§ 2.55 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, HOME OFFICE (LORD WINDLESHAM)
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ Moved, That the House do again resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Windlesham.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The VISCOUNT HOOD in the Chair.]
§ Clause 2 [Statement of right of abode, and related amendments as to citizenship by registration]:
§ LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 17:
§ Page 2, line 31, leave out (" is a Commonwealth citizen ") and insert (" was ").
The noble Lord said: I do not contend that this Amendment is quite as important as the one which I moved and carried at the commencement of the Committee stage on Monday, but it deserves some consideration. It is intended to widen the scope of paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of Clause 2. If amended in the form suggested, the wording would read:
A person is under this Act to have the right of abode in the United Kingdom if…
(d) he was born to or legally adopted by a parent who at the time of the birth or adoption had citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by his birth in the United Kingdom or in any of the Islands.
§ " His"means"his"or"her"by implication as it refers back to the parent. There was a debate in another place on the Report stage on a somewhat similar point, although not precisely on this Amendment. I have from time to time said that I thought there was no convincing reason for bringing Commonwealth citizens down to the level of aliens. On this occasion, however, I am proposing that those who are not Commonwealth citizens should be raised to the level of Commonwealth citizens, and to that extent I am proposing that there should be uniformity of treatment.
§ It has already been noted that the contents of the Bill are extremely com- 970 plicated, and the Bill will add to the complexities of both law and practice. Therefore, anything I say is open to correction, but if I interpret the position correctly, then under existing practice in the case of persons born abroad other than Commonwealth citizens, such persons will, or may, acquire the right of abode through their father, but not through their mother. Under this Bill, as a result of the paragraph to which I have referred, the right of abode may be acquired by a Commonwealth citizen through either parent. If the Amendment is accepted, a child horn abroad, whose mother at the time of the birth of the child was a United Kingdom citizen, would have the right of abode. Incidentally, this will bring about greater equality between the sexes, to which I referred on a rather different point on Monday, since the right of abode would be required both through the mother and the father.
§ Some other points arise out of this matter. For example, there are persons who have dual citizenship and lose it, and there are persons who live in a Commonwealth country and have Commonwealth citizenship, but may lose it because that particular country may leave the Commonwealth. There are various permutations and combinations of circumstances. The main point is that as a consequence of this Bill there will be an illogicality in that some will acquire the right of abode through both parents, and others will acquire it only through one parent. That is the point I wish to raise. I beg to move.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
As the noble Lord, Lord Wade, said, the law of citizenship and nationality is extremely complicated. It seemed to me, as I followed what he said (I hope I was able to follow it all), that the position he described was accurate. The reason for the complexity stems from the fact that since 1948 there has been no separate citizenship of the United Kingdom. Before that time all Commonwealth citizens and residents of this country who were born here were described as"British subjects ". Under the British Nationality Act a separate citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies was established, and that is the citizenship that we have to-day.
Most countries exempt from immigration control those people who hold their 971 citizenship—citizens of the country are exempt from immigration control. But since 1968 that has not been the case with our own immigration policies. Some citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies are exempt from immigration control. Others are not so exempt; they are subject to control, unless they have a particular link by birth or ancestry, going through two generations, with somebody who has that connection with the United Kingdom. That is the present position and the Bill does not alter the principle as regards citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. In this clause, the so-called patrial clause, we enter into the deep water of citizenship and nationality.
Clause 2(1), paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), provides for citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who have a close personal or ancestral connection with the United Kingdom, or who have been accepted for settlement in the United Kingdom and have resided here for five years, to have what is called the right of abode. People in these categories are described as patrial, and they are exempt from immigration control. That is the significance of the term. In addition, Clause 2(1)(d), to which the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Wade, refers, provides that a Commonwealth citizen whose father or mother was born in the United Kingdom shall also have the right of abode. This Amendment, as the noble Lord explained, seeks to go wider and to confer this right of abode on those foreign nationals as well as Commonwealth citizens who have a parent born in the United Kingdom. So the effect of the Amendment would be to eliminate one of the advantages granted to Commonwealth citizens under this Bill as against foreigners. When on Second Reading we debated the principles behind the Bill, and when we debated this subject last December on the Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bill, a number of noble Lords felt that in our immigration policies we ought where possible to give some slight preference as regards entry into this country to Commonwealth citizens, as against those from third States. This is exactly that type of advantage.
A person whose father was born in the United Kingdom is himself, as the noble Lord. Lord Wade, correctly said, 972 a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent, and so is patrial under Clause 2(1)(b). This is so whether or not he is also a citizen of an independent Commonwealth country or a citizen of a foreign country or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, provided that he has not renounced his citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. So the effect of Clause 2(1)(d), to which the Amendment relates, as it stands is to extend patriality to citizens of independent Commonwealth countries whose mother was born in the United Kingdom. The noble Baroness, Lady White, on Monday, in what I thought was a rather apt phrase, called this a"matrial clause "; and that is really what it is. It extends to the mother the right that a Commonwealth citizen already had by virtue of his father. But this Amendment would go wider and extend patriality to all people, whether Commonwealth citizens or not, with a mother born in the United Kingdom.
A similar Amendment was moved in another place on Report and was negatived without a Division. The Government spokesman on that occasion made it clear that it is the intention of the Bill in Clause 2(1)(d) to favour Commonwealth citizens by extending patriality to them if their mother was born in the United Kingdom, as against foreign nationals. The Government consider that the combination of a close ancestral connection with the United Kingdom through the mother, and the possession of Commonwealth citizenship, justifies this grant of the right of abode. To extend the right of abode to people not having citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies is in itself something of an innovation because in general I think we can all agree that it is desirable that people who are not citizens should be subject to immigration control. The Government think that the limited step proposed in the Bill as drafted is justifiable, but that it would not be right to go beyond Commonwealth citizenship in this respect.
Our law already recognises Commonwealth citizenship in a special way in that Commonwealth citizens have full civic privileges in the United Kingdom, and Clause 2(1)(d) is a further recognition of Commonwealth citizens and their rights. On Second Reading, there was 973 general agreement that we should recognise our Commonwealth links by granting favourable treatment as regards entry to this country to Commonwealth citizens where possible, and this is one of the ways in which the Bill gives effect to that intention.
§ 3.6 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
Needless to say, I myself, and I think my noble friends, are happy to accept the extension of privileges through the mother as well as through the father, so that is not in the least in dispute. But one has a certain sympathy with the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, because the trouble is that if one is going to do things by descent rather than by citizenship, it is very difficult in a way to justify it if what matters is your mother or father or, in certain circumstances, your grandmother or grandfather and if the link of blood is what is to count. Then, for example, some of my cousins in the Argentine, in the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, might well feel that they should be included in any right of abode in this country if they had the appropriate parentage; and there are some people in other parts of the world who would be concerned.
Of course, the noble Lord, Lord Wade, has raised the important point that if a country which was a Commonwealth country should leave the Commonwealth, what is the position then of persons who by ancestry would be entitled to a right of abode but who under the Bill, as we understand it, as it is now drafted without this Amendment, would lose any such possibility? This particular subsection and this Amendment illustrate vividly the kind of difficulties in which we find ourselves when we are trying to deal with a right of abode and patriality, or matriality, with out having coped with the fundamental problems of citizenship first. This is what we have been saying all along: that because the Government are so insistent on bringing in this Bill without giving themselves time to think of the basic problems of citizenship, we get into these compromises—because that is what in effect this is. I am not at all sure that we might not be better advised in the circumstances, if we are going to have patriality at all, and if what really matters, as I said, is the blood link, to accept 974 that as universal and not confine it to Commonwealth citizens.
I am of course open to the plea that we should advantage Commonwealth citizens where we can, because so many of the advantages have been taken away from them in other clauses of this Bill, and one ought not therefore perhaps to cavil at it. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Wade, wishes to press this Amendment. We have a certain sympathy with him, but I cannot pretend that this is one of the Amendments about which we feel most strongly.
§ LORD WADE
I should make it clear that I was not opposed to the element of matriality in the clause in the Bill. I wish we could think of some other words than"patriality"and"matriality "; I have a certain dislike of both words. But certainly I am not proposing that we should take away this proposed right of acquisition of the right of abode through the mother in the case of the Commonwealth citizen. The speech of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has shown us extraordinarily clearly the need for studying the law with regard to citizenship. As the noble Baroness has pointed out, that is the way this whole matter should be dealt with. If we had tackled citizenship, and then later considered whether it was necessary to alter the provisions with regard to right of entry, that would have been very much better. However, that would be going a little wide on this Amendment. I was not proposing to press it, and I beg leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 3.10 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MONCK moved Amendment No. 18:
§ Page 2, line 31, after (" citizen ") insert (" (i) ").
§ The noble Viscount said: I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I speak on Amendment No. 19 at the same time, as one is complementary to the other. The purpose of these Amendments is to restore the situation to what it was before this clause was amended during Standing Committee in another place. In the original Bill the right of abode in the United Kingdom derived from grandparentage, both in the Colonies and in the Commonwealth. In Standing Committee in another place, by 975 a very close vote to which I shall refer later, this right was reduced to parentage in the Commonwealth, as at present under subsection (1), (d), while still leaving grandparentage in the Colonies as at present under subsection (1)(b)(i) and (ii).
§ In the course of 43 years in business I have visited many parts of the Commonwealth and have made many friends, and I know from what they have told me personally how hurt and distressed they are to find themselves relegated to—if I may use a sporting expression—the second division of the league while the Colonies remain in the first division. I do not propose to drag in the question of sentiment. Either your Lordships feel that sentiment has a part in these discussions or you do not, and if you do not I certainly do not possess the eloquence required to induce a change of mind. But I want to mention two facts: first, we cannot afford to lose friends in the world, and this is just what I fear may happen if we allow this distinction to go through as it now stands. Second, I want to remind your Lordships of the situation following the 1914–18 War. Someone is alleged to have said that this country would be made a place fit for heroes to live in. Nothing of the kind happened, and millions were without jobs. Thereupon a campaign was started, sponsored by the Government, the Press and many organisations, which said to these people,"There is nothing for you here. Rediscover the old pioneering spirit; go out into the Empire and help to develop it." Many of them, with great courage, took the plunge, and it is they—those who followed the advice and urging of the Government of the day—whose grandchildren will be penalised if my Amendments are not accepted.
§ Finally, I wish to refer again to the Standing Committee in another place where, by a narrow majority and without any discussion whatsoever, the grand-parentage right was taken away from Commonwealth citizens. Voting for the majority, and the proposer of the Amendment, was the right honourable gentleman, the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. Voting for the minority was my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. That gives me cause for great hope that my noble friend will be able 976 to accept my Amendments. I beg to move.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
I am sure the Committee will have listened with great attention to the able, well argued and persuasive speech delivered by my noble friend Lord Monck. I would say at once how grateful we are to him for putting down this Amendment so that this matter can be aired again in the course of the passage of this Bill. As he rightly pointed out, the Amendment is designed to restore the Bill's provisions to what they were before the grandparent was removed by the Standing Committee in another place. The Amendment would extend the right of abode to the grandchild (if he is a Commonwealth citizen) of a person born in the United Kingdom. There is one minor point of drafting, in that the Amendment would give patriality to the grandchildren of people born in the United Kingdom, even if the latter had renounced their citizenship of the United Kingdom and colonies before the intervening parent was born. The Bill was amended in another place so as to ensure that patriality could be acquired by descent only where the parent or grandparent had citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of the relevant birth. Therefore it would not be consistent, this restriction having been introduced for parents and grandparents of people who are themselves citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, not to apply it to the grandparents of other Commonwealth citizens. But I suspect that this may be an unintentional defect in the drafting of the Amendment. As I have said, it is a comparatively minor point, but I thought it was worth pointing it out to my noble friend.
My noble friend has quite correctly stated the position under the Bill as it was introduced in another place. I do not propose to go into the arguments that were adduced at that time, but I feel that although the grandparent was mentioned in the original Bill and the Government, on balance, felt that that was right, it was realised that there were substantial countervailing arguments, and there is no doubt that the decision of another place was in the reverse sense and that the grandparent was removed from the Bill. The Government did not seek to change this position at the Report 977 stage in another place, and our feeling is that it would not be right for your Lordships to do so in this instance, if I may say so, in opposition to the decision of another place. I realise that this may cause concern to my noble friend and to some of his colleagues, but we feel it is right. Therefore I hope the noble Viscount will not press his Amendment.
§ LORD ROBBINS
May I ask the noble Lord if he can reiterate for the benefit of the Committee the arguments which were regarded by the Government as being of such substance as to countervail their original intention. Should we not all agree that we are discussing an extremely odious subject? In a different world from this we should surely all be adherents not of laissez-faire but of laissez-passer, and we should wish that all members of the human race were free to wander about the surface of the planet as they desired. Unfortunately the world is not so constituted.
As a lifelong professor of a liberal social philosophy—and not a member of the Liberal Bench—there are substantial reasons in my judgment for modifying the right of laissez-passer. But those substantial arguments are, in my judgment, two-fold. Firstly, the population explosion; if certain sections of the human race still, so to speak, cherish as their ideal of the human society an anthill, it is desirable that the explosion should be confined to parts of the surface of the planet rather than be allowed to extend everywhere. I think that in this country, with the density of population that we already have, there are substantial utilitarian arguments justifying fairly firm control of immigration.
The second argument, it seems to me, is that if immigration of a certain type takes place at too rapid a pace it may be that frictions are caused among the unsympathetic and unreflecting, and therefore there is an argument of expediency for modifying it. But these arguments have nothing at all to do with the arguments of sentiment we are discussing now. What is the quantitative importance of extending to grandchildren the privileges that were conceded to them by the original Government draft? I am quite sure it makes no difference to any sane conception of optimum population density in this country, and I cannot therefore see any humanitarian argument whatever for 978 not supporting the Amendment now before your Lordships.
THE EARL OF SELKIRK
I understand the noble Marquess would like some drafting changes. May we pass those by and ask whether he would consider this matter again? I understood his speech to mean that he would like this House to decide this question: do we think this is a fair position or not? The noble Baroness, Lady White, said that much had been taken away in this Bill from members of the Commonwealth. Is there not here something in which we can at least express our feeling that too much should not be taken away, and that we have real consideration for those who have left this country and have tried to make their way of life in parts of the world formerly certainly closely associated with us?
I think it is a little hard to say that those who go abroad to parts of the world I think we can still call British, at least Commonwealth if not British, should be cut off after the first generation. We are asking no more than that they should not be cut off till the second generation. After all, in many of these cases, but not all, the culture of the country has been imported from here. Should they not have every opportunity of refreshing their sources, to gain strength in the development of their own way of life, wherever it may happen to be? I do not know quite what"abode"means. I do not know whether it means permission to work. There are plenty of other controls in the Bill. Surely we can grant this to the grandchildren of parents who have left this country to make their way of living in parts of the world where they have often been encouraged to do so.
§ LORD WALSTON
I share the views expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, at the beginning of his speech, the ideal of a world where people may move about without let or hindrance. But clearly we have not got that, and therefore we have reluctantly to put restrictions on movement, and the question is where do we draw the line. We have heard from the noble Earl who has just spoken and the noble Viscount, Lord Monck, of the ties of kinship and the ways of life of the people of the second generation who may want to come back here. I accept that these are strong factors. But there are also the ways of life 979 and the traditions we have given to certain countries, and I am referring in particular to the West Indies which I know best, where there is no question of patriality, but the people there have always looked on themselves as British; they have the British language and British way of life and traditions; and because of various immigration restrictions have been and are now denied right of access to this country. It is hard that it should be so. I will not resurrect all the arguments for and against it.
I bring it up because it shows that a line has to be drawn somewhere. It would be a retrograde step if the Government were to accept this Amendment, because, after all, the people who have been born in the West Indies of West Indian parents and grandparents have never had any chance to do anything else or be anything else. Those who have voluntarily emigrated from this country to some former colony, some present Commonwealth country, and who have produced their children there and whose children have voluntarily remained there, surely have less right of entry to this country, when one is looking at it in a moral sense, because they are staying there of their own free choice. I accept that it may be reasonable—and I do not fight the Government on this—that the sons and daughters of the first generation should have preferential treatment, but I think we should lose more friends than we gained if we were to go back and adopt the original definition of patriality; so I am happy to learn that the Government are intending to reject this Amendment, and I hope they will stick to that decision.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
I want to be very brief. May I welcome the speech made by the distinguished noble Lord from the Cross Benches, and say this: that while I think his speech went rather beyond this Amendment, I accept his view that we cannot adopt a laissez-faire attitude towards immigration. Even if we had a world government, with the maldistribution of population in the world there would have to be some control of immigration. I turn from that to this Amendment. I feel deeply involved. I was horn in India. My father was born in Africa. When I went to the Passport Office to renew my passport 980 they told me I am not a British citizen. They were wrong, because under the Nationality Act I had opted for British citizenship. But my grandfather was born here more than 150 years ago. Are we really to say in this Bill that the right of a person to enter this country should be determined by his grandfather's birth 150 years ago? It is quite impossible, and I applaud the Government for opposing this Amendment.
§ BARONESS WHITE
I, too, was very glad indeed to hear from the noble Marquess that the Government do not propose to reinstate the clause which had been rejected in another place, for the reasons that have been put forward very clearly by some noble Lords who have taken part in this debate. As far as I know, my grandfather was born in 1842. He might well have gone as a babe in arms to Australia or Canada. I really do not feel that at a time when we are legislating as Lord Walston said, to keep out other people, even those brought up in the Commonwealth tradition, we should really stretch the matter to the degree that a claim should rest on descent from someone who may have left these shores so very many years ago. I am not by any means the oldest Member of your Lordships' House, there must be others whose grandfathers were born even earlier than mine. I do not know quite what the earliest possible date could have been, but plainly it was a very long time ago. Therefore we feel that there is a certain justification for saying that, on this Amendment, we would very much prefer to accept the position now adopted by the Government, and we hope that that might prevail.
§ LORD KILBRACKEN
Could my noble friend tell us why she thinks that the place where one's grandparents were born should be relevant in the case of citizens of the Colonies?
§ BARONESS WHITE
Here again we are in one of these areas of compromise and this, because of our very peculiar United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship which we have not yet cleared up (and we keep reiterating this), does have a slightly different effect from extending it to the Commonwealth as a whole.
THE LORD BISHOP OF LEICESTER
The noble Marquess said that there were substantial reasons why we should not 981 reverse the decision of another place. I was not quite certain whether he meant that there were substantial reasons which made their decision a good one or whether there was some quasi-constitutional point or some other political reason that had not been brought into the light. I am bound to say, on hearing the arguments, that it seems strange that we should leave the grandchildren of certain Commonwealth grandparents in a worse position than the grandchildren of Colony grandparents. I am not sure that that really can be the intention of the Government. If the point is a constitutional one, I hope that the noble Marquess is not saying that we have to accept everything in exactly the form in which it had been brought to us. I cannot believe that. I believe that we should give our best services to the whole of the argument if we make our decision and leave the subsequent stage in the dialogue between the two Houses to settle the equilibrium of the divergent forces.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
There has been great play made of the fact that the grandparents left this country of their own accord. If the grandparent were serving overseas by command of the Government, one cannot say that he left this country of his own accord. If he had children while serving overseas and if those children also eventually served overseas and had children overseas, am I to understand that his grandchildren cannot be British citizens: do not automatically become citizens. If so, it seems rather extraordinary; because they have British blood and I thought that British blood was the most important thing in the question of British citizenship.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
I think we have had a very interesting debate, and I should like briefly to try to reply to some of the points raised. In reply to the right reverend Prelate I should like to say that there is no constitutional principle here at all; that of course this House is entitled to alter legislation that comes from another place—indeed we did so on Monday. So there is no question of principle involved. What the Government have felt in this case was that this was a finely balanced argument and that it would he right to accept the verdict of another place. I am not saying for one 982 minute that the Committee is not entitled to express its opinion, even on that matter, to-day.
The noble Lord, Lord Robbins, asked what were some of the countervailing arguments in Standing Committee. I think that he has been answered to some extent by noble Lords opposite. One or two other points were brought out. One was that the proposal as originally submitted would possibly draw a somewhat embarrassing distinction between those citizens of a Commonwealth country who would be patrial and those who would not: for example, in New Zealand, between the New Zealanders and the Maoris. I think the point was also made—and I do not want to attach too much importance to this—that exemption from control might be thought to be on a racial basis and, at the same time, that this might result in the future in large numbers of coloured descendants of people who were born here, but who subsequently went to live in another country, becoming exempt from control under the original provisions of the Bill.
These were some of the points raised. I do not want to take up too much time. In reply to my noble friend Lord Massereene and Ferrard I think I am right in saying (but I will let him know definitly about this) that the patriality of descendants of serving soldiers would depend on the length of residence of their children and grandchildren. I should not like to be taken up on that. I will let him know about it. I feel that I have put the Government case. We recognise the difficulties and have sympathy with them, but feel that this is a case where this House should defer to the opinion of another place. But as I say, it is up to the Committee to decide.
I must first apologise deeply, for there appears to be a drafting error. If I had drafted the Amendments myself I should not have been surprised; but they were drafted by a far cleverer man than I; so I am a bit shocked. But I apologise; it is my responsibility. The noble Marquess was kind enough to throw bouquets at me; he will not be surprised when I return brickbats in saying that I am dissatisfied and dismayed but chiefly astonished. I do not think—and the right reverend Prelate put this point—I am satisfied as to why 983 my right honourable friend the Home Secretary changed his mind after so short a space of time. That particular performance, we all know, is the prerogative of the female sex. I have heard it said that some politicians do the same thing. But my right honourable friend the Home Secretary is not a man of that kidney. There must be some reason why he changed his mind in short space of time. I should like to ask the noble Marquess whether between now and Report stage he could let us know (or let me know privately) the reason why our right honourable friend changed his mind from when he voted in the Division on Standing Committee. If he will be good enough to say that he will do so, then I will ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
Yes, I shall be only too glad to have a word with my right honourable friend on this matter. I want to help as much as I can.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 3.40 p.m.
§ LORD CROWTHER moved Amendment No. 20:
Page 2, line 35, at end insert—
(e) he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and is legally married to a person qualifying under any of the preceding paragraphs of this subsection ".)
§ The noble Lord said: It will be apparrent to your Lordships that this Amendment, No. 20, Amendment No. 21 in the name of the Labour Party and Amendment No. 22 in the name of the Liberal Party are all different methods of achieving much the same purpose. When I discovered that this was the case, I naturally considered whether my best course might not be to refrain from moving my Amendment or, having made a brief explanation, to seek leave to withdraw it and instead to support either, or it might be both, of those Amendments.
§ There are two reasons that have led me to the conclusion that that would not be my right course. The first is that the remedies proposed for what evidently we 984 all feel to be a defect in the Bill are, as I shall attempt to show, significantly different, and, perhaps with the pride of authorship, I rather think mine is the best way of putting it right. Secondly, I think my approach to the matter is probably different from that of noble Lords on either the Labour or Liberal Benches. I voted for the Bill on Second Reading—most reluctantly and with a deep sense of shame—because I had been convinced by the Second Reading debate, and by the debates in another place, that some legislation on these lines (and particularly the creation of two clases of citizens of the United Kindom and Islands) was necessary in order to get us out of the mess in which we had been placed by the, as it turned out, foolish decisions of previous Administrations and previous Parliaments, and particularly in respect of the British Nationality Act 1948. To demonstrate my feelings, I also proceeded to vote for the supplementary Motion that was moved by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan.
§ Therefore I do not propose this Amendment as one who does not believe in the Bill. Most reluctantly, I do believe in the Bill. I accept with shame the necessity for drawing a distinction between first-class citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and second-class citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. I ask only that the line of distinction between the first class and the second class should not run between husband and wife. Moreover, I would guess that noble Lords on the Opposition Benches—and if I am doing an injustice I will withdraw it at once—in putting down their Amendment were thinking mainly, as they have (and to their credit) throughout our debates, of the rights of residents and citizens of the United Kingdom of coloured race, whereas I am thinking, not to the exclusion of those, but mainly and primarily of the wives of ordinary, native born Englishmen.
§ Indeed, I wondered whether I ought not to declare a direct personal interest in the Amendment that I am moving, because my wife was born in the United States of parents and grandparents born in the United States, and before we were married she had never been in this country for more than a few weeks at a time. Actually I think that she is included under Clause 2(1)(c) as having been settled in this country for much more 985 than five years. I say"think ", because I am not quite sure what the effect is of the alteration to that clause which was whisked through at such speed by conspiracy between the two Front Benches late on Monday night by means of a manuscript Amendment the meaning of which I, for one, was quite unable to grasp. Having read it as best as I can and tried to understand its very tortured language, I am still of the opinion that my wife is safe, so I do not have to declare a direct interest.
§ For all these reasons, and since by the luck of the draw or however these matters are decided, my Amendment is printed first, I have decided to move it and to hope that those who have put down Amendments Nos. 21 and 22 will demonstrate their support, at least for the principle of my Amendment, by supporting me. I do not suppose that any noble Lord is deceived by the fact that the Amendment is drafted using the masculine pronoun"lie ", because it is a well known rule of law that whenever it possibly can be so"he"must be read as meaning"he or she ". Some of the people who would be affected by this Amendment are indeed males. It would affect some husbands of patrial wives. Let me give your Lordships an example. Suppose that a scion of one of the long-settled families in Bermuda who have lived in that island for generations were to marry a British-born woman. He would be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. He would not, under this Bill as it stands, be a patrial. My Amendment would make him so.
§ However, there will be many more cases of women who would be affected by this Amendment, and this for the very simple reason, which is well known to your Lordships, that a foreign-born woman, on marrying a British male, acquires British nationality, whereas a foreign-born man marrying a British woman does not. Therefore there would be many more cases of wives who would not, under the Bill as it now stands, be patrials, to whom my Amendment would give that status, and I shall argue the case in terms of the wives. In discussing this subject with several noble Lords I have been met with incredulity that the statement I have just made can be true that there can be women who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies married to patrials, who are 986 not themselves patrials. Indeed, it is a remarkable thing that the Bill should have been drafted, whether by intention or by inadvertence, to produce that result. I cannot myself escape, by a process of logic which I shall ask leave to take your Lordships through, the conclusion that that is what it says.
§ Let us suppose, for example, that immediately after the passage of this Bill, unamended in the way that I am now proposing, my son were to follow my example and marry an American woman with no British parents or grandparents and who had never lived in this country. Let us suppose, further, that, after the wedding, the young couple were to return to this country to settle. Imagine them presenting themselves to the immigration officer at Heathrow Airport or Southampton. Would that newly married wife be qualified as a patrial? This status of patriality is invented in this Bill. There is no other definition of patriality which carries the right of abode except what is contained in Clause 2(1), so let me try it. Would she he a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies? Yes, that she would be by marriage, But would she be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who has that citizenship by birth in the United Kingdom? No. Or by adoption in the United Kingdom? No. Or by naturalisation in the United Kingdom? No. On registration in the United Kingdom? Registration is a tricky matter, and I am not absolutely certain of my ground if I were to assert that she would not be entitled to be registered. But it says"registration in the United Kingdom ", and at the moment of time I am postulating for my hypothetical daughter in law she could not have been registered in the United Kingdom because she had not been here. So I must conclude, No. She would not be qualified under paragraph (b) because she had no British parentage. She would not qualify under paragraph (c) because she had never lived here. She could not qualify under paragraph (d) either, because she had no British parentage. I cannot reach any other conclusion than that the meaning of the Bill is that such a person as I have sketched to your Lordships would not have the right of abode, on arriving with her husband, to live in this country, which is his native-born country.987
§ Let me take another example. Suppose that after my wife and I were married in the year 1932, we had not returned to live in this country. Suppose we had followed the example—and I hope he will not mind my dragging him into my argument—of my noble friend and exact contemporary, whom I see sitting on the Front Bench, Lord Caradon. Suppose I had sought and found employment in the Colonial Service, as it was then called. Suppose that in the intervening years I had served the Crown to the best of my ability in territories other than the United Kingdom, without any period of service or residence in this country that was as much as five continuous years. I do not flatter myself that I would have enjoyed nearly as distinguished a career in that service as the noble Lord, but I might perhaps hope that I would have avoided dismissal for incompetence, or superannuation, and that after 40 years I might seek to return to this country with my wife to settle down and retire. My wife would not be a patrial. She could not qualify under any of the subsections. Her children could. And if I read Clause 2(1)(b)(ii) aright (and I am not sure I do), her grandchildren would be patrial. But we have the ridiculous position that the central figure of the family—the wife, mother, grandmother—would not be a patrial and could not come into this country except by permission of the Home Secretary. She would have to serve an apprenticeship of five years, during which she could be deported, if ever it came into the head of the Home Secretary that her deportation would be conducive to the public good. That is a ridiculous state of affairs.
§ The question is, how do we put it right? I judge from the answer made by your Lordships to my statement that your Lordships accept that it is ridiculous. Allow me, please, to pile on the agony a little. There are many noble Lords who are still in the enviable position of owning ancestral homes in which their families have lived for many centuries. I say"enviable ", because this is not anything which often happens to us poor Life Peers, who are like Disraeli's mule, without visible ancestry or hope of posterity. But I would say to noble Lords who own ancestral homes: do they 988 realise, do they appreciate, that the Bill as it now stands would mean that if any future holder of their titles were to commit the mild indiscretion of marrying a foreign-born or Commonwealth-born woman—she need not be anything more exotic than a third generation Australian—he could not bring her home to reside with him where his ancestors had lived for generations without the permission of an immigration officer and subject to the sufferance of the Home Secretary for five years? If the Bill in its present state had been in force in the 19th century, Sir Winston Churchill's mother could not have come to live in this country and give birth to him without the permission of the then Home Secretary and on sufferance for five years. I believe the same would be true of Her late Majesty Queen Alexandra. This, I need not say again, is an absurd position.
§ As your Lordships may have noticed, I have been taking all my examples from people with white skin and of white race. This is not because I am behind, or not very far behind, noble Lords on the Opposition Benches in solicitude for the position of citizens of coloured race. But I hope that I can rely on their support for my Amendment, whereas I am trying to demonstrate to noble Lords on the other side, who may support the Bill in principle, that it is their families who are the sufferers. As I look round the Chamber, I see many noble Lords who, to my knowledge, have foreign-born wives or mothers. I ask them: would they really be content that their wives and mothers should have any less status under this Bill than they enjoy themselves? This Bill does, indeed, make two classes of British nationals. Surely we are right in asking that our wives should be in the same class with ourselves.
§ If I am right in saying that this cannot be what was intended, which I think is the charitable explanation, that it was a slip in the drafting, or, alternatively, it is what was intended, in which case it is so obnoxious that I hope your Lordships will wish to change it, what is the best way of putting it right? The Labour Amendment differs in two respects from mine. To begin with, it omits the husbands. I can see that there is an argument for that, but it is not a matter on which I should wish to stand and fight. But it also includes—and this is why I said I 989 thought they were thinking chiefly of British citizens of colour—a five-year probation clause, which I find wholly obnoxious, and I cannot support that.
§ The Liberal Amendment is not open to those objections but it is drafted in such terms that it would extend, through this Amendment, the right of patriality to persons who are not citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and though I do not think that would offend me very much, it is clear from the answer that was given by the Government to an earlier Amendment that it would stand no chance whatever of being accepted. Whereas I very badly wish to secure acceptance of my Amendment. That is why I prefer my solution to theirs. But the principle is the thing. If the noble Lords speaking for the Government Bench will accept the principle behind any one of these three Amendments, if they prefer either of the other two—I am not quite sure about the Labour Amendment, but certainly if they prefer the Liberal Amendment—I would withdraw my Amendment and support that one. Or, if they do as they often do and say that they support the principle but do not like the drafting and would like to bring back a better Amendment at a later stage, providing the assurance is firm enough I shall be glad to withdraw the Amendment.
§ I hope the Government will accept this, but I have to provide for the contingency, incredible though it may sound, that they will not accept even the principle of this Amendment. There is one argument that they might use that I feel I should say something about in advance. This would be the argument that they do not want to amend the text of the Bill, but they will give an assurance that the rules to be laid down by the Secretary of State will in fact cover all such cases. Now that is an argument we often hear in this House, and we often—to my mind far too often—accept it. It can be briefly paraphrased as the argument of,"We know it is not in the text, but we assure you that it will be all right on the night."
In some cases it may be right to accept an assurance of that sort, but surely not in this case, because what this clause is all about is rights. Moreover, they are most important rights. If I may take your Lordships back to Clause 1 of
the Bill, the right for those who get on one side of the line is that they
…shall be free to live in, and to come and go into and from, the United Kingdom without let and hindrance…
Fine words and a magnificent right! But the next clause says that"others ", everybody else on the other side,
…may by permission live, work and settle in the United Kingdom…
§ I am not willing to accept the position that the wife of any one of us may live, work and settle in the United Kingdom by permission of any office holder. This, it seems to me, is a matter of a double right. It is not only the right of our wives to come and go without let and hindrance, but also our right to have our wives living with us, and it is not to be substituted by any sufferance of an official, particularly as in this Bill it is limited and qualified and not guaranteed.
§ If noble Lords speaking for the Government were by chance to ask your Lordships to reject this Amendment on that argument, I would say in advance that they would be missing the whole point of what I am trying to put. It is not because I have any fear whatever that in fact, in practice, any wife would be turned away at the door; I am sure that there is enough common sense in our administration to be sure of that. It is because the Bill seems to me to contravene the natural right of husband and wife to live together, if possible in the native land of either of them, but quite certainly in the husband's native land. No office holder should have the power to refuse that right; and to say that in fact he would never exercise that power is no answer at all. He should not have the power, and the Bill should make it clear that he does not have the power. I beg to move.
§ BARONESS WHITE
I think it might perhaps assist our consideration of this Amendment if I say, after consultation with my noble and learned friend, that if the Amendment moved so brilliantly by the noble Lord. Lord Crowther, is accepted, we would not wish to move Amendment No. 21.
§ 4.1 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I appreciate that, because I think they deal with exactly the same point. The solutions proposed are a little different, as the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, said; but I think he feels that if the Government were able to accept his general line of argument he would be content. Let me say that we do accept his general line, and we are grateful to him and to other noble Lords who have brought this matter to our attention. The noble Lord referred by way of example to his own personal domestic circumstances. The thought had crossed my mind that he might do so, and I have therefore been into the position. I did not wish to interrupt the noble Lord. I thought his speech was such an entertaining one that he did not want interruption on points of detail—but this is a complicated matter, so let us go through the nationality developments of the family Crowther, including the hypothetical son-in-law. If we had a noble Lord who happened to get married in 1932 (coincidentally, the year in which I was born) to a United States citizen, who would the position be? Under United Kingdom law as it was at that time, the wife would automatically on her marriage, have become a British subject. By virtue of the British Nationality Act of 1948 she will have been, since the year 1949, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Under Clause 2(1)(c) a woman in this position will become patrial when the Bill becomes law as the noble Lord correctly said, assuming that she has completed a continuous period of five years' residence in the United Kingdom. The hypothetical son-in-law, however, arriving at London Airport with his newly-wed—
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I am sorry; son and daughter-in-law. When the son arrived at London Airport with his newlywed American wife on his arm, he would find that his wife would not automatically have become a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. I think the noble Lord felt that the wife would have become so, but that is not the case, and it has not been the case since 1949. The position was altered—rightly or wrongly, it was altered—in 1948 by the British 992 Nationality Act. Since the 1948 Act the effect of marriage to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies has been to give the wife an entitlement, which she may or may not choose to exercise, to register as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies; and if she does that, she then becomes patrial by virtue of Clause 2(1)(a).
I want to deal now in my remarks with some other points besides the ones referred to by the noble Lord. There is no difficulty about the entry or intended entry of women married to patrials residing in the United Kingdom. This is the first point to make. Paragraph 39 of Cmnd. 4606—that is, the Rules for Control on Entry—provides for the admission of the wife in these circumstances. As the draft rules stand, the husband must be able and willing to support and accommodate the wife without recourse to public funds. We are now talking about entry under the Immigration Rules; we are not talking about patriality. But on further consideration we are inclined to think that it would be right to drop this requirement in the future so far as it applies to the dependants of patrials, and we propose to make this change in the final version of the rules that is presented to Parliament.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
It will involve a change in the rules. This is a matter within the scope of the rules. I shall be moving on to the point of substance made by the noble Lord, Lord Crowther; I am dealing in my reply now with a point he did not actually raise. The change I have mentioned is one which we think would be an improvement where there is a wife of somebody who is a patrial.
I move on now to the point that he did put to us, that that there should be an automatic grant of patriality to the wife of somebody who is himself patrial. We have thought about this since the Amendments were put down—and I greatly enjoyed the noble Lord's speech this afternoon. We have it in mind to come forward with a comprehensive Amendment on Report providing that the wife of a patrial shall herself acquire patriality 993 in the right of her husband. We believe that this will be an improvement on the Bill itself and on the Immigration Rules, to which I have referred, since as they stand, although they deal satisfactorily, I think, with the question of entry into the United Kingdom, they do not deal with patriality, as the noble Lord pointed out. It is true that, where the husband is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, the wife will continue to have an automatic right to register as such a citizen herself, and that this will give her patriality under Clause 2(1)(a), but this does not meet the case of the husband who is not a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies but is patrial under, for example, Clause 2(1)(d), the Commonwealth clause we have been talking about.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
May I interrupt the noble Lord for one moment to ask whether this will work the other way about? If the wife is a British citizen, will the husband have similar privileges?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I have not arrived at that point in my reply yet, but I will deal with it. Nor would it meet the case of the wife who is already a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies but is not patrial. We are inclined to agree with the noble Lord that the proviso in the Labour Opposition's Amendment of five years' residence is not essential in a matter of this sort, and we are inclined to share his argument that this period of five years can be dispensed with. Therefore, what I should like to say to the Committee is that we accept in principle the content of Amendment No. 21—this is dealing with the wife—but with the proviso I have just made. I think it is only that point which the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, did not very much like in the Amendment put forward by the Opposition.
May I turn rather briefly now to the point, very usefully made by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, about men seeking to enter this country by virtue of their marriage to a woman who is patrial? There is a practical difficulty here, and I am afraid I am not able to meet the noble Lord on that point, for reasons with which I think he is already quite familiar, because he knows this subject very well. The practical difficulty is that, if both husbands and wives were admitted—that is, the husband of a woman who is patrial 994 —any citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies could become exempt from control by marrying a woman who is exempt. In this way, a United Kingdom passport holder from East Africa could avoid the requirement of a special voucher by marrying a woman who was already covered by the patrial clause of the Bill. An Amendment on these lines, dealing with the man, would consequently open the way to evasion of the existing control on the entry of those male citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who are admissible only if they have a work permit or a special voucher.
Under the accepted immigration practice, which was introduced by the previous Administration and has been retained by this one, husbands have no right of entry by virtue of their wives. It is only if there are special considerations which render exclusion undesirable that they are admitted. These are set out in paragraph 46 of Cmnd. 4606, which corresponds with the existing rule introduced by the last Administration (paragraph 41 of Cmnd. 4292). In accordance with this practice a wife is expected to make her home in the country of her husband. We debated this principle of immigration control on Monday, and what it really turns on is that the wife is a dependant of her husband, whereas the husband is not, in most cases, a dependant of the wife. It is on that that this principle of international immigration control depends. But I hope that I have satisfied the House on the main point that the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, raised.
§ LORD CROWTHER
Unlike the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, I am not unduly disturbed by the intention to restrict this to the wives. After I put down my Amendment, some of the dangers the noble Lord has touched upon, of including husbands and giving incentives to any number of bogus and artificial marriages, were pointed out to me, and I suggested in my opening remarks that I thought the case for the husbands was much weaker than that for the wives. It remains only for me to express my gratitude to the noble Lord. Indeed, this is not the first time in recent weeks that I have had occasion to pay tribute to the 995 noble Lord's liberality of mind and his willingness to accept Amendments from me. I am almost moved to suggest to him that, if there is a vacancy in the drafting staff of the Home Office, and an unpaid, part-time assistant might be useful, my services might be accepted. I am deeply grateful, and I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 4.13 p.m.
§ LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 22:
Page 2, line 35, at end insert—
(e) he is married to a person having the right of abode as defined in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) above who is either residing in the United Kingdom and Islands or is entering, or is seeking to enter the United Kingdom and Islands to so reside.")
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 22. I do so in order that there should be an opportunity for a little further clarification of the distinction between the Amendments. I am grateful for the extent to which the Government have given way to the persuasive arguments of the noble Lord. Lord Crowther. I agree that we had reached a ridiculous state of affairs, and I hope that the latest statement will go a little way towards lessening that situation. I would, however, point out that there is a distinction between Amendment No. 22 and Amendment No. 20, in that Amendment No. 20 applies to citizens of the United Kingdom whereas Amendment No. 22 goes rather wider.
§ I base my views on the general proposition that family unity is most important. Of course I agree that there is need for provisions against abuse, but I am still not entirely happy that this avoidance of abuse can be achieved by distinguishing between one spouse and another. I think we ought to work on the general proposition that if one spouse is allowed to enter the other spouse should be allowed to enter also. I do not think I need take up the time of the Committee further. That is the main point that I would make.
§ LORD GARDINER
I rise to support this Amendment. There are many of us, I think, who feel that husbands and wives are one flesh and ought not to be separated, and all these four Amendments have that common basis. The noble 996 Lord, Lord Windlesham, is quite right in saying that countries have in the past certainly taken the view that a wife is, as it were, attached to her husband or vice versa. This is not really, I should have thought, in accordance with the modern Christian view. There are cases where this country ought to take the lead. After all, until about three years ago there was no Western country which had reduced the age of majority from 21 to 18. We led the way, and now more and more, both in America and in Western Europe, countries are following our lead.
I cannot think it right that, in principle, a wife should be treated as an appendage. It is quite true that one has to go back only a little way to when wives and children were regarded as the husband's property. It was not until 1882 that as a matter of course everything that a wife owned was not her husband's property for him to spend. Then we had the Married Women's Property Act, and married women were allowed to own property in their own right. But times move. The conception that women and children are the property of men is still perhaps rather more prevalent in the East than in the West.
The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, was, I thought, sympathetic to this Amendment, except that he said that this would open the door to a lot of bogus arrangements. I wonder whether he can tell us about that. This applies only to wives having a right of abode. Is it really the fact that there are large numbers of British wives having a right of abode who are available for bogus marriages to Asians? It may be so; I do not know; no doubt the noble Lord knows much better than I do about that. I cannot really conceive why that should be so. If, as I said previously, a married Jamaican nurse comes here, where she is badly needed to help us, and she has a disabled husband, I cannot see why the same right should not apply to her as a wife as it does to a husband. I would hope therefore, that on further consideration in all quarters of the Committee, this view might be taken. I am sure that morally it is right; and the noble Lord has not given us any solid reasons for supposing that, if this were so, there would be a lot of bogus marriages between East Africans and women having the right of abode here. 997 For those reasons, I would respectfully urge the Committee to support Lord Wade's Amendment.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
Perhaps I may deal with this question fairly briefly, although maybe the noble Lord would like me to go into a little detail, and although we have quite a lot of experience to go on. This Amendment differs from the previous one which we discussed in that it is not confined to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and in that it gives a person the right of abode only while that person's husband or wife is residing here, or seeking to reside here. It differs from Lord Shepherd's Amendment in that it would give a husband patriality in right of his wife, as well as vice versa, and in that it does not require the qualifying period of five years' residence. As I mentioned, we are inclined to think that this qualifying period of five years could be dispensed with in the case of wives of people who are patrial
I have explained that the Government intend to bring forward a comprehensive Amendment on Report making better provision for the acquisition of patriality by women who marry, or are already married to, men who are patrial. But in so far as this Amendment would give the right of abode to husbands whose wives are patrial, I am afraid there are the same objections to it that I mentioned in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, when we debated the previous Amendment. As I said then, the Government do not, save in exceptional circumstances, recognise any claim by husbands who are subject to immigration control to settle in this country because their wives are settled here.
In the past when such a claim was recognised by a concessionary arrangement, the number of men coming in for marriage to women of Commonwealth birth or descent residing here became so large in proportion to the numbers admitted through the primary avenue of immigration—that is, with employment vouchers—that the previous Government decided in 1969 that husbands could no longer be allowed to settle here in right of their wives.
I know the noble Lord made the point (perhaps I may anticipate him, and he will tell me if I am wrong) that this Amendment is concerned with people 998 who have a right of abode in this country, whereas the situation in 1969 concerned Commonwealth citizens marrying others who did not necessarily have the right of abode.
§ LORD GARDINER
There is, with respect, a second difference. I am concerned only with people who are married. I think the noble Lord was talking about a man who came here on the bogus pretext of coming to marry some woman living here. I am not in the least concerned with future marriages; I am concerned only with those people who are already husband and wife.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord. May I deal at once with that point? The difficulty lies in distinguishing between a fiancé and a husband, because a fiancé turns into a husband very easily. First, there are the arranged marriages, common in Asia, and it is very difficult to say, for the purposes of immigration control, whether or not these are legal marriages. Then there is the fact that we quite freely admit men, as visitors, for the purposes of marriage, if the immigration officer is satisfied that the man is coming to marry a woman living here, that he is a visitor who wishes to marry in this country and take his bride back home again, he will admit the man for a fixed time for the purpose of the marriage. So the man, having entered as a fiancé, turns into a husband when he gets here. Then there are cases of people who leave the country to get married—perhaps in France—and who then return as man and wife. On the face of it, although the distinction between the fiancé and the husband seems one of substance, in practice it is very difficult—and I think this was the experience of the previous Government—to make any change.
As regards the man who has been admitted for marriage to a woman with a right of abode, we must remember that under this Amendment all those women, of Asian birth perhaps, who will have been registered in this country will be patrial; all the girls born in this country of Indian families who have settled here, and all the United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa, admitted with a special voucher, who have been here for a period of five years—they too will be patrial. So the noble Lord will see that the pattern is perhaps not quite as 999 he described it. In the 1962 Act the previous Administration gave no right to male fiancés to enter the country in order to marry women in this country, although the right was given to women. A concession was granted to men until 1969, when Mr. Callaghan said (and I quote his statement of January 30, 1969):…the numbers have risen so steeply over the last year or two 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.This is the basis of past experience and it is for reasons of this kind that it is very difficult for us to accept this particular point in the noble Lord's Amendment.
§ LORD BURTON
The situation seems to be extremely complicated, and I wonder whether my noble friend on the Front Bench could answer one question for me. If one was of a religion in which polygamy is tolerated, would there be any restriction on the number of ladies to whom one could give British nationality?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I hesitate to answer that question. The noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack has recently been debating with other noble and learned Lords marriages of this kind. It is an intensely complicated matter for the courts to decide which marriages are recognised as legal in this country, and I think I should be most unwise to answer that question without prior notice.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
May I just comment on the Minister's statement? I am astonished by it. He is a representative of a younger generation: he was born when I was still a Member of Parliament, yet his speech indicates that he is absolutely unaware of the new status of husbands and wives. It is of course quite true that the majority of women depend on the man as the breadwinner, but the number of exceptions is quite extraordinary. If I may take my own case, I depend on the salary that my wife earns, which is much more than anything I can earn myself; and there are thousands who are in that position. To differentiate between women and men who are married on the basis the Minister has done, belonging to a generation in which the equality of men and women has become increasingly 1000 recognised, is an absolute astonishment to me, because in my own relationships with the Minister I have always appreciated his liberal and tolerant mind.
§ LORD BARNBY
Before the noble Lord answers, may I ask him for information? He has dealt at considerable length—and indeed the discussion this afternoon has been punctuated with similar references—with the difficulties of the original nationality of man and wife. This has interested me very much because I, like some other Members of your Lordships' House, am married to an American woman who remains an American citizen. When she comes into this country she comes as an alien, and when I go to the United States I go there as art alien. I lived for some years in the United States when I was a young fellow. I entered there, resided there and came out as an alien. No one considers that the word"alien"carries a stigma, and so I am puzzled about that. But the point I should like to make—and it is here that I would ask the noble Lord to help me—is that there are parts of the Commonwealth where polygamy is the custom, and men may have many wives. Am I to understand that there is no distinction in all these regulations, which I must admit I find very complicated and difficult to understand? I should like an affirmation from the noble Lord that whatever applies to one wife applies to the wives of several marriages, if polygamous marriages are involved.
§ LORD KILBRACKEN
May I ask the noble Lord to clarify a point which I do not think he has made in his admirable speech; that is, whether, in the Amendment which the Government will be bringing forward at the Report stage, the wife will have to be a subject of the United Kingdom and Colonies or not?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I think I should require notice of that point. Perhaps I can give some information to the noble Lord in the course of the debate. The point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, regarding plural marriages, is a very complicated one. Very few instances indeed are known to the Home Office of cases where somebody has arrived with dependents or a family group which included more than one wife. There are some plural marriages which are recognised (I speak subject to correction) by 1001 our law, and the recognition or otherwise turns on whether or not the nature of the marriage service is recognised as a valid marriage. There are, theoretically, some instances where this can be so, but it is not a day-to-day practical question. It is something which is almost unknown, in practical terms, to the Home Office and I do not think we need consider this part of the Bill against that background.
§ LORD BARNBY
Can my noble friend give me equal assurance that where dependents are permitted entry into this country that does not frequently extend to children of the same male resident here who has several wives resident elsewhere?
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
I wonder whether I can assist the noble Lord? Since we are inventing words—we have"patriality and"matriality "—why do we not take care of the problem of the noble Lord. Lord Barnby, by inventing a new word called"cloniality ", where we can go in for cloning in multiple marriages.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I think I should need advice on that point, too. The point of substance lies in what the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said. He has grasped a significant point of principle and has argued his case with the same enthusiasm that he argued it when the law was changed in 1969. The difficulty is that the men are coming in the main, for the purposes of work and settlement in this country. Since 1962 there has been a voucher scheme in order to regulate the numbers of men coming to work and settle in this country. The previous Administration came to the conclusion (and I have read out the passage from Mr. Callaghan's speech) that this particular avenue had become a means of evading the voucher scheme. I am sure that he withdrew this concession extremely reluctantly, but it was of this kind.
§ LORD WADE
May I ask the noble Lord whether he would accept the Amendment in principle if it were limited to the words"is entering "? That is, where the marriage has taken place, the 1002 husband and wife wish to enter this country and one party is a patrial. There is a matter of principle here. Is it right to make this distinction between the spouse with the assumption that if it is the case of the wife being a patrial it is probably a"fiddle ", whereas if the husband is a patrial then it is all right. Perhaps I am exaggerating, but there is this distinction between the spouses which is the matter of principle.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I agree; it is partly a matter of principle. It is a principle of immigration control that the husband is not entitled to entry in right of his wife. This applies to the United States and Canada and many other countries. But it is also a matter of practical experience. For seven years, between 1961 and 1969, an arrangement of this sort existed, but the Government of the day come to the conclusion that it was being abused, and was being used as an avenue of entry for young men who wished to work and settle in this country.
There is another point in the Amendment of the noble Lord which I did not deal with in my earlier remarks and which I will put on the Record. I hope he will appreciate that this is another reason why it is difficult for us to accept the spirit of this Amendment. Patriality, according to the Amendment, would be retained only white the patrial spouse was residing, or seeking to reside, in the United Kingdom. Therefore the concept of residence enters into the Amendment. We believe that it would be inconsistent for the concept of the right of abode, of patriality, embodied in the Bill to be given a transitory character. The principle of patriality must be that once somebody holds patrial status it should not matter whether he is resident in this country or whether he is resident for a period of years elsewhere, unless he has renounced citizenship of the United Kingdom. Patriality should be something permanent and not tied in this way to the transitory character of residency.
THE LORD BISHOP OF LEICESTER
Contrary to what some might think, I tend to support the Government on this point. The theological argument that the man and wife are one flesh that has been used in criticism of the Government's attitude is an argument which has a strong appeal to me. It has to be 1003 faced that the economic and political results of affording these privileges to the man on an equal basis to that upon which they are given to the woman are very significant. Either party, in entering upon the marriage, could be well aware of the international results of the marriage. I do not think that either party could claim that after making that
§ marriage they had exactly the same economic, political and civic rights as they had before if they entered upon it willingly and knowingly.
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 22) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 54; Not-Contents, 119.1005
|Airedale, L.||Evans of Hungershall, L.||Moyle, L.|
|Amherst, E.||Gaitskell, Bs.||Phillips, Bs. [Teller.]|
|Amulree, L.||Gardiner, L.||Ritchie-Calder, L.|
|Archibald, L.||Garnsworthy, L.||Sainsbury, L.|
|Ardwick, L.||Granville of Eye, L.||St. Davids, V.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Segal, L.|
|Beswick, L.||Hilton of Upton, L.||Silkin, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Hoy, L.||Slater, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Hughes, L.||Stonham, L.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Janner, L.||Summerskill, Bs.|
|Burgh, L.||Kennet, L.||Swaythling, L.|
|Burntwood, L.||Kilbracken, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Byers, L.||Leatherland, L.||Wade, L. [Teller.]|
|Champion, L.||Lee of Asheridge, Bs.||Walston, L.|
|Collison, L.||Lindgren, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Diamond, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs.||White, Bs.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||McLeavy, L.||Willis, L.|
|Energlyn, L.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Derwent, L.||Monck, V.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Digby, L.||Monckton of Brenchley, V.|
|Albemarle, E.||Drumalbyn, L.||Monson, L.|
|Alport, L.||Dudley, E.||Morrison, L.|
|Amory, V.||Dundonald, E.||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]|
|Auckland, L.||Elliot of Harwood, Bs.|
|Balerno, L.||Emmet of Amberley, Bs.||Northchurch, Bs.|
|Balfour, E.||Essex, E.||Oakshott, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Falkland, V.||O'Neill of the Maine, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Ferrers, E.||Perth, E.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Gage, V.||Poltimore, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Greenway, L.||Powis, E.|
|Berkeley, Bs.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Birdwood, L.||Hailes, L.||Reay, L.|
|Blackford, L.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Rochdale, V.|
|Blake, L.||Rothermere, V.|
|Bledisloe, V.||Hanworth, V.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Boothby, L.||Hatherton, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Hives, L.||Salisbury, M.|
|Boyle of Handsworth, L.||Hood, V.||Sandford, L.|
|Bradford, E.||Hylton-Foster, Bs.||Sandys, L.|
|Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.||Ilford, L.||Savile, L.|
|Burton, L.||Inchyra, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Caccia, L.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal)||Sempill, Ly.|
|Camoys, L.||Kemsley, V.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Kilmany, L.||Somers, L.|
|Clwyd, L.||Kilmarnock, L.||Stamp, L.|
|Coleraine, L.||Lauderdale, E.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Conesford, L.||Leicester, L.Bp.||Strange of Knokin, Bs.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Long, V.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Lothian, M.||Sudeley, L.|
|Crathorne, L.||Loudoun, C.||Suffield, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.||Swinton, E.|
|Croft, L.||Mar and Kellie, E.||Tenby, V.|
|Cromartie, E.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Teynham, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Merrivale, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|de Clifford, L.||Meston, L.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Milverton, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.||Windlesham, L.||Young, Bs.|
|Vivian, L.||Wolverton, L.||Younger of Leekie, V.|
|War d of Witley, V.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ 4.44 p.m.
Page 2, line 35, at end insert—
(e) he is under the age of 16 and is the child of a person having the right of abode as defined in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d) above who is either residing in the United Kingdom and Islands or is entering or is seeking to enter the United Kingdom and Islands to so reside.")
§ I am moving this Amendment only to give the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, an opportunity of explaining whether the position has been affected in any respect by a proposal which he earlier stated he was going to set down for the Report stage; and secondly, to inquire whether this is covered by the rules, and, if so, whether it should not be incorporated in the Bill. I beg to move.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I must apologise to the noble Lord for not being in my place when he moved the Amendment, and thank him for the extremely thorough way in which he read out each word to the Committee, which enabled me to arrive and find my place and my brief. This Amendment would confer the right of abode on the child under the age of sixteen of a person who is both patrial and resident in this country or coming here to reside. The Government's policy is that people coming to this country from overseas should be able to bring their wives and young children with them, and effect is given to this policy in regard to children by paragraph 42 of Cmnd. 4606—that is the White Paper, Control on Entry—under which children under eighteen are entitled to admission if both their parents are resident in the United Kingdom.
The rules eventually made under the Bill will be subject to the Negative Resolution procedure, as the noble Lord will know, which will be a safeguard against the arbitrary withdrawal of this entitlement; and anyone who considers 1006 that he is denied what he is entitled to under the rules can enforce his rights by appeal under Part II of the Bill. On this basis I believe that the provision to be made in the immigration rules for the admission of children will be a satisfactory equivalent of the present rights of admission which wives and children have under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act.
For the purpose of admission of children, in the same way as other dependants, the draft immigration rules make no distinction between parents who are patrial and those who are subject to immigration control but have been accepted for permanent residence; nor is there any such distinction in the existing law and immigration rules. The effect of this Amendment—I appreciate that the noble Lord is putting it in a probing sense—would be to introduce such a distinction, giving a statutory right of admission only to children whose parents are patrial. In general, there seems no reason why a person who is patrial should be in any more favourable position with regard to the admission of his children than an immigrant who has been accepted for settlement and permanent residence. In particular, the fact that one parent is patrial should not in itself entitle a child, as it would under this Amendment, to join that parent in this country when the other parent is still overseas.
But there is one point on which I think we ought to consider amending the Immigration Rules, and this is in regard to the admission of patrials' wives and children. I am inclined to think that where the head of the family is patrial it would be right to remove the requirement that he must show himself able to accommodate and maintain his wife and children. I mentioned this point earlier in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, although it was not a point which he had actually put in his own speech. Nor will this requirement apply when the head of the family is already settled here by July, 1971, and we propose to amend the Immigration Rules accordingly. I hope the noble Lord will think that that is a helpful reply.
§ LORD GARDINER
This is entirely a matter for the noble Lord, Lord Wade, but before he considers what the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has said I wonder whether the noble Lord will tell me whether or not the Government are prepared to consider, before the Report stage, whether wives and children should not have legal rights. The point is that it is morally wrong and socially unwise to split families, and that families ought to have a legal right to remain together. The noble Lord has said that they have a right under the rules. I hesitate to pick words with him, but with the greatest respect I think that is inaccurate. The rules do not give anybody a legal right; there is no such thing as a right under the rules. The rules are whatever the Home Secretary chooses to make them. Nor, with great respect, is it accurate to say that the rules will be subject to the Negative Resolution procedure.
I do not want to take up much time over this because we shall be dealing with the rules, but we all know the Negative Resolution procedure. There are one or two forms of it in Erskine May. We are all used to it in practice, and the position under the Bill is nothing remotely like that procedure. The Home Secretary, and he alone, makes whatever rules he likes. All he is bound to do is from time to time to tell Parliament what rules he has made. If either House disapproves that does not stop the rules. They still remain valid, and all the Home Secretary has to do is sometime later to lay a statement of proposed changes.
Here we are dealing with basic human rights: the right of husbands, wives and children to stay together. Therefore I should like to ask the noble Lord whether the Government are decided on these matters being rules and not legal rights or whether, before the Report stage of the Bill, they would be prepared to consider these family rights, incorporating the rights in the Bill rather than in the rules.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
There is another sense in which I would suggest, with some diffidence, to the noble and learned Lord that one could use the word"right"under the Immigration Rules. The rules are binding on the Secretary 1008 of State. There is an appeal system, and therefore the person who feels that he is not receiving his entitlement has a right of appeal to an adjudicator and to an appeal tribunal. As he will know, under the Immigration Appeals Act these are binding decisions, except for one or two cases concerning security. In the main these decisions bind the Secretary of State. So in that sense I would have thought this was a right of considerable value with a built-in sanction. The Home Secretary cannot say,"I do not think on the whole I want to allow you to bring in your dependants ". The man would say,"But you must. I shall appeal and, if the adjudicator feels that the Home Secretary or his officers have behaved unreasonably, he will say so." There are a substantial number of these cases.
The noble Lord, Lord Wade, will know that adjudicators are sitting in the North of England and in the Midlands hearing such cases at the moment. So I think there is a sense in which the word"right"can properly be used. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, raised this general line of criticism, and we shall come to it head on in Amendments 44 and 45, to which he has added his name. These Amendments, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, deal specifically with the nature of the Parliamentary control of the Immigration Rules and perhaps we may have our main debate then.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn,
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY moved Amendment No. 26:
§ Page 2, line 36, leave out (" father ") and insert (" parent ")
§ The noble Earl said: This is a small Amendment but I think it is of some significance, and it may be for the convenience of the Committee if I speak at the same time on Amendments 27 and 27A, the latter being a Manuscript 1009 Amendment which I have tabled and which is identical in wording to Amendment No. 27 but refers to the word"father's"in line 38. It changes that word"father's ", as in the other cases, into the word"parent's ".
§ In Clause 2 there occurs three times the provision that gives the right of abode to a child of a parent who had United Kingdom citizenship at the time of the birth. This occurs in subsection (1)(b)(ii) and subsection (1)(d). It appears, and no doubt it appeared to the draftsman of the Bill, that this was not quite good enough by itself because the relevant parent who conveyed the right of abode upon the child might have died before the child was born. If I read the matter aright, and it is quite possible that I do not, I imagine the draftsman thinking to himself that a father can well predecease the child by anything up to nine months, or a little more, but the mother presumably is alive at the time of the birth of the child.
§ But this is not necessarily so. It is quite possible for a mother to predecease her baby—not by a long time, certainly, but it is clear that it can happen, say in the case of an accident when the mother is killed and the baby is born by Caesarean section. I have taken the opinions of various medical experts, including some Members of your Lordships' House. They are not able to come to any conclusion about the passage of time which can elapse after the death of the mother and the birth of the child, but it certainly can be a matter of minutes, I understand. This is not very much, and it may sound like hairsplitting, but minutes of time in law can be important. They are certainly important in the case, say, of an accident when two people are killed, one of whom is the son and heir of the other. In that case who died first is a matter of great interest to the Inland Revenue.
§ The case which we are discussing is far less important than that, and my noble friend the Minister may well say that for anybody to pronounce that a child was not born patrial because his mother died five minutes before he was born would be so nice a piece of legalistic judgment that it is highly unlikely to happen. It is unlikely to happen, but it is 1010 possible, and all that is needed to make it impossible is to change the word"father"into"parent ", as I have indicated in my Amendments. I very much hope that my noble friend will feel inclined to accept this Amendment, which I am bound to say seems to me to be quite unexceptionable in every way. I beg to move.
§ LORD DENHAM
Of course, there is no difference in principle between my noble friend's intention and the intention of Her Majesty's Government here. I am advised that there is no practical need for the provision to be extended in this way. My noble friend has said that the difference in time between the death of the mother, if it comes first, and the birth by Caesarian section of the child can he only a matter of a very few minutes. In those circumstances it is inconceivable that a court should draw any fine distinction between the time of the birth and the time of the mother's death so as to deprive the child of a status which he would otherwise derive from his mother. Also my noble friend might care to consider that in the unlikely event of anybody being so malicious as to try to deprive the child of the status which this Bill wishes to give him, the difference in time would be extremely difficult to prove. I think this Amendment is unnecessary, and if I have convinced my noble friend he might like to withdraw it.
§ LORD GARDINER
If I may say so, as a result of a long life, I am always unhappy when people say it is inconceivable a court may do something. In my experience there is nothing a court could not conceivably do. What I have not followed so far is, if the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, is right technically, what is the disadvantage of accepting his Amendment?
§ LORD DENHAM
There is no disadvantage; and if the noble and learned Lord were to add his great weight behind my noble friend, then I would be prepared to accept the Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
If that is my noble friend's last word, there is no need for me to say any more, and I am most grateful.
Page 2, line 36, leave out (" father's ") and insert (" parent's ").—(The Earl of Cork and Orrery.)
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
Amendment No. 27A, which is a manuscript Amendment, is again consequential. I beg to move.
Page 2, line 38, leave out (" fathers ") and insert (" parents ").—(The Earl of Cork and Orrery.)
§ BARONESS WHITE
We have been circulated with this Amendment, and I should perhaps draw the attention of your Lordships to the fact that there is a Freudian slip, because it is headed"Industrial Relations Bill ".
§ LORD WADE
I am delighted to hear this. I have been puzzling for some time on why I have been handed a paper about the Industrial Relations Bill. Having read"Industrial Relations Bill"I had not looked any further.
§ BARONESS WHITE moved Amendment No. 28:
§ Page 2, line 40, leave out (" mother ") and insert (" parent ").
§ The noble Baroness said: I beg to move Amendment No. 28, which is also to substitute the word"parent"for the word at present in the Bill, namely"mother ", but of course in a somewhat different context. As your Lordships will observe,"parent"here in this definition clause indicates that where an illegitimate child is concerned it shall be the mother only who will be regarded as conferring a status on the child. I said in an earlier discussion on another point that it always seemed to me that the mother was slightly more certain than the father in these matters, and perhaps particularly so where an illegitimate child is concerned. Nevertheless, it seems a little unfair that the father should be deprived of any standing at all in the matter, and we are moving this Amendment really to ask whether the Government could not look at this point again and possibly agree that in all the circumstances the father should have 1012 some place as well as the mother. I beg to move.
VISCOUNT ST. DAVIDS
There is a little additional point here. Recently in this House we were discussing the various forms of marriage which can occur in different parts of the world, and that some of them are admitted in this country and some are not. In some cases the boundaries are rather close. If it is true that children are to be labelled as illegitimate and not admitted to this country, there is going to be quite a large body of such children if in some cases we do not admit that certain marriages are valid.
§ LORD KILBRACKEN
I should like briefly to support this Amendment. My noble friend indicated that in some cases where there is doubt there is more certainty on the part of the mother than the father. In any cases arising under this Amendment it would be incumbent on the father to prove paternity to the satisfaction of the immigration officer. Unless he could do so, his claim would not be admitted. I therefore do not see that any danger can arise under that head.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I am grateful for what the noble Baroness has said. I think she moved this as a probing Amendment. I have found on looking into it that there is rather more to it than meets the eye. It might be helpful for the Committee to know these considerations. Subsection (2)(a) of Clause 2 provides that for tile purposes of subsection (1), that is, the transmission of patriality by consent, the word"parent"includes the mother of an illegitimate child. The effect of the Amendment would be that for this purpose the father of an illegitimate child would also be regarded as a parent. This question was discussed at some length in another place. The Bill as originally introduced did not treat either the mother or the father as a parent for this purpose, but was amended following the discussions in Standing Committee at Report stage so as to accept the mother as parent where the child was illegitimate. The main reason for treating an illegitimate child for this purpose as the child of the mother only is that to allow such a child to claim patriality by descent in the male line would, we believe, open the way to many dubious claims that would be very difficult to determine satisfactorily.
1013 Even in the case of a legitimate child paternity can be established only because the law makes it a rebuttable presumption that children born in wedlock 'ire the children of the husband. Where there is no union between the man and the woman, no such presumption can be made, and generally speaking the paternity of an illegitimate child can only be taken as established if, first, the father's name is entered, with his consent, in the register of births; or, secondly, the child's paternity is determined in judicial proceedings, for example in the making of an affiliation order. The number of cases in which paternity will have been proved in either of these ways would be only a small proportion of those in which a person might consider that he had a claim to patriality if illegitimate descent could be taken into account.
It is common knowledge that in both the Indian Sub-Continent and in Africa many British colonists contracted liaisons with local women. A claim by a would-be patrial that he was descended from such an irregular union would be very difficult indeed to verify or disprove. It is true that the burden of proof would be on the claimant; but if Parliament were expressly to provide for account to be taken of illegitimate paternity we could not refuse (nor, am I advised, would the appellate authorities) to consider alleged evidence of such descent which, however unsatisfactory, might in the circumstances be the best evidence that was available. Nor is this an entirely hypothetical question. The ingenuity shown by immigration racketeers in forging documents and falsifying family histories would find new scope; and, since a refusal to accept the claim would give rise to a right of appeal, the additional work for the appellate authorities, and for those concerned in processing and contesting the cases, might be very considerable indeed.
Moreover, we think it unwise to make this change because the inclusion of persons of illegitimate paternity would increase, to an unknown but possibly substantial extent, the number of people who are freed from immigration control by Clause 2. It was a feature of the debate in another place in Standing Committee, as noble Lords will know, that it was undesirable that Parliament in this clause should make provision for future 1014 entry on a scale that could not be estimated. This was one of the arguments used in amending the clause. As a child born out of wedlock whose father was British, but whose mother was not, will usually have been brought up as one of his mother's family, he will not have the ties with and attachment to this country that a child would have if one of a family whose head was British.
I do not want to reply in legalistic terms, but the final argument I would put is that in regard to the transmission of nationality from father to child our law has always take account only of legitimate descent; but to this legal argument must be added the strong practical considerations that I have explained to the Committee.
§ LORD GARDINER
It was not our object to seek to divide the Committee on this Amendment, but may I ask the noble Lord to consider this matter again before Report stage? Anybody who has been a Minister realises that one could have a case put up which foresees the most appalling administrative complexities although in the event everything is in fact quite simple. Here is a child who claims patriality through either its mother or father; but in the case of an illegitimate child we deprive it of the right to do so. This is quite contrary to what we have been trying to do about illegitimacy for some time. The Committee will remember that on the recommendations of a Commission of which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Russell, was chairman, we passed laws which removed in the field of succession those disabilities from which illegitimate children suffered. The reason why nowadays we do not distinguish so far as illegitimate children are concerned is because we say that it is unfortunate that ally illegitimate child should be born, but that whoever's fault it is it is not the fault of the child and the child ought not to be penalised simply because it is illegitimate.
Here in the Bill, as it stands, on the face of it we are penalising the child by not letting him claim through both parents simply because he is illegitimate. I cannot help feeling that the difficulties are very much exaggerated. The onus of proving patriality through either parent is entirely on the child who, when he grows up, wants to claim patriality. The onus of proof is entirely on him; there 1015 is no onus on the Government or on anybody else to disprove it. I should have thought that, that being so, it is not really right to deprive him of half his chance of proving patriality simply because he was illegitimate. However, if the Government will be good enough to consider that matter before Report stage I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
Of course we shall want to study what the noble and learned Lord has said on this. I am advised that there are some really quite deep legal and administrative aspects to this particular matter—which have been carefully studied because it was debated so thoroughly in another place. But the noble and learned Lord has great knowledge in this field and we shall want to look at what he has said. I shall either write to him or make a statement at some further stage of the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 29:
§ Page 3, line 9, leave out from (" there ") to end of line 11.
The noble Lord said: I think that this also comes into the category of a probing Amendment. Clause 2(2)(d) reads:
subject to section 8(5) below, references to a person being settled in the United Kingdom and Islands are references to his being ordinarily resident there without being subject under the immigration laws to any restriction on the period for which he may remain.
Subsection (1)(c) of the same clause 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.
§ The question I want to ask is this: If a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies comes here, say, to work under some form of restriction such as a limited period, when will the five years begin to run? For example, if he is permitted to enter and to work for one year and then for another three years and wishes to stay and is permitted to do so, does the five years start only at the end of the four years?—in which case it will take nine years. There is a general impression that the rule is five years and it would be unfortunate if there were some misunderstanding and if, in certain cases, 1016 it was really nine years and not five. I should be obliged if the noble Lord could clarify that. I beg to move.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
What is relevant here are the terms of Clause 2(1)(c) which provides that a person is to have the right of abode if he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who has been settled in the United Kingdom for a continuous period of five years. This provision is designed as a way of giving patriality to people who cannot acquire it by registration because they are already citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. This is a matter of importance, because under this provision United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa, who are admitted for settlement at the outset if they arrive with the proper documents, will become patrial automatically after five years. But a work permit holder from one of the dependent territories, a territory such as Hong Kong, will normally have to remain in approved employment for four years before he is accepted for settlement by having his conditions cancelled.
Under the paragraph as originally drafted, he would consequently not acquire the right of abode until a further five years have elapsed, making it, as Lord Wade correctly stated, a period of nine years rather than one of five years, which, as he also said correctly, is the general understanding of what the period is to be. The Government have, however, since the Bill was printed, accepted the manuscript Amendment No. 14A moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, with which he had some assistance from the Government draftsman. He substituted Amendment No. 14A for his own. The effect of that Amendment is that once a person covered by this paragraph has been accepted for settlement he will be able to count towards the necessary five years the period previously spent subject to conditions. In the case of a work permit holder, from a dependent territory, for example, this would mean, if his conditions were cancelled after four years in approved employment, that he would then acquire the right of abode one year later, rather than five years after the first four. Therefore his period would be the five years. He would merely have to wait for one additional year. I hope this gives the noble Lord the explanation he was seeking.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE moved Amendment No. 30:
Page 3, line 16, at end insert (" and by the next following subsection.
( ) Any Commonwealth citizen having the right of abode in the United Kingdom and being a person of full age and capacity shall be entitled, on making application therefor to the Secretary of State in the prescribed manner, to be registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and the provisions of section 9 of the British Nationality Act 1948 (as set out in Appendix C to Schedule 1 to this Act) shall apply to any person so registered.").
§ The noble Baroness said: I beg to move Amendment No. 30. It may be for the convenience of the Committee if we consider Amendment No. 32 at the same time, if that is agreeable, because the objects of the two Amendments are very much the same. The point of Amendment No. 30 is that in our view a Commonwealth citizen who has the right of abode in the United Kingdom, as defined by the clause we are discussing, and is a person of full age and capacity should be entitled, on making application, to be registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies without having to go through the various processes described in Schedule 1 of the Bill.
§ If I may refresh your Lordships' memories, you will appreciate that if a man has to go through these procedures prior to registration, he has to satisfy the authority not only as to where he originally came from and what his citizenship was, but that he is of good character, has a sufficient knowledge of the English language and intends, if registered, to reside in the United Kingdom or Colonies or Protectorate, or to enter into continuing relevant employment, and so on; and there are various other conditions which are described. Our attitude is that if a man has established the right of abode (if we are to have this new conception in our law), and if he thereby becomes a patrial, then he ought surely in consequence to be entitled, if he so desires, to be registered as a citizen forthwith without having to go through the various conditions that are set out in Schedule 1. I do not think I need 1018 labour the point. I should like to know, before we spend further time on it, what the attitude of the Government is to this general proposition, because it may be that we can come to a very easy understanding on it. I hope so. If that is so, I need not argue the matter further. Possibly, if I move this Amendment now we may have the Government's views on it, and we can then see where we stand. I beg to move.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I think we can go a long way to meeting the noble Baroness on this point. We are grateful to her and her colleagues for bringing this matter to our attention. The Amendment seeks to provide that any Commonwealth citizen having the right of abode shall be entitled, on application, to be registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. As the noble Baroness will know, under the Bill registration will cease to be an absolute entitlement on the completion of five years' residence and will become a discretionary matter for the Secretary of State, dependent on the person's good character and sufficient knowledge of the English language.
The Amendment, however, is carefully drawn and is of limited scope, since the only Commonwealth citizens not already citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who have the right of abode will be those acquiring it under Clause 2(1)(d) because their mothers—whom we were debating earlier to-day—were born in the United Kingdom. Women within this category who marry a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies will continue to have an unrestricted right to register as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and so to acquire patriality, but the Amendment would benefit any men covered by Clause 2(1)(d), and any women so covered who were not married to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. While the Amendment is of restricted scope, it seems right to agree to the acquisition of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by patrials not holding that citizenship. Apart from other arguments, this will help to keep to a minimum the exemption from immigration control by people not holding citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies which is introduced by Clause 2(1)(d). I think we all agree on the desirability, so far as possible, that 1019 citizenship and exemption from control should coincide.
Having extended this, I hope, reasonable welcome to the noble Baroness's Amendment, I dare say that she will not be surprised to hear me say that we doubt whether the wording of the Amendment, although it makes its intention quite clear, is quite the best way of achieving this objective. For one thing, it does not specify registration within the United Kingdom itself; and it is possible to register outside the United Kingdom. Some restriction of this sort would be needed, as otherwise Common-weath citizens overseas could, in certain circumstances, transmit patriality to their descendants in a manner inconsistent with the deletion of the"grandparent"clause in another place, which was debated earlier here to-day on the Amendment of the noble Viscount, Lord Monck. However, the Government are ready to consider on Report an Amendment which will substantially meet the same point that is contained in this Opposition Amendment, but will probably require the registration to be in the United Kingdom and also to be based on a period of five years' residence here. I hope that the Opposition will feel that we have been able to meet them on this point.
§ LORD GARDINER
Amendment No. 32 is so involved that I do not know whether the noble Lord can say a word about that at the same time. They are two sides of the same coin. It is subsection (4) that removes the existing right to register as a Commonwealth citizen, and I am not clear how far the observations which the noble Lord has made relate to everyone who has done his five years here. I am not clear whether this will extend to everybody the present position, in effect, that anyone who has completed his five years will have a right to registration. I hesitate to be dogmatic, because this right of abode I find so complicated.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I, too, hesitate to be dogmatic in giving the noble and learned Lord an answer off the cuff, but I will do so later.
§ LORD GARDINER
I think this is one of the most important matters. Our citizens have always had and valued this right. If they come here and behave 1020 themselves, after five years they have an automatic right to registration. I think that is of great value. The noble Lord knows that I am not enthusiastic about indentured labour, but one must assume that will remain in the Bill. We are talking only about the future here and, if I may take up a moment, it is very important that one thing should be said. This House has conferred on those who are already here a right not to be affected by anything in the Bill. I hope that all the race relations organisations which expressed to us the alarm felt about the Bill by those who are here will now tell people in clear terms that this House, by the first Amendment accepted the day before yesterday, has ensured that those who are here will not have their rights adversely affected by the Bill.
We are thinking only about those who may come here in future. It makes a great deal of difference to them whether they know that if they get a good report from their employers every year, and are in no trouble with anyone, and perhaps are buying a house on mortgage and settling down, with children at school, and if they go on like that for five years, they have a right to be accepted as one of us. On the other hand, with the Bill in its present form they have no such right; for five years they will be made to feel insecure, knowing that, however well they behave, however hard they work, they will have no right to register as United Kingdom citizens.
But what we are concerned about, in the end, is the right of deportation. The Home Secretary was pressed in another place on subsection (4) and on March 8 he said this:I come to the question of citizenship. It must be remembered that citizenship is necessary only for certain purposes. For example, those who come here as Commonwealth citizens and who are free of conditions after five years are free to remain here unconditionally. The right of Commonwealth citizens to vote and to take part in the political life of this country depends, not upon citizenship, but on their being Commonwealth citizens resident here. The only chance which in practice takes place in a person's status when he becomes a United Kingdom citizen, having been a Commonwealth citizen, is that he has the advantage of freedom from deportation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 8/3/71. col. 51]That is what it really is all about. The Bill seeks to take away the right of 1021 registration, so that even after five years they will remain deportable, unless they go through a process of naturalisation, as aliens do: though their position would be worse than that of aliens because an alien need only have been in Britain for twelve months or four years out of seven, and in the case of a Commonwealth citizen, the period is seven years. The number whom we should wish to deport after five years must be extremely small. On the Second Reading of the Bill in this House on June 24 (col. 1129 of the OFFICIAL REPORT) the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, speaking of the exercise of the power of deportation of aliens, said:Home Secretaries of all Parties have had that power in respect of aliens, and all from time to time have had to use it. Anybody who thinks that it will be used frequently against Commonwealth citizens had better look up the figures as to the number of times it has been used against aliens. They are minimal.What the Bill is seeking to do is to deprive such people of the right they had to register as citizens after five years, and the only advantage the Government will get is to be able to deport a minimal number after five years.
It comes back to the old question: ought Commonwealth people to be treated like aliens, or even worse than aliens? Like some of my colleagues, I believe that it would be to the advantage of this country to enter the Common Market, but I hope that one can be a good European and still retain an affection for the Commonwealth. I doubt whether anybody who has been to conferences in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, or in one of the African countries, and met men of every religion or of none, and of every colour, who has had someone come up and say,"Of course, I was called by Gray's Inn ", or"I am a member of the Inner Temple ", does not believe that even to-day Commonwealth citizenship means something. I am sorry to have taken so long, but I think that the preservation of the existing right, for those who are already here, to register after five years is something which is valuable and that the preservation of the possibility of deporting people after five years is not really worth the unhappiness it will cause.
§ LORD ABERDARE
I hesitate to plunge into these difficult waters, but I 1022 think that we must be clear. We are discussing two different Amendments, No. 30 and No. 32. My noble friend Lord Windlesham has made it clear that the Government intend to ensure that, where a person is patrial, at the end of five years residence here he will be entitled to registration automatically. But, equally, I must make it clear that if he is not patrial, registration will be at the discretion of the Secretary of State. We are not willing to accept Amendment No. 32; I hope that is quite clear. May I confirm what the noble and learned Lord said? The position of a Commonwealth or Irish citizen accepted for settlement at the end of July, 1971, is safeguarded by paragraph 2 of Schedule 1, which provides that such a person shall be entitled to register on completion of five years' ordinary residence free of conditions. I do not think I need go further unless the noble and learned Lord wishes me to do so.
§ BARONESS WHITE
So far as Amendment No. 30 is concerned, in view of the assurances given by the noble Lord. Lord Windlesham, I think that it would be proper to see what the Government produce by way of an amended version of this proposal, and in those circumstances I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ LORD GARDINER moved Amendment No. 32:
§ Page 3, line 17, leave out subsection (4).
§ The noble and learned Lord said: I am sorry but I did not realise that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, was dealing with one Amendment and the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, was dealing with the other. May I formally move this Amendment, with a view to seeing what the Government have to say. I will not repeat the points I have already made.
§ LORD ABERDARE
At present Section 12(2) of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 provides that a Commonwealth citizen or an Irish citizen shall be entitled to be registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, provided he satisfies the Secretary of State that he has been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom or in Crown service, or partly the one and partly the 1023 other, throughout the period of five years ending with the date of his application or such shorter period as the Secretary of State may, in the special circumstances of any particular case, accept. After the expiry of the five years, the Commonwealth or Irish citizen has an absolute entitlement to registration and so becomes exempt from deportation and eligible for the issue of a United Kingdom passport.
Schedule 1 proposes that in future the registration of Commonwealth citizens shall be put broadly on a par with the naturalisation of aliens. Registration will cease to be an entitlement and will become a matter for the discretion of the Secretary of State in the particular case. The applicant will have to establish that he has been resident here for five years (or such shorter period as the Secretary of State may in any particular case accept) and, in addition, that he is of good character, has sufficient knowledge of the English language and intends, in the event of being registered, to reside in the United Kingdom or a Colony or protectorate or to continue in Crown service.
Perhaps I may attempt to explain the reasons why we are making this change. They are basically three. The first is that the existing law has not been found satisfactory in practice. It seems wrong that the grant of our citizenship should be a matter of entitlement without any discretion in the State to withhold it from an unworthy applicant. In the second place, the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration in another place, although they made no report, expressed concern about the number of Commonwealth citizens overseas who were obtaining registration after five years of Crown service and so were becoming exempt from immigration control. The Bill, which makes registration discretionary, will enable the Government to check this practice. People registered in Commonwealth countries for Crown service will become patrial under Clause 2(3), but registration will be granted only after more exacting requirements than at present as to length of Crown service, and there will be a test of knowledge of the English language and of character.
In the third place, the existing law is open to the defect that a person admitted 1024 on conditions who succeeds in spinning out his stay for five years—for example, a student—becomes entitled as a matter of right to registration and indefinite settlement here, although he has no claim to this necessarily on merits. The intended change in the law will not put any great difficulty in the way of the ordinary law-abiding Commonwealth citizen becoming registered. It is true that he will have to show that he is of good character and has a sufficient knowledge of the English language. It is also true that he will have to take an oath of allegiance to the Queen if he is not already a citizen of a country of which Her Majesty is Queen, but these are reasonable requirements where a Commonwealth citizen decides to throw in his lot with this country.
These new arrangements are generally in line with those of the rest of the Commonwealth where registration is a matter of discretion and not of entitlement, although the qualifying period differs. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, made the important point that these proposals are closely related to liability for deportation. At present a Commonwealth citizen is entitled to registration after being here for five years and is therefore exempt from deportation after that period. Under the Bill he will have no entitlement to registration and will not become exempt from deportation merely through the lapse of time. Only the grant of registration will exempt him from deportation, just as naturalisation exempts an alien at present.
I said that the position of people settled here already is fully safeguarded, and the new registration arrangements therefore would not begin to operate until 1976–77, except in the case of a person who applies for registration before he has had five years residence. These are the basic reasons why we think that subsection (4) should remain in the Bill.
§ LORD WADE
I am fully in agreement with the general observations made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner. I gather that the answer by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, is"No"to the observations which the noble and learned Lord made. That seems to be a summary. May I also ask this question. Did the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, say that after five years in Crown 1025 service it will still be necessary to pass a test as to good character and knowledge of the English language?
§ LORD ABERDARE
We think this is necessary. This is something which worried the Select Committee in another place. There are certain Crown servants serving abroad who may work for five years in Crown service but who do not even understand the English language. In those cases we do not think that there should be an automatic right to citizenship.
§ LORD GARDINER
This is very disappointing to me. Of course one goes back to before 1948, when everything was simple and there was a wonderful conception of who was British—everyone who lived in the King's Dominions and owed allegiance to the King was under his protection. Then we had the 1948 Act, under which Commonwealth citizens have enjoyed this right to registration after five years. That is one of the things which I understand about the British Nationality Acts. I am rather relieved, having read them several times and still not being sure that I understand them to find that Mr. Callaghan said in another place that he found the British Nationality Acts much more difficult to understand than Finance Acts, but that point is certain about this right, which is a right still linking the Commonwealth with the Mother country.
It is this conception, rather tucked away in only four lines, which removes that right. Clause 1 appears to give the right of abode to certain people by reason of the fact that citizens of the United Kingdom have certain qualifications; but although they are given that with one hand
§ it is taken away by subsection (4). Without subsection (4), the existing position would remain, under which any Commonwealth citizen after being here for five years would have this right. I am a little surprised at the Government maintaining their position about this, because they have so little to gain. As the Home Secretary has made plain, the only thing they gain is a negligible minimal quantity of people who may be deportable after five years. That really is all they are gaining. What they lose is the small number coming here to settle—and as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, said on Second Reading, there is no numbers problem now and both major Parties were equally committed to there being no further large-scale permanent immigration. Both major Parties are committed to this. As we know, apart from doctors, nurses and people we need, there are a mere 1,700 semi-skilled or unskilled artisans coming in a year. That is the only number which anyone envisages coming in future. When we accept them, is there not a difference from their point of view if they know that, if they do well and behave themselves, after five years they will be accepted into citizenship, and if they come knowing that even after five years it will depend on whether the Home Secretary thinks that their language is good enough and it is entirely discretionary, and—at the moment at least—there is no right of appeal? I believe this to be one of the most important points in the Bill. I hope that noble Lords in other parts of the House will so agree.
§ 5.49 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 32) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 66; Not-Contents, 108.1027
|Airedale, L.||Chorley, L.||Hanworth, V.|
|Amherst, E.||Clwyd, L.||Henley, L.|
|Amulree, L.||Collison, L.||Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.]|
|Archibald, L.||Davies of Leek, L.||Hughes, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Diamond, L.||Janner, L.|
|Beswick, L.||Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Kennet, L.|
|Birk, Bs.||Douglass of Cleveland, L.||Kilbracken, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Energlyn, L.||Leatherland, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Evans of Hungershall, L.||Lindgren, L.|
|Brown, L.||Foot, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Gaitskell, Bs.||Lloyd of Hampstead, L.|
|Burgh, L.||Gardiner, L.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.|
|Burntwood, L.||Garner, L.||Norwich, V.|
|Byers, L.||Garnsworthy, L. [Teller.]||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Champion, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Peddie, L.||Seear, Bs.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Platt, L.||Segal, L.||Wade, L.|
|Raglan, L.||Shackleton, L.||Walston, L.|
|Rea, L.||Slater, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Ritchie-Calder, L.||Stonham, L||White, Bs.|
|Sainsbury, L.||Summerskill, Bs.||Willis, L.|
|St. Davids, V.||Tanlaw, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Eccles, V.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Elliot of Harwood, Bs.||Poltimore, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Essex, E.||Powis, E.|
|Alport, L.||Falkland, V.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Amory, V.||Ferrers, E.||Ritchie of Dundee, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Ferrier, L.||Rochdale, V.|
|Balerno, L.||Gage, V.||Rothermere, V.|
|Balfour, E.||Goschen, V.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Grenfell, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||St. Oswald, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Guest, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Hailes, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Hatherton, L.||Savile, L.|
|Berkeley, Bs.||Hives, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Blake, L.||Hood, V.||Selsdon, L.|
|Bourne, L.||Ilford, L.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Boyle of Handsworth, L.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Bradford, E.||Kilmany, L.||Somers, L.|
|Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.||Kilmarnock, L.||Stamp, L.|
|Burton, L.||Lauderdale, E.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Caccia, L.||Lothian, M.||Strange of Knokin, Bs.|
|Caldecote, V.||Loudoun, C.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Coleraine, L.||Lovat, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.||Suffield, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||MacAndrew, L.||Swinton, E.|
|Craigavon, V.||Mancroft, L.||Tenby, V.|
|Crathorne, L.||Mar and Kellie, E.||Teynham, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Croft, L.||Merrivale, L.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Milverton, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|de Clifford, L.||Monck, V.||Vivian, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Monckton of Brenchley, V.||Ward of Witley, V.|
|Derwent, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]||Wigram, L.|
|Digby, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Northchurch, Bs.||Wolverton, L.|
|Dudley, E.||Oakshott, L.||Young, Bs.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ LORD KILBRACKEN moved Amendment No. 32A:
§ 32A. Page 3, line 20, leave out (" expression ") and insert (" word ").
§ The noble Lord said: I beg leave to move Amendment No. 32A. Clause 2(5) of the Bill marks the first appearance in the Bill of the word"patrial ". It is, I am suggesting, a word rather than an expression, and a word that many noble Lords may like no more than I do, I should like to draw attention to the word itself and to the rather strange way in which it makes its debut in this Bill. The word"patrial"does not appear in the Concise Oxford Dictionary or in any of the smaller dictionaries, and in the larger ones its use is described as being 1028 rare: and it means, as one would expect it to mean,"of, or belonging to, a native land ". Thus it is properly used in expressions such as"patrial duty"or"patrial loyalty ", but I do not think that, even when it was used 100 or 200 years ago, it was ever applied to individuals. A person cannot be patrial, any more than he can be filial, and I do not think he can be"a patrial"any more than he can be"a marital ".
Now, after this long interval, this word has been resurrected and is used in a completely different sense from ever before to mean someone having the right of abode in somebody else's native country because of his more or less tenuous connection with it. But despite this, if your Lordships glance at the subsection concerned, you will see that the word is nowhere defined. It does not appear in
the Interpretation Clause. We are simply told that it
is used of persons having the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
§ That seems to me to be a very slack form of expression, and I think it would be far better if we could be told that the word"patrial"means,"having the right of abode in the United Kingdom ", or something along those lines.
§ To come to the point of my Amendment, which is purely semantic, I do not think that in any event the word can properly be described as an"expression ". I know it is true that in many subsidiary dictionary definitions of the word"expression"there occurs the word"word ". But I think that the word"word"is more accurate, shorter and therefore better. I beg to move my Amendment.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I have listened with great interest to what the noble Lord said and congratulate him on his diligent research. I understand there is some doubt whether the word"patrial"is a noun or an adjective, hence the expression"expression ". However, there is much to be said for plain language. As the noble Lord said, the word"word"is shorter, plainer and perhaps more accurate than the word"expression ", and accordingly I would suggest to your Lordships that we might be wise to accept the Amendment.
§ 6.1 p.m.
§ LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 33:
Page 3, line 22, at end insert—
(" (6) A patrial shall be entitled as of right to a passport.")
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move this Amendment. I notice that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, pronounces the word"patrial"(with a long"a ") as patrial (with a short"a "). It would be helpful to have some authoritative statement as to whether the word should be pronounced patrial or patrial.1030
§ LORD WADE
I feel even more confused now. I should be obliged if the noble Lord could inform us as to what kind of document the patrial or patrial will have: will it be a passport and will he be entitled to a passport as of right, or to some other document as of right? I think it would be helpful to have an answer. I beg to move.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
This Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Wade, has moved with such commendable brevity has made me think that perhaps I ought to be equally brief; but there are two or three objections to the suggestion contained in the Amendment and I think it might be useful at this stage if I were to run through them. First, I take it from his Amendment that the noble Lord is referring to a United Kingdom passport rather than one from another country, because of course some people who will have the right of abode under the Bill will be citizens of independent Commonwealth countries, and the noble Lord will appreciate that in such cases they will have their own passports from their own Governments. Secondly, there are other people who, although they will not be patrial or patrial, are and should remain eligible to receive United Kingdom passports. There are various categories of other people who are subject to our immigration control and will remain so under the Bill, but who will at the same time have United Kingdom passports. To take one or two examples of these categories, I would cite citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who fall outside the range of Clause 2(1)(a) and (b) but who have no connection with any existing Colony. I am thinking of the East African Asians in this context. There will be others, such as people who have remained British subjects without citizenship, under Sections 13(1) or 16 of the British Nationality Act—that is to say, people connected with what was formerly British India, who were regarded by the 1948 Act as potential citizens of India or Pakistan but have not acquired that citizenship.
1031 I think the Government would be failing in their duty to afford these people protection overseas if they failed to issue them with passports for the purposes of travel to this country or any other country to which they seek entry. The fact that some of them are subject to United Kingdom immigration control is not, I suggest, relevant for this purpose. In other words there is no necessary connection—which I think is what the Amendment implies—between the right of entry to the United Kingdom and the possession of a United Kingdom passport.
There is one further point which I think is important. It is that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs must reserve the right in certain circumstances to refuse a passport to a person whose national status would otherwise make him eligible for one. Thus there is no right or entitlement to a passport, because the passport is issued by the Secretary of State in the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, but the practice followed by successive Governments over many years has been very seldom to withdraw or withhold a passport. It is done only in exceptional cases. I am thinking of a possible situation where a person was believed on good evidence to be fleeing the country to avoid a criminal prosecution or something of that kind, or of a person whose activities were so dangerous or undesirable that Parliament would he expected to support the action of the Foreign Secretary in refusing to issue a passport or withholding one already issued.
If the Amendment were made there would be no power to withdraw or withhold a passport in any of these cases where the person concerned was patrial, but the power would remain if he was not patrial. In the exceptional case where the power to withdraw a passport is exercised, the fact that the person in question is or is not patrial would not be relevant to the questions of public interest involved; and to limit the power by reference to patriality would not be a rational change in the law. I hope I have explained why we feel that we cannot accept the Amendment of the noble Lord. As to any document to which a person who is patrial will be entitled, I am afraid I shall have to let him know later about that. 1032 I have not the answer at the moment, but perhaps the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his Amendment.
§ LORD WADE
When this matter is being inquired into perhaps this point will be considered, namely, that at the very beginning of Clause 1 of the Bill we read:(1) all those who are in this Act expressed to have the right of abode in the United Kingdom shall be free to live in and to come and go into and from, the United Kingdom without let or hindrance…and it seems right and proper that if there is this right to come and go there should be some document in evidence of that.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
Perhaps I can help the Committee on this matter. There will be some document, and we arrive at it in Clause 3(9), if I may direct the attention of the noble Lord to that. This says:(9) A person seeking to enter the United Kingdom and claiming to be patrial by virtue of Section 2(1)(c) or (d) above shall prove it by means of such certificate of patriality as may be specified in the immigration rules.I think that answers the noble Lord's question.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 3 [General provisions for regulation and control]:
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 35:
§ Page 3, line 29, leave out (" indefinite ") and insert (" unlimited ").
The noble Lord said: This is a drafting Amendment. In Clause 3(1)(b) we read:
he may be given leave to enter the United Kingdom (or, when already there, leave to remain in the United Kingdom) either for a limited or for an indefinite period;
§ I should have thought that the reverse of"limited"would be"unlimited ". 1033 Is there some special significance in the word"indefinite"as opposed to"limited "? If not, I suggest the word"unlimited"should be used. There may be some significance of which I am not aware. I beg to move.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
Amendment No. 35, as the noble Lord said, would substitute"unlimited"for"indefinite"in Clause 3(1)(b), which provides that leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom may be given either for a limited or for an indefinite period. Amendment No. 118 would make similar substitution much later on in the Bill, in Clause 34(4), which provides that a person subject to immigration control who is settled in the United Kingdom when the Bill comes into operation is to be treated as having been given indefinite leave to enter or remain in this country.
There are interpretations of the two words"unlimited"and"indefinite ". According to the Oxford English Dictionary the two senses given to the word"indefinite"are:"undefined and unlimited ". The first sense is illustrated in the quotation from the dictionary in 1887:That is indefinite which has or may have a limit, but whose limit cannot be ascertained.It is not the intention of the Bill that indefinite leave to enter should be subject to any time limit. The word"unlimited"on the other hand is free from this ambiguity. Its only relevant meaning is not limited in number or extent. Whatever ambiguity may attach to"indefinite"taken in isolation, there is no doubt about its meaning in the context of the Bill because indefinite leave is defined in Clause 33(1). The precise definition is:Leave…which is not limited as to duration ".I do not think there should be any uncertainty about the meaning of these words.
There is no power in Clause 3, or anywhere else in the Bill, to impose a time limit on the stay of someone who has been given indefinite leave to enter or remain in this country. It is this absence of power to curtail the stay of such a person, otherwise than by deportation, which guarantees him permanent residence in this country. The word used to describe the leave that he has to 1034 enter or remain is of no significance for this purpose, and we are not really convinced that the making of this Amendment would be of benefit. On the earlier Amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, which was another matter of semantics, I felt he had the edge of the argument. Without stating our case too strongly on this Amendment, perhaps the word used in the Bill is as good as the one in the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (LORD STRANG)
I ought to warn the Committee that if Amendment No. 36 is agreed to I will not be able to call Amendments Nos. 37 to 40 inclusive.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ LORD FOOT moved Amendment No. 36:
§ Page 3, line 34, leave out from (" Kingdom ") to end of line 35.
§ The noble Lord said: I hope I may be excused for intervening in this debate at very short notice because something else has kept me away from the House this afternoon, and therefore I have not been able to follow the debate as it has gone on during the afternoon. I will be as short as I can upon this Amendment. The purpose is to cut out altogether the need for registration of any kind.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but I should like to do so now before he begins his argument. There are five Amendments on the Marshalled List, Amendments Nos. 36 to 40, which are all on the subject of police registration. The first one is to leave out the requirements to register with the police. Amendment No. 37 is an Opposition Amendment for the matter of registration to be laid down in the rules rather than the Bill. Then there are other alternatives. I wonder if noble Lords on the Front Bench opposite would like to indicate whether they would care to take this very important issue of police registration in one debate, or want to have separate debates on each of the Amendments.
§ BARONESS WHITE
We are in a little difficulty because the Liberal Amendment is somewhat different from ours. On the other hand, I know that a number of noble Lords are anxious to speak on this group of Amendments, more particularly with reference to the police. This may take a little while and we may then be interrupted by"Hijacking ", which would be unfortunate. It might be for the convenience of the House if we took the Amendments together, but we are in the hands of the Liberal Peers whose Amendment this is.
§ LORD FOOT
I think that a much more general issue arises upon our Amendment, and that it would be better if we disposed of this first. We are questioning the principle of registration, whether there is any need for registration of any kind with anybody. I can most usefully approach this matter by asking the noble Lord, the Minister, some questions—
§ LORD O'HAGAN
As an individual Cross-Bencher, with no collective responsibilities, I would say that it might be better to discuss the general principle and then come on to the other Amendments to do with the agency of registration, if we get to them.
§ LORD FOOT
I am much obliged. It is important, before we talk about with whom people register, to discuss whether it is necessary to register at all. That is a matter upon which I should like to ask the Minister some questions. The basic question is this: what purpose is served today by the requirement of an alien that when he comes into this country to do a job of work he should register with the police, or indeed with anyone? The Minister will be familiar with the information which has been circulated by the Police Federation about this point, and they have made it perfectly clear that under the procedures as they apply to aliens the registration process performs no useful function.
As I understand their memorandum, the procedure is that, when an alien comes here under some kind of work permit, he is required by the immigration authorities at the port of entry to give particulars of the place where he is going to live, and he is notified as soon as he gets to that place that he must register 1036 with the police. Later on, the immigration authorities communicate with the police authority concerned to inquire whether that person has registered or not. If he has not registered, then he is, in the terms of the memorandum of the Federation, lost; he has disappeared. If, on the other hand, he has complied with the regulations, the immigration authorities are informed,"Yes, he has registered; he is living at the place he said he was going to live at ". What function, what purpose, has all this registration? If a person wants to avoid it, he simply does not register. And if the immigration authorities or the police find that somebody who should have registered has not done so, what do they do about it? Do they conduct a general search throughout the country to try to find him? So my first question to the Minister is this. What actual purpose does the present procedure as applied to aliens, which is going to be applied under this Bill to Commonwealth citizens, perform, if any?
The second question I want to ask is this. When a person comes into this country to go to a particular type of work, he has to obtain the ordinary work cards. He has to get his insurance cards and, as it were, register with the employment exchange. Is not that an entirely sufficient form of registration, and is not that all that is required? So my main purpose in putting down this Amendment is to ask the Minister this question. Are we being asked now to apply to the Commonwealth immigrant the procedures which have for so long applied to the alien simply because these procedures have been in operation for fifty years, or are we being asked to apply this process of registration to the Commonwealth immigrant simply because we want to bring the law into line with what has been the law for aliens for the last fifty years?
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
It might be helpful if I intervened early in this debate, in the knowledge that I shall reply at the end to questions that are raised in the course of it. This is a matter of deep concern, I know very well, to a number of noble Lords in this House, and a full statement of the facts from the Government at the outset of our debate on this series of five Amendments will make 1037 for an informed and dispassionate discussion. The Bill provides, in Clause 3(1)(c), that if a person is given limited leave to enter the United Kingdom he may be required to register with the police by a condition attached to his admission by the immigration officer. Clause 4(3) contains a power to make regulations setting out the place and manner in which people are to register, the documents and the information to be furnished on registration, or on any change of circumstances, and also making provision as to the production of the registration certificate. This Amendment, the first Amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Foot, would remove the requirement to register with the police. Some of the later ones deal with various alternative agencies.
Noble Lords will wish to know, in considering this subject, that a number of Amendments on this matter were moved in another place and defeated. The existing practice, to which the noble Lord, Lord Foot, referred in his opening speech, is that aliens are required to register with the police if admitted on a time restriction, and a condition will normally be imposed by the immigration officer, requiring immediate registration, unless the alien is admitted for three months or a shorter period. So, in practice, most aliens over the age of 16 have to register, except those who come for a period of three months or less, who will mainly be visitors.
The particulars about aliens' registration are set out in Article 14 of the Aliens Order 1953 and the second Schedule as amended. On initial registration the alien has to produce his passport and photographs and is given a police registration certificate, which is a small, green booklet. He thereafter, within seven days, notifies to the local police changes of address or of employment. The obligation of an alien to register ceases once his conditions are cancelled, normally four years after he has been admitted—four years, that is, spent in approved employment. The main categories of aliens who are required to register are work permit holders and their dependants, and students. On December 31, 1970, there were approximately 179,000 aliens registered with the police.
Let me move on now to the position of Commonwealth citizens. What I have 1038 said so far is to describe the requirement of the present law as it affects aliens. Commonwealth citizens cannot be required to register with the police under the existing law. In 1965, however, the then Government, of the Party opposite, proposed in paragraph 24 of the White Paper, Immigration from the Commonwealth (Cmnd. 2739), that a power to require Commonwealth citizens to register should be taken and that this power should be exercised, although sparingly and, particularly in the case of dubious visitors or students, with discretion. The power would not have been exercised in relation to employment voucher holders because, in accordance with Section 2(3) of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, people in this category had been admitted for settlement from the outset. But it is fundamental to the present Government's policy that Commonwealth citizens entering for employment should do so for an initial period not exceeding 12 months; and it is against the background of this new approach that it was thought right to take the power in the Bill to require police registration, no such power having been taken previously, despite the terms of the White Paper issued by the Party opposite in 1965.
The Bill itself does not set out which categories of aliens or of Commonwealth citizens shall be subject to the requirement to register with the police. This will depend on the Immigration Rules. The Government's proposals are set out in paragraph 54 of Cmnd. 4606, Control on Entry. It should be noted that the proposals are not uniform for aliens and for Commonwealth citizens: a change, for example, is that Commonwealth students are not required to register. For aliens also there is some relaxation, in that the normal visit condition will be extended from the three months, which I mentioned earlier, to a period of six months, so that aliens will register unless admitted for six months as a visitor or for settlement from the outset. Commonwealth citizens will, under the draft rules, be required to register if admitted with a work permit and, as I say, Commonwealth students will not be required to register; nor will the dependants of people already settled in this country—that is to say, people who are already 1039 lawfully resident here without limit of time—at the date of the dependants' arrival.
I should make quite clear that the latter point applies to future entrants, as well as to people already settled here at the end of July, 1971. The dependants of those Commonwealth immigrants who are already established here by the end of July this year will not be required to register with the police. We estimate that the number of Commonwealth citizens required to register will rise to approximately 20,000 over the first four years of operation of the new system. Thereafter, cancellation after four years in approved employment should balance out fresh registrations. United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa will not be required to register, as they are admitted for settlement from the outset if they come with the proper entry documents.
The structure of this debate covering the five Amendments (although at the moment we are confining ourselves to the general principle contained in the first Amendment), is best approached by considering first the question put by the noble Lord, Lord Foot, whether there is a need for any system of registration at all, second, whether there should be a single registration agency for aliens and for Commonwealth citizens; and, third, if so, which service should be responsible for registration?
Let me deal first with the need for registration. There has been some misunderstanding about the purpose of existing police registrations of people subject to immigration control. The noble Lord, Lord Foot, has referred to the memorandum recently sent to us by the Police Federation. In this the Federation pointed out that a person admitted to the country on a condition requiring him to register with the police might disappear after entry and not report to the police for his initial registration. The noble Lord, Lord Foot, has made the same point. The Federation suggested that, to prevent this, registration should be carried out at the port of entry. From this it would appear that it was their understanding that registration was intended to restrain people who came to this country with a deliberate intention of evading the immigration control as soon as they had 1040 obtained entry. But this is not so. Such passengers are dealt with in any event by the immigration officer, who will not admit a person whom he believes to have come here with the intention of evasion. If the immigration officer makes a mistake and admits an evader, no system of registration will then repair this initial error. Police registration is designed to deal with the quite separate problem presented by the person who genuinely comes here intending to confine himself to approved employment but who, through weakness of character or, perhaps, pressure of circumstances, then changes his mind after entry and decides to take unapproved employment. I can confirm to the Committee that the Department of Employment are in no doubt that a system of registration, in order to provide effective supervision in approved employment after entry, is necessary so as to prevent a serious erosion of the control of overseas workers.
The later Amendments, proposing registration with the Department of Employment or the Department of Health and Social Security, or local authorities, accept the need for some system of registration. Without a system of registration these workers would be likely to take work which could he filled by local labour in this country, including resident workers who are unemployed. This aspect was dealt with by my noble friend Lord Aberdare when we discussed the work permit system and he explained the nature of what is called"approved employment ". Employment is approved if it is in the categories covered by the work permit system and if the Department of Employment do not find that there is local labour available. This is what it turns on. In this way the whole object of the control on the entry of overseas workers could be nullified if there were no system of registration after entry—not only at the point of entry but after entry.
There is a further aspect on which I should touch. To some extent the system of registration and supervision in approved employment is a protection for the overseas worker himself, since it prevents him, in his own interests, from taking unapproved employment, which would tend to be in poorly paid jobs, with a consequent risk of victimisation. This has happened in other countries 1041 where, because they do not have our geographical advantage of being able to control immigration effectively at ports of entry, there is much exploitation of foreign workers. Unless there is firm supervision and control, the same may happen in this country. Registration is an integral part of this supervision.
I next turn to the important question of whether there should be a single registration agency for aliens and Commonwealth citizens. It is of course the extension of the registration requirement to Commonwealth citizens which has aroused the controversy, but it does not seem sensible to the Government to leave the registration of aliens where it is, with the police, and to require some quite separate body to deal with the comparatively small number of Commonwealth citizens who will be liable to register. I have already given the figure: it is something of the order of 20,000, against, perhaps, some 175,000 to 180,000 people from foreign countries. Within the unified framework which the Bill lays down it seems reasonable that there should be a single registration agency for all those who are required to register, and not to distinguish between alien and Commonwealth citizens in this way.
If it is then agreed that there is a need for a system of registration, and that there should be a single system of registration—a single agency—for both aliens and Commonwealth citizens, there must then be a case for saying that it should be with the police that Commonwealth citizens should register, since any other conclusions would mean taking away from them their present task of registering the 175,000 to 180,000 aliens, which they do efficiently and with tact, and requiring some new body to take on that large task. This would not seem to us to be sensible. Apart from this practical point, no effective alternative to the police has so far been suggested for registration. In another place, Amendments along these lines were debated, and suggestions were made—not very closely argued suggestions—that the task might perhaps be given to local authorities. We will discuss this further when we come to the Amendment which makes this particular proposal in your Lordships' House, but immigration control is not a local authority function and there 1042 is no precedent for this. In some of the E.E.C. countries the countries' own nationals do register with the local authority, but even in those countries foreign nationals invariably register with the police.
The most canvassed alternative to the police as the registration authority is the Department of Employment. I will not go into the arguments for and against that suggestion now, nor will I go into the arguments for and against the suggestion about the Department of Health and Social Security, because specific Amendments have been tabled which deal with each of those suggestions. So, whichever agency we envisage, if it is not the police, the Department of Employment, the local authority, the Department of Health and Social Security, the police are bound in the end to remain responsible for enforcing the immigration control, whether or not they are themselves the registration agency. As at present, the Home Office will continue in thousands of cases a year to ask the police to investigate whether an alien or Commonwealth citizen is in breach of his conditions. If the police continue to be the registration authority, they will, as at present, have a starting point for those inquiries. If they are not the registration authority, they will first have to go to that authority to find the person's current address so as to have a starting point for their inquiries. It follows from this that to transfer registration from the police to some other body will not relieve the police of much work, while it will necessarily add a great deal of work to the new registration authority.
I do not want to end what I have to say without a reference to police/immigrant relations. There is no justification for the fears that registration will lead to harassment of Commonwealth citizens by the police. Only a person whom a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe to be in breach of a registration obligation could be questioned. I should say that we propose to consult chief officers of police and the Community Relations Commission on the draft regulations to be made under Clause 4(3), and we hope that it will be possible to work out a system under which it will be sufficient for the person to produce his registration certificate at a police station within, say, 48 hours, in the same way as a driving licence.
1043 The Aliens Registration Office of the Metropolitan Police, at which all initial registrations in the Metropolitan Police District are carried out, is staffed entirely by civilians; subsequent changes of job or place of residence are notified at the local police station. Outside London there are special police registration offices at Birmingham, Bedford, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, manned wholly or partly by civilians; elsewhere registration is at divisional or sub-divisional police stations. The extra burden of this work on the police is indicated in the explanatory memorandum at only 15, mainly civilian, additional employees by 1976–77.
I hope that what I have said, and I am afraid it has been at some considerable length, will show that there is more to this subject than might appear at first sight. I have confidence that this issue, on which I know that noble Lords hold strong feelings, will be debated very fully and thoughtfully, and that account will be taken of the considerations which I have advanced at the start of the debate on behalf of the Government, as well as of the instinctive feelings aroused by the mere mention of the proposal that work permit holders from the Commonwealth as well as those from other countries should register with the police. If I can help the Committee by replying at the end of the subsequent Amendments to particular points raised in the debate, of course I shall be pleased to do so, and it goes without saying that the Government will listen with close interest and attention to all the points put forward on this very important subject by noble Lords who take part in the debate.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
We are discussing Amendment No. 36. I think it has been to the advantage of the Committee that the Minister has covered the area of subsequent Amendments as well, but the Amendment we are discussing is for the rejection of the system of registration entirely, and it is to that that I want to direct the few words that I have to say.
The Minister has indicated that under this Bill the immigrants who would come to this country would be, in the first place, visitors, who would not be required to register; secondly, dependants, who would not be required to register; thirdly, 1044 workers who would be entitled to enter if they were taking a particular job with a particular employer for one year, who would be required to register; and, fourthly, students. So in effect the two classes of immigrants who would be required to register would be the workers coming to particular jobs with particular employers and students. I listened very carefully to what the Minister said, but, quite honestly, I did not find his reply to this Amendment a convincing one.
Let me take those classes of immigrants who would be required to register. They come to Heathrow; and I have some knowledge of what happens at Heathrow. If the immigrant is entering this country with a view to taking a job with a particular employer and has got a voucher in that respect, at Heathrow detailed particulars are taken of the man, of the address to which he is going, of the job to which he is going, and all the circumstances. He is, in effect, already registered at Heathrow. The same is true of Southampton or any port of entry. All the facts are there; he is registered. Secondly, when he obtains his employment he must have an insurance card. That insurance card must be delivered to him through an employment exchange. There is, therefore, a second registration at the employment exchange. He is registered not only as a worker; his employer is registered as well, because his employer has to endorse that insurance card every week. What fuller information and registration about that class of immigrant coming into this country as a worker could be required than that?
The noble Lord said that the ultimate responsibility, if there is a breach of either of these registrations, must be with the police. That is not an argument in favour of registration with the police. It is perfectly obvious that if a condition of registration, either on entry or with the employment exchange, is broken, then it becomes the responsibility of the police to inquire into it. I must say—and I listened very carefully—the Minister entirely failed to convince me that additional registration for a worker allowed into this country for one year with a particular employer is necessary.
In the second area of immigrants who might be allowed into this country, students, the case is equally strong. 1045 Again, the full details are taken at Heathrow, at Southampton, at other ports. As the Minister knows, I have considerable knowledge of this. They take the name of the student, the address to which he is going, the college to which he is going, the curriculum which he is taking. There could not be a fuller registration taken at that point of entry. He becomes a student at a college or university, which is already registered at the point of entry. If he fails to remain a student at that college or university, could it not easily be that Her Majesty's Government should enter into an arrangement with the heads of those particular colleges that they should inform the Government if he fails to carry out that obligation? If he fails to do so, clearly it is a matter for the police; but it is not a matter for the police before them, because it seems to me that the existing registrations, those at the point of entry, at the point of the insurance card, at the point of work, at the point of college and at the point of university, are so adequate that I see no reason at all why there should be additional registration under this Bill.
THE EARL OF BALFOUR
Has there been any trouble with the registration of the 179,000 aliens that we appear to have in the country at the present time? Has there been any trouble about them? Has anything gone wrong with their registration?
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
The system seems to be working very well. Some noble Lords may have visited the Metropolitan Police Aliens' Registration Office at Holborn and seen the way in which the civilian employees, who handle over 50 per cent. of the initial registrations, do their work. I do not want to add postscripts to every speech. The only comment I have to make to Lord Brockway is that it is not proposed that Commonwealth students should register with the police at all.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
That makes my case even stronger. I understood from what the Minister said that students would have to be registered.
§ LORD ALPORT
Some noble Lords, including myself, are interested in and sympathetic to later Amendments. We have had a long debate on the complex aspects of the administration of registration. 1046 We had a reply from the Minister to all the Amendments which are to follow but we have not had the advantage, so far as I am concerned, of hearing the arguments which various proposers, including the noble Earl, Lord Perth, with whose Amendment I am in sympathy, may wish to put forward. I feel that the Committee is at a disadvantage. I do not wish to preclude the Minister from getting in his word; but I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Foot, could bring this discussion on his Amendment to an end so that we may deal with the other Amendments as soon as possible.
§ LORD FOOT
I take the point. I was careful at the outset to confine myself to the point of my Amendment: whether registration is necessary at all. I am not going to depart from that. I must say that I have not heard from the Minister a satisfactory explanation as to why registration is required at all. What the Minister said was that the existing system of registration is not designed to catch the person who comes into the country in the first place intending to avoid the controls of registration; but that it is intended to deal with the person who comes into the country in order to take up employment here and then—if I am paraphrasing the Minister correctly—under some kind of pressure or out of weakness leaves that permitted employment and goes elsewhere. The question I asked and which I repeat now is this. In what way are you able to exercise control over that sort of person who departs from his permitted employment, departs from the address at which he registered with the police by requiring him to register with the police?
What does he do when he registers with the police? He writes down his name and presumably his address and, I suppose, the name of his employer. Supposing then, under pressure or out of weakness, he decides to leave and go elsewhere. In what way does the fact that the police in that locality have those particulars about him assist in controlling him in the future? It does not contribute to the problem in any way. If the police merely want to find out what has happened to him, they will not scour the country; they will go to the employment exchange, to the immigration authorities; they will go to the people who may know 1047 something about it. The whole point of my Amendment is that registration, whether it applies to aliens or Commonwealth citizens or anybody else, seems to serve no practical purpose. It is that matter of principle that I thought should be discussed before we go on to the question which follows from other Amendments, whether to register with the police or with some other authority. I found the Minister's answer unsatisfactory, and I hope that it will be in accordance with the wishes of the noble Lord opposite that we should now carry this matter to a Division.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
Before we divide I should like to back up what the noble Lord, Lord Foot, was saying about this being a question of principle separate from that raised by the following Amendments which really deal with the mechanics when the principle has been settled. I have no experience with regard to the registration of Commonwealth citizens coming in here for a limited period in the first instance. For two years I had responsibility for the administration of the law relating to the entry of aliens. It appeared to me that the system of registration with the police was essential if aliens who had been admitted for certain types of work were to be prevented from going off to other forms of work for which they would not have obtained permission to enter the country. I quite understand Lord Brockway's concern that the case should be proved; but I think that before we go to a Division it would be helpful if my noble friend Lord Windlesham were granted time to answer the point made by Lord Brockway, because I think the Committee would rather take a decision on this with the full knowledge
§ of what would be the difficulties that would arise if Lord Brockway's suggestion were adopted. We know that this does not apply to Commonwealth students: but we should like to know what would be the difficulties if there were no post-entry registration for Commonwealth citizens admitted here for employment for limited periods.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I do not think that I should delay the Committee. I have noted what the noble Lord said. We have to interrupt the proceedings on this Bill at seven o'clock, and perhaps we should put this issue of principle to the vote. I appreciate the noble Lord's intentions, but this is an issue of principle and we can debate the details when we resume.
§ VISCOUNT BOYD OF MERTON
May I ask my noble friend whether he will think again about that? There are many of us who feel strongly about subsequent Amendments. I came with the strong belief that, given the general purposes of the Bill, post-entry registration was unavoidable. Certain arguments have been advanced which have made me doubt whether my first resolution is correct. I think it would be of great help if, after the next Bill, the noble Lord could give a more detailed answer to the points that have been raised.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
I agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Boyd of Merton, on this point. I feel that we have not got through to the end of it.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 36) shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 59; Not-Contents, 96.1049
|Addison, V.||Diamond, L.||Kilbracken, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Leatherland, L.|
|Amherst, E.||Energlyn, L.||Lindgren, L.|
|Archibald, L.||Evans of Hungershall, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs.|
|Beswick, L.||Foot. L. [Teller.]||Lloyd of Hampstead, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Gaitskell, Bs.||Longford, E.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Gardiner, L.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Garnsworthy, L.||Maelor, L.|
|Burntwood, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Byers, L.||Henley, L.||Pargiter, L.|
|Caradon, L.||Hilton of Upton, L.||Perth, E.|
|Champion, L.||Hoy, L.||Platt, L.|
|Collison, L.||Hylton, L.||Raglan, L.|
|Delacourt-Smith, L.||Janner, L.||Ritchie-Calder, L.|
|Rochester, L.Bp.||Slater, L.||Wade, L. [Teller.]|
|Sainsbury, L.||Southwark, L.Bp.||Walston, L.|
|St. Davids, V.||Stonham, L.||White, Bs.|
|Seear, Bs.||Strabolgi, L.||Willis, L.|
|Segal, L.||Tanlaw, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Shackleton, L.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Drumalbyn, L.||Oakshott, L.|
|Abinger, L.||Dudley, E.||Powis, E.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Eccles, V.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Essex, E.||Rochdale, V.|
|Auckland, L.||Falkland, V.||Rothermere, V.|
|Balerno, L.||Ferrers, E.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Balfour, E.||Ferrier, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Goschen, V. [Teller.]||St. Oswald, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Greenway, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Grenfell, L.||Savile, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Belstead, L.||Hailes, L.||Selsdon, L.|
|Berkeley, Bs.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Sempill, Ly.|
|Bethell, L.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Blake, L.||Hawke, L.||Somers, L.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Hives, L.||Stonehaven, V.|
|Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs.||Inchcape, E.||Strang, L.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)||Strathclyde, L.|
|Burton, L.||Killearn, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Caccia, L.||Kilmany, L.||Suffield, L.|
|Caldecote, V.||Kilmarnock, L.||Tenby, V.|
|Carrington, L.||Kinnoull, E.||Teviot, L.|
|Coleraine, L.||Lauderdale, E.||Teynham, L.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Lothian, M.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Macpherson of Drumochter, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.|
|Craigavon, V.||Milverton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Crathorne, L.||Monck, V.||Ward of Witley, V.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Mountevans, L.||Wigram, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Nelson of Stafford, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Derwent, L.||Northchurch, Bs.||Young, Bs.|
Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
I beg to move that the House do now resume until eight o'clock for the consideration of the Hijacking Bill.