§ 4.38 p.m.
§ Debate on Second Reading resumed.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I am wondering whether this would be a suitable time for the House to continue its discussion on the Immigration Bill, particularly as we have some 31 speakers on our list, and I am only the second. I think the House will be grateful that we have the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, who I understand is the Minister in the Home Office directly responsible for immigrant affairs, present to guide us during our deliberations on a Bill which he himself is prepared to admit is extremely complex. I should also like to express my appreciation at the presence of the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack. One is very conscious of the many burdens that flow from that Office and we know that he is much involved in another contentious Bill, the Industrial Relations Bill. But we who recognise the very great humanity of the noble and learned Lord, and his strong feelings about individual rights and human dignity, are gratified that he is present. Particularly in Committee will his assistance prove invaluable during the effort which will be made, I believe from both sides of your Lordships' House, to improve the Bill.
I do not conceal from the House my bitter hostility to this Bill. It is not entirely because of what is in the Bill that I feel that way. I think it is perhaps the concept and motivation of the Bill—this is the last time that I shall say this—and because of the dark shadow of the right honourable gentleman in another place who undoubtedly influenced the views of the Party opposite. That is the last I want to say on that matter. I hope that all our discussions on this Bill will be conducted on a non-Party basis.
I believe that there is deep disquiet in all sections of the House over the whole question of immigration and over the manner in which the new citizens of this country are assimilated. I frankly agree with the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, that if we take the country to-day, with some 600 people per acre and the great strains upon the whole field of our social effort, of education and of 1015 housing, it is riot possible to have an open door for immigrants. We on this side of the House were bitterly opposed to the 1962 Act—I certainly was—but, to be frank, to-day I believe that control is necessary. I know that some of my noble friends still feel strongly on this matter, and although we accept that there must be immigration control, we believe that it should be control without any discrimination on grounds of colour, race and creed. The case I made on the 1968 Act is still true to-day: that we must do everything we can to ensure the assimilation of Commonwealth immigrants into our community. We have to look at this Bill in this light. And I now come to the reason for my hostility to it.
I believe that many provisions of the Bill will not in any way assist in the assimilation of the coloured community. There are 31 speakers and I do not intend to speak for long, but I want to stress this point. The Home Secretary said that the purpose of this Bill was to assure the British public that there would be no large-scale immigration and to assure new citizens that they could live in peace and security among us. On the first point, the Government do not need any new powers to control the inflow of immigrants. Rightly or wrongly, we can hold strong feelings on this matter, but ever since 1962 Home Secretaries and Governments have gradually decreased the inflow, and they have been able to do it by administrative arrangements under the 1962 Act. Is it not significant that only the other day the Home Secretary made an important announcement about the reduction of the inflow of Commonwealth immigrants in order to take a larger number of Asians from East Africa, and that he was able to do it under existing administrative arrangements? The Bill gives the Home Secretary no new powers, none whatsoever. It may be that in view of their election pledge, the Government feel that they need to give a surety to the public that there is to be some new control, but I think it was frankly acknowledged in another place that no new power had been given to, or had been asked for by, the Home Secretary. Therefore, if the main purpose of the Bill is to satisfy the British public, clearly the Bill is not necessary.
1016 Does the Bill in any way give a sense of security to the coloured citizens of this country? All I can say is that the Commonwealth countries have expressed bitter hostility towards it. The coloured immigrants, through there various associations, have expressed their fear and concern. Clearly, the message of the Home Secretary has not got across. What, to me, is more important is that the dedicated men and women who for years and years have worked for better community relations, working through all the hours of the day and under great difficulties, and in most cases without any salaries or rewards, are all united in believing that this Bill, instead of creating a sense of security and stability among coloured immigrants in this country. does the opposite and creates a sense of instability. Is this to be wondered at, when we look at the provisions of the Bill?
Under the 1962 Act, there was an employment voucher system, which was a form of immigration control. A coloured immigrant was given an employment voucher, which allowed him to stay in this country as of right. We are now moving to a new system whereby an immigrant will receive a work permit which, in the first instance, will be valid for only one year. At the end of that year, provided that his employer is prepared to write a letter and say he will continue employment, and provided that the imigrant satisfies one or two other requirements that have to be taken into account, the permit will be extended to two years. Then he will have to make another application for a work permit, until he has reached five years, when perhaps he will reasonably be able to feel that he will remain in this country.
My Lords, consider the position of an immigrant from the West Indies. First of all, he has to pay for his passage to this country, and when he arrives he has to find a house. Certainly within one year he is not going to get a local authority house, and he will not be able to go to a building society, or to a bank, and get a loan. He will have very little security to offer to anyone in order to provide himself and his family with a house. Imagine the sense of utter insecurity of mind of such a coloured immigrant during his first year in this country and during the first three or four years that the Government have set aside. 1017 Under existing arrangements, if an immigrant has been in this country for five years he can, by right, become a citizen. But that right is now being removed from him. He will become a citizen at the discretion of the Home Secretary, after he has been here for a full five years. How can we say that that can possibly help the assimilation about which we have all spoken?
Then is the question of registration with the police. I do not believe that this is a reflection on the British police force. Most of our friends who come from other Commonwealth countries regard policemen in a very different light from the people of this country. May I tell your Lordships a story? I remember coming across on a ferry boat from Calais to Dover and meeting a husband and wife., who were obviously Commonwealth people. I will not mention their nationality, because that would be unfair. They were looking at our money and saying that they could not understand the value of a half-crown, a two-shilling piece and a shilling, and I sought to explain it to them. They said: "What is it like in London? What do we do? It is a big place, and we may get lost". I said to them: "If you get lost, go to a policeman and ask him how to get where you want to go". I met them some two weeks later, and they said: "You know, we were lost. We went to a policeman as you suggested, and, do you know'?, he walked down the road with us to help us in our direction." This is an attitude that they do not see in most of these countries where police forces are basically para-military. We here are very conscious of how our police forces have sought to get over some of the suspicions of Commonwealth immigrants. Things have been done. But that fear exists.
The Police Federation are deeply concerned about the proposals in the Bill. I hope that the Government will seriously consider whether there are other agencies through which immigrants can register. I recognise that the police may have to enforce some of the provisions of this Bill, but I do not believe that it is beyond the wit of our organisation to find some way in which immigrants can register without going to the police station. I attach special importance to this, because in many cases the first week or fortnight 1018 is the most important to immigrants when they come to this country. if they were to go to the Department of Employment, or to the Department that deals with social security, they could receive assistance which they would be willing to accept. This would make a great deal of difference to their time in this country. Then I find the provisions in the Bill dealing with deportation far too wide; and too much discretion is given to the Home Secretary. I must say that I bitterly dislike the idea that if a man has committed an offence his wife and children should be subject to deportation, perhaps for the children to be sent back to what is to them an alien land and a new alien form of education. I should have thought that we in this country were big enough and rich enough—the numbers involved will only be small—that if a man had to be deported we could find ways and means of supporting his family. I hope that the House, when the Bill is in Committee, will look at this point with special care.
There are many other points in the Bill that we shall need to consider with great care, and, I hope, sympathy. My entire approach on this matter is that I believe that there is, and should be, a clear distinction between our treatment of Commonwealth immigrants and our treatment of aliens. I can understand those who argue that if a country has obtained its independence and become a republic it is not much different from any other foreign country. But I am one who believes passionately that the Commonwealth has a great deal to offer to the world as a whole. But the Commonwealth is a tender plant, and we should do all we possibly can to strengthen that plant. I believe that the way in which we treat Commonwealth citizens is an important factor in whether the Commonwealth will survive. The extent to which friends overseas within the Commonwealth still look to this country for something that they find it hard to define is extraordinary. I think that the way in which we have been willing, despite the difficulties, to assimilate Commonwealth citizens into this country has had much to do with this. So I hope that the House will feel, when we look at this Bill, that we should seek to ensure that the Commonwealth citizen, when he comes to this country, is given the best possible 1019 treatment. Above all else, we should never in any way depart from our previous policy—a policy of both Parties—that every step we take should be to assimilate the new community within ourselves, and certainly never adopt measures that put them into a different class.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has taken us through the provisions of this Bill with the courtesy and care that we should expect from him. If I may say so without appearing to be condescending, he has shown a better grasp of the Bill than the Government spokesman in another place. But that, alas! does not make it a good Bill. I think there is a case for taking a careful look at citizenship and the British Nationality Act 1948. Much has happened since 1948. But the Bill does not approach the subject in that way; it is a very different kind of Bill. I was discussing the Bill the other day with my noble friend Lord Foot, and he said that the legislative effect of it could be summed up in the words: "For 'Commonwealth citizen ' read ' coloured alien '". I think that is a very fair point.
I am aware that one of the arguments put forward for the Bill is the need to bring the law relating to Commonwealth citizens into line with the aliens legislation. If the intention were to revise and liberalise our aliens legislation, I would say that there is much to be said for it. But that is not really what is happening in this Bill. Talking of the aliens legislation, it is well to record the atmosphere in which earlier Acts have been passed, in 1914 and 1919. I have been reading the interesting debates on the Second Reading of the Aliens Restriction Bill 1919. and I notice that the Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party in the House of Commons was criticised for being "too liberal-minded". But it was not easy to be too liberal-minded in 1914 and 1919, and even in 1905 when there was a strong campaign against Jews. In other words, our aliens legislation was prepared in an unfavourable atmosphere and at an unfavourable time. I agree with the observation of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, who, as Mr. Quintin Hogg, speaking in the House of 1020 Commons on the Immigration Appeals Bill on January 27, 1969, and referring to the Act of 1914, said at column 504:… we established one of the least liberal and one of the most arbitrary systems of immigration law in the world—in the civilised world, at any rate.I hope that the day does not come when the same remarks are applied to this Bill. In any case, I hope that we shall not hear much of the argument that it is desirable to bring our law relating to those who come from the Commonwealth into line with the existing aliens legislation.
Much may depend on the way in which the rules and regulations are operated. It may depend on who happens to be the Home Secretary at the time, or on the Minister responsible. However we may respect the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, as indeed we do, I do not think anybody would forecast that he will remain in his present position for ever. We must look to the future, and I think the crux of the matter is that this Bill is paving the way for a more illiberal Bill in the future, perhaps operated by a more illiberal régime. These fears were not lessened by the welcome given to the Bill on Third Reading by Mr. Powell. In col. 742 he said:… we now have the means, whenever we decide, to change this policy by administrative action."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. Commons, 17/6/71.]Referring to the changes created by the Bill, in col. 738 he said:… the importance of some of the changes is that they may lead the way and open the door to further changes."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 17/6/71.]I do not regard that as a good reason for supporting the Bill. As to administrative action, one of the criticisms that is justified is the extent to which power is handed over to the Executive.
Turning now to the immediate effects of the Bill, one really cannot ignore the views of the great majority of those who are engaged in community relations work, who are almost unanimous in their criticism, not only because of the implications of this new distinction between those who are patrials and those who are not, but also because of some of the new procedures that are laid down and in particular this procedure for registration with the police, to which reference has just 1021 been made. I think the Police Federation have put forward a very impressive case and it will be found that the views of community relations workers and the police coincide here. Some of their conclusions as to remedies are not quite the same but they coincide in recognising the danger of this proposal, and I do not believe that this is a case where administrative convenience or the alleged administrative inconvenience of any alternative is a sufficient answer to the criticisms that have been put forward.
If time had permitted, I would have wished to speak about my experience in Yorkshire, but I will simply say that since about 1963 we have been aware of this problem of relationships with the police. We have at the present time a subcommittee which is concerned solely with the problem of how to create good relationships between the newcomers and the police. We are aware of the different attitude to the police which exists in a number of countries—very different from our own. There are historical reasons for that. I believe that the Home Office are well aware of this fact. I have seen the leaflet which they have prepared and which they recommend that the police should use, which is to be distributed in a number of different languages. My committee in Yorkshire, whose chairman I have the honour to be, is drafting its own leaflet, which will be distributed. But that is not enough. We shall follow up the distribution with a number of discussion groups, trying to get across the right image of the police. However, if anyone imagines that this new procedure of newcomers registering with the police can be turned into some kind of public relations operation for improving the image of the police, he has no conception of the nature of the problem.
May I refer the House to what Mr. Sharples said on the Third Reading on June 17:There is a positive advantage in the newcomer to this country having early contact with the police …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, col 731.]Now that may have been well-intentioned, but it is utterly unrealistic. The very fact that the Government have proposed this form of registration and insisted upon it indicates, in my view, that they do not appreciate the delicacy of the problem. There are many other clauses to which I should like to refer 1022 but, as has been pointed out, there are many other speakers.
Another very grave cause for concern is that if the Bill is put on the Statute Book it might create a kind of licensed migrant labour. I have read this statement by Mr. Sharples on April 22 (col. 393) and of course Rule 19, and it would appear to create a new situation in which an immigrant would be tied to a particular employer. I should like to show how great the practical difficulties are in my county, but time will not permit. But how will this work? Does it mean that if an employee offends his employer he will be liable to be shipped back to his country of origin? Quite apart from the practical difficulties, is that not utterly undesirable? In criticising this Bill I feel somewhat inhibited, because I know it has caused great feelings of unease and I do not want to make the situation worse, but, on the other hand, I think that we are bound to express our criticisms and I cannot believe that the Conservative Manifesto really promised the people a Bill which would add to the tension and in some cases create an atmosphere of despair. It has been suggested that the Bill is worth while because it will simplify the law; but it will do no such thing. It will not simplify the law, either for the immigrants or for the immigration officers.
In the light of these serious and fundamental objections we have to consider what attitude to adopt to the Second Reading. Personally, I should not like to feel that by any act of commission or omission I had facilitated the passing of this Bill; and my Liberal colleagues and I propose to vote against the Second Reading. Noble Lords will recall that on the Second Reading of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill which was debated on February 29, 1968, 85 noble Lords voted against the Second Reading and, to his credit, the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, was one of them. I believe we have an equally strong case against this Bill. If the Bill does get a Second Reading to-night then I hope that noble Lords, if given an opportunity, will vote in favour of Lord O'Hagan's Motion. I see nothing inconsistent in voting against the Bill and for his Motion. If, in spite of all, the Bill gets to the Committee stage, then I would say in conclusion that I hope that before it leaves your 1023 Lordships' House some of the provisions about which many feel greatly disturbed will have been removed or drastically amended.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
had given Notice of a Motion, That this House, while recognising that all countries have the right to impose immigration controls, regrets that the Immigration Bill now before Parliament adversely affects the existing rights of Commonwealth citizens legally resident in this country; is likely to harm community relations without materially affecting the rate of immigration; and ignores that concern for the mutual interests of member countries on which the Commonwealth relationship is based. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I should like to begin by explaining the reasons for my Motion.
Many, if not most, noble Lords do not like to vote against the Second Reading of a Government Bill which has passed through the other place, especially when it is a major Bill and one for which the Government have a mandate. I have considered a number of possible procedures by which I might ask those of your Lordships who object to some major aspects of this Bill to register a vote without rejecting the Bill. I spent many, many hours recently, trying to please everybody—hours which I should have spent in preparing my speech—and the procedure that I finally adopted has the approval of the Deputy Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition. Thus, after the Second Reading has been disposed of—and if there is a vote on that I shall certainly abstain—I shall formally move my Motion (and there will be the opportunity for a vote on it) which deprecates certain aspects of the Bill, and which, I am advised, would not contradict any decision taken on the Second Reading. To my mind, the voting is important, so I hope that your Lordships will stay to the end. But the voting is not as important as the speaking.
My second motive for putting down the Motion was that a sterile Party squabble on a Bill of this sort would be worse than futile. With so much experience and knowledge on these matters in all quarters of the House, I hope that Party considerations can to some extent 1024 be temporarily submerged, so that the deep and important issues behind this Bill can be examined thoroughly. In one sense my job this afternoon is already over; I am only a prologue or a harbinger.
But I should like to sketch in my Motion in a little more detail. The first part speaks for itself:… all countries have the right to impose immigration controls.Of course they do. We can no longer hold the door open. But let me underline one point now: this Bill of itself will make no difference to numbers. The taps that control the flow are there already and can easily be turned this way or that at any time. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, was doing that just the other week when he announced special arrangements for the entry of Kenyan Asians. He did not have to wait for this Bill. By and large, the number coming here will continue to be settled by administrative decision. The new taps will be somewhat different. Some of the people now designated as patrials will, for the first time in recent years, have the absolute right to come here. On the other hand, the right of entry of dependants of non-patrial Commonwealth immigrants is abolished. A future Home Secretary could order the division of families and so reduce the numbers coming in. I say "a future" because the present Home Secretary has made it plain that he does not intend to use this power to alter numbers.
The next part of my Motion is crucial. I regret that the existing rights of Commonwealth citizens legally resident are adversely affected. Not only are those who come here in the future downgraded —I have already mentioned one aspect; the right of entry of dependants—but those already here, whom the Government are so keen to reassure, are affected, too. One example is that of a perfectly law-abiding student of sixteen or seventeen years of age who under this Bill can be deported if an adult member of his family is deported. He may be on a grant; he may be living away from home. Talk about visiting the sins of the fathers! I am grateful for the appeal procedure conceded by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham.
1025 The Home Secretary believes that community relations is the fundamental issue here, and I agree. Unfortunately, the techniques the Government have chosen to help community relations are rather bizarre. This Bill, which is supposed to reassure immigrants and the host community, is called the Immigration Bill. The title itself gives the impression that the number of black faces will be drastically reduced overnight simply by the passage of the Bill, whereas the numbers coming or leaving are unlikely to alter significantly unless repatriation is vigorously encouraged. People hoping for an overnight reduction will be disappointed. If the Government sell the Bill as the final solution to immigration control—and that is what they are doing—they are going to have many dissatisfied customers. The Government appear to believe that you make Commonwealth immigrants feel at home by saying to them: "You are all aliens now except as a special favour, and as a real advantage in your day-to-day life you can vote every five years and become an M.P.". For example, future Commonwealth immigrants, in many cases the friends, relations or former neighbours of immigrants already here, will have to register with the police. They will be on the same footing as aliens. I do not want to go into Committee points here—indeed, it is hardly safe to say anything at all about the police in this context without the Government interpreting it as an attack on the splendid police force that we have. Let me make one small point on police registration. In my view, the Government have so far dodged the real issue. They have not justified their stand. I do not believe that they have seriously and thoroughly investigated the alternatives to registration with the police.
I have not dealt with other issues, like patriality. at this stage. All I should like to say about patriality is that it is a cockeyed concept, knocked up by someone who does too many crosswords. I should like to quote from a letter that I received to-day from the High Commissioner for New Zealand. He said to me:Unfortunately the privilege of patriality will not be shared by the entire community, and the Maori population in particular has received this innovation with misgivings.Other detailed provisions of the Bill I will leave to those of your Lordships who are better qualified to deal with them than I.
1026 At this stage I wish to broaden the context of my remarks, particularly tying them in with the final words of my Motion concerning the Commonwealth. Some of your Lordships may believe that I am well-intentioned and amiable, but gullible and rather impractical. That may explain why I support the Government's nearly successful attempts to join the European Economic Community. I am an ardent European. But one particular aspect that I do not care for in the Common Market countries is the way in which some of them appear to treat their immigrant workers. They do not treat them as people, only as units of labour. The political and economic future of this country may well lie in Europe. That may be the pattern ahead of us. We cannot turn our backs on the past; we cannot rub out history; we cannot ignore the Commonwealth. It is part of the fabric of this country. The transformation of the Empire into the Commonwealth, an extraordinary British achievement, is no more vividly illustrated than in the titles of some Members of your Lordships' House from the Empire of yesterday. There is the title of the noble Lord, Lord Napier of Magdala, Magdala being a military victory over the Abyssinians. From the Commonwealth of to-day we have the noble Lord, Lord Constantine. of Maraval in Trinidad and Tobago and, my Lords, Nelson in the County Palatine of Lancaster. That title celebrates something rather different and rather special.
I do not want to start another debate on the Common Market, but this Bill looks to me like the beginning of a nasty process. Already the chances of Commonwealth immigrants helping our country with their labour are fractional compared with that of the aliens. Now, there are only 2,700 work vouchers a year for the whole Commonwealth. For each of the past two years there have been about 67.000 work permits a year issued for aliens. The logical conclusion of this process is that European nationals will have the same rights as you and I, freedom of movement and all that, while a Commonwealth citizen will be a unit of labour and nothing more. If. when the European Economic Community adopts a common immigration policy in a few years' time, the consequence of this for the Commonwealth is going to 1027 be as I have suggested, the Government may as well "come clean" and pack up the Commonwealth now, because so far we have heard nothing to reassure us that that will not be what is going to happen.
Last night, I went to see a friend of mine who has lived and worked for the past two years in a London borough with a very high concentration of immigrants. I asked him how the Bill would affect him in his work in his adventure playground. I will identify him to any noble Lord outside this Chamber, but you will understand why I do not want to mention his name here. In spite of everything that has happened, he felt that in the past two years communities and individuals had grown closer together, slowly but appreciably. But now, with this new Bill, and the interpretation of the Bill in that part of London, the message coming out from Government to the host community, to the immigrants and their families and their children was this: black people do not really belong here. In other words, the Government are not bringing peace but a sword.
As my friend was talking there was an echo of recognition in my mind, for I had just been reading something on similar lines, and it was this:I do not like to speak of the Brotherhood of Man because I do not know whether there will ever come a time when all human beings regard one another in this light. But what I do know is that the coloured inhabitants of this island—men, women and children—with all their characteristics, lovable and otherwise, are our neighbours. And if a man loves not his neighbour whom he has seen, how can he love God or humanity or indeed anything else which he has not seen?Those words are part of a memorable lecture given last year by the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack. If the noble and learned Lord can convince the House, and me, that this Bill is, in his words, definite, clear and based on principles; if he can show that it honours the Commonwealth relationship; if he can demonstrate that it will help the communities here to become better neighbours, then I will gladly withdraw my Motion. Otherwise, I shall move it formally and ask the House to support me in the Lobby.
§ 5.22 p.m.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTER BURY
My Lords, the only thing 1028 that surprised me about the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down was his hesitancy about voting against the Bill, because his speech seemed to me to be a very formidable indictment of almost the whole of it. As a loyal Member, I hope, of your Lordships' House I respect immensely the convention that when a Bill has been passed in another place with the mandate of the electorate behind it, we, when it comes to us, because of that mandate are very hesitant in voting against it, however much we dislike it. But I find it extremely hard to take in the language about there being a popular mandate for this Bill, because the bulk of its contents were things of which I had never heard before they came before Parliament. I believe it is true of many of us that we had never heard of those particular provisions before they were embodied in the Bill. So much for there being a mandate for these specific proposals. I intend, therefore, believing the Bill to be unnecessary and many of its provisions to be really damaging, to vote against it unless the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack persuades me otherwise by arguments which I, having followed many discussions on this subject, have not yet heard. I believe that noble Lords who, like myself, have no Party allegiance or allegiance other than to their own conscience, may think it right to take the same course.
I view the Bill with the utmost regret. I believe that. unless it is considerably amended, it will damage community relations in this country. I am sure that the Bill is based upon a sincere motive, and, after all, Her Majesty's Government contain men of the highest humanitarian ideals and attitudes. It is the motive of the Bill to clarify the existing law and its authors' wish to promote good community relations without introducing categories of first-class and second-class citizens. But I believe that their wish to do this is vitiated by a serious failure to understand the psychology whereon good community relations rest.
The Home Secretary has said in another place that the fundamental problem is not so much immigration as community relations. I am sure that that is true. I wholeheartedly agree. And in recent years we have been discovering more and more that good community 1029 relations do not entirely look after themselves. Since the growth in this country of minorities of citizens coming from different ethnic backgrounds, an immense amount of practical service in this field has grown up. The noble Lord, Lord Wade, has just been referring to some aspects of that practical service in Yorkshire. There is the Community Relations Commission, which is in touch with many local councils, including both paid and voluntary workers. The Churches are rightly active in this field and no doubt the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry will speak about the very creative work done by his own community relations chaplain in his part of the country. No doubt he will speak also about what he believes may be the effects of the Bill upon that work. The two Archbishops have for the past 18 months had their own officer in this work to help and encourage the various efforts of the clergy in local community relations, and the post has been held by a distinguished man of great ability: Bishop Cecil Patterson, who came home two years ago after his exacting work as Archbishop of West Africa.
It is the workers in the field who get to understand deeply the fears and the sensitivities on both sides which bedevil community relations. It seems to me very odd that the Government have not from the beginning given more heed to the advice of their own Community Relations Commission about this Bill. I quote the words of the Chairman of that Commission:I have advised the Secretary of State that the present Bill will adversely affect the establishment of harmonious community relations. It will acutely increase the insecurity which coloured people living here already feel.Those are the words of a man in close daily touch with the practical work which is being done in the cities. I mention also that some 34 local councils on community relations, including those in the great cities of Bristol, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, have given their view that the Bill is unnecessary and likely to be damaging.
What are the fears, my Lords, which create bad relations? There is, on the one side, the fear of our own resident white population, that the influx of a large increase in Commonwealth immigrants will bring with it a proliferation of social problems. But admittedly no 1030 such large increase is now happening, and it is not within the provisions of this Bill to affect in any marked degree the number of entrants. There is, on the other side, the fear of minorities of finding themselves regarded as second-class citizens; the fear of being regarded as a kind of "problem citizen". It is clearly not the intention of the Bill to minister to these fears. It is indeed the Government's belief that the provisions of the Bill will make such fears unnecessary. But I here find the lack of imagination quite astounding.
I put myself in the shoes of a coloured citizen in this country. He is assured that his citizenship is secure, that he can vote, that he can become a Member of Parliament, or, indeed, if the Sovereign so desires, a Member of your Lordships' House. Yet is this knowledge going to outbalance in his consciousness that fact that, as the Bill now stands, his entry into the country depends not upon his particular skills or the category of his work but upon a particular job; that in any case his family will not have the right to follow him into this country; that he may be deported on terms different from those of a patrial; that if he is deported his family may be deported, too, and that the tenure of his citizenship is liable to continuing hazards and uncertainties?
My Lords, it is in the mental context of all this that a coloured citizen may view the provision about payment being available for his repatriation if he is not settling down happily. Again I am sure that the intention of that clause is humanitarian, and the noble Lord who introduced the Bill today expressed that intention in vague humanitarian terms. What could be better than to say that, if somebody is unhappy here, is it not only kindness to pay to help him to go to his original home? But if the context of this is a Bill which does so much to prevent a sensitive person from settling down happily without being regarded as an odd kind of citizen, the matter is rather different. An analogy occurs to me. Suppose the State made a provision that if a boy is unhappy at school the State will pay for him to travel to become a member of some other school somewhere else. That would be a most thoroughgoing, humane provision. But it would appear to the boy to be less 1031 humane if in the school of which he was a member he was under a set of rules which marked him out in certain ways from his confréresand gave him a continual state of uncertainty about his standing.
My Lords, it is these considerations, chiefly, that lead me to think that, unless the Bill is amended very considerably indeed, damage will be done in a very sensitive area of community life in this country. I will only add that I do not think that a case has been made for the Bill's being necessary at all.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ LORD HARVEY OF PRESTBURY
My Lords, nearly 26 years ago I made a maiden speech from this Bench in another capacity, when your Lordships were kind enough to lend the Chamber to another place; and I must say that I feel privileged to make a maiden speech in rather different circumstances. I hope that I shall not be too controversial in the few remarks I have to make.
Having recently left a working-class constituency I should like to assure the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and the most reverend Primate that as a Member of Parliament one was under continual pressure in recent years to take note of the problem; and I do not think any of us can underestimate that there is a problem. We have to face up to it, and we have to be as humane and as sympathetic as we can in all directions. Having lived in the Commonwealth, in South-East Asia, for five years in the 1930's, I understand many of the problems and am sympathetic to them. But over the last 60 years it has been Conservative Governments, in my view, that have faced up to the difficult problems: they have brought in considerable legislation. It was my noble friend Lord Butler of Saffron Walden who in another place introduced the Bill that became the 1962 Act. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said that he did not like it, but many things have followed from that Act. Indeed, in his remarks, the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said that certain things had happened with which I rather gathered he had agreed. My noble friend Lord Butler said, when he introduced the 1962 Act:The justification for the control which is included in this Bill…is that a sizeable part 1032 of the entire population of the earth is at present legally entitled to come and stay in this already densely populated country. It amounts altogether to one quarter of the population of the globe and at present there are no factors visible which might lead us to expect a reversal or even a modification of the immigration trend…" —[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 16/11 /61, col. 687.]That was my noble friend Lord Butler—a very reasonable man — speaking way back, nine years ago.
Even the Leader of the Labour Party at that time said that it was a "miserable, shameful and shabby Bill". Mrs. Castle, who was even more outspoken, in another place said on the same occasion:It is a violation of the Commonwealth idea to close doors to the free flow of traffic …If we had our way we would not make distinctions of any kind between any Commonwealth citizens in this matter, because we would get rid of control altogether ".I have heard many remarks from the right honourable lady in other capacities on much the same lines.
But, of course, politicans were not alone in taking that line eight or nine years ago. When one thought in terms of the Commonwealth then, one had a broad prospect of the British Common-weath united. But a great deal has happened to the British Commonwealth in the last eight or nine years. I can assure your Lordships that nobody is more pro-Commonwealth than I am, but, with great respect, I feel that we have to be realistic and to recognise that a great deal has happened. If we are honest, we must admit that some of the countries are in the Commonwealth for what they get out of it; others are more patriotic. Nevertheless, we have had to adjust ourselves to the changes that have taken and are taking place in the Commonwealth today. We have heard the Statement dealing with the Common Market, and that also has a bearing on it.
In 1965, the Labour Government limited the annual quota of employment vouchers to 8,500, of which 1,000 were earmarked for Malta—and I hope that that will continue. They then decided to issue no more than half this number; they had to adjust their ideas by 50 per cent. Since the 1968 Act was passed, there have been further measures of control. I suggest to your Lordships that the aim must be to ensure harmonious relationships between the races in this country; that must be the objective. 1033 When the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, referred to the problems of a West Indian arriving here after this Bill becomes an Act, and his probable housing conditions, I could not see how they would be very different than to-day. If he arrives here with no available means or no banking account, he really has to start from scratch. I am concerned about repatriation, and I do not think that any one man should be repatriated through any force whatsoever. I am concerned about the position of a man who is here for a probationary period. I should like my noble friend to explain the position of that man if, through no fault of his own—perhaps there is a disagreement—he loses his job. What facilities are available for him to get another job during the period when he is under probation? Certainly no force whatsoever should be used to bring about his repatriation.
As we have been told, Commonwealth citizens will have advantages over aliens. I agree that Commonwealth citizens coming to Britain will not have the automatic right to settle here. The noble Lord who has just spoken referred to students, and I think that this matter should be looked into, because one has seen enough trouble caused by our own students, and by those from abroad who are accepting the hospitality and the generosity of this country. Perhaps it is right that some firmer rules should be laid down. Of course, many European countries are much harsher than we are in dealing with foreigners working in their countries. Germany and Switzerland, for example, are very humane to their workers, but when there is unemployment in those countries foreign workers are the first to be sent home. So I think this country has a pretty good record of achievement in this regard, and I do not think any of us should overestimate the problems. Whatever the figure is—if it is a million new immigrants—surely our job is to assimilate them into our life and welfare and our economy.
That is quite a big task, and surely in recent years the real problem has been that they have concentrated in given areas. I do not blame them: it happens in New York, where you find the Germans in one area, and there are the Italians in Australia, up in the Brisbane sugar-growing area. And it is happening, as I say, in our own country. Anything that can be done to disperse the immi- 1034 grants when they come here, where they will be welcome to carry out certain jobs in social welfare and in industry, will be to the good. I think that part of this Bill will, over a period of years, help to rectify the present problem in this respect. If we can get a small number settling in an area where there are at present no immigrants at all, those who are here may follow. What we have to do is to consolidate the present position, to give good housing. Of course, one can well understand the feelings of an Englishman who has bought his home on a long-term mortgage and who sees the adjacent house overcrowded and the value of his home depreciating by 50 per cent. almost overnight. That is the sort of thing that causes dissention. I believe that if we could limit numbers severely over a given period we could provide better housing, better education facilities and more hospital facilities for those who are already here.
As for registration, in the long term I think it right—and I have thought about it a great deal—that registration should be with the police. It sounds more attractive to register elsewhere—the offices of employment, and so on—but the police have a vast experience of this matter. As has already been said, the police in this country are very sympathetic indeed. After all, many of us have to go to the police to renew gun licences, and for many other reasons, and nobody will be more helpful than the majority of British policemen. I think that the control under the Home Secretary will be more easily carried out and better adminstered by registration with the police. I know that this is not everybody's view, but I think it is what should happen.
I should like to wish the Government well with this Bill. I think it is timely. I am a little concerned about what amendments may be necessary when Britain goes into the Economic Community in Europe; there may not be many, but I should like an assurance on that point from my noble friend, when he replies. Meanwhile, I wish the Government well. We do not want to exaggerate the problems; we want to minimise them, and to be humane in all aspects to the people already here.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I think it is perhaps appropriate to the spirit of this House that I should be called 1035 upon to pay some tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, on his maiden speech. In another place we were constantly in conflict and I have no doubt that we shall be constantly in conflict in this House. But it is appropriate that I should pay that tribute, because the spirit of this House is tolerance towards views to which we are opposed. Everyone who has listened to the speech of the noble Lord will have been impressed by his strength, by his directness and by the clarity of his expression and if this was a non-controversial maiden speech, may I say to the noble Lord how we shall look forward to the controversial speeches which he delivers in further debates.
Since the 1960s we have had a series of White Papers, of Bills, of regulations dealing with immigration, and this Bill has this to commend it: that it seeks to clarify and to co-ordinate a somewhat confusing situation. My regret is that in doing that it seems to me to have co-ordinated the worst features of the legislation and decisions which have preceded it. We are in this difficulty. The Home Secretary in another place is probably the most tolerant, broad-minded and least racially motivated Minister there, and in this House the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, who has asked us to accept this Bill, reflects the same spirit and temperament. I cannot help remembering the fact that when I moved the rejection of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill 1968 he was one of my supporters, and the speech which he has delivered to-day has been a speech in defence of the view that this Bill is a Bill which does not continue racial discrimination.
I think it is about time that we were frank on this issue. Is there anyone who doubts the pressure of public opinion or who doubts the motives by which this series of Bills has been introduced? Who can deny that behind them is the prejudice against race and against colour? We should never have had this series of Bills if there had not been the feeling among many people in the country, and the response of Ministers to that feeling, that something must be done to limit the number of coloured people who are arriving here. That has been the basis of the origin of all these Bills. With the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, I was in another place in 1962;
1036 I remember then the "Keep Britain white" agitation which there was in this country. There is not the least doubt that it was that racialist and colour feeling which brought the first Immigration Act, and I think that we are being less than sincere, we are being a little hypocritical, if looking at this series of Bills which have come before Parliament we do not recognise that racial prejudice and colour feeling have been behind them. I have a little sympathy and a feeling of sorrowfulness for the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, because I know it is not from that motive that he should have to be responsible for putting this Bill before us.
I want to take one point which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, and emphasised by the most reverend Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, about the attitude of the nonwhite community in this country. There is a strange contradiction here. I am finding from my own experience that at local level, largely as a result of the international friendship councils which have been established, under the initiative, first, of the most reverend Primate and of the community council, that there is a better feeling between non-white and white communities in localities. There are exceptions to that. At the same time, the attitude of cynicism, the attitude of hopelessness that is growing up among our non-white community, with Governments, with their legislation, with the Bill which is now before the House, is deeper than it has ever been.
The agitation of the non-white community in this country about this Bill has been moderate and one might therefore think that they are indifferent towards it. Not a bit. They are utterly cynical now; they do not expect anything more. They recognise that this Bill is the last of a series of Bills which makes them second-class citizens in this community—and when the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, expresses the hope that this Bill may result in better relationships in the community of Britain he is terribly unaware of the feeling, as a result of this Bill, of the non-white community in our territory. My Lords, and with reason. Take first this division between patrials and non-patrials. How can it possibly be argued that thas is not racialist in basis? Incidentally, in the presentation of the Immigration Bill, 1037 in the explanation on page i, it is indicated that anyone who has a parent or grandparent connected with this country shall be regarded as a patrial. I do not find that in the clauses. I am a little perplexed by that contradiction. If the noble Lord is looking at the Bill he will find the reference on the opening page, relating to Clause 2.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord, but if he wants an answer I can give it to him. The reference to the citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who have a parent or grandparent with such a connection is contained in Clause 2, the patrial clause, although it is spelt out at rather greater length. The Commonwealth citizen only obtains the right of abode if his father or mother has United Kingdom citizenship. The Bill was amended in another place to delete the reference to grandparent.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, that explanation disturbs me even more. May I make a personal comment? I was born in India; my father was born in Africa, and both my father and grandfather were missionaries. My grandfather was born in this country 150 years ago. Is his birth in this country that time ago to determine whether I am a patrial or non-patrial? My Lords, no one can look at this distinction between patrials and non-patrials without realising that it is racialist in effect. Is there one non-white citizen in our Commonwealth countries out of a million whose parent, not the less his grandparent, was born in this country as a citizen of this country? Of course not. The number allowed into this country under this clause as patrials may be 10, 20, 100; but in the case of the white resident in Commonwealth countries, hundreds of them, thousands of them, comply. Their fathers were born here as citizens; their grandfathers were born here as citizens. The effect inevitably is racialist, with patrials by a vast majority being white persons and non-patrials the non-whites. My Lords, that view between patrials and non-patrials is supplemented by the fact that five years' residence in this country would allow them to be regarded as patrials, and the number of non-whites who will have that is insignificant compared with the number of whites.
1038 My net criticism of the Bill is the withdrawal of the right of any appeal by those who are coming into this country against the decision either by the immigration officers or in any other way to their exclusion. The case for continuing the appeal procedure is specially strong to-day because there was a decision yesterday by the Immigrant Adjudicator against the view of the Home Office; and that decision was that a British citizen in Kenya should have the right to come to this country because his wife and children were here, and that was regarded by the Adjudicator as a special consideration giving that right. Is that kind of appeal no longer to be allowed at all? Is the Home Office entirely to decide? If the Home Office had decided in that case, it would have been a different decision from that of the Immigrant Adjudicator. I hope that as this Bill goes through this House we may amend that particular reference.
I turn, thirdly, to this extraordinary proposal by which for one year an immigrant may be tied to an employer. This is indentured labour. This is a re-introduction of a system which we had all condemned and eliminated from our colonial territories years ago. First slavery goes, then indentured labour goes; and now under this Bill we reintroduce the principle of indentured labour. A man must have a job fixed before he conies; that job must be with an employer and he must remain in it for a year. What cannot the employer impose upon him in those conditions? He will be under the threat of dismissal and if he is dismissed he is liable to be deported. I have hardly ever known in recent years any proposal brought before Parliament which imposes such servitude towards a worker from an employer as is in that particular clause.
It is not only the individual who may be deported; it is his family. I listened with very great interest and sympathy to what the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, said justifying the proposal that a family may be deported if an individual is deported, particularly the breadwinner. He put the proposal before this House almost in humanitarian terms. I think he knows that I have no doubt that if he had the interpretation of that clause he would carry it out in that spirit. But the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, will not always be Minister of State at the Home Office, 1039 and his right honourable friend, Reginald Maudling, will riot always be Home Secretary. We have to look at the terms of the actual clause. Clause 5(4) says:For purposes of deportation the following shall be those who are regarded as belonging to another person's family—I find it difficult to believe that there is anyone in this House who can justify the view that, because a man is deported, the whole of his family, his children under the age of 18 and his wife, shall be liable for deportation as well.
- (a) where that other person is a man, his wife and his or her children under the age of eighteen; and
- (b) where that other person is a woman, her children under the age of eighteen …"
Finally, may refer to the proposal for police registration. I appreciate that the leadership of the police is seeking good community relations with the non-white population in this country. There are exceptional areas. There are two in London, one in Birmingham and one in Manchester where the psychological relationship between the police and the non-white community is very disturbed. However, that is not the attitude of the police as a whole, and it is not the attitude of the leadership of the police. It is largely because of that that the Police Federation itself has opposed this registration.
I listened with interest to what the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, said as to other alternatives. I have looked at them, and I recognise at once that these other alternatives have considerable difficulties. I am challenging the view whether registration of this character is necessary at all. The worker who comes on a year's contract has his insurance card; he is known as he enters; all the particulars are there. Why the necessity of registration? Is this not a hangover from the Aliens Act; and is it not only because registration has been applied to aliens that it is thought to be necessary under this Bill for the Commonwealth immigrants who come here? I hope that during the discussion of the Bill in Committee stage we shall look at that problem very closely indeed.
May I say in conclusion that I believe that a terribly important principle is involved in this legislation. We are in a world to-day that is smaller; inter-relationships are so much closer; and I 1040 believe that the future of this world is going to depend upon a decision on two alternatives. One alternative is whether men and women of all races and of all colours, religions and creeds, can assimilate and co-operate; the other alternative is whether they will become segregated and divided. It is because this Bill, in my view, will lead to that division and segregation, that I hope very much that this House will reject this measure.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ LORD HUNT
My Lords, I listened with tremendous attention, as I know all your Lordships did, to the prologue, as he described it, by my noble friend Lord O'Hagan in putting the harbinger of the Motion which is on our Order Paper. I welcome his initiative in putting down a Motion in criticism. Indeed, the terms of the Motion, and the way in which he introduced it, led me, like the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, to suppose that he was in fact intending it to be a condemnation of the Bill which is now before this House. I should like to say now, as the most reverend Primate has also told your Lordships, that if there is a Division, unless the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor can persuade me to the contrary it is my intention to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill.
I take some heart from the fact that I am speaking eighth in this very long list, and I am very privileged to take part in the debate. It has about it the same atmosphere as that unforgettable debate on the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, now law, that we had in 1968. Of the eight speakers who have so far spoken, only two—and quite naturally this includes the Minister who spoke first—have spoken in support of the Bill that we have now before us. I realise that I shall be covering ground which has already been covered, and which no doubt will be covered again before the evening is out, but I propose to subject the Bill to the test of certain questions which I submit it should pass in order to justify its sponsors. My first group of questions is this. Are any further restrictions on immigration needed? Are they needed at this time? Does this Bill do more than is already being done to restrict the numbers actually coming in, or prospectively arriving? Your Lordships will notice that I have 1041 not enlarged the question to include the point made by the Minister when he said that the Bill is intended to clarify existing legislation. I am not asking whether or not it is administratively desirable. I think that is of quite secondary importance.
I am quite unpersuaded by anything that I have read in the debates in the other place, or by anything that I have heard this afternoon so far, that the answer to any of these questions can be given in the affirmative—and I followed the debates in the Commons with considerable care. Of course controls are necessary. Nobody in his senses would deny that, but they already exist and are effective. The Minister said that he did not wish to speak too much in terms of figures, and I entirely agree with him. No one wants to play a misleading numbers game, but the figures must be used to speak for themselves on the existing controls. Less than half of the quota of 8,500 from the Commonwealth has been reached in the last two years. The total number of immigrants entering since 1968, including their dependants, has dwindled from about 53,000 to—the Minister gave a slightly higher figure—under 30,000. The prospect is that these numbers will further diminish, because most of the dependants have now joined their heads of family. On the basis of past experience, it is reasonable to expect that by maintaining the quotas—and I am in favour of this—not more than about 25,000 should be expected to come in annually.
I would say that by using the controls of the 1962 and 1968 Acts those " Phantom fears of a non-existent flood"—and I am quoting the Sunday Times—have been effectively stemmed in fact, as well as, I would hope, in the minds of those whose fertile imaginations ever imagined this flood would arrive anyway. I well remember the figures—two million or more—which were bandied around in the House in 1968 in support of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, and for which there was no ground whatever. I would say, with great respect to the Minister, that those among our indigenous white population who are so fearful, have no grounds, with the controls that we have at present, for their fears that there is going to be large scale immigration. So I would say that by this token 1042 the Bill fails to clear the first hurdle that I have put forward; but because it is now with us I shall put my second question.
Have the proposed restrictions and controls been framed so as not to impede, in any degree, the process of harmonising community relations between the coloured citizens now in Britain and the rest of us, the host community? We all know that this question is really the crux of the whole matter, because unless we in this country can make a success of community relations and a reality of integration with people of different colours and cultures who are now living in some of our cities, then the future is bleak indeed. We have only to look across the Atlantic, to where so many ominous social precedents originate, to have a portent of what could happen here—and in this respect I agree with Mr. Powell—if one takes an entirely negative view.
The Government have insisted that the Bill will not affect adversely the Commonwealth immigrants already here, and the Minister has assured us that it is intended to be simply a clarification of existing legislation. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway. said: "Let us be frank". I cannot refrain from being totally frank at this moment. I would say that this claim is demonstrably not the case, and a good deal has already been said this afternoon about the anxiety and insecurity that immigrants now in this country feel because of this Bill to bring about further controls. It particularly affects those who have arrived here within the last five years, but in addition there are the feelings, not only of fear but of resentment, of those who arc now the second and even third generations of immigrants, who are fully British citizens and have no other home, as well as the dangerous sentiments entertained by the more militant elements in our colour population, as a result of what they "so far know of this Bill. I have been able myself to confirm those feelings from personal contacts in the recent past with immigrant leaders in the Midlands, in Notting Hill and in Shepherds Bush. I could not help thinking that, coincidentally, one of my contacts must have been the person my noble friend Lord O'Hagan also met in charge of an 1043 Adventure playground, whom I greatly respect.
It might not matter what those fears may be at present if, in the event, they can be allayed, but I feel that there are evident, understandable and valid grounds for them. Those grounds have mostly been mentioned already this afternoon, but to me by far the most important is the climatic one, because it is to be found in the answer to my first group of questions. Given that it is unnecessary to change the existing restrictions and controls, I join with many other people and organisations which command respect in concluding that this Bill can reasonably be construed—I do not say that this is the intention, but it can be so construed—as being racial in intent. It appears—and I stress the word "appears"—to put an official stamp on xenophobia directed against coloured people generally, both those who are here and those who may wish to come. In particular, there is the definition and distinction of "patriality", not because of the rights the Bill confers on people by virtue of their parents' birthright—I have no objection to that—but because of the consequent withdrawal of the rights which Commonwealth citizens already have. I can only say that this is symptomatic and reflects a general attitude of prejudice.
Secondly, there are the valid fears arising from the registration requirements for non-patrials, and the inevitable liability of coloured people, whether they were resident here before the end of July this year or not, because of their distinctiveness, to be subjected to checks by the police on the question of holding certificates of registration, at any time and in any place. Whatever the logic or the legal precedent for this proposal, there is no more telling objection to it than the objection made by the Police Federation. I have checked personally with their Chairman, Mr. Reginald Gale, and have had confirmation of the views on this matter which he has already submitted to the Government. I have myself spoken to a number of police officers who are working in community relations and who have expressed their personal conviction that this requirement and the proposed method of implementing it will damage their work. The sense of insecurity is enhanced by the proposed powers of 1044 immigration and police officers to search premises without warrant, as checks against illegal immigration; and, again, the inevitable result will be that coloured householders will be subjected to such searches. I join with other noble Lords in claiming that I am second to none in my admiration of the police who, in this respect, are above reproach, but I am referring to the fears about what might happen and to the ill-intentioned allegations about what happens in regard to these searches.
Thirdly, there is the insecurity of the deportation clauses. I am not going to dwell on these clauses, because they have been mentioned already, but under certain conditions they include any immigrants who have been in this country for periods just short of five years and who are subject to controls. Granted that Amendments have been inserted which provide the Home Secretary with independent advice in the exercise of his discretion as to what is "conducive to the public good", and granted the right of appeal, the effect of these clauses on people already well-established in this country is bound to be unsettling. I would include among those who will find it unsettling their friends, their relations and the people in the neighbourhood. This is especially the case because of the further liability to deportation of the whole family of someone who is to be deported. However carefully they are operated—and I entirely respect the Home Secretary's sincerity and intention that these clauses will be very carefully operated so as not to cause injustice—they enhance fear.
Fourthly, there is the insecurity aroused by those clauses which limit and control the employment of future Commonwealth immigrants. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, spoke about them with great vehemence and strength, and I do not propose to say any more about them. I realise that they apply to future immigrants and not to those who are here, but who can doubt that these clauses will add to the feeling of job and family insecurity of Commonwealth citizens who are here now? It is already real enough in the current period of unemployment. What is more, I believe they will strain relationships between coloured workers and their white workmates, making the coloured workers feel constrained to be 1045 pliant to management as the price of holding down their jobs. I am not an industrialist, but I would say that that is not a healthy state of affairs for industry.
Lastly, I come to a matter which has been mentioned many times. I refer to the offer by the Government, however well-intentioned—and I accept the good faith of the Minister and the Home Secretary in this respect—4o provide financial assistance to immigrants desiring to leave the country and reside elsewhere, whether or not they are in real need of such assistance. The inference which has been drawn from this offer, given that provision already exists through the Supplementary Benefits Commission for those without means of subsistence, is that more departures would be officially welcomed, as indeed they already are by some private citizens. Moreover, as several speakers have pointed out, this clause could become the thin end of the wedge when pressures, such as loss of employment or lack of a suitable job, build up against coloured people. The fact of unemployment, or of being reduced to a lower level of earnings by the increasing pressures and competition from white British and—who knows?—from white European workers in the future, may well cause some Commonwealth immigrants to have resort to this "assisted departure" passage. This is very important. I would ask the Minister to say, when he comes to reply, not doubting his sincerity one little bit, whether this eventuality was foreseen by the Government when drafting this clause. I hope he will be able to assure me on this point.
Having failed the test of my first group of questions, the Bill, I maintain, fails doubly on this second question, which I repeat is crucial to community relations as they are at present. And if it fails this test, then it assuredly fails on the third question I put to your Lordships, which is this: how will the measures affect the image of Britain in the Commonwealth and in the developing world generally? I hope that this image has been hitherto, more or less, that of a nation which adheres to a belief in the fundamental dignity and equal rights of all men; as a land where prejudice and discrimination are not only condemned 1046 in theory but actively discouraged and deterred; and whose Government, in this respect, practise what they preach. I can think of nothing more calculated to diminish British prestige in the world, and thus to reduce British influence, particularly in the developing countries of our Commonwealth, than for a Government to give credence to the racial prejudices which undoubtedly, understandably but unfortunately, still exist among some of its citizens. That is what I fear, fairly or unfairly, will be the message of this Bill to the outside world. I should like to qualify that because it may well give heart to the rulers of Rhodesia and South Africa. But its impact on the minds of others at the head of the rising nations in Asia and Africa, many of them our good friends in the Commonwealth, will be adverse.
The British Council of Churches Community and Race Relations unit said this of the Bill:It is unnecessary, and it is unacceptable because of its likely effect on the nation and on the family life of the newcomers.They went on to say that it is…unduly restrictive …and indicative of a narrowly conceived idea of British society, in which people of a different colour and culture are tolerated for the services they can render, but not welcomed for the enrichment they can bring".I echo these views. But this would be a sorry, and perhaps in some ways a misleading, note on which to conclude a speech. So I should like to say this by way of realism and hope. Of course we must strictly control both the rate and the nature of immigration into this country, according to our best interests. The controls we need, we have. I have suggested where our true interests lie, and I hope I am not wrong.
My Lords, I realise that there are two sides to this question and that there is a feeling of insecurity also among our own people, created both by the numbers of coloured people already here and by fears, however falsely based, that these will multiply out of all proportion. But I say again: I do not think there is any ground for fear that unacceptably larger numbers of coloured people are going to come into this country in the future. Obviously, these fears also have a bearing on the problem of building good relations with the Commonwealth citizens who have 1047 come to settle here, and I realise that the acceptance and the absorption of the newcomers presents immense difficulties. The noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, who made a most impressive maiden speech, stressed this point. But how I wish that this was what we were discussing this evening, and not another spanner in the work of community relations!
There are many signs that the difficulties, which are great, can be overcome, and there is evidence—I hope we shall hear more evidence this evening—that in some areas they are already being overcome. I know of some. Take, as just one instance which came to my knowledge two nights ago, the entirely unofficial, spontaneous neighbourhood council which has been formed in the Goldborne Ward of Notting Hill, which is an area where there is 40 per cent. immigration from the Commonwealth. I regard that as a very encouraging example. Let us not be scared into panicky and negative measures by dint of any evidence to the contrary. Such measures, such a policy, can only make the problems of community harmony more difficult still. My Lords, it is always an act of greatness to admit error, and I think it would be an act of greatness by this Government to admit that this Bill is ill-conceived, that it reveals a one-sided sensitivity and that it is uncalled for. and to withdraw it even at this late hour.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ LORD SOPER
My Lords, I would add my congratulations to those already offered to Lord Harvey of Prestbury on his maiden speech, which was trenchant. I look forward to further opportunities of a fellowship of controversy in your Lordships' House when he speaks again. May I crave the indulgence of your Lordships' House because, as the Methodist Conference is in session, I am required to be present there and shall have to leave the Chamber before the end of the debate.
My Lords, this Bill is calculated, in the initial description of it, to providea single code of permanent legislation on immigration control".If your Lordships will not regard it as offensive, for the life of me I cannot understand how people of generous and intelligent foresight and understanding of 1048 the problem can ever have allowed this Bill to see the light of day. I find it completely intolerable; and I cannot believe in my own heart that those of such generous disposition as Lord Windlesham and the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack really believe in it. I cannot find it supportable on any of the propositions that have been advanced in its defence. To begin with, I find it completely unnecessary. If, indeed, there is an attempt to regulate the inflow of immigrants, then the patrial clause will provide a vagueness and an imprecision in this field by which a great many Commonwealth patrials will now have access to these shores; and the reduction of the Commonwealth immigrant to the status of an alien will largely increase the prospect of casual and migrant labour, which can well discourage the prospective Commonwealth immigrant from making the journey. I do not believe it is necessary because there is ample evidence that the already existing controls have provided a measure, and a satisfactory measure, of reduction and of stability. If this is an attempt to codify and express in precise terms what, after all, has need to be precisely conceived, and to take the place of already existing legislation, then I take it that the present situation is a shambles because there is widespread imprecision. So far as I can understand, a great many of the issues upon which precision is required have now been left in a condition of ambiguity from which they should be rescued but will not be by this Bill.
But, principally, this Bill stands or falls as an attempt to deal with the problem, as it is a problem, of immigration. At the risk of a platitude, may I say that there is no problem of immigration: there is only the problem of human beings who are immigrants. It is to that personal relationship of this Bill to the immigrant and the potential immigrant that there is the most widespread and desperate opposition, and in many cases there is a condition of despair. My noble friend Lord Hunt was speaking of an area of Shepherd's Bush. I know it well because I was responsible not so very long ago for trying to set up a multi-racial church there, and some of my colleagues are working there. I entirely endorse what my noble friend Lord Brockway had to say about the sense almost of apathy which has now taken the place of fierce 1049 resentment, and the feeling that this is yet another stroke from which they will do well even if they partially recover, only to await a further stroke. That is the kind of situation which I would endeavour to impress upon your Lordships is a real burden of conscience to those of us who are trying to do something in this field, and it is with a sense of appalling prospect that we look at a Bill which has already produced this kind of despair and is calculated to produce it in far larger measure as the days go by. And, to make one cursory reference to Mr. Enoch Powell, the fact that he has supported the Bill has driven the nail even more deeply into the wounds of many people, who feel that any support that he gives to a Bill must inevitably mean that there is a racial background to it and the realisation of the worst prospects they had feared.
Let me particularise on one or two of the issues in this Bill that have tended to cause perturbation and have caused some of us—particularly those represented in the Race Relations Group of the British Council of Churches to which a reference was made and which I was going to quote if my noble friend had not quoted it—to think that if a Bill of this kind is really to see the light of day and be an effective measure, it is totally inapposite that it should have begun its work without an attempt to define the real meaning in the community of to-day of citizenship. No such attempt is made at all. The concepts of citizenship, although they may be overtly non-racial, are racial in their impact in the patrial clause and, furthermore, are obviously racial in the fact that they have regarded, and very largely have stipulated, that the group which comes into this country as immigrant shall now be regarded in the same category as the alien group hitherto. This is manifest evidence of the fact that this is first-class and second-class citizenship, even in prospect. At the end of five years they have no automatic right to become citizens but have to justify their capacity to speak the language and submit themselves to the arbitrary decisions of officials. This is a personal matter upon which they feel, and rightly, that they are being relegated to an inferior position. And I cannot see how on earth they could be expected to feel otherwise. On the question of the kind of work that they will be able to undertake and the 1050 restrictions that will be applied to them, they are in fact relegated to the status of migrant workers; and in the first year, of indentured labour. This is intolerable. I cannot believe that those of a generous disposition would so reverse the processes and set the clock back.
Their fears are agitated by the prospect which looms before them of arbitrary attitudes taken by officials—and they come, in many cases, from countries whose experience gives ample cause for fears of what happens when the processes are left in the hands of people and are not set forth clearly in principle and tribunals. They will feel that the deportation orders, or the capacity for deportation orders, are iniquitous (and so they should feel); and they will further feel—and I with them—when the deportation order for a family is no longer to be a deportation but a supervised departure, that there is little comfort to be taken from the fact that a supervised departure is an improvement on deportation. It is the same thing. For these and for many other reasons, which have been amply and exhaustively deployed in your Lordships' House, I repeat what I have said, and I say it as a cri de cœur; that I cannot find any substantial reason for this Bill which does not conflict with the principles which I believe that a society such as we live in would desire to be put into effect.
I am reminded, as this comes from the same stable as the Industrial Relations Bill, of what the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack said. He quoted the verse of a hymn which attracted my attention—the hymn which says:Ye fearful saints, fresh courage takeThe clouds ye so much dreadAre big with mercy and shall breakWith blessings on your head.That was an unfortunate choice, because that hymn records the inscrutability and omniscience which alone gives comfort to anybody. The first verse explains that:God moves in a mysterious way "—as does the present Government. But it goes on to say:He plants His footsteps in the seaAnd rides upon the storm "—which may be all right for the Almighty but is a dangerous exercise for a Government that does not know its way around these matters. If there is a particular 1051 hymn which I would venture to quote, it would be:Turn back 0 man, forsake thy foolish ways ",which is more appropriate for this particular occasion.
Up to now there has been, it seems to me, an overwhelming case made out against this Bill; an overwhelming case that rests, first, upon the proposition that there is no need for registration, no need for the particular restraints now envisaged; that there is plain iniquity in the exacerbation of feelings, in the compulsion for registration with the police; that there is increased insecurity, and no right of citizenship after the end of five years. There is, in fact, the assumption made, quite clearly—and I will now voice it—that the Commonwealth citizen, when he comes to this country, is tolerated for the services he can render and not cherished or welcomed for the enrichment he can bring. This, to me, is a complete and absolute condemnation of this Bill, and I very much hope, whatever it may cost in face-saving, that the Government will look again at this Bill and recognise that it has attracted to itself the overwhelming opposition of every community relations group and every section of the community, to say nothing of the British Council of Churches. It has alienated the feelings of Commonwealth Governments in Africa: It will not do any of the things that it is intended to do, and it would be very much the best thing if it were relegated to the place from which it never should have emerged, as a Bill which is unnecessary, immoral and unjust.
§ 6.38 p.m.
THE EARL OF BALFOUR
My Lords, although I have very much enjoyed listening to the noble Lord, Lord Soper, I feel that his gloom over this Bill has a very shallow foundation. Laws have to be made to protect society; and this Immigration Bill is no exception. It protects the persons who are United Kingdom citizens, and at the same time restricts entry into the United Kingdom of people who are not patrial within the meaning of this Bill. The Bill lays down the conditions upon which a person who is not patrial may enter or stay in this country, and it lays down in law that non-United Kingdom subjects must behave themselves—which again protects our 1052 society. If they refuse to behave themselves and end up in the courts on a serious charge for a misdemeanour I see no reason whatever why they should not be deported.
Before a person from the Commonwealth can emigrate to Britain lie must obtain a certificate of patriality and obey the emigration rules. On the face of it, your Lordships may wonder what this certificate of patriality may involve. In the Oxford Dictionary the word "patrial" is described as "rare". But for a person who can claim to be a British subject, a stamp on his passport to this effect would be all that he requires; and if he has reasonable proof, he would be able to obtain this certificate before he left a Commonwealth country or he has ample time to obtain the certificate during his first few months in Britain.
The Immigration Bill in its present form has been available to your Lordships for a very short time and I have not had time to study it fully. But in my research it was interesting to note that the then Conservative Government, under my great uncle, Arthur James Balfour, took powers in 1905 to control the admission to this country of alien immigrants. Commonwealth citizens were not controlled then, and even under this Bill they still have rights and privileges that aliens do not have. The Bill establishes for Commonwealth and alien immigrants a single system of control, which is an important step in establishing that public policy is not dominated by public opinion. Let me stress that I am confident that my noble friend Lord Windlesham and the Government will be absolutely fair to all immigrants, irrespective of colour or creed. I am equally confident that what my noble friend has said represents the highest principles of the Conservative Government and that those principles will remain unchanged.
Although I have a tremendous respect for the draftsmen who prepare Bills for legislation, there is one matter in this Bill that I find intriguing. So far as I can gather from the provisions in Clause 13(3)—the number 13 being a lucky one for some—under certain circumstances a person shall not be entitled to appeal against a refusal of leave to enter the United Kingdom so long, as he is in the United Kingdom. Therefore, such a person would have to return to the country 1053 that he had left and then launch his appeal. That will give the lawyers a few headaches, because if they win a case they can claim their expenses when the person arrives in this country; but if they lose they will have to claim their fees from a person in a foreign country.
Some noble Lords may feel that this Bill is against the interests of the Commonwealth. But there is one very important point; namely, that a British girl may marry an alien, bring him back to the United Kingdom and make him a British subject. So far as I can gather under present legislation had she married a Commonwealth citizen she would not necessarily be able to make her husband a United Kingdom citizen. This Bill will alter that. Another matter which causes me a little concern is the reference to an unregistered ship in Clause 2(2). I wonder whether any of your Lordships have ever heard of anyone being born on an unregistered British ship. The Royal Navy have not had women on board their ships since 1797. No merchant ship or fishing vessel is unregistered; and except for the smallest dinghies I do not know of any yachts that are unregistered.
It is also important to note that the Governments of most Commonwealth countries place far more restrictions on us than we do on their people. With the exception of Australia. New Zealand and possibly Canada, Commonwealth countries will allow a temporary work permit for a United Kingdom citizen only to a technically qualified person. The permit would expire when there were sufficient of their own nationals qualified to do the work. Furthermore, my Lords, unless a person or his parents were born in that country, or the person is comfortably well off and prepared to invest a large part of his wealth in the country, it is unlikely that he would be allowed to become domiciled there. Incidentally, the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, made an excellent maiden speech, covering a wide field extending from Europe to Australia. Another point which should not be overlooked is that it is much easier to get money out of Rhodesia than, say, India or Pakistan.
Appendix A to Schedule 1 of the Bill alters the British Nationality Act 1948. It states in the Appendix that a person 1054 wishing to be domiciled in this country must have a sufficient knowledge of the English language. I feel that to be a very important point, especially as he would be asked to take the Oath of Allegiance. The Oath starts with the words, " I swear by Almighty God …". There are so many religions in the British Commonwealth—Hindu, Sikh, Moslem, Buddhist et cetera—that I wonder what form their Oaths of Allegiance take. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, stressed that we were being unfair to coloured immigrants, and that they could not claim patriality. It was said that we were favouring white citizens. As a Scot (I wonder how many of your Lordships have been in Scotland at Hogmanay when we drink the famous old toast, "To absent friends, wherever they may be, on land, sea or air; and a safe return to their fireside, should they so desire") if there were any Scotsman or son of a Scotsman who wanted to get back to Scotland, by God! I would give him preference over anybody else.
Reference was made to local authority housing. Speaking for the moment as a county councillor, let me say that, all things being equal, if someone outside East Lothian wanted a house, I, as a county councillor, would always make certain that a person who lived in the county would get one first; and I do not think that anyone could ever blame me for doing so. It was stressed that a coloured immigrant might have a fear of the police. For many years the Commonwealth was governed by the United Kingdom. In the few years that Commonwealth countries have not been so governed, has the honour of their own police forces gone down to the extent that they are no longer trusted at all? My Lords, I cannot believe that.
Complaint was made that it was terrible to ask people to be domiciled in this country for five years before they could take out citizenship rights. If they behave themselves, they can stay; but if they do not, then, just as one would with a guest in one's own home, they can be asked to leave. I do not see why we should not be in a position to ask people to leave if they come here and do not behave. There is nothing in this Bill that leads me to having any misgivings. 1055 The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, has down a Motion that this Billadversely affects the existing rights of Commonwealth citizens legally resident in this country.If they are in this country, I do not think that they would be affected by the provisions in this Bill. Therefore, I feel that I should like to uphold the Government completely over this Bill and oppose Lord O'Hagan's Motion.
§ 6.50 p.m.
TILE LORD BISHOP OF COVENTRY
My Lords, I have sat in this House on many occasions listening to debates and have been swayed to and fro by excellent arguments for and against. But on this occasion I have listened and I am bound to say that I have found the arguments against this Bill completely unanswerable. To me they are extremely strong. Indeed, if I came into this debate uncertain on which side to vote, whether for or against the Second Reading, I would not be uncertain any longer. I have not heard any arguments that have persuaded me that this Bill is anything but inadequate and, in some cases, potentially dangerous.
I speak to-day against a background of a long-time involvement in race relations. For eight years I have been deeply involved in the building of a better understanding between the races in the area of Warwickshire. I am happy to say that my diocese was among the first to employ a whole-time chaplain for community relations. His task—a great one—has been to interpret communities to each other and to ensure that the many valuable contributions which communities coming from outside this country have to give to this nation shall be creatively and usefully made use of; equally, one of his other main tasks has been to remove the prejudices which exist in the minds, alas! of very many people in this country towards the new citizens from the Commonwealth.
One of my happiest tasks as a Bishop has been to spend many hours in the homes of Indian, Pakistani and West Indian families. I have also been present in their social clubs and services of worship. It is against this background of quiet, long-term building up of a better understanding between communities that I view this Bill with something approaching dismay. As I have read 1056 Many of the clauses of the Bill, I have come to the conclusion that it is not merely unnecessary but could be immensely harmful to community relations. Already, as I have gone around among immigrant families, I have sensed an atmosphere of insecurity and fear among the non-white population, caused by the prospect of this Bill's implementation. This insecurity is already leading to considerable instability and unrest. These families are already beginning to feel that they are being treated as a second-class community in this country and that the dice is being loaded heavily against them. Already many of the more thoughtful members of the non-white community are beginning to feel that in this Bill a distinction has been drawn between Commonwealth citizens who are accorded patrial status, the overwhelming majority of whom as we have already heard will be white, and those who are predominantly non-white. It is to me strange that upon the introduction of this Bill, the country was assured by the Home Secretary that… it is enormously important to reassure the immigrants already here … that they will have no loss of status under the Bill, that in this country there will be no first and second-class citizens."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 8/3/71; col. 44.]But, alas! a detailed examination of the Bill belies these assurances.
Before entering into some of the clauses which seem to me to be liable to give unnecessary offence, I make one more point of general significance. I ask myself whether this Bill is really necessary from the point of view of restricting immigration into this country. I myself am not against restriction but there are already in existence restrictive powers which have quite recently been used. I refer to the reduction of the number of Voucher holders from 4,000 to 2,000 a year. I wonder whether we are not in this Bill taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut. As I travel about, I meet a lot of people who seem to believe that unless something drastic is done soon, this country will be largely populated by coloured people. But what are the facts? The figures show that there is now very little new immigration on vouchers. The bulk of the immigration is of dependants coming to join the heads of families already here. Therefore, the numbers of holders of vouchers coming into this country has 1057 gone down from 28,000-odd in 1963 to roughly 4,000 in 1970, while the number of dependants entering has gone down slightly, from 27,000 in 1963 to, roughly, 23,000 in 1970—not a very large figure compared to the total population. So the total effect of refusing the renewal of work permits could not affect more than 4,000 people per year, plus their potential dependant entry, while leaving unaffected the larger flow of dependants of immigrants already here and the already existing coloured population of one and a quarter million, which cannot be reduced. It may interest exponents of the so-called flood of immigrants into this country that in actual, sober fact more people have emigrated from this country since the war than have immigrated into it.
Then I come to the question of control. While I accept the necessity for some control on the number of persons entering the country, I am fundamentally opposed, as other speakers in your Lordships' House to-day have been, to the issue of work permits which tie a person to some particular employment in some particular place for a specified period, because I believe that these provisions will expose immigrants to arbitrary pressures from employers and also, possibly, from other employees—a point that has not been mentioned up to now. I would prefer that a permit should be granted for a specific character of employment rather than for a specific job. Furthermore, I believe that this insistence on the renewal of a work permit at the end of the first twelve months and then, thanks to an Amendment accepted in another place, after three years, would turn Commonwealth immigrants into migrant labour, with all the social consequences that this involves. Unhappy family problems such as are to be seen in other parts of Europe would inevitably arise. Constant mobility would prevent continuity of children's education and the immigrants' family life would be largely undermined.
As a Bishop concerned about pastoral and domestic happiness, I find myself particularly apprehensive about those clauses in the Bill which affect family life—those, for instance, in regard to deportation, by which a whole family will have to leave the country when the head of a household is convicted. May 1058 I say that I was not completely satisfied by the assurance offered by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham that deep consideration would be given to each case. I believe that the family of the deportee should be entitled to make their own choice as to whether to leave, and the law should safeguard that right. Still on the subject of deportation, I feel that the individual should be given the right to appeal, and that the Home Secretary should be required to state his reasons why he thinks the deportee should leave. Furthermore, I believe with all my heart that the right of appeal should be allowed in this country. It seems to me unfair that while a person claiming to be a patrial or holding a work permit can appeal before he is removed from the country, a person in some other category, or a dependant claiming a right to enter whose entry is refused, can appeal only once he has been removed from the United Kingdom. That seems to be unfair.
Another point I would make, as a Bishop whose ministry must inevitably be concerned with people's welfare, is the widespread unhappiness, insecurity and fear that have been aroused as a result of those requirements in the Bill which state that every non-patrial immigrant is required to register with the police. Your Lordships have already heard a great deal on this subject, but I hope that we shall hear a great deal more, because, though I pay high respect, as have others, to the police, I am afraid that I cannot agree with the otherwise excellent maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, when he likened the immigrant going to the police to the man who goes to ask for a licence for a gun. There is all the difference in the world between the timid immigrant going to the police and the somewhat secure squire asking for a gun licence: the two could not possibly be more distinct.
Furthermore, as a Bishop who again, if I may say so, is deeply concerned about the welfare of the immigrant community, I am bound to say that I felt considerable unhappiness as I read Clause 30, relating to the return of the immigrant who is suffering from mental illness. Here again I seem to see a bias of treatment—indeed, I come across it again and again throughout this Bill—against those who are not white. If a white person suffers. 1059 from mental illness, he receives treatment in this country, where treatment of mental illness is among the best in the world. But if a non-white immigrant suffers from mental illness, he is forced to go back to a part of the world where, in many cases, the treatment of mental sickness leaves a lot to be desired. Can one really say that this is treating the immigrant with that fairness which one has come to expect from the people of this great nation?
Yet another point that causes me considerable worry in this Bill, and in the pastoral scene, is that part of the Bill which relates to the proposed system of controls on the family life of immigrants. At present, Commonwealth immigrants have a statutory right to bring in their wives and children. But it appears that in future they will be able to do so only if they are able and willing to support and accommodate them without recourse to public funds. I find this provision unsatisfactory and undesirable, because it is open to a wide variety of interpretations and to the possibility of abuse. For instance, what happens to somebody who is temporarily laid off from work through no fault of his own? I can only hope that such a man will be treated with great sympathy and understanding; but it seems to me that under the present provisions he would not be allowed to be joined by his wife and children. Furthermore, I am perturbed by the very wide discretionary and administrative powers left to the Home Secretary and immigration officers. I was going to say a word or two about the rather, as I thought, iniquitous clause about a man in the Armed Forces not having his five years regarded, so that when he finishes he has to start all over again. But I am delighted to know that in another place an Amendment was accepted to alter that.
To summarise my reactions to this Bill, I am bound to say that, as a Bishop concerned with pastoral dealings, and with people who have come into this country and who are much needed for the work force of this land, I feel that the general temper of this Bill will do much to worsen and put backward the quiet, long-term, carefully built-up work of conciliation. and the building of good 1060 community relations which have been in existence in this land during past years.
In closing, I cannot help feeling that there are in this country far too many people who still regard immigrants as an unhappy necessity; who treat them as second-class citizens, and who—I must put it bluntly—would not be at all unhappy if all of them were to be asked to go home within the course of the next few years. I am not saying that this Bill has been motivated by the pressure of those people, but I must say that parts of it go a long way towards satisfying the desires of those people. This seems to me a total misunderstanding of what in past centuries has been one of the glories of this country—the ability to absorb other races and the people of other nations, using the particular contribution which they have brought with them to enrich our own, so that together we have formed a finer community than was in existence before they came. We must endeavour to take from people the purely negative attitude to immigration and supplant it with a positive concept of a multi-cultural, multi-racial family, vibrant with life and rich with manysided culture. My fear, my Lords, is that many of the clauses of this Bill, which I feel were written into it by men of good will, who believed that they were doing a good service to this country, will in actual fact lead to a tragic worsening of relations, and that the Bill will do much to increase the insecurity which coloured people living here already feel. Unless the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack works a miracle of conversion in my mental thinking, I am bound to say that I shall vote against the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ 7.5 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I am sure that there is one sentiment at least which unites all of us in this House, and that is our feeling of heartfelt sympathy for the two noble Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, to whom it has fallen to sponsor this unfortunate legislation. Both of them are men of reputation for liberal and sympathetic views, and I cannot believe that either of them can be really happy in the task which has fallen to him to-day: because, as I hope to demonstrate in a moment. 1061 I believe that this is a Bill born of expediency out of muddle-headedness, and that is not a very satisfactory lineage. Its origin no doubt lies in the Conservative Election undertaking to do something about immigration. But, as others have pointed out, including the most reverend Primate, in a speech to which we all listened with the deepest attention, the Election undertakings, including those of the Prime Minister himself, referred basically to the numbers of immigrants and to their pressure on housing and other social services.
This Bill has been criticised in all the speeches, I think, but three to which we have so far listened. It has been criticised outside the House by the Church, by the organisations concerned with community welfare, and also, very interestingly, most severely criticised in the Report on the Bill published by the Bow Group. As we have already been told, the Bill has nothing to do with numbers, for the very good reason that no further legislation is required. The Home Secretary already has all the powers that he needs to control the rate of entry and to vary it for different classes of entrant. All that the Bill does in respect of numbers, as we have already had indicated to us, is to add quite considerably, even without the aid of certain grandparents who were eliminated in another place, to the number of those who in future will be able to enter as of right under the patrial clauses, which, of course, have their unavoidable racialist undertones, even if that was never intended.
If legislation were needed, it is of course in the field which this Bill does not clarify, but still further confuses; namely, as my noble friend Lord Soper indicated. and I think also the noble Lord, Lord Wade, the field of citizenship. Here, as we know, we have the legacy of the British Nationality Act 1948, which assumed that the British Commonwealth of Nations had some meaning. This Bill makes it plain that its sponsors have abandoned the thoughts underlying the 1948 Act; but they have not been sufficiently courageous or clear-headed to make a proper job of it. Our citizenship laws do not seem to have figured very largely at Brussels or Luxembourg. But the sooner we can have clarification in this field, I believe the better, because at present, in terms of our proposed entry into the Economic Community, I do not 1062 believe that anyone can say with assurance just what a British national is. This is something that we shall need to know, and maybe we can be helped by my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner or by the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack. I do not think that this Bill does anything to help us.
The sensible and statesmanlike thing to have done would have been to face the citizenship muddle whereby some people possessing United Kingdom passports can, nevertheless, be denied entry, while others without them have the right to walk straight in. This Bill, in the patrial clauses, to my mind positively adds to the confusion, instead of seeking to clear the situation, where we are at present open to every charge of ill-faith, hypocrisy and racial discrimination by retaining the status of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies from which the meaning has been eroded. So this is our first charge against the Bill: that it is irrelevant to the political pledges of the Party opposite, and that by failing to deal with citizenship it makes an intelligent and consistent immigration policy virtually impossible.
Now I do not for one moment deny that the 1968 Act to control immigration failed in the same way, but the circumstances, as we all recall, were entirely different and provide no grounds of excuse for not legislating properly now. That Act, which caused many of us extreme anguish, was passed as emergency legislation to meet a particular situation at that moment of time. But now we face no emergency: on the contrary, as many noble Lords have said, immigration has been reduced to a trickle. There is therefore complete freedom to take a proper look at this root problem of citizenship. So one must look rather more deeply into the possible reasons for this failure. There is no emergency, there is no lack of time: what, therefore, is the reason for bringing in a Bill which everyone at the Home Office must surely know is a botched job? Apart from the political calculations to which I have referred, I cannot help feeling that there is something rather more sinister. The Bill is not based on uncontrollable numbers swamping our urban centres: we have dealt with that. This Bill is not based on the premise that we must not have too many Commonwealth immigrants for settlement. It is saying to them, " Unless you have a 1063 British ancestor we really do not want you as a permanent immigrant at all ".
The Government have been understandably shy about spelling this out plainly in public, but I think it is our duty to make it clear not only to the British public but also to our Commonwealth colleagues, because I believe this is what the Bill is really about. I must say I should have had a greater respect for Mr. Maudling—for whom I have a very warm regard—if in the later stages of the debate in another place he had not tried to pretend otherwise; because in the final stages he was still pretending that Commonwealth citizenship meant something. But, my Lords, just what does it mean? As the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, said in his very moving speech, what is left is the right, if you have managed to enter this country at all, to vote, to stand for Parliament at Westminster and—I stand to be corrected here—to be considered for the magistracy. You have to get over the barbed wire fence first and you are subject to deportation thereafter on conditions to which Commonwealth citizens have not hitherto been subject. There is no absolute right to register after five years. If you have managed to get your work permit extended for long enough, you will then join the queue and face the same tests as aliens. Your allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen will get you no further than if you owed no allegiance, unless you also happen to have the right ancestor. That it is the basic intention of the Bill to transform Commonwealth immigrants into migrant workers is our sharpest criticism of it.
Most industrialised countries have people from poorer territories coming to work in them. They can be treated as migrants or welcomed as settlers. The social consequences are vastly different, as the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, must appreciate. The great majority of aliens who come here to work do so as migrants, and have always done so. They come to earn money either to send or take home and, after some time, to return home themselves. But the great majority of Commonwealth immigrants, apart from students, come here to settle. They want to establish family life; they want to set up a home. It is this which will be made so much harder for them by 1064 this Bill. This, to me, is the really basic and crucial objection to this Bill. But the sponsors of the Bill seem to wish to pretend that this is of no consequence. I should like to quote from a letter sent in reply to one of her constituents by Mrs. Sally Oppenheim, Member of Parliament for Gloucester, because this illustrates so perfectly what I have been arguing and it is much more unconsciously revealing than some of the ministerial set speeches. Ministers, after all, have to be on their guard.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, I am not quite clear what letter it is that the noble Baroness is proposing to quote. Is it a letter from Mrs. Oppenheim or a letter sent to Mrs. Oppenheim by a constituent, and does she have the permission of either or both parties to do so?
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, quite frankly, I have not consulted Mrs. Oppenheim, but her constituent, to whom the letter was sent, was prepared to have it circulated and quoted.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
My Lords, like the noble Baroness, I have been a Member of this House for a fairly short time. Might I ask whether it is in order to quote in this House without the permission of a Member of another place something which he or she has written?
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I believe that one is right in saying that the recipient of a letter has possession of it, and if the recipient of a letter which has been written to him on a public matter is willing to have it quoted, it is possible to quote from it. I am sorry if the noble Lord does not wish to hear the argument. I will paraphrase it.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, not at all; I recall quite clearly the reason for the rule about not quoting speeches made by Members of another place: it is that to do so might cause a conflict between the two Houses. If Members of one House were permitted to criticise Members of another House who had no opportunity to reply, then an unfortunate situation might be created. I think we must leave this to the noble Baroness, but if she is proposing to quote from a letter, without permission, written by a person in another place, a Member of Parliament representing her constituency, 1065 I should have thought this was not a practice in line with that which we usually pursue.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, may I enter a plea to the noble Baroness? I am not seeking to speak other than as an ordinary Member of this House in doing so, but as one who has been a Member of Parliament of one House or the other since 1938 and a Member of this House, if the noble Baroness will forgive me, on and off for quite a long time, may I ask whether she would reconsider her attitude towards this matter? I do not recollect ever hearing direct references to anybody other than a Minister in actual words, even though not contained in speeches, for the most stringent tradition of this House is that we do not attack Members of Parliament in another place. Ministers, of course, by exception, are fair game, and so probably are leaders of the Opposition. It is a most stringent rule and I wonder whether the noble Baroness might not reconsider an action which may not be strictly in accordance with the best traditions of this House. I do not claim any right for saying this except as one Member to another.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, in view of what noble Lords have said, I do not want to do anything which is detrimental to good feeling in this House. All I can say is that the letter came to me as circulated by a most reputable church organisation and was presumably sent to them for the enlightenment and information of members of the public. I am content not to quote directly from it or to use the actual words. All I will say is that two points emerged very clearly from this correspondence. One was that no distinction was to be made between aliens and Commonwealth citizens and that what had worked very well for aliens in the past was quite good enough for Commonwealth citizens in the future. The other thing was that it did not matter that they had no security for the family through not knowing whether or not their working permit would be renewed, because they would not be here permanently anyway. It seems to me from the way it was expressed in that letter that the cat was jumping well and truly out of the bag.
I will not pursue this particular matter further, but I want to pursue the sub 1066 stance of it. What is proposed in this Bill is to take away the security which Commonwealth citizens, once they have arrived here and in the limited numbers in which they are now permitted to arrive, now have. This is what the Government are proposing to remove. As he right reverend Prelate has quite properly indicated, from that flows all kinds of social consequences which will be detrimental to he stability of family life. This will occur at the early stages which are of crucial importance for people coming here to settle and try to adjust themselves to a new form of life. In the first year, they will not know at all what is going to happen. Then, as a result of the Amendment accepted in the other place, they will have a respite for three years, after which the hideous uncertainty will raise its head again: what is going to happen at the end of the four years? Are they going to be allowed to stay then, or is that the point at which the axe is going to fall—because if they are to be allowed to stay longer they will at least have the right to apply for registration?
These uncertainties can be extremely damaging, both socially and for the individual. What does it mean? Most of these people come thousands of miles; the great majority of them come with a wish to settle. There are some who come as single men whose aim is to make money to send or take back home to set up a small business in India or Pakistan. They are a minority. If a man comes to this country in the circumstances which this Bill is now going to introduce, for the first time for these people, he will not be able to settle a family because he will not be able to raise a mortgage; he will not be able to take out insurance at normal rates; he will not be able to make hire-purchase agreements for buying furniture, and so on—not to mention another grave uncertainty about his children's education. How can the parent plan the education of his child if he does not know whether he is going to be here for twelve months, four years or indefinitely? How can the child adjust itself, not knowing if its father is to stay here for one year or four years, or indefinitely? It is this kind of consideration which moves those of us who are very much disturbed about this Bill.
1067 For whom is this being done? It is not for those who are already settled here. There are some difficulties about them, but in general terms we have received assurances, which I accept in entire good faith, from the Home Secretary that the intention is that those who are here already shall not be detrimentally affected. There are one or two points which justify the particular passage in the Motion tabled by my noble friend Lord O'Hagan. Broadly speaking, we accept that those already here will not be adversely affected, except in one or two particulars. Therefore in this matter we are concerned only with the future.
Calculations have varied and, as my noble friend Lord Hunt said, one does not want to play the "numbers game". On the calculations that we have made, the people who would be affected by this Bill would be of the order of 4,000 coming in with their dependants, who might number some 15,000. In other words, whatever calculation you make, give or take a few thousands one way or the other, the total is infinitesimal in our present social scene. Nevertheless, we are going to have this Bill and therefore it seems to me that I was right in suggesting that the Bill makes no sense at all unless the Government are in effect saying to these people, "Come in to work for a short time because we happen to need you on the buses, in the hospitals, or wherever it may be; but as permanent settlers in this country, keep out! We do not want you; you are not welcome." We are not a rich enough, a generous enough society to welcome even this small number of Commonwealth immigrants on terms which will make for peaceful and stable family adjustment. When I say this I am thinking of friends of mine, Commonwealth immigrants—people like Learie Constantine, David Pitt, and the rest, who have very much enriched our lives. Those of your Lordships who had the privilege of listening to my noble friend Lord Constantine's maiden speech will, I trust, have his words in the forefront of your minds when considering this Bill, otherwise your applause on that occasion will have been rather hollow.
There is much in the Bill that we shall have to examine at later stages, but I would remind your Lordships (not much 1068 attention has so far been paid to this point) that the Bill should be read with the two sets of rules which accompany it: the Draft Immigration Rules Control on Entry and the Draft Immigration Rules Control After Entry. It is impossible to appreciate the full flavour of the Bill without the "sauce" of the accompanying rules. I am well aware that many of them, though not all, are a carry-over from earlier rules and regulations. Where they have been altered it appears to me that it is almost always for the worse. On some points the Home Secretary has bowed to criticism, or, as the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has told us, has promised further consideration. Naturally we are very glad that he has done so, and we are very grateful for the concessions which have been made, some of which frankly, fully justify our reception of the Bill.
If I may say this to the right reverend Prelate on the question of mental illness: assurances have been given that the administration of the rules will be such that the interests of the patient will always be put first. This is a heartening assurance to have. While certain concessions have been made, including certain improvements in the right of appeal, there are still matters which need clarification. One of the things that I am sure everybody appreciates has disturbed people intensely is the proposal for family deportation. We are glad to have assurances from the Home Secretary that there will be some right of appeal, but I am not clear what the grounds of an appeal might be in his proposed Amendment. No doubt this will be revealed to us before long. There remain wide discretionary powers that are left, not only to the Home Secretary but also to immigration officers, as a study of the rules reveals.
In our view, there are two things, at least, which we must endeavour to do to improve this Bill at its later stages, and there are many others that I hope to see. I wish to stress two which have been mentioned already. One is that we should establish in the statute the right or a legally settled immigrant to bring in his wife and children. That should not be left to any dubiety at all. If a man is allowed to come in legally and properly, and to stay here for settlement, he must 1069 have the absolute right to bring his wife and children. I cannot believe that the Government intend otherwise. But the statutory undertaking is not in the Bill. This has led to a great deal of apprehension, and I hope that this omission can be made good.
The other ground of apprehension is Clause 29, the repatriation clause. Although we have had assurances from the present Home Secretary that repatriation under this clause will be voluntary and not forced, there is no undertaking in the statute that this will be so, and I feel strongly that it would help, in community relations and in general reassurance, if that could be established by statute. Your Lordships may ask me: " Why do you pick these two particular provisions, when there are others which also cause disquiet?" I must be quite blunt: it is partly because they were referred to in the Third Reading debate in another place by Mr. Enoch Powell, who welcomed the potentiality, the possibility, for further action by administrative means under the Bill as it now stands in both these particulars; the limitation of bringing in the family of people settled here, and the possibility of repatriating people in far larger numbers than I am sure is in the minds of the present Administration. But, after all, we must legislate for possible other Administrations. This kind of remark in another place has, I know, caused deepest disquiet.
TE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, perhaps I may try to help the noble Baroness about this. I speak in the presence of the noble and learned Lord who speaks on legal questions, but I do not think Clause 29 gives any power at all to repatriate anybody who is not already wanting to go. The only provisions in the Bill, or in the existing law, for repatriation otherwise than by consent are contained in the deportation clauses. Not merely is it not the intention of this Government to use this clause for forcing repatriation, but it would be illegal for them to do so if the Bill came into law.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I am most happy to have the noble and learned Lord's assurances because of the references by Mr. Powell to the very wide ambit of this clause as he inter- 1070 preted it. It is only right that we should ask for firm assurances on this point because, there is no doubt whatever, that there is disquiet about it. Therefore it is for us to allay this disquiet. The general impression which this Bill has made, even if it is not intended to affect those who are already settled here, has been very grave indeed, as we have been told by people of considerable authority from all quarters of the House.
My Lords, I will conclude by quoting from the Bow Group—not from a Labour Party document but from a Conservative document—which I felt summed up so well what I myself thought about this Bill. The report said:No one would deny the need to control immigration. Many would deny the morality and political wisdom of a policy which sets out to remove inequality but in fact creates two classes of citizen and adds to potential causes of friction in the community. In doing so it weakens the claim of the whole of society to be a just and tolerant one, and of the governing Party to be one of compassion, for it seeks to appease hatreds rather than destroy the foundations of tension and mistrust upon which they are built, and in so doing may retard the progress towards real assimilation which is vital if the whole community is to enjoy peace and freedom under the law.Those words were written by a young lawyer, a lecturer at the Inns of Court School of Law. One can only hope that his thoughtfulness and idealism will touch the hearts and minds of his political leaders.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, the Home Secretary in another place, in introducing this Bill on Second Reading, made such singular claims with regard to its place in history that I felt obliged to begin my speech by depriving him of some of his illusions. He wished it to be logical and definitive in its field. I suggest that within a Parliament or two we shall have more logical legislation on this subject. He also suggested that the complexity of the present Bill is due to the fact that it replaces a system that was itself complex. I suggest that it is complex because it has removed nothing from present complexities, but has accepted them and then added new distinctions of its own. The subject has now become so complex, the overlapping categories bear so little relation to real distinctions, that I am tempted to believe that there must be 1071 some theologians within the Government or behind the Government who are responsible for legislation in this field. Nor is this complexity necessary, and this can best be appreciated by considering how simple it could have been.
In the field of citizenship we need the following categories. We need, I suggest a United Kingdom citizenship which applies exclusively to the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. At the present the best we have is citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies, which means that no one is aware of the boundaries of his own citizenship since no one is at any moment aware which of our colonies remain to us in that capacity and which just have acquired, or may next acquire, independence which is on continuous offer to them. We need, secondly, a category for the citizens of our colonies; and since in practice the 1968 Commonwealth Immigrants Act has relatively already put at a disadvantage the occupants of such a category against the occupants of a category of United Kingdom citizenship, even while continuing to include them in the same description, I therefore see no objection to acknowledging a distinction which for practical purposes we have already made. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, is looking a little puzzled. The distinction that I meant (if he was looking puzzled at that) is the distinction between citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who were born in this country or had a parent or a grandparent born in this country, and those of whom that is not true. We need a category, thirdly, for those who are not citizens, and these of course might be called aliens.
We need also to know what citizenship is—and basically political rights in the United Kingdom should surely go only with United Kingdom citizenship—and to know what are the conditions for acquiring it. And if we wish to give privileges to some countries rather than to others, surety we should do this by making access to United Kingdom citizenship easier for them by means of privileges under a quota system, as we have done in the cases of Malta and Gibraltar, rather than by the perpetuance of different categories of citizenship. As Mr. Enoch Powell vividly put it in another place (and I, too, assure noble Lords that this will be my only reference 1072 to the right honourable gentleman) citizenship is a whole concept and should not have bits torn off it, some to be handed to one group and some to another.
The anomalies which exist in our laws, and which this Bill perpetuates, are indeed astonishing. Even if the category of Commonwealth citizens is itself not yet an anachronism, it is surely an anomaly that Commonwealth citizens should have voting rights in this country. Their position is now made even more absurd by the fact that non-patrials, those serving a probationary period of residence here and liable to deportation during that period, nevertheless have during that period the right to vote and sit in Parliament, unlike the aliens with whom they are supposed to have been put on the same footing. It is no less absurd, I suggest, that citizens of Eire, although they themselves are not British subjects, nevertheless are treated by us as if they were British subjects to the extent of having voting rights immediately on entry in this country. It is curious that we, who have always taken such particular care to see that we do not reward individuals in this country for their services to the State in any way that would increase their power in the State, nevertheless offer political privileges to great groups of foreign nationals.
Of course it is clear how these problems have arisen. They have arisen because we wished to cling on to the idea of ourselves as the governor and possessor of an Empire, even when that Empire was breaking up into independent countries. We paid the punishment for this folie de grandeur in 1968 when the Kenyan Asians began to draw on the promises we had made, and we were forced into the ignominy of dishonouring them. I am therefore delighted that the Government have not sought to reinstate into the Bill the provision whereby a Commonwealth citizen was to have a right of abode in this country if he had a grandparent who was born here. I respect the attempt that represented to value the positive emotional ties between this country and countries of the Commonwealth, and not the negative ones. But essentially it was just a repetition of our habit of making Imperial promises which stand only for as long as they are not taken up. And 1073 such promises, as I see it, are the promises of an impostor.
Nor did the authors of this Bill hold in mind the effects of our entry into the Common Market, as I thought the hesitations or at least the reservations of the Home Secretary, when dealing with questions relating to the compatibility of this relationship with obligations under the Treaty of Rome, made quite clear. Perhaps the noble and learned Lord who ordinarily sits on the Woolsack can let us know, when he winds up, if indeed, as I believe has been suggested, we are to have a White Paper dealing with this aspect.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, perhaps I can do it now since my noble and learned friend is not in fact sitting on the Woolsack at the moment. The Home Secretary has said very clearly that there will be no need to amend the immigration Bill if Britain joins the E.E.C. It is, however, true to say that there are a number of provisions affecting the free movement of labour and it is the intention of the Government to bring out a paper summarising the position as soon as possible.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for confirming that information on the subject will be released. What I have so far said has been to do with possibilities that the Bill has missed in the field of defining our citizenship in a manner suited to our position in the modern world. I say "Goodbye" to them now, confident that within a Parliament or two we shall meet them again.
I should now like to turn to what the Bill provides, and I should like first to deal with two provisions of the Bill which have provoked considerable opposition. On the question of an appeals procedure for the dependants of heads of families against whom a deportation order has been made, I am satisfied with the concession that has been made and which was announced by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, this afternoon. On the question of police registration, in distinction to most noble Lords who have spoken this afternoon I am on the side of the Government. It seems to me that if a system is to be introduced whereby coloured immigrants seeking citizenship 1074 in this country have first to pass through a probationary five-year period, just as aliens have to do—and this is what the Bill proposes and therefore it is what we can assume will become law; and whether it should or should not be the system I shall come to in a moment—then I believe it would be highly dangerous to make a single exception for coloured immigrants in absolving them from the need to register with the police.
It might be better to have both aliens and coloured immigrants register with some other agency; I can easily imagine that to be a better arrangement. But to require aliens to register with the police, and then make an exception for coloured immigrants on the ground that they as a group must be spared this point of contact with our society, would be to give away the argument that we ourselves believe that the police behave in a prejudiced manner towards coloured immigrants. For it would stimulate the expectation that we would always support allegations against the police of racial prejudice if we once show, by such an Amendment as might be proposed to this Bill, that we believe such allegations in principle to be true. To cocoon the immigrants against requirements that all other citizens are subjected to cannot in my view be a constructive step towards integrating them into our society.
I should now like to turn to the question of whether or not the system that this Bill proposes to introduce, and which is perhaps the main proposal of this Bill, is a correct approach to the problem; namely, the proposal that coloured immigrants should serve a probationary period before becoming citizens. It seems to me that this depends upon whether you attach priority to making more sense of our citizenship laws and rights of entry, or whether you prefer to consider the problem as an aspect of our policy towards our coloured communities. And if you believe that it is more important to treat it as an aspect of the latter, and therefore oppose the provision, you must also, as I see it, believe that to make the distinction between patrials and non-patrials is an artificial way to divide a group, which will continue to have far more in common between these two parts than either part will have with the rest of the community. 1075 As I see it, that is the strongest ground on which opponents of this Bill can base their objections. But to believe that is to pass a commentary on the prospects for integration in this country, and I should now like to turn to a consideration of that question. It is the final part of my speech although I shall deal with it in a little detail.
It is as well to be plain about what we understand by "integration". I do not imagine that there is a Member of your Lordships' House, or of another place, who expects to make any serious cultural compromise with the very different cultural patterns of the immigrants who have entered this country. If there is to be integration it can only be as a result of the voluntary disintegration of the immigrant groups—except in so far as they maintain relatively innocuous and unprovocative sentimental practices, like the Scots in England or many groups in the United States of America, as a commemoration of their origins. But in principle each member of each group, as individuals and no longer as a group, will have to detach themselves from their culture and entrust themselves to ours, and that is a very big demand for us to make. It is not too difficult to appreciate that for a cultural group voluntarily to get rid of itself is a major step for it to take, and one which, in the absence of certain factors, it will not take. To show what I mean, I should like to refer to the United States of America.
The United States is a nation which has been constructed by its immigrants. Great immigrant groups from quite distinct cultural backgrounds met and competed in the United States, and there they compromised and integrated, and in doing so they created a new nation. Although they have had problems in reaching a cultural pattern that unites the nation, and although the persistence of certain European patterns in criminality and political ethics have caused considerable problems, by and large their integration of the European groups has been successful. I suggest that this is so because for the most part the groups knowingly and willingly cut themselves off from the countries they left, because no one group dominated over any other and therefore each knew that they had 1076 to compromise with the other, and perhaps above all because there was no host population with the wish and the tradition and the power to impose its culture on all immigrant groups alike.
Consider by contrast the position of this country. The immigrants into this country have to face an intricate and unyielding host culture, from which they can expect no serious compromises. They are not by any means cut off from their countries of origin: they easily keep in touch with them, and from time to time even give proofs of their emotional involvement in the fortunes of those countries. They can keep alive as something more than a fantasy the alternative that they may return one day to those countries. They come here not to found a new society, nor to abandon their culture, but, I believe, for economic reasons. Their groups are now large enough and strong enough for them to survive intact in our society. In short, I believe they will not integrate, not because of any inadequacy on their part, nor because prejudice makes it impossible for them to integrate, but simply because it was not their intention to integrate and because they do not have to integrate.
I believe that some noble Lords will agree with what I have said, and of those some will believe that in any case integration is not the goal they had in mind. Mr. Roy Jenkins has talked about the ideal of cultural diversity in an atmosphere of tolerance, but I believe that the consequences of no integration are likely to bring extremely serious problems. It is hard to see how the gap between immigrants and the native population will not widen rather than narrow, economically, educationally and politically. In their gravest form these problems lie in the future. One day we shall have to discuss them more fully. I wished only to mention that I believe they exist, and I wished to make it plain that the problem starts from the facts I have enumerated and not, as has so often been maintained, from the point at which prejudice puts in its ugly appearance. If I am correct in saying that the prospects for integration are slender, then in any attempt to treat coloured immigrants as if they were not coloured immigrants the Government have the advantage in idealism, but the opponents of the Bill, in arguing that they are different and should be treated 1077 differently, have the advantage of realism. That presents an intriguing political choice. On the whole, I tend to favour the Government. It seems to me that it will cause less confusion if the reduced number of coloured immigrants are treated like other probationary citizens, as a step towards the improvement of our citizenship laws, rather than as a special category, as a recognition of their separate status in our society. However, the Bill is more remarkable for the problems it evades than for those it deals with. It contains both good and objectionable features. I do not think it is a very important piece of legislation, although the subjects with which it deals are important. Nor do I think it will do any major harm. I shall not oppose it on Second Reading.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ BARONESS GAITSKELL
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Reay, will forgive me if I do not follow him in his arguments. I am afraid I have more sympathy with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and other members of the Liberal Party in this House; in fact I have more sympathy for those who are liberal without a capital "L". This is not the first piece of legislation which has its roots in the Conservative Government's Election Manifesto, and I wish I could recommend it on that account. I wonder whether I can apply the adjective patrial " to this Bill and say that I should feel happier about it if one of its ancestors were Lord Windlesham and not the Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, with his usual courtesy and competence, made the Bill sound much better than it is. At this moment I take issue with him about only one point that he made. He said—I believe I am right; I cannot remember his exact words—that the numbers of immigrants who are allowed to enter and the feelings about it must have equal regard, and that the social problems must keep pace with this. I agree with that. But there is nowhere in the world, I believe, where the social progress in the country keeps pace with the economic or the technical, and I may add, too, that the feelings on this particular issue are irrational.
This Bill is based on the myth of uncontrolled immigration; it promises to put an end to any future large-scale immi 1078 gration. The trouble about speaking at this point in the debate is that everyone has taken one's own quotations, and I am going to repeat the one that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, made from the Sunday Times. This myth is what the Sunday Times in a leader described as " phantom fears about a non-existent flood ". The result is a Bill which incorporates measures which I believe are unnecessary, or harsh, or both. I am afraid the Bill can only undermine some of the good work which is involved in achieving better community relations. The numbers of immigrants, as has been said so often during this debate, are now so strictly controlled that they should be publicised in order to reassure the public. I will give them once more. Last year there were only 4,000 work vouchers issued, and of those about half were for nurses and doctors. These figures, if they were publicised, really should exorcise the public's fears.
The history of immigration laws in Britain goes back, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade, said, to the unedifying 1914 Aliens Act. Subsequent immigration Acts in 1962, 1968 and 1969, by Labour and Conservative Governments, modified and disinfected the primitive and arbitrary system of control of that Act by introducing appeals procedures, and the 1969 Appeals Act was working pretty well. This Bill, however, extends controls, extends powers and reduces the rights of appeal. It increases the Home Secretary's power of deportation, extending this power to include the immigrants' dependants. As many speakers have said, Mr. Maudling, the Home Secretary, has a liberal reputation; but what happens if we get a really illiberal, harsh Home Secretary? The powers of the police to arrest or search without a warrant on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant are powers which should be reserved for grave crimes or in cases of infringing national security. Otherwise they are open to easy abuse.
Registration does not seem to many of us necessary at this time; but why should it take place at police stations, particularly when the police are overworked and are not keen on the task themselves? Why should it not take place at labour exchanges? No one has mentioned the labour exchange. What is wrong with it? The restrictions on the 1079 kind of job required and place of work puts the immigrant worker in a very weak position vis á vis his employer. The unscrupulous employer could make life unbearably insecure for an immigrant worker. I hope the Government will look at this matter again and try to change it. The prevailing theme is increased insecurity for immigrants, and this prevailing theme permeates the whole Bill. It becomes more and more unattractive to be a coloured immigrant in this country.
Nowhere do we acknowledge that immigrants are here for a change in their lives but also because we need them. I venture to say that if we go into the Common Market, as seems likely, we shall need more immigrants to obtain the economic growth we need to make our financial contribution. In France, immigrants from French overseas territories are welcome. Here Commonwealth citizens will no longer have an automatic right to settle after five years. They have a right to vote, unlike aliens—cold comfort in an unwelcome climate Only patrials, those with some direct, though tenuous, ancestral connection with the United Kingdom will be free from controls. The Commonwealth citizen must apply for citizenship after five years. So we see that existing rights are thus removed. There is one important exception to the Immigration Appeals Act 1969. The Home Secretary has power to deport an immigrant on the ground that he is not conducive to public good ". So the Home Secretary will have power to deport Commonwealth citizens, but not patrials, who are "not conducive to public good".
However, I welcome the statement that the Government have no plans for large-scale repatriation. So we see that some existing rights are removed: the automatic right of a Commonwealth citizen to register as a United Kingdom citizen after five years' residence is removed. Not only that, but if his application is turned down, he has no right of appeal. Altogether, my Lords, I think this is a very sad Bill. I am very tempted to vote against it, although there was only one occasion on which I voted against the Labour Government on the Second Reading of a Bill which had passed the Commons. I feel very strongly about this 1080 matter. I have not yet made up my mind about the Bill, but I shall certainly vote for Lord O'Hagan's Motion.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH
My Lords, before making my speech I should like to make a statement in relation to the inquiry I made at the beginning of to-day's proceedings. My inquiry was entirely procedural. I had discussed it with the officers of the House and with Lord O'Hagan and I particularly resented the implication of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, that I was endeavouring to stifle anyone putting down any Motion on anything at any time. I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, for answering the question. I would have said so at the time, but I did not want to turn the matter into a debate.
My Lords, in a way, I feel that I should apologise for speaking yet again on this particular subject and this particular aspect of the Bill for something like the tenth time in eight years. However, I think perhaps I need to declare my interest and my patriality or lack of patriality, by explaining that my grandfather was a younger son who went out to New Zealand in the 1880s to a younger son of a previous generation, and who by that time was Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He married a New Zealander and my father was born there. The family then moved to Australia where my father married an Australian, and I was born there. In fact, I was born in Australia in the year that the aforementioned grandfather returned to succeed his elder brother and come to your Lordships' House. Some of your Lordships, though not here to-day, may still remember him in the 'thirties. Not for nothing was he known as "Silly-Willy".
After my mother's death I was sent over here at the age of 11—a latter-day "little Lord Fauntleroy"—to be dragged up in the country, and after graduating from its senior university I served as a regular soldier for many years before returning to Australia. This all has a bearing on this business of patriality. I still have a small property in Australia and relations in both Australia and New Zealand, and I think I know how they feel and have felt over the years about the application of these Immigration Acts. I am not alone in this. The noble 1081 Earl, Lord Glasgow, has relations in New Zealand; the noble Earl, Lord Buckinghamshire, spent most of his life in Australia, and together with the noble Earl, Lord Ducie, was in the Royal Australian Air Force in the war. Many people know what I am talking about to-day. In another place you will find that the Labour Member for Feltham and the Conservative Member for Maldon were both Australian born.
I maintain that this country has only two 100 per cent. friends in the world—Australia and New Zealand—who over the years, in the counsels of the United Nations and in Commonwealth conferences have consistently backed this country, whether there was a Labour or Conservative Government. Were this country to be attacked to-morrow who, other than those two countries, could you cross your heart and bet would lift a finger to help? Not the Malta of Mintoff, not Pakistan, India, Zambia or Tanzania. Read the journals of those places and you will find what they think of this country.
Ever since the beginning of Australia and New Zealand it has been a traditional custom for the young of those countries to come to this country—" home " they used to call it. At the outset of their careers they came, the rich for holidays and education, the poorer for education and a working holiday; and they returned in their own good time our loyal supporters and wondering how the hell we put up with the climate. One letter I got last year from a young New Zealander reads:There was no need for New Zealand to serve in these wars, particularly the last war. Then New Zealand was left exposed to Japan when our army served overseas. My mother lost two brothers and three cousins in the R.A.F. in World War II. This is because New Zealand considers herself British as much as Kent, Surrey or the Isle of Wight. If Mr. Wilson sneezes New Zealand reads about it. The Union Jack flies everywhere in New Zealand and on the Queen's birthday, the Queen Mum's and the Duke's birthdays a 21-gun salute was fired. Why? Because New Zealand is British. At the Olympic Games we played 'God Save the Queen', and also at cinemas and sports meetings. The men who built New Zealand set out to make another England. This they have certainly done. Whereas the Jew heads for Jerusalem, the Moslem for Mecca, the New Zealander heads for London. Are we going to be restricted now? I am 21 years old and not an old and stout fool.Then, my Lords, going on with what I was saying before reading that letter. this country decided on a series of Immigra- 1082 tion Acts, and instead of basing our treatment on loyalty, friendship and relationship we adopted a somewhat " holier than thou " attitude, bringing in things which to my mind ought to he irrelevant—race, colour and other factors, which denigrated the people I am talking about.
On previous occasions I have quoted from my files some of the more outrageous forms of treatment meted out to these visitors under our various Immigration Acts. I am glad to say that the rather more stupid forms have lessened in number over the last three years; but the basic matter is there. They do not feel, because of what I have said, that there should be these limitations of the historic freedom to come and go as they will. If I may illustrate what I mean by my own experience, the last time I returned from Australia the half-empty plane filled up at Karachi and, when we got to Heathrow, in the Commonwealth passport queue which I was in with half of the people we picked up at Karachi as well as Australians and New Zealanders—and the other queue was also mixed—a young Australian two places behind me looked over at the people streaming through the British passport queue and said quizzically, " I suppose if I were Tariq Ali I would be getting the V.T.P. treatment!" I hope that illustrates the effect.
As an aside, I should like the Government to consider whether it would be possible to abolish this divisive passport queue arrangement as I gather they have now done in America. It makes for better feeling, anyway. I have never thought much of a criteria on which a passport is allocated according to where you were born if you are white, or where it suits some politicians if you are East African. On the first basis, you could call a dog born in a stable a horse, and on the second an Indian an Englishman. Until this inability to call a spade a "bloody shovel", as they say where I come from, my passport was headed "British passport—Australian citizen". Now the "British passport" part has been dropped. Like the law of supply and demand, when everything is given out all over the place it loses its value.
I had a Ghanaian friend staying with me three or four years ago. I came into the room one morning and I was somewhat embarrassed to see him reading the 1083 headlines about the case of Malcolm X. I made some sort of non-committal remark, "How unfortunate!", or something like that, and he smiled at me and said, "You are a funny people. Last Sunday I was listening to these people speaking in Hyde Park, and if one of your colour or race made the sort of speech that I was listening to by my colour and race in Hyde Park in Accra, he would be lynched, his house would be burnt down, and his fellow countrymen would be expelled from the country". I mention this, because the impression that some people are getting is that what is coloured must be right, and what is white must be wrong. That is purely because we have a vociferous sector which insists on these things.
The Times, in a second leader in November, 1967, told our politicians in blunt terms that our Immigration Acts fooled no one, especially the leaders of the coloured Commonwealth. They, the rules, were made to stop further coloured immigration because, number-wise, population-wise, we were full up.The Times said:Sooner or later they (the politicians) will have to face the central question: does it make any sense to stop Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians coming freely to this country because there is a colour problem? It would be wiser to reflect that the cause of race relations would be best served by frank speaking.The advice of The Times was not taken by the last Government. I have a feeling that the present Government are not going to take it either.
We are not getting the stupid cases that we had a few years ago as applied to Australians and New Zealanders, when John Brownlie was put in prison for, I think, 36 days because he had overstayed his permit, or when Wayne Watkins was trapped, question-wise, and forced back on board ship; or when Mr. Ryan, the manager of the State Savings Bank of Victoria, coming for a three-year appointment, had a 12-month-limit stamped on his passport. The people I am worried about are the working holiday crowd. What an insignificant number ever stay on, and how negligible a number when compared with the thousands a year they take from us as permanent citizens of their country! Why not save ourselves a lot of trouble and administrative difficulties by exempting from the operation 1084 of these Acts those countries that take more from us than vice versa? At any rate, that is my first suggestion.
Before I leave that point—that is, the few that have stayed on in this country: the majority cannot take the climate, anyway—just look at what some of those who have remained have done in, and for, this country. Take Australia first. Lord Bruce of Melbourne needs no introduction; or Lord Bailleu, who died the same year, a President of the Federation of British Industries. Still living, there are Sir Brian Windeyer, Professor of Radiology at the University of London; General Sir John Hackett, an ex-C.-in-C. of the British Army of the Rhine and a man whom I shall never forgive for his part in the previous Government's mutilation of the Territorial Army, now principal of King's College, University of London; the Vice-Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, Alan Brown, ex-Scots Guards, ex-Mayor of Oxford. What about the late Lord Florey, Nobel Prize Winner and President of the Royal Society; Sir Lawrence Bragg, an ex-director of the Royal Institution; Sir Harry Massey, Chairman of the British National Committee on Space Research. Air Chief Marshal Sir Wallace Kyle again needs no introduction. Or Sir Kenneth Wheare, the Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, a former Vice-Chancellor and President of the British Academy; Sir Robert Fraser, Director-General, British Independent Television Authority; or Sir Robert Helpmann, who has done so much for ballet; Joan Sutherland, for opera; Sir William McKie, the musician; General Sir Alan Jolly, Quartermaster-General, ex-Commander Far East land forces; Sir Peter Garran, Ambassador to the Netherlands, and many more.
From New Zealand comes a no less impressive list. From the Services, we have Sir Charles Elworthy, Air Marshal Sir Sydney Hughes, Air Marshal Sir Hector Macgregor. In medicine, who can outshine Sir Harold Gillies and Sir Archibald Mclndoe in the field of plastic surgery? Think of Sir Robert Macintosh, of Oxford; Murray Falconer, the neurosurgeon, and many others. In science, perhaps the House has heard of Lord Rutherford. Or Dr. Black, the Director of Royal Armament Research, and Dr. Mitchell, Director of the National 1085 Chemical Laboratory. In engineering, take Sir Hector McNeil, chairman of Babcock and Wilcox; Dr. George Watt, who invented the gas turbine engine and who was formerly a director of Rolls-Royce. In education, we have Professor Aitken, of Edinburgh; Sir Robert Aitken, Chairman of the University Grants Committee; Professor Bennet, Professor of English at Cambridge; Professor Cooper, Dean of Agriculture at Durham; Professor Davis, Professor of English at Oxford, and so on. I could go on, but I hope that I have made the point.
Since 1962 this country has virtually introduced retrospective legislation to cut off these people, our relations, from the Mother Country, from the place they used to call "home". The only fair, logical, self-interest-wise thing to do is to withdraw the application of the Acts to the citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and the simplest way of doing it would be for the Government to insert a clause in this Bill exempting those countries which take more from this overcrowded island than we take from them. Australia has taken 70,000 a year since the war. I trust that the noble and learned Lord who is to reply will give me some assurance on this point.
Alternatively, if that is impossible, could the Government insert an Amendment to exempt from the Act those Commonwealth countries which accept the Queen as their Queen? These are enumerated in the Written Answer given by the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, to a Question of mine. Loyalty would then be rewarded instead of penalised. The Government made a gesture in the right direction with their original patrial clauses, but that was not enough. If your Lordships followed my own case at the beginning of my speech, you would realise that though I would then have been allowed here, my younger children. who were born in Australia. could have been theoretically divorced from the rest of the family. As the Bill stands, and since an Amendment was moved in the other place, I would not be allowed in. Any obvious comments on that I hope your Lordships will keep until later.
My Lords, I beg of the Government to follow one or other of those two courses I have advocated, and I suggest again that the simplest is that of reciprocity: no restrictions, except on criminal grounds, 1086 for those who take more from us than we from them over the years. Alternatively, let them adopt the loyalty test, which would, I admit, exempt some of the West Indian islands; but what is their total population of about 5 million against the deluge of the Indian subcontinent? If the Government will not do anything about this, then some of us will put down the necessary Amendment at Committee stage.
I should like to conclude by quoting—not for the first time, I confess—from a letter I received in 1966 from a Mr. Evison. He wrote:As a New Zealander I fought hard for Britain in the last war and lost my brothers, who willingly sacrificed themselves for their Mother Country. I find it most embarrassing now I am in England visiting a sister dying of cancer, that I have to beg the Home Office for an extension of time.Of course he got his extension. The point I am making is that he should never have been put in that position by these Acts. When your Lordships come to vote on these matters, I should like you to remember another quotation which I have made before, and that is of the inscription on the war memorial in the little village of Cambridge, in New Zealand:Tell England, ye that mark this monument.Faithful to her we died and rest content.Unless the Government are prepared to right the wrongs done by these Acts to these people since 1962, then my contention is that this country should hang its head in shame.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ LORD AUCKLAND
My Lords. the last time I spoke on an Immigration Bill in your Lordships' House was in 1962, when I spoke on the Second Reading of the Bill introduced by the now noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden. I did not envisage having to speak again on an Immigration Bill, but having very recently returned with my wife from New Zealand where, as I have already mentioned, we were guests of the Auckland City Council for the centennial celebrations, and having spent a month in Auckland and in various parts of the North Island, I feel it my duty to say a few words about this Bill and to follow some of the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh.
In general, this is not a Bill about which anyone can feel completely happy. 1087 At the same time, I take the view that if you do not have a Bill of this kind what do you put in its place? Is the present legislation entirely satisfactory? My own albeit limited knowledge of this subject tells me that it is not. Before turning to Clause 2, which must surely be one of the most controversial clauses, there are one or two points which I should like to make about some other aspects. Clause 4 deals with registration with the police. It is a matter which has given rise to some concern, and I am quite certain that all of your Lordships, as well as Members of another place, have given great thought to it. But I am forced to the conclusion that it is the correct decision, and that, on balance, the police are the right authority with which immigrants should register.
I say that for several reasons. First, it is the police who, for the most part, have to sort out problems; such as where people go to obtain various essential services, to find out where local doctors are and. for problems of that kind. Secondly, almost every village nowadays has a police station or a police house, whereas a Labour Exchange or a National Insurance office may be rather further away. Therefore, on balance, although I completely take the point that in the minds of some there could be a stigma about having to register at a police station, it is best that these people should go to the police who are so extremely helpful and co-operative in this country to all sections of the community, white or coloured.
I should like to put one question to my noble and learned friend who is to reply, and I apologise for the fact that I have not given him notice of it. Is there to be special training for the police who will have to handle these matters? It may well be that certain tact will be needed, and there may be difficult situations. Anybody entering a country for the first time is naturally apprehensive; they do not know the laws or the customs of the country. Therefore, it is essential that the police officer, or anybody else who handles a matter of this kind, should be a person with some experience of human nature. This is an important point to consider although, administratively, it may not always be easy to give effect to it. But I think 1088 that it would help considerably towards good relations between the various communities.
I should also like to ask a question about Clause 30, which deals with mental health. I am a little puzzled by it, because I do not quite know what it means. Does it mean that an immigrant who comes into this country with an existing condition of mental illness will be expatriated, if that is the right word, from this country? Or does it mean that existing Commonwealth citizens with mental illnesses are themselves likely to be repatriated back to their own country? I am not quite sure to whom this clause applies. Also, is the degree of mental illness to be taken into consideration before application is made for an extradition order?
That brings me back to Clause 2. I accept the fact that, unlike the issue of the Common Market, it would be difficult to make a special case for New Zealand here. I do not think one could do that. One must take the Commonwealth as a whole, although I entirely agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Clifford, has said about the part which Australia and New Zealand have played. He reeled off a list of names of Australians and New Zealanders who live in this country and have contributed. I could reel off more names. For example, the present Dean of St. Paul's, the Very Reverend Martin Sullivan, has done an enormous amount of youth work and work for the Church in general. But I do not want to labour the point, because one could also name a number of other nationalities who have contributed.
I am a little worried about paragraph (c) of Clause 2(1), and I wonder whether the period of five years could be decreased to three or four years. Here, again, we have a problem, because it would be difficult to isolate any members from the Commonwealth as a whole. It may be argued by some that constant reference to New Zealand and Australia is idealistic, and perhaps it is. But I had the experience this year of being in Auckland on ANZAC Day and I went to the dawn service. I do not suppose there is any more moving experience than attending that service. I also went to the afternoon service and visited the War Memorial Museum in Auckland on several occasions. One reads the lists 1089 of those who laid down their lives in the two World Wars and one realises that in Crete alone something like 5,000 of their armed forces gave their lives for this country and for the world as a whole. Even though it may be idealistic to mention that in regard to a subject of this kind, one cannot help referring to it. I think the Bill as now drafted gives Australian and New Zealand citizens a rather better deal than previously, but I am still not too happy, as I say, about Clause 2(1)(c), and I should like to see consideration given to decreasing the period of time from five years to, perhaps, three years or four years.
This is a Bill, then, which, whatever its shortcomings may be, at least tackles the subject of immigration, which hitherto has been a very piecemeal affair. At the same time, this is described as a "once-and-for-all" Bill. Therefore it is going to need some fairly close examination in its Committee and remaining stages, because it is a measure that, so far as possible, we have to get right. I am not in a position to argue one way or the other whether immigration into this country is likely to produce greatly increased numbers in the next five or ten years. Anybody who serves, as I do, on the committee of a hospital—and many of your Lordships do—knows the debt we owe to nursing staffs and doctors from the Commonwealth, both white and coloured, and of the splendid work which they carry out. Whether or not this Bill can be to some extent contrived to give special thought to such organisations as the medical profession I do not know, but in the present state of our National Health Service it seems to me that consideration may have to be given to this matter.
Having said that, my Lords, with the reservations I have on Clause 2, and in the hope that the Government will give some consideration to the registration clause, Clause 4, and will make sure that it is carried out by those with some experience of handling people coming into a country for the first time, be they coloured or of any other nationality; and also in the hope that consideration will be given to the clause on mental health, Clause 30, which I think is an important one which has not been properly considered, I think this Bill, taken as a whole, fulfils an important need.
§ 8.34 p.m.
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Auckland, who preceded me, asked what we should put in place of this Bill. The answer, my Lords, is "Nothing". This Bill, as so many speakers to-day have agreed, is utterly unnecessary. For what is needed in the way of bringing about numerical restrictions we already have the machinery. But that is not why I am on my feet. It is not merely that it is unnecessary: this Bill is positively abhorrent. Anyone who is concerned with human rights must find it so. It is an elaborate contrivance, fraught with every kind of abuse; and every time someone gets some sort of reassurance it is a non-effective reassurance about an abuse which even noble Lords opposite have seen. In spite of all the "flannel", this Bill embodies in absolutely explicit terms racial discrimination in an Act of Parliament. It corrupts the proud traditions of a country whose tolerance was once a beacon light which shone more brightly than the torch of the American Statue of Liberty. At least we did not have to spell out on a plinth our testament of tolerance, because it was implicit in all our attitudes.
Because we have no such restrictive concepts (although, indeed, over the years, as has been pointed out, in terms of the incomers our tolerance has been assaulted in 1914, 1962 and again in 1968) the Government have been reduced to inventing words like "patrial". I would say to the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, that this word was not produced by crossword people: it was produced by the people who in fact produce the programme called "Call my Bluff". We were the trustees for the heirs of a great Empire — and I regard that as a very important trusteeship. I, who was anti-Imperial, anti-Colonial and not a flag-waver of the British Empire, regard us, as I hope we all do, as the trustees of the Empire. But we, as trustees, have disowned our stewardship. I say this with bitterness, because my own Party, in government, introduced the Kenya-Asian Bill, and, as many of us warned at the time, opened the way for the kind of measure which we now have before us. So in fact, my Lords, I regard my own Party as an accessory before this lamentable fact.
1091 That Bill was a major crisis in my life, as it was in many people's lives — certainly those in my Party—because it sacrificed a principle to administrative expediency. It was a panic measure at a time when there was no justification for panic. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said, "Do not let us play the numbers game ". I wish to goodness my Party had at that moment not played the numbers game. It was a misreading of statistics. It was not a malignant and malevolent misreading of the statistics, as we have had from Enoch Powell; it was naïve—but naïveté was no excuse. Therefore I feel that in this situation I have the right to speak as frankly as everybody has done to-day, and even more so, because I believe that those of us who were emotionally, politically and in every other way involved on that occasion are now confronted with what we foresaw—another Bill which will take it even further.
I am opposed to this Bill per se. Whatever your Lordships' House may do to remove the anomalies, the perversities, the wickedness and, I believe, the inherent evil, as I am sure your Lordships will try to do at the Committee stage, it is the nature of the Bill and the attitudes that it discloses which make it so utterly reprehensible. As a former member of the Community Relations Commission, I agree with Mr. Mark Bonham Carter, the present chairman, that this will certainly adversely affect the establishment of harmonious community relations and will increase the insecurity of the coloured people living here. When I was involved in community relations—and I still am committed to community relations work—we saw how, up against very great difficulty, we were beginning to build up a fabric of understanding between the members of the community, coloured and white. The concessions to Enoch Powell, for example in establishing in legislation the concept of repatriation, will increase the uncertainties. I beg the pardon of the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack, but I can assure him that nothing which your Lordships are going to say will convince anyone in this disturbed situation that this Bill is not part of an elaborate device and a pretty crude device, deriving as it did from its origins in Wolverhampton—the idea of paying 1092 people to go home: paying them to go home to escape from circumstances which in fact this Bill is going to help to create.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting, but it would be illegal under the Bill to do as he suggests. When he says that nobody is going to be convinced by what I say, does he mean that he is not or they are not going to be convinced beause it is not true or because they are too stupid to understand it?
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
My Lords, we could have an interesting debate on the levels of stupidity. I will take the noble and learned Lord's ruling on the legal applications of it, but I hope he will go out with a bell-ringer and tell everyone that in fact this does not mean what it appears to everybody to mean.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I do not want to interrupt, but it would be helpful if the noble Lord would ring the bell instead.
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
My Lords, if I were as convinced as the noble and learned Lord hopes that I am, then I might; but I am not. I am sure that your Lordships in Committee will do something about the deplorable deportation clause provisions. These are not just deportations, these are evictions. We are not merely applying this to people who are qualified for deportation by the fact that they are unacceptable people. We are going to apply this not only by guilt of association but by guilt of affiliation. To me it is an utter affront to common justice where the family of a person convicted of an offence are to be the victims of this guilt by association.
From all the experience that we have gained in community relations we are aware of the delicate relationships between the police and the minorities. If the noble and learned Lord will forgive me, I can say that at least on this matter I am rather well informed. I will instruct myself on the repatriation provisions, but in terms of the relations between the police and the minorities, from the very sensitive and sensible co-operation which the police authorities have been giving and are still giving at top level and in all 1093 our relationships with those who were in the police hierarchy who were concerned with this matter, we were very much reassured. We believed that we were beginning to create an understanding between the police and the minorities. This is not a question of arguing about recriminations against the police or the minorities; this was a basic misunderstanding which had to be broken down. And we were succeeding. Now the police are to have the invidious role of enforcing this legislation and of registration. They are to have the power to arrest a suspect without a warrant, to search houses without a warrant and anyone they suspect of having committed or attempting to commit an offence under Clause 24. This, it is true, applies to every immigrant; but the coloured person is much more likely to be suspect than the white and is more conspicuous than the white, and it only needs one or two innocent people to be so treated to convince the immigrant community that they are being persecuted by the police. I can understand why the Police Federation take such a strong line. It is manifestly so; it cannot be otherwise. The people will get this sense of persecution.
The other point which is manifestly outrageous in the Bill and which was stressed by my noble friend Lord Brockway is the invidious position in which there is going to be indentured, tied, labour. We are having a bit of this in Scotland at the moment, in terms of the Irish potato workers. Your Lordships might be interested to read what is happening there because it is the kind of thing which was familiar on the plantations in America a couple of hundred years ago. In this situation of indentured labour, imagine the precarious position of a person who comes here to find work. He is not likely to find ultimate security in the existing unemployment situation. In the community relations field there is grave misgiving over what is going to happen to the coloured immigrants when we have competition for jobs and when the white workers begin to feel that they are being displaced by coloured workers. This is going to cause a very serious situation, simply because there is this implicit suggestion that you can be fired and then could be deported, or you can be retained and used by an employer to undercut other workers.
1094 I can sympathise with people like the noble Lord, Lord Auckland, who have serious misgivings about Clause 30, which deals with mental patients. Perhaps my noble friend Lady White was right and all we have done—it characterises so much of this Bill—is to produce what we are told is the definitive Bill on this subject; that all we have done is to pick up a lot of the worst of what has gone before. This clause refers to the right of Government to deport compulsorily, presumably in a straitjacket, aliens who are in a mental hospital. I do not want to sound frivolous, but the conditions of this Bill may produce a great deal of mental instability in the communities thus affected.
Not only the Community Relations Board, or the other organisations such as the Social Morality Council, but every kind of responsible body have expressed their concern, and alarm about the provisions of this Bill. My noble friend Lord Janner, who, to his great distress is unable to be present, has asked me to bring to the notice of your Lordships' House the concern of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, expressed at their meeting on April 23 this year. The Board of Deputies held that:…many of the Bill's provisions are racially discriminatory, and is of the opinion that it will impede the work of those who, like the Board, are endeavouring to promote good race relationships in this country.The Board went on to say that while it had critical views on other aspects of the Bill, it particularly wanted to record to the Home Secretary:its apprehension as to the creation of a patrial and non-patrial status, the inclusion of the members of an immigrant's family in a deportation order, and the lack of rights of appeal against the deportation order where no such rights are given in the Bill",and,its hopes that Rules 2 and 53 of the draft Immigration Rules by way of Control on Entry will be incorporated in the Act itself.I recommend your Lordships to look at this and, at the same time, at the rules, and you will see the point that is being made. The Board noted, during the proceedings on the Bill both in Standing Committee and at the Report stage in another place that there have been some minor concessions regarding deportation orders and rights of appeal but it regrets that the draft rules referred to have not been incorporated in the Bill. Certain 1095 assurances were given by the Government during the various Commons debates: for instance, the right of asylum should not be disturbed, and apart from the traditional rules there were international obligations by which the country is bound, but the Home Secretary declined to incorporate the provision in the Act, asserting that under the procedure for implementing the rules, Parliament could, on a "negative motion", deal with any proposed change.
I will not go on, my Lords. I presume that what has been spelled out has been sent to the Home Secretary. All I am endeavouring to do is to emphasise the concern of everyone who is involved in the field of community relations—people of every race, creed and colour—that this Bill contains an iniquity which I hope all your Lordships will recognise. Much will need to be taken out of the Bill during the Committee stage, but I really believe, and I feel very strongly, that the Bill is unnecessary. It should not have come to your Lordships' House and although I normally strictly observe the convention which applies in this House that one does not on Second Reading vote against a Commons Bill, I shall hold myself free to vote against it because it is unnecessary.
§ 8.51 p.m.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, I wish that it had not fallen to me to follow the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder. I normally have a great respect for his views, but I have seldom heard a speech in your Lordships' House with which I disagree so profoundly. I do not understand why he should say that noble Lords who sit on the Opposition side of the House are the only people who have the interest of the Commonwealth, and former Empire at heart, and that those of us who sit on this side of the House have contrary views. I do not wish to raise the temperature of the debate, but having listened to the speech of the noble Lord, it is with that feeling that I rise to speak.
I have asked myself, my Lords, what is this Bill about? It is about immigration, but it goes deeper than that. It is about good community relations, which leads one to think about coloured immigrants. I shall not hesitate to speak out about what I think are the problems 1096 which we face in this country in respect of coloured immigrants. It was my hope that at the end of this debate the House would not divide, either on the Second Reading Motion or on the Motion which appears in the name of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan. Hitherto noble Lords have, in my view, adopted a fairly constructive and tolerant attitude towards this crucial matter, though they may have been expressing contrary opinions. In this respect I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, who has certainly made a contribution to the debates in your Lordships' House concerning immigration and problems arising from colour. I think that the contribution which this country has made to the furtherance of good race relations would be recognised by other countries and I should like to emphasise that at the beginning of what I have to say.
I take exception to only one of the provisions in the Bill—that which requires that in certain circumstances some immigrants must report to the police. This matter has been commented on by other noble Lords during the debate. Criticisms have been made that the provisions in the Bill do nothing to control the number of immigrants coming to this country. The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, mentioned that fact, and it has been referred to by other noble Lords. I cannot accept that that is so. Anything which tidies up the existing law on immigration and any attempt to avoid more piecemeal legislation than at present exists, must make control over the number of immigrants more effective and efficient.
The question has been raised whether the controls contained in this Bill will operate harshly against those who come here. I propose now to raise a point which I do not think has yet been made. For Heaven's sake, my Lords, let us admit that, quite irrespective of colour, social problems arise if large numbers of people of different cultures, religions and races are expected to settle down practically overnight alongside the people of this country.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, has mentioned my name and is continuing on the topic in connection with which he mentioned me. Can he explain to me which provisions in the Bill will enable 1097 whatever Government are in power to control the numbers of immigrants more effectively than is done already?
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, the general point I was making was that hitherto we have had piecemeal legislation on this subject. If I am wrong about that perhaps the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, will correct me. This Bill is an attempt to bring the law on immigration up to date, and I consider that if legislation exists for dealing with the immigrants when they come to this country, it will make for more efficient control. I was talking about people of different cultures, religions and race who may come to this country. I think that the introduction of this Bill is a sensible attempt to deal with the situation. For that reason I cannot agree with what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, although there have been many occasions on which I have agreed with statements and speeches which he has made in your Lordships' House. The noble Lord said that he did not want to make a Party point, and then he stated that the Bill smacked of Powellism. I am sorry that the noble Lord said that. I profoundly disagree with him. I believe that this Bill will help immigrants and that we shall secure better community relations.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I know that the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, would not wish to misinterpret anything I said. I did not say that there was any Powellism about the Bill. I suggested that it had perhaps stemmed from the sort of campaign which took place two or three years ago and which affected both political Parties; and that the Government thought that they would have to do something about it. That is quite different from suggesting that I regarded the Bill as a piece of Powellism.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd. I know of his great experience overseas and I am sorry that I got it wrong. I accept everything that he says.
I have already dealt with some of the points of difficulty which arise when peoples of different races, religions and customs have to settle down here. I know that certain noble Lords do not agree and maintain that colour itself is the issue. I simply cannot agree with that suggestion. I do not think I should 1098 get a large number of noble Lords to agree with me that that is one of the primary difficulties in good community relations. May I give one example of this. I do not want to talk too much about my experiences after being in Changi Gaol for four years during the last war, but we felt when we went back that one way we could get the races together was through opening our clubs to Chinese, Europeans and Malays and all mixing together. This went on very well for about six months, but at the end of that period the various races much preferred to go back to their own clubs, run their own businesses and associate with their own people, rather than mix with us. I sometimes feel that we white people in this country and the whites in various parts of the world are insufferably conceited in thinking that coloured people want to mix with us. It is not always so.
I have never been among those who make disparaging remarks about overseas people. As I have had overseas experience, I realise that while many of us may in the mass be better qualified academically, many overseas people possess an intelligence which surpasses that of our own. There are some things which we can learn from overseas people. One is the sanctity with which they observe their family life and their utter devotion to their children. This is an example to many people in white communities.
Nevertheless, there is this problem of the number we can absorb over a given length of time. I believe that the desire behind this Bill is to absorb these people and maintain good community relations over a reasonable period of time. Dealing with the problems of the '50s and '60s, which culminated in the restrictions to contain large-scale immigration, on which we clamped down in 1962, I cannot resist the temptation, as a former overseas officer, to refute the allegations bandied about by some speakers, not necessarily in your Lordships' House but in this country, that we administrators were Colonial oppressors. The Commonwealth immigrants who wanted to come here in large numbers at that time would hardly have wanted to come to Britain if they had been badly treated by us. They came for a number of reasons, but I am convinced that one of those was their 1099 belief in British justice. They were also uncertain about how things would turn out for them in their own countries, which about that period we had handed over to them to form their own Governments. I well understand that situation. It makes it all the more important for us to administer this Bill with great humanity and careful thought. I feel that any Government, whichever Party that Government may come from, should sec that the provisions are carried out in this way.
There may be some noble Lords who may wish to move Amendments to the Bill when it is considered in Committee. I myself am not certain about the provisions for the registration of certain classes of immigrants by the police. I will not go into this matter in great detail, because it has been referred to by other speakers, but I know from long experience that if anything is likely to worry a coloured person, it is a policeman coming to his house and asking questions. His first reaction is, "What wrong have I done?" If fear is created in this way, this increases tension, allegations are made against the police, and all this is not in the interests of good community relations. I think there is a danger here and I support those noble Lords who have drawn attention to this provision and I would ask the Government to look carefully at this when the Committee stage is reached.
I am afraid that I disagree with nearly all that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said in his speech until he came to the end, when it seemed to me that he admitted that some control of immigration was necessary. But the noble Lord is not here to comment. That is what I understood him to say, but in any case I will read his speech in Hansard. I believe that the immigrants who are here are interested in curtailing to some extent further immigration into this country, which may disturb the atmosphere which exists at present. I think that if we were to get down basically to the question, this is what a large number of them would say. I hope that we shall not divide, but if we do I shall support the Government on the Second Reading.
§ 9.7 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, having spoken more than once some 20 speakers on, I arrived this afternoon with- 1100 out a prepared speech, believing that I should hear from other speakers everything that I might wish to say. That is what, with perhaps one trivial exception, has come to pass and all I want to do is to comment on those who have spoken before me and in many respects have spoken so well. I was immensely impressed by the magisterial maturity of the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan. I found him so persuasive that I heartily agreed with the most reverend Primate that it was a surprise that he was going to abstain. I, having heard him, am 'certainly going to do nothing of the kind. I shall go into both Division Lobbies, one in support of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, and the other against the Second Reading of the Bill.
It is customary to refer to the speakers who immediately precede one, and as the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, declared his great distaste at the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder I am constrained to say that it was the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, whom I found the more persuasive; and the more so in that he referred to the 1960 Act which was directly against the Kenya Asians. I was much persuaded by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, who in many respects did not differ from what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham: that this Bill does not take away many rights, but leaves things much as they are. Again I was astonished that anyone who is so absolutely hostile to anything can be content to sit still and abstain.
To sum up, most speakers have agreed to-day that the immigrant total will not be altered by anything in this Bill; there will be no increase and no reduction. The administrative controls for keeping down the total are already in the hands of the Departments concerned. We therefore have as our main task the treatment of those who are here, and there has been a large consensus of opinion that those who are here, and especially those who are postulate immigrants, will suffer undue harassment for too long a time, and will be too gravely handicapped by the administrative supervision of their long period of probation. If that really is the case, are we not likely to attract low-grade transition labour, what one might call the scum which comes everywhere where conditions are intolerable to most men? That is the kind of danger 1101 that seems to present itself if conditions are made too onerous.
In my view, the problem has nothing particularly to do with the police. Such foreigners as come to me for employment from time to time have always been handled by the police with charm, distinction and efficiency. I have never come across anybody who has objected to their treatment. I rather thought the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, conceded the point against himself when he gave the illustration of some people who had been directed to the police and, having been to the police, assured him that all was well and that they had been shown their way down the street. I cannot support some of the censorious remarks that have been made about the form of control exercised by the police. My experience is that they are entirely humane, efficient, generous and kindly.
I listened with extreme interest to the speech of my fellow Cross-Bencher, the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, and I, who am a military man, am aware of those powerful types of affection and loyalty under arms between Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and ourselves. I reflected as the noble Lord spoke: can we make distinctions based on those considerations? I must confess that I am exceedingly doubtful, because less vocal people from other parts have helped us in precisely similar conditions. One noble Lord mentioned the campaign of Lord Napier of Magdala in Abyssinia. Incidentally, I do not suppose that the Emperor Haillé Sellassie would like it to be thought that Abyssinia was part of our Empire. But, that aside, the campaign was mounted from India, elephants and all. and borne on the Indian budget. I rather think that Gladstone's campaign, in which Winston Churchill took part, the River War, the conquest of the Sudan, was carried out by large numbers of Indian troops, and all certainly on the Indian budget.
Others of our Empire—the King's African Rifles, for instance, in their campaign against von Lettow the most gallant of enemy commanders—have made their contribution. Their blood has gone into our Empire, and when we look around, as trustees of the Empire, we cannot look alone at those we love in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. There are others who have shown equal 1102 generosity, as one can see from the way they fought—Africans and Asians on two continents. So I am not sure that we can make distinctions along those lines, although I appreciate the immense difficulties and the immense wish not to discriminate against friends who have helped us in our hour of need. But what can we do? We seem to be faced with very difficult options on these matters.
I sympathise with those who feel that under the present Bill too much power, too little exposed to scrutiny, is placed in the hands of a single man in the Home Office. I do not like it. I do not know whether attention has been drawn—unfortunately I have not been able to listen to every speech—to the loss of rights, if it is a loss of rights, of those whom we have brought, mainly from the West Indies, to this country, during labour troubles, to run our trains and buses; to help in hospitals and so forth. Have they not rights at this moment to bring in their dependants under the age of 18 and their wives, if they have not already done so? Is not the Bill taking away those rights and putting instead a discretion into the hands of the Home Secretary? That I dislike—the downgrading of rights into a discretion—if that is what it is: I am not sure. I should dislike it, and I have no doubt that the immigrants would also.
I was enormously impressed by what the noble Lord, Lord Constantine, said in his maiden speech when, after finishing his speech, he folded up his notes and spoke from the heart. He said that we had brought him and his forebears from Africa, removed him from his background and turned him into a black Englishman. They are black Englishmen, and as black Englishmen they should be treated; and in no other way. I am sorry that I feel moved to go into the Lobby against this Bill, but in the name of pro bond publico it is putting a somewhat degrading degree of probation upon future immigrants which they will detest and which will make them feel uncertain and insecure. Nobody has said that better than the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan.
§ 9.18 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
My Lords, the noble Earl has given me a cue for my first word or two by saying that it is in accordance with the conventions of your Lordships' House for a speaker to make some reference to the 1103 speaker who has immediately preceded him. I take up with particular satisfaction this cue that he has offered me because I remember that during the passage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill in 1968, with the long marathon Sitting that we had, the noble Lord, myself and one other were, I think, the only three who both spoke and voted against the Bill during the Second Reading and Committee stages. It therefore gives me a certain pain towards the noble Earl to have to disclose to him that I am not going to follow him into the Division Lobby at the end of this debate because I do support this Bill, and I hope that he will forgive me for doing so.
Sydney Smith, some 130 years ago, said these words:Every rock in the ocean where a cormorant can perch is occupied by our troops, has a governor, deputy-governor, storekeeper and deputy storekeeper and will soon have an archdeacon and a bishop.He was not very keen on the Imperial idea and on the amount of money that was being spent on it. He might conceivably have thought, 130 years later when things have changed a good deal, that the Empire had crumbled away, leaving the after-effect that every cormorant, deputy-governor and archdeacon considered that because he was British he had a right to come and live here. And so he was, and so he ought to be. But times have changed, and we have come to the present. At the end of the road, so far, is this Bill, which is a Bill to tidy up the whole legislation. Your Lordships may he glad to know that I do not propose lo go through the whole Bill, touching on police registration and one thing and another, but shall confine myself to Clause 2. I can even go further in the way of pleasing noble Lords by saying that I am going to deliver very much the same speech as the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, so if anybody cares to leave the Chamber I shall not be offended.
No matter what kind of Bill we have, we are bound to come to the point of deciding who is to be exempt from immigration control. That produces the word through some stroke of genius on I know not whose part, "patrial". That is perfectly all right; I see nothing wrong in it. But the right of abode is the first thing that must be settled. Instantly we 1104 come to an ancient, quite spectacular and sensational error—I say this with the greatest respect to all concerned, but the fact is that the error is there. Here are some words of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary, spoken in the proceedings on the Bill in another place:So far as I know, it has always been the case that a Commonwealth citizen who was born here was entitled automatically to United Kingdom citizenship…Our citizenship has always been open to the children of a father born here. There has never to this day been any restriction placed upon them.That was stated in the Standing Committee in another place. Here we are face to face at once with what the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, has described as the theory that a dog born in a stable is a horse. I am inclined to think he exaggerated slightly, but, at any rate, it means, if it is carried to its logical conclusion, that an old English sheep dog born in China is a Pekingese.
There is a piece of stage dialogue that I remember from many years ago involving a couple of drunks, one of whom I believe was represented by the late Leslie Henson. They were talking about where they had been born. One said: " I was born in Oswaldtwistle." The other said "Really? I was born in hospital". The first drunk said: "Why? Were you ill?" The other replied: "No, I had to meet mother there". There is only one factor in every case which determines where a person is born, and that is where his mother happens to be at the time. A child can be born nowadays, modern travel being what it unfortunately is, in the most unexpected places. It is perfectly possible for a child to be born here because his mother happens to sprain her ankle or to catch the 'flu, and therefore miss the aeroplane that was going to complete her connection in her journey from Paris to New York. That baby automatically becomes an Englishman. She might have been Chinese on the way to Ecquador—who knows? It is as chancy as that.
You can be a British citizen if you happen to be born to Chinese parents from Hong Kong in a British-registered ship, even though neither you nor your parents have ever been within a thousand miles of Europe or have never left Hong Kong: they have not the right to come here. A great many other people who 1105 you might suppose could come here cannot do so. Think of the case of John Smith, of Toronto, who was born Hans Schmidt in an internment camp during the war to German parents. He is an Englishman. This kind of legislation based on place of birth is very largely self-defeating. Not only does it let too many people in, but it keeps too many others out.
Consider the case of two brothers, A and B, both of whom were born in India because their fathers were serving there in the Indian Army. They each had a son, X and Y; they, too, were born in India. For purposes of patriality they have to rely upon the birthplace of their respective fathers—I am speaking about the law as it is now, not as the Bill is going to make it, which will not improve it much. But it turns out that of these two fathers, who were both soldiers in the Indian Army and both Englishmen, one was born in Simla and the other was born at Camberley. So "X" is a foreigner, while his cousin "Y" is one of us. Does that make any sense, my Lords? Absolutely none to me, anyway. I believe that this kind of anomalous inequity is absolutely inevitable so long as we have any kind of legislation based purely on place of birth.
How then do you base it? I think a principle has to be stated to replace this extraordinary one. The principle I suggest is simply this, that British parents, and no one else, can have British children. The question immediately arises: What is British? How do you define that, if you are not allowed to talk about where the person was born? I would suggest that a person is British for the purposes of this Bill if he is a Commonwealth citizen and if one of his parents has at any time had the right of abode that is defined in Clause 1. That will cast the net a great deal too wide; I know that. It will bring us straight back on slightly different terms to where we were before 1962. How then are we to narrow it down again? At this point I narrow the gap between the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, and myself, because I suggest that one way of narrowing it—not the only way but one way—is to confine patriality to what used to be the great Dominions, those that remain: Australia. New Zealand and Canada.
1106 There is a feeling abroad, I suppose nobody will deny, that in some quarters the links between us and those countries have become tenuated and worn out. The noble Earl, Lord Lytton. touched on this from one aspect a moment ago. It is said that our old relationship with these countries does not mean so much any more. Well, my Lords, it does mean something to me; it means as much as it ever did. And if your Lordships will bear with me, I will tell you why. If I sound old-fashioned, well so much the worse for fashion. I am afraid I cannot help it.
I go back thirty-one years in history to the fall of France in 1940. After Dunkirk, when the German thunderbolt seemed poised to fall on us, there occurred, as some of your Lordships may remember, a unique phenonemon in Britain: a national sigh of relief. There was nobody left to let us down; we were on our own. It was no whistling in the dark; it was perfectly genuine. We really were relieved because, as we felt, we were alone. Yet Canada, Australia and New Zealand had also declared war upon Germany. Their soldiers had come across the world and were here in England. Everybody knew it. It was said that we were alone. Had we forgotten them? I make a jump in space but not in time—
§ "LORD WALSTON
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl for a moment? Were there not soldiers and airmen from the Caribbean countries also at that time?
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
My Lords, there may have been all kinds of people; dogs, goats, fish and everything else. But I am talking about these particular people. If the noble Lord will allow me to develop my point he will see what I am coming to.
I make a jump in space but not in time to the Fleet Flag Ship of the Mediterranean Fleet. I will now quote from the autobiography of the late Admiral of the Fleet Lord Cunningham of Hyndhope, who was then the Commander-in-Chief. He wrote:Graver and graver became the news from France till, on June 24, we heard that she had capitulated to Germany and Italy. The next morning, when we were all feeling rather depressed, I was walking up and down the quarterdeck of the ' Warspite'. I saw an Admiral's barge approaching and went to the 1107 gangway to receive the Vice-Admiral (D), John "Covey. A smiling figure ran up the gangway and greeted me with: ' Now I know we shall win the war, sir. We have no more allies.' Such depression as I had vanished. It was impossible to feel downcast in the face of such optimism.My Lords, do you suppose that the commander-in-chief and his second in command, who was also Admiral of destroyers, had forgotten that they had also under their command the cruiser Sydney " and a destroyer squadron of the Royal Australian Navy? Certainly not. The truth in both those cases was that in time of danger it had not occurred to us to think of these friends as allies. They were our own people, a part of the undivided "we" who had no allies. Would they have thought that we were taking too much for granted by taking that point of view? I can only answer that question by quoting from the speech made by Mr. Michael Savage, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, broadcasting to his nation the day after the outbreak of war. He said:With gratitude for the past and with confidence in the future we range ourselves without fear beside Britain. Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand.Total commitment, unequivocal and unqualified, and honoured to the end. Canada and Australia were the same. Was that all too long ago to be significant to-day? Not for me, my Lords, and I think the point is a little different from that raised by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton. This is not a question of standing by us in time of war; what I am thinking of is the automatic feeling that these are our people; we are the same family, which is not only a thing of war but a thing of peace and, I believe, for all time.
That is one possibility, my Lords; the confining of patriality to these countries. It is quite likely not to meet with universal applause. There is another one: I can think of objections to it myself but they are comparatively minor and I am prepared to develop it if necessary in the Committee stage. This is a perfectly serious and not a rhetorical question. Why should there not be a distinction made between countries at large in the Commonwealth and countries that acknowledge the Queen? So far as I know, this has not been debated at any length. In the Committee stage in another place, 1108 speaking on this Motion, the Home Secretary said:I do not think that in itself is consonant with the concept of the Commonwealth nowadays, and I do not think that it would work out in practice".I should like to be told why it would not work out in practice. But nothing else was said; it was a throw-away line. I see no reason to suppose that it would not work out in practice. And why is it not consonant with the concept of the Commonwealth to-day? Which concept is in question here? Is it the concept that we have always had, and some of the other peoples in the Commonwealth, that it was a family of nations, or is it the concept that was evidenced not long ago by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers at Singapore? They are not quite the same thing and with the second one I confess that I am very much less than totally impressed.
The other idea put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, is that of reciprocity. He has argued that most adequately. I shall say nothing about it, but I suspect that we shall hear more about it later on. There is one other point I should like to touch on because it has come into this debate to-day over and over again. It has come into all the debates on this Bill, and I am perfectly sure that we shall have it until the end. It reached its finest flowering in the speech—any speech, almost—of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. I am sorry that he is not in his place, but he can read what I am going to say (if he cares to) to-morrow. He asked the question: how can anyone say that the provisions of this Bill are not racialist? Can anybody answer that question? I am not quoting the noble Lord's precise words, but the answer is that somebody can try to answer the question. To begin with, it depends upon what language you speak, because in ordinary English usage the word "racial" simply refers to race and this gives rise to "racialism" which still merely means discrimination between one race and another, with no overtones to it at all. That is from the Concise Oxford Dictionary. If you look at other dictionaries you will find that it means "encouragement of antagonism between races of men" or "tendency towards racial feeling or antagonism between different races. As for "racialist" and racialistic", no English dictionary acknowledges the existence of the words at all. 1109 In an American dictionary you will find the full definition— undoubtedly this was intended by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway and others; for example, in the Random House Dictionary published in New York. But never mind; when it is used in criticism in this way it is undoubtedly intended to mean discrimination against a race or on behalf of one race against another. The Bill is in that sense racial. This is the contention I am trying to answer. It sets up, therefore, a feeling of antagonism on the part of the British against the non-British.
I see no reason to introduce questions of colour here. Is that the case? When you talk about who you are going to let into your own country it seems to me reasonable enough to distinguish between other races. It would certainly be very difficult to define the British race; but we are fairly clear that it is not the same as the Indian or French or Chinese race. It is distributed about the world, but we have some idea what we mean by "the British race". Why should it be to some extent wrong for a nation to take the further step of making a distinction between their own race and another; to take the further step of looking more affectionately upon their own people, as a man might upon members of his own family, and to look more affectionately on members of his own race than another? If anybody tells me that that is wrong—T have been told so several times this afternoon and I expect to be told so again—I can only reply that such a proceeding is natural, inevitable, universal in all ages and nations, and generally necessary to salvation. If racial discrimination occurs between and against citizens in a single State, such as this or any other, or between one kind of citizen and another, then it does become racialism and that is evil. But that has nothing whatever to do with this matter. There is no connection between that and the attitude that we take to other races in other countries, because there is no implication—and I submit there is no ground for alleging that there is any implication—in this Bill that we look upon other races as in any sense inferior. They are different; that is all; and I find that perfectly reasonable.
I have nothing to say on the rest of the Bill, except that I shall vote for it. We shall have more opportunity to speak later on. I have flown a kite or two, 1110 and I am content to allow them to fly. Perhaps with the help of others, I shall be able to haul them down between now and the Committee. With all its faults (and it has some) I wish the Bill well.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE
My Lords, I must pick up (if that is the right expression) one or two of the noble Earl's kites. At the beginning of his speech he disposed very effectively of the pretensions of Clause 2; he demolished it in a way which leaves nothing for me to say. It is a question we shall discuss in Committee at some length, but I am glad we shall have his support, at any rate in criticising that particular clause. The middle of his speech I found fascinating, and I agreed with it. I am not prepared to allow the noble Earl to be more of a supporter of the old Empire than I am myself. I cannot see why he should Lind it necessary in this House to make such a song and dance about it. Most of us are very proud of our relationship with the old Empire, Australia, Canada, New Zealand. Is there anybody who is not? I agree with the noble Earl. Quite what it had to do with this particular Bill I am not sure. In any case the noble Earl said nothing to which I can take exception.
When it comes to the question of colour or racialism I think the noble Earl must admit that it is no good saying, "Naturally we like our own people more than other people." This, of course, is true. I remember sitting one day next to a very distinguished American hostess. We were having a black/white argument. She said, "Would you like your daughter to marry a black man?" I said, "No, but I would not like her to marry an American. I would rather she married an Englishman from my own circle." When you have said that you have said nothing. This is fundamental law. I would far rather she married a black, yellow or other coloured man of intelligence than a white man of stupidity. I imagine that the noble Earl would probably agree with me. I do not think he has made a point of any validity at all here. The question we are concerned with is: does this legislation tend towards treating differently people who have a different colour of skin? This is the issue. This problem, the noble Earl, Lord Cork, with 1111 all his fascinating speech, made no contribution to solving. The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, I found tremendously persuasive, perhaps because he was speaking on my side. I have on other occasions found him less persuasive but it did seem to me a very strong and useful speech on the side of those people, who, like myself, do not like this Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Gridley, I am always interested to hear. He has lived abroad, he has ruled abroad; he is part of the proudest tradition of this country, and it has gone, and it is interesting to hear his views. We do not often agree but we seldom quarrel.
Having linked up the debate in this way, I should like to use my few minutes (at this time of night one should not take more than a few minutes) in this Second Reading debate, and I stress Second Reading debate, in looking at the Bill as a whole. It seems to me that much the worst thing about this Bill is its very existence. It is not brought forward in response to the pressure of circumstances; it is brought forward in response to an ill-considered Election pledge. There are other things one can say about the clauses within it, but we are going to have, I hope, a long Committee stage when we shall take our time and try to make something of this Bill, if we cannot defeat it. The very conception of bringing forward such a Bill at this time is inexplicable, knowing, as I do know, the very fine record which noble Lords opposite who are supporting the Bill have on race relations. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has just come in in time to receive a little bouquet—maybe the last for a bit. I think the noble and learned Lord has been an outstanding example within the Tory Party of somebody whose views on race relations we on this side respect and admire. The same goes for the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and for the noble Earl the Leader of the House. So I listen with great sympathy to your Lordships who have to get this Bill through, because I know, whatever you may say, that you do not like it.
The decision was taken in 1962 that free and unlimited immigration from the New Commonwealth could not continue. This was an agonising decision, and many people on my side of the House (I was not here) were sadly torn. The late Hugh 1112 Gaitskell made one of the best speeches of his career on this issue, but I believe that to-day he would feel, as we on this side of the House feel, that the thing had to be curbed, that it has been curbed and that the curb has not in itself produced very great hardship. Immigration has been severely curtailed, successfully controlled and, for the last three years, the incoming rate has declined sharply as the dependants of past immigrants are allowed in to join their menfolk and families are united. The figures for incoming dependants are, in 1968, 43,000 odd; in 1969, 29,000 odd; and in 1970, 9,000 odd, which is a very steep decline. The backlog of separated families is nearly wiped out, and the families are united here, which is a fact we can be proud of, and let us not forget it. We have allowed these people to come in. We have allowed the families to join them. They are citizens of this country, and they are as good as you are or I am.
All decent thinking—and in this I include Government thinking—is concentrated on the one problem of assisting the assimilation of these families into our society. I do not think there is any argument that this is the most important thing confronting us at the moment. No one advocates the making of second-class citizens. Nobody denies that there are prejudices and problems to be overcome; and the last Government took, in my opinion, rather halting steps in the right direction. They started with the Race Relations Act; they appointed the Race Relations Board and the Commission, and these are all official efforts to meet the standard which everybody acknowledges and to which even Mr. Enoch Powell pays lip service, that families who are resident citizens of this country should be treated the same in every respect, whatever the colour of their skin. I really believe this to be common ground between all of us. I do not believe anybody differs over it. My quarrel with Mr. Powell—and I do not like to speak ill of a Fellow of Trinity—is that, whatever his motives, his public utterances have done more to make such assimilation difficult than the actions of any other living man. This is a grave responsibility which he will carry to the grave and further, if further there be. To say that you do not intend 1113 consequences which are inevitable is too naï ve a defence for such an acute mind. I find the Government falling into the same evil sequence; bringing in a Bill which expresses worthy intentions and which is already producing results of an utterly opposite kind, which any serious examiner could have foretold, and many did.
The Government's action reminds me of an old story, if I may mention it, which we all heard at our nurse's knee. A very old lady battled against the wind on her way to church, and during the service she prayed with great passion that the wind should change. So it did, and she bad to battle back again. That seems to me to be almost an analogy of what, if we may take the noble Lord's expressions of goodwill seriously—and I do—he is in fact doing. I think one has to be very careful what one prays for. Urged on, I suppose, by a wish to pacify the extremists—at any rate, to some extent urged on by this wish—the Tory Manifesto included a promise to produce legislation in this field, and it is in response to that, and to nothing else, that this Bill is before us to-day. We talk in this fortnight of Wimbledon of "unforced errors"; if ever there was an "unforced error", this Bill is one. It seems to me that it is the most unnecessary elaboration of Parliamentary performance that one could possibly wish for. There is no threat; no build-up; no unforeseen or foreboding situation on the horizon which justifies it at all. Yet noble Lords opposite must know that the effect of this Bill is vastly unsettling to the very people we are hoping and trying to settle.
I asked for your Lordships' agreement, and I think I had it at the beginning, that by far the most important matter in front of us is to settle within this country those people who are stably here. This Bill is working actively against that. If it were making any contribution of any kind to assimilation—which it does not pretend to do—one would feel less bitter. We have none too long. The United States, by making concessions too late to their black citizens, have already passed the point of no return. It seems that nothing they can offer now will be acceptable, and one sees the decades of civil strife before us. The situation is very different here. We have a widely 1114 mixed immigrant population—a tiny one in relation to our total population—most of whom, if they are in work and properly treated, are better off, and know they are better off, than where they came from. It only remains for us to accept them as equal citizens, and we still have time to develop a harmonious society, heavily white dominated, certainly, but happily diversified, with mutual respect between the majority and the various minorities. This is the ideal for which everybody is asking—noble Lords opposite just as much as we are. What we deplore is the action at this moment which is going to put the brakes on the work which is being done and which is beginning to have some effect. And let us not pretend: in the end, this Bill depends on colour discrimination. One cannot prove it by words, but I do not believe that anybody thinks that if all the people we are talking about were white there would be the argument that we are having. I think it is simply a case of burking the issue. I do not believe there is a single man with a coloured skin in this country who is not against the Bill, and I challenge the Government to produce one.
My gloom and misery grows apace when I cast my mind back to Mr. Heath on the steps of 10, Downing Street, promising to unite the nation. Not content with the Industrial Relations Bill, which split it from top to bottom, he has to bring in this useless measure which has already added enormously to the growing suspicion between us and our non-white colleagues. What are the Government playing at? The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, whom we all respect, actually suggested that this Bill clarifies the law. It is, in fact, almost wholly obfuscatory. He and his colleagues speak of its emollient effect on assimilation, but they must know that its effects can only be abrasive. I find it difficult to believe that they think that. But they are men of honour so I assume that they do, and I cannot explain the situation. To me it is dumbfounding.
In the Kenya Asians debate in 1968, we on this side gave a lead. Many noble Lords on this side voted against their Government and a lot of others abstained. The Liberal Party voted against, but their tensions were less acute. I am not going to ask the noble and learned Lord the 1115 Lord Chancellor, or the noble Lord. Lord Windlesham, to vote against their Government—that would be foolish. But I suggest that Peers on the other side who have doubts about the wisdom of pursuing a Bill which is clearly going to make matters more difficult and is clearly not going to make them less difficult in any way. should not support the Bill but should abstain. I feel very strongly about this Bill, and other people feel very strongly. I hope I have not said too much. I know that noble Lords on the other side are as good Christians as I am, many of them better. I feel that they are in a dreadful position and I suggest that they should think very seriously whether, for once, they could use their own individual vote and reject this really very wrong-headed Bill.
§ 9.54 p.m.
§ LORD GARNER
My Lords, it can scarcely be said that the Bill at present before us has been received with undisguised rapture, either from these Benches or from some other Benches. Therefore I am prepared to say to the Government Front Bench that. I do not share the bitter hostilities that have been shown towards the Bill as a whole, nor do I detect racialism in every subsection of it. But I give that piece of comfort only in order to emphasise that there are many provisions about which I feel deep disquiet. The Bill is, of course, a highly complex one, dealing with very difficult problems of an emotional and controversial character, and it operates against a background of the past. Moreover, not only does it seek to deal with simple questions of entry and immigration, but it touches on the whole question of status and of citizenship. It is precisely on this question of status that there is an extremely tangled background. Indeed, looking back on our past Imperial history with hindsight, it would seem to me now that many things which seemed right at the time—and I accept full responsibility for what was done, because I was fully engaged in them—were in fact mistakes, or at least missed opportunities.
First, until 1948 all persons born anywhere in the Commonwealth were British subjects with equal rights and with free entry guaranteed into this country. There was no distinction between people, 1116 whether they were born in Birmingham, Brisbane or Bermuda; and it was the British Government who positively insisted throughout on the maintenance of the so-called common status. In many ways this was magnificent. It carried on the proud Roman boast, Civis Romanus sum. But with increased mass mobility and the coming, of the aircraft, it began to make less and less sense.
Secondly, when the Canadians adopted their own citizenship after the war, forcing us to follow suit, we established in 1948, for the first time, a separate status, though of course still sharing with all Commonwealth citizens the common status of British subjects. But we established that status with. I think, the somewhat awkward title of "citizen of the United Kingdom and the Colonies", and this was indeed to have awkward implications for the future. Thirdly, as each dependent territory was accorded independence and received into full membership of the Commonwealth, Britain—and it was Britain again—insisted on the maintenance of the common status, which meant, certainly until the passing of the 1962 Act, unrestricted right of entry into Britain; and this included not only people from those countries owing allegiance to the Throne, but also those from the independent republics. As one can see now, this was perhaps only storing up trouble for the future. It might well have been possible to make different arrangements at that stage on a bilateral basis—a reciprocal basis, satisfactory to both parties; and this point has been touched on by previous speakers in the debate. But the point I want to make is that what might have been possible 20 or 30 years ago would be very much more difficult now, in the light of all that has happened since.
Fourthly, when it became necessary to control the flood of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent and the West Indies, because of this background I have described and because of the natural desire not to show any discrimination, the law was applied equally to citizens from all Commonwealth countries. This artificial, in some ways, egalitarianism — and it is an egalitarianism with which we are familiar sometimes in other spheres—forced each ship to the pace of the slowest vessel in the convoy. Because in fact no one really wished to place restrictions on 1117 Australians coming here to work for two or three years, and certainly I am sure that no one wished to place any obstacle in the way of the noble Lord. Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, coming to these shores. Fifthly, and finally, there were included in those enjoying the common status people in the dependent territories who were citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies but who, as they did not belong to the United Kingdom itself, were brought within the restrictions of the 1962 Act. Later, promises of United Kingdom citizenship were given to those in certain African countries who did not opt for the local citizenship, and the prospect of their coming here was, as we have heard, on many occasions suspended, at least, by the Act of 1968.
I give this history only to explain that our law and our practices on status generally, and to some extent on immigration, were in a state of considerable confusion, and I think that this Bill is in some ways a brave attempt to bring some sense into our affairs, although admittedly it makes no effort whatever to deal fundamentally with the whole question of citizenship. And this also is something that is going to be crucial to us in the months and years that lie ahead in having absolute clarity as to our citizenship arrangements when we consider reciprocal arrangements with countries in the European Community should we be successful in joining it. My objection to one of the features of the present Bill is precisely this attempt to assimilate the immigration procedures of Commonwealth citizens and aliens. I recognise, as was pointed out earlier, that some distinctions in favour of Commonwealth citizens still remain. Perhaps in practice this is no great hardship. No doubt it is an administrative convenience. But there is, as previous speakers have emphasised, something special about Commonwealth relationships. We do not regard Commonwealth citizens as aliens; nor they us. In an emotional if not in a legal sense, I certainly feel at home in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and indeed a good many other Commonwealth countries, and thousands of Commonwealth citizens feel deeply that in coming to these shores they are coming to their own. It will be a sad day if the law proclaims that there is no distinc- 1118 tion between a subject of Her Majesty from overseas and a total stranger from a totally alien land.
I do not want to say very much about patrials. The Bill has at least an assured place in the history of the English language if only because of the coining of that phrase—although the provision is now a good deal restricted from its earlier form. On the whole I welcome its intention, since it was designed no doubt to mitigate the severity of some of the restrictions on entry and to provide some sort of rough justice. It is an ingenious, if somewhat artificial device, but I am bound to confess that when I was in Australia a month or two ago I did not detect very much enthusiasm for it and my impression from many of my Canadian friends is that there is even some hostility in Canada to the proposal, precisely on the grounds that it is divisive as between one Canadian and another on the pure accident of the birthplace of one of the parents.
As I said earlier, I regret that some of the provisions in this Bill on immigration appear to me to be unnecessarily harsh. I welcome some of the changes made during the course of its career in another place. Perhaps in this House in Committee we shall be able to make greater progress. Of course, I recognise that there are great practical problems, but my main concern is the psychological effect on immigrants who are already here. I do not want to say more about that. because we have heard so much about the unsettling effect. I think that their fears may well be mainly due to popular prejudices which the Government, I am quite satisfied, are seeking in the best way possible to overcome. But we have also to accept that there has been very considerable evidence tonight from a number of quarters that considerable anxieties have been created by the Bill and it is most important to nourish the tender plant of good community relations.
We shall have plenty of time to discuss matters of detail later. Most of the things that worry me have already been touched on and I do not propose to make any further reference to them except to illustrate one point, the question of registration with the police. This brings out part of the nub of my own 1119 argument. I have heard it said so frequently—the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, said so in his opening speech—that registration with the police has worked perfect1y, well with aliens for a long time past; that it is extremely satisfactory; that there have been no complaints and that there is no reason why it should be not be applied to Commonwealth citizens. I entirely admit the logic of that proposition; but my whole point is that this is not a question of logic but one of psychology. To me it does not seem unnatural that a foreigner, knowing that he is coming to a completely strange land, would accept as perfectly normal that some form of registration with the police was necessary. It is a normal international practice.
I do not believe that the same is true of a great number of Commonwealth citizens at any rate. In the past Commonwealth citizens have been encouraged to come here. They have been told that this is a British country—I do not want to use the word "home". They have always been given the impression that this is a friendly land waiting to receive them. Psychologically, if a Commonweath citizen is told that he must register with the police it would have a very different effect on him than on a foreigner.
In conclusion, my Lords, I wish to commend the Government for their efforts to clear up so many of the uncertainties resulting from anomalies and, perhaps, illusions and contradictions of the past and for providing some basis for a new, comprehensive and realistic law. Of course we all recognise the need for control, and certainly the need for strict measures to deal with abuses which have been discovered in recent years. But at the same time I beg the Government to reflect that any law introduced at this time will mark a turning point in our history and our relations with the Commonwealth. I beg them to make sure that none of the provisions puts the clock hack in relation to our traditions of Commonwealth partnership, or indeed to our far older traditions of tolerance, fair play and humanity.
My Lords, I rather hope that there will be no vote this evening; but if there is, I shall vote in favour of giving the Bill a Second Reading on general and 1120 constitutional grounds. I hope, too, that there may be no need for a vote on Lord O'Hagan's Motion; but if there is—I hope this will not sound illogical—I shall vote in favour of the Motion because, although I do not wish to throw out the Bill, I think it important that the Government should realise the need for considerable amendment if it is to be generally acceptable.
§ 10.8 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, the opening speech of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, made me feel that if I were accused of some particularly obnoxious crime I could wish for no better advocate than him to represent me. He said that the Bill was essentially a consolidation measure. He went on to say that it set out to be short, to be practical, to take account of the Commonwealth and to be non-discriminatory. His final remark, with which I was in complete agreement, as indeed I was with all his other remarks that I have quoted, was to the effect that immigration policies must be made to serve race relations. Those are admirable sentiments, and if I could be convinced that this Bill achieved them all I should unwaveringly support it.
Unfortunately, my Lords, it is only on one point that I am moderately convinced that the Bill has succeeded; and that is in being short—for by the standard of the Bills which we have had recently this is a short Bill. I cannot say that it is a practical Bill. I could say categorically, as many other noble Lords have said, that it does not take account, or at any rate sufficient account, of the Commonwealth. While I do not assert that it is in itself discriminatory, there cannot be any doubt, after all that has been said in this debate, that its effect on race relations is nothing short of disastrous. What is more, although it is a consolidation Bill, it is far more than that. If it brought into one Bill all the legislation that has already been made, that would be a simple and sensible matter. But it brings in new points. For instance, it brings in this matter, to which the noble Lord, Lord Garner, and others have referred—reporting to the police. Reporting to the police, and having to carry some identification which marks a man as being entitled to be in this country and in possession of a work 1121 permit, is not very far removed from the pass laws of South Africa. The noble Lord shakes his head, but if he were a coloured immigrant in this country and had to prove to the police who stopped him legally, going about their proper duties, that he was entitled to be in this country by carrying with him some proof, he might agree with me that although it is not identical with the pass laws, it is a very large step towards them.
There is also the unfortunate point—and I am using moderate language about this—of restrictions on workers' bringing in their families. Again this is not far removed from something we all abhor—the principle of indentured labour. People may conic here as workers under certain conditions laid down by us. They may work. but they are not human beings, in the full sense of the word, like the rest of us and are not able to have a normal family life. They can stay or, if they wish, go back home. There is no compulsion on them. But the conditions are not all that different from the conditions of indentured labour in the last century. Then we have repatriation, an entirely new concept—the ostensibly kindly help given by the Government to those who have come here, who feel they do not like our country and want to go home again. I need not add anything to what the most reverend Primate has said on that matter. His analogy was very apt. There is nothing consolidating in this concept and there is nothing consolidating in the patrial clause, about which we have already heard a great deal. So the contention that this is no more than a piece of consolidating legislation cannot be sustained. There are new, important and both obnoxious and dangerous innovations in this legislation.
First let me take, of the two points on which I wish to touch, the effect on the Commonwealth. The noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, made mention of the Commonwealth and spoke of the feeling of relief in this country when we were on our own after Dunkirk, when there were Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders with us and, because they were not strangers and all part of the same family, we still felt that we were on our own. Of course that is true. But what the noble Earl failed to mention was that we also had with us men from the Caribbean, the West Indies, East Africa 1122 and West Africa and (as the noble Lord reminds me) South Africa, though that does not happen to be a member of the Commonwealth and I am referring to members of the Commonwealth. To emphasise the point I am making. during the Second World War there were fighting in France with us, as part of our Forces, 80,000 black Southern Rhodesians. We forget about them when talking about these things.
There is another point on this aspect of the Commonwealth. The noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, said that it was not only in war time that these Commonwealth links were important, and he is absolutely right. But there are Commonwealth links among the black members of the Commonwealth as well as among the white. I remember vividly an occasion in one of the West Indian Islands when I was invited to dinner by the newly elected Government—entirely black. The Chief Minister, as he then was called, was a man who in his younger days had been a violent revolutionary, a trade union leader who used to march through the streets waving the red flag. Half way through this dinner, which was a long one, a member of the group lit a cigarette, whereupon the Chief Minister rapped on the table and said: "Gentlemen, gentlemen, no smoking before the loyal toast. Mr. Speaker, if you please, The Queen." A small incident, my Lords, but it shows that whether it is in Canada, Australia or New Zealand, in a small island of the West Indies or in Africa, we have this feeling of being part of the same Commonwealth, and that is something which to-day has been put under strain for all manner of causes, including the Common Market. which I support, as many of your Lordships do.
Many other things are happening today, and have been happening over the years. which are putting strains on this feeling. Here we have this Bill, which, through its patrial clauses, quite unnecessarily and for no good purpose, whatever—not even to appease the rabble-rousers of the extreme Right, who I know have no influence whatsoever with the Government; it will not appease the Australians and, as we have already heard, it will not make the New Zealanders happy—will strain still further the concept and the reality of Commonwealth.
1123 Let me now come to what I think is the most important danger of this Bill; that is, its effect upon race relations in this country. This danger is something which over the years many of us have recognised, all of us have abhorred and a large number have worked to fight against. But over the last 18 months, in particular, there have been great strains upon those who arc working for the improvement of race relations. For instance, there was the South African cricket tour. I do not want to go into the merits of that tour one way or the other, but the fact that there was a conflict over this made many ordinary people, people who had never before given any thought to this matter, conscious of the problem; it accentuated the tensions and forced people to take up far more extreme views than they would otherwise have done. Before that incident had a chance to die down there was the General Election, and always in General Elections views are polarised, and things are said that people afterwards regret, but whose effect still remains. Again positions were taken up, tensions were increased, and the feeling of insecurity among the coloured immigrants increased still further.
No sooner was the Election over than we had the question of South African arms. That might appear to have nothing whatever to do with race relations, but in the eyes of a large number of coloured immigrants in this country and of coloured members of the Commonwealth this was a conflict between the black and white nations of the world. The South African challenge was regarded by them as such, and the result of the British Government deciding to send arms to South Africa, however limited they might be, made an increasing number of coloured immigrants in this country feel that here is a Government which is on the side of the whites and against the blacks. I am not saying that that is right or that it is logical. As the noble Lord. Lord Gardiner, said, this is not a question of logic, but one of psychology, and we must take into consideration the way people think and feel with their hearts and their guts rather than with their bra ins.
On top of all those things comes this Bill, and one has only to talk to those who are engaged in race relations in any aspect to realise how much harder this 1124 is making their job. Even the Race Relations Board and the Community Relations Commission, doing admirable work, trying hard to do the jobs which have been urged on them by successive Governments who have made money available for them, know perfectly well to-day that they are losing credibility. This Bill is one of the greatest causes of that loss of credibility; and when we are talking about it let us not forget that we are about to be faced with what can almost be called an explosion of school-leavers from immigrant families, of black school-leavers, whether they were born in this country or came in later. My Lords, I ask you just to think for a moment what the effect on these young people is going to be when they leave school. No school-leaver, or very few of them, even in times of full employment, gets exactly the job that he feels is right for him or the one for which he is best fitted. In days like these, with relatively high unemployment, the chances of getting the right job arc even less. These school-leavers, when they do not get what they feel to be the right job, will not blame it upon themselves because they are not capable of doing a better job; they will not blame the Government for policies which may have led to high unemployment; but they will put the blame on the fact that they are black and the bosses are white—and what better recruits could one have for Black Power and violence in the years ahead?
It is relatively rare for any Government to have the chance of doing something which really affects the course of events. Usually events make a course inevitable, and freedom of choice is very limited indeed, but to-day we do have the chance of taking a step, or refusing to take it, which will have appalling consequences if we make the wrong decision, not to ourselves but to all our children. The guilty men of 1939 were not those who were in power in 1939 but those who had been in power in the late 'twenties and early 'thirties, who took the steps—or failed to take them—which made Hitler's war inevitable. It would be wrong to blame the men of 1939. It would be wrong to blame the men who will be in power in 1985 for the racial conflicts with which this country will be confronted, for the blame rests with those who, however unwittingly, have passed 1125 legislation of this sort which makes that type of conflict inevitable. It is rare, I know, for this House to refuse to pass a Bill which has come from another place, but there are times when precedent and tradition should be put to one side because of the importance of the occasion, not to ourselves but to future generations. I believe that this is one of those occasions because this Bill, if it becomes law, will create such trouble for the future that few of us could look on it with equanimity if we could recognise what was to come.
§ 10.24 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
My Lords, my contribution at the end of this long debate will be very brief. We are concerned with community relations and I think it is important that we should agree to give one another the credit, whatever our attitude to the Bill may be, of being motivated by such concern. The crucial question appears to me to be whether or not this Bill, with further Amendments, will benefit community relations and help to promote the integration into one harmonious community of all who live and work in this country.
I readily admit there are many aspects of this Bill which have been justifiably criticised. Although the Bill has been considerably improved by reason of Amendments in another place, grounds for serious anxiety still remain. Nevertheless, it appears to me that the great merit of this Bill is that it represents a genuine and sincere attempt to stabilise the confused situation created by existing piecemeal legislation, and so to restore confidence and remove fears. We all recognise that there are fears. On the one hand, there are fears of the resident immigration population, fears of discrimination in jobs, schools, housing; fears arising from uncertainty about the future. This Bill, we are assured—and I do not doubt it—makes it quite clear that those who have now settled in our midst, the immigrants who are settled among us, are accepted as full members of our community, and there is no question whatever of their rights being taken. from them.
On the other side, there are fears which we cannot ignore: the fears of the indigenous population, especially in those areas where a rapid arrival of a very considerable number of immigrants has so quickly and radically transformed the 1126 whole pattern of life in the community. One can well understand how in such areas there is considerable anxiety about the possibility of further large-scale immigration. We may believe, and rightly so, that those anxieties and fears are groundless, but they are very real. This Bill, by seeking to provide a comprehensive plan for controlling immigration in the future, should do much to allay these fears and anxieties, groundless as they may be.
I have spoken of fear. The Minister of State who moved the Third Reading of the Bill in another place, pointed out, quite rightly, that fear is the great enemy of good community relations. Things have been said in the debates in another place, in this House to-day, and in discussions outside Parliament, that can only serve to foment the fears that I and others have been speaking about, by exaggerating the harm that, so it is claimed, rightly or wrongly, may be done by the Bill. For example, I think of the charge that this Bill is a racist Bill. I cannot believe that this charge is justified. Surely, as the Home Secretary pointed out in another place, it is turning the whole argument on racial discrimination upside down to say that we cannot accord a special position to people without a parental connection with this country. Every other country in the world does this.
To take one other example of the fomenting of fear, I refer to the charge that this Bill is likely to encourage harassment by the police. I am not here discussing registration. This does serious injustice to our splendid police force, and for that reason I deeply regret such a suggestion. To mention this possibility can only serve to foment fear and create anxiety upon the part of immigrants, when all of us, whatever our attitude to the Bill, ought to be doing our utmost to foster the spirit of confidence and sense of security on the part of immigrants.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
May I just finish? Emotional and emotive reactions to this Bill can only, in my judgment, do a grave disservice to the cause we all have at heart: the cause of good community relations.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
May I just finish? My Lords, it is my hope that this Bill, given a Second Reading, will be so amended—Amendments are very necessary—that it may provide a solid foundation for the building up of harmonious relations between citizens of this country and all who come and live in our midst.
§ LORD BYERS
My Lords, before the right reverend Prelate finishes his speech, may I ask him what sense of security an immigrant who has to work for an employer for one year is likely to have?
TIIE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
My Lords, may I just say that it is my hope that there will be an Amendment along those lines.
§ 10.31 p.m.
§ LORD BROOKE OF CUMNOR
My Lords, 18 months ago the noble Lord, Lord Walston, introduced a debate on race relations, and I had the privilege of following him. We both made lengthy speeches, and though we may not have entirely agreed with one another, I think we both accepted one another's sincerity. I have sat through practically the whole of this debate, except for short absences for meals, and I confess that I have had growing difficulty in refraining from intervening. It seems to me that a number of the speeches that have been made were exposed to the same criticism which the right reverend Prelate has just expressed. I do not believe that race relations can ever be improved by anybody who speaks in an unbalanced way and fails to give both sides of the question to those who perhaps are not in so good a position as the speaker to understand all that is involved.
I deeply respect the sincerity with which a number of noble Lords have spoken against the Bill—the noble Lords, Lord O'Hagan and Lord Hunt, and others. I think that they are wrong, but in any criticisms that I express about prejudice or unbalance I am certainly not referring to them. But, as I shall seek to show in my speech, there have been remarks made and interpretations 1128 of this Bill publicised which, to my mind, cannot do any good whatever to race relations because they are not rightly related to the terms of the Bill. And in this criticism, I am sorry to say, I have to include a statement put out by the British Council of Churches, which seemed to me to be full of bias and in that respect unchristian. If noble Lords wish me to justify that statement, let me read one sentence from it, in which it said:In future, Commonwealth immigrants will be able to bring in their wives and children only if they are able and willing to support and accommodate them without recourse to public funds. We find this provision unsatisfactory and undesirable.They do not seem to have heard of one's duty to one's neighbour, and particularly one's duty to one's family.
One of the charges brought in that document against the Bill is that it is unnecessary. Another, repeated frequently in this debate, is that it will lead to instability. My Lords, legislation is necessary. It has been recognised by both the principal Parties as necessary. At the moment, immigration control is exercised under temporary legislation: an Act of 1919 for aliens, and an Act of 1962 for Commonwealth citizens. Both of them have to be renewed from year to year; they have no permanence. Moreover, the two Acts operate to bring it about that our systems of control for foreigners and for Commonwealth citizens are entirely different. The two are quite unrelated to one another, and nobody starting afresh and trying to create satisfactory long-term machinery for the control of immigration would dream of maintaining two wholly separate and disconnected systems.
That is why this Bill is necessary, and that is why it seeks to create a new system of control which will be permanent and which will be considerably simpler than the very complex arrangements at present. With the greatest respect to the most reverend Primate,I was surprised that he suggested that the Government had no mandate for this Bill. I can only think that he had not read the Election programme or the speeches that were made before the Election, indicating what a Conservative Government would do. As for the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, who I think suggested that this was an ill-considered 1129 Election pledge, it has been Conservative policy since at least 1966, and if I may humbly say so, I had been advocating action of this kind since before that time. When I was Home Secretary I became very much aware of the unsatisfactoriness of the two separate systems of control. It appeared to me that so far as aliens were concerned it was rather a hand-to-mouth affair to carry on year by year an Act of 1919. So far as Commonwealth citizens were concerned it was already clear to me that there were flaws in the 1962 Act. I am quite sure that any responsible Government at this stage had a duty to prepare new legislation.
Now as to this charge of creating instability. A good deal has been said in the debate to-day about the deportation power and the anxiety that this will cause to all kinds of Commonwealth immigrants who are already here. Will it? One of the provisions is that the Home Secretary can sign a deportation order on a Commonwealth citizen because his presence is deemed not to be conducive to the public good. 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. But certainly it was an anxiety to me that there was no similar power in the case of Commonwealth citizens.
Let me give your Lordships two specific cases which I remember, where I had to use this power in the case of foreigners. One was a man who got into this country and who was a drug addict. He had no claim on this country, and drug addicts do not only harm themselves; they are centres of infection, and I saw no reason why this person should remain here as a centre of infection and why we should continue to give him hospitality. There was little criticism raised when I sent him away, but had he been a Commonwealth citizen—had he been an Australian or a Canadian or a Nigerian—nothing could have been done. Under this Bill there will be power.
Let me take a second example, which may be within the recollection of some of your Lordships. A peculiarly unpleasant character slipped into this country in 1962; an American Nazi named 1130 Rockwell, an admirer of Hitler. It did not seem to me that this was the kind of person we should welcome. There would have been no power to remove him had he been a Commonwealth citizen. He had not committed a crime. He certainly allied himself straight away with some of these nauseous little neo-Fascist bodies in this country that caused so much trouble. But had he been a Commonwealth citizen nothing could have got rid of him unless he had committed a crime and qualified for a deportation recommendation by the magistrates. Fortunately for this country he was not a Commonwealth citizen, and fortunately for this country there was a power of deportation against aliens. He went, and went quickly, and I cannot remember anything but praise for me, both in Parliament and from the Press and the public, for acting in this matter.
Do noble Lords seriously believe that the fact that Home Secretaries have been able to get rid of characters like that when they were aliens need cause anxiety to the million and more Commonwealth citizens who are here already. in case quite different tests are used against them? I can assure your Lordships that no Home Secretary would deport a man, Commonwealth citizen or alien, on the ground that his presence was not conducive to the public good, except after the most careful consideration and absolute certainty on his part that he was doing right.
As to the deportation powers against Commonwealth citizens where members of the family are concerned, well, I had not thought of this as a possible legislative power to take, I must confess, but I was very much aware of a problem; and those noble Lords who criticise the Government for putting in this power will, I hope, decide what the better solution is. It seemed to me very unsatisfactory, when a Commonwealth citizen was recommended for deportation and the Home Secretary thought he was worthy of deportation, that it was only the man himself who could under the law be sent away, and he might leave his wife and children here with no one to look after them, splitting up the family irrevocably. That is the problem. There may be a better solution to it than the one produced in the Bill, but it is really incumbent upon your 1131 Lordships, if you criticise this solution, to put forward a better one of your own.
Then another alleged cause of instabality is that the Commonwealth citizen now, after five years, will not be able to claim registration of citizenship as of right. An alien, of course, cannot do that. An alien has to be here five years and has to satisfy the authorities that he has shown himself a good citizen. I confess it gave me anxiety, when I came across some of these cases of Commonwealth citizens who had not lived up to the standard of good citizenship in this country, that nevertheless under the law as it stood the authorities were bound to grant them registration as citizens of this country. If they committed a crime that brought forward a deportation recommendation, they could be deported. But there are a good many people who do not do that, but who show by their behaviour that they do not deserve the privilege of British citizenship.
It is said that there will be instability because we are adopting the system of admission for limited periods. But I would remind your Lordships that the Bill also gives power to admit anybody for an unlimited time if that is thought right. A number of speeches which have been made to-day seem to me to show unawareness of the way the situation has changed since 1962. In 1962 what was needed was legislation to control numbers. It is now accepted by all political Parties, so far as I am aware, that there should be no more large-scale immigration into this country from the Commonwealth. Certainly there appears to be no difference of opinion between the Front Benches on that score. Therefore the kind of future immigration which we have to consider is highly selective—selected workers, because the man or woman concerned has certain qualifications or is needed to fill a certain post. If that is so, we ought to arrange our immigration machinery so that it will satisfy that test and will not allow someone to come in in order to take a job and yet within a few weeks leave that job and go into the general labour market at perhaps a much higher wage. It seems to me that this is one of the valid reasons why the Government propose to change the system at this stage.
1132 I listened with great care to the speech of the noble Baroness, Lady White. She seemed to me to be under the impression that we still ought to apply the same tests, we still ought to be considering admitting people for general settlement in this country. That is not so. Indeed, I do not think any political Party now would agree that there was a case for admission for general settlement into those parts of the country which already have a very large immigrant population. My noble friend Lord Harvey of Prestbury in his maiden speech established a point which I think nobody else made: it was that this new system of control might lead to dispersion of the immigrant population, which again is accepted by all Parties as a desirable development but which at present there is no power to bring about. I think the new system will be valuable in applying the kind of machinery that is needed for this new situation.
I cannot go as far as the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Coventry, the noble Lord, Lord Soper, and others who said that the mere existence of this machinery was going to frighten immigrants and make them feel that they were no more than migrant labour. We have numbers of Spanish nurses in this country. Are we going to disparage them by dismissing them as migrant labour? The less we use pejorative terms of that kind the better. We need to reduce the emotion, not to add to it. I really cannot see why a system which has worked with commendable smoothness in the case of foreigners over a large number of years should be condemned in advance as absolutely inapplicable in the case of Commonwealth citizens. In saying that, I take the point of the noble Lord. Lord Garner, that there is psychology in this as well as logic. I think the point about registration with the police is one of the most difficult in the Bill on psychological grounds, and if there is a valid alternative nobody would be more pleased than I. I have not yet heard any that would work, but it would certainly ease matters somewhat if one could be discovered.
My Lords, there has been criticism of the word "patrial". My noble friend Lord Cork said that the quirks of citizenship sometimes are quite extraordinary, but I venture to submit that any of us 1133 in this House, if we had children born and brought up abroad, would be inclined to think of them as having a stronger right of abode in this country than those who have no personal connection with this country ever before. There may be no logic in it, but I am speaking of the psychology of it. Your Lordships may laugh at the word "patrial", but I am sure our law ought to recognise the psychological feeling which I have just described.
As to Clause 29, into which controversy has been introduced, again it seemed to me, from my experience in office, that one came across immigrants who realised that they had made a mistake in coming to this country and who wanted to get away but had not been able to save enough money for the fare home. All I could say to them at that time was, "When you are absolutely destitute and have no resources left at all, the National Assistance Board"—as it was then called—" may be able to help you to go home". But I cannot believe it was a contribution to race relations to handle them in that way. The noble Lord. Lord Walston, has spoken about the "ostensibly kindly help" offered by Clause 29. That is just the kind of prejudiced phrase that I object to in the discussion of this Bill. Here, in the case I have been describing, is a genuine and authentic need, and it is unhelpful and certainly not conducive to good race relations to breathe into it that sort of prejudice.
I have spoken too long, but I cannot help saying that this debate has time after time carried me back to the long and bitter debates on what became the 1962 Act. That Bill was opposed, I know, with intense sincerity, by the Labour and Liberal Parties. It was opposed on grounds of fears which seemed to me at the time to have very thin foundations. It has so proved, and I believe history will be repeated.
§ 10.50 p.m.
§ LORD FOOT
My Lords, it would be wrong, and also, I suspect, very unwise of me to detain the House at this late hour for more than perhaps two or three minutes, when I am to he followed by the two noble and learned Lords who will be winding up the debate. I shall not attempt to traverse the ground which has been covered during this debate. I 1134 should like to go back to the very beginning and, just for a few moments, to examine the basis upon which this Bill was commended to us by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and by other speakers since, and indeed the way it was commended just now by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Winchester.
The way in which the Government have put the matter is this—this is what you might call the philosophy behind the Bill. They are saying that this is a deliberate attempt to introduce harmony into community relations in this country, and that in order to do that two things are essential. The first is that you have to allay the fears and sense of insecurity among the immigrant population who arc already here. You have to eliminate any possibility that there may be in this country first-class and second-class citizens. You have to allay those fears first of all; then you have to turn to the indigenous population and allay their fears, too.
What fear among the indigenous population has to be allayed? We had from the Home Secretary on Second Reading of this Bill in the other place, we had to-day from the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and we had from the right reverend Prelate that the fear that we have to allay is of further substantial coloured immigration into this country. The right reverend Prelate, and indeed the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham (if I remember him correctly), said that this fear may be groundless, but nevertheless it is there and we have to recognise it. But there is no possible risk of any further substantial coloured immigration into this country because the Government have, and they know they have, all the power they need. By withholding work permits, they have all the power they need to control immigration within whatever limits they like to set forth. They know that to be true.
Of course in the last two years, as we have been told, there has been a substantial reduction in the number of Commonwealth immigrants who have been admitted to this country, simply because the Government have been making use of this machinery. Why, then, is this a fear that has to be allayed? If it is a baseless fear, if it is pure ignorance, is not the right course for the Government 1135 to expose the baselessness of the fear rather than to pander to it? That is what they are doing. In order to pander to this baseless fear they have to create a condition of grave insecurity for all the newcomers from Commonwealth countries who will come here after the passage of this Bill. These people are going to live here for one, two, three, four or five years in a precarious condition of sustained anxiety and uncertainty.
I do not know how it is that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, does not understand this. When we were talking on this side of the House about this state of uncertainty in which the newcomers are going to find themselves, we were not talking about deportation or anything like that; we were talking about how these people, when they come in with a work permit, will be allowed to stay in this country and work for one particular employer, and that they will be allowed in, in the first place, for a maximum period of 12 months which can thereafter be extended; but if they should lose their employment with that single employer, whether through redundancy or because the employer takes a dislike to them, they are at risk of being shipped back to the country from which they came. That is the state of insecurity. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, dealt with this at the very beginning of the debate, and explained better than I could how hopelessly insecure people in that condition must be, especially when they cannot bring their dependants and live with them here. That is the price which is being paid under this Bill to allay the baseless fears of the most ignorant section of the indigenous population.
The second ground on which this Bill is presented to us is this. It is said that we are at last introducing some order and uniformity into our immigration laws and, in particular, that we are putting Commonwealth citizens upon the same level and basis as the alien. There are two points to be made about that. The first is that, instead of raising the status of the alien to the former level of the Commonwealth citizen, we are going to degrade the Commonwealth citizen to the conditions and status of the alien. I think it was the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor who was quoted by an earlier speaker as having said that our 1136 alien legislation is among the most illiberal in the world. What we are doing is degrading the Commonwealth immigrant to the level and conditions which prevail for the alien. But there is a basic difference between the way in which we ought to treat the Commonwealth immigrant and the alien, because the Commonwealth immigrant is coming into this country in almost every case with the intention of settling here if he can. But the great majority of aliens are coming into the country only temporarily to take up some temporary job, and the greater number have no intention of trying to settle here permanently. Therefore, I suggest that it is perfectly reasonable to have different standards for the Commonwealth immigrant and the alien.
Let me finish by saying this. I have been reminded, as I have no doubt have many of your Lordships, of the debate on the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968. and there are some unpleasant similarities. One of the chief similarities is that on that occasion it was legislation which was instigated and inspired by fear. It was inspired by a panic fear which ran through the country and was shared not only by the then Government, but by the greater part of the Tory Party. To-day we are considering a Bill which is again dictated by surrender to an empty and baseless fear, and that appears to me to be the rot at the heart of the Bill. It is because of that that I think the Bill is incurable. Naturally enough, if it gets to the Committee stage we shall do all we can to mitigate the effects of it, but, in my view, because it is based upon a false premise and a false assumption there is a root evil in this Bill which cannot be eradicated in the course of amendment in Committee. Therefore, I hope that we on these Benches will go into the Division Lobby against the Second Reading of this Bill, because if we take the view—as I do—that the Bill is incurable and evil and will have the reverse effect to what the Government intend, then the only logical and honest course is to go into the Lobby against the Second Reading.
But may I add one word about the Motion in the name of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan? I think the noble Lord has made a very valuable contribution in putting his Motion forward, because there may be Members of this House who share 1137 our anxieties about this Bill, or who indeed have anxieties of their own, which they might feel unable to express if there was not a Division here to-night other than a Division upon the Second Reading. I quite appreciate the attitude of those people who say, "No, we do not think it right to vote against the general principle of the Bill on Second Reading". I appreciate that attitude, and I understand it. But what the noble Lord Lord O'Hagan, has done by putting his Motion forward is to enable all those who share his anxieties to express those anxieties without defeating the Bill on Second Reading.
The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, when making that remarkable speech of his, said that ht wondered whether, even now, it was too late to hope that the Government might reconsider this Bill and take it away and try to produce something better. I suppose it is an idle hope; but it might be—it might just be —that if the Motion put forward by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, attracted sufficient support from all parts of the House here to-night, that would have some bearing and influence upon the future course of this Bill and upon the attitude of the Government towards it. If all those Members who feel these anxieties were to join with us in supporting Lord O'Hagan's Motion. I think we might indeed, if not get this Bill withdrawn, at least be heard with a very much more sympathetic ear later on, when we get to the Committee stage.
§ 11.2 p.m.
§ LORD GARDINER
My Lords, we have had a long evening but by no means too long in view of the importance of the Bill. During the course of the speeches we have had a maiden speech from the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, and I hope that we shall hear from him again. It was perhaps the least uncontroversial maiden speech that I have ever heard, but it was in fact helpful because I think it was some two hours after the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, sat down before we heard, in his speech, anyone saying anything in support of the Bill.
My Lords, I shall not of course attempt to reply to the speeches which have been made. My only function, as I conceive it to be, is to summarise shortly the view of the Opposition. It was a painful matter to me in 1968 when I had to move 1138 the Second Reading of our Immigration Bill. The situation then was, as everybody knows, that there was a serious conflict of race relations in this country which was continuing to mount. A million or so people had a legal right to come to this country the next day and we 'were faced with the possibility, if I remember rightly, of something like 100,000 coming from East Africa. It seemed to my colleagues and to me that we must stop this happening, that we must take a firm control of immigration, and that even if it meant (which we all much regretted) taking away existing rights, we really were not in a position as a country in which we could go on any longer with 1 million or 2 million people having a legal right to arrive the next day and to say, "Build us houses, build us schools, build us hospitals, provide us with social welfare".
It was not because we wished to take away anyone's legal rights, or would have done so if we felt we could have helped it. It was not, in reply to what the noble Lord, Lord Foot, has said, done at all in a panic, but only after deep consideration. But what we did in so doing, in subsequently reducing the numbers of work vouchers, in providing for the first time a right of appeal in immigration cases and in providing the Race Relations Board and a great deal of race relations conciliation, has perhaps shown itself to-day, when more than one noble Lord who works in the field of race relations has told us how much better race relations are to-day than they were then, even though we have unemployed mounting up to 800,000.
No one would to-day have complained of a Bill tidying up a temporary war-time Act or modernising it. When people say that the Bill is unnecessary, what they have in mind is this. As your Lordships know, apart from dependants the number of vouchers now is about 8,000 of which only about 4,000 are taken up. The majority of them are doctors, dentists, nurses and professional people whose skills we badly need. Then we are left with about 1,700 semi-skilled and unskilled artisans. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke, is quite right in saying that nobody is in favour of further large-scale permanent immigration. But when you go to the country and say, "We will ensure that there will be no further large-scale permanent immigration", 1139 people think that there must be another Party who is in favour of it. I am not referring merely to Mr. Powell; but one heard a lot of this in the Election. And people think that it is as the result of this pledge that this Bill is being introduced. One or two noble Lords were clearly under the impression that this was a Bill which would give this Government power completely to control numbers. They have that already. They have it under the 1968 Act. There is nothing whatever in this Bill to give the Government any power to control numbers; because they do not need it. They have it under the 1968 Act. That is what people mean when they describe this Bill as unnecessary.
Secondly, they say that it is harmful. I will, however, express no view on that, for I have not worked in the field of race relations. But the House will have observed that so far as I know, everybody in race relations, the Churches, Mr. Bonham Carter, the Race Relations conciliation people, the police, are all strongly of the opinion that the Bill itself, and even the discussions on it, will do grave harm to race relations in this country. I suppose a third general objection to the Bill is the degree to which instead of our immigration law being on the Statute Book such a great deal of it now is going to be in Rules over which Parliament will have no effective or detailed control.
I am sure that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has much to reply to. I do not intend to detain him. I will merely mention what I suppose are the next half-dozen points on which people feel most strongly. First, the patrials. I will not take up time with that, although I cannot resist saying how much I regret the picking out of illegitimate children to be discriminated against again. I had thought that we were tending to get rid of that. Secondly, the one-year work permits which a great many people treat as likely to result in the sort of indentured labour of which I have had some experience in South Africa. Thirdly, the point about which I personally feel strongest, that this Bill deprives the immigrants of the legal statutory right which they have now to have their wives and children with them. I know that we are told that it will be in Rules. So long as Mr. Maudling is Home Sec- 1140 retary, he is going to let the wives and children come—as long as the man has not fallen out of work. But what is in Rules which can be made by one Home Secretary can be altered by another. Nothing can alter the fact that this Bill takes away what is now the statutory right of a man to have his wife and children with him. I certainly would never have agreed to anything else myself. Not only do I think it ethically wrong to separate families, but I think it is the height of social folly to let a lot of married men come here without their wives, for obvious reasons. Fourthly, the right to register is taken away from non-patrials. By that I mean the right to register as citizens at the end of five years. Fifthly, there is registration and the police.
My Lords, a good deal has been said about this already. I think there is some misconception, for this reason: that on both sides the subject is treated as if the immigrant would, first of all, have to go to a police station and, standing between someone who was being interrogated and somebody else who was being arrested, he would try to register. On the other side it is said, "What better entrée to British life could there be than for him to see one of our kindly police?" It appears not to be appreciated by either side, if I am right, that the majority of aliens register at a central office in London, and there is not a policeman in the building. Registration is a clerical function and the staff are all clerks. The police are in charge but you would not see a policeman. Outside London I suppose the situation might be different, but we have not yet had any clear indication of exactly what is to happen if these people register. When one reads of a member of the Monday Club saying, "I hope also that they are going to be fingerprinted" one may be forgiven for wanting to know in some detail about what is going to happen.
Then, sixthly, there is the whole question of deportation, particularly of families, and again, no doubt, the question of representation, and so forth. I am hoping that when any question of representation arises I may get some sympathy from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. I have never been able to understand what harm it does for people to be represented. There are the questions of arrest 1141 without warrant for failure to observe the time limit or other conditions of entry. I do not think it has been entirely appreciated that if you have registration—. I have yet to hear any good reason why we need registration at all—and people have to possess permits, the man who has settled here and who has been living here for years, who is a citizen and can no longer be deported, is the sort of man who will be asked in the street, "Are you registered?" because he is coloured. The coloured people are those who will be registered, and many people who are here by right will not have any papers on them.
There is, my Lords, the question of assistance to return, about which obviously there is some disquiet; and there is the question of mental patients. If I may, I would raise a point which has not been raised before. I should like to ask the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor whether I am right in thinking that to a large extent this Bill will have to be torn up if, as I personally hope, we go into the European Community. When I say "torn up", as I understand it so much here is in the Rules and not in the Bill that probably it would mean an alteration to the Rules. Am I right in thinking that it would cut right across what is being said in the Bill and the Rules; that under the E.E.C. Articles—if I understand them rightly—immigrants are entitled to come for a minimum of five years with a right to bring children of up to 21 with them? I should like to ask whether that is so. And can the noble and learned Lord give us any idea of the position of the associated States? If one takes the countries already associated, as I think Nigeria is, what would the position be there? Am I right in thinking that if we and Eire go into the European Community the citizens of Eire will all acquire the right to go to Northern Ireland? This is one of the factors which we must take into account.
My Lords, many of us regret this Bill. Rightly or wrongly, I think it is being looked at by perfectly ordinary people outside Parliament who do not read Hansard as if there is a battle going on in Parliament between one lot of people who want us to have another flood of coloured immigrants and the valiant Party which is determined to stop that flow and to keep them out. I think 1142 that this Bill is unnecessary, and that it will do harm. I should vote against the Second Reading, if it were not the practice of your Lordships' House not to do so when a Bill has passed the elected Chamber.
§ 11.15 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the time is now almost exactly 11.15 p.m. and many noble Lords have expressed a desire to vote either once or twice. It follows from that that I must deliberately prune what I had intended to say of all but the barest essentials. If noble Lords find that I have not dealt with particular points they have raised in their speeches, they will probably wish to forgive me rather than to prolong my efforts, though I should be happy if they wished me to do so. I cannot therefore reply in detail to most of the points made by the noble and learned Lord who has just spoken. They were, many of them and perhaps most of them, Committee points. I only say, so far as the Second Reading is concerned, that so far as I know we should not have to alter one word of the Bill should we enter the European Economic Community. I should like to add this on the constitutional point with which the noble and learned Lord closed his speech: that there is no doubt whatever that this Government have a mandate for this Bill in all its essential particulars—all the particulars which we need to discuss on Second Reading.
There are two Members of this House, one the noble Lord, Lord Harvey of Prestbury, who made a maiden speech which I hope I may welcome, who fought the last Election and who know from contact with the constituencies where their constituents' vote would be were they here to-day. In my judgment it would be a very serious thing for the unelected Chamber deliberately to rebut a Government with a recent mandate to do the very thing which they are proposing to do to-day, the more so if they happen to belong to radical Parties who would much dislike it were our roles reversed.
The debate began with a number of polite remarks about myself, which I should like to acknowledge gratefully. They came from the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and, I believe, from the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, whose speech I did 1143 not happen to hear but I have heard it was a very good one, and from the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge. But I must regretfully decline the compliment paid to me by the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge, and by the noble Baroness, Lady White, who suggested that for some reason I was going to argue contrary to my real opinion. Be I right or be I wrong, I have never been more confident in my life that in supporting this Bill I am doing absolutely the right thing and that the House would be right to give it a Second Reading. I spoke of our mandate, but every single provision of this Bill of any importance, every single provision worthy of reference in a Second Reading debate, was spelt out by myself at length, not once but again and again, in the years from 1966 to 1970, and in the very lecture on race relations from which I am told the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, quoted I spelt it out again in considerable detail and with considered emphasis. There can be absolutely no doubt that the policy which I am supporting to-night is the policy which I sought to propose when in Opposition, not as a matter of election pledge but of continued debate in another place.
I will try to develop why I say that. I thought perhaps the most significant event of this debate came when the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said that he bitterly opposed this Bill; and he added that he had bitterly opposed the 1962 Bill. He was right, of course, on both occasions. He bitterly opposed the 1962 Bill, but he now recognises that it was probably necessary. He could hardly do anything else, because under that Bill the Labour Government reduced the number of vouchers from the rather considerable figure of about 30,000, where we had left it, to something like the 4,000 where it now stands. Surely your Lordships' memories are not so short. That Bill was opposed by the most reverend Primate in almost the same kind of language that he used to-day; it was opposed by the Bishops, but not by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Winchester; it was opposed by the Labour Party and the Liberal Party with the same kind of groundless fears that have been expressed to-day. Now they recognise that it was necessary.
1144 If noble Lords with a little longer memory cast their minds back to 1905, the Aliens Bill of that year was opposed in exactly the same way, with almost exactly the same arguments. So was the Bill of 1968, to which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, referred. Yet the noble and learned Lord says—and I agree with him—that since the appalling Bill, which it gave him so much pain to introduce, race relations have improved, as he thinks—I think probably rightly—because he had the courage to do what he then did. We believe that if we had not introduced the Bill in 1962 there would have been a much worse situation as regards race relations in this country now. I have no doubt whatever that our predecessors in 1905 were equally right. Each time the fears were expressed; each time they were groundless. Each time successive Governments took on the legislation of their predecessors, and each time the result was the opposite of what the critics had supposed. Are we really to be so naive as to believe that history will not repeat itself? I am sure that it will. I am sure that in truth and in fact this is necessary.
I can say with perfect humility that I have spent some of the most disagreeable hours of my life in the last ten years trying to persuade my own Party and the people of this country of two complementary propositions. The first is that this country has a right as a matter of its own independence to impose its own conditions of entry for permanent settlement; and the second is that if it allows or invites people to come here, they must be treated, irrespective of race, colour, creed or any other irrelevant difference, as equals with ourselves in point of human dignity and rights. I do not regard these two propositions as divergent. I do not regard them as independent of one another. I do not believe that either will stand the test of the rough experience to which it is exposed unless each is complemented by the other. That is why I believe that this Bill represents a realistic and proper measure.
I venture to say to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, the most reverend Primate, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, that I do not doubt their sincerity, and I warmly applaud the work that they are doing for race relations. But 1145 I wonder whether any of them have reflected how much harm to race relations was done in 1962 by the expression of those groundless fears. Do your Lordships think that that was the right attitude to allay the suspicions and anxieties of the immigrants? Surely the right thing to have done, in retrospect, was to have allayed their fears by telling them that they were groundless. When the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, in his powerful opening speech says to your Lordships that he finds the Bill unnecessary, and spells it out; and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, spells it out again in his powerful winding-up speech and says in truth and in fact, to adopt the words of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, from the Cross-Benches, that there may be very little necessity for the Bill—very little necessity because the powers are already there and are being exercised wisely and humanely in effect, surely I am entitled to say to those noble Lords who have taken this attitude: " If that is right, are you really doing the right thing by the immigrants by trying to tell them that their fears are not groundless?" The most reverend Primate accused us of want of sensitivity and imagination. May I respectfully ask him to look at the eyes in his own face?
Let me put this to your Lordships. Of course, if the immigrants' fears are well grounded and if there is an objective reality in their fears of oppression or discrimination by this or any other Government, such fears ought to be examined with objectivity and care. But if in truth their fears are subjective in origin and in fact there is no difference, as the most reverend Primate suggests—and I think he is wrong, for reasons which I will give—between the powers conferred by this Bill and those which are now exercised, or in the way effectively in which they are being administered, surely it would be in the interests of race relations if all those noble Lords who carry so much more influence in these circles than I were to tell them so; tell them that these fears are subjective and that no Government which is likely to come to Power in this country, no Parliament which has a majority, is likely to tolerate for an instant the kind of oppression about which they express anxiety.
Of course, I do not agree with them that there is no difference. I could justify 1146 this Bill solely on the grounds of law reform. The law in relation to citizenship, immigration and status is in a state of the utmost confusion. if the hour were earlier, I would expatiate at some length on this. As it is, I will content myself with endorsing what my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor said in his very powerful and experienced speech. We have, for historical reasons which do no one any discredit but which certainly are wholly irrational, gradually built up no law of citizenship at all but a series of codes, of which the two main codes are sets of rules similar in character, but never exactly identified, to those which existed first under the two Aliens Acts and then under the two Commonwealth Immigrants Acts. There can be no justification for continuing along these divergent lines. They must amalgamated into a single code.
The noble Lord referred to what I said about the Aliens Acts. There arc two: the Aliens Restriction Act 1914 and its amending Act of 1919. The Aliens Restriction Act 1914 was passed in a single night as part of the emergency legislation at the beginning of the First World War. It was designed to last only for the Emergency. It has stood ever since, with the single amendment of 1919, when it was to continue from year to year in the Schedule to the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. There are two wholly unsatisfactory Commonwealth immigrants Acts. Can there be any justification now for continuing one of the fundamental laws of our Kingdom in this precarious and complicated state, on which are erected two entirely different codes, each dealing with the same kind of situation, each dealing with it in detail in a rather different way? I do not want to put the case for this Bill solely on legalistic grounds, although in law reform I might have hoped for an ally in the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, who is so often pressing me in rather smaller spheres, like the Burial Acts, or the Hallmarking system, to bring our law up-to-date, but apparently not in things that really matter. I do not want to put the matter on purely legalistic grounds, as I am sure he would wish to do, since he is a great law reformer. But let me examine the social case for this legislation. Having said, as I have done 1147 at the outset, that the mark of the independence of a nation is that it is entitled to impose restrictions at its gates, I will make this short series of points before I sit down, since otherwise I fear I shall outstay my welcome.
In the first place, one must recognise that this great country, however much we may start with liberal ideas, and from whatever kind of Administration we suffer or rejoice, enjoys a standard of life which, except for a few highly developed countries in Western Europe, the United States, the older countries of the Commonwealth and perhaps in Japan would be a source of envy and wonder to 19 out of 20 human beings who ever inhabited the face of this planet. Is it not obvious that if we do not erect some kind of fence, this country, enjoying our own privileges as we do, would act as a magnet to the peoples of the earth'? Surely we are entitled to erect some kind of a fence. We have to decide tonight what kind of a fence it is to be, and whether it can be a rational or an irrational one. It involves absolutely no criticism of the poor of this world that they would like to come here, still less of those who are here. I have never tolerated, for an instant, an attack upon them. They came here because they were entitled to come; they came here, very often, because they were invited to come. They came here to keep their families in better circumstances than they could otherwise do. They had every right to feel that they were justified in coming, and every right to demand that they were treated with absolute equality while here. That is no criticism of them whatever.
There are many of us who feel sincerely that we owe a great duty to the less fortunate nations of the world. But I ask your Lordships to consider a simple question: is this country manifestly underpopulated? I would have thought probably not. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, says all this has to do with race and that we must not play any kind of numbers game. It is not manifestly underpopulated, yet it is a magnet to a human race, most of whom enjoy a standard of life far inferior to our own.
What are we to do? If we owe them a duty it is certainly not to make a sig 1148 nificant contribution in point of numbers to the people who want to come here. That is not on. It is always a delusion to think that we can do it. Let us consider what we do. In point of fact we have never had a law of citizenship in this country. The noble Baroness, Lady White, thought that this Bill ought to have been taken as the opportunity to provide us with one. I wish it were possible, but it is wholly impracticable to think of it. The noble Lord, Lord Garner, explained part of the reason why. The fact of the matter is that we have got into a historic situation from which we must retreat rather urgently.
The question which one is discussing when discussing immigration has nothing whatever to do with people who visit here, study here or who come here for a temporary job. It has to do with people who want to stay here permanently. The noble Baroness, Lady White, says that the great difference between aliens and the Commonwealth immigrant is that the Commonwealth immigrant wants to settle here permanently but that none of the aliens do; they all want just to stop here for a time. She is confusing cause and effect. That effect is the effect of legislation and not the justification of it. If you have a system of law which over a series of years provides a statutory right to settle in one class of case and none in the other, then of course you will find that in the first class the people who come will want to settle, and in the second they will not be able to. But the question is whether that has any longer any rationality at all. My Lords, my conviction is that it has none. Once we had accepted the position in 1948 that nations of the Commonwealth had the absolute right to become independent, to become republics if need be, to owe no allegiance to Her Majesty, or, if they owed allegiance to Her Majesty in right of the Crown of that particular Commonwealth country, not in right of the Crown of the United Kingdom, there could be no rational reason why we should discriminate against the rest of the world and in favour of that country.
It is said: "Well what is left of Commonwealth citizenship?". Several noble Lords have answered that question. 1149 But let me give this additional answer. What we are imposing in this Bill is precisely what is imposed in I think the vast majority of, if not all, Common-wealth countries against our individual citizens when they emigrate there. That is what it is; and it is precisely what, other things being equal, almost every civilised country in the world—and I know of no exception—imposes on immigrants into its shores where they feel there is a danger of excessive numbers. That is what, and nothing else. And if we are told that there must be work permits, that is what we have to suffer if we want to work in Commonwealth countries. This is what aliens have to undergo when they come here. For fifty years it has been going on without any serious complaint at all. Then we are told that it is something novel, and indentured labour. My Lords, that is moonshine. It is part of the situation in the developed world to-day, in almost every country in the Commonwealth or outside it. Why should this country not exercise the same rights, the same powers, the same kind of legislation as other Commonwealth nations exercise in relation to us, and which other nations of the world exercise against us?
Complaint has been made of the term "patrial"—not a word I invented, or a word which I take any credit for. But the right of abode to which it relates, so far as it relates to the parental source of patriality, or the grand-parental source of patriality, is something which confers a right which does not exist at the moment and, so far as I know, takes none away. Was it wrong to confer such a right? My own mother was American. To the end of my days I shall enjoy in relation to the United States the right to go there which probably most of your Lordships do not possess. Are the Americans uncivilised because they allow to the son of an American mother greater rights than to those who do not have that privilege?
§ One noble Lord—I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder—cited the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a body with which I hope I am in friendly relationship. But have they ever reflected upon the Law of Israel, the privilege given to Jews to enter Israel, which I would not enjoy? Is this a form wanting in civilisation? What Arab country does not do it? What country of Europe does not do it? There is nothing uncivilised in recognising that there may be a particular relationship between one country and another.
§ No, my Lords, racialism is something other and different and worse. Racialism is the doctrine that one nation is superior to another is point of quality; that its people are entitled to greater human dignity or greater human rights than another. But human feelings of relationship and connection are not in the same category and are not to be contemned in the same breath. My Lords, I promised to be short and I am afraid I have been longer, but at any rate I hope that your Lordships will pass this Bill on Second Reading and reject the Motion moved by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan.
§ BARONESS GAITSKELL
My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord sits down may I ask him one question? I thought his strongest argument was the one about population: does not the partial clause open a legal door and allow perhaps hordes to come in?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I do not think so, but after my peroration I am not prepared to quantify it.
§ 11.41 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the Bill shall be now read 2a?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 148; Not-Contents, 40.1151
|Aberdare, L.||Amory, V.||Boston, L.|
|Abinger, L.||Auckland. L.||Brabazon of Tara, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Balfour, E.||Bradford, E.|
|Aldenham, L.||Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Brecon, L.|
|Aldington, L.||Barn by, L.||Brooke of Cumnor, L.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Beauchamp, E.||Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs.|
|Allerton, L.||Belstead, L.||Brougham and Vaux, L.|
|Alport, L.||Berkeley, Bs.||Burnham, L.|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.||Bessborough, E.||Chelmer, L.|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Greenway, L.||Northchurch, Bs.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Grenfell, L.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Gridley, L.||Oakshott, L.|
|Colyton, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Hacking, L.||Pender, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Hailes, L.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Poole, L.|
|Courtown, E.||Radnor, E.|
|Craigavon, V.||Harvey of Prestbury, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Hatherton, L.||Reading, M.|
|Cranbrook, E.||Hawke, L.||Redesdale, L.|
|Crathorne, L.||Hood, V.||Rhyl, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Howard of Glossop, L.||Rochdale, V.|
|Crowther, L.||Ilford, L.||Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Ironside, L.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Daventry, V.||Kemsley, V.||St. Helens, L.|
|De L'Isle, V.||Killearn, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Denham, L.||Kings Norton, L.||St. Oswald, L.|
|Derwent, L.||Kinnoull, E.||Salisbury, M.|
|Digby, L.||Latymer, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Lauderdale, E.||Sandys, L.|
|Dudley, E.||Lindsay of Birker, L.||Savile, L.|
|Dundonald, E.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.||Sempill, Ly.|
|Effingham, E.||Lothian, M.||Skelmerdale, L.|
|Egremont, L.||Lovat, L.||Somers, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, Bs.||Lucan, E.||Stamp, L.|
|Emmet of Amberley, Bs.||Lyell, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Erroll of Hale, L.||Macleod of Borve, Bs.||Swansea, L.|
|Falkland, V.||Mancroft, L.||Thomas, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||Margadale, L.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Forres, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Fraser of Lonsdale, L.||Merrivale, L.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Furness, V.||Mersey, V.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.|
|Gage, V.||Middleton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Garner, L.||Molson, L.||Wakefield of Kendal, L.|
|Gisborough, L.||Monckton of Brenchley, V.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Glasgow, E.||Monk Bretton, L.||Ward of Witley. V.|
|Gore-Booth, L.||Monson, L.||Winchester, L.Bp.|
|Goschen. V. [Teller.]||Mountevans, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Gowrie, E.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Gray, L.||Moyne, L.||Yarborough, E.|
|Airedale, L.||Faringdon, L.||Platt. L.|
|Amherst, L.||Foot, L.||Ravensdale, L.|
|Amulree, L. [Teller.]||Gaitskell. Bs.||Ritchie-Calder, L.|
|Annan. L.||Gifford, L.||Rochester, L.Bp.|
|Balogh, L.||Gladwyn, L.||Sainsbury, L.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Goodman, L.||Seear, Bs.|
|Brockway, L.||Guildford, L.Bp.||Southwark, L.Bp.|
|Byers, L.||Henley, L. [Teller.]||Tanlaw, L.|
|Campbell of Eskan, L.||Hunt, L.||Thurso, V.|
|Canterbury, L.Abp.||Longford, E.||Wade, L.|
|Chalfont. L.||London, L.Bp.||Walston, L.|
|Coventry, L.Bp.||Lytton, E.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Mais, L.||Willis, L.|
§ Resolved in the affirmative: Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.