether a certain number of vouchers had been used or whether the total number of vouchers had rot been used."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 28/2/68, col. 1444.] I take it the last words are not a qualification of the earlier ones. I think he means that if such a situation arose we should take him, come what may. That means that those who are refused consent to remain in Kenya we are going to take; we have said so. If they succeed in travelling to a country we are quite liable to get them on a deportation order, and so far as I can see the only ones we are not going to get under this Bill are those who do not want to come.

But there is a further point, and an important one, because I do not think this Bill affects Asians alone—and I am not speaking of those other people with special categories of passport. There is no distinction on the face of the passport between one issued to one of the Asians living in Kenya and a passport issued to one of your Lordships. If one of us travels to a third country, how is that third country to know whether our passport is a good passport or a bad one? Your Lordships may think that this is a joke, but it is not. It certainly would not be a joke for a United Kingdom resident Indian with a dark skin, because if the third countries are going to take notice of our regulation, then they are going to be exceedingly careful about admitting people with brown skins on British passports.

I am suggesting that we shall come to the point under this Bill that a brown-skinned family on a resident United Kingdom passport is in a much more d (cult position, so far as travelling is concerned, and also as regards entering this country than anybody who is white. What is the immigration officer going to say? He is going to ask particulars, unless the man comes under the special categories which are there, such as residence here: but if he has been resident here it is said that he is entitled to come in, and the immigration officer shall not prevent him. I agree that is excellent, but he has to prove that he is resident here. The immigration officer's duty is to see that this proof is true and correct. It seems to me most humiliating for a person resident in this country to undergo than sort of trial. I recognise that this is an unintentional side-effect, but it does go to show that a hastily drafted Bill such as this could lead to the most disastrous results.

Finally, I cannot accept the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, that if I oppose this Bill I must oppose any Bill affecting persons having British passports, those having a second nationality and so forth, as he was inclined to suggest. That would require consideration for which we have no time to-night. I suggest, for the reasons I have mentioned, and those put forward with more eloquence by others this afternoon, that this is an ill-conceived Bill. There has been no time to incorporate the Wilson recommendations, and if I heard the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack aright he said that at present, even if we had time to incorporate those recommendations, we have no money to finance it, and we could not increase the Civil Service sufficiently in order to make it work. This indicates to me a measure which has been brought in much too much in haste and which ought to be rejected with equal haste.

11.50 p.m.


My Lords, I shall try not to occupy the time of the House for longer than is absolutely necessary, but I still feel deeply on the central issue raised by this Bill, so I am obliged to say something. Recent events have caused me much concern, and I have tried hard, even dispassionately, to comprehend what has been happening in these past weeks since the initial flow of immigrants from Kenya reached the frantic flood of the past days and hours. I have searched for any reasoning which could influence my judgment, but I am involved with my conscience; and my right honourable friends and other noble Lords recognise that the subject which confronts us now is one where there is room for other expression.

I could have wished, so early in my experience as a Member of your Lordships' House, to have been spared a while longer the moment for decision of a subject which digs so deep into the roots of human instinct and feeling. But I am encouraged by the great respect which noble Lords on all sides of this House have for the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, even when some of his views are unacceptable; and I would that, as time passes, I might enjoy even one quarter of his reputation for sincerity and justice.

Perhaps I am too involved personally, for whereas I recognise that we are here debating Commonwealth immigration, I cannot help recollecting with great pride Britain's historic and glorious role over many past years in connection with other waves of immigrants. Of course there have been some bad fellows who came into Britain, but the great majority have been law-abiding and peaceful, and they brought credit. Britain has often gained from the inventive genius and industry of many of these people. So also with Commonwealth immigrants. While there are probably some undesirables, the greater proportion, I believe, are good people, upright and conscientious, who will outnumber the rest by a considerable margin, as the "exceedingly slow" wheels of integration turn.

Somewhere in my family, according to a story I once heard, there was a chap who in a London theatre was supposed to save the life of an English King when somebody levelled a pistol at him, by placing his hand before the muzzle so that a bullet intended for the King passed through his hand and was diverted. Another and rather more remote relative, in the course of the Sufragette Movement activities, is said to have smashed the glass case surrounding the Crown Jewels exhibited in the Tower, and to have made off with a few glittering pieces before she was arrested; and after a while, she was appointed to the Leeds bench of magistrates. So far as I know, none of that jewellery remains in my family; but the grand old lady is still around.

Now, on the other hand, to use a phrase popularised in the last twelve months by Mr. Topol, a temporary immigrant to the British stage, on my paternal side my grandfather, born 117 years ago in Austria, was a young immigrant at the age of 17 to Britain. That is just one century ago. Ultimately, he was naturalised, and I am very proud to hold up in your Lordships' House to-day his British passport and his earlier Austrian workers' reference book. I am thankful to the Almighty that my grandfather could come to this fair land, and eternally grateful, as he was, that he could sojourn here in peace and replant his roots. I mention these personal things for they are a small piece of Britain's greatness, and bear witness to its humanity to thousands who might otherwise have suffered or perished. They also contribute to my dilemma in to-day's debate, for I must feel, however small my own part, that I opt for the ultimate good of my country and of humanity.

Suddenly to stop British passport holders who might need to come here from passing freely, without let or hindrance, surely amounts, by ordinary legal, moral and equitable standards, to the removal of basic rights. Does it not mean, however much we try to reason with our consciences or excuse ourselves, that we are breaking our word? Moreover, is there really not an implied discrimination, which makes matters worse?

Some shortcomings in the Bill have already been emphasised in this debate and in the debate in another place. Fortunately, in the last few hours some changes have been adopted, or promised. But even after hearing many noble Lords, I still feel that the Bill enhances the notion of racial discrimination by introducing a selective control on one section of coloured immigrants, and it creates suffering and distrust. A controlled flow of immigration, if it is essential at this point in our history, should cover all sections and areas, not just one or two. We heard this morning that there will be flexibility, according to circumstances, in the number of vouchers granted. Do lawyers now support indecisive legislation? If we must have this Bill, should not the figure of 1,500 employment vouchers be advanced to, say, 8,000 or 9,000? If flexibility ab initio, is to become a feature in British law, do we not add enormously to the burden of ministerial and judicial responsibility and open up all kinds of loopholes?

However, while it is easy to dwell on these points, it is much harder to say what should be done. We are confronted with an immensely difficult position in which, for a variety of reasons, the majority of British people believe that there should be some control over the inflow of immigrants. As members of the international community we have obligations, not the least of which is to do everything in our power to reduce the growing racial intolerance a -Id division in the world.

In this situation I believe that we should have three aims. First, at the earliest possible moment we should devise a plan for our immigration policy in which there is a clearly recognised and relevant set of priorities and in which those immigrants whose needs ate most urgent come first in the queue. In the present situation we should recognise that it is necessary to give more places to Kenya's Asians and fewer to immigrants from India, Pakistan and elsewhere for whom we have at the moment less responsibility.

Second, I feel that the events of the past few weeks have made it ever more important for us to strengthen our measures for integrating the coloured immigrant community which already exists in Britain. This is not simply a legal task, and at present we are in danger of regarding the proposed extension of the Race Relations Act as the completion of this task. It is not; it is only the beginning. In housing, schooling, and, indeed, in the whole range of services, there is an urgent need for more vigorous integrationist policies, supported by adequate finance. Here, as in other areas of our social policies, there is a need for conscious and systematic planning of a kind which does not sufficiently exist at present.

Third, I think the most important need of all in the present situation is for enlightened leadership. Asset lions abound on the subject of immigrants. Throughout large sections of the population in the country it is held that immigrants cause more unemployment; that immigrants are work-shy and depend on the social services for their existence; that immigrants create slums; that eventually the coloured community will outnumber the white. Feelings on the subject are strong—stronger, I think, than on any other single political issue. They are the same response which alien groups have met throughout history in their struggle to integrate in a new society.

Such beliefs are a powerful element, and certainly have helped to create the hysteria over this whole subject which we have seen recently. I was much impressed by the speech at the beginning of the debate by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and by the speeches of other noble Lords, including Lord Brooke of Cumnor and Lord Wigg. But the real answer to the problem is a powerful political leadership which can dispel these feelings and remove the divisions, the animosities and the social disruption to which they give rise. It seems to me that the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill is an abrogation of such leadership and responsibility. For that reason, and others raised during the debate, it causes me profound disquiet. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, I was at half-mast. I fear that, conscientiously, I am unable to support the Bill.

12.1 a.m.


My Lords, as my home is not far from the city of Birmingham I am well aware of the problems caused by the great number of immigrants who have arrived in recent years. I am also aware of the existing shortage of houses, schools and hospitals, and I know that there is anxiety in Birmingham about unemployment in certain sectors of industry. Obviously, for many people in overcrowded cities life is already difficult, and the arrival of more immigrants will make it more difficult. Nevertheless, I cannot support this Bill. I think it is morally wrong and I cannot see how any Amendment can make it right.

For many hundreds of years our country has welcomed refugees from other lands. From the fears of the Spanish Inquisition, from the gas chambers of Nazi Germany, from the Russian tanks in Hungary, people have fled to the freedom that they knew they would find here. We as a nation have gained enormously from this influx of foreign talent that has come to us. We have grown rich and strong and we have fought great wars to defend the freedoms not only of ourselves, but of other people all over the world.

Now we are having to stop all this. We are given one day in which to discuss this terrible Bill, one day in which to pass through all its stages a Bill which will render Stateless, to all intents and purposes, a large number of British subjects holding British passports who are suffering from something very like racial persecution.


My Lords, if the noble Marquess will allow me to interrupt, he is quite incorrect. These people will not be rendered Stateless and it is really not fair to go on saying so.


My Lords, I am afraid I do not understand what State they will belong to.


They will still be holders of United Kingdom and Colonies passports, and a great many of them will still come here.


What about the rest?


My Lords, I confess that I am unable to understand what will happen to people who hold British passports that do not admit them to Great Britain. We are told that the Government were not taken by surprise by this emergency in Kenya: they made preparations. But what preparations? One would have hoped to hear of most urgent and pressing negotiations with the Governments of Kenya, India and Pakistan, of preparations to receive these refugees somewhere, of preparations to help some reasonable numbers of them to establish themselves in this or, indeed, any other country. But, no, the Government prepared this Bill, a Bill which surely needs most careful consideration, and we are given no time to consider it because the number of arrivals at London Airport seems likely to cause a great deal of trouble and inconvenience to a lot of people.

Of course, I realise that we must control immigration. We may have to stop it altogether. We may have to say that on this Island there is no more room for anybody else. But not like this, my Lords! Not by abandoning to their fate a minority group who are unlucky because their grandfathers were not born in Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

This Palace of Westminster has been called the Mother of Parliaments. Like other mothers, our Parliament has, perhaps, rebellious and unsatisfactory children. But, like other mothers, the British Parliament has even now retained its old associations with certain basic virtues. There are certain concepts, certain words which are still connected in people's minds with the Parliament at Westminster—such words as justice and fair play and honour, such old-fashioned ideas as keeping to one's pledged word, even when it is inconvenient to do so, or providing help for one's fellow subjects when they are in trouble far away.

I do not see how we can claim to be remotely influenced by Christianity if we turn away the poor and oppressed. I do not know what British justice can stand for if we accept the principle of racial inequality. I do not know what honour will be left to us if we break a pledge that is implicit in every British passport. All I know is that the name and reputation of Great Britain will be sadly tarnished if the Bill is passed.

12.7 a.m.


My Lords, the hour is late, we have been debating this matter for over nine hours, and I do not think that I can reasonably add very much to what has been said by a number of noble Lords in your Lordships' House. I do, however, range myself alongside the most reverend Primate of All England and my noble friends Lord Brockway and Lord Willis.

My reason for intervening is that I want to make my own position in respect of the Bill very clear. Like a good many of your Lordships, I have read in some detail the debates in another place, and I am forced to the conclusion that the right honourable gentleman, the Home Secretary, has failed to answer with conviction two matters that concern me. The first thing that stands out for me is the breaking of faith with the Asians. I understand from the debate that has taken place in your Lordships' House to-day that the real legal position seems to be a little obscure. Nevertheless, it is clear enough for me to recognise that even if we have not got a legal obligation, and although some 80,000 Asians hold British passports, we have a moral obligation of an extreme concern. I am also concerned that the restriction of entry can only be construed as a racial measure. Those two matters cause me very real concern.

A number of noble Lords have quite rightly drawn attention to the problems which stem from immigration. I am fully aware, as is the noble Marquess, Lord Hertford, of the public reaction, the shortage of schools and teachers, the housing problem, and the problem of unemployment within our own country. But we are dealing with a group of people who will not present precisely the same problems. The majority of their children speak English. In the main, they themselves can make a far greater contribution to the welfare of this country than a good many immigrants who have preceded them. I am not unmindful of the fact that if we did not have the number of immigrants that we have in this country at the present moment, there would he a very real risk that London Tranport would cease, and that a good many of our hospitals up and down the country would have to close if we did not have coloured nurses and doctors.

I understand that last year we admitted somewhere in the region of 61,000 Commonwealth immigrants whom we had no legal obligation to admit. I suggest, with very great respect, that having regard to the serious problem which is facing tens of thousands of Asians in Kenya at the present moment, we could very well call a halt to that kind of immigration in order to let in those Asians who want to come who are in fact British subjects, who are known for their reputation as hard-working and industrious people, and who, as I said a moment or two ago, do not present the same problems which generally attend immigrants. I think we must keep in the forefront of our minds the fact that the Asians have no other nationality but ours, no other citizenship. I do not really know what the right honourable gentleman the Home Secretary meant yesterday when he said that there would be provision to deal with emergency situations, when Asians may lose their homes and may lose their jobs. I only hope that a member of the Government, when winding up this debate, will perhaps be able to clarify that situation. But I think we must recognise that there is a very real possibility that if we hold the figure down to 1,500 we may find—I say that we "may" find—that we are contributing to the creation of another refugee camp; and the world has quite enough of them, as I have recently seen on the West Bank of Jordan and in the Ghaza Strip.

Now I want to be as fair as I possibly can. The Bill may not—I am trying to put the best possible construction on it—be racialist in intention, but suggest that it is hard to escape the fear that it may be so in effect. By and large, the minor restrictions in the Bill are, I think, quite sound. But the Bill as it stands means that we are restricting (and again I am trying to put it nicely), that we are retreating from our obligations—obligations which we quite deliberately assumed in 1963. In this respect, many of your Lordships, I am sure, have read in the current issue of the Spectator the open letter by the right honourable lain Macleod to the right honourable Duncan Sandys. And, if I may say so, they are obligations which we have recognised ever since, and which we recognise at the present moment. I do not see how we can go back on our word. Years ago it was said that an Englishman's word was his bond. This went right throughout the African nation. Do we think for one moment that from now on the coloured peoples of the world are going to accept that an Englishman's word is his bond if we fail to fulfil the promises that we made in 1963 simply because they have now become an embarrassment?

I believe it has been suggested—I hope I may be wrong about this—that those of us who find that we are unable to support this Bill are guilty of being sentimental.


Hear, hear!


The noble Lord is entitled to his views, but I can assure him that those of us who oppose this Bill are not doing it out of sentiment or out of some desire to discharge emotion. We are doing it on a matter of principle. I believe that, unfortunately, the United Kingdom has little enough good will, so far as the Commonwealth is concerned; and I do not think we have a sufficient amount of good will at the present moment to enable us to dissipate what we have.

I think this Bill makes a mockery of the Socialist beliefs. I am unashamedly a Socialist. I am a convert to Socialism, and perhaps, as a result, I have it more badly than some. But the fact is that this Bill makes a mockery of all I believe as a Socialist. It is certainly not a happy measure; it is a measure that not only hurts but disillusions a good many of us on these Benches. I am very glad that my noble friend—I hope I can call him "my noble friend"—the Leader of the House is in his place on the Front Benches. I thought I had come to terms with my conscience a few hours ago. I thought so, because, after all, it is a very serious matter for a member of any Party to vote against his Government; and I believe this would be generally accepted. But I have since had to face the fact that I should be very ashamed of myself if I took that way out. My Lords, I find this Bill so distasteful, so contrary to all that I believe, that I really cannot support the Government, which in the normal way I would wish to do; and, in consequence I shall have to oppose this Bill.

12.17 a.m.


My Lords, like many other noble Lords this evening, I am going to deal only with the question of the Asian Kenyans. First, I want to set out certain facts. The first fact concerns me, myself. It is that for nearly six years I was Minister of State for Colonial Affairs. I served under my noble friend Lord Boyd; I served under Mr. Macleod and under Mr. Maudling. I took part in many constitutional conferences, and in all those constitutional conferences we had one worry which continually bedevilled us. It was: what were we going to do about the minorities when countries became independent?—minorities, be they white, be they Asian or be they of another race.

I took part in no fewer than three of the constitutional conferences on Kenya. I was not at the final conference. My noble friend Lord Lansdowne helped in that one. I would ask your Lordships to remember that at that time—it was very shortly after the Mau Mau horrors —we were getting frankly worried about what was going to happen when Kenya became independent. I should like to pay my tribute to the way Mr. Kenyatta has behaved and handled matters in a statesmanlike way since then. At that time, however, we had no certainty that this would be so. And so later, at the 1963 Final Conference, we gave to the Asian minorities the privilege of the United Kingdom passport, quite deliberately and with our eyes open to all that it implied.

My second fact is that we are dealing with about 120,000 souls, and we are told that there is to be a quota for them amounting to 1,500 heads of household a year—a total number, it may be, of 6,000 or 7,000 altogether. In another place, when winding up the debate, the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department said: We must sympathise with those who will now have to wait their turn to come to Britain."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 2712/68, col. 1362.] With 6,000 coming in a year, and a total of 120,000 souls to be taken, I calculate that that means that some of them will have to wait for 20 years. Many will not live to see that day. Sympathy is all very well. The facts are against sympathy. The people will just not be alive.

A third fact is that I have certainly had the impression from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and from Lord Brooke of Cumnor, that we are facing a rising tide of Commonwealth immigrants and that we are in a position when we have got to do something about it. The figures that I have do not bear that out. They show that the net immigration of Commonwealth people since 1964 has declined steadily. In 1964 the figure was 74.000. Last year it was down to 36.000. Surely that is hardly a cause for anxiety. As other noble Lords have pointed out, the net for the whole of the country is a net of emigration, not of immigration.

One other fact is that under the present quota system there are allowed into this country from the Commonwealth some 8,500 heads of families a year. Yet I am quite clear in my own mind, as I am sure are many others of your Lordships, that they do not have the same right as Asians from Kenya to whom we gave the United Kingdom passport. Those are the facts.

I have a feeling that the Government are unhappy about the Bill. They may even be unhappy about how the vote will go to-night. I have a suggestion to make which I hope will appeal not only to them but also to noble Lords like Lord Wigg and Lord Douglass of Cleveland, who have been anxious about what they call the practical problems that arise as a result of people coming into this country at this time, in the main, of course, from Asia or from the Commonwealth My suggestion is this. Could the Government make a cleat with us that they will increase the annual quota of 1,500 Asians from Kenya to, say, 6,000 heads of families? That will give us a possibility of about 24,000 Kenyans coming into this country each year. If it is felt that this is too many, may I suggest that the decrease should be on the other part, the 8,500 who have not the same claim as the Asians from Kenya?

If that deal were accepted, then all the Asian Kenyans would have the knowledge that within five years, if they so desired, they would be in this country. Many noble Lords have brought out what a great advantage we should derive from having them here, because of their skills of one kind or another. If the Government would accept this proposition, I for one should not vote against the Bill. But if they do not, then I, must inevitably vote against the Bill and I hope that most of your Lordships will do likewise.

I would make one other comment. I understand that when we come to consider Amendments in Committee, if the Bill reaches that point, the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, is to introduce an Amendment which I beg all noble Lords who dislike this Bill to study. I hope your Lordships will give him all the support you can. If the Asian Kenyans can have a chance to enter within five years, then there is hope for them, and I believe that it would be possible, with the working Appeals Committee which is to be set up, for all who so desire to come to the United Kingdom, and to come in good order and in good time.

12.27 a.m.


My Lords, when this debate began—and that was last month—I already could not accept that this was a Socialist measure. Now that we have got well into March and well over thirty speakers have preceded me, I feel confirmed in that opinion. In the course of the debate the vast majority on this side of the House have tended to speak passionately against the Bill. Many noble Lords on the Conservative Benches who will vote in its favour have held their peace, because it is indeed a hard measure to defend. The Liberals are wholeheartedly opposing it. I suggest that it will be the Conservative Opposition, the sil7ent Conservative Opposition, who will be responsible for the passage of the Bill, if in fact it receives its Second Reading this morning. It is not accepted by the majority on this side of the House.


My Lords, one does not mind a noble Lord putting his case and putting it forcibly, but I do not think that my noble friend has the right to say that the majority of those of us who have kept quiet are against the Bill.


I completely respect what the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, has said. We shall see, when the Division Lists are published, but it is my opinion that the majority of noble Lords on this side of the House are opposed to this Bill, whether they abstain or vote. It is a grievous disappointment that it should have been brought in by a Socialist Government. I will certainly vote for the Amendment of my noble friend, Lord Brockway. It has been said repeatedly tonight, and no one has denied it, that in effect this is purely a racialist measure. It does not say so in black and white—and that is an appropriate phrase—but it does discriminate, even more than the 1962 Act, against men and women because of their colour. In extenuation it has been said that this is not so, because it applies to some white Kenyans and it does not. perhaps, apply to some Indians and Pakistanis. I can only describe that as a hollow sham, because whatever the Bill may say, everyone knows that only an infinitesimal number of white Kenyans is affected, because either they, their parents or grand-parents were born in Britain, while it applies to virtually all Asians.

Despite what my noble friend, Lord Stonham, said in his recent intervention, I maintain that this Bill creates a large number—tens of thousands—of men and women who are, in effect, Stateless. They may have United Kingdom passports, but what good are they to them? We must face the fact that these men and women with United Kingdom passports cannot seek work in Kenya. Where will they go? They have nowhere to go. If that is not Statelessness, I do not know what is.

In another place on Tuesday Mr. Duncan Sandys said blithely that Indians and Pakistanis would certainly not be refused admission by India and Pakistan. I do not know how a former Minister of the Crown can make a statement that is so completely irresponsible and untrue. We all know to-day that it is untrue, because the Indian Government have announced it. And most of these people are Indians, not Pakistanis. By making a couple of telephone calls to the High Commissioner's office on that day I was at once able to confirm that that statement was false and that only about 10,000 Kenyans of Indian origin who had applied for and were granted Indian passports after Indian independence would be admitted as immigrants—that is, unless they had large, accumulated savings and could live on the interest there from, in which case they would be admitted to this country under Section 2(3,c) of the 1962 Act. I confirmed equally easily that the same was substantially true of Pakistanis. It is most regrettable that the Indian and Pakistani Governments should have taken this attitude, but it is a fact that has to be faced. Similarly, with my noble friend Lord Brockway, I wish to make it quite clear that I am as opposed to the racialist policy of President Kenyatta as I am to the policy of Her Majesty's Government. I think it is deplorable. But two blacks do not make a white—only a great many very unhappy blacks.

What is going to happen? Britain blames Kenya and India; Kenya blames India and Britain; India blames Kenya and Britain. Everybody blames everybody else. But I suggest that Britain is mainly implicated, because, whatever the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, may say, the Conservative Government in effect gave a pledge to avoid this very situation. Can we now close our doors and remain completely unmoved at the fate of these unhappy people who are involved in this situation?

What was the purpose of granting them a United Kingdom passport if it was to mean absolutely nothing? Their position is completely different from that of those affected by the 1962 legislation, despite what the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, have said, because of course, those who have always been affected by the 1962 Act can stay and work where they are. If they are in Jamaica, in Pakistan, or wherever they happen to be, perhaps they do not have the good luck to reach the promised land, but at least they have citizenship where they are and can find employment there.

The terrible bogey was raised in another place by the Home Secretary—and I am sorry that it was also raised by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack to-day—that over 1 million men, women and children might come flooding into this island. I suggest that this is a completely fictitious, misleading and irrelevant statement. I completely accept that that is the total who are eligible to come here, but there can be no reason whatever to suppose that any but an insignificant fraction have any intention, or are likely to have any intention, of coming here. Most of the alleged 1 million outside East Africa are quite happy where they are. They have local citizenship, which saves them from the plight of the Kenyan Asians.


This is a most important point, and the noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting. This is not so at all. It is not merely that all those in Uganda, those in Tanzania and those in Malawi are in exactly the same position as those in Kenya, having no other nationality, but the same is true of 30,000, mainly from India and Pakistan, who are in Singapore. There are believed to be another 22,000 in Singapore who have the right to British citizenship, and 10,000 in Saga and Sarawak, and in Malaysia 100,000 from India, Pakistan and Ceylon. In the other cases, including the Chinese, they have dual nationality. These, amounting to more than a quarter of a million, have none. They are all entitled to come here tomorrow. We are not saying, "You must not come here": we are saying, "You cannot all come here to-morrow. The contention that, in some way or the other, the legal position of those in Kenya is entirely different from those in the other places I have referred to is entirely wrong.


My Lords, I am most grateful for the intervention from the noble and learned Lord. I think it is the case, however, that in the vast majority of the cases of those to whom he has referred there is no evidence what soever that they are intending to come here in large numbers.


My Lords, if I may interrupt—nor is there any evidence whatsoever that they could not take out the nationality of the country in which they are at present, if they wished which is entirely different from the case of the Kenyans.


I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for his contribution. Moreover, if one considers the 200,000, or the alleged 200,000, in East Africa, many have opted for, and obtained, Kenyan or local citizenship, and therefore have nothing to fear, and many do not want to leave, and in any case cannot afford to do so

But, my Lords, if the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack wished to present this terrible threat of the numbers that might descend upon this Island, I do not understand why he stopped at 1.2 million, because on this method of calculation—that is to say, the total of those eligible to come here—the figure is, of course, very much higher. Need I remind your Lordships that just across the St. George's Channel, a very much simpler journey, there are almost 3 million citizens of the Republic of Ireland who all have the right, and apparently will still have the right, to come over here without any formality whatever? I think the suggestion that the entire population of the Emerald Isle might decide to do so—to come over here in a body—which would certainly acid a great deal of life to the United Kingdom, is a suggestion which is no more ridiculous than that which has been made, and would have boosted the bogey figure to well over 4 million. But, my Lords, of course the Irish are white—except, of course, for the Protestants.

I want to stay a little longer with the Republic of Ireland. I myself come from the Republic, though I was born by accident in South-West 1. I therefore have no interest to declare. The position of the Irish in these matters can only be described as Irish. According to the letter of the law, there can be no doubt that tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, have come here completely illegally since 1962 and are still here. That is because the law, for completely unexplained reasons, has never been enforced so far as the Irish are concerned. The law is perfectly clear on this subject. Section 1(4) of the 1962 Act specifically states that it applies to Irish citizens as though they were Commonwealth citizens, although they are not. They therefore require vouchers unless they were born in the United Kingdom or hold a United Kingdom passport. Not one in a thousand of Irish immigrants was born in the United Kingdom, nor do they hold United Kingdom passports (although Irish citizens are entitled to apply for and obtain a United Kingdom passport) for the simple reason that no one needs a passport to hop on a boat in Dublin and come over to Liverpool. Therefore, all the Irish who have flooded into this country since 1962 came completely illegally, although now that they have stayed more than 24 hours they are exempt from the law. Under this new Bill it is perfectly clear that the citizens of the Irish Republic still require vouchers unless a parent or grandparent was born in this country, which is virtually never the case. Yet I understand that immigration from Ireland will still be completely unrestricted.

Although I come from the Republic and think that immigration from Ireland should be discouraged, because Ireland does not like to see its sons and daughters coming to work here (we would far rather keep them at home), the extraordinary position exists that citizens of an independent republic outside the Commonwealth, not possessing passports of any kind, not United Kingdom "belongers"—and I truly do not understand what this word means; though Ireland was a belonging of the United Kingdom since Cromwell, I think no Irishman would describe himself as a United Kingdom "belonger"—and not owing any allegiance of any kind to the Crown, but rather the reverse, are to be freely admitted without showing a passport of any kind, while United Kingdom citizens from a Commonwealth country, owing allegiance to the Queen, are to be restricted to 1,500 a year.

My Lords, I accept that unhappily control of immigration has become a necessity, but I suggest that the new. Bill is riddled with racial prejudice, and so is the existing Act, if not in its actual language, then in the way it is adminis- tered. Have we ever heard of a white Australian, a white Canadian or a white New Zealander being held up and asked embarrassing questions by the immigration officials at the airport, let alone sent home?


But they are, my Lords.


My Lords, my noble friend informs me that they are, but I suggest that this happens very infrequently as compared with the embarrassing and humiliating treatment received by some people whose skin is a different colour from ours. But if control is necessary, I suggest that the entire quota system should be reexamined, less racial prejudice shown, and a far higher priority given to the Kenyan Asians who are now in such dire need. As has been pointed out by speaker after speaker on the Liberal Benches, and in particular by the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod of Fuinary, in his notable and remarkable maiden speech, on which, if I may. I would congratulate him, these are industrious people, they are professional people, highly skilled, in most cases English speaking, and for these reasons more acceptable.

If I am bitterly disappointed that the Government have introduced this Bill, I am no less amazed by the attitude of the majority of Conservatives, who I fear will be voting in its favour. The Conservatives have been violently attacking this Government recently for breaking pledges. But, of course, it was the Conservatives who in 1963 made, in effect, this pledge that Kenyan Asians could opt for United Kingdom passports and all the privileges that that then implied, so that they could have this escape to safety if things went ill for them. What was the point in giving them a passport if it confers no privilege of any kind?


My Lords, every noble Lord is of course entitled to his opinion, but may I ask what justification the noble Lord has for thinking that the majority of Conservatives here will support the Bill?


My Lords, I am delighted by the imputation of the noble Lord. I know that there are bound to be some sheep among the goats, or some goats among the sheep, but I fear that a large number of the Conservative Peers will, in fact, vote in favour of the Bill. In any case, if the Conservative Government had not granted this option in 1963, all but an infinitesimal fraction of the Kenyan Asians would have opted for Kenyan citizenship or Indian or Pakistani citizenship. What else could they possibly have done? None of this trouble would have arisen. The Tories have complained that we have broken pledges in Aden, the Persian Gulf, Singapore and so on. Yet in this case some of them—I hope not many—are agreeing that their own pledge, given in this case to United Kingdom citizens, should equally be broken.

Many noble Lords will have read the leader "Panic and Prejudice" in The Times newspaper on Tuesday. My belief is that newspaper and television comment, interviews with private citizens, letters to the Press, the feeling of the country as a whole, have all shown, as has the whole tone of the debate tonight, far greater opposition to this Bill, and even more to the high-handed way in which it is being forced through Parliament, than has been reflected in the Division Lobbies in another place and may be reflected here. In opposition to what the noble Lord, Lord Elton, said, I believe that it is not the Government but Parliament itself, and the politicians, who compose it, who are losing, and have for long been losing, the respect of the men and women of this country. I dare say, Let Parliament beware! Or—my noble friend Lord Willis ended with a quotation from Shakespeare, and I have another. The day will come when the country will cry out, as Mercutio cried with his dying breath: A plague on both your houses!

12.55 a.m.


My Lords, it is appropriate to be very brief at this hour. It is very easy for me, because every single argument I had to support my case has been deployed, and well deployed, already. I cannot support this Bill, and therefore I think it necessary to make a short statement as we are all very unhappy that we cannot follow our leaders. But if, sadly, I cannot follow my political leaders, at least I can follow my spiritual leader, the most reverend Primate who put my case far better than I could ever have done. I am delighted also to find that I disagree with not one single word that was said by my noble fried Lady Gaitskell, whose name I revere and whose position in the Committee on Human Rights at the United Nations has been made extremely difficult by what is being done to-day.

The questions of the validity of the pledge and the devaluation of the British passport have both been dealt with so powerfully by the noble Lord, Lord Willis and Lord Foot, that I have nothing to add, and perhaps even a mite here and there to subtract. The trouble over the dispersal of migrants was dealt with fully by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, who was speaking, of course, not of direction of labour but of advice as to where people should go, which advice might certainly be taken; and I think it was written off rather too easily.

The noble Lord, Lord Wigg, put the plain man's point of view with all the bluntness of Dr. Johnson kicking a stone to refute Bishop Berkeley's idealist philosophy. But I do not believe that this is a controversy between the, plain man and the idealists; it is a controversy between people with at least something in common, the determination rot to allow the racial situation to deteriorate to the terrible depths that it has reached elsewhere. I think all noble Lords subscribe to that, and we must remember this, even though, as the night wears on, we get tired and sometimes some bitterness appears.

I find the way that this very difficult problem has been handled impossible to support. I have supported the Labour Party for 35 years. I owe it such loyalty as my conscience will allow. I shall follow the advice of the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, and ostentatiously abstain.

12.57 a.m.


My Lords, speaking as an Irish white Protestant who has been here for more than 24 hours, I assure your Lordships that when I saw this morning this list, I read with absolutely no pang of surprise whatever that my name was put right down near the bottom of the list. I took it almost for granted that by the time my name was reached there would be nothing that I had in my head that still remained to be said. That is almost true. Your Lordships might be happier if it were totally true. But, without wishing to take up much of your Lordships' time, I feel that there is a point which might have been touched on here during the course of this debate, but has not had a finger put upon it with any real clarity, and that is a point that I had in my mind when I put down my name to speak.

I am going to be against the Bill, but I am going to share my surprise with other noble Lords by disclosing that I am dissociating myself with almost all the arguments that have been advanced against the Bill so far. I do not believe, for example, that there has ever been a pledge that has been broken. I do not believe that there is any point whatever in jobbing back over past mistakes, or that anybody is in a position to have the finger of blame pointed at him on one side of the political spectrum or the other. I think it is pointless and quite irrelevant.

It may be true, but I do not believe that the British passport has been devalued. I take no stock in that remark at all. I do not believe that the Bill is an act of panic. I am perfectly ready to understand, and do understand, that the Bill has probably been drafted with considerable care—if it has not been it must be a most frightful mess—and that it is necessary, once it is brought into the open, to shove it through as fast as possible. This seems to be obvious. If your Lordships cast your noble minds back to the beginning of this debate, you may recall that my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor expressed the opinion that opposition to the Bill is necessarily based on the idea that the British passport has been devalued. My noble friend is present, and I speak subject to correction. My opposition to the Bill is not based on that idea at all. Furthermore, to be positive, I believe that immigration must be slowed down. The last thing that would occur to me to do is to attack the Government on the grounds of their having done anything racialist. What I have said may be a bit of a bore, but it has perhaps set the scene so far as I am concerned.

The situation, as I see it, is that Clause 1 of the Bill makes a particular discrimination against one class of person, namely the Kenya Asian. He is not the only person in this class in the sense that he is the only one who has a single nationality. I take the point of the noble and learned Lord Chancellor's figures which he gave to the House a few moments ago. He is separate from all the others in one respect only, and that is that he wants to come here now. This produces a rather curious effect. I can explain this by offering your Lordships an analogy. Would you imagine me to be a considerably richer man than I am, and suppose that earlier this evening, with the idea of bringing a little sunshine into your Lordships' lives. I had made a proposal and got up and said, "My Lords, at any time during this evening, this long and possibly tedious debate, if you care to step into the Guest Room I shall be happy if you would accept a drink at my expense." I never did say anything of the kind, but that would be a perfectly reasonable offer.


Hear, hear!


I would take up my station near the bar and if any noble Lord or Lady came in and said, "I should like my drink", I would hand it out. I might then think that I was becoming a little over generous and say, "I have spent enough money on this and I am going to stop it." If I had done that, noble Lords who had come later would have been disappointed and may have thought I was not much of a chap, but they would have seen the point. They would say "Poor clot! It was not a very clever idea. He has found out that he cannot afford it, so we will make the best of it."

But suppose that somebody had risen on his feet in your Lordships' House—this has not happened either—and made a speech of such insufferable boredom that all your Lordships had suddenly come rushing into the Guest Room and said "Now we want our drinks", and I had said, "No, certainly not", and had scooped them all away, what would your Lordships have thought of me then? That is the position in which these Kenyans find themselves. We have not given any pledge, but we have given them to understand that the drink is ready for them if they would like to ask for it. What has happened is that they have suddenly all asked for the drinks at once, and we have snatched them away. It is like offering chocolate to a child and, just as he puts out his hand for it, taking it back. That is unforgivable.

It may, in the political context which we have before us, be necessary. There is an argument about this. I am certainly not being a starry-eyed idealist over this, any more than is the noble Lord, Lord Hunt; I introduce no sentiment whatever. But I see a great danger coming out of all this. The danger is not in what we are doing; it is what the world sees us doing. What the world sees us doing is almost exactly what I have described. It is giving people to understand that they are going to get something and then, when they suddenly ask for it, taking away the very thing which is precious to them. Apart from the justice or the legality of the matter, what does it look like to the rest of the world? Above all, what does it look like to the agitators who are watching to see whether we do that very thing, because we have already in this country the thin edge of black power.

If there ever was a situation which persons of that kind are ready to pick upon and blow up into an enormous propaganda balloon which they can burst in our face, and, quite conceivably—I do not wish to be alarmist in any sense at all—blow up to the extent of producing race riots in England even before the end of the summer, this is their opportunity. This is the great danger, and I believe it is the most deadly danger that is inherent in this Bill.

We have got into this position with the best will in the world. I believe—again I should like to quote the noble Lord, Lord Hunt—that the Labour Government have a record of dealing with race relations which is outstandingly good. All our Governments may make that claim. But they have produced a situation—I withdraw the word "they"; I am not referring to the Government; I am referring to the nation as it is on our behalf that the Government act—which can so easily be twisted to make it look as though we have betrayed a trust at the expense of thousands of helpless people. This is the appearance, and the appearance is just as important as the facts, because it is on appearance that the world works.

I shall quote from a speech which I made in this Chamber only a week or two ago, when I said this: When we say that the first duty of a Government is to promote the interests of the nation, we shall remember to add tie words, 'in so far as these are compatible with truth, honour and fair dealing'".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21/2/68, col. 532.] I do not believe that the snatching away of the sweets or the drinks at the exact moment when the hand has stretched out to grasp them is compatible with fair dealing, however well-intentioned, and I am absolutely certain that it does not appear so to persons of ill-disposed intent.

1.7 a.m.


My Lords, I promise to be brief, but in opposing the Bill I should like to say why. I do so partly for the same reasons as were advanced by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, and reinforced by the noble Lords, Lord Wedgwood and Lord Nathan. Vie have a perfect right to keep out of the country anyone we like, even if he holds a British passport. I think it has been implied by some speakers to-night that we do not have that right. We have, and of course that is what this Bill is about.

We have to change our laws according to the times and social pressures. If we suddenly found, for instance, that there were 1,000 million Commonwealth citizens all holding British passports, all able, and perhaps liable, to come here at any moment, they would be a clear case for trying to do something about it, simply because the country could not hold them, passports or no passports There must he some sort of immigration control, as many noble Lords have said. But these Kenya Asians are being discriminated against at a particularly unhappy time for them. The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, made that very clear. I go along—though I never thought I should be quoting the Bible in your Lordships' House—with the most reverend Primate when he said: He that sweareth unto his neighbour and disappointeth him not, though it were to his own hindrance: Furthermore, it seems unhappily clear to everyone that these people are being discriminated against because they are brown. That is where the noble Baroness, Lady Asquith of Yarnbury, was, I thought, so right. She said that the State was setting a bad example.

I should like to remind your Lordships of the discussion we had on another great issue, the abolition of the death penalty, and to quote from what my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor said then. Towards the end of his 45-minute speech—a very fine speech, with every word of which I agreed—he said: We shall be able to see, too, what is the effect of the State setting the example which I have always felt it ought to set. After all, when Samuel Romilly started this he did not know what the result of abolishing capital punishment was going to be, here or elsewhere, because it had not been done, and he never used more than two arguments—namely, first,'… the great deterrent to crime is not severity of punishment but certainty of conviction,… Secondly, he said, 'We all underrate the effect of the example set by the State'. I have always been convinced that he was right,…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20/7/65, col. 710–711.] For me, perhaps the strongest argument for the abolition of the death penalty is the bad example which the State sets in using it. In this matter, too, I think that the attitude of the State, of those in authority, the Establishment, the Legislature, is of enormous importance and influence. It is not what the attitude actually is; I am not accusing my noble friends on the Front Bench of being racist—of course not. It is what it is seen or thought by most people to be; and most people see this as a racist Bill. I am very uneasy as to what its effects will be. The way the Bill has been brought forward, and therefore the passion it has stimulated, could not have been more exacerbating to bad race relations in this country. I know that the Government have found themselves in a difficult position. Perhaps they could have foreseen it. But in my view they have done the wrong thing in the wrong way, and they are plainly setting a bad example. I hope very much that your Lordships will vote against the Bill.

1.14 a.m.


My Lords, in the course of the debate we have had information and statistics about emigration from Kenya, immigration into the United Kingdom, and emigration from the United Kingdom. We have had speculations about the possible social consequences of leaving the door open, and, equally, about the possible social consequences of closing it. And we have heard a number of noble Lords, sometimes for quite opposite reasons, prophesying the outbreak of racial explosions. I submit that, important though these are, they are secondary issues in the present context. I do not propose to comment on them, except just to plead with those noble Lords who are foretelling racial explosions to desist from doing so, because experience has taught us that there is no more certain or surer way of provoking, violence than confidently foretelling its occurrence. In passing, I should also like to ask how it is so difficult to receive these Kenya Asians when we were able to receive, I think it was, something of the order of 50.000 Hungarians in a period of not much more than a week not so very long ago.

My Lords, I would submit that the central issue in this debate is of a very much simpler order. It is not a matter of expediency: it is not a matter of economics; it is not even a matter of domestic social policy. It is a matter, in plain terms, of morality—and I wish I did not feel that I almost had to say "old-fashioned morality". The noble and learned Lord who sits upon the Woolsack, with his unrivalled debating skill, tried to blind us with history. If I may borrow a phrase—a telling phrase—from the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, promises are not rendered obsolete by history. There were promises, and those promises are written in the passports which now, it would seem, if this Bill becomes law, are to be converted into scraps of paper.

For all the ingenuity with which this Bill has been defended, the stark contradiction remains. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, in the closing passage of his speech, referred to the Kenyan Asians as people who had an absolute right to come here. Clause 2 of the Bill is headed, "Refusal of admission", and lists a number of conditions which lay upon the immigration officers an obligation to refuse entry or to give it only on certain conditions. My Lords, no amount of sophistry can paper over that contradiction, and in my judgment no amount of sophistry can conceal the fact that the price we shall pay for this Bill, if we have it, is a sacrifice of integrity—a sacrifice which will bring shame to the supporters of this Government, which is grievous enough from our point of view, and, what is much more important, a sacrifice which will do irreparable damage to the moral image of the senior partner in the British Commonwealth.

1.17 a.m.


My Lords, I have not had the pleasure of addressing your Lordships for a very long time, and I hope that if I have the pleasure of doing so again it will not be at 1.17 o'clock in the morning. But, my Lords, I felt that as I was personally closely connected with the Kenya Independence Bill I must say a word, in all honesty, to your Lordships. Each one of us has the right to his own opinion, and I have been deeply impressed, as I am sure everyone in your Lordships' House has tonight, by the sincerity with which all speakers have spoken.

My Lords, I cannot follow the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, I cannot follow the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and I cannot follow the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack when it is said that we did not make a pledge. I was party to that Bill, and worked on it for many hours, really searching the recesses of my heart. I can assure your Lordships that when I understood, as Mr. Iain Macleod understood, what we were doing, I understood that we were making a solemn undertaking to these people.

I was not able to hear all the words from the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack, but as he referred to the speech of my noble friend the Duke of Devonshire (who was in fact that day, as the noble Lord is fully aware, speaking on my behalf, because I happened to be ill) I think I must just call attention to what the noble Duke said. I am sure the noble and learned Lord did not wish to cause any misapprehension, but I found it a little difficult to follow his point. The noble Duke was referring to the umbrella of British nationality, and he explained to your Lordships, how, in the case of Kenya, it was not possible—because President Kenyatta did not wish it—for anyone to hold dual nationality. The noble Duke took pains to explain the steps that we were going to take to help people over this difficulty.

The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, expressed interest in the position of the Asians. He said that he hoped that the Asians would come under the same umbrella as the Europeans. I must say that, with the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, I hoped the same. I was not in the House at that time. The nob1e Duke spoke at short notice and he was not, perhaps, fully apprised of all the facts. He was therefore obliged at the end of the debate, to correct what he had said. This was the point, I think, to which the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack referred. It is possible that I did not hear the noble and learned Lord read these words; but just in case he did not read them, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to do so.

The noble Duke said, in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd: He asked me whether the new legislation which is to be introduced as soon as possible about the resumption of citizenship would apply to the Asian community in Kenya. I have now clarified the position. Whereas the new legislation will apply as of right to those who have a substantial U.K. connection—that is by birth or ancestry—those who have not will have the benefit"— and I emphasise that word— to reassume United Kingdom nationality at the discretion of the U.K. authorities. It will be at their discretion …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28/11/63; col. 813.] The noble and learned Lord emphasised that my noble friend had made a mistake. If he did make a mistake—and, apparently, he did—surely in his correction he drew our attention to the fact that the United Kingdom authorities paid particular attention to the Asians in Kenya, and therefore, surely, if the Asians in Kenya were then awarded, or were allowed to reassume, the position of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, we cannot lightly throw this aside. The point that was made was that there was no suggestion that the Asians would ever be alloyed to come here as of right; but there is surely a suggestion that their case was particularly to be scrutinised and adjudicated on by the United Kingdom authorities. They are then told they may have a British passport. Surely this carries with it the right to come to the United Kingdom.

I find it quite impossible to accept this view that we did not make a pledge, that there was not an undertaking. The most reverend Primate was perhaps gentler in his tone. He said he thought there was virtually an undertaking. Surely this is what the people there thought. This is surely what matters. The 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act was known to them. We made different arrangements and they chose to benefit by these different arrangements. Let us not forget—and surely this must be an important point—that we have a responsibility to these people who did not take up the option of Kenyan citizenship because they were told that there was an alternative of remaining citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. I personally feel that we should accept this responsibility. It is for this reason that I could not possibly support the Bill.

Not only do I think that the Bill is immoral, but I also believe that it is very ill-conceived and unwise. It would surely have been perfectly possible, by reducing the number of immigrants from other parts of the world or slowing it down or even stopping it altogether, to fulfil our real commitments to these people. This suggestion was made by my honourable friend Mr. Fisher in another place and, so far as I have been able to discover—there has not been time to read the whole of Hansard—I do not think it was ever even answered.

I should be grateful if the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, when he replies, can explain to us. if it is so, why it would not be possible—and I have tabled a Manuscript Amendment to this effect—for us to honour what I believe to be a pledge by giving first priority to these people who were issued with British passports by the British Government. This is not the time for a long and wandering speech. It seems to me that a point of honour is engaged here, and I was very glad to hear the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton, say that this is a question of morality. I believe that if this Second Reading is passed, again in this Chamber it will be received in sepulchral and shamed silence.

1.27 a.m.


My Lords, I intend to be very brief, briefer, perhaps, than most noble Lords who have spoken. I will not join with those noble Lords who have denounced the Bill as a measure of racial discrimination. I have too high a regard for my own colleagues on the Front Bench to accuse them of any such intention. I have, however, been gravely disturbed during the whole of the debate at the lack of distinction between an immigrant and a refugee. During the whole of last evening and this morning, although we have been set to debate a Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, the whole of the debate has turned on what is really the issue of a Kenya Refugees Bill. To me, this is not a moral issue, not merely a moral problem, it is much more a moral challenge on which we cannot remain indifferent.

I simply cannot believe that this country of ours is unable to face an addition to its population of one-fifth of one per cent., such as is implied even by the maximum figure of 100,000 immigrants from Kenya. The noble Baroness, Lady Wootton, has mentioned how, during one week in 1956, this country admitted no fewer than 50.000 Hungarian refugees. All of us can recall how, during even the days of the severe depression of the 1930s, this country admitted refugees from Hitler, even without British passports. We recall, too, what a notable part was played during that time by a distinguished predecessor of the most reverend Primate—Archbishop Temple. Just because these pathetic people are refugees from racial intolerance and economic persecution, so they ought to have a first claim on our generosity and on our compassion. Because I feel that this great country of ours is fully able to face up to an immigration amounting to no more than 0.2 per cent. of its total population, so I shall certainly have no hesitation in deciding which way I intend to vote on this Bill.

1.30 a.m.


My Lords, I rise to answer this long debate and to ask your Lordships to reject the Amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Brockway. I thought his speech was one of great statesmanship and set a tone of humanity for the debate. I agree with him that it is not a question of statistics. This debate, like that in another place, has exposed the hearts and souls of the men and women who take part in public life. I have one regret, particularly at this moment when politicians appear to be under attack from all sides. If ever there was a case for televising the proceedings of Parliament, these debates provide that case.

I am in some difficulty. The hour is very late, and we have still a long Committee stage in front of us. I should like to say how pleased I am that my noble friend Lord Stonham has come all the way from Newfoundland in order to be responsible for the Committee stage. I would have preferred to have made a short speech, but in view of the many questions and of the doubts that exist, particularly in the minds of my noble friends, I hope the House will forgive me if I speak at some length. I shall not be able to follow the usual custom of complimenting all noble Lords who have participated in this debate, and I shall have to concentrate upon the main issues.

Although my first remarks are addressed to my noble friends, they must apply to noble Lords in other quarters of the House who have uncertainties in regard to this Bill. I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, that I did not like the 1962 Act, and I do not like this Bill. But with the facts and information now available to me, I am a reluctant convert to the 1962 Act and I would not speak in support of this Bill if I did not believe it to be right not only in terms of our own people but also, as has been stressed time and time again to-day, in terms of race relations.

I would say to my noble friend Lord Gifford that I do not need any lecture on race relations. I have been a white immigrant in a Commonwealth country, a country that has been strained by its own racial difficulties. I believe that time alone will provide a cure to that problem. As a Commonwealth Minister who visits the dependent territories and is confronted by these men and women, as I was recently in Gibraltar, I would say that if anyone had a greater claim for free entry into the United Kingdom it is the people of Gibraltar. While they may not have agreed with what I said to them, they understood and sympathised with our position. I hope that my noble friends will show the same sense of understanding.

What is the problem? It is that once we were a great Empire, and people within that Empire shared the citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. We have now almost completed a great act of decolonisation, and have given freedom to 700 million people. To-day we are left with 6,250,000 people within our dependent territories. I must admit that nothing gave me greater satisfaction than when the Minister of Labour announced the new arrangements for immigrants. We were able, for the first time, to give a special allocation to those for whom we are directly responsible, those in our dependent Colonies. Many of these territories are over-populated and underdeveloped.

There are those who think that this country and the Government has a racialist policy. It has been suggested in one form or another. It should be remembered that, despite our great economic difficulties, there was one economic cut that we did not make, and that was in the sum of £200 million that we give to our dependent territories, our Commonwealth friends. If anything denies that lie it is the fact that we were prepared to do this despite the economic situation.

We have done more, and have sought to help through immigration. During the last twelve years we have absorbed three-quarters of a million people from the new Commonwealth. Consider our limitations. We are a country with 54,250,000 people, occupying 93,000 square miles. This gives us 589 people per square mile. We are one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Possibly our greatest difficulty, created perhaps through lack of foresight, is that our population is concentrated into a relatively few urban areas. There is a limit to the numbers that we can absorb, and an even greater limit to the rate at which we can absorb immigrants of any class or colour.

We are committed to a multi-racial society—we do not pay lip-service to it. I would say to the most reverend Primate that while we may not be failing, we are not succeeding; we are merely holding the line. Despite legislation, despite dedicated work by voluntary organisations to whom we pay tribute, despite all that is being done by local authorities, there are dangerous trends of grave social and economic inequalities. There are grave tensions threatening all that has been done in the past. There are all the makings of a situation similar to that existing in the United States. I do not think any noble Lord would challange that. We seek to fight prejudice. As my noble friend Lord Brockway said, prejudice is not to be found only in this country. I do not know any country—perhaps there are some exceptions—in which prejudice is not to be found. But my experience of prejudice is that it arises from fear; and fear often, if not always, arises from social inequality between one race and another.

I would say to the House that to me the greatest challenge that is going to face us is not the absorption of the immigrant himself, because he comes to this country with his eyes open. To me, the greatest challenge is the ability to absorb the children of these immigrants. If these children, in their formative years, are bruised and frustrated, then only bitterness will result; and I believe that the seeds of a century of bitterness would lie ahead.

Much has been said about education. I want to deal with this in some detail, because it is a major problem of our local authorities. The general feeling among the education authorities is that they are lust about holding the line, but that there is little room for manoeuvre, and they doubt whether they can deal with the situation if the numbers go on increasing at the present rate. The noble Lord, Lord Wade, mentioned Huddersfield. Let us take Leicester. There are td-day some 4,700 immigrant children in school in Leicester. There has been an increase of 1,100 in the last twelve months. In Wolverhampton there is a waiting list of some 300 children awaiting admission. There is one school with 70 per cent. immigrant children. In Ealing, not far from here, there are 5,400 immigrant children in school—roughly 13.6 per cent. of the school population. During 1965 and 1966 the average intake in Ealing was 60 children per month; in September and December of 1967 it was 140 per month; and during January and February of this year the number had risen to 250 children per month, 150 coming from East Africa.


Perhaps the noble Lord would allow me to make a point. Have the Government considered, in relation to these figures, adopting the example of the Government of Holland, and trying in some measure to disperse these immigrants among other cities and other centres?


Of course this is a matter that has been given consideration. I am trying to deal—and perhaps the noble Lord will allow me—with this grave education problem, that is growing and has to be faced and tackled.

Apart from the increase in the number of children, we have a shortage of teachers. We have the great difficulty of finding teachers in sufficient numbers to deal with backward children. Perhaps as a last illustration, to indicate the size of the problem, I may tell your Lordship that in Bradford and Birmingham we need one new class space each week to cope with the number of children. I would pay a great tribute to the local authorities and education authorities who have been faced with this tremendous challenge and task. They have just about met it. But, as I indicated earlier, there are limits to what can be done.

I do not believe that this Bill is racialist, and I will tell the House what I believe is the purpose of this Bill. It is to buy time. We believe that we must buy time to absorb all those who come to this country; time to provide the economic capability for employment, for homes, for education, hospitals, and all the other social services. We need time to deal with this.

We intend to introduce, I believe within the next six weeks, a new Race Relations Bill. I agree with one of my noble friends who said that no piece of legislation will deal with this matter. Legislation will help. But I believe that if the pressures which now exist develop we shall have such an explosion that whatever legislation we have will be like that of building on shifting sands. I will go one stage further: I believe that if such an explosion took place the chances of ever being able to create racial relations as we believe in them would have gone, and we should find in this country permanently—I repeat, permanently—a second-class status of citizen.

I beg this House, and I beg my noble friends in particular, not to judge this Bill in isolation, as they have done today, but to judge it within our general immigration policy. I will deal with that now, because these figures, I believe, are significant. In 1967 there were 4,716 immigrants under the Immigrants Act with work vouchers, despite the fact that the level is some 8,500 and there are waiting lists. We do not know why there has been this drop, but there has been this drop. But the number of dependants has increased since 1965, from 39,000 in that year to 50,000 in 1967. From India in 1967 we took some 19,000 immigrants; from Pakistan some 18,600; from the West Indies some 12,500, and from "Others" some 7,500. Although there has been this reduction in the number of vouchers, there has been this marked increase in dependants, and in particular among children. My noble and learned friend who sits on the Woolsack drew our attention to this marked increase, from 23,000 in 1965 to some 34,769 for children. That is surely an indication of the impact upon one part of our social service.

But superimposed upon those numbers is the flow of immigrants from East Africa. In 1965 the total was some 6,149. In 1966 it was some 6,846. In 1967 it was 13,600. Since August the average monthly inflow has been 1,600. And despite, or setting aside, the increase because of panic, as it has been referred to, our estimation would have been that the inflow from East Africa alone for 1968 would be of the order of 20,000. It has been said that we have suddenly snatched away from those in East Africa their one hope at the moment when they needed it. This has not been a panic measure, my Lords. This has been under close scrutiny for the last six to nine months. We were reluctant to move. We were reluctant to take legislative action. But when we saw the continual uprise in figures, superimposed upon this tremendous increase of dependent people from the Commonwealth, and when we saw the pressures upon our social service, the Government felt that it was time to take action.

If it had been merely the present flow, perhaps even then there may have been a case for not taking action, but there were the potential numbers. We believe that there are some 200,000 potential immigrants from East Africa. Throughout the world we believe that there are some 1¼ million. One million come from Malayasia, but I will deal with them in a moment. However, there is one thing which I will disclose for the first time, and I think it is of great significance: in the South Yemen, which is now a foreign country, because no citizen law has yet been passed, there are some 80,000 to 100,000 persons who to-day hold United Kingdom and Colonies passports, or who are entitled to them: this number in a foreign country, all with the right to get into an aircraft as of now, with free entry into this country. This clearly must have borne very heavily on the minds of Her Majesty's Government.

My noble friend Lord Brockway, and I believe the noble Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, suggested that in the case of a United Kingdom passport issued by the British High Commissioner in a Commonwealth country to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who is also a citizen of that country, there was a different effect in regard to the issue of the passport and the use of it.


My Lords, that was not quite the point, but as I shall have the right to reply I will not intervene more now.


My Lords, I am sorry that I did not take down the words of the noble Lord correctly, but my understanding of his question was that there was some doubt as to whether the passports were of the same character. My Lords, they are the same.

The noble Lord, Lord Hirshfield, and my noble friend, Lady Gaitskell, spoke of their own experience of coming from what might be referred to as immigrant families. I understand this, but it would be quite wrong to say, as has been suggested to-day, that this Bill in fact slams the door on immigration into this country. For immigrants from the Commonwealth we shall continue to issue each year some 8,500 work vouchers, and clearly their dependants will also be admitted. On top of that there will be the 1,500 special-voucher holders, about whom I shall speak a little later, and in more detail, with their dependants. We believe that this final figure will be in the region of some 6,000 to 7,000 per year, taking the heads of the families and the families. I suggest that this is restraint—the buying of time that I spoke about earlier, and not slamming the door.

Various suggestions have been made that we should curb, if not set aside for a period, those who come from the Commonwealth and who are of the Commonwealth, in order to absorb these British nationals. I do not know whether it has been suggested that we should say that the dependants of immigrants who are now in this country should not come to this country and join their families. If that is the suggestion I must totally reject it. If we were to reduce the work voucher list, this would have only an insignificant effect upon the total problem of this particular type of passport holder.

If I may say so, I know the East African Asians well, having done some business with them in that territory for many years, and I agree that they have great qualities in trade and the professions; but if it were to be suggested that because they would be more quickly absorbed they should be brought in at the expense of people from territories that need to send immigrants for their own economic easement, I should have thought that was the grossest of discrimination.

There was one noble Lord, if my memory is right, who said that they offer us support in this country by way of doctors and nurses and teachers. That is so; but there is no reason why they should not now apply under the "B" voucher scheme under the Immigrants Act 1962. We made a special effort in our announcement last Monday to make it clear that we would facilitate entry of that type of immigrant into this country.

I now turn to the question of the alleged broken pledge. I think the position of these Asians in East Africa is clear. Prior to 1963 they held what was called a British citizenship. They were governed by the 1962 Act, and this applied to all. On acquiring independence there were some who obtained Kenyan citizenship automatically and by right, and some could acquire that citizenship by right and by registration. Some could not. It is those that we are now considering. I think I should make this perfectly clear, and I hope the House will accept it: that this Bill in no way affects the status of Asians in East Africa, nor did the 1963 Act affect their status as citizens. I think it would be the height of irresponsibility to the people in East Africa to suggest that their passports and their citizenship because of this Bill were not worth the paper they were written on. They will be entitled to the same diplomatic protection, the same services that we who use British passports expect when we go overseas. The only difference under this Bill is that we are asking them to wait, to give us time, to wait for entry into this country.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord one question. If these people have to leave Kenya, where do they wait?


My Lords, I have got the question, and I should like to come to it in an orderly fashion, because I do not want at this moment to cause any misunderstanding.


My Lords, the noble Lord made a very important point. Is he in fact saying that the Kenyan Asians who hold British passports have the same rights and privileges by holding those passports as we have in every country of the world except this country?


No, my Lords, I did not say that. What I said was, with the exception of having an automatic right to come into this country. Clearly, they can use their passports to come here as visitors, and to go to Germany and wherever they may wish, and they will have the same diplomatic protection as do we who travel on a British passport.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question? If one of these Afro-Asians holding a British passport was refused entry into a third country which affords nationals of this country free entry, would we make representations on his behalf?


My Lords, I said that if an Asian travelling on a United Kingdom and Colonial passport was in difficulties in Germany or in any other country, the services of our Ambassador and our Embassy would be as much available to him as they would be to us.


My Lords, in other words, he would be able to go to any country except Britain?


My Lords, I suggest to the noble Earl that that is completely and utterly cheap. I said—


He can go to any other country with a British passport except his own country?


I said, and I say it again, that on that passport he may enter this country. What I said was that it does not mean at this stage an automatic right to reside here. Is that clear to the noble Earl?


It is perfectly clear. But the whole purpose of having a British passport is to be able to reside in the United Kingdom.




My Lords, may I ask one question? The noble Lord said that we are going to buy time. Is my calculation correct, that on the basis of the present quota the time that we are buying for many of these Asians will be twenty years or more?


My Lords, I shall be coming to that, because I did have a special point in regard to the noble Earl's speech.


My Lords, may I ask—


Cannot we let the Minister get on with his speech?


Hear, hear!


I thank your Lordships. The noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, spoke about a pledge that had been given to the Asians in East Africa. I have heard a great deal about this pledge from the Press and on the radio. As the noble Marquess will know, as a Minister I am not entitled to see the Papers of a previous Administration; I can see only the Papers that are printed and which are available to noble Lords. So far as I am concerned—and I have looked most carefully, particularly at the Report of the Constitutional Conference there is no mention of such a pledge. Mr. Sandys has denied it more than once, although I am bound to say that Mr. Macleod and Mr. Hugh Fraser have written to newspapers taking the contrary view. I do not know any more than any other noble Lord in this House as to the status of this pledge. We are bound by the Statutes that are in front of us, the Papers that are available to us. I want to say that we genuinely believe that with the pressures that are now on in this country we need this time, and it is for this reason and this reason alone that we have introduced this legislation.


My Lords, would the noble Lord allow me—




I think this is a matter of principle, and I am sure noble Lords will allow me the courtesy of putting my point. Can the noble Lord square what he said with the Home Secretary's statement that he was not bound by the promises of any previous Administration?


My Lords, before my noble friend replies, will be at the same time say whether this House has a responsibility to the British working man, his job, his family and their education?


My Lords, I say to my noble friend Lord Willis that it is well recognised that no Government or Parliament is bound by the decisions of a previous Government or Parliament. I am not aware of any pledge which has been put to the House.

The noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, asked whether we had made diplomatic representations to the Government of Kenya in regard to the position of Asians in Kenya. Diplomatic representations and discussions have taken place, and continue to take place, but for obvious reasons I am sure noble Lords would not wish to press me further on that matter.

I know that the hour is late, but I will now turn to one or two aspects of this debate. And if I keep to typewritten notes, I hope the Howe will understand that there is some "meat" here but that I need to use the words carefully. I would say to the most reverend Primate, who asked specifically about the implementation of the Wilson Committee's recommendations on advisory and welfare services for immigrants, that I can give him an assurance that these recommendations were covered by my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack in regard to the Government's intention to legislate on the general I lines recommended by the Wilson Committee. I fear that it will not be possible to enact that legislation in this year in this particular Session, but I have no doubt, in view of the importance of this subject, that very anxious thought will be given to its being enacted at the earliest possible date.

I should like now to deal with the issue of special vouchers in Kenya. Under the normal arrangements for Commonwealth citizens who come to this country to work, the Ministry of Labour administers a system of work vouchers relating to the employment capability of the individual and also to the economic needs of this country. The Government recognise, however, that the need of the present situation in East Africa would not be met by an issue of vouchers of this kind. It is for this reason that they have decided that there should be a special allocation of vouchers. Applications for these vouchers will be considered by the High Commissioners on the basis of special and flexible criteria which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs is currently devising. I think it was the noble Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, who asked about immigration officers going to Nairobi to facilitate this work. Immigration officers left for Nairobi today. These criteria will be based, not on employment capabilities or on the needs of this country, but on the human needs of the individual applicants, which the High Commissioners will assess in the light of all the relevant circumstances. The vouchers will be issued to heads of households, whether they be male or female, and they will have an entitlement to bring with them their dependants.

In addition to the heads of households and their dependants, there will be numerous other people wishing to come here from East Africa; and people are entitled to do so. In the first place, there will be the entitled dependants of people already resident in this country. Then there will be students and visitors. There will also be people of independent means who may wish to come here and retire. All these people falling in these categories should apply to the High Commissioner for an entry certificate. I will not stress this too much, but it would certainly make the life of the applicant or visitor easier at the port of entry if the passport were duly stamped. We are advising airlines that, from the date of the operation of the Bill, there can be no assurance that people seeking to settle in this country and coming from East Africa will be admitted unless they have been subject to control.

My Lords, I now want to deal with the question (I think it was put by the noble Lord, Lord Byers) of refusal of admission on arrival. This point was in fact dealt with by the Home Secretary on February 28. If such a person has come here without having obtained an entry certificate in East Africa, or from our diplomatic representative in France, or whatever country it may be, he will on arrival in this country be examined by the immigration officer in the same way as any other Commonwealth citizen.

Whether such a person would be admitted would depend on whether he could bring himself within any of the heads of immigration policy, such as an entitled dependant, visitor or student. If he could not bring himself within those heads of admission, admission would be refused unless there were exceptional circumstances, perhaps of a compassionate nature, which might move the Home Secretary to authorise an exception from the normal rules. If such a person was refused admission, the aircraft or shipping line would be under a legal obligation to return him. But what happened to him thereafter would depend upon his position under the law of the country from which he came.

I will now deal with the person who may be expelled from Kenya. We would not in practice refuse admission to the holder of a United Kingdom passport who arrived in this country having been turned out of his country of residence in East Africa. I do not think I can deal with the question more properly than by repeating precisely what the Home Secretary said yesterday in another place. This is what he said: I was asked what we would do about a man who was thrown out of work and ejected from the country. We shall have to take him in. We cannot do anything else in those circumstances."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 28/2/68, col. 1501.] The Home Secretary went on to say that there was no reason to suppose that this problem would necessarily present difficulties in a substantial way. He explained that the Bill was an attempt to control the situation, and that he did not know whether it would succeed in its purpose because the decision does not lie wholly in this country, but also lies in the civilised behaviour of other countries.


My Lords, the noble Lord has quoted what the Home Secretary said. It was my understanding that the Solicitor General gave a slightly different interpretation afterwards. Would the noble Lord very kindly repeat what the Solicitor General said to the House?


My Lords, I shall look it up for the Committee stage, if we should reach the Committee stage. I was quoting very carefully from the words that I was given by my advisers. I think your Lordships will find that they are in line with what was said in another place. But I can ask for that quotation to be made available, and I will try to deal with it later.

On the question of the allocation of the vouchers, I am advised that in the normal course of immigration control it is regarded as a general safeguard rather than a meticulous instrument. In the case of people arriving in this country and being granted asylum, whether or not amounting to what we call customary political asylum, no corresponding reduction would normally be made to any quota.

I think I should now answer the question asked by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and some others concerning the figure of 1,500 vouchers. I believe the most reverend Primate suggested that it should be amended in the Bill. The figure is not in the Bill, and I am sure that it would be wrong to put it in, because we have taken the view that while the figure is what we believe to be right in the present instance, it must be flexible according to the circumstances. If a situation were to arise in East Africa or any other territory, clearly we could not close our eyes to it. I can only say that on the manner in which the vouchers will be used, and the persons to whom they will be given, the only criteria will be that of humanity. If it were felt that we needed to raise that figure, we should not hesitate to come to Parliament and explain the position. I think that that has covered pretty well all the questions.

I would end as I began. I do not like the Bill any more than anyone in your. Lordships' House. I honestly believe and hope that my noble friend, Lord Brockway, who paid a tribute to me the other day as a Commonwealth Minister, will understand my feelings. I would not support the Bill, I would not be a member of a Government that produced this Bill, if it were of the racialist character that has been attributed to it, nor would I support it if I did not believe that there were firm, pressing reasons in this country for time to be found to deal with these situations.

I will conclude with this, my Lords. I believe that you have the choice. If you believe, as some do, that there should be a free entry from all quarters of the world, that we should open our shores to all that may wish to come here, then clearly you should vote against tie Bill. But to my noble friends who do not like the Bill, who may feel that there is some smell of racialism merely because the numbers involved are coloured, I say that this is the problem we have inherited. If my noble friends believe me that there must be some control as to the numbers that can come in here, the numbers that we can cope with, can give a decent standard of living, and that will make it possible to have genuine racial harmony in this country, I say to them that there is no other way than by this measure. I do not believe—and I have asked about this—that there is any other way in which that can be achieved.

We have the Bill. We shall exercise its powers with the greatest degree of humanity that is possible to us. On that I give you my very firm assurance. I hope that the House will recognise a duty not only to our own people, not only to those who may come to this country at a later stage, but also to those coloured friends of ours who now live in our society and, as we all know, live in a very unhappy state.

2.20 a.m.


My Lords, I find myself in a very unusual position now. In replying to the noble Lord I am not speaking for myself; I am not speaking for a group with whom I am associated. I am speaking, as this debate has indicated, for a very large section from all parts of the House. I have to express the point of view of the representatives of the Church, of the Liberal Party, of a very large section of the Conservative Party and of very many Members from the Cross-Benches, as well as a considerable section of my own Party. I shall try to address the House in that spirit.

I am not going to reply to the many points which were raised by my noble friend Lord Shepherd. There are just three, perhaps, upon which I might make some comment. The first was the emphasis which he placed upon the difficulties in education. I accept those difficulties. But I am going to say that, in the particular group of immigrants which we are discussing to-night, the children who would come to this country would assist rather than deter the solution of that problem. I will tell the Minister why. These children speak English. They would not have to go to the reception classes which are being established at the schools. In the classrooms, they would not prove a deterrence to the English children who were learning there. Why do I say they would actually be of an assistance in that situation? My Lords, I think of myself in Nairobi. I think of myself in an Indian home where the mother was unable to speak English and where her children were able to interpret my English and the parents' Indian. Bring those children into our English schools, and they will contribute greatly to the solution of the language problem which is now deterring our classes.

The second point I want to make is the point about which I am not yet satisfied regarding the million—indeed, there has been mention of a figure of 2 million—


My Lords, I think I can help my noble friend. It is a million and a quarter. That is our estimate of the situation.


I will accept that—the million and a quarter individuals in various parts of the world who might become potential immigrants to this country. The noble Lord will forgive me if I say that in 60 years of political life I have rarely heard such a fantasy held before Parliament or the public in order to discourage them from supporting a particular measure. Does the noble Lord really believe that anyone thinks that these million and a quarter Chinese from Asia and all over the world are suddenly all going to pour upon this little Island? It is a nightmare of a picture which the Government are presenting in that way. But it is not merely the fantasy of the suggestion. I will only say this. The noble Lord must consider the argument which was put forward on the legal issues by the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, an argument which was in support of the contention that I was urging in this House. I am going to say that one must not only end this ridiculous fantasy of 1¼ million pouring into this country one has still to satisfy many in this House that the legal considerations which he and others have put forward are sound.

The third point that I want seriously to put is this. It is still very unclear indeed, even after my noble friend's statement and after reading the statements which have been made in another place, how far—when Asians in Kenya appear to have qualifications to enter this country, either because of discrimination in Kenya or because of their particular capacity—how far the figure of 1,500, which is now proposed as the quota, will be changed. I will say only this to my noble friend. If during the Committee stage—should we reach that stage—it is indicated to us that that figure is flexible not merely in the distant future but also in the immediate years, because of the situation in Kenya or because of the particular capacities of these people, our opposition to the Bill, at least in that matter, will be considerably met.

My Lords, I pass from those three issues to the broader issue on which, I hope, I am speaking for the whole House. I think the debate during these ten hours has been a tremendous credit to this Assembly. I have rarely sat through any discussion lasting hour after hour and speech after speech which was so constructive, and so free from prejudice, as the series of speeches which have been delivered in your Lordships' House today. A Member of another place who has been listening to us has expressed the view that our debate has been so much higher, in its temper and in its attitude, than the debates which so frequently take place in another place. Whatever our views may be, in that I think we ought all to take pride.

The last point I want to make to the Minister is this. While the debate has been on such a high scale, it has been devastatingly disastrous for the Government. I have never attended a debate at which the Government case has been so completely annihilated as it has been to-day in the whole series of speeches delivered. I just say this to him. He now has to face the situation that the intellectual and moral case for this Bill has been completely destroyed. I have never known a consensus of opinion from all parts of the House which has so utterly annihilated a Government case as the debate to-day has done.

But he has something much more serious to face. It is not merely that the Government's case has been utterly destroyed; it is that the Government have now to face the situation—and the Whips on the Front Bench know this to be a fact

—that the resistance to this Bill on all sides of the House is so great that the Government may easily be defeated in the Division which is to take place on the Amendment I put before the House. I am not going to disclose any personal conversation. I will only say that I very much regret that the Government have not been able to accept suggestions which have been discussed and which might have saved the Government from the humiliating position in which they are now. Since any proposals have been rejected, there is no alternative for me except to say that I shall take this issue to a Division.

2.30 a.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided:—Contents 85; Not-Contents 109.

Airedale, L. Greenway, L. Perth, E.
Amulree, L. Halsbury, E. Platt, L.
Arran, E. Hastings, L. Raglan, L.
Asquith of Yarnbury, Bs. Hemingford, L. Ravensdale, L.
Barrington, V. Henley, L. [Teller.] Rea, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Hertford, M. Redesdale. L.
Boyd of Merton, V. Holford, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Brockway, L. Hunt, L. Rochester, L.
Byers, L. Iddesleigh, E. St. Davids, V.
Campbell of Eskan, L. James of Rusholme, L. Segal, L.
Canterbury, L. Archbp. Kahn, L. Selkirk, E.
Carnock, L. Kilbracken, L. Sempill, Ly.
Chichester, L. Bp. Lansdowne, M. Silsoe, L.
Clwyd, L. Lindsey and Abingdon, E. Simon, V.
Colville of Culross, V. Listowel, E. Soper, L. [Teller.]
Cork and Orrery, E. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. Stocks, Bs.
Craigmyle, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Strathcarron, L.
Croft, L. London, L. Bp. Swanborough, Bs.
Effingham, E. Longford, E. Swaythling, L.
Faringdon, L. Lytton, E. Tangley, L.
Ferrier, L. Marks of Broughton, L. Trefgarne, L.
Feversham, L. Milford, L. Wade, L.
Foley, L. Mills, V. Waldegrave, E.
Foot, L. Moynihan, L. Wedgwood, L.
Gainsborough, E. Nathan, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Gaitskell, Bs. Nunburnholme, L. Willis, L.
Gifford, L. O'Hagan, L. Windlesham, L.
Gladwyn, L. Onslow, E. Wootton of Abinger, Bs
Goodman, L.
Aberdare, L. Bridgeman, V. Coleraine, L.
Addison, V. Brooke of Cumnor, L. Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.
Albemarle, E. Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Craigavon, V.
Allerton, L. Brown, L. Cranbrook, E.
Ampthill, L. Buckinghamshire, E. Crathorne, L.
Auckland, L. Buckton, L. Crook, L.
Balerno, L. Burton of Coventry, Bs. Darwen, L.
Bathurst, E. Camrose, V. Daventry, V.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Carron, L. Delacourt-Smith, L.
Bessboroueh, E. Chalfont, L. Denham, L.
Beswick, L. [Teller.] Champion, L. Derwent, L.
Bowles, L. Clifford of Chudleigh, L. Douglass of Cleveland, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Kinnoull, E. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Ellenborough, L. Kirkwood, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Elton, L. Leatherland, L. St. Helens, L.
Evans of Hungershall, L. Leathers, V. Sandford, L.
Falmouth, V. Lindgren, L. Sandys, L.
Fiske, L. MacAndrew, L. Shackleton, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Fortescue, E. McCorquodale of Newton, L. Shannon, E.
Gardiner, L. (L. Chancellor.) McLeavy, L. Shepherd, L.
Garnsworthy, L. MacLeod of Fuinary, L. Sorensen, L.
Glendevon, L. Maelor, L. Stonham, L.
Granville of Eye, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V. Stow Hill, L.
Granville-West. L. Merrivale, L. Strabolgi, L.
Gray, L. Milner of Leeds, L. Strang, L.
Grenfell, L. Milverton, L. Strange, L.
Gridley, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Grimston of Westbury, L. Moyne, L. Swansea, L.
Hall, V. Noel-Buxton, L. Teynham, L.
Hawke, L. Nugent of Guildford, L. Thorneycroft, L.
Heycock, L. Pargiter, L. Thurlow, L.
Hill of Wivenhoe, L. Peddie, L. Wigg, L.
Hilton of Upton, L. Phillips, Bs. [Teller.] Williamson, L.
Hives, L. Popplewell, L. Winterbottom, L.
Ilford, L. Redmayne, L. Wolverton, L.
Jellicoe, E. Rhodes, L. Woolton, E.
Kennet, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.


My Lords, I beg to move, That this House do now resolve itself into Committee.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Stonham.)

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Amendment of section I of principal Act

1. In section 1 of the principal Act (application of Part I), in subsection (2)(b) after the words "citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies" there shall be inserted the words "and fulfils the condition specified in subsection (2A) of this section", and after subsection (2) there shall be inserted the following subsection:— (2A) The condition referred to in subsection (2)(b) of this section, in relation to a person, is that he, or at least one of his parents or grandparents,—

  1. (a) was born in the United Kingdom, or
  2. (b) is or was a person naturalised in the United Kingdom, or
  3. (c) became a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of being adopted in the United Kingdom, or
  4. (d) became such a citizen by being registered under Part II of the British Nationality Act, 1948, or under the British Nationality Act, 1964, either in the United Kingdom or in a country which, on the date on which he was so registered, was 1112 one of the countries mentioned in Section 1(3) of the said Act of 1948 as it had effect on that date".

2.45 a.m.

LORD GIFFORD moved to leave out "and fulfils" and insert "where that person is a citizen also of any other country, he shall fulfil". The noble Lord said: It is my doubtful privilege to start the ball rolling on the Committee stage, doubtful after the very wonderful debate we have had on Second Reading. But in spite of the hours that have been spent on this Bill. I want to remind your Lordships that it is a serious Bill which affects human rights and a Bill whose detailed provisions, as well as whose general principles, have to be carefully scrutinised by this House. I hope noble Lords will not feel, because of the hour at which we are bound to sit, that less scrutiny should be given to the details of this Bill than would be given if we were sitting at the ordinary hour of the afternoon. Noble Lords will forgive me if I say that by way of preface. Certainly this Amendment which I wish to propose this morning, and, I am sure, the Amendments from the Liberal Benches, are put forward in all seriousness, and not in any way in an attempt to delay or frustrate or prevent this Bill. I hope noble Lords will forgive me, but I have never moved an Amendment in this House before and I am sure that if I make any mistakes during the Committee stage my noble friends on the Front Bench will put me right.

My Amendment, which I now move, is the first one, and has the effect of bringing under immigration control those dual citizens who are now exempt from control, and also has the effect of exempting from control those who are United Kingdom citizens with United Kingdom passports with no other citizenship. In talking of this Amendment I have to refer to the arithmetic and to the figures. There seems to be substantial doubt about the figures of these two categories of which I am talking. When my noble friend Lord Brockway spoke of over 2 million it was at my instigation, because that was the total of the figures of my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack. But let us not he too niggling at this hour of the morning about arithmetic. Just let me say that it is no doubt true that the Government have found there was a loophole—not a loophole which is likely to cause very great harm, but a loophole—in the 1962 Act, by which these Chinese and Malayans and people in Ceylon could, if they so wished, get in free from control. Let us accept that we should like to block that.

The Amendment I am proposing cancels out all but 300,000, according to the Lord Chancellor's figures, of the 2 million of whom he spoke. It removes the spectre—a rather fantastic spectre, I agree with my noble friend, but the spectre—raised over the past two days of this extra need to pass this Bill. Without going over the whole of the argument of the rights and wrongs of the Kenyan Asians, I put this Amendment forward in all seriousness as a way in which, if you like, the Government can get "off the hook", because they can put through the Bill and apply it to the anomalous position of the dual citizens, and yet it deals with the fantastic pressure exerted in so far as the East Africans are concerned.

In conclusion, I would say only this. There is obviously a very great difference between depriving a citizen of his right to enter when he has nowhere else to go and is a citizen of no other country, and depriving a citizen of his right to enter who has also the protection and the responsibility of another country to fall back on. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 8, leave out ("and fulfils") and insert the said words. —(Lord Gifford.)


I support this Amendment which, as the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, said, removes the fantasy threat—or perhaps the very real threat—that is levelled at us. It deals only with people who have an immediate claim on us because they do not have a claim on any other country, and therefore it removes to a large extent this appalling (both philologically and morally) concept of "belongers": a concept which Members of your Lordships' House who may have come under fire from time to time from certain members of the Government in regard to the composition of this House, will note is based on the hereditary principle. This Amendment will also correct the retrospective part of this legislation, because in e very real sense—


May I suggest to the noble Lord that his Amendment, No. 5 on the Marshalled List, is on precisely the same point, and perhaps we could have one discussion now covering the two Amendments?


Indeed I accept what the noble Lord says. I apologise for not having made it clear that I was not intending to move my Amendment because it is the same.

In this Bill there is a very real retrospective point. We are saying to these people, "Because you did not come and be resident in this country you have no longer the rights of a citizen to come in". Whereas there might be some conceivable point at a future time in dealing with people like this and in saying, "You must keep your citizenship alive and in future you must do certain things to show that you are belongers", to say that they have not fulfilled something in the past which was completely unspecified is quite wrong. This Amendment will restore some honour to this Bill and I therefore support it.


This Amendment would have the remarkable effect of restricting to people with dual nationality the extension of immigration control which is proposed in Clause 1 of the Bill, and it would have the effect that the extension of control would apply only where the United Kingdom passport holder was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and possessed no other citizenship. In other words, if the Amendment were approved most of the 200,000 Asians in East Africa would continue to be free to come here at will. Although my noble friend Lord Gifford said that the Amendment would enable the Government to "get off the hook"—and I do not exactly know what that means—it would certainly destroy Clause 1, and in so doing would destroy one of the major objectives of the Bill.

As I understood the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, he said that there is in this legislation a real retrospective point. If that is so, then it was the same retrospection which was inherent in the 1962 Act, which we are to-day seeking to amend. My noble friend Lord Gifford suggested that there was substantial doubt about the figures. and while I do not want to weary the Committee with a lot of figures I think this is so important—and this is the kind of hook I do not propose to let my noble friend get off—that I want to give these figures again and to make them entirely clear. In East Africa the general figure that we are working on, as nearly accurate as we can make it, is 200,000 people who either have or have the right to obtain their United Kingdom and Colonies passports. They are the people in Kenya. Tanzania. Uganda and Malawi. It is the case that a figure was given of 98.000 people in Kenya, but they are people who actually hold passports, and the difference between that figure and the figure of 150.000 for Kenya is made up of dependants.


I have read on the tape to-day that Mr. George Thomas has given a written reply mentioning 98,000 for Kenya. 20,000 for Tanzania and 45.000 for Uganda. There is a substantial difference.


I quoted the figure of 98,000 who had passports. and I said that the difference between the figure of 98.000 and about 150,000. or a little more. that we expect could be in Kenya is made up of dependants. because the younger children would not hold passports; they would come in on their fathers' passports. I am sorry if that is not quite clear. It is clear enough to me.


That much is absolutely clear, but the difference between the figure of 45,000 passport holders for Uganda and 30,000 given by the Lord Chancellor is not clear to me. But it is not an important point, and I will not pursue it.


In addition to the East Africans there are 110,000 people in Malaysia, 30,000 in Singapore and 100,000 in Aden, all of whom have only single nationality. That is the point: they have single nationality. That is a total, as near as we can estimate, of 440,000. They are the only ones, so far as we know, who are solely citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. When we are considering this Amendment we are not only considering Kenyan Asians or the people in East Africa in this position, but we are considering 440,000 people.


If my noble friend would forgive me. is he in a position to say what proportion of this total are illiterate?


a: I am not in a position to say, and I did not expect to be asked that question. I do not suppose the answer is even known, but I will do my best to find it out in due course and write to my noble friend. These 440,000 people, all of them, could come to this country tomorrow without this Bill. This is the number we are concerned with, in particular with regard to this Amendment. It is perfectly competent for any one to say "Yes, but as far as we know they are not coming, or not in large numbers". It was equally right to say as far as we knew a few years ago in Kenya that they were not in any hurry to come here.

My noble friend said that there was some substantial doubt about the figures. There are also others with dual nationality; that is. those who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and at least one other local citizenship; sonic of them have two or three local citizenships. There are the 1 million Chinese in Malaysia and the 40,000 people in Jamaica. Trinidad, Tobago, British, Guiana and Barbados. The Amendment proposes to leave those people subject to the Bill now before us. But if my noble friend and the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley. are so concerned about the single nationality people, it is difficult for me to understand as a matter of principle how they can be so satisfied about the others. What all this really means is that this Amendment would deal only with those who currently show no wish to come to the United Kingdom and it would not deal with the people currently arriving from East Africa, or with some 240,000 from other countries. As I suggested, it would virtually destroy the clause, and with it one of the most important objects of the Bill. I hope that your Lordships will reject the Amendment.


My noble friend has interpreted my Amendment with absolute accuracy. I have no quarrel with him on that at all, and I agree with him that this Amendment and not my next one but the two after that, are in a way still hanging over from the great debate that we have already had. On reflection, what I am proposing to do is this. I am most keen to have proper discussion and possibly a decision of your Lordships on certain points of greater detail which will be coming up later. I do not propose to ask the Committee to divide on this Amendment, particularly as there are two other kindred Amendments coming up. I beg leave to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.2 a.m.

LORD GIFFORD moved to leave out "or at least one of his parents or grandparents". The noble Lord said: I apologise to your Lordships for speaking so often. As your Lordships can imagine, my second Amendment is one which affects me very deeply indeed, because in effect it is an Amendment to delete the grandparent clause. I am not again going to repeat the arguments that I have used against this particular provision in the Bill. I have already deployed them with some emotion—I hope not excessive emotion. I want, first of all, to scrutinise the effect of the grandparent clause in a little more detail. The clause reads at present that if a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, or at least one of his parents or grandparents, was born in the United Kingdom or was naturalised, then they have a completely free and unrestricted right of entry.

Referring first of all to the point of detail which I think points out the anomalies and absurdities of the grandparent clause, may I take the case of an English girl who marries an Asian man from Kenya. She is entitled to come in; their children are entitled to come in; but at the moment I can see no way under the Bill whereby the man can come in. The case is different with an Englishman who marries an Asian girl, because under Clause 2(2)(b) the wife is someone who is entitled to come in and join him. But there is no corresponding provision for a husband of someone who is entitled to come in, coming to join her. I hope that although I am afraid I have not given my noble friend advance notice of this, he will seriously consider the point that, by virtue of the operation of this grandparent clause we appear to be starting to make a near-South African distinction between who is entitled freely to come in and who is not. If this Amendment is defeated, I think at least I must move on Report—it is a rather small but perhaps important point to one or two people—a Manuscript Amendment to allow a man coming to join the wife, or coming in with a wife who is entitled to come in, to do so as of right.

But, going beyond that, I would ask my noble friend this question. We have heard at great length the reasons why the Government think it necessary to bring in this Bill and the reasons why they think it necessary to restrict the rights of Kenya Asians. But what I have never yet heard, and very much want to hear, is why it is necessary to restrict the rights only of the Kenya Asians and not the Kenya Europeans. Surely, following the principles set by the 1962 Act, if we are to impose restrictive immigration controls we must continue to impose them fairly across the board. If we continue to maintain, as we rightly do, that an Australian must take his place in the queue along with a West Indian, even though the Australian's father might have gone out from the United Kingdom, then why can we not equally say that a Kenya European settler must also take his place in the queue along with the Kenya Asian? This point has not been dealt with and it must be dealt with. Unless there is some justification for it, a justification which I do not know, then it is much better to retain this control fairly.

This "grandfather clause" has already been quite rightly mocked in some quarters. It is the only reason why allegations are made by me and others that this is a Bill which cuts across this whole matter and makes colour divisions. I do not believe it to be necessary to the Bill as it stands. For those reasons, with great emphasis and sincerity, I beg to move the Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 12, leave out from ("he") to end of line 13.—(Lord Gifford.)


I can answer at once the particular question my noble friend put to me about the husband of Asian origin of a wife born in this country. It is a matter of immigration practice that the husband of a wife who is a citizen of this country, while himself subject to control, would always be permitted to join her if she was here, or if she was out of the country with him he would be permitted to come in with her if she decided to come back to this country. I will say it again if my noble friend is in doubt. To put it shorter still, the answer is "Yes", and my noble friend does not need any Amendment to cover the point.

As for the general aspects of his Amendment, he feels very passionate—and I know he is very sincere—about these matters. It seems curious that he should propose an Amendment which would exclude from exemption from control—in other words, it would add to the number subject to control—all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies holding United Kingdom passports unless the person himself was born, naturalised or educated in the United Kingdom. May I read the clause as it would appear if this Amendment were accepted? The condition referred to in subsection (2)(b) in relation to a person is that he was born in the United Kingdom, or is or was a person naturalised in the United Kingdom and so on. It is difficult for me to see any justification for making the extension of control as tight as this, since people with close family connections whom we propose to leave free to enter at will would then be subject to immigration controls. I do not know whether that is the noble Lord's intention, but that is the effect of his Amendment.

He seemed to indicate that the reason behind it was that he felt that in the Bill as drafted there was an inherent racial bias. The foundation for that belief is that if all the Asians with United Kingdom and Colonies passports come to this country, and all the white people in Kenya with the same passports come to this country, there will, admittedly, be more Asians, more brown people, than there will be white people. That is perfectly true, but that is a matter of geography. That is because there are more people with that colour. It is not a question of discrimination.

The noble Lord may say, "Well, yes, but if you allow people to have these rights and come here if their father or mother or grandmother or grandfather were born here, then it is much more likely that white people living in Kenya will qualify in far greater degree than Asian people." That is true, but that is no reason for cutting out these people's rights. I can think of places where there have been white communities for generations. There are the Welsh people in Patagonia, and the Scots in the Argentine. They are white, and they have a long descent, but in fact they would be subject to control. They would be subject to the same controls under this Bill. I do not know whether that reply has convinced my noble friend. I hope it has and that he will withdraw his Amendment, but if it has not I ask your Lordships to reject it.


I remain totally unconvinced and very puzzled, because I feel that in explaining the Government's attitude my noble friend has failed to appreciate the reason for the passion with which I proposed this Amendment. I feel very strongly that a Bill of this kind, which is certain to arouse very strong feelings of resentment among the immigrant community here, must be seen to be fairly applied irrespective of race or colour. Obviously, the noble Lord could not get away from the fact that all but a handful of the Kenya Asians will be excluded, while all but a handful of European settlers will have free right of entry.

If the clause remains unamended it will be introducing racial discrimination into our law for the first time. I take the point made by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, who said that the various Independence Bills contain this same clause. But this is not dealing with who is entitled to come here and who is not. This is dealing with the particular provisions affecting Kenya.


May I ask my noble friend a question? He is perfectly content to say that the condition in subsection (2)(a) in relation to a person being born in the United Kingdom has no racial implications, and will arouse no-one's ire. But if we add to that, "If he or at least one of his parents or grandparents was born in the United Kingdom", then does my noble friend feel that that has racial implications? Frankly, I cannot see that it has.


I feel that it has. It is the best I can do with the Bill, because the definitions of these various kinds of citizens are so very complex. My noble friend must appreciate that it was quite a point of controversy at the time that the Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders, many of whom have very substantial connections with this country, found themselves excluded, and they were very unhappy about that. But it was recognised by the then Government, I believe—certainly by this Party—as essential that a Bill which restricted the rights of Commonwealth citizens should be fairly applied to all Commonwealth citizens. Applying that principle, which must be right, to the Bill, we must be sure that we are not soon to give an open welcome to our own—I shall name the phrase now—kith and kin, because this is what the clause is about, while excluding those who, as the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton falsely alleged, have no substantial connection with the United Kingdom.


I must declare an interest in this matter because I am one of those who benefited under a similar clause. I was born in India and my father was born in Africa. When I applied for a passport I was told that I was not a British citizen. I said that I was a Member of the House of Commons, but they said that that did not matter in the least. I was able to get my passport because at the time of independence for India I had registered for British nationality.

The principle which allowed me to become a British citizen, despite my birth in India and my father's birth in Africa, is very relevant to the Amendment. I cannot believe for a moment that my noble friend Lord Stonham really thinks that the inclusion of the father and the grandfather—and now, I am glad to say, because I believe in sex equality, the grandmother—does not tilt the balance on the side of those who are British and white. I find it impossible to believe that anyone can take the view that that is not so.

I really wonder whether there are ten Asian Indians who would have the right which the clause gives on the ground of British parentage and grand-parentage. One may say all one likes about belonging, and so on. This is a racist clause, and it gives those in Kenya who are white an opportunity to escape the provisions of the Bill because they had fathers, grandfathers or grandmothers who were born in this country.


May I correct the noble Lord? Many white people in Kenya never had a father or grandfather in this country.


I accept that at once. I appreciate that there are whites who have been there for three generations. I do not have the figures in my head, but I had them. They are only about 7 per cent. of the Europeans in Kenya. Honestly, you cannot argue from that basis that it is not a white racialist provision in this Bill. I think we are a little hypocritical about this. I would never suggest that my noble friend Lord Stonham was in any way a racialist. I look at all three representatives of the Government on the Front Bench now. I know that none of them is. But the effect of this Bill racialist, and, with the acceptance of this Amendment, we shall do something to remove from this Bill the racialist element which is in it.


I am not a racialist, but I am rapidly going to become one if we are subjected to the kind of procedure to which this Committee has just been subjected. I am unfamiliar with your Lordships' procedure, but it seems to me to be straining courtesy, if not efficiency. The Amendment is moved, the mover speaks three times on it the Minister replies and then the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, strolls into the Committee, produces no new facts except to give us some details of his family tree, detains us and then claims he is making the concession that he does not think I am a racialist. Thank him very much for nothing! Can we get on with the business?

3.22 a.m.


I have not previously spoken on the Committee stage, and I shall certainly be brief. I can understand the reasons for this Amendment. I think many of us feel concerned at the implications of the words at least one of his parents or grandparents". Unfortunately, we have not had very much time to study this Bill. It has been very difficult tabling Amendments at such short notice, and I do not think that this Amendment would have the desired effect. In fact, I think it might make the Bill rather more restrictive. It would perhaps be rather much to ask the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, to suggest how we should improve the Amendment, but may I make one point? I think that if the words, or at least one of his parents or grandparents were omitted, and if paragraph (a) were to read, was born in the United Kingdom or a present or former Colony", that would achieve what we are asking for. We are most anxious to remove these words because of their implications. On the other hand, we want to improve the Bill.

I do not know whether the noble Lord will be prepared to express a view on this, because there will be a later stage of this Bill, but it appears to me that if this Amendment were withdrawn and another one tabled later to omit the words or at least one of his parents or grandparents and to alter paragraph (a) to read, was born in the United Kingdom or a present or former Colony", that would cover the point.


I cannot advise the noble Lord. Lord Wade, because, quite frankly, I think the only way to improve this Amendment is to withdraw it. I say that because I do not yet know what the noble Lord, Lord Wade, wants. It has now emerged clearly to me what my noble friends want, and that frankly astonishes me. It astounds me. Indeed I have not looked thoroughly into the ancestry of my noble friend Lord Brockway, but it occurs to me that if this Bill, or even other Bills, had been in operation at the time his nationality was determined it might well be that. as he was born in India and his father was born in Africa, he would be like so many people who write despairing letters to the Home Office, especially since the 1948 British Nationality Act, about their British citizenship and try to establish it through a parent or grandparent. There are many difficult and hard cases.

But whatever the reason for this Amendment, the absolutely sure and certain effect of it is that it would make many thousands of people subject to control who are not subject to control as the Bill now stands. It would bring great grief to many thousands of people. We are asked to agree to this because it will convey some imaginary comfort to coloured people in different countries because we have given an unfair deal to white people.

I did not need my noble friend to tell me I am not a racialist. I will not go into my own family history; it is well enough known. But I am gaining the impression that some of my noble friends are racialist to the extent that they are anti-white. I cannot help with this Amendment. There is nothing at all in the clause, as it now stands, of a racialist character; but if this Amendment were carried it would, unjustly and unfairly, bring great grief, unhappiness and loss to many thousands of worthy people.


I apologise if earlier I broke any Rules of the House. I ask leave of the Committee to reply. There seems a great difficulty of communication here. My noble friend talks about the grief and trouble this will bring to thousands of people if we bring them under the control. But the whole purpose of the Bill and the whole anguish of the debate has been about grief and trouble which this Bill is bringing to coloured people in Kenya. I can say no more than that. This clause is, to my mind, a discriminatory one. It sticks in my throat. I cannot in all conscience take it; and I cannot withdraw my Amendment.


Before the noble Lord sits down, may I make a plea from these Benches? We are sympathetic to the view he expresses. It is my view and the view of my colleague that this is a restrictive Amendment and we could not support it. The noble Lord will have an opportunity of voting against Clause 1. I should have thought that that was the thing to do rather than that we be subjected to this, which in my view is a dangerous Amendment.


I should have dealt with that point. I hoped since the noble Lord's Amendment would have been partly the same as mine, that he could have joined me in the Lobby on this clause. Later I should be happy to join him on a different clause. Alternatively, I must at some stage this morning ask the Committee to divide on this issue. Whether this will mean putting down a second Amendment on Report which embodies the rather more liberal view, I do not know. I am not against his concept at all. I am thinking of how we can come together. If he cannot come into the Lobby with me on this Amendment, then I can only put down a further Amendment on Report and ask him to join me in the Lobby then. In view of what has been said. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[The Sitting was suspended at 3.30 a.m. and resumed at 4.0 a.m.]


I intimated earlier that I did not propose to move this Amendment, but as I did not expect the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, to withdraw his Amendment I propose to move this one. I do not propose to make more than the briefest statement on it, because I think we have heard the arguments on both sides. This is an Amendment to allow free entry to any citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who is not a citizen of any other country. The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, was correct when he said in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, that this defeated one of the principal aims of the Bill. My object in moving it is because I hope that some noble Lords, who were perhaps a bit frightened by the spectre of 1¼ million immigrants, may not be so frightened by the spectre of the number which, whatever it is, is considerably less, covered by this Amendment. Apart from that, I think that all the arguments which the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, put forward are valid. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 16, at end insert ("( ) is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and is not a citizen of any other country, or.").—(Lord Beaumont of Whitley.)


I find it a somewhat confusing procedure when a noble Lord informs the Committee, in connection with Amendment No. 1, that he does not propose to move Amendment No. 5, and then when No. 5 is reached, he proceeds to move it and to speak to it. In these circumstances, I must say one word about the merits of the Amendment. So far as I can see, the effect of the Amendment would be to bring under the proposed new control the one million Chinese who have been referred to at different times during the debate, but to exclude from the control the 200,000 Asians in East Africa, who probably have not got a second citizenship, and also to exclude an unspecified number—a quarter of a million has been mentioned—of people in different countries who have no connection with this country and who are not being forced out of their own countries, and who yet have a complete right under existing law to come to this country. I really cannot think that this would be a wise Amendment to the Bill, whatever one thinks about the main principle, and certainly if it goes to a Division, I shall oppose it.


Arising out of what the noble Lord has said, is it not correct to say that the one million Chinese to whom he refers have dual citizenship, and they would not come within the scope of the measure?


That is what I sought to say. I sought to say that the effect of this Amendment, if I understand it correctly, is to bring under the new control in this Bill the one million Chinese, but to exclude from control the 200,000 Asians and others with United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship in East Africa, and the uncertain number, 250,000 has been mentioned, in various countries, in Aden, and so on, who also have United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship, but who do not have a second nationality. I cannot believe that this is a good plan.


This is a very curious procedure, as Lord Brooke of Cumnor has said. If this Amendment were carried, it would mean that 440,000 to 450,000 people would have the immediate right, as they have of this moment, to come into the country to-morrow. It is a wrecking Amendment, and I hope that the Committee will reject it.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?

4.8 a.m.


This is an opportunity to sum up some of the strange things which have come out of the main debate. Clause 1 deprives those who were not deprived of British citizenship under the 1962 Act or who have received it again since. A number of figures have been mentioned. Is it correct that before the 1962 Act almost the whole Commonwealth of 700 million, the figure mentioned by Lord Shepherd, had the right to enter the country without control, when they were able? That figure was immensely reduced by the 1962 Act. I added up the figures given by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and I thought that it was 2 million. Someone has since mentioned 1¼ million. If that is the figure, does it include the 1 million Chinese?

If I do not receive an immediate answer, I hope that one will be given sometime, so that we know what we are talking about, in terms of the people now to be removed from the list. The Kenya Independence Act 1963 enabled Kenyans who had been deprived of the full British passport in 1962 to get it back. Various figures have been mentioned. Lord Brockway said it was something under 90,000. I think that the figure of 167,000 was mentioned by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. I wonder which the figure is, because one is almost double the other, and the problem is all that greater if it is twice as big. So may we know what the figure is for those people who attained the full British passport as a consequence of the 1963 Independence Act for Kenya?

The 1968 Bill is one which, as I have said, and others on the Liberal Benches have said as well, embodies a number of principles which most of us might have been willing to vote for if they had been presented more deliberately. But it deprives, in particular, these Kenyan citizens, who were made once more full British subjects with the right to return here at any time, of that right of return, and it chooses to do so at a moment when, as I said earlier, they are in serious trouble. It deprives them of their home and their asylum when they need both. I think it was quite clear from what the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, said that it was not only understood by those who were enabled to acquire this that it was a refuge in case of trouble—trouble of the very kind which has cropped up—but it was intended by the noble Marquess as well, among others who were organising the legislation. That is a new factor since I last spoke, and it indicates not only that there was a pledge written into the very fact of the passport arrangements, but that that pledge was in the mind of one of the important sponsors of this very clause. Therefore I should have thought that the most reverend Primate was justified in saying that there was a pledge, and that the censorious remarks made to him by the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, were not justified, if we take into account what the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, has told us since.

Anti-Indian prejudice existing in Kenya, so far as I am able to judge from 1922 onwards, is a deep-seated matter, and the development which has occurred would be described, I think, from the African point of view, as a political necessity, in the same way as the taking over of land from the white settlers was a political necessity. I say "political necessity" because I do not think anybody has ever seriously argued that the African manages the land as well as the white people who were dispossessed. Nevertheless, this pressure of land hunger against the whites of Kenya was tremendously eased by the settlement plan, because considerable sums of what was paid to resettle Africans were, looking at it the other way round, used to compensate the dispossessed whites. No such machinery is contemplated, or has ever been discussed, in the case of the Asian community, who run shops, light industry, a number of possessions and, as I say, are religious confraternities of one sort or another. They are in serious trouble, and all we can do now to save them from this trouble and to give more time to consider what should be done with them, without thrusting them back, is to reject Clause 1 altogether.

I should like to conclude these few remarks by answering what I believe was in the mind of the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack in regard to Asian bad attitude towards the African. These allegations are constantly made by white as well as by black. On my last visit I investigated some of them, and I went further. For instance, Indians were described as receivers of stolen goods. It was said they had cheated the Africans so long that they are in for a bad time in any case. These allegations were quite in line with what I had heard forty years earlier; they seem to have persisted throughout. I asked the head of the East African Commission, Sir Arthur Kirby, about it. I gave him the evidence I had and asked him to find out from his staff whether or not these were justifiable allegations; whether the community was a decent business, worthy community, or whether it was exploiting the African. The answer I got was that some of the faults I had mentioned could be perfectly true, but that the community as a whole did a great service to the country, was no worse than any other race in any other place at any other time. That I got in writing from the East African Commission in answer to questions I asked them to explore in order to test whether these allegations were true.

So far as I am concerned, we are dealing with, and we are thwarting, a worthy community in the hour of their trial; and I think it is abominable. Others are following me in this attempt to delete Clause 1. There has been no collusion by putting my Amendment to others. I was delighted to find that two others had added their names to it, but I do not know what they are going to say. I will now sit down so that the next man can have his turn.

4.18 a.m.


I know that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, will accuse us of having put this Amendment down as a wrecking Amendment. I should like to assure him and the Committee that, so far as I am concerned, this is not the case. I did not, as noble Lords will probably have noticed, speak in the Second Reading debate, and if I take five minutes of your Lordships' time at this late hour I hope that you will bear with me and excuse me, as, if I had wanted to, I could well have added my name to that long list of speakers on the Second Reading, when your Lordships would have had to listen to me for five minutes then. So it is not going to make very much difference in the long run.

The reason why I have taken this course of action to speak now, instead of on the Second Reading, is that I believe in the old military sense that "everybody is out of step except me", and that in fact I think nine-tenths of the speeches we heard on Second Reading were not speeches against the Bill at all but were speeches against Clause 1 of the Bill. Therefore, I am hoping that there will be added to the noble Lords who went into the same Lobby as I did on the Amendment on the Second Reading a few others who genuinely want to see legislation on this issue, who genuinely want to see a control—and a stricter control than exists at present—on immigration into this country, but who cannot tolerate Clause 1 of this Bill as it stands.

I am not committed in any way against the rest of the Bill. I think there are some very good points in it. I think they are subject to amendment, but basically it is all right. It is Clause 1 that I wish to fight, and I hope that I shall be able in the short time that I propose to speak to convince some of the noble Lords who did not vote against the Second Reading that this is the action they should take.

I should like to start by declaring my interest—something which I am surprised no other noble Lord has done. My interest is this: first, I am a human being, and we are discussing human beings; and, secondly, I am the holder of a passport of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and we are discussing such people. I am being as brief as I can, and I oppose this clause on three distinct and obvious grounds. I do not accuse any member of the Government or any member of the official Opposition of being a racialist. Not so at all. To my mind they are something a little worse than racialists: they are men who have not had the moral courage and the moral fibre to stand up against the pressure which racialists have put on them.

If this Bill is passed it will lead to an immense worsening of the racialist position in this country. Let us forget the people we are trying to stop from coming in now. This Bill will lead to a great misunderstanding on the part of the people already here, and no noble Lord has yet convinced me that any coloured person in this country will believe for one moment that we are not a bunch of racialists. This is where the trouble starts, and I am against Clause 1, first, for this reason.

My second point is that it is a deprivation of the rights of citizenship. It is incidentally—and nobody has yet mentioned this—contrary to Magna Carta. I have a copy of it here in my hand; I will not bother to read out much of it to your Lordships, but one part says quite clearly No freeman shall be seized or imprisoned or dispossessed or outlawed"— and this is what is happening under this Bill, outlawing— nor in any way destroyed; nor will we condemn him, nor will we commit him to prison, excepting by the legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. My Lords, that is Magna Carta, and that is as far back as this principle goes.

I do not wish to repeat arguments which have already been made, but here are some that have not been answered. Where do these people go if they wish to leave the country they are in at the moment? What allegiance do they owe to the Crown of England now? The ghost of Joyce was raised in another place. I do not think he has been raised this afternoon, and it is a whole subject on which I will not detain your Lordships at this hour. But is it possible that these people, although they are denied admission to their own country, could possibly stand trial for lacking allegiance to this country? This must be a possibility, and it has not been answered.

I myself am of the opinion, accepting die fact that we have a Monarch who is entirely constitutional, that it is a great shame that the Queen of England is being asked to sign this Bill when it becomes an Act. It may be true that these people should never have been offered British citizenship, but this is an argument that I do not intend to pursue one way or another. It is a possibility that they should never have been offered it; but they were offered it, and they have got it, and I do not see how we can legally stop them coming into this country.

The third reason why I am opposing this clause is that I am unconvinced that this is not panic legislation. It seems to me to be the most important legislation against human rights ever to pass this House, and an attempt is being made to pass it in one afternoon—or, rather, in one afternoon, evening, night and early morning; but at one sitting. Panic legislation is almost invariably bad legislation.

I am glad to see that the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, is here because I should like to refer him to a remark which he made on February 15, when he interrupted a speech that I made on an entirely different subject. I accept that, and I accept that I am taking his remark out of context, but I think it is most revealing. He interrupted me when I was speaking on Gibraltar and he said: May I ask the noble Lord whether he would deny to the people"— we were talking about the people of Gibraltar, which is neither here nor there— the basic rights of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights, which I believe we shall be celebrating this year?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15/2/68, Col. 284.] I should like to turn the question and ask him the same.


I would remind the noble Lord that when I raised that question he was then suggesting the Gibraltarians should be placed under the régime of Spain.


To the contrary, I was not suggesting that for a moment. What I was suggesting was that it might be possible to negotiate an arrangement with Spain whereby we could return the sovereignty of the Rock to the Spaniards in return for a 99 or 999 year lease. However, Gibraltar is not the subject. He asked, I repeat, whether I would deny to those people the basic rights of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. Article 15 of that states that everyone has the right to a nationality, and, two, that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, as he has shown, supports this document, and I fail to see how what he said to me is compatible with that.


Clearly the noble Lord was not listening when I was speaking, and therefore, so far as he and I are concerned, it must have been a waste of time. What I said was that the status of citizenship of these Asians in Africa is not changed by the 1962 and 1963 Acts or by this Bill. Their status as United Kingdom and Colonies citizens remains the same.


Yes, but without the privileges, without the right to enter their home country, which surely is the point. On the same day earlier in the afternoon there was a Question on this subject to which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, replied. I should like to quote him on one or two very short things he said, because it has been suggested by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that there was never a pledge. This is not long ago, February 15, 1968. The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said: But the major difficulty is that if we did have legislation to remove from these people the freedom from operation of the 1962 Act, it would remove from them their right to United Kingdom citizenship and make them Stateless; and under the United Nations Convention of 1961 the United Kingdom Government are pledged to avoid any increase in future Statelessness." [col. 203]. Later on he said: The Kenya Independence Act of 1963 is the authority, and the arrangements then made excluded these Kenyan Asians (if I may call them such) from the provisions of the 1962 Act, which leaves them the right to apply for passports to come to this country. Later on he said: But surely an obligation in a Statute is an undertaking. Hear, hear! I quite agree.


But the noble Lord must read the intervention of the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, who suggested I had used the word "undertaking", and if you look at Hansard you will find I said I did not use the word "undertaking", which was quite true, but an obligation in a Statute was an undertaking.


Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.


The noble Lord might read all of it in context.


I think I read the operative thing, and I do not think it is out of context— "but surely an obligation in a Statute is an undertaking". This is clear enough, surely. Later on he said: These people are British citizens and have the right to come here" [col. 206]. Later on he said: There is no question of 'by-passing' when people possess rights." [col. 207]. This was all on February 15. I fully appreciate the position the noble Lord finds himself in, but I should like to know how he can vote against me after making those statements just a few days ago.

I should like to make one further quotation from somebody for whom noble Lords opposite, I know, used to have a great respect, and whom they hold in very sincere regard in memories, as I myself do. I refer to Mr. Hugh Gaitskell. I wish that I had the capability of speaking in the wonderful way which he had, but as I have not, and as I am not even fit hardly to quote him, this is the only thing I can do, because I regret that I ' do not have these words in my brain. I quote from the Second Reading of the 1962 Bill, and these are words which I attribute to myself, were I able to put it so well: I beg the Government now, at this last minute to drop this miserable, shameful shabby Bill". If Hugh Gaitskell were standing now at the Bar of this House, how many noble Lords opposite who have spoken and who have voted for this Bill would dare to look him in the eye?

The Cinderella story appears to be over for these Asians. The silver 'plane has turned back into the pumpkin; the four Rolls-Royce engines have turned back into mice; and the Home Secretary seems to have turned back into whatever it was that the coachman turned into. This, I am afraid, is the way they are left; and the silver slipper that is left behind is so small that it will fit only 1,500 people a year. The only difference is that Cinderella seems to have got the wrong midnight, because I see that already—this is this morning's newspaper—the headline is, "First Asians are turned back". They were unable to get on to a B.O.A.C. flight from Kenya. B.O.A.C. is, after all, basically the responsibility of the British Government. They were turned off a B.O.A.C. flight because presumably somebody somewhere had issued an instruction that they should be—and this Bill is not yet law. If this is not a disgrace, what is?

All I can say in summing-up this matter is that I apologise for taking so much of your Lordships' time at this late hour. I myself consider it to be an extreme moral issue. I know it has been said often before, but I ask your Lordships to come with the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, and myself into the Division Lobby on this Amendment, and to vote to allow these people to pass freely, without let or hindrance, and to afford them such assistance and protection as is very necessary.

4.34 a.m.


I rise to pour oil on troubled waters. The oil may possibly be a little inflammable, but perhaps noble Lords opposite will not smoke! As the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, has said, there is no correspondence between any of the three of us, on the matter of this Amendment. I think this has already been obvious in the case of the first two noble Lords who have spoken, and probably it will become even more clear when I speak. But my line is a little different—one that I have already slightly indicated in the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill.

I feel that the approach to this Bill has been one that I might describe in this way: that the Government must have seen that this emergency—it is an emergency. I think—was approaching. I do not think this is a piece of panic legislation. I think they saw it coming—perhaps not quite soon enough—and said, "Here is an emergency. All these people will be arriving in this country, and something must be done to stop them." I feel that the error lies in those last three words, "to stop them ". If the instant reaction had been, "Something must be done "—full-stop, I suspect that we might have had a different result.

There must be some other solution to this problem. Various noble Lords have suggested ways in which these Kenya people who arrive here could be dispersed and absorbed in one way or another. In the course of our discussions in this House, nobody has convinced me that this would not have been possible. It has also been suggested that they could have been allowed in at the price of stopping other immigrants from other countries coming in. The noble Lords, Lord Shepherd and Lord Stonham, have told us that this would have produced a minimal result, but that statement should not go unchallenged. Could it really produce a minimal result? Is there not some means by which immigration as a whole could be slowed down? I believe that it must be slowed down somehow, and soon, so that other immigration can be slowed down and these particular people, from whom the desired prize has been snatched at the last moment, can be allowed to come in and be integrated into our community.

This ought to have been done for a number of reasons, many of which have been advocated. Here I must say that in this context I am bound to use the word "racial" or "racialism", and I am sure that all noble Lords are as sick of the word as I am. I want to use it without the dirty implications which have got stuck to it, and which do not necessarily belong to it. Clause 1 provides that a certain number of Kenyan Asians shall be slowed down in their approach to this country. Broadly speaking, these people are, let us face it, coloured. This is racial in that sense, and I am using the word in my own sense with no pejorative association attached to it. They are coloured people and ipso facto it appears that this is a question of a colour discrimination. Whether it is or is not is not the point, that is what it looks like.

It is going to be hard to convince anybody—the public at large, and particularly the coloured sections of the public—that this same action would have been taken if all these people had been white. Would it? I throw that out as a rhetorical question, and do not answer it. The world at large is not going to believe that all these people would have been kept out of Great Britain if they had been white. Other people are not going to believe it. Therefore, we have a situation which appears to be keeping out 130,000 people, or whatever the number may be, because they are brown. I do not say that this is the Government's case, but this is what is happening and the situation can be grossly distorted. It has been truly pointed out that there is a genuine danger of stirring, up racial hatred.

Mention of racial hatred brings me to another slight dilemma which I would not have experienced if it had not been for the remarks by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd—and I hope I have attributed this rightly—who said that one of the surest ways of stirring up racial hatred is to utter warnings about it. This may well be so. I think that this kind of alarmist utterance expressed through the newspapers or through the ordinary public means of mass communication can be highly dangerous, and very often causes a great deal of trouble. But if a Member of Parliament of either House thinks that there is a danger of racial hatred arising, and is not to say so because he might by that means be exaggerating the danger, then we have a very peculiar situation indeed, and this is a highly specious argument on the part of the noble Lord. However I do not wish to complain about it unduly.

But I believe that this danger most genuinely does exist. We can have the most appalling accusation levelled at us as a nation on the ground simply that the Kenyans elected to accept British citizenship—they did it in a rather haphazard way—and have British passports because they trusted us. They may not have received a pledge, which many people think they had and which they themselves think they had, but the point is that they thought it and they trusted us, and we like to think they had very good reason for trusting us because we like to think we are very trustworthy people. What do many of them think now, when they are actually at the airport and are stopped and cannot come? It is an appalling situation for anybody to be confronted with. Anybody who wishes us ill is going to make the utmost possible capital out of a situation like that.

That is the position at which we have arrived, and we have arrived at that position by the steps I have indicated. The Government has mis-appreciated the situation to the extent that they said, "We must stop these people", without considering thoroughly whether there was some other way of getting over the problem. They have acted in this sudden manner and produced a situation which is almost impossible.

Whichever way we vote on this clause we shall probably be wrong, because logic operates both ways. Nobody likes the clause, and we all know perfectly well that the Government dislike it as much as anyone else but consider it to be a necessary clause. In one case you keep all these people out or slow them down, which causes resentment and bitterness and gives rise to a situation which can be exploited at our expense by every agitator and racial extremist, of whom there are certainly plenty about. That is an extremely dangerous situation. On the other hand, we can say to all these people that we shall let them in. What do we do then? We set up a most appalling series of difficulties and complications for ourselves.

All the consequences of letting these people in, by whatever means, have been spelled out to us in detail by noble Lords, particularly those on the Government Front Bench. What are we going to do? Are we going to let them in and put up with the trouble that we get from them; or keep them out and put up with the trouble that we get from them? On one side of the scale there is a moral factor which comes down in favour of letting them come in. It is very difficult to deny that this moral factor does exist.

These people have a right to expect that we will let them in, and it is only at this last moment that we have snatched it away from them. They have every reason to think that they have been played a pretty shabby trick. That may be true. Nobody is going to think that anybody has been played a shabby trick if we let them in. Very well, is it not better to take the logical expedient which carries with it also a moral sanction as well? This seems to be a logical argument in favour of letting these people come in. Perhaps when the noble Lord replies he will say whether I am talking nonsense in suggesting that it is possible to cut down the number of immigrants of other classes. I am not confining it to immigrants who have other passports or second nationality, but am thinking of people who are not immediately expecting to come from Kenya. These are the people who have had the dirty end of the stick.

There is one question that I should like to ask. For some reason the noble Lord Lord Moynihan did not ask it, although he made the point. I hope that we shall be told who gave orders to B.O.A.C. not to bring these Kenyans here.

4.46 a.m.


I support the Amendment. About two hours ago we had the Division on Second Reading, which was carried by a majority of 24. The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, when he opened the debate at three o'clock yesterday afternoon, explained that the Bill falls into two parts. First, there is Clause 1, which is what we are now discussing and then there are the remaining clauses. Those two parts are directed to quite different purposes. It is plain that the first, Clause 1, is the clause that brings under the control of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act people who were not under its control before. The remaining clauses tighten up and alter the system of control which was established under that Act.

We have had a long debate in which all these matters have been discussed. But when we voted we had to do so on the Bill as a whole—the package deal. We do not know what might have been the vote if the two parts of the Bill, which are really quite separate, had been considered separately. The Amendment has the great advantage that it will enable the opinion of the Committee to be taken upon the principle involved in Clause 1. It may well be that some noble Lords have grave reservations about the clause when they voted, but thought that the benefits conferred by the remaining clauses outweighed its disadvantages. We do not know, but a vote on whether Clause 1 shall stand part will give us the opportunity of finding out.

I do not want to repeat anything which I said earlier. But this clause is the clause that involves what has been called the pledge, or the commitment. There has been a great deal of discussion as to whether there was a pledge or commitment. I happened to address the House earlier, at possibly a disadvantageous moment, because most of your Lordships were still, very sensibly, having your dinner. So perhaps I may briefly, and rather diffidently, repeat what I had to say then as to why I believe that a solemn pledge was given to these people that they would be allowed to come into this country.

The position is that under the Commonwealth Immigrantion Act 1962, which imposed restrictions on the entry into this country of Commonwealth citizens, certain people were excluded from the controls. They were, first of all: "a person born in the United Kingdom" and, secondly—and this is the clause with which, of course, we are concerned— a person who holds a United Kingdom passport and is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, or who holds such a passport issued in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland". In passing, I may say that, as your Lordships will realise, the words "holds such a passport issued in the United Kingdom" also include a passport issued by a High Commissioner in an independent country. What that Act therefore provided was that people who were in possession of that sort of passport—what I might call a full United Kingdom citizen passport—were not subject to the control of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act at all.

Now we pass on from there to the time when the negotiations were going on in preparation for the independence of Kenya. The Conservative Government of that time were very properly concerned to protect the minority races in Kenya, which included, of course, the Europeans as well as the Asians. They were rightly and properly concerned to see that the interests of those people were protected; and, as Mr. Iain Macleod has disclosed, his concern was that one might have a situation in Kenya resembling the situation which developed in the Congo after they were given their independence.


Could I remind the noble Lord that we are discussing an Amendment proposing that Clause 1 be deleted?


Clause 1 is the clause which says that certain people who have never before come under immigration control should come under immigration control. What I am considering now—and I hope it is not irrelevant; I do not want to be that—is how it came about that these people, the Asians in Kenya, were excluded from immigration control. I hope I may do that.

What happened was this. The British Government at that time were rightly concerned with the protection of these minorities, and when they entered into negotiations preparatory to the bestowing of independence and the Independence Act they said that any member of these minorities, either the European or the Asian minority, could elect whether he would take Kenyan citizenship, and if he did not want to take Kenyan citizenship he should be entitled to the issue of a passport—and the passport they spoke of was the full passport, the passport which is not subject to immigration control. Those were the circumstances in which these people were given a right to that kind of passport; and I cannot see any interpretation of those events except that they were being told that if they chose to do so they could have a passport which would admit them freely, without any kind of control, into the United Kingdom.

That having been done, what we are doing under this present Bill and under this Clause 1 is to take away from those people the benefit of the passport which we gave to them at that time. That is what has happened. I do not see how it can possibly be contended that that is not a breach of commitment. I am not going to argue the matter. I heard the word "filibuster" being used just now—


Hear, hear!


I have no intention of filibustering. If we are to discuss this thing at this very late, or possibly very early, hour, it is no fault of ours. The fault lies over there—on the Government Benches. It would be a shocking thing to my mind when we are discussing the basic human rights of a great number of people if we were to be hurried along. I would much rather have discussed this tomorrow, having had the interval of a night. But we are denied that; we are not allowed that.

Nothing is further from my intentions than to filibuster, but I should like to say a word particularly to the occupants of the Conservative Benches; and I do it for this reason. With my brothers, I was brought up in a home where we were taught to believe that the forces of evil and darkness and Toryism were virtually synonymous. I think we adhered to that view over the years; but with the passing of time, with the encroachment of old age upon us, we have taken a more moderate view and we have learned—at least, I have learned—that the Tory Party have, of course, made great contributions to the history of this country. There are, if I may say so, two qualities which seem to be in the particular possession of the people who have held Toryism in the highest esteem. They are—


What has this to do with Clause 1 of the Bill?


If I may perhaps complete what I was saying, it might become apparent what it has to do with Clause 1. Toryism in its highest form, from Burke downwards, has been two things: first, a belief in the great traditions of this country and, secondly, a jealous regard for the good name of this country. My belief—although I hear some disruptive noises from over there—is that many of the Conservative Members of this House are deeply disturbed about this matter and about this particular point. I would invite them to say that it is not worth while to drag down the good name of this country simply to avoid the difficulties, whatever they may be, of allowing these people to come to this Island. It is not worth it. We shall bitterly regret it. By this Amendment we can set our faces against that thought and against that breach of the pledge without sacrificing all the rest of the Bill and the tidying-up and improvements of the methods of control which are now in operation.


I sense that there is some danger of Second Reading speeches being made, or even repeated, on this Motion that the Clause stand part. I shall endeavour to guard against falling into that temptation, and I shall await with interest the reply which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, will doubtless give before we take this matter to a vote. I would simply say this. If all political questions could be settled in the light of one single principle, of one single obligation, what a much easier task politicians would have! But in fact we all had to make our decisions on Second Reading in the light of conflicting considerations, conflicting principles, conflicting obligations, and in my Second Reading speech I explained why in the light of these I came down on one side. What has disappointed me in the speeches on this Motion is that all of them, though from different angles, seemed to be inclined to assume that there is only one principle or obligation involved here. In fact, there is a clash.

I have just one or two additional points to make. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway—I am sorry that he is not in his place at the moment—suggested at an earlier stage that there was no real need for Clause 1, because we ought not to pass a clause like this in relation to the Kenya Asians, and there was no need to do so in relation to the 1¼ million other people who had an equal right to enter into this country. I thought that he was dismissing the possibility of a similar situation occurring elsewhere somewhat lightly.

I can speak with some authority in this matter of the Kenya Asians, because at the time of Kenya Independence I was Home Secretary and responsible for immigration policy into this country. I can frankly say that I never envisaged at that time that the Kenya Government might take the action they did, leading to a rush of 200,000 Asians into this country. I hope that your Lordships will accept that I can speak with some knowledge here. The name of my former colleague, Mr. Iain Macleod, has often been cited as the authority on these matters. He is very knowledgeable and, of course, I cannot always know just what is in his mind, but at the time of the Kenya Independence Conference he was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and not Colonial Secretary, and at the time of the introduction of the Kenya Independence Bill he was not a member of the Government.


In the light of what the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, told us, is the noble Lord still continuing to say that there was no pledge?


So far as I was concerned, and I believe every other member of the Government was concerned, there was no pledge or guarantee to the Kenya Asians that in perpetuity they would be certain of unrestricted entry into this country. It was a pledge that no Minister could have given, because he could not possibly bind future Governments and future Parliaments. It would surprise me exceedingly to learn that any of my colleagues in the Government gave any such pledge without previous consultation with me, because I and not they was the Minister responsible for immigration policy.

If I may go to one more point, my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery laid it down that it was almost axiomatic that there would be no question of imposing a control on Kenya Asians or other people, if they were white. Well, I cannot speak in this for the present Home Secretary, but from what I know of immigration policy it would be quite unthinkable suddenly to allow into this country 200,000 Italians or Spaniards or Portuguese or Yugoslavs, simply because some action in their own country led them to wish to come here in a rush. It is quite true that in exceptional circumstances we accepted, mostly temporarily, a large number of Hungarian refugees when they were fleeing from grave persecution. A large number have passed on to other countries. In this situation we must accept that these Kenya Asians who are now coming here at the rate of 30,000 a year are intending to settle here. They certainly have the right under the law to do so. All I am seeking to submit is that it is not a question of the colour of the skin, but a question of sheer numbers. I simply do not believe that if these were Italians, rather than Asians, we should be taking any different attitude.


Before the noble Lord sits down, may I ask him whether he is not aware that there is a figure of something like 60,000 nett migration from this country, which means that there are fewer people, not more.


I know that there is emigration from this country. I am not sure whether the noble Lord realises that this is really a question of the rate of entry. Of course we can accept 200,000 or 300,000 over a period. I imagined that this was what the control in Clause 1 was all about. Things are happening in Kenya which threaten to create a situation in which 100,000 or 200,000 people with full rights to enter this country may arrive almost simultaneously. That is a situation which no Government could contemplate, whether the people were black, yellow, white or whatever colour they might be. We simply cannot accept and absorb people at that rate, in any circumstances.


The noble Lord is perhaps taking it a little too far in suggesting that I am making a comparison between coloured people from Kenya and Italians or Portuguese. I meant to make a comparison between coloured people from Kenya, and white people from Kenya. I do not wish it to be thought that I was laying down a kind of axiom. My intention was to indicate that people would think, in general, that the Government would not have put the ban on the people if they had been white Kenyans.


I am grateful to my noble friend. I cannot say what view the Government would have taken. All I am seeking to say is that immigration at this enormous rate creates problems, with which the country cannot cope, whatever be the colour of the people concerned. Your Lordships' House has taken a decision on the Second Reading of the Bill and, with great respect to Lord Foot, I cannot help thinking that it was the merits or demerits of Clause 1 which were really at issue in that Division. I have to ask myself whether your Lordships' House would enhance its reputation if, having taken a decision of that sort by a majority of 24, we were to reverse that decision in Committee. This is virtually the same issue.

5.9 a.m.


I hesitate to prolong this marathon debate, and I have no wish to waken those noble Lords who, wisely, have gone to sleep. I speak as a Member who voted against Second Reading. I should like to urge those Members in whose names the Amendment stands not to press it to a Division. It seems to involve matters going beyond the Bill and to turn on the question of how we conduct ourselves in rather unusual circumstances. I warmly endorse what has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, that the issue over the question of principle has been determined by the vote on Second Reading. It seems to me entirely wrong that the matter should be raised again and that the arguments which have been rehearsed endlessly in the numerous hours of this debate should be repeated and that we should have to resort to what appears to me to be the fanciful pretext that persons who voted on the Second Reading against the Amendment for postponement were doing so on the notion that they might perhaps have had in mind that they were opting for those portions of the Bill other than Clause 1. If I may say so, this is a fanciful notion. It does not justify the prolongation of this debate, and it does no service to anyone. There are Amendments on the Marshalled List which are of importance, and which involve matters of principle. I am waiting patiently in the House for one particular Amendment which I hope, if it is discussed, may improve the Bill. But what I think would be unfortunate is if a number of Members were to go home through sheer exhaustion because a debate to no purpose is needlessly protracted.


I am afraid that I cannot follow the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, on that particular argument. I support this Amendment, and I support it for two or three reasons of principle. The first is that this is the nub, and there is a great deal of difference between this clause and the other clauses in the Bill. Secondly, I believe that the arguments of principle advanced in the Second Heading debate were not sufficiently answered by the Government. I come to one particular point—and I hope that nobody will get up and talk about filibustering. I know it is late, and Members are getting irritated, but this Bill has been rushed through this House, and nobody can accuse those of us who feel strongly about it—we all feel strongly about it, of course—of filibustering if we feel that we want to clarify the issue so far as possible.

There is one vital question of principle that has not been satisfactorily answered, and on which there is some confusion, and that is precisely the problem of the obligation, the pledge or the promise, that was made to the Kenyan Asians. On the one hand, we have the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor telling us in his opening remarks that there was no such pledge. We have the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, speaking in February of a definite obligation. We have the Home Secretary yesterday or the day before (I am afraid I am rather lost as to days) saying that no Government can be expected to be bound by the promises of their predecessors. There is evidence there of something, and it has not been answered. Whatever we may say, the fact is that ipso facto the Kenyan Asians believe that there was a promise. And they believed that when independence was granted to Kenya they would have a free choice, and that that free choice would not be denied them by some act of this Parliament which would take away the bargain already made. They did not expect that we should welsh on a bet that we had made, or welsh on a promise that we had made. That is the nub of the matter.

I am not going to make a Second Reading speech, but the important point which came out on Second Reading, which is valid so far as this clause is concerned, is the fact that I personally, and a good many other noble Lords, could accept this Bill if there had not been this prior obligation and this prior promise. But it is there; it is implied if not written in; and we are now going back on it for hundreds of thousands of people. That seems to me to be wrong and frivolous, and it is bound to lower the whole standing of Britain in the world. This to me is important, and that is why I shall vote for this particular Amendment. We are going back on a firm international pledge, and this reduces the entire currency of our word in international matters. It is as simple as that. I do not think that is going over the ground again. I cannot follow the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, on this issue at all. The issue of principle has not been settled precisely because it has not been answered.

5.14 a.m.


I hope it will suit your Lordships' convenience if I reply now, and as briefly as I can without discourtesy. I am grateful for the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, who pointed out that in his view, and certainly I should think in the view of anyone taking an objective view, the question of principle (and the question of the most important principle of a Bill usually resides in Clause 1) was fully discussed for, I think, 11 hours and was decided, though not perhaps in the way that my noble friend Lord Willis would wish, by the House on Second Reading. Those noble Lords who in this debate have indulged in wide-ranging Second Reading speeches over the whole subject cannot really expect me to reply to those speeches, except where they happened to touch on the Amendment we were considering. I have the greatest sympathy with the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, in speaking now, because he could not speak on Second Reading. It would have been a great pity if such a speech had not seen the light of day. My only surprise is that he could cram all that material into five minutes.

I will answer one or two questions which have been put to me. The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, referred to the question of figures. They have been given by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor; other figures were given by my noble friend Lord Shepherd, and I gave them fully on an earlier debate, and I do not propose to give them again. But the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, asked about the people in Kenya and he used the figure of 167,000. That was an estimate, the closest estimate we could make, in November, 1966: 167,000 people in Kenya who either had, or were entitled to apply for, passports which would have exempted them from the control of the 1962 Act. Since then, quite a few thousand have come in, and we believe that the number still there is something like 150,000, not all of whom are fathers or head of a family, but including the dependants. That is a figure which is as exact as I can give him.

The noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, addressed a direct question to me about who gave the orders—I think he said to B.O.A.C.—with regard to people who did not fly here but who had hoped to. For years, I think ever since the 1962 Act, it has been an obligation on the airlines and other transport owners who convey immigrants to this country that if admission is refused they must take them back free. That is B.O.A.C. and other airlines—because I noticed in Thursday morning's newspaper that a charter flight arranged through B.U.A. had been cancelled because they did not think the people were certain to get here in time and they might be subject to the restrictions we are discussing; it was an ordinary commercial precaution—


Would my noble friend allow me to intervene? The Committee must be aware that, under Clause 7(2), this Bill, or, rather, the important clauses of this Bill, shall come into operation on the day after the day on which it is passed". It must have been known to anyone at an earlier stage last night that it could not possibly receive the Royal Assent until today, Friday, and therefore would not come into effect until Saturday. I do not know exactly what it means—if it means one minute after midnight, or twenty four hours after it has received the Royal Assent. But certainly there is time for an airliner to get here from Nairobi.


It is a great pity that my noble friend was not there to tell B.O.A.C, but they must make their own decision in matters of this kind.

I do not propose to follow the noble Lord, Lord Foot, in his long discourse, except to say that the kernel of the matter that he was talking about, and which he discussed in such detail, happens every time a Colony achieves independence and its residents acquire citizenship of the newly independent State. There is nothing new; it has happened each time.

The necessity for Clause 1—and it is indeed the kernel of the Bill, and certainly the justification for bringing it in and, with the co-operation of your Lordships, getting it through the House as quickly as possible—is because of the large, increasing, uncontrolled and uncontrollable rush of these people coming from Kenya. Nothing has been said at any stage of this debate about the plight of these people. I have seen quite a number of them at the airport; many of them penniless, having got here without even the money to take them to a town, or a short distance.

The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said that this was panic legislation. In the Home Office we have known about this situation for several years, as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, said, although he did not think in 1963 that there would ever be this threatened rush of 200,000 people from Kenya. If it had not been for the action of the Kenya Government in August, 1967—it was as recent as that—in passing their Emigration Act, with the effect that anyone who is not a Kenyan citizen is liable to be deemed unlawfully present in Kenya, irrespective of place of birth or length of residence, and the other Act that they passed, and if it had not been for the publicity given in this country by Members of another place to the situation, it might never have been necessary to introduce this Bill. I know it is possibly distasteful to noble Lords to listen to facts, but I am going to get the facts over this time. There have been between 6,000 and 7,000 Asians coming in from Kenya all the time. We were aware of it, and at that level it was felt we could assimilate them. And it is precisely the same level, or even a higher level, which is the lowest level at which they will continue to come in under the provisions of this Bill.

There is one other thing I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. He said that my noble friends and I have not had the courage to stand up against the pressure of racialists, and he said the ghost of Joyce has not been raised. William Joyce did his evil work in Shore-ditch. I had the honour to represent the Borough of Shoreditch and Finsbury in another place. Joyce was a candidate for the London County Council for the Borough of Shoreditch. I was fighting racialism—and very close to stones and weapons and everything else—in the open, just about the time the noble Lord was born. I have never given way to racialists, and there is nothing of racialism in this Bill.

May I make one other point. It is quite likely (and it is certainly my view) that most of the Asians in Kenya who have retained citizenship in the United Kingdom and Colonies will at some time seek to exercise their right of entry to the United Kingdom, but the danger is—or the danger was, and certainly is without this Bill—that so many will decide to come here over the next few months that the number arriving here will put an intolerable strain on all the services here. It would be the worst possible thing that could happen to the Asians, to come here under those circumstances, with no houses, concentrating, as inevitably they would, in only a small number of centres of population, centres which already have a very high proportion of immigrants from overseas. It would make integration impossible. Principle is a very great thing, a very fine thing; but when, at a safe distance, not coming close to this problem, not having to deal with it day by day, you say the principle should be that these people shall come in willy-nilly—and that is what doing away with this clause means, bringing a crowd in, 2,500 in one twenty-four hours—if you go on like that, you are not doing a service to the people that you purport to help; you are doing them a grave disservice.


May I interrupt the noble Lord and ask him whether the reason why people are coming in at the rate of 2,500 a day is not to beat the time ban before this Bill becomes operative?


Of course. But does my noble friend think that if this clause is taken out of the Bill they will not continue to come? Are the conditions in Kenya being altered? But if this Bill is passed with this clause in it, then we believe there is every hope that it will be possible to arrange with the Kenya Government that the outflow shall be of a size and order which can be controlled. We do not seek any power to ban Asian immigration from East Africa but only to keep the rate at a tolerable level. And this, I think, is not only in the interests of the people of this country but certainly in the permanent long-term interest of the Asian people themselves. I hope your Lordships will agree that this clause shall stand part.


May I ask one short question, not about the provisions of Clause 1, which I feel have been fully debated, and indeed voted upon, but about the effects of Clause 1, and one effect in particular? We have already had an assurance from the Home Secretary that any Asian Kenyan who is sent out of Kenya will possibly be offered a home here, so that he will not in fact have absolutely nowhere to go. Could that possibly be extended to people who are suffering serious hardship due to the fact that they may not have jobs owing to legislation recently passed in Kenya?


This point has been made clear. I shall be discussing it in some detail, on a later Amendment, but the answer to the noble Marquess is, Yes: the system will be completely flexible, and it will be in the hands of the High Commission in Kenya, who will know precisely these things and will be able to see that priority is given in such cases.


The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, seemed to be accusing me of my youth. I am very sorry that I was not there to fight racialism with him, but I assure him that, had I been born and of a correct age, I should certainly have done so; and my father and grandfather before me both fought racialism at every possible attempt. I really do not consider it is a valid argument that because the noble Lord was fighting racialism before I was born noble Lords should vote against me in this Division.

I would add one word to the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. Surely if he voted against the Bill on Second Reading, and he is not going to vote against Clause 1, it must mean that basically he is against the rest of the Bill but in favour of Clause 1. In other words, he wants people to go on smuggling Pakistanis into the country but he does not want to allow those with a United Kingdom and Colonies passport to come in legally. I submit to him that this is an impossible position, and that in fact he has no moral alternative but to continue in his views and in fact to support me and my noble friends on this Amendment.

I feel that this is a matter of principle. I still feel, with my noble friend Lord Willis, that this has not been answered, and I must beg your Lordships to allow these people the rights which we have promised them and which they have, and to take this last opportunity of following my noble friends and myself into the Division Lobby.

5.30 a.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?

Their Lordships divided:—

Contents, 84; Not-Contents, 35.

Addison, L. Balerno, L. Beswick, L.
Albemarle, E. Bathurst, E. Bowles, L. [Teller].
Ampthill, L. Belhaven and Stenton, L. Brooke of Cumnor, L.
Auckland, L. Bessborough, E. Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs
Brown, L. Grimston of Westbury, L. Pargiter, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Hall, V. Peddie, L.
Carron, L. Hawke, L. Phillips, Bs.
Chalfont, L. Heycock, L. Popplewell, L.
Champion, L. Hill of Wivenhoe, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.] St. Helens, L.
Cranbrook, E. Hives, L. Sandford, L.
Crook, L. Ilford, L. Sandys, L.
Darwen, L. Jellicoe, E. Shackleton, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Daventry, V. Kennet, L. Shepherd, L.
Delacourt-Smith, L. Kinnoull, E. Sorensen, L.
Denham, L. Kirkwood, L. Stonham, L.
Derwent, L. Leatherland, L. Stow Hill, L.
Douglass of Cleveland, L. Lindgren, L. Strabolgi, L.
Drumalbyn, L. MacAndrew, L. Strange, L.
Elton, L. McLeavy, L. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Falmouth, V. Maelor, L. Teynham, L.
Fiske, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V. Thurlow, L.
Gardiner, L. (Lord Chancellor.) Merrivale, L. Tweedsmuir, L.
Glendevon, L. Milner of Leeds, L. Vivian, L.
Granville of Eye, L. Milverton, L. Wigg, L.
Granville-West, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L, Williamson, L.
Gray, L. Moyne, L. Winterbottom, L.
Gridley, L. Noel-Buxton, L. Woolton, E.
Airedale, L. Effingham, E. Lytton, E. [Teller.]
Amulree, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Moynihan, L. [Teller.]
Arran, E. Faringdon, L. Nunburnholme, L.
Barrington, V. Feversham, L. Platt, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Foot, L. Ravensdale, L.
Birdwood, L. Gifford, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Brockway, L. Gladwyn, L. St. Davids, V.
Byers, L. Greenway, L. Sempill, Ly.
Carnock, L. Hemingford, L. Swaythling, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Henley, L. Wedgwood, L.
Craigmyle, L. Kahn, L. Willis, L.
Croft, L. Kilbracken, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Clause 1 agreed to accordingly.

Clause 2:

Refusal of admission and conditional admission

2.—(1) the following subsections shall be substituted for subsections (1) and (2) of section 2 of the principal Act:

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, on the examination under this Part of this Act of any Commonwealth citizen to whom section 1 of this Act applies who enters or seeks to enter the United Kingdom, an immigration officer may refuse him admission into the United Kingdom, or may admit him into the United Kingdom subject to conditions as mentioned in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of this subsection, or to conditions as mentioned in both those paragraphs, that is to say—

  1. (a) a condition restricting the period for which he may remain in the United Kingdom, with or without conditions for restricting his employment or occupation there;
  2. (b) a condition that, before such date and in such manner as may be specified in the condition, he shall report his arrival to such medical officer of health as may be so specified and shall thereafter attend at such place and time, and submit to such test or examination (if any), as that medical officer of health may require.

(1A) An immigration officer shall not impose such a condition as is mentioned in subsection (1)(b) of this section unless, on the advice of a medical inspector [...], where no such inspector is available, on the advice of any other duly qualified medical practitioner, it appears to him to be necessary to do so in the interests of public health. (2) The power to refuse admission shall not, except as provided by subsection (5) of this section, be exercised on any occasion in respect of a person who—

  1. (a) satisfies an immigration officer that he is ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom or was so resident at any time within the past two years, or

(2A) Without prejudice to subsection (2) of this section, the power to refuse admission shall not be exercised on any occasion in respect of a person who satisfies an immigration officer—

(2C) Where by virtue of subsection (2) or subsection (2A) of this section the power to refuse admission to a person on any occasion is not exercisable, or would not be exercisable apart from subsection (5) of this section, the power under this section to impose any such condition as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section (in the following provisions of this section referred to as a 'restrictive condition') shall not be exercisable on that occasion in respect of that person except—

LORD BEAUMONT OF WHITLEY moved, in the proposed new subsection (1)(a) of the principal Act, to leave out "with or without conditions for restricting his employment or occupation there". The noble Lord said: This Amendment relates to the provision in regard to the condition restricting the period for which a Commonwealth citizen may remain in the United Kingdom.

with or without conditions for restricting his employment or occupation there.

I am subject to correction on this matter, but it seems to me that this gives the immigration officer powers to impose restrictions not only on whether a person may take up employment at all, but as to what kind of employment he may take up, and presumably what employment he may have during the duration of his stay in the country. If it does this, it is establishing a situation which, if I understand the position of the Government correctly—and I must confess that I cannot always perform those mental gymnastics—they have sworn will never happen. Under this subsection full citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies inside Great Britain, having gained entry, can be restricted to a particular form of employment and can presumably be prosecuted if they change their employment.

I do not think I need enlarge upon this. It is obviously unacceptable. It can be argued that in the principal Act this clause exists, but I maintain that what we may have a right to do with people coming in who are not full citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies we certainly do not have a right to do with these full citizens. Two classes of citizens, if I understand the Government correctly, are "out". This is something which cannot be supported. These words appear to allow for it, and therefore they are not acceptable and should be deleted. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 23, leave out from ("Kingdom") to end of line 25—(Lord Beaumont of Whitley.)


I think the noble Lord is under a misapprehension. A similar power is to be found in the 1962 Act in regard to those immigrants who come under an "A" or "B" voucher. This does not apply to those who come in, perhaps, on a temporary basis, such as students or teachers, or someone on a temporary visit. To the best of my knowledge, and according to the information available to me, the power that is available in the 1962 Act has caused no difficulty. In this Bill we are dealing with possible immigrants who may come here on retirement, or students, people on holidays and the like. They come in on a temporary basis, and in these circumstances we feel it right that there should be this power to give some restriction as to whether they take employment. I assure the noble Lord that there is no intention of dealing with any immigrant coming in under the voucher scheme who may have been a bus driver and directing him, shall we say, to being a train driver. We are not seeking those powers. It is merely in regard to those who come on a temporary basis and have declared that that is their intention. We thought it right, as was done under the 1962 Act, to give this power of limitation.


I entirely accept what the Government say about their intentions. Do I understand that by these words they are only taking powers to deal with temporary visitors, or, as this stands, do they have the powers to apply these regulations to people coming in under full immigration? I am not entirely clear. I beg your Lordships' pardon, but we have not had much time to look at the Bill.


As I understand it, the power in regard to the Commonwealth immigrants is under the 1962 Act. These powers are merely related to those covered by the Bill. I hope that that meets the noble Lord's point.


Did not the noble Lord say in his Second Reading speech that we would have a different type of voucher for the Kenyan Asians? Why is it necessary to have this provision, which is the same as in the 1962 Act, if the vouchers will be different? I think he said that the 1962 type of voucher would not be appropriate in this case.


After the length of time I have been in your Lordships' House I may be slightly exhausted or slightly befuddled. If I am befuddled, it is mere fatigue. May I say to the noble Lord, Lord Byers, that it is true that the vouchers we have in mind for immigrants who would come within the Bill are not to be related to work. I was saying that we need these powers in regard to temporary visitors, such as students, people on holiday and the like. These would not come within the voucher scheme we have been discussing. They will be quite separate. I suggest to the noble Lord that there is nothing sinister in this particular power.


I entirely accept that. I am not questioning it in any way, but simply because I cannot see anything in the clause which limits the imposing of conditions on people coming in on a temporary basis. Indeed, the beginning of the proposed subsection says: Subject to the following provisions of this section, on the examination under this Part of this Act of any Commonwealth citizen to whom section 1 of this Act applies who enters or seeks to enter the United Kingdom, … There is nothing about seeking to enter it temporarily. It goes on to say that an immigration officer can refuse permission or attach conditions.


I think that the noble Lord, Lord Foot, is absolutely right and that the Government are taking powers which, although they do not intend to use them, seem to me in this form to be fairly intolerable.


There may be a slight difficulty, and it may be entirely of my making. If the noble Lord would agree to withdraw the Amendment he could introduce it at the next stage. In the meantime, I shall get the matter absolutely straight, and I am sure that we shall be able to satisfy him.


Is it not quite clear that these conditions for restricting employment could only be imposed in connection with a condition restricting the period for which an immigrant may remain in the United Kingdom? That seems to me to be the plain meaning of paragraph (a), and I cannot see how any other interpretation could conceivably be put upon it.


I am most grateful for the views of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke. I think that answers the point, and I beg have to withdraw the Amendment.


I thank the noble Lord.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


This is a perfectly straightforward Amendment, and there is no question of dividing the Committee on it. It is simply that I think noble Lords and noble Baronesses on all sides of the Committee will appreciate that there are Commonwealth citizens—I am referring in particular to Muslim females and Sikh males—in respect of whom it is completely contrary to their religion to undergo a medical examination by a doctor of another sex. I understand that this is already provided for in other cases, and all I really need from the noble Lord is confirmation of the fact that this will never happen. I shall immediately withdraw the Amendment if the noble Lord will give me that reassurance. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 32, at end insert ("Provided that the Commonwealth citizen shall have the right to be examined by a qualified medical practitioner of the same sex").—(Lord Moynihan.)


A similar provision exists in the 1962 Act for the examination of women who come in under the voucher scheme, and I understand there has been no difficulty here. But I will very happily give the assurance to the noble Lord that where possible a woman doctor will be available at the airport of entry. But let us face it: if a lady were to insist upon seeing a lady doctor (and it is not always a physical examination that the doctor has to carry out) there might be some delay in obtaining the services of a lady doctor. But clearly, if a Muslim lady, because of her religion, insists upon a lady doctor, then I am sure the authorities would see that a lady doctor was made available.


I thank the noble Lord very much for that assurance, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


This is another very simple Amendment which is designed to do nothing but help the Government, though they may find that difficult to believe. It is obviously of the greatest importance that as many of these entry facilities as possible, both for people under the 1962 Act as well as for people under the 1968 Act, should be provided in the country which they leave. This saves expense. It is obviously an extremely good thing, for instance, that facilities have already been set up in Nairobi. I am not referring necessarily to medical facilities, but other facilities. It seems quite a good thing that it should be written into the Bill that these people should not be subject to a second examination, should not have the uncertainty of a second examination, if a medical examination in the country from which they come, under arrangements approved by our Ministry of Health, has been undertaken and a certificate issued. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 38, at end insert ("except that if a person produces evidence of having passed a medical examination under arrangements approved by the Ministry of Health in his country of origin, the Medical Officer shall not be required to re-examine him.")—(Lord Beaumont of Whitley.)


I hope the noble Lord will not accept this particular Amendment. It does not refer only to Kenya; it refers to the whole world. All of us can think of certain countries where a medical examination certificate would not be at all satisfactory, even though possibly the arrangements under which the facilities for such an examination had provisionally been set up had been approved by the Minister of Health in this country. In certain countries of the world certificates are a very easy currency to obtain.


Under this Amendment there is no need for the Government to approve arrangements in any particular country if they think those arrangements would be unsatisfactory. I think that answers the noble Lord's point.


The country would immediately think it an insult to them. It would be racialism.


I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, since I was not in the Committee to hear his speech; but I have the gist of his point, which is very clear. This question of medical examination is a matter which we have had under continuous consideration for a long time. We have been negotiating with the Governments of all the countries from whence immigrants are coming or are likely to come. We have now concluded arrangements in 30 of those Commonwealth countries, including Kenya, and arrangements have yet to be made in about 15 others, including, curiously enough, all the old Commonwealth countries. But we are continuing and hope before long that it will be the case that any intending immigrants will be examined in their countries of origin before coming here.

So far as labour vouchers are concerned, if the would-be immigrants do not satisfy the medical examiners in their own country they will not be able to use the voucher. In the circumstances, the noble Lord's Amendment is unnecessary. In fact, it seeks to write into the Bill the precise instructions which are given to the immigration officers and which are in the White Paper. Except for the qualification "normally", the writing into the Bill of the words of the Amendment would have no greater binding force. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord will agree that his Amendment is unnecessary and will not really achieve anything.


I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.57 a.m.

LORD MOYNIHAN moved, in the proposed new subsection (2(a), leave out "two" and insert "five". The noble Lord said: This is not such a stupid Amendment as it would appear at first sight. I assure the Committee that it is not intended to be any sort of filibustering Amendment. I had in mind when I first put it down the fact that there are many professions whose contractual term is two years. I am thinking particularly of the hotel industry, which takes people from all corners of the globe. I had in mind a hypothetical case of an immigrant who might come to this country intending to make it his residence, one who was perhaps qualified in the hotel industry and who went to the Alfred Marks Bureau and was offered a job in Zanzibar or Timbuktu. He would presumably arrive there a few days before he started his work, and he might well stay a few days before he started his work, and he might well stay a few days after he finished his two-year term. On his arrival back in this country he might find, because he had been out of the country for, technically, longer than the stipulated two-year period, that he was no longer allowed to come in.

It seems that this period of two years has been fixed arbitrarily. I suggest that a period of five years would be more realistic and would cover the contingency I mentioned. I would point out that five years is not an arbitrary figure. It is the figure normally applied in many countries for residence qualification, for passports or for naturalisation. It is not a filibustering Amendment; it genuinely appears to me that two years is the wrong period to have chosen and that five years would be better. Had we not been dealing with this Bill all in one day, and had we a proper period of time to consider all these things, I would have pressed this Amendment to a Division, but in the present difficult circumstances I do not wish to annoy your Lordships over something which many may consider to be trifling. I wonder whether the noble Lord has any answer to this problem, and, if not, whether he would consider doing something about it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 44, leave out ("two") and insert ("five").—(Lord Moynihan.)


May I suggest to the noble Lord that it is not a good practice to say that on another occasion he would have pressed the Amendment, because that implies that there is no possibility that I am going to accept it or that I am not going to give an answer that will persuade the noble Lord that he may reasonably withdraw his Amendment. The present period is two years, and what the noble Lord proposes would mean that there would be no power to refuse admission to a Commonwealth citizen who would be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom at any time within the five years preceding his attempt to gain readmission. He said that the figure of two years was arbitrarily fixed and there was no reason for it. There was a reason. In the case of aliens, the period is only one year. As was the practice under the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, we try to deal more generously with Commonwealth citizens. That is why in the 1962 Act we made the period two years, double the period for aliens. It has worked very well. I know of no cases of hardship or of complaints. Therefore, I see no reason why we should alter it.

The noble Lord mentioned the case where there is an engagement abroad for two years and said this might rule out the possibility of somebody's coming back. I think I can give him a reasonable reassurance on that point. Readmission would not necessarily be refused, because immigration control is exercised flexibly and with a certain discretion, and all relevant circumstances are taken into account. A genuine two-year engagement abroad would be a very relevant circumstance which would be taken into account. I hope I have convinced the noble Lord that there is no need for his Amendment and that the purpose he had in mind is already achieved.


I apologise for two stupidities, for which I have been corrected. I would point out to the noble Lord that this is the first Committee in which I have taken part and I shall make sure that I do not fall into these traps again. I thank the noble Lord most sincerely for his reply. May I ask him just one more question, which arises out of what he said? In my hypothetical case, would it be possible for a person in receipt of a two-year contract to apply for a re-entry permit before he left, to secure his re-entry at the end of the contract?


It would certainly be possible to go to the Home Office Immigration Department and explain the circumstances there. We welcome such inquiries and always give all the help we possibly can. It would certainly be advisable to, as it were, register the point.


I thank the noble Lord very much and beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Would it be convenient to discuss with Amendment No. 10, Nos. 11 and 12? It would save time.

LORD FOOT moved, to add to the proposed new subsection (2): or ( ) satisfies an immigration officer that he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who has been expelled from his country of domicile and has no right of re-entry to his country of domicile.

The noble Lord said: I move this Amendment in the absence of Lord Wade, who is unfortunately unwell. The Amendment is to enable a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, expelled from his country of domicile, with no right of re-entry, to pass through the immigration control. In the other place various firm assurances have been given. The Secretary of State said: I was asked what we would do about a man who was thrown out of work and ejected from the country. And he replied: We shall have to take him in."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 28/2/68, col. 1501.] 1501.] A similar assurance was given by Mr. Ennals and Lord Shepherd in this House, yesterday, that in those circumstances we could not refuse him entry. All that the Amendment invites the Committee to do is to incorporate this assurance in the Bill. This is not really a technicality, because if it is incorporated, it seems that it will reassure those who are badly in need of reassurance. On the other hand, the Government are not being committed to anything more than they are already committed to, because assurances have been solemnly given in the other place by the Minister and in this House by the Minister concerned.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 5, at end insert the said paragraph.—(Lord Foot.)


Amendment No. 11 deals with a further case of a person who has left Kenya, say for purposes of paying a visit to France or Germany, or even Tanzania, and finds that, owing to actions taken by his home Government, he is unable to enter his ordinary country of domicile. It is to extend the rights which Lord Foot is seeking for those who have been expelled. If the Committee accept Amendment No. 10, I will move Amendment No. 11. As it is a wider Amendment, if the Committee rejects Amendment 10, I shall not move mine.


In speaking to Amendment No. 10 and referring to my own, Amendment No. 12, I invite the Committee to consider what is a very serious matter, which has frequently been discussed, but about which I am still very unclear. Without going into the details, I want to draw your Lordships' attention to what we are talking about. It is the plight of the Kenyans who have nowhere to go—people who have left Kenya, been refused entry to this country and then refused re-entry into Kenya. It is a serious question, taken seriously in International Law. I hope that the Committee will forgive me if I don my lawyer's hat for one moment to bring up this question, which is virtually one of statelessness. I want to refer your Lordships to the United Nations Convention on Statelessness of 1961, a Convention which we have ratified. Article 8 of that Convention says: A contracting State shall not deprive a person of his nationality if such deprivation would render him stateless. Article 9 says: A contracting State may not deprive any person or group of persons of their nationality on racial, ethnic, religious or political grounds. A resolution was passed at the same time, I think, at the United Nations Conference, on the elimination or reduction of future status, which says: This Conference recommends that persons who are stateless de facto should so far as possible be treated as stateless de jure to enable them to acquire effective nationality. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, will remember that when he was likening the Bill to the 1962 Act I asked him whether the 1962 Act had rendered anyone stateless. He said that he did not feel this Bill would render anyone stateless. Technically that is true. Someone who has nowhere to go will still have nominally United Kingdom citizenship. But surely the two most fundamental rights of citizenship are, first, the right of protection, and secondly, the right of entry to the country of which you are a citizen. I think it is highly arguable that in this situation that the Kenya Asians who have nowhere to go are virtually deprived of their nationality, and that this might be found to be the case in an international court. Certainly they become de facto stateless, and in the terms of the resolution that I have quoted they would, as I see it, by international law—the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will correct me if I am wrong—be treated as de jure stateless. This is a very serious question.

I come to the assurances which have been given by the Home Secretary, repeated by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and which I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, is going to comment on. Those assurances were, I am pleased to say, absolutely categorical. In fact, it was recognised that if all Kenya Asians were expelled the Bill would lose its point. I was, however, very disturbed to see in the evening papers (we have no other source) that some attempt was being made to water down that assurance and to say that they would get priority only within the 1,500. Obviously, even at this late hour we must get this absolutely clear, because it is of the utmost seriousness. Either that assurance given by the Home Secretary was categorical, in which case it should be written into the Bill—and I see no reason why it should not be written into the Bill—or it will be modified by my noble friend when he comes to reply, in which case I submit it is a clear breach of international law. I apologise for extending this subject a little further, but I think this raises a major question.


I should like to say a word in support of this Amendment. One of the most obvious lessons of the last few hours is how difficult it is to know when a pledge is a pledge, when a commitment is a commitment, when an undertaking is an undertaking. Another lesson is how difficult it is to tell, at least in the minds of some people, how long a promise, undertaking or commitment may last. At the end of five years we may be told it cannot be expected to last in perpetuity. We have to-day had to study Hansard (those of us who have the good fortune to have Hansard) in our endeavours to find out whether, when the Minister spoke a few years ago, correcting something else he had said, he was correct in his correction of himself.

One very great advantage of the law is that the law remains the law until it is changed. Can one imagine anything that would give greater satisfaction to those people who are going to be bitterly disappointed if this Bill passes into law, than that the undertaking, or something like an undertaking, commitment or statement, made possibly in two different ways by two different Ministers in another place yesterday, has been put in black and white into the law?

6.16 a.m.


I remember that years ago, when the noble Lord, Lord Hemingford, sat over here, he was appreciated as a great ally of ours. On this he is not an ally, as I have noticed he has a habit of being "agin' the Government", in my experience. My noble friend Lord Gifford again repeated a view which was mentioned earlier by the noble Marquess, Lord Hertford, that these people will be Stateless. When I intervened and said they would not there were expressions of disagreement. I should like to deal with this matter first.

If people were Stateless they really would have no country to which they could regard themselves as legally belonging. We have known, unfortunately, a number of cases of Stateless persons on board ship who have made many voyages and were not allowed to land. This is not the position with regard to those Asians in Kenya who possess, or have the right to obtain, citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. The one and only disability, temporary disability, from full enjoyment of all the rights and privileges pertaining to that citizenship is that some of them who wish to come here immediately, or very soon, will not be able to come here as soon as they would like. That is the only difference. But, so far as the question of Statelessness is concerned, this is not the case.

My noble friend referred to the United Nations' Convention on Statelessness. So far as this country is concerned, it is not in force because the United Kingdom has not ratified it. That is the answer to that point. I am grateful to noble Lords who have agreed that we should take these three Amendments together; they are really on the same point, because they are all aimed at making statutory provision to the effect that a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies shall not be refused admission if he is able to show that he has been expelled from his country of residence, or has lost his right to entry, or been denied the right to work there, or has been deprived of his citizenship there.


I see that the noble Lord is leaving the question of Statelessness, and therefore may I ask him this? Bearing in mind the purpose of that Resolution I quoted—and I am grateful to him for having corrected me on the ratification point—would he agree that those Kenyans who have nowhere to go, who are being shuttled about, are not allowed here and are not allowed back in Kenya are de facto Stateless if not de jure Stateless?


I cannot agree even that they were de facto Stateless; only that they were temporarily de facto denied the right of admission here. That is very different from being Stateless, and if any of your Lordships have known a person who was Stateless, and have known the complete and hopeless deprivation of all rights which that entails, you will not laugh at what I have just said.

May I now refer to something I was not able fully to deal with when I intervened yesterday (I think it was) during the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Hertford. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, quoted parts of what I said on February 15, when I used the expression "Statelessness". What I then said was in reply to the Questions put to me. I then said that we agreed not to add to the number of Stateless persons, and indeed the legislation we are now considering is precisely framed so that it does not add to their number.

To return to the Amendments, I must point out that all three of them are de- fective in drafting. I have heard it said that this is a very badly drafted Bill, but nobody has put down any drafting Amendments. The Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Foot, and the Amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, are wider than Clause 1 of the Bill since they extend to all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and therefore they would include all the million of the Queen's Chinese, and others, and they are not restricted to holders of United Kingdom passports. My noble friend Lord Gifford, in his Amendment, covers people holding United Kingdom passports issued in the United Kingdom or Ireland, but these people are not brought into control by Clause 1, and they retain their existing exemption. For example, those Southern Ireland loyalists who get their passports from the High Commission in Dublin, or someone, say, from Gibraltar who has been here five years and then gets a full passport if he applies for it in this country—and there are many such people.

Those are technical points. On the general principle which all noble Lords have put forward, all the Amendments, of course, provide for claims for admission to be settled on arrival in this country. In the present circumstances it would not be possible for the immigration control to be operated in this way, with claims for admission not being sorted out until people arrive here. We think the better course is that proposed by the Government; namely, that claims for vouchers shall be assessed by the High Commissioners in East Africa, taking into account all the relevant personal circumstances, and the standing of the applicant under the law of his country of residence. Applications will be entertained by the High Commissions, and those granted will receive entry certificates, which will in practice assure their entry into the United Kingdom.

The hypothetical question has been posed: What do you do with people arriving here? Where do you send them? This point was answered by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary, but the real answer is that they do not come unless they are fully approved and are coming under this machinery with their dependants. Of course, quite apart from the voucher holders, and from the dependants accompanying voucher holders, there will be a good number of additional categories coming—for example, the dependants of people already resident here, the older people, dependants of people already resident here, and quite a number of others.

My noble friend Lord Gifford said that no doubt I would repeat the assurance given by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. In his speech on Amendments to Clause 1 the Home Secretary dealt at length with what his practice would be if people were expelled from East Africa, forced to leave, and arrived in this country, either directly or via a third country. I hope that my noble friend behind me, indeed all noble Lords, will agree that this matter is best left to be dealt with by the Home Secretary in the exercise of his discretion, which would enable him to deal with cases flexibly and humanely, and that it would be wrong to accept these Amendments because they would import rigidity and they would be very hampering in practice.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary was pressed about what would happen if somebody went to France before coming here, and he mentioned the legal position. If they come without having obtained an entry certificate in East Africa, or from our diplomatic representative in France (I say France because that was the example given), they would be examined by the immigration officer just like any other Commonwealth citizen. Whether such a person would be admitted would depend on whether he could bring himself within any of the heads of immigration policy: for example, as an entitled dependant, a visitor or a student. He went on further to indicate that if this hypothetical person finally arrived here somehow, despite all the steps that were taken, and he was a person who had been expelled, lost his work and was in distress, then he would stay. And that is another argument for leaving discretion in this matter with the Home Secretary and not putting these rigid suggestions into the Statute. All this presupposes the possibility that a Commonwealth Government would take the drastic step of expulsion, and this is something which we hope when this Bill becomes an Act we shall be able to avoid. We hope to arrange it so that the flow of immigrants, these Asian immigrants from Kenya, will be related to our ability to absorb them. I hope with that explanation noble Lords will feel it is not necessary to press their Amendments.

6.29 a.m.


I may be bemused by the lateness of the hour—I hope not. I accept that what I am going to say may not be strictly to the point, but it occurred to me that there may be an enormous loophole in this Bill. It may be the lateness of the hour, and I hope the noble Lord will show me I am wrong. What happens if a holder of one of these passports applies to come to England as a visitor and produces a round-trip ticket—that is an Americanism—a return ticket from Kenya to London and back, and then, having gained admission as a visitor, refuses to leave. Can he be deported from his own country? I am sorry to raise this subject. It just struck me, and I wonder what the answer is.


If it was an Asian from Kenya who purchased a round-trip ticket, in the hope that he could stay here and dispense with the other half of his ticket. I should have thought he would have been somewhat incautious; and if he could not show to the satisfaction of the Home Secretary that there were good and compelling reasons why he should be allowed to stay here, then he would be sent back to the country from which he came, using the other half of his ticket. The only difference would be that in such a case the airline would not have to pay for it.


But how would he be found? He is a British citizen, with a British passport. He would not have to register anywhere, or anything like that.


He would have to come through an airport or a port of entry, and if he managed to get to this country by some other means then he would be subject to the provisions in this Bill dealing with illegal entry.


He can come into the country with permission to come as a visitor. Or are these people not allowed to come even as visitors?


If he came as a visitor he would be like all other visitors.

Visitors come for a period of one month, two months or three months, and they are checked; and if it were found that he had not left the country at the end or soon after the end of the given period, then steps would be taken to find him.


May I ask the noble Lord a question about my own Amendment? What would be the position of someone who is actually expelled from his country of domicile, so that he is actually put outside the border, and who then makes his way to this country in one way or another? He would not have had the opportunity of getting one of these entry permits issued in his State of domicile. That person may well turn up and present himself at an airport or a port without any entry card. Then you would have precisely the case which is envisaged in this Amendment. Indeed, Mr. Callaghan, the Home Secretary, envisaged this when he was asked what he was going to do when a man was thrown out of work and ejected from the country. His answer was, not that it could not happen, but that he may come here only with an entry permit. He went on to say that in those circumstances we should have to take him.


That does not differ at all from what I said. When I tried to explain the working of this machinery I used the phrase, "it could not happen". But perhaps I ought to say that it should not happen. The Home Secretary was replying not on instances which he had suggested, but on those which had been suggested to him. I would say the same to the noble Lord. If, despite these arrangements, and despite our hope that the Kenyan Government would not expel people in this way (I am assuming that they are people of good character, and are not being deported for criminal activities or reasons of that kind), they did expel somebody like that, and he came here having had no opportunity to go through the High Commission, then of course that was precisely the kind of person that the Home Secretary indicated would have very strong claims to remain here. If it should happen that the Kenyan Government decided to expel a number of persons, for reasons which were unfortunate and unjustified, such people would have a prior claim to the help of the Commission in getting here in a proper way. If the noble Lord has envisaged somebody who is almost literally picked up by the police by his collar and thrown over the border without anybody knowing about it—a situation which I cannot imagine—then that person would of course have prior consideration.


When the noble Lord says "an appropriate claim" does he mean that, or does he mean that the people who will be accepted will be added to the 1,500 voucher-holders? There is quite a big difference.


The number of vouchers—and it is not written into the Bill—is fixed. But what I am saying is that within the 1,500 the prior claims will be those where there is need. The criterion to be given a voucher will be the greatest need—not the question of employment, the job they can do, the skills, but their need in relation to conditions where they are living. We shall have to see how this goes on, and how many there are who are subject to these acute needs. In addition to the 1,500 or thereabouts who will come here virtually on the basis of need, according to the various criteria, there will be Asians coming from Kenya under the ordinary voucher scheme, either with "A" vouchers or "B" vouchers, who will be additional to those who come in the other way.


I do not think my noble friends on these Benches are going to be satisfied with the Minister's use of the expression "either very strong claims or prior claims". I think my noble friends are not going to be satisfied until it is made the law of England, via this Bill, that any holder of a United Kingdom passport who arrives on these shores, having been expelled from his country of domicile, shall have a right under the law of England expressed in an Act of Parliament, which can be produced, to come into this country as a citizen of this country.


The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said he was assuming that the person has not been expelled for a criminal offence or something like that. But what happens if he has been expelled for a criminal offence? Such people are in just as great need of the protection of the United Kingdom. They may not deserve it as much, but they need it as much; and they are human beings. Would they not have consideration?


On this point there are other Acts which would come into operation. It is impossible to give a firm answer on a hypothetical case like that, but normally it would be unlikely that we should admit an ordinary criminal, a man who had committed some criminal offence, unless there was some other good and compelling reason. This is another reason for not being rigid about this, and why it should be flexible and left to the Home Secretary.

I was surprised at the suggestion that noble Lords will not be satisfied by this. I do not want to over-press the matter, but I have clearly indicated that these Amendments were defective and I think that I have gone as far as it is humanly possible to go, not only to meet noble Lords in this—I am as anxious as they are over this matter—but to indicate precisely how we think this eventually will work. I said earlier this morning that we envisaged that most of these people will eventually be coming to this country and will be admitted. The whole purpose of what we are doing now is to ensure that they come in in an orderly way and that those with the greatest need come in first.


May I press the noble Lord on one point? It is possible in regard to the notices now being served in Kenya that a figure in excess of 1,500—say 2,000 people—might be in the category of having to leave the country. Does that mean, if we take them all in, there will be no others in any other category who will be permitted because the quota will be exhausted?


I have indicated that this figure would be flexible. I have also indicated that it would be exclusive of those who would come in under the ordinary voucher procedure. I cannot go any further with regard to numbers, but I can say that if our hopes in this matter—and particularly our hopes with regard to the Kenya Government—were not realised, that would be a situation which we should have to look at again and which we should look at again.


I am sorry to press the noble Lord on this point, but it worries me very considerably. He has just said, unless I misunderstood him, that we should be unlikely to accept a common criminal. All right: a common criminal is not an ideal citizen to accept, I agree. But if he holds a United Kingdom and Colonies passport, and has been deported from his permanent place of residence, and if he arrives here—and the noble Lord says we are unlikely to accept him—where does he go?


I can only quote cases within my knowledge, and I will not mention names. But I can assure the noble Lord that before this rumpus blew up we had people from Kenya of that category, and we sent them back; and so far as I am aware, they are still there.


I am afraid that I cannot agree to withdraw this Amendment. The noble Lord says that it is defective in its phrasing, but it expresses exactly what I want it to express; that is to say, I want it to ensure as the law of this country that, where an immigration officer is satisfied that he has before him a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and that that citizen has been expelled from his country of domicile and has no right of re-entry, then that person shall be entitled to come in. It expresses exactly what I want it to express. Not only that: the noble Lord speaks about bringing rigidity into the matter, and rigidity is exactly what I want.


May I offer my noble friend relief from the barrage of Liberals, and sympathise with him? I should have preferred to see that assurance which has been given embodied in the law, but I should like to tell my noble friend that I accept it. He has certainly gone as far as, if not farther than, his right honourable friend did. May I just raise one point which is very germane and topical? I read in my paper yesterday afternoon that the Kenya Government were requiring their non-citizens to apply for a visa before they could re-enter Kenya. This will mean in some cases that some Asians without entry certificates and without vouchers will by some route arrive in this country. Can I have my noble friend's assurance that they will not be promptly despatched to Nairobi where they will not be admitted, and will then have to be promptly despatched somewhere else, but that they will, first of all, be given the opportunity to apply for visas and then, if these are not granted, will take their place within the assurance that he has given?


The people to whom my noble friend has referred are, I take it, in transit, or likely to be in transit, not from Kenya to here but from somewhere outside Kenya back to Kenya. It is alleged that they would be denied entry, in which case I should have


In view of the assurance given about the implementation of the Wilson Report, with your Lordships' leave, I will not move my Amendment

thought it would not have been possible for them to apply for a visa. If they came here in such circumstances, they would be one of the kinds of case to which my right honourable friend the Home Secretary would have to give sympathetic consideration. This is just another example of the need for discretion, and I am astonished that the noble Lord opposite insists on rigidity.

6.45 a.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 10) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided:

Contents, 20; Not-Contents, 84.

Airedale, L. Carnock, L. Henley, L.
Amulree, L. Craigmyle, L. Hertford, M.
Arran, E. Feversham, L. Moynihan, L. [Teller.]
Barrington, V. Foot, L. Nathan, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. [Teller.] Gifford, L. Nunburnholme, L.
Greenway, L. Wedgwood, L.
Byers, L. Hemingford, L. Willis, L.
Addison, V. Fiske, L. Moyne, L.
Albemarle, E. Gardiner, L. (L. Chancellor.) Noel-Buxton, L.
Ampthill, L. Granville-West, L. Pargiter, L.
Auckland, L. Gray, L. Peddie, L.
Balerno, L. Gridley, L. Phillips, Bs.
Bathurst, E. Grimston of Westbury, L. Popplewell, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Hall, V. Raglan, L.
Beswick, L. Hawke, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Bowles, L. Heycock, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Hill of Wivenhoe, L. St. Helens, L.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.] Sandford, L.
Brown, L. Hives, L. Sandys, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Ilford, L. Sempill, Ly.
Carron, L. Jellicoe, E. Shackleton, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Chalfont, L. Kennet, L. Shepherd, L.
Champion, L. Kilbracken, L. Sorensen, L. [Teller.]
Colville of Culross, V. Kinnoull, E. Stonham, L.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Kirkwood, L. Stow Hill, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Lansdowne, M. Strabolgi, L.
Cranbrook, E. Leatherland, L. Strange, L.
Crook, L. Lindgren, L. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Darwen, L. MacAndrew, L. Teynham, L.
Daventry, V. McLeavy, L. Thurlow, L.
Delacourt-Smith, L. Maelor, L. Tweedsmuir, L.
Denham, L. Merrivale, L. Vivian, L.
Derwent, L. Milner of Leeds, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Douglass of Cleveland, L. Milverton, L. Williamson, L.
Elton, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L. Winterbottom, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.


I will now call Manuscript Amendment No. 16A, in the name of the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne.


I must apologise for this Amendment being in manuscript. I think it speaks for itself, and I hope that it has been circulated to all your Lordships, but in case it has not I will read it out.


Please do not.


Has it been circulated?




Could the noble Marquess read it out? We have not a copy of it.


I will hand the noble Earl a copy. From the answers given by both the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, I have the feeling that they are seriously concerned about the situation of the Kenya Asians.


I thought the noble Marquess was going to read the Amendment out. We have not seen it.


I understood that it had been circulated.




The Amendment is:

Page 3, line 48, at end insert— ("( ) After subsection (3) of Section 2 of the principal Act, there shall be inserted the following subsection:— (3A) In issuing vouchers for the purposes of this section, it shall be the duty of the Minister of Labour and the Ministry of Labour and National Insurance for Northern Ireland to give preference over all other applicants to applicants who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and who hold passports issued by the British Government.") Perhaps I should just explain that the description "passports issued by the British Government" includes, of course, passports issued by British High Commissioners, but does not include passports issued by Colonial Governments—for instance, the Government of Hong Kong.

As I was saying just now, I have the impression that there is a real concern for holders of British passports issued by the British Government, and surely the fact that Her Majesty's Government are planning to issue 1,500 special vouchers for the sake of the Kenya Asians is tacit acceptance of the fact that they have a special position. Through this Amendment I am asking that Her Majesty's Government should go the whole hog. The Home Secretary has said that we are not trying to ban people from entry into this country; all we are asking them to do is to take their place in the queue. I submit that their place is right at the front of the queue, and that is what this Amendment seeks to achieve. I sincerely hope that your Lordships will feel able to support this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 48, at end insert the said words.—(The Marquess of Lansdowne.)

6.55 a.m.


May I say a brief word in support of the Amendment just moved by my noble friend? As some of your Lordships may know, I was for a long time at the Colonial Office. Indeed, while the tenure of office for the 100 years of the Colonial Office's existence was two years per Secretary of State, I was fortunate enough to be there for five years. During that period I had a great deal to do with the problems of nationality and citizenship and the rights and obligations of the holders of British passports. I got to know first-hand of the confidence in those passports and the pride in holding them felt by the people who were their proud possessors. Never did it enter my head that there would come a time when there would be first-class and second-class British passports. What II find personally shocking about this Bill is that it creates just that distinction. If Her Majesty's Government could see fit to accept this Amendment, or the principle behind it, it would, to my way of thinking, help to purge this Bill of one of its grave faults.


I should like to add my request that the Government consider very seriously and sympathetically how far they would accept at any rate the principle behind this Amendment. I am sure it is the desire of the Government, to judge by what has been said, to help as far as possible people who are in the present position of the Kenya Asians. This Amendment of my noble friend Lord Lansdowne seems to contain more than the germ of an excellent idea. We have not had much time, inevitably, to study this particular Amendment, as always happens with a manuscript Amendment.

At first sight it seems to me to be drafted somewhat widely and to offer an important preference, not only to people in the position of the Kenya Asians but to the million Chinese and to large numbers of other people who, though we understand their position, have not attracted our sympathy in the course of these discussions in the same way as have the Asian Kenyans. Moreover, I can see that if it were to impose a statutory duty on the Minister of Labour to give absolute preference to all these million and a half people over any other applicants for "A" and "B" vouchers, it might result in there being very few left for all the other Commonwealth countries who are at present able to take advantage of the 8,500.

For my part, I would not dare to press the Government to accept this Amendment as it stands. But I greatly hope they will be able to find some way of implementing the idea behind it, and not merely offer the Kenyan Asians these 1,500 additional vouchers but give them as good an opportunity as can possibly be given of obtaining a full share of the 8,500 "A" and "B" vouchers in addition.


This Amendment is obviously one which, on first consideration at least, attracts a great deal of sympathy and support; which puts me in a position of some difficulty because, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, envisaged, it would not be possible or indeed equitable to accept it, because it would require the Minister of Labour to give an absolute priority to the Asians of Kenya in the granting of labour vouchers. That could mean that they could take the whole 8,500. There would then be none left for anyone else in the world. Lord Boyd of Merton spoke of his five years' experience. I am sure that he will agree that it was always a matter of the greatest importance in any step taken, to balance the claims of all the colonies and members of the Commonwealth to see that there would be no injustice as between one and another.

It must be seen immediately that there would be the gravest injustice if this proposal was accepted. No vouchers could be granted to any other country, to Pakistan, India, the West Indies or the remaining Colonies, Gibraltar, or Malta. We have a special arrangement with Malta, that it should have 1,000 vouchers. There is the greatest sympathy with the Kenya Asians in the present circumstances, but it would not be equitable to do this, and I submit that even the noble Marquess on reflection would not want to do this, and that he would regard it as unfair. I am afraid that the Government cannot accept the Amendment.

The special allocation of 1,500 vouchers is much higher in proportion to the population than the rest of the Commonwealth receives, and this is a recognition of the special position of the Kenya Asians. The other point is that the vouchers are granted on a different basis. The 1,500 vouchers have nothing to do with employment; they are granted on the basis of need, almost of relative hardship. It is inherent in the labour voucher schemes that the Ministry of Labour administers that it operates to meet this country's needs. In other words, "A" vouchers are granted where there is a job available in certain trades; "B" vouchers for the doctors, nurses, teachers, and so on. They are granted on economic and social grounds to help meet our needs and to help the Commonwealth countries. The Kenya Asians do not require jobs—they represent those in great need. The essence of the thinking behind the Amendment is very much in the Government's mind. As I have said, in so far as they qualify for particular jobs or professions, we shall certainly do all that we can to help them with the voucher system, within the figure of 8,500, or whatever may be available from time to time. I hope that the noble Marquess will agree that we ought not to accept this proposal, and I trust that with the assurances that I have given, that we will do our utmost, he will not feel obliged to press his Amendment to a vote.


Would the Minister be kind enough to consider what was put to him by Lord Boyd and Lord Brooke; namely, not that he should accept the Amendment in the precise terms in which it appears now, but that he should accept the principle. It would be enormously satisfactory to a great many people who have acute moral misgivings about this matter and feel that something should go in the Bill to indicate that we have a sense of our obligation to those people who until recently have been living in a sort of fool's paradise. One does not want to discuss the moral issue at this hour, but what I have in mind is that something might be drafted which was on the footing that, all other considerations being equal, preference might be given to these immigrants to whom we have a moral obligation. If something on those lines could be provided, I am sure it would be a reassurance to many people.


I have no idea whether this Amendment is going to be pressed, but I think that what the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, said is the case. I feel that if the words "and hold no other nationality" are added to the end of this Amendment it would be a much better Amendment, because this would rule out the 1 million Chinese that we have been hearing about all evening and who, I think by everybody's mutual consent, should be ruled out because they hold another nationality. I suggest that if it is the intention of the noble Marquess to press this Amendment, and if it is constitutionally possible at this late hour—and this I do not know—the words "and hold no other nationality" should be added on to the end of the Amendment.


Would it not be better to leave the position as has already been stated: that, all things being equal, they can apply under the existing rules? We live in a changing world, and to tie ourselves down to a particular form of words might prove to be disadvantageous. We have the opportunity from time to time of debating how these things are being done, and of seeing that general effect is given to the desires of your Lordships.


I think we are all aiming at the same thing, though some of us may be aiming at it more powerfully than others. I recognise the noble Lord's difficulty about the present words of the Amendment, but could I ask him to make quite clear that what he said was that the Government would, so far as possible, assist the Kenya Asians through the issue to them of some of the 8,500 "A" and "B" vouchers, in addition to their right to the 1,500 special vouchers which will be for them exclusively?


That is exactly what I meant, and I hope it is what I said. Certainly I give that assurance in the terms put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor. But hope your Lordships will appreciate that I could not do what my noble friend Lord Goodman suggested and accept the principle of this Amendment, because that would mean, in effect, accepting the Amendment. I am sure the noble Marquess fully understands the position. I think he has achieved the essence of what he required, and I hope I have indicated to him that it is quite impossible to accept the whole of the proposition that he put in the Amendment.


I am obliged to the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, for his helpful reply, and particularly for having used the words "recognition of the special position of the Kenya Asians". It was this that I felt your Lordships should have on record: that we all accept that their position is a special one. I am not going into the Question of pledge any more—we have debated that endlessly. But we are now agreed, I think, that these people have a special position and, therefore, that we have a special responsibility towards them. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.15 a.m.

LORD GIFFORD moved, in subsection (3), to leave out "in relation to a person who has only one surviving parent, shall be construed as a reference to that parent", and to insert: shall be construed as follows—

  1. (a) in relation to a person who has only one surviving parent, as a reference to that parent;
  2. (b) in relation to a person of legitimate birth whose parents' marriage has been dissolved, as a reference to the parent who has legal custody of that person;
  3. (c) in relation to a person of illegitimate birth, as a reference to the parent who has had sole responsibility for his upbringing."

The noble Lord said: Perhaps I can move this Amendment fairly shortly. It is a somewhat innocuous Amendment: in fact, it merely puts into the Bill what is embodied in the draft instructions. We have a situation as follows: that the child of one surviving parent is allowed into the country as a dependant to join his parent as of right, but a child of divorced parents, or a child of an illegitimate union, is allowed as a matter of discretion. In general, in a Bill of this kind I should have thought it preferable to have as much as possible embodied in the Bill, rather than in draft instructions, which of course do not have statutory force. I speak also particularly in view of the promise to have an appeals tribunal, because it is obviously much more satisfactory to have an appeal on law than an appeal resting on a draft instruction. I do not know whether an appeal is possible on the basis of a draft instruction. I feel that this Amendment is very innocuous and I hope it will be accepted.

May I raise one point with my noble friend, which is in a way a new point? I thought of it only earlier this evening after I had tabled the Amendment. Even in the draft instructions the wording used is: in the case of a legitimate child the parents' marriage has been dissolved and the parent here has legal custody". I hope that if a dependant came over here to join a parent who was separated from his spouse, and who had legal custody of the child, the strict letter of the instructions would not be applied, and that the instructions would in fact, when in their final form, state "dissolved, divorced or separated". That is a very small point, but it may arise, and I hope I may have my noble friend's assurance about it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 6, leave out from ("parents") to end of line 8 and insert the said new Words.—(Lord Gifford.)


As my noble friend said, paragraph (a) of his Amendment merely restores to the Bill what he proposes to remove, and I need only deal, therefore, with paragraphs (b) and (c) of my noble friend's Amendment. I know he will agree with me—indeed, he said—that he had merely taken these two paragraphs from the instructions in the White Paper which the Home Secretary issued to immigration officers, and he wants to put them in the Bill so that they would have statutory effect, instead of being an instruction to the immigration officer. As always with Amendments of this kind, this Amendment looks attractive until one thinks about it, and particularly until one thinks ahead. The point is that it is highly desirable in a field where there is so much evasion that the Home Secretary should not be strictly fettered in the way my noble friend suggests in the instructions he has to give to immigration officers about the way they will have to operate the new provisions of this Bill.

Experience of dealing with applications for the admission of children, the marriage of whose parents is said to have been dissolved, or illegitimate children, may, and indeed probably will, eventually show a need to amend the instruction. It would be most unfortunate, if this were necessary, if we could do so only with amending legislation. My noble friend will be aware that two or three times—three times, I think—in the last two years we have indeed amended instructions to immigration officers as a result of experience, and indeed to meet requests made by noble Lords in this House and by the Members of another place. I am sure my noble friend would not wish us to be inhibited in that if and when the need arises.

My noble friend the Home Secretary is answerable to Parliament for the way in which immigration officers carry out these instructions, and Members of another place and noble Lords in this House are not slow to point out what they regard as errors or mistakes or even alleged bad conduct. If anything is not done properly in accordance with these instructions I am sure we shall be told about it; we shall pay heed and make whatever alterations are necessary. I hope it will not be insisted that we should write into the Bill the instructions which the Home Secretary is giving to immigration officers, because we should thereby inhibit ourselves from making alterations if, in the light of experience, they should be found to be necessary.


I take the point. When my noble friend mentioned evasion, I was not quite with him, because I should have thought that if there was evasion it was up, first of all, to the immigration officer and, at a later stage, the Appeals Tribunal to decide. I hope nothing in what my noble friend has just said will be taken to mean that a bona fide divorced father or mother who has immigrated here cannot bring his or her children, and that the discretion will be exercised humanely. Perhaps I may briefly have that assurance.


Yes, my Lords; and really my noble friend is putting forward an argument for flexibility. I see quite a large number of cases and I am certain this was the case with previous Home Secretaries: that where there is flexibility and discretion from the Home Secretary it is much easier to meet special cases of particular hardship than it is if you are bound rigidly by a Statute.


I am certainly not going to insist on this Amendment. I will read what my noble friend has said later in Hansard, and at the moment I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2 agreed to.

7.23 a.m.

LORD GIFFORD moved, after Clause 2, to insert the following new clause:

Race or religion of immigrant Commonwealth citizens to be disregarded.

". In the principal Act the following section shall be inserted after section 2:—

'2A—(1) The immigration officer shall exercise his powers and carry out his duties under this Act without regard to the race, colour, or religion of Commonwealth citizens who seek to enter the United Kingdom.

(2) The Minister of Labour and the Minister of Labour and National Insurance for Northern Ireland shall when deciding whether to issue any voucher for the purpose of section 2 of the Act do so without regard to the race, colour or religion of Commonwealth citizens who apply for vouchers.'"

The noble Lord said: I hope I can move this Amendment shortly. May I emphasise at once that this is not a contentious Amendment. In moving it, I should not be taken to be accusing immigration officers of discrimination, nor should I be taken as accusing the Minister of Labour and National Insurance for Northern Ireland of any kind of discrimination whatever. My noble friend will probably have seen that much of the wording of my Amendment comes out of another set of draft instructions still in force; in fact the first paragraph of the draft instructions to immigration officers under the 1962 Act. So if any noble Lord is shocked by the wording he will find it in paragraph 1 of these draft instructions.

My reason for moving the Amendment is that, particularly on a measure which has stirred up so much feeling, aid one which may, rightly or wrongly, be opposed and resented as being a restrictive and discriminatory measure, it would be of great value, and particularly to the Government, if a clause which in effect is no more than declaratory is put in to reaffirm and emphasise the spirit in which the Government have put it forward. It has a subsidiary point, in that when an appeals procedure is set up I think it is right that this duty of complete impartiality and non-discrimination should be something written into the law. We have no written constitution which lays down these duties and these principles, and I think it would be no bad thing if these were written into the Bill to-night. I beg to move.

Amendment moved.— After Clause 2, insert the said new clause.—(Lord Gifford.)


My noble friend immediately and very engagingly acquitted me of racial discrimination, but I am bound to say that if one looks at the second paragraph of my noble friend's Amendment, it says: The Minister of Labour and the Minister of Labour and National Insurance for Northern Ireland shall when deciding whether to issue any voucher for the purposes of section 2 of the Act do so without regard to the race, colour or religion of Commonwealth citizens who apply for vouchers. That is directly saying that my right honourable friend the Minister of Labour, and indeed any of his successors, could possibly be guilty of this discrimination in carrying out their duties. One of my responsibilities is to assist my right honourable friend the Home Secretary with regard to matters concerned with Northern Ireland, and I know and have to meet the Minister of Labour and National Insurance for Northern Ireland, and on his behalf I have to reject any kind of idea that there could be discrimination in this way. I hope my noble friend will see that that second paragraph, however kindly he explained it, is quite unacceptable. It would be impossible for anyone to agree to that.

With regard to the first paragraph, really this is the practice now. I do not know whether my noble friend has seen the White Paper, Cmnd. 3064, paragraph 1, of which provides: Immigration officers will carry out their duties without regard to the race, colour or religion of Commonwealth citizens who may seek to enter the country.


That is the White Paper to which I was referring.


We are not aware of a single authenticated suggestion ever having been made that immigration officers have not complied with that instruction. I must make it clear, although my noble friend indicated that he did not believe there was any such discrimination by immigration officers that we really could not agree that it should be written into the Statute, because it would be so interpreted. I can assure him that so far as practical grounds are concerned it would make no difference. We do not discriminate now. There is no possibility that we would discriminate. Therefore, quite apart from the second paragraph of the Amendment, there is really no need for any of it, and I hope my noble friend will withdraw it.


I accept everything that my noble friend has said about non-discrimination; indeed, I think I made it clear that I was not accusing anybody. I should have liked to give the Government a chance to put in a statement of principle in this Bill, because I do not feel there is much statement of principle there at the moment. Again I am not going to insist on this, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD GIFFORD moved, after Clause 2, to insert the following new clause:


". In the principal Act the following section shall be inserted after section 4:—

'4B.—(1) Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the immigration officer to grant him admission to the United Kingdom or the conditions imposed on such admission may appeal to the magistrates' court having jurisdiction for the area in which the said person entered the United Kingdom.

(2) On consideration of the said appeal the court may—

  1. (a) dismiss the appeal; or
  2. 1188
  3. (b) allow the appeal on any conditions which the immigration officer was empowered to make under his statutory powers.

(3) No appeal shall lie from a decision of the magistrates' court save on a point of law by way of case stated to the Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.

(4) Pending the hearing of an appeal to the magistrates' court the person aggrieved may be allowed to enter the United Kingdom upon such conditions as the immigration officer thinks fit.'"

The noble Lord said: I am going to take the hint of the noble Lord, Lord Foot, who did not move his Amendment on appeals, and not have a wish to institute a long discussion on the Wilson proposals or anything of that kind, because like him I am glad that the promise to introduce legislation on the lines of the Wilson Committee Report was reaffirmed, I think even in an accelerated form, at some stage this evening.

But while we are considering this there are two matters that I should like to raise, and both of them concern the setting up of the ad hoc committee of the two lawyers who are now in Nairobi, because I may have missed some detailed exposition of their functions and duties in the debates in either place. I am myself a little uncertain of exactly what they are doing, and how they will be going about their work. May I say one thing about them? I was most shocked when the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, produced this morning's paper with the news that the first Asians were turned away. I hope that it will be the first duty of these lawyers to hear appeals from those who had gone to an airport with the intention of legally entering this country to-day and who have been turned away. I hope either that their cases can be brought before the two lawyers, or at any rate that they may be admitted outside the 1,500, because they should still be coming in and they may be turned away.

The other point is this, and I should like some guidance on it; namely, that the two lawyers are in Nairobi, and I imagine that there they are hearing appeals from the refusal of the High Commissioner to allow an entry certificate or to allow a voucher. I shall be corrected if I am wrong, but what worries me is that there may be a man who perhaps is partly of Asian descent but with a parent or grandparent born in the United Kingdom, who will come over here, believing, quite rightly, that he has a right to be here. He will arrive and perhaps fail to satisfy the immigration officer at London Airport that this is the case.

Where does he appeal to, and how, under the ad hoc arrangements? Does he have to go back to Nairobi and then appeal to the two lawyers? And if his appeal is allowed, who pays for his return fare back? I do not know whether this is the moment, and whether my noble friend will want to go into detail, but I hope he will, because I do not think (I shall be corrected if I am wrong) that we have had quite enough explanation of how this ad hoc committee, which I welcome, is to go about its duties.

May I add, in this connection, that I think it would be most helpful to these Asians in Kenya who are thinking about coming to this country under one heading or another, to learn how to go about it, to avoid any question of being turned away at London Airport. When I heard of the two lawyers I thought they should be at London Airport or some other convenient place, rather than at Nairobi. I hope that they will be able to do an effective job in Nairobi. While begging your Lordships' pardon for introducing what may be an irrelevant point, strictly speaking, on this Amendment, and while giving my noble friend an assurance that I will withdraw this Amendment in due course, I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 2 insert the said new clause.—(Lord Gifford.)

7.33 a.m.


The circumstances envisaged by the noble Lord are a very long way from Amendment No. 19A, and largely speculative. One cannot say exactly what will happen in all sorts of different circumstances. So far as the two lawyers are concerned, it is obviously of great advantage, in the circumstances of Kenya, to have the whole thing dealt with there, rather than here. One hopes very much that it will be possible to do that in agreement with the Government of Kenya. Immigration officers are going out there, if they have not already gone; and, as your Lordships know, two lawyers, a former dis- tinguished ex-President of the: Law Society and a Queen's Counsel, to both of whom I am extremely grateful, because it is not easy to get somebody to give up their practice for three months at a moment's notice. I believe that they may go tomorrow. They are not sitting as a court. They will sit separately, I understand, hearing appeals from decisions of the immigration officers out there. It is not the intention that either of them should do anything in London.


Could my noble friend make any comment about it the people who are unable to get here to-day who have been turned away from their aeroplanes?


I do not know anything about that.


I should have given my noble friend notice of that. Many of my noble friends in this House were shocked to hear the news that people were not able to get in to-day. In thanking my noble friend for dealing with my irrelevant intervention, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 [Further restrictions on landing in United Kingdom]:

7.36 a.m.

LORD FOOT moved, in the proposed new Section 4A(1), after "Kingdom" to insert: with the intention of avoiding examination by an immigration officer. The noble Lord said: This is the last occasion this morning on which I shall have anything to say, and possibly the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor may be able to make a concession on this matter, because this Amendment in no way diminishes or injures the Bill. It is designed simply to throw the onus of proof on to the prosecution.

The effect of the clause as it is now is to make it an offence for any person who is a Commonwealth citizen to land in this country without being examined by an immigration officer on the ship or on the plane or on landing, and provides that he lands in accordance with arrangements approved by the immigration officer and on landing submits to an examination in accordance with those arrangements. The fault of this provision seems to me to be that whether a person is examined on a ship or in an aircraft is in the first instance under the control, not of the person to be examined, but of the person who does the examination. Secondly, whether a person lands in accordance with the arrangements approved by the immigration officer depends not in the first place on him, but on the immigration officer doing his job. Therefore, if my additional wording is accepted, it will be more in accordance with the normal way of expressing a matter of this kind and would make it clear that the burden of proof is on the prosecution.

On the present wording of the Bill, it is possible to imagine circumstances in which a person, through no fault of his own, and with no intention of avoiding the examination, might not be examined or asked to submit to an examination to pass through the aerodrome. Yet he would be guilty of an offence, and the offence attracts serious penalties—namely, a fine of £100 or six months imprisonment, or both. It would appear to me to be a quite inoffensive Amendment and is in accordance with the ordinary principles of the criminal law.


The noble Lord, Lord Foot, is correct when he says that the Amendment would make this an offence only where it was done with the intention of avoiding examination by an immigration officer; and the prosecution would have to prove such an intention in addition to the other ingredients of the offence. An Amendment in the same terms was moved in another place, but was withdrawn after the Solicitor General had adduced the arguments, and perhaps I could put one or two before the Committee.

Most of the cases are of the kind that the Home Secretary proposes to exempt from the new Section 4A by an order under subsection (3), which will be made so as to come into operation at the same time as Clause 3. The exempted cases will include those of seamen on shore leave, aircrew stopping off between flights, air passengers in transit who remain at the airport, and other categories of people who are not normally examined on arrival. It is not intended in future that they should be required to submit to examination. Once cases of this kind have been taken out of the scope of the new Section 4A by an order under subsection (3), there remains only a limited class of circumstances in which an immigrant might enter without examination, and these would usually be circumstances giving rise to grave suspicion; for example, where a boatload of immigrants is landed on a beach outside the limits of a recognised port.

In such circumstances it would be difficult to adduce positive evidence, apart from the fact of the landing itself, of the immigrants' knowledge that they would land without examination, and their intention to avoid it. In a matter of this kind it seems reasonable to let the facts speak for themselves and leave it to the immigrant to justify an irregular entry into this country. As I say, this Amendment was considered in another place. The Solicitor General gave his advice, and I understand that the Amendment was withdrawn. I hope that what I have said, in perhaps more layman's language, will be acceptable to the noble Lord.


I am afraid I am wholly unpersuaded by that, but I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 [Examination of persons landing in United Kingdom]:

7.43 a.m.

LORD AIREDALE moved, to leave out Clause 4 and insert the following new clause:

Abolition of time limit during which immigrant required to submit to examination

"4.—(1) Sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 1 of Schedule I to the principal Act (whereby a person cannot be required to submit to examination under that paragraph unless he is so required within twenty-four hours from the time of landing) is hereby repealed.

(2) In sub-paragraph (5)(a) of the said paragraph for the words sub-paragraphs (1) and (2)' there shall be substituted the words subparagraph (1)'."

The noble Lord said: I rise to move this Amendment on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Swaythling, who was in his place until shortly before 6 o'clock this morning, but who has had to leave to keep a public engagement outside London. Clause 4 extends from 24 hours to 28 days the time within which an immigration officer can examine, in the sense of interrogate, a suspected illegal immigrant. The purpose of this Amendment is to remove any time limit at all, even the 28 days time limit.

I think that the 24 hours time limit was recognised widely as being in the nature of a scandal, and that something more than that was required. But I wonder what is the special virtue of a 28-day period, and what is the virtue, really, in having any time limit at all. One would hope that leniency would be shown to any illegal immigrant who had for a substantial time resided in this country and was of good behaviour, but why in every single case should there be an absolute bar to his being interrogated after 28 days? After all, the suspected ordinary law breaker in this country is not protected from being questioned by the police about an offence which he is suspected of having committed more than 28 days before, so what is the purpose of any time limit at all here?

Finally, may I ask the Minister this question? If an immigration officer supposes that an immigrant has come in illegally a few weeks ago, and presumably came in clandestinely, or illegally, and the immigration officer does not have the faintest idea whether it was more than 28 days ago or less, can the immigration officer examine the immigrant or can be not? I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Leave out Clause 4 and insert the said new clause.—(Lord Airedale.)


I understand that if an immigrant has arrived in this country illegally he is liable, within a period of six months after landing, to prosecution under Clause 3 for unlawful entry, and on conviction the court may recommend deportation. In regard to the question of 24 hours, 28 days, or an unlimited period, as is suggested in the Amendment, the Government felt that the period of 24 hours was unreasonably short. On the other hand, they considered whether it should be 56 days or even, as the noble Lord suggested, an indefinite period. But they felt that there should be a limit to the period within which a person should be exposed to any action of this kind by the Executive. There are various reasons why the longer the period the more doubtful may be the proof. After careful consideration, the Government felt that 28 days was about reasonable, and that is why that period has been put in the Bill.


I am much obliged to the Minister for that answer. I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Swaythling, wanted to press the Amendment very hard. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 [Interpretation and supplementary provisions]:

7.47 a.m.

LORD ST. OSWALD moved, in subsection (3), to leave out "Channel Islands and Isle of Man", and insert: excepted territories—

  1. (a) in subsection (1) there shall be inserted after the words "Isle of Man" the words "and Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands"; and
  2. (b) in subsection (1) for the words ("Lieutenant Governor of any of the Islands") there shall be inserted the words "Governor or Lieutenant Governor of any of the excepted territories as the case may be"; and
  3. (c) subject to paragraph (b) above for the expression ("the Islands") wherever the, occur except in subsection (4) there shall tie substituted the expression "the excepted territories"; and
  4. (d) in subsection (4) for the word "Islands" there shall be substituted the words "Channel Islands and the Isle of Man"; and
  5. (e) "

The noble Lord said: I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and the House would wish to consider Amendment No. 23 with Amendment No. 22. Both stand in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Merrivale, and myself. Two similar Amendments were set down in another place the day before yesterday, but were not selected. In the process of its passage from typescript to the printed sheet, Amendment No. 22 has acquired two unnecessary pairs of brackets, but I am advised that although they are redundant they are in no way obstructive.

The Amendments are straightforward despite their complicated appearance. Their effect would be to place tie inhabitants of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands on the same footing as the inhabitants of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as regards free access to the United Kingdom. I am aware that that endeavour is selective, but is is selective in a positive and beneficial sense. The claim, which, as I see it, separates these two territories from the rest of the Commonwealth is twofold. First, they are both small—too small to contemplate or be granted full self-government. Gibraltar has an area of under three square miles, with a population of 19,000. The Falkland Islands have an area of 5,000 square miles and a population of only 2,000. Second, and of equal persuasiveness, they both have large neighbours who offer them a present choice between absorption and isolation with a distant Britain unable to offer any practical alternative for the future.

I have never been within a thousand miles of the Falkland Islands, but Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians are well-known to many noble Lords, including myself, but perhaps better known to me by circumstances than to any other Member of your Lordships' House. Everyone is agreed that they merit help. The views on how best we can help them in their present predicament differ widely. The approach to their problems among well-wishers differs widely.

But here is a way, provided fortuitously by this Bill, in which all of us can join in assisting them. It has brought together my noble friend Lord Merrivale and myself, to name two whose approaches have differed up to now, during three years of growing tribulation for the Gibraltarians. Logically, I think, we should also be able to draw in with us all those who at various times have promised their support to the Gibraltarians, including a number of Ministers—all Ministers who have had anything to do with this problem. It seems to me that the weak element of our declarations up to date has been that the form of support has never been specified or described, and the Gibraltarians are to my knowledge very conscious of this. If all the protestations. exhortations and declarations of encouragement uttered by the Members of both Houses of Parliament were to be printed together, they might fill 100 columns of Hansard.

But the Gibraltarians are asking what it all adds up to, what they can hope for in practical terms—and they have not been told. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has recently been, as the Minister responsible, to Gibraltar. Two weeks ago he ended a debate in this House with these stirring words: … I would only say to those in Gibraltar that if there are difficult days ahead (and it has been suggested that there may be) we shall stand by them and we shall sustain them despite all the difficulties ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15/2/68, col. 310]. He did not say how; and, as regards their hopes of entry into Britain, his words in another part of his speech were in fact far less encouraging. Yet tonight, in the present debate, the noble Lord said: If any one has a greater claim to free entry to Britain it is the Gibraltarians". I am again quoting the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, in the present debate. How is that claim to be realised or implemented?

Here, in these Amendments, is a means of helping them in a strictly limited way, of raising their morale—a means which will not conflict with the Treaty of Utrecht, which will not conflict with the resolution of the United Nations, which will be in complete harmony with the Declaration of Human Rights, and which will not exacerbate in any way the relations between Britain and Spain or between Gibraltar and Spain.

We have been told in this debate that the main requirement inducing this Bill is some restraint on the vast numbers, the daunting numbers, of Commonwealth citizens who may arrive here, unprepared for the conditions that meet them, in numbers too great for the country to cope with. We heard from the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, a series of statistics: 98,000 from one territory (I think it was Tanzania), 100,000 from Aden and 30,000 from Singapore—a total, I think, of 440,000, without counting others from Malaya and elsewhere having dual nationality. The figure of 1 million Chinese in Hong Kong has also been mentioned.

In these Amendments my noble friend and I are speaking of a total of under 25,000 people, very few of whom, I estimate, would take advantage of this at present withheld privilege, but to whom it would mean a very great deal in self-assurance and their trust in Britain. Again speaking of the Gibraltarians, whom I know, the great majority of them have close knowledge of Britain from having passed the war here or from parents who passed the war here, from school in Britain or from holidays spent in Britain. I press the point upon the Government that this would be a small, beneficent extension of a Bill which will otherwise be entirely restrictive in its purpose and in its effect. It would be a redeeming and a happy feature. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 36, leave out ("Channel Islands and Isle of Man") and insert the said new words.—(Lord St. Oswald.)


As a joint sponsor of these Amendments, I should like to add my views to those expressed by my noble friend Lord St. Oswald; for I believe, too, that there are very strong grounds indeed for amending the principal Act so as to exempt the people of Gibraltar and of the Falkland Islands, like those of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, from certain provisions of the principal Act. As my noble friend has said, their situation is unique in so far as neither of these territories can ever be independent—and concerning Gibraltar, that was stressed by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, on February 15 in the course of a debate here, on account of the implications of the Treaty of Utrecht. With regard to the Falkland Islands, this, too, would never be independent, with a population of 2,200 and also on account of its geographical position and of the past claims of Argentina.

On March 21 last year, when I raised in this House the question of the Gibraltarians and immigration control, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, speaking for the Government, stated that the total population of all the dependent territories in 1966 was 9,123,000—that is, if one was considering making exceptions for populations of dependent territories. The noble Lord went on to argue that what I said in favour of exempting the Gibraltarians from immigration control would to a large extent be equally applicable to the dependent territories in general.

But what the Minister did not say and did not stress, however, was that although the number of these dependent territories was yearly diminishing by achieving in- dependence—we have recently had the case of Aden and Mauritius, with a total population of around 940,000—independence was something which could never be hoped for by the people of Gibraltar. At this point I should like to quote from a letter of which I have a copy which was sent on February 24, 1968, by Robert Peliza who is chairman of the executive committee of the Integration with Britian Party in Gibraltar. This letter was sent to Lord Shepherd. Mr. Peliza says: You said to the Gibraltarians unequivocally that Gibraltarians had no right to the sovereignty of Gibraltar because of the Treaty of Utrecht. Thus, since Gibraltar does not belong to the Gibraltarians, the Gibraltarians cannot belong to Gibraltar. At the same time, since the Gibraltarians have no right of entry to Great Britain we do not belong to the United Kingdom and therefore we are not, other than on paper, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. We are therefore Stateless, for whilst people generally of other territories still dependent on Great Britain have a right to the sovereignty of their own territory, we, the Gibraltarians have not. Even if the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, does not agree with that statement by Mr. Peliza, he will agree that it expresses a feeling which exists in Gibraltar and which I think one should consider carefully. But the noble Lord must surely agree that a State of 2¼ or 3 square miles, with its citizens not being able to own the land on which they live and being affected by increasing restrictions and by a closure of the frontier deserve this special consideration.

Much has been said recently about not increasing racial tension nor admitting more immigrants than we can assimilate. The Gibraltarians are European, and if one considers the demand for vouchers it will be seen that in 1966 and 1967 the demand amounted to 52 and 32 applications respectively. There was no great surge on the part of these people to try to get jobs here. Apart from the fact that the Gibraltarians cannot be independent, there is the further fact that the bread and butter of Gibraltar is our naval dockyard and the activities of our Service Departments which amount to about 60 per cent. of Gibraltar's national income. Another reason for the people of Gibraltar belonging to this country is that Paragraph 4 of Article 227 of the Treaty of Rome states: The provisions of this Treaty shall apply to European territories for whose external relations the Member State is responsible: That would apply to the question of the movement of labour. It would seem that when we enter the Common Market there will be free access into this country by the people of Gibraltar and the other Common Market countries, yet they are not entitled to that access now. Why not make it possible for them to have this access now by incorporating our Amendment into the Bill?

From his recent visit to Gibraltar, the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd will be aware that the people of Gibraltar desire, above all, strengthened links with Britain and a right of entry to this country, which they consider to be their mother country. Lord Shepherd said in Gibraltar recently: We are wedded to Gibraltar, as Gibraltar clearly wishes to be wedded to the United Kingdom. I have a feeling that the Gibraltarians may consider that this marriage is not a very good one, when a wife has to ask her husband for a voucher to enter and live in his house.

Would the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, bear in mind that at the moment the people of Gibraltar are feeling insecure, a little isolated and somewhat disheartened? Would the noble Lord not agree that there is an excellent opportunity afforded to Parliament to grant this right of entry to the Gibraltarians now, rather than await the time when we shall be in the Common Market and they will automatically have this right? Even if the noble Lord feels he cannot accept the Amendment, there are safeguards contained in the principal Act, under Section 18(2). If this Amendment were accepted it would not be a question of islands, but excepted territories.


It has been rather a long sitting and the Treaty of Rome at eight o'clock in the morning under the guise of an Amendment on Gibraltar is perhaps going rather far. All your Lordships know and admire the way in which the noble Lords, Lord St. Oswald and Lord Merrivale, never miss an opportunity at any hour of the day or night to advertise Gibraltar and to push everything that can be said in favour of Gibraltar and its people, whom we all join in admiring so much. But their enthusiasm for the Falkland Islands is rather more recent, so far as I know.

The question was considered in 1962 as to whether Dependent Territories should be included as well as independent ones, and it was decided that they should be. If this Bill is passed, then all immigration will be brought under control, and at this point we really cannot start considering who is going to be the only dependency or independent country which is not going to be under control. If the Bill is passed, then for the first time all immigration will be under control.


Not the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.


They are rather nearer than the Falkland Islands, and have always been treated in a sense as metropolitan. I do not know whether this is a matter which can be brought up at the next Prime Ministers' Conference, but without considering the views of the Commonwealth countries we cannot start dismantling the 1962 Act by making exceptions of particular parts of the Commonwealth. If we do, I have no doubt that there will be other candidates for this. For these reasons, I am afraid that I cannot accept the Amendment.


Am I to understand that the noble and learned Lord's objection is purely on account of the greater distance of these territories from this country?


The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have always in a sense been treated as metropolitan places and allied with the United Kingdom, in the same way as Northern Ireland.


I am disappointed, if I may say so with respect, that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, because it is late and we have been sitting for a long time, sweeps away the whole idea that the people of Gibraltar could in a few years be affected by the Treaty of Rome. I would ask him whether he would not agree that when we get into the Common Market the Gibraltarian people will have the right then which we are seeking to obtain for them now. Why should we not try to give them this right at an early date, in view of the special position in which they find themselves, internationally and locally, vis-à-vis Spain?


It may be a little time before we get into the Common Market, so we shall have time to think about them.


I am very disappointed and unhappy about what seems to be a narrow attitude towards this problem. I cannot see why the required characteristic of what I propose should have to be territories regarded as metropolitan. I do not think that the noble and learned Lord or any other Member of the House will differ with me in saying that these two territories are in a very particular situation. I will consult my noble friend but personally I do not intend to press this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 agreed to.

8.10 a.m.

LORD BEAUMONT OF WHITLEY moved, after Clause 6, to insert the following new clause:

Issue of vouchers to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies domiciled in Kenya

".In section 2(3)(a) of the principal Act, after the words "Northern Ireland" there shall be inserted the words "not less than 3,500 of which vouchers shall be issued in any one year, if applied for, to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies domiciled in Kenya"."

The noble Lord said: I rise to move this Amendment, which seeks to put in a new clause. I am open to correction on whether this is the right place for such an Amendment to go in, and whether the vouchers to which this refers, referred to in the principal Act, are the vouchers which are going to be used under this Bill when it becomes an Act. I give notice to the Government that, as they will probably know, if this is not the right place, I have another Amendment drafted for a later stage of the Bill which I think is probably the right place. Unless I am corrected now, I will give your Lordships my argument.


I have no dispute about the place of the Amendment, and I hope the noble Lord will carry on.


I am obliged to the noble Lord. This will be the only place in either of the Acts where particular countries and particular figures are mentioned. I can see that it may be argued that it is inappropriate in such a Bill to do this, and that this is a matter for regulation, but, as we all know, a great many of your Lordships have been most disturbed by this Bill and by the position of the particular citizens domiciled in Kenya. We feel that the number of vouchers proposed at the moment to be set aside for them, though I accept that it is not in the Bill, is far too small, and we want to make sure there are enough. We may be told again that we should be flexible. I am never quite certain why we are being told that we should be flexible when all we are trying to do is to establish basic minima and not maxima. We are trying to establish a basic minima of these people who can come to this country from Kenya at one time. We accept that there are probably other people who might be involved in similar Amendments, but this is the one that we have chosen, because these are the people who are in trouble at this time.

We have selected this figure in the knowledge that in this House it has been quoted that there have been 750,000 immigrants in the last 12 years, which I work out to be 62,500 a year, and that this number of 3,500 vouchers, which represents 14,000 immigants, or possibly a few more, is not very disproportionate; that we have a real obligation to these people, and we cannot discharge it just by not passing this Bill; but that we can discharge it by seeing, at any rate, that they can be looked after in the course of five years. We have chosen the period of five years partly because it seems to us the most it is reasonable to ask. Someone I met just before this debate said sourly that it was the longest time which you could trust a British Government to keep its word on a matter like this. It was a sick joke, but it was a lot too, near the truth to be very funny. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 6, insert the said new clause.—(Lord Beaumont of Whitley.)


The Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, is in the same family as the Amendment moved b/ the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, and part of my reply will be in the same vein. The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, just said that he had set his figure with the object that in five years all the Asians in Kenya would come here; and, of course, that presupposes that all the Asians in Kenya will be virtually forced to come here. It certainly is the hope of Her Majesty's Government that, as a result of discussions which have been going on, and will continue to go on, nothing like the entire number of Kenya Asians will be compelled to come here.

Having said that, I should like to deal with the figures in the noble Lord's Amendment. First of all, it is directed to requiring the Government to increase from 1,500 to 3,500 the number of heads of households admitted. I would point out that the number of 1,500 is not written into the Bill, and it is certainly not a rigid figure. The Government arrived at the figure of 1,500 on this basis. In each of the years 1965 and 1966 the total of Asian immigrants from Kenya (at least, they were nearly all Asian) was between 6,000 and 7,000 and last year it increased to 13,600. It is a reasonable assumption, therefore, that each of the heads of households who receives one of the 1,500 vouchers will bring with him three dependants. His entitlement to bring dependants will be the same as for people coming from other parts of the Commonwealth; namely, his wife and children under 16, who have a statutory right of entry. In addition, there will be admission of certain other dependants in certain circumstances—for example, children between 16 and 18 and dependent parents over 65. On this basis it is reasonable to assume that the total entry will be between 6,000 and 7,000 from East Africa each year.

In addition to that number there will be the entitled dependants of people already here, even if they came only very recently; if such dependants did not come in in the first place they will have this right to come in and will not be subject to the 1,500 vouchers. In addition, there will be some who are not coming here for permanent settlement, but as visitors or students or something of that kind, and also (I do not know whether the noble Lord was in Committee when I dealt with Lord Lansdowne's Amendment, but this is important) there will be some who obtain labour vouchers who will be able to come here with their dependants. It will not be only those who obtain vouchers. They will have just the same entitlement with regard to their dependants as the voucher holders do now.

If 1,500 voucher holders produce a total inflow of up to 7,000, then it is fairly certain that 3,500 will produce a total inflow of some 15,000. That is a figure which the Government find unacceptable. We cannot contemplate it at present. I would, however, point out that in the course of the debates in another place, when dealing with this very point, my right honourable friend said that the Government were not prepared to agree to fix a higher figure. But he emphasised that our attitude was a flexible one, and that we would keep the position under review. He was not prepared at this stage to agree to a higher allocation, and certainly I could not agree that this Amendment should be accepted, and that this figure should be written into the Bill.

I will say one thing to the noble Lord which I am not sure that he fully appreciates. His Amendment refers to vouchers which will be issued in any one year, and in the context of his Amendment, as an amendment to the original Act, that means labour vouchers. But the 1,500 that we propose to issue are not labour vouchers at all, and there will be labour vouchers issued to Asians in Kenya quite separate from the 1,500 which will be allocated according to the needs of the inhabitants. But the criteria that have been selected by the Home Secretary will enable high priority to be given to people who have been refused work permits or residence permits, or who have made arrangements to emigrate to the United Kingdom and are unable to continue to support themselves in East Africa.

To sum up, the 1,500 figure is likely to produce not less than 7,000, plus the holders of any labour vouchers which are issued, plus the dependants of those to whom labour vouchers are issued. Therefore it will be a substantial inflow. But we cannot agree to write into the Statute a figure which would mean that each year there will be some 15,000 coming in for a certainty. I hope the noble Lord will accept that explanation, and will agree that the Government and I ought not to accept his Amendment.


I thank the noble Lord for his full reply. His figure for the inflow of East African Asians last year reinforces me in my belief that we are right in this Amendment. I entirely take the point that he made about the kind of vouchers, which was in fact the guidance I was seeking at the beginning. I shall be moving a similar Amendment at the Report stage, and I now ask leave to withdraw this Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD BEAUMONT OF WHITLEY moved, after Clause 6, to insert the following new clause:

Right of certain persons to political asylum in United Kingdom

" . Nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to limit or deny political asylum to any person seeking refuge in the United Kingdom from racial or political persecution."

The noble Lord said: I think this Amendment speaks for itself. Whether we like it or not, there is a large amount of suspicion among a great many people, inside and outside your Lordships' House, about this Bill. I think that a general reassurance on the right of political asylum has a special place in a Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, and in my opinion it would go a long way, not, I suppose, to reassure people about this deplorable Bill but at any rate to be a saving gracenote at the end. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 8, insert the said new clause.— (Lord Beaumont of Whitley.)


I rise briefly, in the absence of my noble friend Lord Brockway, to whom I hope I may pay a tribute at a later stage, to support this Amendment on his behalf, as the House will recognise and remember the very deep feeling which my noble friend has on the subject of this particular Amendment.


There has so far been no statutory reference to the grant of asylum; nor have successive Governments—and I emphasise this—thought that any Commonwealth Government might engage in persecution to such an extent as to justify the granting of asylum. Persecution, particularly with regard to political asylum, is a matter which has been defined, and it does not just mean treating badly; the test accord- ing to very well established practice is to grant it only if it is reasonable to suppose that the result of refusing entry to this country would be the return of an alien to a country in which he would face danger to life or liberty or persecution of such a kind as to render life insupportable in the country to which the person would have to return if his request were refused. That test has to be applied fairly literally.

This is not the same thing. I want the noble Lord to concentrate on it from the point of view of political asylum It does not mean, as appears likely to happen to at least some of these Asians, that they are deprived of their jobs and things of that kind, which would matters for consideration of priority. Political asylum is a very different thing. We could not agree to write this new clause into the Bill. The Home Secretary would in the exercise of his discretion consider most carefully an i sympathetically any claim for asylum in this country on grounds that amounted to persecution, for political or other reasons, of such a kind and degree as to render life insupportable in the country to which the person would have to return if his request for admission to the United Kingdom were refused. That is a positive assurance which I think meets the substance of what the noble Lord is seeking, but we could not agree that this should be written into the Bill.


I take everything that the noble Lord says about this definition, but I must say that that attitude which see ns to imply it could not happen in a member nation of the Commonwealth I find very hard to understand. The Commonwealth is an extremely good and valuable association of nations, but we have known things go very wrong in it and they can again. I should like to see this clause in the Bill.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 7 [Short title, citation and commencement]:

8.29 a.m.

LORD GIFFORD moved in subsection (2), after "sections" where that word appears a first time, to insert "2," The noble Lord said: May I first explain the point of this Amendment and then raise the bigger issue on which it is based. It is not a wrecking Amendment. It is put forward with a very limited object. It is to draw attention in fact to the plight of the families who are affected by Clause 2(2)(a), mainly Pakistani families whose pattern of migration is being disrupted, rightly or wrongly, by this clause of the Bill.

I recognise at once that for many technical reasons this Amendment cannot stand, and I hope that my noble friend will accept in advance that I accept that this is not a well-drafted Amendment. The object of it is to draw the attention of the Committee to those families who in the immediate future will send over children to join their father, and who, through this Bill, will find that those children are entering illegally because the mother will have been left behind.


I wonder whether my noble friend will give way for a moment? is it right of my noble friend to be moving an Amendment which he says is ill-drafted, and which he does not expect to be accepted? It is wasting the time of this Committee.


Hear, hear!


Is there not ample precedent for presenting badly drafted Amendments in this House? May I just say this, that it is symptomatic of the way in which we have been rushed to pass this Bill, that during the 18 hours of debate upon it we have not, apart from the introduction of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, even considered the clause which, as I say, most radically affects the pattern of migration particularly of citizens of Pakistan.

I had down an Amendment which would have had the effect of nullifying Clause 2(2)(a), with the intention of drawing attention to this major change which is made in the law. I did not move that Amendment, and I was not prepared to make an issue of this clause because the change may well be right. But I think it is quite right for the Committee to consider that by Clause 2(2)(a) of this Bill families who through reasons of poverty have to come one by one, at the moment prefer to leave the children in the care of one of the parents in Pakistan, usually the mother, and then bring over the children gradually, and eventually bring over the mother. I should like to say at this point that I do not believe that there is any foundation for what the Home Secretary said two days ago, that in some cases the mothers never come. In some cases the mothers have not yet come, but there is every intention of allowing them to come.

May I also point out that this clause will possibly have the effect of putting the Government in a difficult position in regard to the Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg, where the case of Mohammed Alam has already been ruled admissible by the Human Rights Commission as being a violation of the right to family life under the Convention. This is a case which is exactly envisaged by Clause 2(2)(a) of the Bill. I do not think it right to let the Bill pass without just noticing this major change, because although I admit that it will ease a number of problems of all-male households, which I recognise sincerely exist and are acute, it will create new problems which must be recognised, of children abandoned in Pakistan with grandparents or relatives or friends purely for reasons of poverty, and then brought over at a later stage to join the two parents. They will also create a problem, because they will be uprooted and insecure children. I think this must be said, without any spirit of contention or any desire to force any issue upon this particular clause.

I return now to the particular Amendment. If the law is strictly applied, undoubtedly there will be many dependants arriving at London Airport who, under a strict application of the Bill, will be entering illegally to join one parent only. I hope that my noble friend will be able to give an assurance that those strictly illegal immigrants will not be turned away, and have to go and come back again in another way. It would create grave injustice and hardship to families, who will probably be quite ignorant of the fact that this Bill has ever been passed. That is the only reason for my putting in this six months delay. It is not aimed at any other part of the Bill. In that spirit, I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 23, after ("sections") insert ("2,").—(Lord Gifford.)


I regret, and indeed reject, the statements which have been made on several occasions that we are not giving sufficient time to Amendments on this Bill. It is now nearly 18 hours since we started on this Bill, and six hours since we started on the Committee stage. There are only 27 Amendments on the Marshalled List, some eight or nine of which have not been moved or have been taken with other Amendments, so we have spent virtually six hours on some 18 Amendments. I have been here the whole time. I have been thanked occasionally for the full replies and no noble Lord has gone away without an answer, even if the answer was not always satisfactory to him. So I do not accept that this Bill has been dealt with over-hurriedly in Committee.

With regard to the intervention of my noble and gallant friend Lord Leatherland (I think serjeant-majors are as gallant as anyone else) his interventions are always welcome. But on this occasion I felt that my noble friend should have left it to me to say whether the Amendment was badly drafted. I do not see that his Amendment is badly drafted because it reads: After ('sections') insert ('2,')". There is no room for bad drafting there. Therefore, he will reject that suggestion. But even if he thought that it was badly drafted, I think he was absolutely right to put his point of view. I am going to try to answer it.

The effect of accepting these two Amendments would be to postpone the operation of Clause 2 of the Bill only for six months after it receives the Royal Assent. One consequence of that would be that children under 16 would retain for six months their present privilege to enter this country in company with, or to join, only one parent. This is the very point which my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor made clear in his speech: that we want to deal with the matter urgently because it is being exploited not only in numbers—something like 11,000 Pakistani children—but through the fact that those children themselves are being exploited. If your Lordships have been to London Airport and seen, as I have, a child who has just come off an aircraft, his big eyes looking at you, you would think that he was a child of about 11, but the passport tells you that he is 15. You know very well that that child is going straight to work, straight out to be exploited. This is the kind of thing which we are stopping. We are not inflicting anything on these children. We are saving them from being exploited by people who may not even be their parents, although they purport to be. When we oppose these things please let us understand that this is not some rigid, arbitrary measure, but is lacing introduced because we know what we are talking about.

If my noble friend is, quite rightly, worried about parents, while it will take some little time before they know about the single parent, and that kind of thing, I can give him an assurance that a reasonable measure of latitude will be allowed. It is not desirable to fix any definite period of grace, but he may be assured that we shall not be arbitrary about this, and that where there are genuine cases of ignorance of this kind the children will come in. But we cannot accept that the Bill should not operate for any fixed period, let alone six months, because one would have the argument, "Well, these people do not know. They have not heard. News travels slowly", and then one would go on and on again. I hope that with that explanation my noble friend will withdraw his Amendment.


May I thank my noble friend very sincerely for what he said in that reply, and for the way in which he said it. Since this is, I think, the last speech that may be made on the Committee stage, may I, I hope humbly, on behalf of the Committee thank my noble friend for the great patience and courtesy which he has shown in answering the Amendments? I recognise what this clause intends to do, but I hope that people will recognise that the problems will not end by the passing of this clause, because the children who will now come to join both parents may be in the same danger of exploitation as they were before. Having said that, I think my noble friend will appreciate that I raised this point precisely in order to get the assurance that he has given me. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Remaining clause agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported without amendment; Report received.

Clause 1 [Amendment of section 1 of principal Act]:

8.43 a.m.

LORD GIFFORD rose to move a manuscript Amendment to leave out from the proposed new subsection 2(A) of the principal Act the words, "or at least one of his parents or grandparents". The noble Lord said: My Lords, a long time ago I withdrew an Amendment upon which, as noble Lords know, I felt more seriously than I felt about anything else in this Bill. That Amendment was to cut out what I described as the "grandfather clause". I will not say anything more about it, except that I withdrew it only in an attempt to come to some agreement with noble Lords on the Liberal Benches to see whether we could resolve some differences which were arising. But my withdrawing it did not mean that I did not feel most bitter about this, and I must press it again.

I have made a short addition which I hope deals with certain anomalies which might have arisen if my Amendment had been carried in its original form. I say no more except to pray in aid what the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, said: "This appears to be a discriminatory Bill"; to pray in aid what the most reverend Primate said: "This Bill is the embodiment of racial discrimination"; and to pray in aid what the noble Baroness, Lady Asquith of Yarn-bury, said on several occasions: "I fail to understand what this word 'belongers' means." I am very much afraid—and I speak in all seriousnes—that as a result of the Bill, if it is passed in its present form with these words attached to it, the platforms of the "Black power" movement will be rampant with the cry, "Look at this Government! What they do is allow the whites in and keep the blacks out"; because. as I said, contrary to the 1962 Act, this Act draws distinctions as to colour. I say no more, but I beg to move my Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 1. line 12, leave out from ("he") to end of line 13.—(Lord Gifford.)


As my noble friend indicated, the Amendment now moved is similar in principle to that which he moved some six hours ago; and, like that one, it is not acceptable. Amendment No. 2, which he then moved, would have subjected to control all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who held United Kingdom passports. This would be much too rigorous and would offend many people with close family connections with this country. But my noble friend has sought to avoid the criticism which I levelled at his Amendment No. 2 in Committee by adding, as a qualification for exemption from control, ordinary residence in the United Kingdom for five years.

This is not satisfactory, and it does not make the Amendment satisfactory, because it does not follow that a person whose father was born in the United Kingdom should be subject to control unless he had himself five years' ordinary residence here. Nor does it follow that if he had had five years' ordinary residence here he should necessarily be exempt from control. For example, his five years' ordinary residence in the United Kingdom might be followed by fifteen years' residence overseas. What case would there be then, on merits, for exemption from control?

I appreciate that my noble friend feels deeply about this matter, but I think that, on this point, most of your Lordships could not see eye to eye with my noble friend. Certainly I do not. However sincerely held his views are—and I know they are—I think on this they are misconceived, because unquestionably, if we accepted them, they would include in the control many thousands of people who would now be exempt from it. For that reason, I hope your Lordships will reject the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment negatived.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a. —(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, I have a Manuscript Amendment on Report, which has been circulated.


My Lords, if I may help the noble Lord, may I point out that the Amendment is moved after the Third Reading.


I apologise, my Lords. Please forgive me.

On Question, Bill read 3a.


My Lords, I have an Amendment which has been circulated, to be moved on Report. I am sorry if I am out of order.


You are.


My Lords, I hope I did not inadvertenly mislead the noble Lord, but my noble and learned friend had in fact already passed beyond that stage. There will be an opportunity, if the noble Lord wishes to make the point he has in mind—although I hope that perhaps it will not be too long—on the Motion, That the Bill do now pass. There is usually a brief discussion and I expect my noble and learned friend will be speaking to that. I do not expect that the noble Lord intended to divide on it and that he was merely wanting to encourage the House.


My Lords, I had not intended to divide on this Amendment and I accept the position as it stands.

8.51 a.m.


My Lords. I beg to move that the Bill do now pass. I am not proposing to say anything at this stage on the merits of the Bill, but I should not like it to pass into law without saying that we have had a very long. but not too long, Second Reading with one of the largest lists of speakers that I can remember. We have also had a long, and, again, not too long Committee stage, and I should like to thank all noble Lords who have taken part in it. It has taken a certain amount of time, and in view of the time we have sat it would not have been surprising if tempers had become frayed; but I think I can fairly say that on the whole they have not. I hone noble Lords felt they were able to say on Second Reading and on Committee stage everything that they wanted to say.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, I shall be very brief indeed, but following on what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has said I should like to express appreciation on behalf of my noble friends and myself for the great courtesy shown by all the Government spokesmen throughout this intensive debate. And I think I should particularly like to pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, for having returned early to this country in order to undertake what has been for the last six or seven hours a very arduous duty.

I supported the Motion that we should take all the stages of this Bill in one day; but I did that with little enthusiasm and I think the experience of the past many hours will probably have convinced all noble Lords that this is not a thing which ought to be done often. We have not discussed this Bill any the better for the fact that we have had to do it in this compressed way. I accept, and the majority of noble Lords accept, that in the circumstances it was right; but I trust that the Government will very seldom ask the House to take all the stages of an important Bill in one day.


My Lords, I should like to express the feelings of the House and pay tribute to the door-keepers, the custodians and the people in the restaurant for serving us so well all night.


My Lords, I should like to associate myself and my noble friends on these Benches with the remarks that have been made about the great courtesy we have had in all parts of the House, particularly from the Minister, and for the help we have had from the staff of this Palace in going through the night. But I am afraid that I must, in closing, be a little more controversial and disturb the atmosphere of sweetness and light.

We who are left are, to a large extent, Party stalwarts. Members of both Front Benches; and loyal Members of the other two Parties must have felt very pleased that they have got through and have obtained what they wanted, particularly since I saw members of the Government Front Benches looking singularly grim at one stage of the night. We all, presumably, are fairly pleased with ourselves to have lasted the course. But it is just because we are Party stalwarts that we must remember that over the past six hours, when discussing the minutiae and either trying to improve the Bill or resting content that it is the best Bill that could be, we have not had the benefit of the people of wide experience and every kind of interest and views who, during the first half of the night, tore the Bill to shreds.

The British Government have produced a Bill which is racialist. They have broken their word clearly given. This is a disastrous day for Britain. This may be a unique day for your Lordships' House. We have ruined our relationship with the Commonwealth, with the United Nations and with the Human Rights Movement. We are disgraced. Let us hope that it is a unique day for Great Britain.


My Lords, I want to say only three things—two of them serious and one frivolous. I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Brockway is not here. First, I want to pay tribute to the spirit and sincerity of his opposition to this Bill both yesterday and to-day. Secondly, on my frivolous point, there is a curious report in The Times this morning that this Bill is already passed. My noble friend, I believe, is going to deny it. Thirdly, I would reiterate what the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, said. I believe that this is a bad Bill. I will go on with the work I have been doing trying to improve race relations, but I cannot pretend that it is going to be easy.


My Lords, before we terminate this long discussion, I should like to associate myself and noble Lords on these Benches with what the noble Lord, Lord Willis, said and express our gratitude to the staff of your Lordships' House for all they have done to look after us.

On Question, Bill passed.

8.58 a.m.


My Lords, I am rising to move that this House adjourns until a quarter of an hour before ten o'clock. If I may be allowed, I will explain why. The purpose of this adjournment is to enable the Royal Assent to be given to the Bill. There are technical problems involved in this. We could start another day, but it has been considered more appropriate, since we have gone on so long, that we should follow the example of another place, which has also adjourned during pleasure. They are due to meet at nine o'clock to receive any Amendments that may be coming from your Lordships' House. The timing is admirable, and I think that our delivery is certainly as good as I could have hoped for.

Perhaps I may also take the opportunity to explain to the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, that I believe that there is a report in The Times, which I have not seen, which suggests that this Bill will have passed into law on Thursday. It will not become an Act of Parliament until the Royal Assent is given. As for the date on which the Royal Assent is given, whether we are sitting from Thursday into Friday, the fact remains, so far as your Lordships' House is concerned, and indeed so far as the Palace is concerned, that to-day is unquestionably Friday. This Act will come into force immediately after midnight to-night, Friday. If anyone seriously thought that it was going to come into force just after midnight on Thursday, it was pretty demonstrable that this was not going to be so. It certainly did not occur to me that it was likely.

If I may just take this opportunity to say so, I was perhaps a little surprised by some of the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, and my noble friend Lord Gifford, but I do not think it is appropriate for me to attempt to lecture them on this. because I realise in particular that the noble Lord had a bit of bad luck on the Amendment which he had hoped to move on the Report stage. I think we can be very pleased that, so far as I can tell, no procedural hitches have occurred.

I should like to make a remark both to the noble Lord and to the noble Lord, Lord Foot. At an earlier stage their noble friend Lord Byers was trying to challenge somebody after he had sat down. and although this is a practice which, on the whole, we do not encourage. he had none the less preserved the proprieties. But there was a good deal of noise from the Committee at that moment. and when I made a reference to the Standing Order on asperity of speech I was not referring to the noble Lord, Lord Byers. I was taking into account that when heat is engendered in debate it is open: I did not actually call for the Order to be read. The noble Lord, Lord Byers, did not realise that I was on his side at that moment; I obviously covered up my intentions.

Then perhaps I may say to the noble Lord, Lord Foot, and indeed to other noble Lords who several times accused the Government of rushing the Bill through, that it was the House which decided to take this Bill through all its stages. I think it is necessary to stress this, because this is a body which firmly controls its own activities.

My Lords, I apologise for speaking at such length, but I thought your Lordships would like this small comment, not, so to speak, as an examination of how we had all done—because I think most of us are fairly pleased with ourselves, in one way and another—but so that it may be understood that the Bill will receive its Royal Assent at a quarter to ten in this House.

House adjourned during pleasure at three minutes past nine and resumed at a quarter before ten o'clock.

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