§ 8.36 p.m.
§ House again in Committee on Clause 1.
§ LORD SHEPHERD moved Amendment No. 7:
Page 2, line 10, at end insert—
(" Provided that in the framing of the rules and in the administration thereof no Commonwealth citizen shall, after entry into the United Kingdom have conditions imposed that are more restrictive than conditions applicable to other persons living and working in the United Kingdom who are citizens of countries within the E.E.C. and which are in compliance to the terms of The Treaty of Rome.")
§ The noble Lord said: The noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, earlier in the evening said that it was a fundamental principle so far as Her Majesty's Government were concerned that we should in future treat Commonwealth immigrants in the same way in which aliens are treated. As I said at a later stage, of course that may be true as of now, but quite clearly if this country were to enter the E.E.C. then a very different situation arises. I have read very carefully the reports of debates in another place, and on no occasion did we receive from Her Majesty's Government a clear statement 765 as to what will be involved in terms of immigration or settlement by nationals of Commonwealth countries if we were to enter the E.E.C.
As I understand it, the situation is largely governed by Regulation 1612/68 on the freedom of movement of workers within the Community, and I think I should draw the attention of the noble Marquess in particular to Articles 1, 3, 10 and 11. The preamble to this Regulation provides as follows:
…equality of treatment shall be ensured in respect of everything relating to the actual carrying out of a wage-paid occupation and of access to housing, and also that obstacles to the mobility of the workers shall be eliminated, in particular as regards the worker's right to be joined by his family and the conditions for the integration of that family…".
Article 1 reads as follows:
Any national of a Member State, irrespective of his place of permanent residence, shall be entitled to take up and carry on a wage-paid occupation in the territory of another Member State in accordance with the provisions governing the employment of nationals of that State imposed by law, regulation or administrative action.
It goes on further in Article 3(1):
…provisions imposed by law…of a Member State shall not apply if they restrict the right of non-nationals to apply for, offer, engage in or carry on employment or make it subject to conditions not prescribed in respect of nationals "—
It goes on,
or if, while applicable irrespective of nationality, their exclusive or principal aim to keep nationals of other Member States away from the employment offered.
Article 10, which I believe is quite fundamentally opposed to the principles of this Bill, says:
The following shall have the right to take up residence with a worker who is a national of one Member State employed in the territory of another Member State, whatever their nationality:—
Article 11, perhaps even more, goes against the whole principles underlying this Bill.
The spouse and children under the age of 21 years or dependant of a national of a Member State engaged in a wage-paid occupation or self-employed in the territory of another Member State shall have the right to engage in any wage-paid employment throughout the territory of that Member State…
There is yet another regulation of which no doubt the noble Marquess is aware, 1251/70 in respect of when the man ceases to be employed there.
…it is important…to guarantee the worker residing in the territory of a Member State the right to remain in that territory when he ceases to be employed there by reason of the fact that he has reached retirement age or by reason of permanent incapacity to work…
Further, when the worker
has arrived at the end of his working life he should have a sufficient period to decide where he wishes to establish his definitive residence;…the exercise by the worker of the right to remain implies that this right shall be extended to members of his family;…in the case of the decease of the worker during his working life, the right of the members of his family to remain must also be recognised and be the subject of special conditions.
§ These are very specific rules and regulations which the E.E.C. have adopted, and if I take the noble Marquess's Statement last week, Her Majesty's Government have accepted them. These place workers of the E.E.C. countries in a very much superior position to any present alien. It could be argued that this is right, in the sense that we are joining the Community and naturally, therefore, there should be some differentiation between one alien and another. However, I seriously put it to the Committee whether it is right, as a matter of principle, that those who are within the Commonwealth—and I think most of us pay our respects to the Commonwealth, and recognise that the Commonwealth still has a lot to offer the world in general—should be treated differently, and that they should be treated in a way less favourable than those members of the E.E.C. I have a feeling that, if one were to have a general poll throughout the country now, there would be a clear view that, while it may not be right to treat Commonwealth citizens as being in a superior position to those within the Community, it would be wrong to treat them in a less favourable way.
§ Therefore the purpose of this Amendment is to say that when we frame the new rules—because there will have to be new rules when we enter the E.E.C., and the Home Secretary was quite right when he said that when we enter the E.E.C. the Bill is not affected; what matters is the rules: they should be so framed, 767 and so administered, that no Commonwealth citizen, once he has entered this country, once he has received his work permit, once he has been accepted within our community, should be treated in any way worse than a national of an E.E.C. country. I hope the Committee will feel that this is entirely justified, and that Her Majesty's Government will accept not only the spirit of the Amendment but the wording of it.
§ 8.46 p.m.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
If I may do so briefly, I should like to underline nearly all of what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has said. At the beginning of my remarks I should like to put a question to the noble Marquess. I am not sure that I entirely follow on exactly with the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, on this particular question. The regulations flowing from Article 189 of the Treaty of Rome will be binding in their entirety on this country when we are a member of the E.E.C., if we are. These regulations must be accepted as part of our law. I should like to ask the Minister whether he will explain how they will become part of our law. Is he really satisfied that amending the rules would be enough? Perhaps he can answer that point.
As for the rest of the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, he is absolutely right in saying that we are not allowed to impose any conditions on nationals of the European Economic Community that we do not impose on our own nationals, whoever they may be. In plain language, that means that once a person has got his original residence permit, which is valid for five years, a person from a country in the European Economic Community is on exactly the some footing as you and I are. If I, or any other of your Lordships, should apply for a particular job it would be totally against the Treaty of Rome for any national of another member of the E.E.C. to be discriminated against in our favour, in favour of a person from Britain. We have to be treated exactly the same, as the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, pointed out; and I would underline it. Three months is allowed for looking for a job, and these nationals would be allowed to stay here for 12 768 months after leaving an employment, and allowed to retire here and draw pensions here if they had worked here for a period which I believe is about three years.
When all these people suddenly stop being aliens overnight—that is assuming we succeed in our application—and suddenly become nationals of fellow-members of the European Economic Community, we shall find that there are very large numbers of people suddenly taken off controls. While I do not wish to enter into any sort of"numbers game ", surely this finally, and without question, underlines the point that this Bill does not provide any more scope for any Government to control numbers, because merely as a result of our entry into the European Common Market (which we are told this Bill does not affect) there will be, on to-day's figures, 13,000 Frenchmen, 11,048 Germans and 14,000 Italians who will suddenly be on the same footing as you and I. I hope that we can finally lay the ghost of this being a Bill to control movements and put it in its grave.
The final question is this. I understand that there are provisions for the application of immigration controls to E.E.C. nationals in certain narrow specified emergencies. One of these concerns public health; the other concerns public order. Under public health there are diseases listed; under public order there are narrowly defined conditions of unrest. I wonder if the Minister can tell us whether in a Dutschke-type case we shall be allowed to deport somebody for political reasons if it is accepted by the Commission as being likely to lead to public disorder here. Am I right in thinking that it will be up to the Commission to decide whether we are justified in deporting a national of the E.E.C. on the ground that it will be likely to lead to public disorder here?
§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE
I have a certain sympathy with the noble Marquess. This is probably the most awkward question likely to be raised during the period of the Committee stage. I should like to put to the noble Marquess the case of a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who is a potential patrial. He comes here and, under the specific rules (which may be modified as a result of the Committee 769 stage), he may become a patrial. If, during this time, he says,"This is fearfully sticky; I am going to go to France ", can he go there? That is my question.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ DIE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, for the way in which he introduced his Amendment. It is a difficult position, and I think the whole Committee recognise it. Whatever our opinions, we all realise that on this particular item they are most sincerely held. I should like briefly to repeat to some extent some of the remarks the noble Lord made. He quoted fully and accurately the situation concerning the mobility of labour within the Common Market. I think it might be useful first of all to say one or two brief words about that. The situation is this. If we join, any national from the Economic Community who wishes to work in the United Kingdom must be admitted without a work permit, and if he finds work within three months of coming here he must be granted an initial stay of five years; and, as the noble Lord pointed out, he must be allowed to bring in his dependants if there is sufficient accommodation available. He will remain, subject to immigration control and, in particular, to deportation on broadly the same grounds as are provided under the Bill for people subject to immigration control; and of course there are Amendments later in the Bill dealing with deportation.
As I understand it, and the noble Lord made this clear, the Amendment does not seek to provide that a Commonwealth citizen should be admitted here to work without a work permit. It refers only to the conditions pertaining after entry into the United Kingdom, and it does not extend to foreign nationals from non-E.E.C. countries. In other words, he and his colleagues are endeavouring to ensure that Commonwealth citizens admitted with work permits receive as favourable treatment after entry as nationals from the Community who are working here. This, in practice, would boil down to the fact that Commonwealth citizens would have to be given initial leave to remain for five years, as opposed to the 12 months which is contemplated under the policy of the Government; and they 770 should be able to bring in, or be joined by, a wider range of dependants, as provided by the regulations which the noble Lord quoted; that is, wife and children up to 21, parents, and even grandparents.
As the noble Lord pointed out, there are also various provisions relating to retirement. I recognise the difficulties about this, but our view is that there is no real and inherent reason why our joining the Economic Community, if we do join, should result in better treatment than is proposed in the Bill for Commonwealth citizens who come here to work. The arrangements under E.E.C. are reciprocal ones, so far as mobility of labour is concerned. People from the Six or the Nine will be able to come here to work just as ours will be able to go and work in Europe. But the arrangements we have with the Commonwealth concerning immigration are not reciprocal, and these are, of course, a matter for Parliament itself to determine. Certainly I cannot see that the Government have reason to extend to Commonwealth citizens provisions which would be parallel to those provided for under the E.E.C. free movement of labour provisions.
Regarding the admission of dependants, I think that it has been accepted by all Parties in recent years—at any rate by the two major Parties in this country—that Commonwealth citizens should be joined only by wives and children under 18 and by other certain specified dependants. I wonder whether the noble Lord and his colleagues wish to change this. It seems to me that, apart from any consideration of principle, we have to look at the practical considerations in this and try to see what the present situation seems to be in the Community. So far as it is possible to judge, during the past few years the movement of labour within the Community itself seems to have been influenced more by purely economic and social considerations than by any question of the absence or presence of restrictions upon it. A comparison of economic conditions in this country and in the Six does not indicate that there is likely to be any increase in the rate of entry of workers from other E.E.C. countries. Certainly it is the Government's view that the risk of a permanent and large immigration from that source 771 can be entirely ruled out. In fact I think that, generally speaking, the movement will be the other way. On the other hand, if we are to relax the control which both the Opposition and ourselves have always maintained over Commonwealth immigration, this might carry such a risk, and therefore, for practical reasons, I feel that I must ask the House not to accept this Amendment.
The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, asked me several questions. So far as deportation is concerned, as I have told him, this will be considered later on in the Bill but there is no great change proposed from the existing situation. The noble Lord asked me what the position would be legally and how this would be established. Speaking as it were without the guidance of others, I imagine that these legal matters will all be framed within the legislation proposed for joining the European Community if we do. I recognise that this is a difficult position. I have tried to put it to the House as the Government see it, and I hope that in the circumstances the noble Lord will not press this Amendment.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I never thought to live to see the day when a Conservative Government would take the line that members of the Commonwealth would be disadvantaged in comparison with our European neighbours. Some of your Lordships will remember the moving speech which was made by a much-beloved late colleague, Lord Constantine, when he said that having been brought up in Jamaica and deprived of the culture of his forebears, he was for all practical purposes a black Englishman. Under this Bill, black Frenchmen, who are given better privileges by the French than we give to our black Englishmen, would be able to come here without the restrictions that would be imposed upon his co-nationals as members of the Commonwealth. I think that this is the most disgraceful feature of this entirely disgraceful Bill.
§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE
Not tremendously to my surprise, the noble Marquess did not answer my question. I wonder whether I may put it in another way. Should I be right in thinking that a patrial who had acquired patrial rights and who 772 wanted to work for a French firm, could go and do so under Common Market rules? What would the position be of someone who came here and was halfway through his qualifying period and wanted to go off and work for Simca? Thirdly—my original question—what is the position of a potential patrial who finds the conditions in order to qualify in England so difficult that he would rather go straight to one of the Common Market countries? I think that these questions are important.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
They are indeed important questions, and I should like to give the noble Lord proper and serious answers. To the first of his questions, the answer is, Yes. I am not certain at this stage what the position of a potential patrial would be and, if I may, I will write to the noble Lord and let him know.
LORD DE CLIFFORD
I am disturbed at the situation which has arisen as a result of this Bill. We are told by noble Lords on the Front Bench that we are putting Commonwealth citizens on the same level as aliens. If we go into the Common Market, in one easy movement we produce another collection of people who can come in, so we are straight back on to three categories again. We shall treat the new people from the Common Market with preference. There cannot be any doubt about that, because they can come in and at the moment Commonwealth people cannot. I am not particularly worried about that situation, because I think the circumstances of this country probably justify it; but it worries me that once they are in they are not to be treated in the same way as Europeans who come in. It is worrying not only me; it is worrying many people in this country who have said to me,"Why should we treat people from Europe in a different manner from those who come from Australia, New Zealand and Canada?"I am just forgetting any form of colour prejudice that there may be. I have not yet heard from noble Lords on the Front Bench any remarks which have allayed my fears or can allay anybody else's fears on this matter.
§ LORD GORE-BOOTH
Through my own fault, I did not have a chance of speaking on Second Reading. May I at this stage make a few general comments 773 before I deal with the present discussion? I should like to make clear that in the criticisms I shall make of the Bill, and in voting against individual clauses, I do not regard the Bill as monstrous. I regard it as necessary, but with one or two parts which are highly regrettable. I think that this discussion has shown one of the major difficulties which the Government have created for themselves.
I am a strong supporter of British entry into the E.E.C., and if we enter the E.E.C. we shall then have to conform with the liberal provisions about the movements of labour. That is all absolutely right. But what it does, as one listens to the present debate, is to cause one to go back again (I do not know whether this is in order) to the Amendment which has just been rejected, because what that Amendment was trying to say was that there are certain special problems about the Commonwealth of which notice should be taken, and notably the one not really dealt with by Ministers; namely, the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, about the distance that very poor people from the Commonwealth have to come if they are going to settle here. The moral of that surely is that, because we are liable to accept this freedom of the Europeans, we should think again about the Commonwealth aspect of this. I think one is allowed to say that in the Commonwealth we are dealing with people to whom we have a particular obligation: some of them kith and kin; some of a different race, and therefore the problem with them is most sensitive; and practically all of them coming from a long way off. Surely what that means is that the Government should be more than ordinarily sensitive about the peripheral questions of the treatment of Commonwealth people coming here, such as were raised by the previous Amendment.
I hope that the noble Marquess, who manifestly has a humane attitude towards this, will impress on his colleagues that there are at the sensitive edges of this question things like, for instance, the rights of wives Ito come with Commonwealth citizens, and that there should be another look at these regulations to see whether a little more cannot be done at the sensitive edges to make Commonwealth citizens a little more confident in their welcome, not just 774 personally, but economically and socially, than is the case under the present regulations, given the fact of the privileges that we are voluntarily going to give to Europeans. I do hope that the noble Marquess will make that point to his colleagues.
LORD R ITCHIE-CALDER
I may say that the one creditable thing that we have had this evening is the noble Marquess's very proper embarrassment. I am glad that he at least realises precisely what most of us feel—that we have walked into a quagmire. We not only have a situation which many of us deplore in the terms of the Bill, but we are faced with a ridiculous paradox. We are going into the Common Market, and, as our late friend Learie Constantine pointed out, we have the ridiculous situation of discriminating against the members of the Commonwealth, but we are going to admit those from Europe, even predictably some black faces from Europe, who will come in with a wider welcome than the people from the Caribbean. I think that this Amendment properly discloses the completely intolerable contradictions of this Bill.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
As an ardent European I should like to make one more point. One of the things that worries me about Europe—I very much support the Government's application to get into Europe, and I hope that they succeed—is the criticism sometimes levelled that the European Economic Community is nothing but a rich man's club; a self-satisfied, self-centred, economic unity, with tariff barriers surrounding it, cast iron against the rest of the world. I do not myself believe this, but I think one of the things that this country can contribute if we become a member is to enable the European Community to fulfil its potential as a pant of the world Community. Surely one of the ways in which we should be doing that is by discharging our obligations to the third world and to our former empire, rather than hanging on.
§ LORD BYERS
I should like to make an appeal to the noble Marquess. This raises the whole question of our relationship with the E.E.C. over human beings 775 and our relationship with the Commonwealth over human beings. When we come to United Kingdom legislation for going into the Common Market we shall have to raise this. Would it not be better to think this thing out in depth between now and the Report Stage; to get some of us together with those who have objections to this course and see if we cannot kill this problem? It is a very human problem, and it has not been thought out in depth.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
This debate, I am quite certain, has disclosed the deep feeling there is on this subject and I think it is something which we all share. I was particularly struck by what the noble Lord, Lord de Clifford, said. But here is a point which, as I said before, we have to look at in a practical manner as well as one of principle. I will certainly take the invitation made by the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, to heart and will draw my colleagues' attention to the points he raised, but I think we must remember one thing about the E.E.C. provisions: that is, as I said in my earlier speech, that they are reciprocal and that the advantages we are giving to the nationals of E.E.C. countries are similar to advantages which they are giving to our nationals. That is not quite the same as the point made with regard to our Commonwealth colleagues.
§ BARONESS WHITE
Will the noble Marquess allow me to interrupt? I am sorry, but this is very important. Have Her Majesty's Government had any consultation with Commonwealth countries as to possible reciprocity? They have spent a long time discussing it with European neighbours.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
I should like to have notice of that question because I should not want to mislead the noble Baroness, Lady White, on this point, which is an important point.
The noble Lord, Lord Byers, asked that we should think again about this matter. I can assure him that the Government will continue to think about it. Our present feeling, as I explained in my original speech, is that we cannot accept this Amendment. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and his colleagues will feel able not to press it to a Division 776 because I think the House in all parts feels very sensitive about this matter.
I was, of course, very much struck by what the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton, said about the late Lord Constantine and I would echo the remarks made in this debate about that very fine man. From a purely practical point of view, I think the fears about French coloured immigrant labour coming to this country are really very small indeed. I understand that the numbers that go to work in France are not large and I think it unlikely that this would cause any real problem here. That is rather by the way. I do not feel that I can add very much to what I have said, and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, will not press the Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
A great deal of anxiety has been expressed in almost every part of the House about this proposal. I hope that my noble friend will be able to assure us that the Government will look again at it and find a way of dealing with it. I thought the appeal made by the noble Lord, Lord Byers, was a very simple and straight one. It would be a great pity if this Amendment were carried to a Division to-night. I wonder whether my noble friend could be as positive as possible in saying that the Government will look at the matter again in such a way that if the Government are not able to do anything about it, those who put forward the Amendment may have some other opportunity of doing so. It seems to be leading to a very sad situation indeed, as the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth said, if this perfectly reasonable and proper way of making an arrangement with Europe had the particular effect to which so many members of your Lordships' House have called attention. I cannot help feeling that if my noble friend could be as positive as possible that the Government would look at this matter again, the mover of the Amendment might not feel that he should press it to a Division to-night.
§ LORD OAKSHOTT
If I may intervene, perhaps I should declare an interest, because I am in fact half Canadian. I also am an ardent supporter of our acceding to the Treaty of Rome, so I find myself in some conflict. I do not know, and I do not know whether my noble 777 friend could tell me, to what extent this Amendment would conflict with what we in this country call the"statutory instruments"of the Treaty of Rome. I would strongly support the noble Lord, Lord Byers, in asking that my noble friend should take this proposal away and think about it again, and ask his noble friend to think about it again, to see whether there is a way out of this dilemma. I hope he will do this and I appeal to him to do it.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
Perhaps it is appropriate for me to intervene for a moment or two on this Amendment. I can certainly say, in response to the intervention of my noble friends, Lord Amory and Lord Oakshott, and the arguments which we have heard from the Benches opposite, that I will discuss this. My noble friend Lord Lothian will discuss it with my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. This is not a straightforward issue. There are negotiations of historic significance taking place with the E.E.C., and one of the questions under discussion is who will be regarded as a United Kingdom national for the purpose of the free movement of labour provisions. We have published a fact sheet which gives a certain amount of information on this. I do not think that it would be right, and I hope that noble Lords would agree, to press an Amendment of this kind at the moment. I will discuss it with the Secretary of State, and I should also like to suggest to him that we might take advantage of the proposal by the noble Lord, Lord Byers, and that perhaps a small group from the Bench opposite, together with the Liberal Peers, might come for a talk with us at the Home Office during the Summer Recess. In this way, if there are practical difficulties we shall be aware of them, and if, after talks, noble Lords do not feel that the difficulties had been met there will be an opportunity to put down a further Amendment later.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
There are occasions when your Lordships' House rises to considerable heights, and I think that this evening is one of them. I deliberately did not raise the question of what would be the position of Commonwealth immigrants if they were in this country and desired to move into Europe. I recognise that this is a very considerable 778 difficulty for Her Majesty's Government and also for the Governments of the E.E.C. All I sought was to establish in my Amendment that if a Commonwealth immigrant came to this country, had his work permit, established himself and behaved as an ordinary British subject, while he was here and until he became registered as a patrial he would not in any way have restrictions placed upon him which would be worse than those placed upon a national from the E.E.C. That is all I sought to secure. The numbers are not great. We have already established that not all the immigrants to this country will be affected. From the figures, I would say that perhaps 2,000 or 3,000 a year will receive work permits from the Commonwealth—with their dependants, some 15,000 in all per year. That is not a very large number.
Taking those numbers into account, and the tremendous effect that would be caused within the immigrant population in this country and the Commonwealth as a whole, if the Government were able to accept the spirit (I am not asking for the wording) of this Amendment, the effect would be of tremendous consequence. In the light of the appeal that was made by the noble Viscount, Lord Amory, which I think represented the general view of your Lordships' House, and the response of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, I intend to withdraw this Amendment, and I would respond, with the noble Lord, Lord Byers, and others, to the suggestion of consultations to see whether we can find an equitable and honourable settlement to this problem. I beg leave to withdraw this Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 9.25 p.m.
§ LORD O'HAGAN moved Amendment No. 9:
Page 2, line 10, at end insert—
(" Provided that in framing the rules and in the administration thereof the rights of entry of dependents of Commonwealth citizens remain the same as those specified in section 2 of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968.")
The noble Lord said: I have rather a difficult job to do, and I hope you will forgive me if in moving this Amendment I get into a muddle or bore you, especially after the deeply moving debate we have just had. I would explain that this Amendment is designed to continue the
present situation with regard to dependants of Commonwealth citizens. If I may I will read out the relevant parts of the Act that I have cited in my Amendment—
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—
It goes on to outline provisions for the children. Broadly the situation is—
§ LORD O'HAGAN
This is from Section 2(2)(a) and (b). if your Lordships would like me to read it in detail I will willingly do so, but I was trying to give an indication of what I am putting forward and I was going to give a summary of the implications of it. I understand that the implications of what I have referred to are that wives can come in, children up to the age of 16 have the absolute right, children of 16 to 18 come in if both parents are residents, and children over 18 very rarely, and old people over the age 65 are allowed to come in. That is the present situation and this Amendment is aimed at continuing it.
In its present form this Bill and the rules would alter that situation so that children under 18 could come in only if both parents are resident here, and I feel that the rights enshrined in the Act should be continued in this new legislation, especially in the light of the rights that dependants of nationals of other member countries of the Common Market would have if we joined. I will not dwell in detail on those rights; they have been mentioned by the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, already, but broadly speaking any children up to the age of 21, if dependent, would be allowed in for nationals, and, as he said, dependent relations in the ascending line, parents and grandparents. I am merely asking that the present conditions for Commonwealth citizens should be continued, and that 780 the relevant section of the 1968 Act be specifically included in this Bill.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
This Amendment is similar in some ways to the Amendment to Clause 3, Amendment No. 56, put down by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, except that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, does not propose that rights of entry should be conferred directly by the Bill itself. It leaves such rights to be conferred by the Immigration Rules, but limits the scope of the rule-making power by prohibiting the Home Secretary from impairing the existing statutory rights of entry of Commonwealth dependants, in respect of both heads of households already here and those who come in the future. The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, evidently accepts that the rules will confer rights which, being enforceable against the Home Office in appeal proceedings, will for all practical purposes afford their holders the same protection as the statutory rights provided by the existing law.
The Government have concluded, as we have already debated and will debate again, that it is not necessary or appropriate to entrench in the Bill any special provision concerning the entry of dependants. The draft Immigration Rules which have been laid before Parliament are a clear indication of the Government's intentions here. Commonwealth citizens already settled in this country will be able to bring in exactly the same range of dependants and on exactly the same terms as at present. The Home Secretary has undertaken that the requirement of ability to maintain and accommodate dependants will not be applied to the wives and children of Commonwealth citizens already settled here. Therefore, with the protection that is conferred by the immigration rules, there will be no change in the position of the dependants of somebody already established here. A Commonwealth citizen with a work permit, coming to this country to work in the future, when the Bill is in force, will in the first instance be able to bring in only his wife and children under the age of 18, provided that he has accommodation for them and can support them. When the time limit on his stay is removed (normally after four years in approved employment) he will be able to bring in the same range of dependants as 781 a Commonwealth voucher-holder can at present, subject to the requirement about maintenance and accommodation which, under the existing rules, applies to relatives other than wives and children.
If the Government were to seek to be less generous in making the rules in their final form, their action would be open to debate under the Negative Resolution procedure, and it would be open to either House to reject the proposed rules. Any future change in the rules would similarly be open to Parliamentary scrutiny and disapproval and, it must not be forgotten, the rules would be binding on the Home Office through the immigration appeals system.
It is for these reasons that we do not feel that this Amendment would be a desirable one. I am not really sure whether or not what I have said meets the noble Lord's point if he is concerned about the entry of dependants of Commonwealth citizens already established in this country. They will have the right to bring in exactly the same dependants as they can now and on exactly the same terms. For Commonwealth citizens coming in the future, the range of dependants will be narrower; it will not include the elderly parents, for example, until after the Commonwealth citizens have been here for four years in approved employment.
§ 9.35 p.m.
§ LORD GARDINER
I always feel in some difficulty when one is told, "This Amendment is quite unnecessary because that is the position under the Bill ". Then the answer to that is,"If it is the position under the Bill you obviously do not object to it and there is no reason why the matter should not be made plain ". I respectfully support what the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, has said, because it is not the same. The right—if one is to call it a right at the moment under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968—is a statutory, legal right. Under the Bill it will not be a statutory legal right at all; it will be a right—if you like to call it a right—arising from whatever rules for the time being the Home Secretary may make. That, obviously, is an entirely different position. I have never quite understood this since I read what the Home Secretary said in the other place on March 8, 1971, at col. 47. He said: 782Those Commonwealth citizens already here free of condition, broadly speaking all working immigrants here, will not be affected…There will be no new papers to be carried, they will be allowed to bring in dependants…As I have said, I do not intend that the position of those already in this country, the rights "—and your Lordships will appreciate that at the moment they have statutory rights—of those already in this country to bring in their dependants, shall be changed.In the next column he said that those already hereshould have the same right in future as they now have to bring in their wives and dependants.That simply is not so unless this Amendment is carried. The Act giving them the statutory right is being repealed, and all that is being offered in its place is rules, which the Home Secretary can make whenever he likes without consulting anyone at all, and which come into force as soon as he makes them. Parliament then has 40 days to say that it disapproves, but even if it disapproves that does not quash the rules. They remain as they are, and all that happens is that the Home Secretary then makes a statement proposing changes to the rules. While all that is going on, the rules are still there.
I want to make clear that I accept fully anything that the present Home Secretary says, and certainly anything that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham says, as to what their intentions are so long as they occupy their present position. But one cannot conceal the tone in which certain Members in the other place rejoiced that the legal rights were gone and that now the whole thing depended entirely on discretion. These gentlemen are entitled to hold their opinion. They think there should be no more coloured immigrants, and certainly no more dependants. They are certainly entitled to hold that view. There may in the future be a Home Secretary who is less enlightened than the present Home Secretary. I am surprised that the Home Secretary—I do not know whether he has not had reason to think it out very much—went on to say that the right of those already in this country to bring in their dependants would be unchanged. The Bill in its present form does not leave the situation unchanged. It takes 783 away what are at present statutory rights, and all we are left with is an assurance as to how rules will be operated, which we certainly accept from the present Home Secretary but which can be changed by another Home Secretary at another time. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will accept the Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, moved.
§ 9.40 p.m.
§ LORD GARNER
I have listened to the whole of this debate so far, and I have done so with an increasing sense of sadness. I am being driven almost to the conclusion—except for the admirable discussion we had on the last Amendment—that one of the aims, hidden though it may be, of this Bill is really to place obstacles in the way of people coming here for permanent settlement, particularly those from Commonwealth countries.
There are two practical questions which bother me. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has assured me that the rights of dependants of Commonwealth citizens already here will not in any way be affected. If it is proper to retain those rights for Commonwealth citizens who are already here, why is it not proper to retain them for Commonwealth citizens who will come after this Bill becomes an Act?
The other problem that worries me is really a more practical one. However well-intentioned or kindly the immigration officials may be, if they are required to inquire into the ability of a man, on arrival, to maintain a wife and family, and to provide accommodation for them, it is not difficult to understand that in a good many cases a man arriving in a strange country, although he may have work to which to go, with very little knowledge of what the circumstances will be, may find it extremely difficult to give satisfactory evidence to the immigration officials. But the fundamental point, to my mind, is that if a man is being allowed here for permanent settlement it is only right that his immediate family should be allowed in with him. The social reasons for this are obvious; and I should like to add my support to the Amendment.
§ 9.41 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
The practice, I think, will cover what the noble Lord, Lord Garner, has in mind."In the future ", he says,"a man admitted "—he then says"for permanent settlement ", and I should like to come back to those words because they are crucial in this debate—" should have the right to bring his immediate family ". A man admitted under the work permit scheme is not admitted for permanent residence. This is the essence of the change which is being made by this Bill. He is admitted with a work permit for a period of one year in the first instance, renewable for a further period of three years; and we accept, of course, that at the end of that period, as with aliens, a certain number will wish to remain in this country and will at that point become permanent residents. It is at that point, after they have been here for four years in approved employment, that they will have the right to bring in elderly dependent parents, for example—that is, the grandparents of their children—and maybe certain other relatives, uncles and aunts, who are in particularly distressed circumstances. The conditions are set out in the White Paper at the moment; and it seems to me that they constitute a perfectly coherent and sensible approach towards this particular question.
The noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, came back to a line of argument which I think he has advanced already. He does not feel that what is contained in the Immigration Rules can be as adequate a safeguard as a provision contained in a clause of the Bill—I think that is what the argument boils down to. I have explained that it was for reasons of this sort that in another place the Secretary of State agreed that these rules should he made subject to Parliamentary control. They are not at the moment so subject. The White Paper containing the rules on entry which we have had for a decade now, have not been subject to Parliamentary control of any sort. They are now to be subject to the Negative Resolution procedure. The noble and learned Lord went on to develop this same point; he said he did not like the fact that if Parliament did not approve a rule, it nevertheless remained in force, and the Secretary of State had to go away, consider 785 the matter further, and bring some more rules before Parliament. But let us take the example of dependants. What would happen if, when Parliament did not approve a rule, it was extinguished at that point and the Secretary of State had to go away to draw up some new proposals as soon as he could? What would the immigration service do? People are not going to stop arriving at the ports. On what principles should the immigration officers work? They must surely work on the basis of the authorised, published Immigration Rules until something else is substituted. So I really do not feel that this particular point has very much force in it.
There is this point of principle between us on the question of whether or not we are willing to accept that the safeguards contained in the Immigration Rules are likely to be adequate. As I said, they are now subject to Parliamentary control. If it is said,"Yes, but there may be another Government, there may be another Parliament," that is so. But if Parliament agreed with the Home Secretary on the alteration of the immigration rules, if it was willing to accept whatever change it was that he was proposing to make, it could also alter the legislation. So that Parliament will have control.
We cannot really predict what Parliaments may do in the future, but I do not think that is a sufficient argument for persevering with an Amendment of this sort. In the light of what I have said, and bearing in mind that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, is in not quite such an extreme position on this point as the noble Lords on the Front Bench opposite in that he is proposing that the safeguards should go in the immigration rules, not that there should be statutory safeguards for dependants, I hope he may feel that what I have said has met his point of view.
VISCOUNT ST. DAVIDS
I am sorry that I cannot agree with the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham. There seems to be a great gulf between what happens now and what he proposes. At the moment a man has a right to have his family with him, which is a very human thing. It is true of all humans throughout the 786 world that people like to have their families with them. What the noble Lord is offering in exchange is that he thinks the system will work in practice in much the way that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, has in mind. That does not seem nearly good enough. The noble Lord talked about the regulations. They are not what I would call fail-safe regulations; they are fail-dangerous regulations. If the regulations which the Minister makes are turned down by Parliament, a fail-safe arrangement would mean that the regulations fell back into the previous position which had presumably been authorised by Parliament. But that is not the case with these regulations. If they are not passed by Parliament, these regulations stay in a position of which Parliament has disapproved until the Secretary of State sees fit to do something different. I call them fail-dangerous regulations, and I do not like them.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
Perhaps the time has come for us to make up our minds about this Amendment. I was in such confusion after the previous debate that I did not make one or two points which I should have made, but I shall not keep your Lordships very long. The principal point is that I accept absolutely the sincerity of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and of his right honourable friends, when they say that in practice they do not want to do anything different from what I am aiming for in principle. They say that in practice they wish to carry out what I am endeavouring to make permanent. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, is very well versed in these matters and is more able at explaining. He told me that I had accepted various things of which I was not aware, but I am quite sure that he was right. But one thing of which I am aware is that I cannot be persuaded by him, with all his knowledge and sincerity, that the difference between the practice and the principle is sufficiently narrow for us not to adhere to the principle. I think we ought to keep the principle.
§ 9.49 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 9) shall be agreed to?787
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 39; Not-Contents, 80.
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Gaitskell, Bs.||Platt, L.|
|Birk, Bs.||Gardiner, L.||Ritchie-Calder, L.|
|Blackburn, L.Bp.||Garner, L. [Teller.]||Roberthall, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Garnsworthy, L.||St. Davids, V.|
|Brown, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Seear, Bs.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Hoy, L.||Segal, L.|
|Byers, L.||Janner, L.||Serota, Bs.|
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Kilbracken, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Champion, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs.||Shepherd, L.|
|Crowther, L.||Morris of Kenwood, L.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Diamond, L.||Nunburnholme, L.||Tanlaw, L.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||O'Hagan, L. [Teller.]||Wade, L.|
|Foot, L.||Phillips, Bs.||White, Bs.|
|Aberdare, L.||Daventry, V.||Kilmarnock, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||de Clifford, L.||Latymer, L.|
|Allerton L.||Denham, L.||Lauderdale, E.|
|Amory, V.||Derwent, L.||Lothian, M.|
|Auckland, L.||Digby, I.||Margadale, L.|
|Balfour, E.||Drumalbyn, L.||Monson, L.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Eccles, V.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Elliot of Harwood, Bs.||Napier and Ettrick, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Emmet of Amberley, Bs.||Oakshott, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, T.||Essex, E.||Pender, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Falmouth, V.||Perth, E.|
|Berkeley, Bs.||Ferrers, E.||Redmayne, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Goschen, V. [Teller.]||Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.||Gowrie, E. [Teller.]||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Bridgeman, V.||Gray, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Greenway, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs.||Grimston of Westbury, L||Sandys, L.|
|Burton, L.||Hailes, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Carlisle, E.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Sinclair of Cleeve, L.|
|Carnock, L.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Chelmer, L.||Hatherton, L.||Teviot, L.|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Hives, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Coleraine, L.||Hood, V.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.|
|Conesford, L.||Ilford, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Wakefield of Kendal, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Killearn, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Cranbrook, E.||Kilmany, L.||Wolverton, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 10:
Page 2, line 10, at end insert—
(" Provided that in the framing of the rules and in the administration of the rules there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race colour religion or sex.")
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I indicated earlier that I was proposing to move this Amendment with a view to asking one or two questions. The subject of"no discrimination"and whether it should be incorporated in the Bill or in the rules has already been discussed and I do not propose to go over that ground again. Also, unless noble Lords wish otherwise, I do not propose to press this 788 Amendment to a Division. I think it is sufficient to defeat the Government once a day!
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, it may be said that there is not equality at the present time in the existing rules, but I should like to inquire whether we could not insert, in the new rules, a provision that there should be no discrimination on grounds of sex; and if that is not the 789 wish and intention of the Government I should like to ask why.
I would also ask one more specific question, and it is closely related to the custom of arranged marriages. As your Lordships know, where there is an arranged marriage it is not arranged simply between the parents of the bridegroom and the parents of the bride: the whole of what is known as the"enlarged family"are usually concerned, and there are lengthy discussions between the two families before the marriage is arranged. Take as an example the case where the bride-to-be is the daughter of an Asian family settled in this country and the boy is, say, living in India. A marriage is arranged; the boy and girl wish to live in this country—in other words the bridge-groom wishes to come and join the bride and live here—and the family of the bride are quite prepared to see that the bridegroom is able to support himself; so that there is no question of his being either unemployed or being a cost to this country. Is there anything in these rules which would prevent the bridegroom from joining the bride here?
Alternatively, if the girl is in, say, a Commonwealth country, and the bridegroom here, how would the rules apply? As I understand it, there is a discrimination between the case of the boy living in the Commonwealth country and the girl living in the Commonwealth country where the one or the other wish to come and reside here. That is the point I would wish to put to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham. Is it correct that there is discrimination in the case where the husband or husband to be lives abroad; and, if so, is there any good reason, where the enlarged family is quite prepared to guarantee the support of the newly married couple?
§ 10.1 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, the new point raised by this Amendment, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade has explained, is the proposal that there should be no discrimination in the immigration rules on the grounds of sex. As I explained earlier, the Government accept, and have provided in Cmnd. 4606, that there should he no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or religion, but this does not extend, as the noble Lord has correctly pointed out, to sex. On 790 certain points the immigration rules do indeed distinguish on grounds of sex. Some are relatively trivial, though essential in the nature of things, such as that only females are admissible as au pair girls—there is a distinction on the ground of sex.
But the substantial point which the noble Lord is putting to me is that, while wives are freely admitted to join their husbands, the reverse is not the case, since men are not entitled to entry in right of their wives. This is a fundamental principle of immigration control, that the wife is expected to make her home in the country where her husband is established and not the other way round. In the United States and Canada, for example, a male fiancé is not admitted for the reason alone that he is engaged to a United States citizen and is due to be married; he may get some priority, but it does not exempt him. This is a general immigration practice. It is one, moreover, that has been applied by both Parties in the 1962 and 1968 Acts and in the immigration rules that have been based on them. The practical reason why this is not really possible—we do receive many representations on this subject from people concerned, particularly in the Asian communities in this country—is that, although in the 1962 Act men were not given a statutory right of entry for the purpose of marriage with somebody who was already established here, a concession was made—noble Lords opposite may recall this—so that male Commonwealth citizens could be admitted for the purpose of marriage. This concession was withdrawn in 1969, and I think it may be helpful if I explain the reasons why. I am advised that the decision—it was the decision of the previous Administration—to withdraw this concession was only taken after very careful consideration of all the implications. An examination of the statistics had shown a sharp increase in the number of Commonwealth men and women entering this country for marriage. The figure of 500 in 1965 had risen to 3,591 in 1968, and of the 1968 total 1,676 were men, of whom 1,496 were admitted from India alone. These figures had to be set against the figure of 3,828 adult males admitted for settlement as employment voucher holders in 1968, of whom 1,623 were from India.
791 In the light of these figures, the previous Government concluded that the marriage concession was being exploited to the extent that the numbers arriving were disproportionately high in relation to the numbers admitted under the voucher scheme, with the effect that the voucher scheme was being undermined as the main instrument of control over numbers. It was apparent that increasing advantage was being taken of the marriage concession as a means of securing entry for settlement without a voucher. In the light of these facts, the then Home Secretary decided it was no longer possible to maintain the concession. Mr. Callaghan's words on January 30, 1969, were:The numbers have risen steeply over the last year or so, and are now on such a scale that it seems that marriage is being used by many young men of working age as a means of entering, working, and settling in this country.Before concluding, I should add that since that date there has been no absolute ban on male fiancés' being admitted for marriage and settlement. They may still be admitted, although they now need to obtain entry certificates before coming to this country, and are expected to show that there are special circumstances affecting them, or the women to whom they have become engaged here, which would make their exclusion undesirable. That answers the specific second question put to me by the noble Lord.
The young man in the situation of the arranged marriage would not generally be admitted under Immigration Rules as they stand now, but if there were sufficiently exceptional circumstances these would be taken into account when he applied for an entry certificate, and that application, as he may know, is made and considered in our High Commission posts in Commonwealth countries overseas. These provisions of the existing Immigration Rules are applied as compassionately and flexibly as possible, and each case is given careful consideration. The underlying principle, however, is that a woman who marries a resident of another country should normally expect to live in her husband's country.
I think that explanation gives the noble Lord the information he has asked for, both in terms of the underlying principles 792 of immigration control and the practical implications of the experience between 1962 and 1968, and the circumstances which led the previous Administration to withdraw the concession.
§ 10.9 p.m.
§ LORD GARDINER
Would the noble Lord not agree that there is all the difference in the world between fiancés, or alleged fiancés, coming here for some real or pretended marriage, and those who are already husband and wife? I think what most of us have in mind is the inadvisability of separating husbands and wives. Can the noble Lord tell me, in 1971, what really is the justification for saying on the one hand,"Yes, of course, if a man comes here to work by agreement with us he should be able to bring his wife with him ", and saying that a Jamaican nurse who, for our benefit, comes here should not be able to have her husband with her? I daresay that in practice it is allowed, but why should the rules be different in those two cases?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I think that I answered the first point about husbands. If there was a degree of hardship it would be a ground for the entry officer to take into account. The reason why the husband is not admitted is because the wife is normally expected to make her home in the country of the husband—and this is not only our practice; it is international practice—except where particular circumstances point the other way. The second point concerned somebody who is admitted for the purposes of work. I think that in such a case the situation is very different from that of those seeking admission either because they intend to get married in the future or because they are already married. The difficulty is compounded, as is shown by the experience of the late 1960s, by the practice with which the noble Lord, Lord Wade, will be familiar from his experience of community relations in Yorkshire of arranged marriage, in which the parties are in two continents and separated by many thousands of miles. By their own customs they are married, although by ours they are still regarded as affianced.
§ BARONESS SEEAR
Surely we cannot accept the idea that, simply because, as 793 Lord Windlesham said, it is the established principle that the wife must always go to live where her husband is, the principle should continue unchallenged. It seems to me to be one of those"establishments"which ought to be disestablished as soon as possible—particularly in the case of developing countries. I should have thought it highly desirable that we should do everything possible to raise the status of women in these countries where it is already in many instances, far behind that of men, if in this Bill, with all its limitations we could do something to recognise the rising status of women by challenging this established principle it would be a gain.
§ LORD WADE
I indicated earlier that I was not contemplating pressing this Amendment, but I think that we shall have to look further into the subject of hardship and the interpretation of special conditions. We shall have an opportunity of thinking about that between now and the Report stage. We might have had an excellent debate on the equality of treatment of the sexes. We seemed to be warming up for that. But perhaps we can defer it for another occasion. In the circumstances and in view of the time, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, Whether Clause 1, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?
§ 10.14 p.m.
I do not understand the procedure of this House. On the Marshalled List there is an Amendment to leave out Clause 1. If, as I understand, that is not moved, am I still in order in addressing the Committee for a few minutes on the question of whether this clause stand part of the Bill? If I am, I should like to say that I am sorry that this debate is taking place at such a late hour. After having considered the various Amendments that have been discussed this afternoon, it has become more and more clear to me that this Bill itself is a bad Bill, one that really did not re-require to be put on the Statute Book. Obviously, from what we have heard, the fears that we have and others have with regard to the nature of the Bill itself appear to be justified.
794 We are anxious that, if this Bill goes through, everything should be done to appease or to relieve the anxieties of Commonwealth immigrants in particular. Then one looks at what has been happening. In the first Amendment it was apparently admitted by the Government that the position of the Commonwealth citizen would be changed. Yet the Amendment was resisted. Say what you will, the arguments used in respect of the Amendment were quite contradictory, the Government insisting that there was no need for the Amendment, because this was in fact the position, and then arguing that there might have to be some regulations or amendment to alter the situation from the point of view of the Commonwealth citizen.
Then I am deeply disturbed, as are other noble Lords, by the ridiculous argument used in respect of the rules. I do not think that anyone in this Government, or in a future Government, would want to exercise the right to alter the rules in such a way as to make a serious position for Commonwealth and other immigrants, but the fact remains that the Government or the Home Secretary can alter the regulations overnight and there would not be an opportunity of having the alteration remedied by means of a negative vote. It is an absurd position. Some of the principles involved are of such a nature that they ought not to be left in that state. We have argued about these on several of the Amendments. One of them is Rule 15, on the right of political asylum. What is to prevent a Home Secretary altering the rule so that this political right is not accorded? I know that we may be told that there is an international law with regard to this. Then why not emphasise it in such a way that Parliament can make the decision and not the Home Secretary, whoever he may be?
I beg the Government to reconsider their position on these matters. There is apprehension and doubt, doubt that cannot be set aside by the kind of argument we have heard to-day. We shall come fairly soon to Clause 2, but in the first place in my opinion, Clause 1 ought not to be accepted. If the Government do not agree to withdrawn this clause, I hope at least that they will give an assurance that they will look into the 795 matters which have been raised in the course of the discussion on the clause.
§ 10.20 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My noble friend was quite justified in reproving me and the Front Bench for not raising an objection to the passing of Clause 1. On Second Reading I made it quite clear that I did not like the Bill, and therefore I did not like Clause 1. But we carried one major Amendment to the Bill earlier this afternoon, and it seemed to me that there was considerable sympathy in the Committee for another Amendment which, if it was accepted in principle by the Government, would have a significant effect not only on Clause 1, but on the Bill as a whole. I therefore, after consultation with my colleagues, thought perhaps that we might be best advised not to press our strong views on Clause 1, but to preserve our position for Report stage.
My noble friend has raised serious matters. Some of them, of course, can be dealt with on Amendments Nos. 44 and 45, which deal with perhaps one of the most important aspects of the Bill; namely, the extent of Parliamentary approval and examination of rules that the Home Secretary may have in mind. I will not refer to this"late hour ", because it is still an early hour compared to some of the nights that we have been sitting, but since this is the first night on this Bill. I am anxious not to keep the Committee too long and therefore 796 I will confine my remarks on this clause to what I have already said. I do not know the feeling of the Committee, but if noble Lords feel that we should move on, then I will support that.
§ LORD BROWN
Perhaps I may seize this opportunity to say something that I might have said before we divided on Amendment No. 9. It is simply this. I forgot to rise to suggest a compromise which I should like to put to the Government now for consideration. The Amendment on Clause 9 sought to provide for those entering with work permits the same conditions as they have now. There is, I think, some reason in the Government's stand in putting some restrictions on dependants' entering in the first year. If a man has to return home at the end of the first year, it may be extremely harassing for his dependants if they have arrived here. Would it not have been possible, while maintaining the Government's standpoint as set out in the Bill with regard to the first year, to relax in the way indicated in Amendment No. 9 for the remaining three years of his (if I may put it this way) probationary period?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I am grateful for what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has said. I think he has the Committee with him in his proposal. As regards the suggested compromise advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Brown, perhaps I could look at that and write to him.
§ Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.797
§ Clause 2 [Statement of right of abode, and related amendments as to citizenship by registration]:
§ THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
Before I call the first Amendment to Clause 2, I would point out to your Lordships that if it is agreed to I shall not be able to call Amendments Nos. 12, 13, 14, 17, 18 and a manuscript Amendment that I have.
§ 10.24 p.m.
LORD FOOT moved Amendment No. 11:
Page 2, line 13, leave out from (" Colonies ") to end of line 35.
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 11. I do so with a certain amount of hesitation, because clearly this Amendment in the names of my noble friends and myself strikes at the very heart of the Bill, and if it were carried it would mean that the Bill would be torn into small pieces. Therefore I cannot expect that I shall receive any kind of assistance from the Government, or that they will be prepared to give way on it. The object of the Amendment is to strike out everything after the word"Colonies"in line 13, with the result that for the future the right of abode would coincide with United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship. That would mean various serious injuries because, first, it would virtually repeal Section 1 of the Act of 1968, and it would restore the right of preferment to anyone who is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies regardless of whether he has any affinity with this country of the kind described in paragraphs (a) and (b), and regardless of whether he had ever been settled or lived in this country.
§ The second effect of the Amendment would be to strike out paragraph (d), and thereby to close the door which the Government want to open to an unlimited number of Commonwealth citizens who have this affinity or this sense of belonging to this country. That is what the Amendment seeks to do. It would of course be all too easy to be tempted into making what would amount to a Second Reading speech on an Amendment of this sort. I shall resist that temptation, but I wish to use the opportunity to make a particular reference to the situation we 798 have discussed so often in this House, that of the East African nations.
§ We have discussed this matter many times. The situation in East Africa, particularly in Kenya and Uganda, remains as it has been since we passed the Act of 1968. That is to say, there are many United Kingdom passport holders in those countries who were deprived of the right of immediate entry to this country by the 1968 Act. Many of them have been deprived of their source of livelihood and their occupation under the laws of Uganda and Kenya and, as a result, have been living upon their savings and have sometimes seen their savings entirely eaten up There are many young people who, because they are denied the opportunity of taking work in those countries, have not been able to find employment there for themselves since they left school. This situation has existed, as everyone knows, since the Act of 1968 was passed.
§ It is true that until very recently the Government have given considerable easement here in that they have doubled the number of vouchers for heads of families coming into this country, and they have additionally made the once-for-all grant of 1,500 vouchers to take effect within this year. I do not want to be churlish about this, but my regret is that, excellent as that provision was, the Government did not go the whole way and repeal the Act altogether. I think they could have done that without any serious risk of any substantial influx to this country.
§ The Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the number of people who want to come into this country from Kenya and Uganda are something of this order. There are about 9,000 heads of families who are in the queue and have made application for vouchers. If we take that number together with their dependants it may be that the overall figure of United Kingdom passport holders who want to avail themselves of the opportunity of coming to this country is not much more than 30,000. The noble Lord will correct me if I have the figures wrong, but I believe they were recently given in another place by a representative of the Government.
§ If that is the extent of the problem, and if it is true that there are only about 799 9,000 heads of families who want to come into this country as the holders of United Kingdom passports, the problem is not a big one. The figure may be lower, because once we have acknowledged that these people have the right to come here without restriction some of them would not want to come, but would be prepared to go to India, and India would be prepared to receive them as long as there was this"long stop"of our undertaking to take them. The Government, by their recent relaxation and the increased number of vouchers, have given an easement, but without settling the problem once and for all; and over the next three years it is undeniable that there will be people still in Uganda and Kenya using up their savings and sometimes living on charity who, when they eventually come, will come to this country as beggars and without resources of any kind.
§ The point I wanted to put to the Government on this Amendment was this: is it not a great pity that in this Bill they have missed the opportunity of repealing the whole of Section 1 of the 1968 Act, so as to restore to these people the right to come in because they are United Kingdom citizens and holders of United Kingdom passports? It is an ugly juxtaposition to find that in this clause, at the same time as the Government are maintaining the restrictions upon these people who are holders of United Kingdom passports and citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, they are opening the door, under subsection (d) of the very same clause, to an unknown and unlimited number of people who are not United Kingdom citizens but Commonwealth citizens with the affinity with this country as described in the subsection. I think it is a great mistake not to have seized this opportunity to put right what went wrong in 1968. In saying that, I know that I shall have the sympathy if not the approval of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, because he was one who voted against the principle of that Bill at that time. Obviously, unless somebody brings pressure to bear on me, I am not going to press this Amendment to a division, but I wanted to use this opportunity to raise the question of the repeal of the 1968 Act, and also to enable the noble Lord to give us his observations upon it. I beg to move.800
§ 10.35 p.m.
I rise briefly to express my regret that this clause is in the Bill at all. There are many people who do not like the idea of the new division which has been introduced. As the noble Lord, Lord Foot, has said, it is really a matter for a Second Reading debate. Unfortunately, I was not able to be present on that occasion. I think that this new conception is being resented by Commonwealth coloured people because as a result of this particular division the coloured element which has no parents born in this country but which had a parent who was a Comonwealth citizen, nevertheless is placed at a very serious disadvantage, for the obvious reason that other Commonwealth citizens in many thousands would be sons born in the Commonwealth of parents who may be, or would have been, born in this country.
This extremely important matter has been brought to my notice by those who are engaged in developing relationships between immigrants and people who were previously living in this country. As I say, it is quite obvious that, no matter what arguments may be put forward at this stage, the Government are not likely to allow this particular Amendment to be carried. I cannot help feeling that this is a peculiar time to introduce this kind of legislation—the timing is bad. What difference would it have made in numbers in so far as immigration is concerned? Perhaps the Government will tell us. I just cannot feel that it is a real proposition. It is quite unnecessary. I think it might, in fact it does, embitter the relations between Commonwealth immigrants and others, and I believe that the societies which are engaged in doing what they can in order to bring about understanding and goodwill between the two communities are very deeply concerned about this particular way, at this precise time, of introducing this kind of system.
§ LORD KILBRACKEN
This Amendment, with which I am afraid I do not agree, gives me an opportunity of drawing attention to a matter which was already causing me surprise and apprehension in the Bill as it is at present drafted, and would produce even more if this Amendment were carried. It may 801 be that I am making a mistake about this, and if so I am sure the noble Lord will interrupt me quickly. I am concerned with the position of citizens of the Dominions. As I understand it, citizens of the Dominions are not citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies unless they have resided in this country for five years or more, when they may become so by registration under the British Nationality Act 1948, as it is now proposed to amend it. Therefore citizens of the Dominions may not qualify for patriality—to use that rather horrible word—under paragraphs (a), (b) or (c) of Clause 2(1) but only under paragraph (d).
It seems to me most remarkable that whereas citizens of Hong Kong or Fiji—and I have nothing whatsoever against the citizens of any colony—are entitled to patriality if one of their grandparents happened to be born in the United Kingdom, a citizen of the Dominions is not so entitled. Somebody who is an Canadian, Australian or New Zealander would not qualify under Clause 2(1)(b) because he is not a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. My excuse for drawing attention to this matter at this juncture is that if this Amendment were agreed to it would delete (d) altogether, and would mean that a citizen of one of the Dominions would not have any right to patriality whatsoever, whereas a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, however he acquired that citizenship, would.
I feel that the position of a Dominion citizen needs clarification, and the disadvantage at which he stands in comparison with a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies has to be explained. For this reason, if for no other, I oppose the Amendment.
§ 10.41 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
The noble Lord, Lord Foot, has used this Amendment, quite properly and appropriately, to discuss the position of the East African Asians. No doubt the noble Lord, in his reply for the Government, will wish to say something about that. I was one of those who was extremely unhappy at the time of the 1968 Act. On the other hand, one must recognise that the Home Secretary has recently made some concessions. I do not feel that they are 802 adequate, when one thinks of the time factor, for those who are still in East Africa. No doubt we shall hear something from the noble Lord on this subject. I should like to ask just how far this particular notion of the Government, the right of abode and patriality, has any great validity once the grandparent has been removed. I am aware that the noble Viscount, Lord Monck, wishes to restore the grandparent, but in another place the grandparent was removed. There is a concession to sex equality. I was rather surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Wade, did not mention this, because the one merit of patriality, so far as I can see, in spite of the nomenclature employed, is that it is a matrial clause. For the first time the descent through the mother is going to be recognised as giving a right of abode, whereas previously it has been only descent through the father. I have always thought that mothers are much more certain in this matter in any case.
I have been reading the remarks made by the Home Secretary in Committee in another place when this was discussed. He pointed out that under gall British Governments the children of a father born in this country have been free from immigration control. As they derive their United Kingdom citizenship directly from the birth of their father in the United Kingdom, they are eligible for, and have always been eligible for, United Kingdom passports. This is now extended to descent through a mother who was born in the United Kingdom. What is left of this concept of patriality is of so little difference that I find it very hard to understand the reason for keeping this provision in the Bill. It would be very helpful to the Committee if the noble Lord could explain matters to us. Then Clause 2(1)(c) worries us: we have an Amendment later on that. That is something rather different; that is where one obtains the right of abode from having been settled in this country, not through descent. But so far as descent is concerned, I should like the noble Lord to explain to us why we should have to have this rather awkward and I think somewhat inaccurate word, and why we cannot really drop this, to my mind, rather mistaken notion of the Government from this Bill altogether.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
Perhaps I could reply first to the questions of the noble Baroness, Lady White, because they touch on the principles contained in Clause 2. She has, if I may say so, grasped the signficance of the Amendments that have been made, and she is quite right in saying that the only change of substance between Clause 2 as it stands and the present law is that there is a small extension, in that the mother of any Commonwealth citizen who is horn, adopted or registered in this country becomes exempt from our immigration control. Other than that, the position is in substance the same. But it represents a shift from passports to citizenship. This is something which must be a step in the right direction. On Second Reading many speakers referred to the desirability of basing our immigration controls entirely on a citizenship of the United Kingdom. We have not been able to go as far as that, and I will mention some of the reasons later; but what we have managed to do is to get away from the idea of holding of a passport and return to the concept of citizenship: that is, citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies, which is the only citizenship we have had in this country since 1948.
The noble Baroness asks,"Why have the clause at all?"The answer is—and I discussed this point on Second Reading—that all this clause is doing is making explicit and giving a name to what we were doing before. The basis of the 1962 Act, which for the first time in our history imposed control on the admission of Commonwealth citizens, was that those Commonwealth citizens who had a close connection with the United Kingdom by birth were, in certain categories, entitled to exemption. In 1968, for the first time in our history, we subjected on citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies to immigration control. Previously, they had been free to come in and go out as they wished, but because of the circumstances at the time the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, introduced the Bill into this House. He will remember it very well. The Government felt it was necessary at that time to impose this particular control. What the Bill does now is merely to embody the control in the concept of the right of 804 abode, and to give a name to it. The name is"patrial ", and, as I have said, this is a word which has caused a great deal of uneasiness. It goes against the grain. It makes explicit something about which many people are uneasy.
This Amendment, as the noble Lord, Lord Foot, told us, is very far-reaching indeed. It would exempt from immigration control all citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, but nobody else. It would therefore be both restrictive, in that it would remove the Commonwealth citizens in paragraph (d), referred to by Lord Kilbracken and it would extend the exemption granted to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Let me deal first with the extension. This would be a major extension. It would cover not only the United Kingdom passport holders in East Africa (about whom I shall say a little more in a moment or two), but everyone possessing citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies and living in a dependent territory, covering some 3 million people, about 2 million of them in Hong Kong and about 1 million elsewhere. It would also cover an estimated 1 million Chinese living in Malaysia who possess Malaysian citizenship as well as citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. It would cover, as I have said, United Kingdom passport holders in East Africa—perhaps 150,000 people; and it would cover certain other communities living in various parts of the world, such as the British communities in Latin America, and people on the shores of the Mediterranean, of Maltese and Cypriot ancestry, who did not acquire Maltese or Cypriot citizenship on independence. There would therefore be quite large numbers of people, who at present do not have an automatic right of entry to this country but who would be granted that; and in the Government's view it would not be realistic to exempt all these people from immigration control. To do so would not be in the best interests of the immigrant groups already settled in this country.
The noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken used the word"Dominions ", a word that is not perhaps in vogue at the moment, when he asked about paragraph (d) of Clause 2(1). Subject to studying what he said in Hansard tomorrow, I think he is 805 quite right. The provision in paragraph (d) is the only one that would affect somebody from an independent Commonwealth country, and there is no distinction between one such country and another; whether it is one of the old Commonwealth countries, or one of the new Commonwealth countries.
§ LORD KILBRACKEN
I was not thinking of old or new Commonwealth countries—and I am sorry that I used the word"Dominions ". So long as it is an independent Commonwealth country, it appears that people living there cannot qualify under the"grandfather"clause, whereas citizens of Hong Kong are entitled to do so, and I cannot understand why that should be the case.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
The noble Lord must study the Report of the proceedings in Standing Committee in another place, because it is that provision that was deleted from the Bill as published. The"grandfather"clause did extend to the citizens of the independent Commonwealth countries, but Members of another place took the view, for varying reasons, that this was not desirable and the Bill was amended accordingly. So the noble Lord is quite right, and there is only one generation, so far as the citizen of the independent Commonwealth country is concerned, in his eligibility for patriality, whereas in the case of the citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies eligibility goes through two generations to the grandparent, but only if there is a close connection by birth with this country. I must not speak at too great length; it is getting rather late. But let me say a word or two about the situation of the United Kingdom passport holders in East Africa.
The noble Lord, Lord Foot, referred to the anouncement made by the Secretary of State in another place, and by myself in this House on May 26, doubling the rate of entry for United Kingdom passport holders from June 1. The new annual allocation of special vouchers is 3,000, providing for the admission of some 12,000 people, including dependants, as against the present 6,000. In addition, there is the special once and for all allocation, to meet cases of particular 806 need, immediate hardship, of a further 1,500, which amounts to about 6,000 people. These are to be used only for the period of six months from June 1 this year. These increases followed long negotiations with the Governments of the East African countries and were based on the policy of the Government, that the most practical way of improving the hardship—which we accept—of a number of people holding United Kingdom passports in East Africa, is to try to coordinate the rate of outflow from East Africa with the rate at which they can be admitted without causing undue tension in this country. That was the basis of our negotiations.
Noble Lords who have followed this subject will be encouraged to hear that since the increase in allocation the numbers of people seeking to travel from East Africa to this country without documents—these are the people who arrive at London Airport, or elsewhere, and have to be sent back, a procedure which has caused a great deal of distress to the individuals concerned, and also to both Governments—has fallen right away. We must regard that as an encouraging indication that the facility that is now being offered, and the need for that facility, are closer together than they were before. I appreciate that this does not meet the noble Lord's objection in principle, but if we are not able to do so I think that these measures are at any rate an improvement on the present situation. I am afraid I have spoken rather at length, but this debate has gone wide. I hope I have given some information which is helpful to the Committee.
§ LORD FOOT
I am grateful to the noble Lord, particularly for that last piece of information about the fall-off in the people who are trying to enter this country illegally. That is a big gain. As I said before, I do not want to appear at all churlish towards the Government in the light of the concession they have recently made. We are very grateful for it, and I have no doubt there is a big amelioration of the situation. My only regret is that they were not able to go so far as to repeal Section 1 of the 1968 Act altogether, but that of course was beyond my expectations. I do not intend 807 to carry this Amendment to a Division, and beg leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 10.56 p.m.
THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY moved Amendment No. 12:
Page 2, line 14, leave out (" adoption ").
§ The noble Earl said: This is an Amendment, by comparison with the previous one, of some modesty. It proposes to remove only one word. It is purely a probing Amendment, and I have no intention whatever of wasting your Lordships' time by making a lengthy speech over it. I want only to ask the Government one or two questions, because it appears to me that this provision for adoption in the matter of patriality opens a loophole in the law. The adoption operates in two ways; namely, adoption by parents who are already in this country as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, or by such citizens who are overseas. In the first case, the adoption occurs of course under British law; in the second case, it operates under the laws of the country of the people concerned.
§ There cannot be much doubt that there certainly is an opening here for a racket of some kind. I should like to know whether or not this happens. I understand that there is in a Commonwealth country, which perhaps I will not name, a standing joke concerned with immigration into the United Kingdom. It concerns a little bit of dialogue in which a prospective but young immigrant has said to him, "So he is your father, is he?"And the reply is,"Oh, no, he is not my father but I have a ' chitty ' to show he is my father." It is not difficult to imagine that somebody can quite easily obtain a ' chitty ' for cash—not to show that he has been adopted, but when in fact he actually has been adopted. If illegal immigrants are prepared to pay large sums of money to be smuggled across the Channel into England, it is not unreasonable to suppose that some would be prepared to pay sums of money to get themselves adopted and brought into England perfectly legally. Is this all right? Does it matter? I do not know. It depends very largely on the scale on which it goes on.808
§ There are of course restrictions on adoption. In order to be adopted, under British law, at any rate, it is necessary to be a qualified infant. It is rather an interesting description when you consider that an infant has to be somebody below the age of 18. A 17-year-old infant might well pay, or have the money paid for him, to be adopted by somebody in this country; or somebody who is coming to this country as a legal immigrant find himself, soon after he got here, of age, qualified to stay here, and a full blown citizen. The questions I want to ask are perfectly simple. First of all, do the Government have any evidence that such a racket exists, or are they satisfied that such a racket does not exist? If it does, does it matter? If they consider that it does matter, are they satisfied that this Bill contains any adequate provision whatever to prevent it? I beg to move.
I was closely connected with an adoption association for many years, and no more than my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery would I seek to deny the rights of an adopted person. But, like him, I should like to know from Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied that there is not a potential loophole in Clause 2 which could bring adoption into disrepute, and in particular whether they are satisfied that adoption practice outside the United Kingdom does not lend itself to exploitation in this regard.
One notes that wherever the word"adopted"is used in the Bill it carries the qualification"legally ". This qualification does not attach to adoption as the word is used in relation to the United Kingdom. Does this have a bearing on the question, and can my noble friend say that when we are dealing with laws of countries outside the United Kingdom this will be an adequate safeguard?
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
I think I can assure my noble friends that there is no loophole here, although my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery has taken the Amendment rather wider than it is actually printed on the Marshalled List. There it applies only to Clause 2(1)(a), that is to adoption in the United Kingdom. But he has rather widened the matter as I understand it; and certainly my noble friend Lord Gray has widened it to a 809 consideration of adoption outside the United Kingdom. But so far as the Amendment itself is concerned, Clause 2(1)(a) provides that a person is to have the right of abode in the United Kingdom (and exemption from immigration control) if he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who has that citizenship by his birth, adoption, naturalisation or registration in the United Kingdom. My noble friend's Amendment seeks to delete adoption.
The provision providing for patriality to be obtained by virtue of adoption in the United Kingdom applies only where adoption under Section 19 of the Adoption Act 1958 has made the child a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies—that is where, not himself having been born in the United Kingdom, he is adopted either by a single adopter who is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or, in the case of a joint adoption, where the male adopter is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. The child acquires citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virture of the adoption, and it seems right that he ought also to acquire patriality. The existing law here is that such a child would be free from immigration control, and we think it right that this should continue.
May I stress that adoption in the United Kingdom by someone who is not himself a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies will not confer that citizenship on the child, and so the child will not acquire patriality. In this case we are not making any change. We are convinced that this is right; we do not see any loophole. The immigration service would not admit a child for adoption unless they were satisfied that bona fide arrangements had been made and the courts in this country would not lend their sanction to any improper arrangements.
So much I can say positively, but I must ask my noble friend whether he can give me a little longer to consider the matter of adoption overseas, which is not covered in the Amendment he has tabled; but I am quite sure that I shall be able to assure him——
§ BARONESS WHITE
I should like to ask the noble Lord a question. I may 810 have misheard him, but did he say that it was an adoption by a male parent only in subsection (1)(a), whereas in the others it is"a parent ", with no reference to sex either way?
§ LORD ABERDARE
This is a case where a person is adopted either by a single adopter who is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or, if it is a joint adoption, only where the male adopter is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
§ BARONESS WHITE
Yes, but we are speaking in terms of patriality, are we not? That goes through the mother, so why can we not alter that?
§ LORD ABERDARE
Clause 2(1)(c) relates to people who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of birth, adoption, naturalisation or registration in the United Kingdom, as the situation is at the moment.
§ LORD CROWTHER
Would the noble Lord make explicit what I think he has clearly implied, and that is that the words"in the United Kingdom"qualify all four of the words that come before it.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
I am most grateful to my noble friend for his answer. I realise he is satisfied that there is no loophole, and if he is satisfied the clue to that satisfaction must lie in what he says about the form of insurance, that an investigation is carried out by the immigration authorities to satisfy themselves that bona fide arrangements have been made in other countries, that is to say, country of origin, of the adoptee who is to be adopted in the United Kingdom. Can he enlarge on that? How does one know, when a person in this country wishes to adopt somebody from another country, that the arrangements made in that other country are bona fide?
§ LORD ABERDARE
If a person in this country wants to adopt somebody, presumably he has to satisfy the court 811 in this country that it is a bona fide adoption.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
I think it would be idle and tiresome of me to press the matter any further. I am grateful to my noble friend. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 13:
Page 2, line 28, after (" time ") insert (" before or after the passing of the Act ").
The noble Lord said: I move this Amendment to obtain some clarification of subsection (1)(c) which reads:
he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who has at any time been settled in the United Kingdom and Islands for a continuous period of five years or more ".
Does that mean five years at any time before or after the passing of the Act, and if so should the words,"before or after the passing of the Act"be inserted? I beg to move.
I think I can give the noble Lord, Lord Wade, the reassurance he wants on this. The words do not mean as from the date of the passing of the Act. This means as from the date when the issue comes into question. So what the noble Lord wishes to achieve by this Amendment is already achieved by the words of the Bill.
§ LORD DENHAM
The Government draftsman is always very reluctant, and I think rightly so, to add to a Bill words which are not really necessary.
§ LORD DENHAM
The difficulty here is that if you qualify the word"time"in this particular part of the Act and you miss out the qualification where a similar word appears in other parts of the Act, it may be casting doubt on exactly what is meant in those other parts of the Act. This is the difficulty.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
If the Amendment were accepted would it not have a surprising result, different from what is intended by the noble Lord, Lord Wade? It seems to me it might read that this period of five years had to exist in toto, the whole five years, either before the passing of the Act or after the passing of the Act. In other words a person who had been here continuously five years before the Act was passed would be all right, but if the five years had not expired he would have to start again another five years after the passing of the Act. It would be hard luck if he had been here four years and had to start again for a total of nine.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
LORD SHEPHERD moved Amendment No. 14:
Page 2, line 28, leave out from (" been ") to second (" or ") in line 30 and insert (" ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and Islands for a continuous period of five years or more and is settled therein.")
§ The noble Lord said: This is an Amendment that was moved on Report stage by my right honourable and honourable friends in another place. The Minister of State undertook to look at this matter. One would have assumed from Clause 2(1)(c) that if a man was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and entered the United Kingdom, where he resided for a continuous period of five years he would automatically be able after that period to apply for registration, and all the other rights that would arise from this subsection. But when one looks at the rules, it appears that the five year period does not, or may not, start immediately on his entry. In fact, it would appear for some that it would only start after the immigrant had been in the country for four years, in which case it would not be five years before he had his rights but nine years. I think this would be grossly unfair.
I have received an intimation from the Government that they now accept the principle of my Amendment but, as is usual, one finds that the Parliamentary draftsman, for whom the noble Lord
who previously spoke has so much attachment, did not find even my most carefully worded words sufficiently correct, and has accordingly proposed (and I will read out his words) an Amendment in the following terms:
Page 2, line 29, leave out (' for a continuous period ') and insert (' and had at that time (and while such a citizen) been ordinarily resident there for the last ')
five years. I understand that the Government are prepared to accept their draftsman's contribution. If the noble Lords will give me their assent, I shall be quite happy to withdraw my Amendment and formally to move a manuscript Amendment in the form I have just read out. I beg to move.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
This merely enables me to speak, the Question having been put. As the noble Lord has correctly said, the purpose of this Amendment is to enable somebody who has been accepted for settlement to count the whole period of his residence towards the five-year qualifying period for the right of abode under Clause 2(1)(c). This matter was discussed, as the noble Lord told us, in another place, and the principle behind the present Amendment No. 14 was accepted. There were, however, two drafting objections (I do not think I need trouble the noble Lord with them) to the wording he had proposed. I therefore suggested to him a slightly altered form of words, which he has just read out as his manuscript Amendment, and I can confirm that that is quite acceptable to us.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
With permission, I beg formally to move the manuscript Amendment, which I dealt with in my earlier speech.
Page 2, line 29, leave out (" for a continuous period of ") and insert (" and had at that time (and while such a citizen) been ordinarily resident there for the last ")—(Lord Shepherd.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ 11.15 p.m.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH moved Amendment No. 15:814
Page 2, line 30, at end insert—
(" ( ) he is a citizen of an independent Commonwealth country which is designated a reciprocal country under subsection (3A) of this section; or ")
§ The noble Lord said: I hope it will be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss Amendment No. 15 together with Amendment No. 31, because without their being accepted together they are useless. The Immigration Acts have been brought in and produced by both Government with the object, one thought, of preventing this country becoming dangerously overcrowded. These two Amendments have the effect of killing two birds with the one stone. First, they would encourage those countries who take in more citizens from us than we do from them to go on doing so. This is important, because if we do not do so there is a danger of the unfilled areas of the world becoming a preserve, or reserve, and the overfilled areas becoming more overfilled. This Bill refers to Commonwealth citizens, and these Amendments (Nos. 15 and 31) do all but specify those countries. They are Australia, Canada and New Zealand. They have done, I think all will agree, valiant work in this field. They should be encouraged. I do not know if your Lordships have noticed that in September, so I am informed, my friend Jim Forbes, Australian Minister for Immigration, is paying a visit to this country. Let us hope we do nothing in July which could discourage their heretofore good work in this field.
§ Secondly, I hope your Lordships will note that there is no mention in the Amendments of race, colour, religion, sex or any of the other phrases, some emotive, bandied about nowadays. By the same account, the acceptance by the Government of these Amendments would enable the Home Secretary to designate Commonwealth countries which take more of our citizenry from us than vice versa as reciprocal countries, and make the Immigration Acts non-applicable to the visitors from those countries. This would avoid the circumstances in which, as a well-known New Zealander put it to me:"They don't treat us like this in Rome or Paris. Why do it in London which is the Mecca of all New Zealanders?"Another example comes to mind. On Friday, the 16th of this 815 month, at five past ten o'clock, a Mrs. Gerrard, the Australian-born wife of a British naval officer, returned from Spain to Manchester Airport. On her telling the immigration officer:"I am married to one of you, so I am entitled to stay here"she was greeted with the reply,"No you b—well don't ". These continual pricks do not make for particularly good relations.
§ In my Second Reading speech I explained that I am an Australian and, since the Amendment passed in another place, not even a patrial. Of course, I have to disclose my interest. I suppose I could now, or could have been, refused a permit to reside here."Good riddance!"some of my friends here might have said. But what if on returning here I produced the Summons we all get from Her Majesty to attend this House. Are the immigration officers briefed on how to deal with situations of that sort?
§ My noble friend Lord Arwyn, whose name is on this Amendment, is unfortunately not here. He telephoned me last night from Falmouth, where he said he was"doing a Ted Heath"in what he terms his"coracle ". He said,"It makes me hopping mad. In the first World War I fought alongside Australians before joining the R.F.C., where out of four of a crew, three were New Zealanders and I was the odd man out." In excusing himself for not attending this evening, my noble friend asked me to warn the Government that if they did not accept our Amendment we would"do a Brockway"on them in the next Session. May I quote my noble friend's supplementary to a Question of mine to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, earlier on, when he said,"Would not the noble Lord agree, if this country was once more in danger, as it was in the past, we would far sooner look to the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians and not so much to the other members of the Commonwealth?".
§ My noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery, in his Second Reading speech, quoted a most apposite remark from an Admiral in the last war who, after the fall of France, said,"Now we can't lose: we have no more allies." The Australian Squadron under his command were not allies, but"one of us." Australians and New Zealanders have been particularly 816 irked by these restrictions imposed by what heretofore they considered the Mother Country, and the purpose of these Amendments is to enable the Home Secretary to get over this difficulty by allowing a reciprocal country to enjoy immunity from these acts, be they Eskimo, Maori or Aborigine, or even your Lordships' relations or mine—or me. Finally, the last word is my noble friend Lord Arwyn's."Has it occurred to your Lordships that these Amendments would only give these Commonwealth countries the right already extended to a non-Commonwealth republic, and the number who would settle here is miniscule compared with the number they take from us." I beg to move.
§ LORD BEAUMONT OF WHITLEY
This is a particularly nasty Amendment, because it is designed to help the white members of the Commonwealth by means of an Amendment which is so framed, as the noble Lord rightly says, that it actually does not use terms like"race ","colour"or"creed ", which are emotive, but nevertheless has exactly the same effect. Since, in moving this Amendment, the noble Lord's hope is that there should be some movement of population from the over-developed part of the world to the underdeveloped part, perhaps he would answer the question whether he regards this Amendment of his as an incentive to India, for instance, or one of the really over-populated parts of the world, to move an exactly similar Amendment to one of their immigration Bills, in return for them being allowed to send us lots and lots of people? Because they are relatively overpopulated to-day, we would be allowed to send visitors to them?
THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM-SHIRE
I support Amendment No. 15 and Amendment No. 31, put down by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, who in his speech on Second Reading, at which I was not able to be present, referred to me as having spent many years in Australia and New Zealand. The right of a citizen to go and come freely to this country from Australia, New Zealand and Canada, designated reciprocal countries, regardless of whether they are white or coloured, is where the Bill fails to provide an admission policy free from racial, religious or political bias. The right of abode is retained 817 for those who are children or grandchildren of British citizens, while those who are not have no right of settlement or entry. Black and white are therefore carefully distinguished in law. The noble Lord on the Cross Benches has dealt fully with this Amendment which I am pleased to support.
§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE
I should like to clarify this matter a little. I said on Second Reading, in response to the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, that he was speaking as though noble Lords on this side were hostile to the old Dominions. I greatly resent this suggestion. For what it is worth, my grandfather was the first Prime Minister of New South Wales. Many of us on this side who believe in the old Empire and the old countries of the Empire, including those with coloured skins, are just as friendly and attached to the white parts of the Empire as to the other. I think this suggestion is quite unjustified. I do not go as far as the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley. I certainly do not regard this as an objectionable Amendment, but I think it is one that needs to be looked at carefully, because it will clearly immediately be misunderstood by everybody with a coloured skin who fought with us in the war. I know very well that this is not what the noble Lord wants, but it seems to me that at the moment there are restrictions on the members of the old Dominion getting in and out of this country which to some extent this Bill will remove. I should like to ask the noble Lord, Lord Windelsham, whether I am right about that. Is it not the case that under the patriality clauses it will be easier for the members of the old Dominions to get in and out of this country than it is at the moment? I thought this was the case, but perhaps I have misunderstood the position. But if that is so, I think these Amendments are unnecessary.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
I hope that the Committee will not accept this Amendment. It applies to the independent Commonwealth countries which are designated reciprocal countries. This excludes India; it excludes Nigeria; and it excludes all the Commonwealth countries that have non-white populations. Quite clearly, the object of the Amendment is 818 to give a privileged position to members of the Commonwealth who are dominantly Anglo-Saxon. If we look at these territories we see that there is Australia, which has a white immigration policy; then there are Canada and New Zealand, with whom I have more sympathy. But this is not the Commonwealth to-day. The Commonwealth to-day is India, Nigeria and all the territories of Africa. This Amendment would mean that we were going to give a privileged position to those territories in the Commonwealth which are mainly Anglo-Saxon or white against the territories in the Commonwealth which have large non-white populations. I cannot believe that Her Majesty's Government would accept an Amendment of this character which is so obviously discriminatory in its relationship to the population of those territories.
§ 11.30 p.m.
THE EARL OF BALFOUR
The important thing about this Amendment is that it makes reciprocal terms agreed between two countries which are within the Commonwealth. I think there is a great deal to be said for this Amendment and I should like the Government to consider it. Whether the drafting is quite correct or not is entirely another matter, but if one country offers facilities to another it is only right, particularly as concerns Great Britain, that we should return that offer.
I think there could be many cases where people from the Dominions or the old colonies might want to come to this country, and equally where people might want to go to those places. I am quoting now from memory, but I have relatives in Kenya and the Kenya Administration was rather keen for them to remain in that country because they were farming land which was very high above sea level and it was not altogether suitable for the African population. It did not seem to be healthy at that tremendous height for them. That has gone on to this day. I admit that I am quoting from something which was told me 10 years ago. They are keen, and some others of my relatives have gone back and have been welcomed by the Kenya Administration. To some extent this is a case where a reciprocal arrangement of this nature might be considered.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
May I say to my noble relative, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, that I am delighted that he is here, but I hope that he will withdraw this Amendment and not tempt the Liberals to continue their acts of demolition on this Bill. He has already lost his patriality and he might be evicted altogether.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, has described this as, I think he said, a most unpleasant Bill—
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
I suspect that the noble Lord will feel that he was speaking a little intemperately when he used that word. I gather that the noble Lord thinks it is designed to help white Members of the Commonwealth.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley nods in approval of what my noble friend the Earl of Cork and Orrery has said.
§ LORD BEAUMONT OF WHITLEY
It is designed to help the white Members of the Commonwealth as opposed to the black Members of the Commonwealth. That is why I totally disapprove of it. That is absolutely right.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
It is indeed designed in part to help white Members of the Commonwealth. It was clearly stated by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, without any prevarication or attempt at dissimulation that it was designed partly to help the old Dominions which are inhabited to the greater part by people of our own race and descent. These people are relations of ours. It is not unnatural nor surprising if one looks round this House and sees the faces of noble Lords on these Benches, that those people should be white. If any noble Lord found that he had large numbers of relatives in Australia or New Zealand and they were all black, he must be an unusual person and his relations should be allowed to come in.
To say that this is discrimination (as the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley implied, if he did not actually say 820 so) and is designed to give facilities to people who are white at the expense of people who are black, is nonsense. This is a reciprocal arrangement between our-selves and the old Dominions which are inhabited very largely by British people, and I see nothing wrong in that. 'The noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kings-bridge, referred to a matter which I had it in mind to mention. He asked why on earth I was making such a fuss about New Zealanders and Australians. We are all on their side. We all know what they did, and everybody is devoted to the cause of these old and now independent countries: that is absolutely true. The reason I made a fuss about them was that everybody says this and nobody does anything. There is no matching of actions to words to bring into reality our affection and esteem for these people.
I will not go into what successive Governments have done at their expense, but I think it is perfectly clear how glad we were to have them with us during the war and how glad we are to have the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, sitting here, although he is practically a foreigner. We have done nothing, but here is an Amendment which is intended to give particular preference to them, as against the rest of the world, simply because they are our own people—at least in my opinion—and I see nothing unreasonable in that. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, does. He says that it is giving a privileged position to members of the Commonwealth who are predominantly Anglo-Saxon. I do not wish to put words into the mouth of the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, but that is precisely what I intend. We are Anglo-Saxons. Why should we not say that our fellow Anglo-Saxons who live within the Commonwealth are more welcome here than other people, including other white people?
This has nothing whatever to do with colour, except in so far as it just happens that most of these people are white. My own Amendment, No. 16, and which we shall come to later, entirely disposes of the idea that it is a matter of colour. We want the people here because they are relations, and they happen to be white. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, says that this is obviously discriminatory. Indeed it is; and discrimination by general consent, perhaps excluding the 821 noble Lord himself, is perfectly right when we are deciding who should be allowed to come into our own country. I do not suppose there is any nation anywhere in the world at any time in history that has not discriminated between foreigners whom it wishes to come into its own country and become its own citizens. It may be objectionable to the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, but as I pointed out during the debate on Second Reading, it is universal at all times and in all countries; and it is necessary.
§ LORD BEAUMONT OF WHITLEY
Surely it is objectionable to everybody everywhere. Countries do it under necessity, and I understand this. This is the basis of immigration Bills everywhere. But do not let us lose sight of the fact that to be discriminatory in any way against travel for human beings all over the globe is objectionable and should be overcome, and I am sure that the noble Earl did not mean to say that it was totally accepted as normal and good that this should happen.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
I do not think I have made myself quite clear to the noble Lord. What he said was to the point, but that is not the kind of discrimination that I had in mind. Of course there is no discrimination between people who wish to travel, or between people who happen to be rich or poor or whatever it may be, or whether they should be more or less desirable because they happen to be poverty-stricken or ill—I remember the words which are on the Statue of Liberty, but I will not quote them. But discrimination of the kind I am referring to is discrimination between our own people, our own relations, and other people, in precisely the same way as a parent will discriminate between his own children who have married, left the home and gone away, and the children or the parents of Australians.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
The noble Lord keeps on using the words"our people ". A citizen of Australia might be of Greek, Polish or Rumanian origin; he might be of many different European origins. Is the noble Lord saying that a Greek who has settled in Australia and become a citizen there is one of our people and should have a reception different from that given to someone from the West Indies or other parts?
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
No; but this will occur if we extend this reciprocal arrangement. It is true that these other immigrants into Australia will be included, but they will probably not come in very large numbers. If any Italian or Greek wishes to emigrate from Australia to Europe he will probably go to Italy or Greece.
But to get away for a moment from this discriminatory point of view, the reciprocal idea would be of benefit to both sides. We derive great benefit from being able to send large numbers of immigrants to Australia; we in return derive great benefit from them, and I suggest that it is reasonable and right to maintain the strongest possible ties with these people for the benefit of the future of their countries and ours. This is clearly a highly controversial Amendment; it is probably not correctly drafted, but it contains, I believe, an excellent idea and I personally support it.
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
May I ask the noble Lord, speaking now as a non-Anglo-Saxon, whether his permissiveness is to include the Abos, the Eskimos, the Dogrib Indians, the Maoris and so on. That is what it means. You really cannot discriminate if you are not prepared to accept that"we"and"they"are not quite the"we"and"they"you are talking about. The only verse I ever quote from Kipling is:Father and mother and me,Sister and auntie say,All the people like us are We,And every one else is They.And They live over the sea,While We live over the wayBut would you believe it,They look upon meAs another kind of They.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
It is, of course, a discussion about"we"and"they ", and I would not wish to infringe Standing Orders and the traditions of this House by involving myself in a taxing speech, though I was much taxed by the racialism—and I use the term deliberately and advisedly and within the hearing of all—of the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, who said that this was a"nasty"Amendment because it gave, I think he said"a privileged position to white people ". If he had said that it gave a privileged position to some people that might have 823 been acceptable, but he said, and I understood him to confirm this from his subsequent noddings—I will give way whenever he likes—that he felt this was something that was pro-white and anti-black. He is nodding again. I want to say that this is pro-people. Discrimination against foreigners is common to all States, and that is not really what I am talking about.
The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said that these people do not matter—and again I will give way if I am misrepresenting what the noble Lord said. I do not want to misrepresent someone for whom I have the greatest respect and, if I may say so now, affection, though we do not know each other personally very well. We have been interested in Commonwealth affairs for many years, and as I understood the noble Lord, he said that the whites are not the Commonwealth today; they are, in effect, the Indians, Pakistanis, Nigerians and so on and, therefore, the whites should not have a privileged position over the others. If I have misunderstood him I will give way.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
I did not suggest that whites were not of the Commonwealth—the whites in Australia, New Zealand and Canada obviously are. I suggested that they were not the whole Commonwealth, and that the non-whites of Africa and Asia and the West Indies who were in the Commonwealth should have equal rights with the whites.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
I am much obliged. I felt sure that the noble Lord and I would find a common point because, surprising as it may seem, this has gone on for a long time. He agrees that there should be some equality of treatment.
We have heard a stirring statement on behalf of the whites from the noble Earl, Lord Buckinghamshire. What worries me about debates on this Bill in general has been the tendency to say that we must protect blacks and browns, but not whites. Yet we have a great concern for our own kind. I now take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, who is not unfortunately in the Chamber. What about the Greeks, Yugoslays and so on in Australia? If they have gone to that country and accepted the traditions, standards, and way of life of that 824 country, and have been accepted as Australians, one should regard them as Commonwealth citizens, and treat them in the same way as Commonwealth citizens of other colours.
What bothers me is that we have tended in this debate to concern ourselves with one kind of person against another; namely, the brown, the yellow or the black. I want to see them all properly respected. I believe that what is still left of the old round table concept of Commonwealth may still be sustained by this Amendment. The concept of a reciprocal country is a new one to this Bill. I believe it to be valuable, and for that reason alone I support this Amendment and not because my noble friend Lord Clifford of Chudleigh and I have certain common political ancestry in the Cabal.
The countries we are thinking of are not third countries in the terms that are commonly used. One airman in ten who flew and fought in the Battle of Britain came from New Zealand. The New Zealanders, Australians, Canadians and, for that matter, the Rhodesians—although I do not want to spoil the purpose of this Amendment at this point of time—are in a special position and we must recognise that they deserve to be protected from the kind of discrimination which is pro-black, yellow or brown, that is implicit in some of the speeches which have been made. There is in this Amendment a concept which the Government would do well to consider. No one will go to the stake for the wording of this and the related Amendment, but the principle is a serious one it has been put forward seriously, and I should like to appeal to the Government to give this serious consideration between now and the Report stage.
§ LORD SEGAL
I ask the Government to consider long and seriously before they agree to this Amendment. There is a danger that this Amendment, if incorporated in the Bill, would lead to a series of retaliatory measures on the part of the large number of countries in the Commonwealth which are not included in the Amendment.
The Bill, as it stands now, is liable to give rise to a good deal of damaging reaction in the field of race relations without the Government adding to it still further by the acceptance of an Amendment such as this. I take it—and I ask 825 the Minister to reply—that this Amendment is quite uncalled for; that the Government, in their wisdom or otherwise, were fully alive to the possibilities of including such an Amendment when this Bill was drafted; that they needed no prompting from any side of the House in order to include such an Amendment, and I hope, as I am sure many Members on all sides of the Committee hope, that the Government will resist this Amendment when they come to reply.
§ LORD GOODMAN
May I make one observation? It is that I earnestly hope the Government will accept this Amendment, because I think a deplorable Bill like this deserves an Amendment as absurd as this. If one reads the Amendment one gets the most astonishing results. Apparently the Secretary of State, starting from a point where we are exercising immigration control in respect of a particular territory, observes that territory benevolently admitting our citizens. He thereupon proceeds to lift the immigration control, whereupon, in reverse, a stream of their citizens comes to this country, in excess of the number of our citizens going to their country, and he immediately reimposes immigration control. It is very difficult to regard this as a serious proposal. It is impossible to see how it would work without absurdity; and my own view is that what this Amendment does is to demonstrate very clearly the whole deplorable nature of this legislation.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
We have had a very interesting and I think a most honest and sincere expression and divergence of views on these Amendments, and I will endeavour not to take too long in replying to them. As the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, pointed out, these Amendments, if accepted, would grant patriality to the citizens of any independent Commonwealth country which was designated by order of the Secretary of State as a reciprocal country; that is, one which, in any year, confers a right of abode there on a number of emigrants from the United Kingdom greater than the number of immigrants from that country on whom this country confers a right of abode. I do not want to make the point particularly that"the right of abode"is a concept 826 introduced into the law of the United Kingdom by this Bill, and, in relation to other countries it presumably has no specific meaning. But I think that it is perfectly clear what the noble Lord and his noble friends mean by their Amendments.
Since 1962 successive British Governments have adhered to the principle that immigration control should be administered without distinction or discrimination between one Commonwealth country and another and that exemption from control should be based on a personal connection with the United Kingdom, such as descent by birth. The present Bill goes wider than the present law in recognising a connection with this country, as has already been said this evening, by descent in the female line as a basis for exemption. But it still makes no distinction as between one country and another in the independent Commonwealth. I am not, I confess, too happy about these Amendments, because it seems that in practice they would exempt from control all citizens of certain Commonwealth countries, irrespective of the extent of their personal connection, if any, with the United Kingdom. I myself believe that any preferential treatment for citizens of one country or another would he resented by the less favoured countries of the Commonwealth. I feel it must be right to avoid any distinction on lines which would be contrary to the multiracial spirit of the Commonwealth.
Taken at their face value, these Amendments are based on the principle that if more people from the United Kingdom are settling in another country than are coming from that country to settle here, there is no need to control the immigration of citizens from that country. But one must not forget that immigration control serves the purpose not only of limiting the total volume of immigration, but also of preventing the entry of individuals whose admission would be contrary to the public interest for one reason or another; for example, a threat to public health or to national security. It is certainly no reflection or slur on any country, however close its ties with our own, to say that there are always some people among its citizens whom it would be undesirable to admit to this country. I think I am right in saying that all Commonwealth countries, without exception, 827 have power to exclude from the country people whom they consider undesirable. But if the Amendment were carried, the citizens of reciprocal countries would all be completely free of control and the United Kingdom Government would lack the power of control over the entry of their citizens which their Governments have over people from this country.
Another difficulty arises from the fact that the balance of migration between the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries is likely to shift from time to time, and I do not think that it would be reasonable to expect us to keep adjusting our immigration control from year to year to take account of these fluctuations. These are just a few of the reasons why the Government feel that they cannot accept these Amendments, although we recognise the sincere spirit which has prompted them. Having regard to what I have said, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the Amendment.
§ BARONESS WHITE
Before the noble Marquess sits down, may I ask him whether I should be right in supposing that under Amendment No. 31 we might have reciprocity with India? India allows virtually free entry to citizens from this country, whereas we stringently limit the number of citizens from India who are allowed to become immigrants into the United Kingdom. I can conceive that under Amendment No. 31 there might be reciprocity with India, which I gather is not really the intention of the Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF LAUDERDALE
Are we to understand that my noble friend is not at all prepared to consider the principle behind this Amendment between now and Report stage?
§ TIIE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
I have given my reasons why we do not think that this Amendment is a good one. I said that I respected the sincerity of the noble Lords who have spoken in favour of it, but I do not feel that I can go any further than that.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH
I am grateful to those noble Lords who have supported me and my origins. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, for his opinions of me and 828 my country. I reciprocate one half of that. On Second Reading., I said that I, and one or two people who felt like me, would at this stage put forward two alternative suggestions. This is the first. I was hoping that the noble Marquess would at least agree to the request of the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale. All the minor points in criticism of the wording of the Amendments could easily be corrected or adjusted or explained. But in view of what the noble Marquess has said, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 11.59 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY moved Amendment No. 154:
Page 2, line 30, at end insert—
(" ( ) he has himself been, or is the child or grandchild of a person who was at any time dispossessed of his land or property in a British Colonial territory by virtue of any law imposed by the Government of the territory, or by a citizen of the United Kingdom or Colonies, without payment or for purely nominal payment; or if he has himself been, or is the child or grandchild of a person who was, at any time subject to restrictions or to discriminatory laws, not applicable to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, imposed in a British Colonial territory; or ")
§ The noble Lord said: I did not expect this Amendment to arise to-night, and noble Lords will be a little relieved that my speech is therefore likely to be less long than it would otherwise have been. Under this Bill, privileges or rights are to be given to persons in the Commonwealth whose parents or grandparents were born in this country. Perhaps I ought to express my own appreciation of that fact, because, except that I have been resident in this country five years, I would have been a non-patrial under this Bill. I was born in India, my father was born in Africa, and my grandfather only was born in this country 150 years ago. This Bill should be regarded not only from the point of view of those who are living in this country; it deals fundamentally with the peoples in all the Commonwealth territories. When we are looking at this Bill we should be thinking not only in terms of any rights or wrongs which apply to people who should he coming to this country, but in terms of rights and wrongs of those who are prohibited from coming to this country, if we begin to look at this issue in that wider way we must appreciate that many 829 members of Commonwealth countries have suffered, not only through their parentage but through their grandparent-age, in a way of which we should be conscious if we are going to recognise their rights.
§ What this Amendment suggests is that when we are looking at this problem we should have in our minds the rights which have been denied, the injustices which have been imposed upon peoples in Commonwealth territories. It asks us to bear in mind, first, those who have been dispossessed of their land, either by virtue of a law or by virtue of absence of payment, or by the making of a nominal payment. No one who has knowledge of our colonial territories will doubt that there are many thousands in those territories whose parents or grandparents have suffered in this way. I think of the words of Sir Roy Welensky, who was the Head of the great Central African Federation and who stated quite clearly that thousands of Africans had been denied their ownership of land or occupation of land by having been cheated out of their possession. And what was true of the Rhodesias is true of other vast areas. I am asking this Committee to be generous enough to take the view that residents of those territories should be treated in relation to their parentage, and in relation to their grandparents, in a way which we are accepting in the case of other provisions of this Bill.
§ I am suggesting, secondly, that when we are looking at this Bill we should bear in mind the many members of the Commonwealth who have been treated in a discriminatory way, even in the territories in which they were born and to which they belong, because of their race or of their colour. No one can begin to think of colonial history without recognising that that has applied to millions of those who are in the Commonwealth. If we are thinking in terms of the right of persons to come to this country under this Bill because they had a British parent or a British grandparent, should we not also think in terms of the many peoples in Commonwealth territories whose parents and grandparents have suffered the kind of injustices which are reflected in this Amendment? I beg to move.830
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
It is a feature of the debate on this Bill that we can have two Amendments, one after the other, which have such very different starting points as Amendment No. 15 and Amendment No. 15A. I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, will be surprised to hear me say that this Amendment is not acceptable to the Government, for a number of reasons which I will try to summarise as briefly as he moved his Amendment. The first is that the Amendment is not consistent with the concept of patriality as it is under the Bill and as we discussed it on an earlier Amendment this evening, and it would not be appropriate to extend it to people without any personal or ancestral connection with the United Kingdom. Secondly, we are not convinced that the Amendment would in any event meet the objective of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, under Clause 2. In subsection (2) (c) references to citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies are, in relation to any time before 1949, to be construed as a reference to British nationality; but before 1949 all people born in a British Colony, whatever their colour, were British subjects. It follows that where one native inhabitant of a British Colony had been dispossessed by another, he, his children and his grandchildren would have the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
But I take it that this is not the intention of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. His Amendment, as he explained it, was to have a provision of this sort almost as reparation, I think he would say, for wrongs which have been committed by white men on coloured people in colonial territories. Another reason is that the Amendment would open the door to potentially very large numbers of people whose apprehended entry would be harmful to the interests of immigrants already settled here. Finally, and I put this last because he moved his Amendment in the idealistic terms one would expect from the noble Lord, it is totally impracticable to envisage the application and registration of a provision of this sort. It would call for adjudication on questions of dispossession, of restrictions and discrimination which might have been alleged to have taken place in remote parts of the world up to one hundred years ago. For these reasons, 831 although I have listened to the noble Lord with interest, I am unable to accept the Amendment.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
I did not expect any other answer than the answer I have received. I did not expect support from a majority in this House. While I stand by the principles of this Amendment, I ask leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 12.10 a.m.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY moved Amendment No. 16:
Page 2, line 31, leave out paragraph (d) and insert—
(" (d) he is a citizen of a country that recognises the Sovereign as its own sovereign and head of state and who is the child of a Commonwealth citizen who either—
§ The noble Earl said: In view of the earliness of the hour, I will attempt not to be too lengthy in my remarks. This is the alternative to Amendment No. 15 referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh. It has two main purposes, and the first of these, though it appears in fact second as the Amendment is drafted, is to secure priority in right of abode for persons of British descent. In that it has something in common with the previous Amendment. Ideally, it seems to me, one should be able to draft a Bill which would provide for the right of abode for the children, possibly even grandchildren, of British citizens. Unfortunately, as we know, there is no such thing in law as a British citizen. Instead of that we get, for definitive purposes, place of birth. It occurs all through this part of the Bill. We are against the extraordinary principle to which the noble Lord, Lord Clifford, referred—the idea that a dog born in a stable is a horse. He is quite right about that; it is quite wrong. A Hottentot born in Hounslow is no more an Englishman than a Great Dane born in Leeds is a Yorkshire terrier.832
§ In speaking on Second Reading, my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor referred to this matter of place of birth, without very great sympathy, I thought, to the attitude I was taking against it, and reminded us that he himself was privileged to have an American mother. He asked a question in these words:"Are Americans uncivilised because they allow the son of an American mother greater rights than those who do not have that privilege?"No, they are not; but I think that having an American mother does make my noble and learned friend more American than he would have been if his mother had been say. English or French, and merely happened to be in America on a visit at the time when she was delivered of the noble and learned baby. The nationality of one's parent in deciding what one's own nationality is is surely more important than where the mother happened to be at the time.
§ The place of birth is unsatisfactory in that it confers citizenship on aliens who happen to be passing through by air, and, secondly, it withholds citizenship from our own people whose parents had the misfortune to be born somewhere else. What else is there? How would it be if we were to consider the possibility of the right of abode being extended to the child of someone who lived here rather than someone born here? How long?, is the next question. The answer comes in Clause 2(1)(c) and the answer there is five years—the answer not to this particular question, but to the time that is acceptable as probably a reasonable time. What happens if we forget the place of birth and concentrate on a period of five years' residence for a parent? I should like to put this matter in the form of two lists which I would compare. Under the present idea of having place of birth, we get a list of people who would be affected through themselves or their parents. If we change from place of birth to place of residence, we then get a different list. I do not know whether it would be a longer or a shorter list, but it would be undoubtedly different. My belief is that the second list, that based on place of residence, would be far nearer what we should like to achieve than the other one based on place of birth. It is the place of residence that counts.833
§ The transient aliens—I know the Bill does not use the word"aliens"but they are aliens—would be taken out of the list, not retrospectively, but for the future; and others now, in my submission, wrongly excluded would be brought in. Whereas under Clause 2(1)(d) a person has to show that one of his parents was born in the United Kingdom, even though they may have been enemy aliens in an internment camp at the time, under my Amendment he must show that one of them lived here for five continuous years. These are more convincing criteria, in my submission. This, therefore, provides the subsection (2) of my Amendment.
§ I recognise that there is a difficulty. It is much easier to prove that your father or grandfather was born here than it is to prove that he lived here. It is almost easier in every case to look up his birth certificate. It might not be so easy to find out that he lived here. He might not have had a passport, travelled abroad, or paid income tax. For that reason, may I speak to Amendments No. 24 and 25, which are alternative to each other, and which confer a discretionary power upon the Secretary of State to decide whether a case has been made out in proof of the fact that the relevant parent did live here?
§ If I turn again to the Bill, under Clause 2(1)(c), a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies has the right of abode here for five years if he has lived here for five years. But a Commonwealth citizen who is not a citizen of the United Kingdom or Colonies and who is catered for only by Clause 2(1)(b), does not. This touches on the point made by my noble friend Lord Lothian when he said that no discrimination is to be made between the citizen of the one Commonwealth country and another. But if, in fact, my noble friend will refer to subsection (2), he will find that a Commonwealth citizen is catered for in one subsection, while a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies is catered for in five different ways under the other four. There is a very great deal of discrimination between the citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies on the one hand, and the citizen of the other Commonwealth countries on the other, to which I make no objection; but I make the point that there is a difference.834
§ This Commonwealth citizen may have been born, say, in Australia of parents of English descent, but they may have been born elsewhere simply because their own fathers were serving their country overseas. That man, with those parents, living in Australia, is an alien. Indeed his name may be Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, but to that extent he is on the same footing as an East German or Eskimo, and must work out his five years for settlement under immigration control. That, to me, seems wrong, to put it mildly, so I include in my Amendment subsection (1) to bring this would-be immigrant into line with the citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
The second, and basic, object of this Amendment is to single out certain countries of origin in a way that has not yet been attempted. The method I propose is that which is stated in the Amendment, namely, that the would-be patrial should be a citizen of an independent Commonwealth country,
…a citizen of a country that recognises the Sovereign as…. head of state and who is the child of a Commonwealth citizen…
and so on. This loyalty to Royalty idea is not new. I know that. But it has not been discussed in the debates on this Bill. It was touched on in the Committee stage in another place by the Home Secretary who dismissed it as, first, unworkable and, secondly, probably out of touch with the spirit of the Commonwealth as it is to-day. I touched on this on the Second Reading debate. I should like to know why this idea is thought to be unworkable. On the second point, that of being out of touch with the spirit of the Commonwealth, I ask again: What spirit is this supposed to be? If it is the spirit of the Commonwealth as evinced at the Prime Ministers' Conference in Singapore, I am not greatly impressed by that argument. If it is the spirit of the old Commonwealth to which we subscribed traditionally; namely, that of a family of nations bound together not necessarily by blood but by various ties which we all understood, then this Amendment is perfectly in tune with that spirit. On that basis I recommend it to your Lordships.
§ It may be of interest to know what these countries are. They are as follows, in addition to the United Kingdom: Canada. Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon. 835 Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Malta, Barbados, Mauritius and Fiji. Those are the countries to which I suggest we should extend this principle of patriality provided that those citizens have the particular qualifications that are set out in any Amendment. This is a new principle, at any rate for the purposes of this debate. I hope very much that the Government will be prepared to give it serious consideration either in the form in which it is set down or, if not that, as a matter of principle itself. I beg to move
§ LORD GOODMAN
Obviously, anyone who has visited, as I have, Australia and New Zealand, would be wholly sympathetic to the idea that the citizens of those countries should come here without immigration control. One can only say of this Amendment that if the noble Earl is calling up the spirit of the old Commonwealth, that spirit is wholly inconsistent with this piece of legislation. What he needs in order to make the spirit of this Amendment possible is the annulment of the whole of this Bill. There is absolutely no other way in which to procure the entirely benevolent objective he seeks within the framework of this most deplorable piece of legislation. It is the said fact that this Government have decided to embark on a petty-minded, bigoted, narrow conception of nationality wholly at variance with the conception of nationality that made the Commonwealth great.
If the noble Earl wants to call up the spirit of Palmerston, if Don Pacifico is to be invoked once again, let us remember the basis on which that conception existed. It was that, however exiguous the claim to nationality, if you were a British national you were entitled to come here and you were respected throughout the world. I think that the departure from that principle makes it impossible to create the sort of exception that the noble Earl has in mind. I venture to think he can go on putting Amendments until we are all blue in the face without the remotest prospect of escaping the unhappy net woven as a result of a conception that animated this Bill. The whole of it a tragedy and it is most vividly demonstrated by the worthy and honourable effort of the noble Earl and Lord Clifford to find some method of procuring an innovation for those people 836 who ought to be the subject of exemption. It is impossible because of the nature and structure of the whole of this legislation.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
At this time of day I think the Committee will expect me to confine my remarks to the actual Amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery, if I may say so, with great skill and in a most interesting speech. To take the loyalty to Royalty idea, as he put it, he himself has told us that the nine countries who recognise the Queen as Sovereign are very diverse. I entirely recognise the sincerity with which my noble friend has moved his Amendment, but I think that the objections to it are both principled and practical, and in some ways I have the same reservations about them as I had about the previous set of Amendments.
This Amendment would introduce an element of discrimination into our control of Commonwealth immigration, certainly not on ground of colour, but on the ground of belonging either to a country which recgnises the Sovereign or to one which does not. I do not feel that that would be a very desirable thing. The Amendment also seems contrary to the view which prevailed in another place; namely, that, except for citizens of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, patriality should not be based on a connection with the United Kingdom more remote than that obtained through a single generation. My noble friend has mentioned the fact that grandparents were dropped from the Bill in another place. Apart from that, it seems to me not to be right that the patriality of large numbers of people should depend on a decision of the country of which they are citizens to accept or not to accept the Sovereign of the United Kingdom as their own Sovereign.
I can see the difficulty if a country has ceased to recognise the Queen, because this would put in some doubt the position of citizens of that country who were at that time in the United Kingdom and in possession of patrial status. It is not clear from the Amendment what the effect of this would be, but it seems that they would probably cease to be patrial and become subject to immigration control. Apart from this, it is not really possible to estimate the number of citizens 837 of the countries in question who would become patrial under this Amendment. Here again it is not possible for the Government to say that this Amendment could safely be accepted, without exempting from control a possibly unacceptable number of people.
In addition, the basis of a claim to patriality provided in the Amendment seems unsatisfactory—that is, the period of five years' residence in this country on the part of parent or grandparent. My noble friend has himself put a finger on the difficulty here. It would be extraordinarily hard to prove such residence. I simply cannot see how it could be done. Even if the Secretary of State were the final arbiter and judge of whether there had been five years' continuous residence or not, I still do not see how the question of proving it is any more satisfactory. I am sorry to have to tell my noble friend that I cannot accept his Amendment. I realise that he and his colleagues have been very worried about this point and have tried hard to solve it. I hope he will feel that they have at any rate given a good airing to this matter in Committee and therefore will be prepared to withdraw his Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
I listened with great interest to what my noble friend has said. I take his points. I referred to the earliness of the hour and now, referring to the lateness of the hour, I think the best thing I can do is to waste no more time and beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
This might be a convenient time to suggest that the House do now resume and I move accordingly.
§ Moved, That the House do now resume.—(Lord Windlesham.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and House resumed accordingly.