HL Deb 20 January 1971 vol 314 cc562-80

6.50 p.m.

LORD BROCKWAY rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will explain further their decision regarding the recommendations of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal that Herr Dutschke should be deported. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Unstarred Question which is in my name on the Order Paper. May I say first that it was clear in another place yesterday that the word "deported" was disliked, and may be technically inaccurate. I have no desire, therefore, to press that term, though the Question is on the Order Paper and must be moved in that manner. I should be personally quite ready to accept the use of the words, "should be asked to leave this country". The term is not an issue between us.

Yesterday there was a debate in another place upon this issue, and I do not want to repeat what was there said. I think it will be found, as I proceed, that I am approaching the subject from a different point of view and putting forward different considerations. Nevertheless, I should say at once that I share the view that it is unjustifiable to exclude Rudi Dutschke from this country on the ground that, while he has not been a danger to national security, there is a risk that he may be so in the future. I did not expect to be able to call upon his assistance, but I quote from Mr. Adrian Day (who is the Chairman of the Monday Club and of the Conservative Society at the London School of Economics), who seems to me to put the point very well. He"— that is Rudi Dutschke— is thus not only presumed guilty until proven innocent, but prescribed guilty before even the crime has been committed.

Danger to national security in the past has been interpreted as "serving the interests of a hostile foreign power". As I understand it, there is no suggestion that Rudi Dutschke is a risk in this respect. Indeed, he was a refugee from East Germany, and has repeatedly made clear his opposition to the authoritarian régimes of Communist States.

In yesterday's debate the Home Secretary made it clear that the potential danger of Rudi Dutschke, in his mind, is political and social in the United Kingdom rather than in foreign affairs. This is a very significant extension. I recognise at once that it has some basis; that there is to-day a violent fringe among students in a youth movement which is international in scope and which may become dangerous to the method of democratic political changes by persuasion. And yet I am disturbed because it means a much greater scope for the secret service in our land, and that is a danger to civil liberties. The Home Secretary identified Mr. Dutschke with this violent fringe. I challenge that identification. I have made as full a study as is possible of Mr. Dutschke's record, of his utterances, of the evidence of those who have observed him, and I find no basis whatsoever for suggesting that Mr. Dutschke has been an advocate of change by violence.

Let us look at his record. He was brought up in the Communist State of East Germany. He had sufficient character, even in those surroundings, to become a Christian Socialist. He had sufficient courage to refuse military service under East Germany's conscription laws. I was interested in the interview with him which appeared in The Times Saturday Review on January 16—an interview which was taped before the Appeal Tribunal met. Dutschke used these words: I did not want to endorse fighting between brother and brother, sister and sister. It was a moralistic point of view. He made it clear that he would have equally refused military service if he had been in West Germany, but he was also critical, not merely from a Christian pacifist point of view but from a socialist point of view, of the Communist régime in the East. I didn't regard the East German system as socialist, because for me real socialism is possible only with the direct democracy of the masses. The German Democratic Republic still looks somewhat like a Prussian State without private ownership.

Because of his opposition to the Communist régime in East Germany, Dutschke crossed to West Berlin just before the erection of the wall in 1961. He became a student at the university, and he obtained great influence among the students by his magnetic personality. He led in "sit-ins" against the paternalistic control of the university. He took part in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. He protested against extending conscription from Western Germany to Berlin. But all the evidence of those who were associated with him at that time indicates that he was a moderating influence against violence and irresponsibility.

I expect that many of your Lordships have read the profile of Rudi Dutschke which appeared in The Times on January 9, above the name Richard Davy. He wrote: …he was concerned"— this was in his Berlin days— to keep agreements, minimize violence and restrain the more militant of his colleagues. Richard Davy added of his later views: Unlike many bored and frustrated middleclass students who gravitate to 'revolution' for the excitement of the game, he does not glamorize violence or advocate its use as a means of gaining power. Nor is he motivated by a desire for power. As far as one can tell his beliefs and activities spring from a genuine moral revulsion against the materialism and human suffering which he sees as the hallmarks of our society… He does not believe that a minority should impose its rule on a majority, even with the best of intentions. I very seriously draw the attention of the Home Secretary to that statement. I think it disproves entirely his decision that Rudi Dutschke should be asked to leave this country on the ground that he stands for the transformation of society by force.

In Berlin there was an attempt to assassinate him and he was very severely wounded in the brain. It was characteristic of him that he sent letters of forgiveness to the man who sought to assassinate him; and not only letters of forgiveness, but letters of some understanding of the mistaken motive under which the man had acted. Dutschke was allowed to come to this country for medical treatment. The effect of the wound in his brain was serious. He had to relearn. He says that he can think logically, but in any large presence and under strain he cannot co-ordinate his thoughts with his speech. Those of us who heard and watched him on television on Monday night must have felt that. I thought it a tragedy that a man in his condition should have been asked to appear as he did.

Because of his medical difficulties he has turned to study, analysis, research. In any case, he would have been forced to do that because of the effect on his mind of the attempted assassination, but that work is natural to him. He is much more a seeker than a preacher, wrote Richard Davy, and I quote: The road to Dutschke's utopia … does not lead through the traditional plots and organisations of the old left. It goes mainly by way of discussion, analysis and enlightenment' … in discussing means he is usually more moderate and rational than those around him, more interested in analysis than action, and more concerned with persuasion than coercion. Of course Dutschke is interested in all the problems of the transformation of society—the history and strategy of changes. In Berlin he was making a study of the early Communist movement. At Cambridge he was preparing a thesis on George Lukacs, a subject in which I am personally interested, because way back in 1909 I went to Budapest and George Lukacs was my guide. He was then a young socialist idealist, but he became one of the most ruthless dictators that there has been in any Communist State. I shall be profoundly interested in Rudi Dutschke's explanation of what happened. I am glad that he will now have an opportunity to continue in Denmark the work he was doing at Cambridge. But I regret that he cannot continue it here, because his past record indicates that he may still contribute greatly to the guidance of the new generation.

I suppose that most of us in this House are nearing middle-age; perhaps some of us are a little past it. But if we have any knowledge of the world to-day, we must see that, if human life is to escape the danger of destruction by war, the most important issue of all will be how the new generation transforms society into a world in which poverty and war are ended. My own studies have led me to believe that Dutschke has already contributed much, and I hope he will have an opportunity to do much more.

I believe that the Home Secretary has been unjust to Rudi Dutschke. I believe that he has done harm to the reputation of this country for tolerant democracy. I believe that his action will have the opposite effect to what he intended; he will have encouraged the student population to lose faith in government to a still greater extent. But, perhaps more than anything, the Home Secretary has prejudiced the influence of a man who, with probably more support than any other in the younger generation to-day, was seeking the way to a transformation to a new society without violence and in ways which, by their means, would contribute to an end embodying human freedoms and human happiness. I believe that a great wrong has been done to this mart. He does not claim to have found the way to the new society, but more than anyone whom I know in the younger generation he has been seeking it by courses which would not have involved hatred or violence, and would have brought nearer the end which he was seeking.

7.11 p.m.


My Lords, I shall be very brief, but I am tempted to relate this controversy to the one line which I can remember of T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. It runs: This at last is the final treason, To do the right thing for the wrong reason. Had the Home Secretary pointed out that millions of people in Europe, Asia and Africa would like, given the opportunity, to live in England and enjoy its freedom and its order, its National Health and its educational system, but that hospitality has its limits and, having granted two years' hospitality for compassionate reasons to Herr Dutschke, there is no reason why he should not return to his own country, it might have been a harsh decision but it would at any rate have been a rational decision; and to many of us it might have seemed a good decision.

But to suggest that Herr Dutschke is a security risk is not only irrational but, to my mind, positively lunatic because, in the first place, he has every motive for avoiding political indiscretion in Cambridge after what has happened. And even if he were tempted to political indiscretion, there is no doubt whatever that his very intelligent American wife, who has even more reason for remaining in Cambridge, could be trusted to see that he kept quiet. That again does not in any way suggest that he is a security risk.

No, the only real security risk in this country, I think—at any rate, the only challenge to law and order—is from the Home Secretary himself, who, by stirring up this hornet's nest, has presented a ready-made and understandable grievance to the excitable and, as I think, insufficiently occupied student population of this country. I would suggest that, having stirred up that hornet's nest, the best thing the Home Secretary can now do is to let the controversy die down by allowing the whole Dutschke family to remain in Cambridge. After all, one more perpetual student is neither here nor there, especially as his activities are covered by the magic word "research". Really, we have sufficient controversial issues on the boil at the present time to make it unnecessary to add to them this one—a controversial issue with which many of us are now becoming inexpressibly bored.

7.14 p.m.


My Lords, I have not met Mr. Rudi Dutschke. I know about him only what I have read in the papers. Apparently we do not need to be concerned about his immediate financial position. That, I understand, is being looked after. Nor do we need to be concerned about his powers to earn a living provided his health makes that possible. His real distress, as I understand it, is that he is far from completely recovered. But what have we done to this young student? He had a certain fame—notoriety, if you like—when he came into this country. We have now made him one of the most highly publicised people in the world. Wherever he goes he will be invited to talk, discuss, write, lecture, write books. So far as I can see, the limit on his activities is simply going to be the state of his health.

Alas! we have to accept that he is not going to be allowed to remain in this country, although I was delighted to hear the noble Baroness, Lady Stocks, who never gives in, say, For goodness sake! let him stay here". I thoroughly endorse those sentiments. But after the debate in another place yesterday we must assume that this young man will have to find asylum elsewhere. He will find it: so what has the Home Secretary done? Have we cause to weep this evening for this young German? I wish him well; I hope he makes a good physical recovery. But we have no cause to worry unduly about his future. He has friends; he has ideas. He belongs to the most precious of all of the younger generation—and they are an international generation. He is one of those who cares. He is worried about poverty in the world; he is worried about questions of war and peace. There would be no hope for us, no future at all, if we did not have young ones who cared.

So I say I do not think we have any cause this evening to weep for this young German student; but we have great cause to weep for ourselves. I feel deeply humiliated by this decision—deeply humiliated. Some of us would like to be proud of the fact that our home country has been a centre of tolerance, but how do we think not just the students of our country but youngsters all over the world—college and university students; young apprentices; indeed people of all ages—view us? What sort of figure are we cutting in the world by this preposterous behaviour on the part of the Home Secretary? It is no answer to say that the former Home Secretary, when asked in another place yesterday whether he would have admitted him as a student, said, "No". Apparently that caused great hilarity in certain quarters. I do not see anything at all in this point. I congratulate my colleague the former Home Secretary that he had the humanity to allow this young fellow to come into our country for medical treatment. If it had not been for that medical treatment he would probably not have been here: but having come here for medical treatment, why should he not be allowed to continue his studies in this country? There is emotional logic as well as formal logic. Of course, you may say that there are others who have equal or better rights to be students, but that is a very petty argument.

What concerns me most of all is that many of us in your Lordships' House, as well as Members in another place, have always known that there is a question mark over the possibility of peaceful Parliamentary constitutional progress. We fought for that, and we often had to fight very hard in the Labour and Trade Union Movement. In the days when the Soviet Union was "the Holy Land" for many workers and intellectuals in this country; in the days when many, for the highest possible motives, were seeking to capture the Labour and Trade Union Movement of this country for the Communist cause; in the days when we had to fight this battle, we were told, "Parliament is a farce. You can make no real progress through Parliament; turn away from it". In those days we did not have one student: we had hordes of people, most of them our own nationals, preaching bloody revolution. We did not get excited about that. We allowed the argument to go on.

It is a long time since we cut off a king's head. It is a long time since we sent agricultural workers to Botany Bay for trying to form a union and it is even quite a long time since my grandfather and others of his generation were victimised for trying to form trade unions. That, we thought, was behind us. We were going forward. We were going to be the most civilised country in the world. We were going to demonstrate, as my husband often said, "It is better to count heads than break heads". We were going to give an example of tolerance and socialism. But what in fact has happened? We seem to have lost our nerve; we seem to have lost our common sense and all sense of proportion. I can see the caricatures: poor John Bull, grown old and senile, gnashing his toothless gums. What kind of image do you think Britannia now shows to the world, to people who care about great issues, following the headlines of the world's Press? The figure of Britannia, once so strong, so gracious, a motherfigure—what now? An old woman, a frightened old creature, hysterically seeing mice under every bed.

I am not going to discuss this question as a matter of security; for I think that angle of the affair is nonsense. But if Mr. Dutschke was doing anything that he should not have done I do not understand why he should not have been told. I should have thought it ordinary common sense. Obviously he was concerned about ideas, about discussing and meeting people; and I do not understand why he was not warned. On the other hand, the notion that because this young fellow was trying out ideas he could be considered a threat to our security and denied the right to study in our university, I see as something we should weep for.

I do not want to damn myself too much, but I looked only the other day at my first efforts at being an editor. I was joint editor of a student paper in my student days at Edinburgh University. I give your Lordships one guess at the title of the paper: it was the Rebel Student—and if you only knew some of the things that we said! This is the time in life, surely, when you do not reach your destinations all at once; when you have to try out new ideas. Indeed, there is no future for a country unless there is ample opportunity for the stimulus of ideas and controversies.

Therefore, I repeat, if I weep to-night I do not weep so much for this young man. Unless his health pulls him down he will make a good future for himself. He has character and intelligence and will be given opportunities in other, less frightened, countries to carry on his activities. But I do weep that a country with our history, our one-time tolerance, the tolerance that our forbears fought for, should be so paltry, so undignified and so totally lacking in decent compassion.

7.24 p.m.


My Lords, I had no intention of intervening in this debate and do so reluctantly, particularly because I greatly respect the views of the noble Baroness, Lady Stocks, and I appreciate the sincerity with which the matter has been raised by other speakers. I intervene only because it seems to me that what has been said about the Home Secretary is really a caricature of his character. I have known the Home Secretary for a very long time; and he is not an illiberal man anxious to engage in character assassination.

I do not have the advantage of ever having met Mr. Dutschke but I think it is not unimportant to remember that this case has been considered by a Tribunal, a Tribunal which admittedly works under certain disadvantages. I dare say that all of us, wherever we sit in the House, can think of objections to its procedure; but many people, many critics of the Home Secretary's action, including The Times, consider that it is better to have a Tribunal than to have none. This Tribunal that considered the case was set up under legislation passed not by the Home Secretary or his Party but by the previous Administration. I know, as I say, nothing about Mr. Dutschke except what has appeared in the Press. The noble Lord Lord Brockway, gave us his impression of the character and aims of this gentleman. I am not in a position in any way either to add to it or question it.

I apologise for my limited knowledge of this case, but I have just returned from abroad and this is the first day I have been in this House since it resumed; but I notice in the Tribunal's Report one paragraph, under the heading "Evidence of the Appellant"; that is, Mr. Dutschke himself. This refers to something that happened, admittedly, before he came to this country. Nevertheless, I think it may be important that we should bear it in mind. It comes in paragraph 34, and perhaps I may read a few sentences: In February 1968 the Appellant was invited to Amsterdam to address a student organisation there. In this speech he stressed the need in their fight against capitalism and imperialism of a permanent liaison and negotiation (combination) of individual action of anarchy and subversive character and concrete mass action. There were two aspects of the campaign—" destruction of NATO"—the first was national and then an international campaign in central and western Europe. Such mass actions must be inspired through subversive actions. NATO bases could be burnt: aircraft bases could be burnt: ships could be burnt.' That is paragraph 34 dealing with the evidence of the Appellant.

When we come to the conclusions of the Tribunal, in paragraph 54, we read: As regards political activity, the Appellant when seeking admission to the United Kingdom gave an assurance that he would not engage in political activities and was admitted on this condition. It is clear from the Appellant's evidence that he has had meetings and discussions with a wide variety of people involved in political activities, some of whom he had not met before; some were British nationals, others were from overseas who came to consult him, in his view quite naturally, when they visited Britain. In our view these meetings and associations have far exceeded normal social activities and, whatever his intentions may have been, he did not abide by the assurance given by him and on his behalf not to engage in political activities. The evidence that was given before us in camera confirms this. Having regard to those two passages which I have read—and I have seen this document only since this short debate started—I would invite the House to consider this. First of all—


My Lords, before the noble Lord continues, could he tell us again—some of us did not hear him—the date on which those extravagant statements were made? Was that while he was here?


No, my Lords. I said that it was before he came to this country. I gave the date and I cited the paragraph. I appreciate the point the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, is putting to me. That is why I made it clear that it was not something he did in this country. But, to take those passages that I have cited together, this was the previous record as given in this Report in the Appellant's own evidence before the Tribunal, though it was evidence as to what had happened before he came to this country. The second passage was the Tribunal's conclusion that he had not abided by his undertakings.


My Lords, would the noble Lord permit me to ask him one question on this point? He quoted that Mr. Dutschke had been meeting people and having political discussions with them. Am I right?


I read the passage.


Yes, and I understood that passage to mean that he had had discussions with other people on political matters. Would the noble Lord regard this as indulging in political activities?


I am not giving my views. What my views would have been had I heard the appellant, and had I heard the secret evidence, I do not know. I am quoting what was said by the Tribunal, the body set up by Parliament to consider cases of this kind where the Home Secretary has acted.

It seems to me that in endeavouring to be generous to Herr Dutschke, some noble Lords and others have shown no consideration whatever for the honour or efforts of the Tribunal. These men seem to me to be honourable men. They heard the evidence. They heard the evidence of the appellant on what his activities had been before he came to this country, and they concluded, both from the evidence given openly and from the evidence given in camera, that he had not abided by his undertaking and that he was potentially dangerous (I am now quoting from memory), though the danger to this country from his actions so far had been unimportant.

What I say is that, with all that evidence, it seems to me to be quite wrong to treat the case as though the Home Secretary had taken a wholly unreasonable or illiberal decision. He has taken a decision which I think a great many people, simply on their own knowledge, would have considered the right decision, a decision which has been upheld by the Tribunal set up to consider cases where the Home Secretary takes action of this nature.

My Lords, those being the facts, and with my knowledge and experience over many years of the Home Secretary's own character, I find it outrageous that he should be attacked as though he were a wholly illiberal man or a man who might consider some character assassination. He seems to me to be a man who has taken into consideration all the matters which it was his duty to consider; and I, for one, believe that he was right.

7.35 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, began his speech this evening by correcting the terms of his Question on the Order Paper, as he now accepts that Mr. Dutschke has not been deported. But this misconception is one that is widespread. Indeed, the noble Lord indicated that this was the way in which he saw the case until he read the account of the debate in another place yesterday. So let me say again, in winding up this debate, that Mr. Dutschke is not being deported; nor did the Appeals Tribunal make any such recommendation.

What has happened is that the Home Secretary has decided, on the information available to him, that Mr. Dutschke's continued presence in the United Kingdom as a student would be undesirable. He has therefore declined to allow Mr. Dutschke to remain for the purpose of study at the university. This is the decision which has been upheld by the Tribunal. It is important to appreciate that these are not just bureaucratic distinctions. It is sometimes said that it does not make very much difference whether he is deported or whether his continued presence is being brought to an end; but these are considerations that go to the heart of the present controversy, and I do want to explain them.

I do not intend to go over the background in detail this evening, since this was done very fully in another place yesterday by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. But it is crucial to recall that the starting point in this case is that Mr. Dutschke was admitted in December, 1968, for a period of one month for the purpose of medical consultations. An undertaking was offered on his behalf, and was accepted by the previous Home Secretary, that he should not engage in any political activities while he was here. It was made clear by the then Home Secretary that the reasons for agreeing to his admission were solely concerned with his state of health, and in the debate in another place yesterday to which the noble Baroness, Lady Lee of Asheridge, has already referred, Mr. Callaghan frankly admitted, in answer to a question, that had the application been made for Mr. Dutschke to come to this country for study he would probably have refused it.

Renewals were granted in January, 1969; July, 1969, and January, 1970, all on the basis of the original conditions. In July, 1970, a further application was made on behalf of Mr. Dutschke for him to remain for the purpose of studying at a university, accepting that this was a change in the original conditions under which he had been admitted to this country. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary decided that he could not accept this application, since in his judgment the continued presence of Mr. Dutschke in this country as a student was not desirable.

Mr. Dutschke subsequently exercised his right of appeal, and in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Appeals Act 1969 and the Aliens (Appeals) Order 1970 the Home Secretary directed that the appeal should be referred to and heard by the special panel which is empowered to hear appeals where the Home Secretary's decision is taken in the interest of national security or otherwise on grounds of a political nature. Let me say at this point that these words "grounds of a political nature" are specifically contained in Article 8(i) of the Aliens (Appeals) Order and were referred to at some length by my right honourable friend's predecessor, Mr. Jenkins, when he explained the previous Administration's intentions in setting up the appeals system.

As noble Lords will know, the appeal was heard by the Tribunal shortly before Christmas. The Tribunal was an independent one, set up under the legislation to which I have referred, with four out of the five members chosen by the previous Administration. Two of them were Members of your Lordships' House, and anyone who looks at the list of names would have full confidence in the independence and impartiality of the members of the Tribunal. The hearings occupied five days, and it is worth noting that on only one of those five days did the Tribunal meet in camera.

After considering all the evidence that was available to them, the Tribunal reached the conclusion that there was no essential reason for Mr. Dutschke to remain in the United Kingdom on medical grounds."— that is contained in paragraph 52 of the Report—and that certain meetings and associations had, in the words of the Tribunal: far exceeded normal social activities and, whatever his intentions may have been, he did not abide by the assurance given by him and on his behalf not to engage in political activities. That was the finding of the Tribunal after hearing the evidence, as the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, has pointed out.

Referring to the evidence presented to them by the Security Service, the Tribunal said that they did not consider that up to the present time Mr. Dutschke's presence in this country had constituted any "appreciable danger to national security." They went on to say that if he were to remain for a further period as a full-time postgraduate student—I use their own words here: there must without doubt be risk in his continued presence on a longer-term stay of this kind. That is contained in paragraph 55. The Tribunal accordingly concluded that in refusing to extend the stay of the appellant to enable him to take a course of study the Secretary of State acted in accordance with the law and the immigration rules. They went on to say that they did not consider that in the exercise of his discretion in this matter the discretion should have been exercised differently.

My Lords, there has been a great deal of criticism of the Tribunal and its procedure, and I cannot help wondering whether some of those who are so critical of the Home Secretary's decision would have taken the line they do had the Tribunal decided the other way. Indeed, as recently as November 25, when the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill was being debated in another place and when the appeal was pending before the Tribunal—the hearing was to be in December—my right honourable friend was urged in the strongest terms to say that he would abide by the finding of the Tribunal; and that is what he has done.

I recognise, however, and so does the Home Secretary, as he made clear in his speech last night, that there are real issues of substance to be discussed here. But I must remind your Lordships that the procedure which was followed is that laid down in the Immigration Appeals Act 1969, and the Aliens (Appeals) Order based on it. This procedure specifically provides for closed hearings of anything which the Home Secretary certifies should not be disclosed in the interests of national security. The object is to avoid endangering the sources of information, since it is self-evident that no security service could function efficiently if it did not have protection of this kind.

The Committee on Immigration Appeals, which was chaired by Sir Roy Wilson, Q.C., considered this matter in 1967. In outlining the comprehensive scheme of immigration appeals on which the present legislation is based the Committee commented in paragraph 143 as follows: Cases arise from time to time in which the Home Secretary feels justified in excluding a person from this country, or requiring him to leave, on grounds that are essentially of a political nature. We doubt whether the system of appeals which we are proposing would provide apt machinery for dealing with such cases. Accordingly, the Commit tee recommended that such cases—that is, cases where political considerations are involved—should be excluded from the scope of the appeals system and left entirely to the Home Secretary's decision; subject, as they pointed out, to his responsibility to Parliament. The previous Administration decided not to accept this advice; Parliament agreed; and hence the procedure that we have been discussing.

My Lords, it has been said that an appeal of this kind, held partly in private, with certain evidence not available to the appellant or his counsel, is a denial of justice and amounts to a man being put on trial for his political views. I cannot accept that. Whatever the outward appearance of the Tribunal, it is important to recognise that there was no judicial issue here at all. Mr. Dutschke was not charged with any offence; nor did he risk any penalty. He was asking to be released from conditions which he accepted when he was admitted to this country; and the task of the Tribunal was to decide whether, on the evidence before them, the Secretary of State had acted properly in accordance with the law and the Immigration Rules. Their finding was that he had.

Having established that, however, I should like to repeat what the Home Secretary said in yesterday's debate in another place. His words were: As for the proceedings of the Tribunal, no one is happy about this. I am sure that no one who has listened to and studied this Tribunal will think that it is the right answer to this problem. People are concerned especially about the fact that evidence put forward on behalf of the Government was not made available to Mr. Dutschke. This is a great difficulty which has been recognised by succeeding Governments."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 19/1/71, col. 761.] My Lords, there will be a further opportunity for both Houses to consider appeal procedures when we come to debate the comprehensive Immigration Bill which the Government will be introducing this Session.

Another main line of criticism has usually been put in the form of a question. It lies underneath what was contained in the remarks of the noble Baroness, Lady Lee of Asheridge and the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. The question is asked: is not the British political system and political tradition strong enough and healthy enough to absorb Mr. Dutschke? There are two answers to this. The first is: if Mr. Dutschke, then why not others who hold similar views about recourse to violence as a means of obtaining their political ends? There has to be consistency if we are not to be unfair towards those who have no one to make representations for them or protests on their behalf.

My Lords, it is always a temptation—it always will be in dealing with immigration cases—to go for the easy answer. If a Member of Parliament, or the Press, or some other responsible body, is campaigning for a favourable answer, the easiest thing in the world is to give way and avoid having a row. But what self-respecting Government, what self-respecting Home Secretary, has ever been able to operate on that sort of basis? So there have to be rules and conventions which are consistently applied. The question that the Home Secretary had to ask himself about Mr. Dutschke was exactly the same as that asked about any other student who applies to come to this country for study from overseas: is there any evidence to suggest that the presence of the applicant in this country would be undesirable? In Mr. Dutschke's case there was such evidence.

Last night the Home Secretary gave an assurance which I want to repeat to-day. He said: As regards the activities of the security services there has been no change in policy or practice between successive Governments."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 19/1/71, cols. 799–800.] No extension of practice is envisaged in the future. It would be quite wrong to infer that the security services are, or will be, more interested as a result of the Dutschke case in students than in any other sections of the community. The reason for the existence of the security services is to protect national security, and their only interest is in those who constitute a risk to the security of the country.

My Lords, when we talk about the security of the State we tend to think too readily of espionage and counterespionage; the activities of spies and of agents of hostile Powers—referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway—and those whose business it is to detect them. But the Government have now, and always have had, a wider responsibility than this. They have, and always have had, the responsibility of protecting the fabric of the State from subversion. We must recognise that there are many people whose avowed intention is to attain their ends by violent means. The move towards violence is international. There are undoubted links between those who advocate it. And we have seen only too many examples of hijackings and kidnappings and bombings in different parts of the world in the last twelve months to be complacent about it. It would be nothing short of irresponsible folly on the part of the Government if we were to suppose that this country is in some way immune from the extremes of violence that we have seen elsewhere. So let me make it absolutely clear that the Government intend to do all in their power to forestall the activities of those who believe in violence as a political weapon.

That, my Lords, is the background against which Mr. Dutschke's application, and others from people from overseas, must be viewed. I appreciate that reconciling these general considerations—and I have been speaking in my later remarks of general considerations—to the circumstances of an individual case will always be a very difficult matter. But noble Lords who approach this case with an open mind would not want to reach an opinion without taking these considerations into account.


My Lords, before the noble Lord resumes his seat may I put a question? Has he not ignored entirely the very considerable evidence which I put to the House, that the influence of Mr. Dutschke in the student movement has been against the use of violence?


My Lords, that is not the Home Secretary's conclusion. That was not the conclusion of the Appeals tribunal and it is on that that we rest.


Again, my Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question? It may be the Home Secretary's conclusion, but where in the Tribunal Report is it stated that Mr. Dutschke had been guilty of violence in this way?


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, mentioned one instance. I have the actual words that were used in the speech to which he has referred. There are other instances. The conclusion of the Tribunal was that the continued presence of Mr. Dutschke in this country would undoubtedly be a risk to the security of the State.