HL Deb 11 October 1971 vol 324 cc207-303

2.56 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Report be now received.

Moved, That the Report be now received.—(Lord Windlesham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


My Lords, when my noble friends and I put down two important Amendments after the Title we did not anticipate any procedural difficulties, but your Lord. ships will see from the Marshalled List that there is some difficulty and that the House is being called upon to make a decision. You will see from the Marshalled List that these two Amendments have not been marshalled, in order that the House may decide whether they should properly be taken at the beginning or at the end of the Marshalled List. After consultation with the Clerks and through the usual channels, I should like to recommend, and therefore move, that these Amendments should be taken at the end of the Marshalled List. In saying that, perhaps I should say to the noble Earl the Leader of the House that if we come to this decision it should not be treated as a precedent, but that the matter as a whole should be referred to the Procedure Committee to consider the same and to report to the House. The reason why, in the past, Amendments to a Preamble have been moved at the end is because the House took the view that a Preamble is very similar—not entirely the same, but very similar—to the Title, the Long and the Short, and that therefore no Amendment should be made to it, or should be considered, until the whole Bill had been considered, so that the Title or the Preamble should have a close relationship to the clauses and subsections of the Bill. If the House will accept this decision 1 think it will be right, but I hope it will not be taken in any way as a precedent, and that the Procedure Committee will look at the point in the future.

Moved, That the Preamble Amendments be postponed.—(Lord Shepherd.)


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd. for what he has said. I think it is a rather unusual position in which we find ourselves. There is in fact no precedent, so far as I have been able to discover. In the circumstances, I think the suggestion which the noble Lord. Lord Shepherd, has made to your Lordships' House is the right one. I entirely endorse what he has said: that if your Lordships take a decision to this effect, that we should take these two Amendments at the end of the Marshalled List, then this should not in any way constitute a precedent. I think that most of us who have considered this matter would like to hold the question open until the Procedure Committee have been able to advise us. I think it would be useful if, at the appropriate time, our Procedure Committee would look at this matter. I should like to reserve my substantive comments on this until then, and meanwhile simply endorse what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has said.


My Lords, I hope that the House will accept the advice of my noble friend and of the noble Earl the Leader of the House. I would only quarrel slightly with the Leader of the House when he says that there is no precedent. One of the great advantages of this House is that we always cope sensibly with all new situations. I do not think that what is proposed to-day is revolutionary, and I rather hope that the Procedure Committee will adopt the sort of procedure proposed to-day. I certainly support what the Leader of the House has said.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 1 [General principles]:

LORD WI NDLESHAM moved Amendment No.1:

Page 1, line 14, leave out subsections (2) and (3) and insert— ("(2) Those not having that right may live, work and settle in the United Kingdom by permission and subject to such regulation and control of their entry into, stay in and departure from the United Kingdom as is imposed by this Act; and indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom shall, by virtue of this provision, be treated as having been given under this Act to those in the United Kingdom at its coming into force, if they are then settled there (and not exempt under this Act from provisions relating to leave to enter or remain).")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name and in so doing would speak also to Amendments Nos.5 and 75. Noble Lords who were present during the Committee stage of the Bill will remember that the first Amendment (consisting of the words which are now set out in Clause 1(2) as printed) was moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, from the Liberal Benches and carried on a Division. It was the first Amendment to be carried against the advice of the Government and I am pleased to say that it was also the last to be carried against the advice of the Government; but it was evidently the wish of the Committee that something on these lines should be included in the Bill. During the Recess we have given much thought to the proper course of action which the Government should now take and advise the House to adopt, and we have also discussed the matter with the noble Lord, Lord Wade, the mover of the original Amendment. Lord Wade's aim was to safeguard the position of Commonwealth citizens who had been accepted for settlement in the United Kingdom before the coming into force of the Bill. There is no argument whatever between the noble Lord and those who supported him on this Amendment and the Government on this point of principle; but the subsection as it now stands is open to certain objections and it is for this reason that the Government have brought forward an alternative proposal.

Lord Wade's Amendment—that is, the present wording of subsection (2) of the clause—declares that nothing in the Bill shall take away any right enjoyed by a Commonwealth citizen settled here nor shall the status of such a person be adversely affected. The main objection to retaining a declaration in these words in the Bill, is the uncertainty of its effect. No one can say with certainty how the courts of law or the appellate authorities might interpret such a declaration in the years ahead. For example, it might be held that one effect was to preserve the rights of appeal introduced by the Immigration Appeals Act 1969, notwithstanding that Parliament had since decided in the Bill to modify those rights in a number of ways. Or it might be held that the rights of appeal preserved were not merely those introduced in the 1969 Act but also those which had been in operation since July, 1970, on an extra-statutory basis (the rights of appeal against refusal of admission possessed by the holders of entry certificates and employment vouchers). Other points of uncertainty were mentioned in the debate in Committee: for example, whether the Amendment might provide a valid defence to a Commonwealth citizen charged with one of the new offences created by the Bill, and particularly offences concerned with trafficking in illegal immigrants.

Therefore, because of these uncertainties the Government have concluded that it would not be right to leave the Bill in its present form. Moreover. there is a further factor of considerable importance, especially to the original movers of the Amendment: namely, that in one important respect the Amendment would not have achieved its object. The noble Lord, Lord Wade, said in Committee (as,1 think, did Lord Brockway) that he wished to preserve the statutory right of entry given under Section 2 of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 to the wives and children under the age of 16 of Commonwealth citizens who are already resident in this country. But the Amendment would not in practice have the effect of safeguarding those rights of entry because they are the rights of the wives and the children and not the rights of the husbands or fathers already resident in this country. A further defect of Lord Wade's Amendment is that it does not apply to aliens at all. If there is a case, as the Government accept that there is, for safeguarding the rights of existing residents, surely it is only reasonable that those safeguards should apply to aliens settled here as well as to Commonwealth citizens.

Thus, while there are these objections to the wording of the noble Lord's Amendment as printed in the Bill, after further consideration we have come to the conclusion that it would be right and in accordance with the wishes of the House as expressed in a Division at the Committee stage to give greater prominence in the Bill to the safeguarding of the rights of existing residents. This is what the proposed Amendments No.1 and No.5 would do. They delete the present subsection (2) and add to Clause 1 a new subsection, subsection (6), the wording of which is set out in Amendment No.5.

The first of these Government Amendments does not set out the specific safeguards which are more appropriately expressed in the relevant parts of the Bill, notably in Clause 7 and in Schedule 1, but, consistently with the fact that Clause 1 is concerned with the general principles on which the Bill is constructed, it states in particular that all those settled in the United Kingdom, aliens as well as Commonwealth citizens, are to be treated at the coming into force of the Act as having been given indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. This safeguards the position of the great mass of people subject to immigration control but settled here at the coming into force of the Act. No time limit can be imposed on their stay; no restrictions can be imposed on their employment; they cannot be required to register with the police. It is only by deportation that any person in this category could be forced to leave the United Kingdom; and Clause 7 sets out specific safeguards in regard to deportation.

The second Amendment, Amendment No.5, which adds the new subsection (6), provides that the immigration rules shall be so framed that Commonwealth citizens settled here on the coming into force of the Act and their wives and children are not any less free to enter and depart from the United Kingdom while they remain ordinarily resident here than if the Act had not been passed. What this amounts to is that Commonwealth citizens settled here can go abroad on holiday and for other brief temporary purposes without any possible prejudice to their right to return, and they remain entitled to bring in their wives and children under the age of 16. Only by a fresh Act of Parliament could these rights be taken away. In practice, as the draft immigration rules make clear, the Government propose to continue to admit children of residents up to the age of 18.

My Lords, I must apologise for explaining the purpose of these Amendments at some length, but this is an important matter. We had a long debate in Committee in the course of which strong feelings were expressed, and I hope that what I have said will be enough to show the House that while we accept the spirit of the noble Lord's original Amendment we feel that the wording we have now proposed is a more effective way of doing what he wanted us to do. I beg to move.

3.10 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, for the explanation he has given so clearly of the Amendments which he proposes on behalf of the. Government in place of the subsection which was carried on Committee stage. The noble Lord has just made a very important statement. Before I turn to it, may I say, by way of preface, that in the period between the Committee stage and the Report stage I drew up a little list of what I regarded as essential concessions that we should obtain on Report stage. The first was the abolition of the proposal with regard to registration with the police, about which we shall be hearing more later. The second was the subsection inserted in the first Liberal Amendment to which the noble Lord has just referred; not necessarily in the same wording but in order to make quite clear that those who are already settled here would not be adversely affected by the Bill. My third point referred to Parliamentary control over the rules and the fourth to Clause 29 relating to expenses for those going abroad. It seemed essential that we should make it absolutely clear that it was only for those who wished to go and had expressed a desire to go.

Having looked at the Amendment already tabled, I am rather hopeful about the outcome of the proceedings on this Report stage. It may come to pass that this House is a Revising Chamber not only for matters of detail but also for matters of considerable substance, even with a Conservative Government in power and a Conservative majority in the Commons. So we are feeling somewhat cheerful at the moment.

It is true that there were very widespread fears when this Bill was introduced—I think that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, appreciates this—that there were many people who had settled here and had been here for a number of years who, rightly or wrongly, thought that the Bill was going to affect them and not merely newcomers; and it was essential to try to set their fears at rest. Secondly, I think it was felt by your Lordships that an assurance from the Home Secretary was not sufficient; that it was necessary to have something in the Bill. Thirdly, a majority of your Lordships did so decide on Committee stage, and the Liberal Amendment was carried. I am bound to say that I prefer the simpler language of that Amendment drafted by my noble friend Lord Foot and myself. But I am aware that there are times when the simple layman's language does not achieve all that is desired and that sometimes the Parliamentary draftsmen are right. In saying this, I am not suggesting for a moment that my noble friend Lord Foot is a "simple layman". I am sure that that would be a very inaccurate description. But, in essence,1 think that what the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has said is right.

If I may make a point of detail, the Government's amended wording brings in a reference to wives and children, and I am aware that there was no specific reference to wives and children in the original Liberal Amendment. On Committee stage I was not very happy with indefinite leave ", a phrase used in other parts of the Bill, but it was pointed out to me that in the definition "indefinite" means "unlimited" so I really cannot quarrel with that. I come back to the point that I do not think that this is an occasion for quibbling over words. I am satisfied that the Government have attempted to achieve what your Lordships wished to achieve on Committee. Of course,93 noble Lords voted for the Liberal Amendment and I think it is only right to hear whether any other noble Lord takes a different view. But at this stage I merely say that it would appear to me that we have achieved what we set out to do, and I think this quite an important achievement.


My Lords, I should like, for what it is worth, to support the noble Lord, Lord Wade. The Government's Amendment contains the kernel of what is important here. It is the heart of it, the kernel that matters. I hope also that the whole of the rest of your Lordships' House will be justified in sharing the exuberance which the noble Lord, Lord Wale, felt and described at the beginning of his speech.


My Lords, may I add a word to what has been said by my noble friend Lord Wade? I should like to associate myself completely with his thanks to the Minister and to the Government for having met our points in substance, as I am sure they have done. I do not know whether the words we drafted are preferable to those which have now been drafted, but I take the Minister's point about the difficulties which would have arisen over our form of words. I hope it will not be thought ungenerous if I suggest that still we have not got this in any sort of satisfactory language.

If noble Lords would look at the words in the brackets at the end of the proposed new subsection—I am not going to read them through—they will find that it is very difficult to comprehend the effect and meaning of those words. You discover what is really intended only if you look at Clause 34 from which these words have been lifted. There you will see the point. I suggest for the Minister's consideration that the matter could be put right and made perfectly plain if the words in brackets were brought up into the top line so that the clause would read: Those not having that right "— that is, the right of abode— and not exempt under this Act from the provisions relating to leave to enter or remain may live, work and settle"— and so on right down to the words, settled there. I suggest that that might be considered a very much clearer and more satisfactory expression of what the Government have in mind. But I do not want that minor criticism to detract in any way from my gratitude to the Minister and the Government for having accepted our point.


My Lords, I am very grateful for what the noble Lord has said and I should like to take account of the last comment by the noble Lord, Lord Foot, to see whether any rearrangement of the wording of Amendment No.1 is desirable. Perhaps I may consult the Government draftsmen about that and let the noble Lord know. If it seems that this is desirable we could come back on Third Reading with an Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


If Amendment No.2, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Wade, is moved, it should now read: Page 1, after the Amendment last inserted …

3.19 p.m.

LORD WADE moved Amendment No.

Page 1, line 20, at end insert— ("(3) No provisions of this Act shall be used to prevent entry into the United Kingdom or any of the Islands of any person who seeks admission to avoid persecution or punishment for reason of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, nor shall any action be taken under any of the powers created by this Act which would result in any person going to a country to which he is unwilling to go owing to a well-grounded fear of persecution or punishment for any of the same reasons.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No.2. I cannot maintain quite the same level of exuberance—I thing that was the phrase used by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan—but I have tabled this Amendment in order that your Lordships' House may consider whether the subject of political asylum should be included in the Bill or should he left to the rules. This was, I think, briefly referred to by Mr. Michael Fidler in the House of Commons on Third Reading, and I know that the noble Lord, Lord Janner, mentioned it during our Committee stage proceedings. I am aware of course of Rule 53 in Command Paper 4792 and of Rule 30 in Command Paper 4610, but it is not actually in the Bill. We have the rule making it clear that the principle of political asylum should be maintained, but we do not find it in the Bill.

It is rather interesting to note that when the debate occurred in another place on the Bill which became the Aliens Act of 1905, the Liberal Opposition at that time succeeded in getting inserted in the Bill a clause similar to the one I am now moving, to ensure that on the Statute Book there should be this provision for political asylum. I do not think it is necessary for me to go into a number of examples, as your Lordships are aware of the cases where persons apply for political asylum. For example, a journalist in some other country might write articles which the Government there considered objectionable from a political point of view and might be forced to leave his country and come here in order to enjoy greater freedom of expression of opinion. I would regard that as a case where political asylum should be granted. I should like the House to consider whether this should not be inserted in the Bill. I am aware of Article I of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which in fact is referred to in the rules but, as we know, there are, alas! times when conventions are not always observed. Therefore, I think it worth considering at this stage whether we ought not to go a little further than putting in the rules this very important matter of political asylum. I beg to move.


My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade, made reference to an intervention I made earlier, I hope the House will not think it either unnecessary or improper for me to say a few words at this stage with regard to the outlook of those who know what happened, particularly in respect of the six million Jewish people who suffered so great an oppression. I do not want to dwell on it but I would ask the House to remember that a large number of those people could have been saved. I think that all of us must feel a guilty conscience about not having taken steps to try to save a much larger number than we did manage to save. It is true that our country took in a number of refugees, but in fact that was as nothing in comparison with the number that we or any country in the world should have taken in to avoid the disastrous consequences which at that time faced the Jewish people.

It is not only a case of the Jewish people because others suffered a similar fate; hut, if I may use the expression, the problem has been pinpointed by the fact that we have evidence of what actually happened to the Jewish population in Germany. Although, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade, has said, there are provisions of an international nature, I would ask the House to consider whether it would not be proper in a Bill of this sort to make it perfectly clear that in the cases referred to in the Amendment a person should not he prevented from coming into this country. It is a matter of human interest and there is no lack of experience and evidence of cases which have occurred. This is a terribly serious matter. It has involved millions of people at various times and it continues to involve millions of people. I think that we would be acting in an exemplary fashion if, in addition to the rules, we were to include in the Bill itself this particular principle. I beg to support the Amendment.

3.25 p.m.


My Lords, this Amendment seeks to make it a general principle that entry shall not be refused to a political refugee, and that such a person should not be expelled if expulsion would mean his going to a country in which he would be at risk of punishment or persecution. Although I think that we can all applaud the intentions of the noble Lord in putting down this Amendment, I must advise your Lordships that the wording is defective, since it departs from the internationally accepted definiton. It is only a well-founded fear of persecution which gives rise to a claim for political asylum under the United Nations Convention, and therefore the inclusion of the words "or punishment" would extend the definition of political asylum which this country and other countries have accepted for a number of years in the past.

Also it could hardly be appropriate to amend the Bill in this way, since the Bill does not give statutory rights of entry to any categories of people. But the two noble Lords who have spoken, and others interested, can be assured that the present Administration, and no doubt succeeding Governments, have every intention of honouring and observing to the full this country's obligations under international instruments, and that these obligations are binding, notwithstanding that they are not contained in an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament. Most conventions are flexible and can be changed in accordance with international practice and agreement whereas a statutory provision would require amendment every time there was a change.

Our obligations arise under a number of international instruments, of which the chief are the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. These international instruments inhibit the action of this country, and of the other signatories, in expelling refugees lawfully in their territory. These obligations have been written into the immigration rules—paragraph 53 of Cmnd 4606 and paragraph 53 of Cmnd.4792—and these paragraph set out the long-accepted ambit of political asylum in this country, and do so in words which are drawn from the wording of an actual Convention. They make it clear that a person is not to be refused entry or expelled where the effect would be his going to a country where he would be at risk of persecution. A somewhat similar Amendment was moved in another place and the Home Secretary gave an undertaking that the Government would adhere to the existing practice in respect of political asylum and would not expel a person if this would mean his going to a country in which he was at risk of persecution. That was on May 11, and I am grateful for the opportunity of repeating the undertaking in this House again this afternoon.

I think that it is important that we should have on record this discussion about the question of political asylum and refugees. I was aware that, despite one fairly short intervention by the noble Lord. Lord Janner, this was missing from our Committee stage. We did not discuss political asylum or the status of refugees as such. There was no specific Amendment in that point. I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising it this afternoon. I hope that in pointing out the technical difficulties in the wording that he has proposed, and in referring also to the need to preserve flexibility through the international convention, I have said enough to show the noble Lord that we should adhere in this respect to the traditional practice in this country. I hope that with the assurance that I have given he may feel able to withdraw the Amendment.


My Lords, I think I must give careful thought to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham. I should certainly like time to study them and in view of that I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.31 p.m.

LORD SHEPHERD moved Amendment No.3:

Page 1, line 23, at end insert— ("Provided that nothing in this Act shall have the effect of a Commonwealth citizen after entry into the United Kingdom having regulations or control imposed regarding their stay more restrictive than those imposed on other persons living and working in the United Kingdom who are nationals of countries within the E. E. C. and which arise from our obligations on adhering to the Treaty of Rome.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No.3. On the Committee stage I moved an Amendment in similar terms, and as a consequence of a long and, I think, sincere debate the Government undertook to look at this matter yet again. The Amendment proposes that once we have entered the Common Market, as I presume we must, Commonwealth citizens should not be treated in any way inferior to the way in which nationals of E. E. C. countries are treated. The Government's case for this Bill has been that there must be control on the rate of immigration into this country. Previous Administrations have regretfully accepted that as a necessity. But the Government have gone one stage further and have maintained that in future Commonwealth immigrants should he treated in the same way as aliens. We on this side of the House have always felt that, if there is to be any preference, Commonwealth citizens, once they have entered this country, should be given that preference. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, has spoken feelingly about our existing aliens legislation. Aliens can enter this country only when they have a work permit; they are allowed to work only in jobs where they receive comparable wages or salaries and work under the same general conditions as British workers: and, quite clearly, aliens cannot move freely from one employment to another. That is what the Government have in mind in terms of Commonwealth immigrants.

As a consequence of our going into the E. E. C.—and I think it is as well to point out that in this matter Common Market legislation will be superior to that passed by this House: in other words, what the E. E. C. countries have decided will prevail, irrespective of what legislation Parliament has passed—Common Market laws will give to E. E. C. nationals, once they have entered this country, considerable advantages over existing aliens and, for the future, over Commonwealth citizens. I hope the House will take the view that if there is to be some control, it should be not harder on a Commonwealth citizen than on an E. E. C. national.

The Amendment does not deal with the question of the rate of immigration into this country or the conditions under which an immigrant enters the country. As we see from the E. E. C. legislation, a national of an E. E. C. country will have free admittance into this country: true, he is subject to some form of control, but he will be free to come here whether he has a job or not, and will have three months in which to secure employment if he has not. If we were to permit this for Commonwealth citizens or for aliens as a whole, then clearly we should have no form of immigration control and I think that the Parties, with some criticism within those Parties, have accepted that control is necessary. The Amendment deals merely with the conditions that will be imposed once an immigrant has entered this country.

We believe that if an E. E. C. national can come and live in this country free from any form of control once he is here, then this should apply also to a Commonwealth citizen, and it should apply also to his relatives and his close family. I hope that the Government will feel able to accept the Amendment. It is in line with their general philosophy that Commonwealth immigrants should be treated as aliens have been treated, but it means that they are to be treated as the more privileged aliens as a consequence of our entry into the E. E. C. I beg to move.


My Lords, I am in complete sympathy with the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd.1 feel that it would be most unfair to Commonwealth immigrants, when Commonwealth countries have supported us through really difficult times, that they should be treated in any worse degree than any form of aliens. However, I suggest to my noble friend that if he gives an undertaking to consider this matter, he should leave that consideration until the decision on the Common Market is taken. I should feel most embarrassed at being asked to support my noble friend in the Division Lobby on this Amendment to-day, when I should be wholly in opposition to him if I knew that we were going into the Common Market.


My Lords, to some extent this matter overlaps the debate that we shall have later on the Common Market. I had better not go too deeply into the whole subject, but I wonder whether it is possible for the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, when he comes to reply, to clear up one or two points. I have put down four questions the answers to which are not quite clear in my own mind. So far as those who come here from the Commonwealth and are settled here are concerned, I presume that they are in no worse position than E. E. C. nationals. Secondly, so far as the newcomers in future from the Commonwealth are concerned, will they be in a worse position than E. E. C. workers who wish to come here? Thirdly, is there an E. E. C. common policy with regard to immigrants other than E. E. C. nationals coming into the Community? Lastly, with regard to those who are called French citizens in French overseas departments—and I think I am correct in saying that that includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion and French Guiana—it appears to me that they will be in a more favourable position than any newcomers from the Commonwealth. I hope that 1 have not asked too many questions, but I think that they are all relevant to this subject.


My Lords, I suspect we shall hear, but I should like to support my noble friend Lord de Clifford in asking my noble friend Lord Windlesham to make sure that he gives a full explanation why the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, cannot be left until we have the legislation in relation to the Common Market, at which time it would seem more appropriate to deal with this matter than to do so to-day.


My Lords, may I support the Amendment of my noble friend. The most difficult part of this question—and I think it is difficult for the Government, because the work on the Immigration Bill was done without thinking very much about the Common Market; so they are stuck with it. This is what happens when people try to work too far ahead—the really nasty thing about the situation if we go into the Common Market, is that it will be almost directly racially discriminative; in other words, the people who come in as Commonwealth immigrants are largely coloured and the people who come in as workers from the Continent are largely white. This is totally objectionable. I am not sure what the right answer is but I think we must record that it is objectionable. The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, that a citizen of Martinique can come in whereas a citizen of St. Lucia has to wait five years, is equally objectionable. I do not know what the answer is, but I assure the Government that, although this position is very difficult, it will not do as it is at present.


My Lords, may I ask one more question, following the four that were put by the noble Lord, Lord Wade? Will the Commonwealth countries give us the same rights as the E. E. C. countries will give us in the event of our going into the Common Market?


My Lords, I should like to ask a question, the answer to which I have tried to find, but I have been unable to do so. Apart from the French countries which have been referred to, what will be the position of Nigeria and other former British Colonies which are already associated States of the E. E. C. '? Does this mean that every Nigerian will have the same rights as the Frenchmen, if we join the Common Market?

3.43 p.m.


My Lords, let me do what I can to answer some of these points, starting with that of the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and then moving on to the others. I think the noble Lord need have no fear about Commonwealth citizens already established in this country. They are here: they were admitted with vouchers for work and settlement from the start, and their position will not be altered. The noble Lord then asked—and this is the theme which has run through the debate—whether Commonwealth citizens wishing to come and work in this country in future would be in a better or worse position than an E. E. C. national wishing to come and work here. The answer is that they would be in a different position, for reasons which I shall try to explain in a minute or two.

The first and most important difference is that the Commonwealth citizen wishing to come and work here has to obtain a work permit to do so, whereas the E. E. C. national is admitted to seek work for a period of up to three months and, if he finds work within that period, is then entitled to remain for a period of up to five years. This is the biggest single difference. There are then a number of consequential differences as to the conditions, which the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, explained accurately and fully to your Lordships in Committee. Once admitted, the essential difference is that the Commonwealth citizen does require a work permit and the E. E. C. national does no'. I might add that it is not just Commonwealth citizens who are in this position but everyone else as well—nationals of any other country in the world. Commonwealth or non-Commonwealth, except for nationals of the E. E. C. This is because we are entering a new and closer association (if the decision is to do so) with the Member States of the Community than with other States, Commonwealth or non-Commonwealth. So there is a major difference here.

Fourthly, let me deal with a subject which has arisen often in meetings about the Common Market concerning the people coming from Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guinea. There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about this. It is quite true that people from these territories will be entitled, if Britain joins the Common Market, to enter this country and to seek work whereas people from the Commonwealth Caribbean will not so be able. The reason for this—and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, will listen to this because it is an oblique answer which bears directly on the criticisms he made—is that they are Frenchmen and the territories concerned are overseas Departments of metropolitan France. We do not have any overseas Departments of this country. At one time noble Lords will remember that a solution of this sort was proposed for Gibraltar and Malta. my noble friend Lord Boyd, who was Colonial Secretary at the time, remembers this. These are Departments of metropolitan France. They are represented in the French Parliament and indeed I believe that the Deputé for Reunion is none other than M. Debré; he represents it in the French Assembly. These are in fact black Frenchmen, so are we going to say that they are not as welcome as white Frenchmen from Marseilles? No: they are in exactly the same position as other citizens of metropolitan France.


My Lords, I only wished to remind the noble Lord of the very moving speech made by the late Lord Constantine when he talked about being a black Englishman.


My Lords, has not this also a message for the Kenya Asians? Really, does this not give us some idea of what we might do about the problems of the Kenya Asians?


I do not think so, myLords, because Kenya is an independent Commonwealth country and, as I have mentioned, these four territories we are talking about are not only not independent but are actually part of Metropolitan France itself.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, asked me about the Associate States; that is, countries which are not members of the E. E. C. but which have Association Agreements with the Community, and whether in future they would be eligible to take advantage of the free movement of labour provisions. No nationals of any such countries are at present eligible to take advantage of these provisions. However, the Agreements with Turkey and Greece—but with no other countries—envisage that eventually their nationals will be able to take advantage of the free movement of labour provisions. It is not likely that there will be an early move to allow Turks and Greeks to move into E. E. C. countries under the free movement of labour provisions. Implementation of this part of the Agreements is likely to be held back until economic conditions in Turkey and Greece approach more nearly to those in E. E. C. countries. If the United Kingdom were to join the E. E. C. we should then have a say in deciding whether the free movement of labour provisions should be extended to Turkey and Greece. The Association Agreements with non-European countries make no provision for the free movement of labour provisions to be extended to the nationals of the countries concerned. In particular. the Association Agreements with countries in Africa to which the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, referred, including the former French independent territories, make no provisions for the nationals of those countries ever to be able to benefit from the free movement of labour provisions.

The difficulty about the point which we are debating this afternoon is that it sounds very attractive on the face of it. It seems so much common sense to say, as the noble Lord, Lord de Clifford, did, that a person from the Commonwealth should not be in a less advantageous position than a person from Europe; but the difficulty is that we are talking about two quite different systems. different both in point of time and in their nature. Most people who think about these matters would feel that we have reached a watershed in our history. In the past we have looked very much to the Commonwealth as the inheritor of the British Empire—Imperial preference, the common status of British subjects under the Crown and completely free movement around the Empire, and subsequently around the Commonwealth. But now we stand on the threshold of Europe, and the factors which determine the immigration policies we adopt are really quite distinct. The E. E. C. arrangements are an integral part of a Treaty relationship. moreover, they are reciprocal, whereas Commonwealth immigration is not and never has been reciprocal. All Commonwealth countries recognise that the control of immigration is a national responsibility.

In Committee, the noble Baroness, Lady White, asked whether the possibility of putting Commonwealth entry on a reciprocal basis could be examined. My noble friend Lord Perth has just touched on the same point again in his intervention. Subsequent to the Committee stage I looked into the matter. The answer, broadly, is that whereas in a number of countries in the new Commonwealth it is the practice to admit the British freely. few people from this country wish to settle in those countries. But because of the discrepancy in the standards of living, very large numbers of citizens of those countries would seek to settle in the United Kingdom if granted freedom of entry to do so. This would certainly impair community relations in this country.

So far as countries of the old Commonwealth are concerned, they allow people from this country to settle freely, but we could not allow their citizens to settle here freely and without restriction without discriminating between the old Commonwealth and the new Commonwealth. So far, no Government of this country has been prepared to discriminate in this way. We shall be discussing this aspect of the debate later when we come to the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery.


My Lords, may I intervene for one moment? I do not like interrupting the flow of the noble Lord, but it is important that we should not in any way be deflected from the real kernel of this Amendment, which is not reciprocity in conditions of entry but in the conditions that would obtain after entry has been obtained. That is quite different. We are not discussing numbers and reciprocity of conditions of entry. My noble friend's Amendment is dealing exclusively with what happens to someone after he or she has been permitted to enter. We are dealing with equivalents of conditions once you are in. I do not think we should allow ourselves to be diverted on to the other important point which is not in this Amendment.


My Lords, I was not seeking to divert the House but was seeking to give the background. because this is a complicated matter. If one takes only the narrow point, it is almost impossible to understand why it is that the approach is so different. I was explaining the underlying pattern and I shall arrive—and I apologise if I am taking time in doing this, but I was asked quite a list of questions—at the narrow point in due course, and as quickly as I can.

The motivation and the pattern of immigration within Europe is quite different from that from the new Commonwealth countries to the United Kingdom. There is no great difficulty about relaxing control from Europe because it is not likely—because of reasons of high unemployment in this country, of language, weather and the rather lower standard of living—that large numbers of people would want to come here. In the Election Manifesto the Government made it clear that there would be no further large-scale permanent immigration for settlement from the Commonwealth. That was not to say then, and it is not to say now, that there is a complete barrier; students, visitors and dependants will be welcome, as they have been welcome in the past. People coming here in order to take up a particular job for a particular reason will also be welcome; but it is intrinsic to this policy, and has been the policy of the Conservative Party for some years, that there should be no further entry for settlement as such. This is the point which the noble Baroness has been asking me about. This is not to say that nobody should be allowed to come here to work hut, rather, that they should come for a particular job and initially for 12 months. Their stay will be renewable for a period of up to four years. The work permit scheme covers all coming here from overseas, whether aliens or Commonwealth citizens, except E. E. C. nationals to whom separate arrangements will apply.

There has been a certain amount of misunderstanding—but not from the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd—on some of the differences which, it has been alleged, will apply to people who have been admitted here. The noble Lord's speech, when we read it after the Committee stage, seemed very accurate, but there has been a certain amount of misunderstanding, particularly regarding deportation. It has been said that no E. E. C. national could be kept out or deported once here. That is not the case. Nationals of an E. E. C. country can be excluded, and can be required to leave once they have been admitted, on one of three grounds: public health, national security or what is called "ordre publique", which is similar to the cases where somebody's presence in the United Kingdom is deemed to be not conducive to the public good. These apply to Commonwealth citizens or to people from the E. E. C. The essential difference is (and this is why it was necessary to go into the background of the matter) that somebody from the Commonwealth, or anywhere in the world apart from the E. E. C., has to obtain a work permit and, having obtained it, comes not for permanent settlement but for a period of 12 months which can be extended for up to four years. The E. E. C. national, under reciprocal arrangements, can come to this country subject to immigration control, subject to the provisions concerning deportation, to look for work for a period of up to three months and, if he finds it, can remain for five years.

Those are the reasons why the system of control is quite different. I do not think one should say it is necessarily more favourable or less favourable; it is different for these different reasons, and these reasons, I suggest to noble Lords who ponder this matter, really lie in history.


My Lords, I was one of those who was not altogether happy with this proposal when we last debated it. I should like to thank my noble friend for the careful explanation that he has given to us. I am still left with a slightly unhappy feeling about this matter; but, on the other hand, I cannot see any escape from the conclusions that he has put so clearly before us.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Wade, asked whether it would be disadvantageous to members from the Commonwealth as opposed to people who are in the E. E. C. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, answered that by saying that it will not be a disadvantage, it will be different. This will not do; it is not sufficient in the circumstances. In our recent debates in this House on the Common Market many of us expressed concern about the effect of entry into the Common Market so far as New Zealand lamb and Jamaican sugar are concerned. But it has come to something much more serious than that; this is a question of humanity not food. We are dealing with people who have been members of the British Commonwealth for 300 years. We are saying to them: "You are going to be at a disadvantage; you are going to be different from the people of Europe if we go into the Common Market". In my view, this is perhaps the most important issue that we have had to face with regard to our entry into Europe. I had been one of those who have declared constantly that, whatever my Party said or whatever decisions were taken at Brighton, when it came to the "crunch" I should be in the Lobby in favour of entry into Europe. But this is a great problem indeed and it can be overcome only by the acceptance of the Amendment proposed by my noble friend. Wemust approach it in that way.

I have some sympathy with Members of the House who say, Let us take this decision after entry into the Common Market. At the moment we do not know for certain whether we are going in ". There might be something to be said for that argument if we could get an assurance from the Government that once we were in Europe there would be a one-clause Bill to put this matter right. But we have no such assurance, no such guarantee. Therefore it seems to me that the only course for the House at this moment is to accept this Amendment and so give people from the Commonwealth who will ultimately come to this country, or who plan to come to this country, assurance that they will be at no disadvantage compared to the people of Europe who will enter freely. I see this as one issue with regard to the French people in Martinique and so on. I accept what the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has said about this matter, that we shall put ourselves strongly in that position even though it may not concern members of metropolitan Britain; we shall put ourselves strongly in that position if we accept this Amendment.


My Lords, does not the noble Lord accept that there is a difference between these four extremely small French territories, which have been accepted as part of metropolitan France, and the entire Commonwealth of Nations?


Of course I accept it. my Lords, but the principle is the same.


My Lords, with great reluctance I have come to the conclusion that the decision of the Government is inevitable and, much as I dislike the idea, I feel there is no way out of this problem other than to accept the conclusion at which they have arrived. So, with the same feelings, I am with my noble friend Lord Amory.

4.3 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Viscount, Lord Boyd of Merton, said that the Government have come to a decision which he accepts as inevitable. I hope that that word will never be accepted by either House of Parliament. It is for us to decide what is the right policy to adopt. I am glad that my noble friend Lady White intervened, because it seemed to me that our debate was proceeding on the basis that this Amendment had connection with control—the rate of control or the conditions of control—under which immigrants enter this country. This Amendment deals solely with the rights and conditions under which a person from the Commonwealth shall live once he has lawfully entered and has been accepted by this country.

May I give to the House two examples of the difference between E. E. C. nationals and Commonwealth citizens, and ask whether you accept there is inevitability about this matter? A national of an E. E. C. country may come to this country freely; that I accept. He obtains a job. If lie has obtained that job within three months he may, by right, remain in this country, and at the end of five years, again as of right, that citizenship will be extended. Therefore that national, with his family, may enter this country knowing that if he goes to his bank, to a building society or a local authority and says, "I have this job these are the conditions under which I have entered", there will be no difficulty about his being able to raise a loan at his bank or a mortgage from his building society.

Consider the Commonwealth immigrant. He may, like our late noble friend Lord Constantine, come from the West Indies, but he could be a grandson of an Australian or a grandson of a New Zealander. He could come from Fiji. I do not want to use the old kith-and-kin argument, but it has a relevance here because, although we may be on the verge of entry into the E. E. C., I hope it will not be said that in doing that we turn our back upon our friends and our history within the Commonwealth. But let us consider this Commonwealth immigrant. According to the rules which are now before us and all the statements that have been made by the noble Lord. Lord Windlesham, this immigrant, in the first instance, will be able to come here only for a year. It will be conducive to his remaining here if there is a letter from his employer saying that he is willing to continue the man's employment. Only when the man has been here four years will he feel secure. What is important is not only that he should feel secure but that the bank, the building society or the local authority—all those who play a part in the assimilation of an immigrant to this country—should feel that he is here and intends to remain. Unless there is that sense of security it seems to be that no building society or bank will make sums available by which a person will be able to settle here.


My Lords, would not tile noble Lord agree that, even after this Bill becomes an Act, if it does, and even after the vote is taken on October 28, whichever way it may go, nationals of E. E. C. countries will still be aliens so far as immigration law is concerned and that amending legislation would he required to this Bill in order to give effect to the Treaty of Rome so far as the immigration clauses are concerned?


My Lords, presumably what the noble Earl means is that we in this House, or Parliament as a whole, wish to say that the E. E. C. nationals should be treated as an ordinary alien or ordinary Commonwealth immigrant. I can only say to the noble Earl that the Common Market laws are superior to Acts passed by this Parliament and therefore we would have no say in this matter at all.


My Lords, not until Parliament has so voted.


This may be so. my Lords, but we are considering this Bill in the light of our entry into the E. E. C.

The second point I want to put in terms of the family is this. A wife of an E. E. C. national will be entitled to take employment as of right, whereas a Commonwealth citizen's wife will need permission and consent of the Department. I should not have thought it would create a very great difficulty for the Government to accept these two particular positions. I hope the House will feel that once an immigrant—and the numbers will not be unduly large—has been legally and lawfully accepted into our community he should be treated in the same way as we intend to treat, and are required to treat, a national of an E. E. C. country. This is for us a matter of very great principle, and I would invite noble Lords to support us in the Division Lobby.


My Lords, may I ask a simple question? What would be a position of an Australian or Canadian who wished to stand as a Member of the other House? Both Parties have had such Members. It seems to me there could be an anomaly here. Some of us know people who have been in this country only two years and who have been successful in this respect. There have' been great contributions to all Parties in Parliament by Canadians and Australians during the last two or three generations. Have the Government considered the position of members of the Commonwealth who have contributed to the actual building of the Commonwealth?


My Lords, we are on Report stage and I have made one rather too long speech already. I think I ought not to be drawn on further points, but if I have the leave of your Lordships to deal with that single point it is one that supports the Government's case. The right of Commonwealth citizens to vote in elections and to stand for election to local authorities or to Parliament is not affected in any way by this Bill. So here is an advantage on the other side,

where we are giving a definite marked out advantage to the Commonwealth citizen as against the alien, whether he comes from Europe or anywhere else.

4.11 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No.3) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided:—Contents,67; Not-Contents,113.

Airedale, L. Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Phillips, Bs. [Teller.]
Amherst, E. Energlyn, L. Platt, L.
Amulree, L. Fiske, L. Popplewell, L.
Archibald, L. Foot, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Ardwick, L. Gaitskell, Bs. Royle, L.
Arran, L. Gardiner, L. Sainsbury, L.
Arwyn, L. Henderson, L. St. Davids, V.
Avebury, L. Henley, L. Serota, Bs.
Bacon, Bs. Hilton of Upton, L. Shackleton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Hirshfield, L. Shepherd, L.
Beswick, L. Hoy, L. Silkin, L.
Blackett, L. Hylton, L. Slater, L.
Brockway, L. Janner, L. Snow, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Kilbracken, L. Stonham, L.
Carnock, L. Leatherland, L. Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]
Champion. L. Lee of Asheridge, Bs. Strang, L.
Chorley, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. Summerskill, Bs.
Clwyd, L. McLeavy, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Cohen, L. Maclor, L. Wade, L.
Crook, L. Meston, L. White, Bs.
Darwen, L. Milford, L. Wright of Ashton under Lyne, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Moyle, L.
Delacourt-Smith, L. Pargiter, L.
Aberdarc, L. Drumalbyn, L. Kilmany, L.
Albemarlc, E. Dudley, E. Latymer, L.
Aldenham, L. Ebbisham, L. Lauderdale, E.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Eccles, V. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Amory, V. Effingham, E. Long, V.
Auckland, L. Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Loudoun, C.
Balerno, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Macleod of Borve, Bs.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Erroll of Hale, L. Mersey, V.
Barnby, L. Ferrers, E. Milverton, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Fisher, L. Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Belstead, L. Fortcscue, E. Morrison, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Mottistone, L.
Bessborough, E. Glasgow, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Boyd of Merton, V. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Moyne, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Gray, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Brock, L. Greenway, L. Oakshott, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Gridley, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Grimston of Westbury, L. Onslow, E.
Caccia, L. Haig, E. Perth, E.
Camoys, L. Hailes, L. Poltimore, L.
Carrington, L. Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (JL. Chancellor.) Rankeillour, L.
Cawley, L. Reay, L.
Colgrain, L. Harvey of Prestbury, L. Redesdale, L.
Conesford, L. Hatherton, L. Reigate, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hawke. L. Roberthall, L.
Cornwallis, L. Hood, V. Rothes, E.
Cottesloe, L. Howard of Glossop, L. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Craigavon, L. Howe, E. St. Aldwyn, E.
Crathorne, L. Hylton-Foster, Bs. St. Helens, L.
De La Warr, E. Ilford, L. St. Just, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) St. Oswald. L.
Derwent, L. Jessel, L. Salisbury, M.
Digby, L. Kemsley, V. Sandford, L.
Savile, L. Stonehaven, V. Tweedsmuir, L.
Selkirk, E. Strange of Knokin, Bs. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs
Sempill, Ly. Strathclyde, L. Vivian, L.
Simon, V. Tenby, V. Windlesham, L.
Somers, L. Thomas, L. Wolverton, L.
Their Lordships divided: Contents, 56; Not-Contents, 116.
Archibald, L. Energlyn, L. Nunburnholme, L.
Ardwick, L. Evans of Hungershall, L. Ogmore, L.
Arran, E. Faringdon, L. Phillips, Bs.
Arwyn, L. Foot, L. Platt, L.
Avebury, L. Henderson, L. Popplewell, L.
Bacon, Bs. Henley, L. Ritchic-Calder, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Heycock, L. Royle, L.
Blackett, L. Hoy, L. Sainsbury, L.
Blyton, L. Hughes, L. St. Davids, V.
Brockway, L. Teller] Janner, L. [Teller.] Silkin, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Kilbracken, L. Slater, L.
Carnock, L. Leatherland, L. Snow, L.
Champion, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. Stonham, L.
Chorley, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Strabolgi, L.
Crook, L. McLeavy, L. Summerskill, Bs.
Darwen, L. Maelor, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Meston, L. Wade, L.
Delacourt-Smith. L. Milford, L. Wright of Ashton under Lyne, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Moyle, L.
Aberdare, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Monson, L.
Ailwyn, L. Erroll of Hale, L. Mottistone, L.
Albemarle, E. Falkland, V. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Aldenham, L. Ferrers, E. [Teller.] Moyne, L.
Amherst of Hackney, L. Fisher, L. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Amory, V. Fortescue, E. Northchurch, Bs.
Auckland, L. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Balerno, L. Garner, L. Oakshott, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Glasgow, E. Orr-Ewing, L.
Barnby, L. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Onslow, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Gray, L. Perth, E.
Belstead, L. Green way, L. Poltimore, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Gridley, L. Rankeillour, L.
Bessborough, E. Grimston of Westbury, L. Reay, L.
Boyd of Merton, V. Hailes, L. Redesdale, L.
Brabazon of Tara. L. Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Reigate, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Hankey, L. St. Aldwyn. E.
Caccia, L. Harvey of Prestbury, L. St. Helens, L.
Carrington, L. Hatherton, L. St. Just, L.
Colgrain, L. Hawke, L. St. Oswald, L.
Conesford. L. Hood, V. Sandford, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hylton, L. Savile, L.
Cornwallis, L. Hylton-Foster, Bs. Selkirk, E.
Cottesloe, L. Ilford, L. Sempill, Ly.
Craigavon, V. Jellicoe. E. (L. Privy Seal.) Simon, V.
Craigmyle. L. Jessel. L. Somers, L.
Daventry. V. Kemsley, V. Stonehaven, L.
de Clifford, L. Kilmany, L. Strang, L.
Denham, L. Kilmarnock, L. Strange of Knokin. Bs.
Derwent, L. Latymer, L. Strathclvde, L.
Digby, L. l. auderdale. E. Tenby, V.
Drumalbyn, L. Lindsey and Abingdon, E. Teviot, L.
Dudley. E. Long, V. Thomas, L.
Ebbisham, L. Loudoun, C. Tweedsmuir, L.
Eccles. V. Macleod of Borve, Bs. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.
Effingham, E. Milverton. L. Vivian, L.
Ellenborough, L. Monck, V. Windlesham, L.
Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Monckton of Brenchley, V. Wolverton, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.20 p.m.

BARONESS WHITE moved Amendment No.4:

Page 2, line 17, at end insert— ("Provided that in framing the rules and in the administration thereof the wife of a Commonwealth citizen lawfully resident in the United Kingdom shall not be restricted from taking employment.")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this Amendment refers to the position of the wives of Commonwealth citizens who are themselves lawfully resident in the United Kingdom. We had some discussion on this point at the Committee stage, but at that stage the argument was somewhat confused because in the Amendment concerned we were linking it with another matter which did not perhaps find so much favour with your Lordships; but there was considerable sympathy with the case made that the wife of a Commonwealth citizen should not be restricted in the way the existing rules at any rate suggest. There are two aspects of this matter. One was referred to by my noble friend Lord Shepherd in our last debate: that if citizens of the European Community come to this country and are allowed to stay here their wives will be completely free of conditions as regards their taking employment. As your Lordships have not accepted the last Amendment. I will not pursue that particular argument further, beyond reminding your Lordships that that is likely to be the position with regard to those who come from the European countries.

I now wish to turn to the position as it appears to be under the draft rules on entry which we have, Command Paper 4606. We have had amended rules laid before us in the last few days, but they do not deal with this particular matter. When we discussed it at Committee stage, Lord Aberdare was dealing with it and gave an explanation which, if it were contained in the rules, would go quite a long way to restoring confidence in this regard. What I hope to have from the noble Lord on this occasion is an assurance that the rules will be altered in such a way that it will be made quite clear that the wife of a Commonwealth citizen will not be restricted from taking employment, other than that she may have to obtain the consent of the Department of Employment. That is by no means clear in the rules.

Your Lordships may recall that we had strong expressions of opinion from all quarters on the last occasion, particularly where students are concerned. We pointed out that students from the Commonwealth, here to obtain qualifications, especially with long courses like those for medicine and architecture, frequently depend on the earnings of their wives in order to complete their own studies. The National Union of Students has strong feelings in this matter, that it should be plain that the wife in such circumstances will not be discouraged from taking employment in order to support her husband in his studies. Unfortunately, the rules as at present drafted, by which people will be guided unless they are amended. do not make it plain at all. Rule 35 says: The wife and children under 18 of a person who has been admitted or is on the same occasion being admitted to the United Kingdom to take or seek employment…. should be admitted for the period of his authorised stay, with a condition restricting their freedom to take employment. There is no qualification at all here, and therefore any ordinary intelligent person reading these rules would assume that she would be restricted on taking employment.

And she would not be encouraged if she looked at other rules; at Rule 49, which concerns fiancées. I am not at the moment arguing the case for the fiancée. but when one looks at that rule it appears that more onerous conditions are placed on women than men, because it says: A woman seeking to enter to marry a resident should be admitted … for a period of up to 3 months and should be advised to apply to the Home Office for removal of the condition … ". That is well and good. It goes on to say: It may also be appropriate to impose a prohibition on employment. … and there is nothing about applying to the Home Office or any other Department to have that prohibition removed; therefore, anybody reading the rules might suppose that there is no removal of the prohibition after the marriage.

What I am putting to the noble Lord is this. If what he said in Committee—which was, on the whole, a not ungenerous interpretation of the rules—could be put into the rules, I think it would he much more satisfactory and would remove apprehensions in the mind of anyone who reads the rules at the moment and who cannot be expected to read the debates in your Lordships' House. I would ask the Government to make it clear, when they come to revise what are at the moment draft rules, that there will be no unreasonable restrictions on a woman taking employment in this country once here as the wife of a Commonwealth citizen himself legally resident here. I beg to move.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for saying that I was at least somewhat generous at Committee stage, and I hope I can satisfy her even further at Report stage. We did take very much to heart the points that were made in Committee. We have reviewed the position, and in the light of what was said then we have decided that it is unnecessary to fetter the freedom of dependants in this way. In consequence, the wives and children of work permit holders, whether aliens or Commonwealth, and also of other categories such as students, which the noble Baroness mentioned, will be free to take employment without the need to obtain approval. The Draft Immigration Rules will be appropriately amended before being promulgated in their final form. I hope that with this assurance the noble Baroness will be satisfied that it is better to put this in the rules rather than have it mentioned in a general clause in the Bill. I should like to make the point that this provision in the new rules will go wider than her own Amendment, in that it will include the wives of aliens as well as the wives and dependants of Commonwealth citizens.


My Lords, I should have hesitated to say anything so soon after my introduction to your Lordships' House had it not been that I have a particular case to draw to the attention of the Minister which I think is particularly relevant to the Amendment moved by the noble Baroness. I should like to ask the Minister whether it is covered by the undertaking he has just given. This is the case of a lady from Ceylon who is in this country to undertake a post-graduate course in medicine. Because of the political unpopularity of her husband in that country, she has received a notice from her Government depriving her of the grant she currently enjoys. No reason whatsoever was given for this; she merely received a curt notice saying that the money was cut off. She still has a year of her studies to go before she receives the post-graduate degree she is seeking. In these circumstances this lady may. or may not, need to seek employment in Great Britain. It is possible that some other agency, such as the Elizabeth Nuffield Foundation or the Medical Research Council. might be able to help her. But the fact is that she has come in as a student; that is the condition of her entry. I should like to be assured by the noble Lord who has given this undertaking that, should it become necessary later on for her to take employment in order to sustain herself while she is completing this course, there would be no objection to her doing so after this Bill becomes law.


My Lords, if I may have the permission of the House to speak a second time, may I begin by congratulating the noble Lord on his maiden speech. I hope we shall often hear him speaking and at even greater length. I should like to look in greater detail into the case he described, rather than give him an answer off the cuff. It is a particular case and not one that is often likely to arise under these rules; but if he would be kind enough to let me have the details I can assure him that we will look into it.


My Lords, may I add my thanks to the Minister for his reply. I spoke at the Committee stage in support of the Amendment of the noble Baroness; I am very happy that we have had this reply to-day, and I do not propose to repeat the arguments


My Lords, may I, as mover of the Amendment, add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, on his early but brief maiden intervention in your Lordships' House. I am delighted that it should have been in such a good cause as the rights of women. I hope that we shall hear him frequently on that and other subjects. I should also like to express very warm appreciation of the Government's attitude on this particular matter. As the noble Lord, Lord Wade, said about an earlier Amendment, it shows that your Lordships' House is not entirely useless, and that we can sometimes draw attention to matters in legislation which really deserve further thought. I am most grateful and appreciative of the attitude taken by the Government on this particular matter. I think it will be appreciated, and in the circumstances I would ask your Lordships' leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.33 p.m.

LORD WINDLESHAM moved Amendment No.5: Page 2, line 17, at end insert— ("(6) The rules shall he so framed that Commonwealth citizens settled in the United Kingdom at the coming into force of this Act and their wives and children are not, by virtue of anything in the rules, any less free to come into and co from the United Kingdom. while those citizens remain ordinarily resident there, than if this Act had not been passed.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I explained the purpose of this Amendment in speaking to Amendment No.1. I shall therefore move it formally, and, having done so, I shall listen with interest to what the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, has to say in moving Amendment No.6. Amendment No.6 is an Amendment to Amendment No.5, and in order that we may discuss it I move Amendment No.5 formally.

THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY moved, as an Amendment to Amendment No.5, Amendment No.6: Line 5, leave out ("while those citizens remain ordinarily resident there").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this is an Amendment of no very great importance but I think of some significance. It is to take out those words between commas in the last line but one of my noble friend's Amendment, "while those citizens remain ordinarily resident there". I propose that these words might be taken out with advantage because they contain an implication which seems to me not entirely acceptable, and indeed to be opposed to the remainder of the Bill. I find it impossible not to draw the inference that they imply that a person might lose the rights of settlement which he already had before, or indeed after, the passing of. the Bill if he were to leave this country and go away and stay somewhere else for a few years. He might leave the country for five years, with his family or on his own if he has no family, and come back and find that he has no right of abode—no right to come back and live here.

The right of abode, or right of settlement, in this connection is an unconditional right. Once granted, there is no reason why it should be taken away unless there is some misdemeanour and he is deported. if that is possible. However, the implication here is that this can happen if he goes away and wants to come back. If that is not the implication of these words, then the words have no significance whatever. Whichever way you look at it. they either do harm to the rest of the Bill or they are of no avail whatever. I ask you Lordships to agree with me that they might, with advantage, be removed. I beg to move.


My Lords, I ought to begin by apologising for the fact that I understand I have mispronounced the name, or the second part of it, of my noble friend at least three times in the course of the debate so far. I think that the way to keep out of error in future is just to refer to the first part of his name only. I think I can be on safer ground there. The Government Amendment No.5 provides that the immigration rules shall be so framed that Commonwealth citizens settled in the United Kingdom at the coming into force of the Act, and their wives and children, are not any less free to come into and go from the United Kingdom, while those citizens remain ordinarily resident here, than if the Act had not been passed. My noble friend's Amendment seeks to remove the restriction whereby the safeguard applies only so long as the Commonwealth citizen remains ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

Under Section 2 of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, as amended by the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968, admission is not to be refused to a Commonwealth citizen (except one subject to a deportation order) who satisfies an immigration officer (a) that he is ordinarily resident here or has been so resident at any time within the preceding two years, or (b) that she is the wife of a Commonwealth citizen resident here or entering with her, or (c) is a child under 16 with at least one parent who is a Commonwealth citizen and that either both parents are resident here, or that both are entering with him, or that one parent is resident here and that the other is entering with him. As to the right of re-entry of the returning resident, the Government Amendment would have the effect that the right endured only so long as the person was still ordinarily resident here, and not necessarily so as to cover an absence of up to two years, which might well have broken the ordinary residence. This does not mean that the Government are proposing a more restrictive rule for the future, since paragraph 50 of Cmnd.4606 makes it clear that returning residents are to be re-admitted up to an absence of two years.

As to the right to bring in wives and children, it might be argued that a man who returned to his own country to bring his wife or children back with him, having first settled here himself, would not have a right to bring them in with him since his departure would have broken his ordinary residence here. This would not be so if the husband or father simply travelled to his own country and at once returned with his wife or child. But there are cases when men return to their own country for a year or more before coming back with their wife or child, and it might be that in these circumstances they would be held to have broken their ordinary residence here, and so to have lost the right to bring in their wife or child. I am afraid that this is a slightly technical explanation, but it is necessary to give it and to have it on the record, because it is for these reasons, as much as the ones given by the noble Earl, Lord Cork, in his own speech, that we have come to the conclusion that, on the whole, he is quite right and that the Bill would be improved by the deletion of the words that he proposes. Therefore I advise the House to accept Amendment No.6 which has been proposed by the noble Earl.

Clause 2 [Statement of right of abode, and related amendments as to citizenship by registration]:

4.40 p.m.

LORD BROCKWAY moved Amendment No.7: Page 2, line 20, leave out from ("Colonies ") to C or") in line 23.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg leave to move Amendment No.7. I think it may be for the convenience of the House, and also for its procedure, if I take with this Amendment the series of Amendments to this clause—Nos.9, 11, 12 and 16. It may assist if I say at once that I shall not be moving Amendment No.9, because its terms go beyond my intentions.

We are dealing with a Bill which is concerned with race relations, and I do not feel that I can begin speaking on this subject without expressing the deep regret which so many of us feel at the death last Friday of Lord Sorensen, who spent his whole life in seeking racial equality. I think all of us in this House will regret that he is not with us and will wish to express sympathy with his wife and family. My other personal reference is to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesharn. He made kind remarks to me to-day when I put a question on the subject of Ireland, but I did not acknowledge those remarks. I am afraid that I was even more concerned in the issue than in the personality of the Minister. I regret that, and I appreciated very much indeed what he said.

The series of Amendments I am now moving, which I shall symbolise in Amendment No.7, go to the very core of this Bill. I accept at once that if these Amendments secured a majority in this House the Bill would be destroyed. They aim at the very centre of the Bill, which is to establish the system of patriality and non-patriality for those who come from Commonwealth territories and the Colonies. In the view of many of us, this is the root cause of racial discrimination in this Bill. Inevitably, if one has a system of patriality and non-patriality one has discrimination on the grounds of race and colour. I have always taken the view that the series of Bills about immigration have been wrongly named. They are not about immigration. If we were not hypocrites we should recognise that they are about colour. This system of patriality and non-patriality means that the overwhelming number of those excluded would inevitably be non-white. If we and the Government are honest with ourselves we shall recognise that the object of this Bill, which co-ordinates the preceding Immigration Bills, is to exclude non-whites from this country.

These Amendments would restore the position to that which existed prior to the 1968 Act. They would also enable this country sincerely to become a signatory to the Fourth Protocol of the Human Rights Convention of the European Commission. This latter point is now of very great immediate significance because of the result of the application of 31 Asians of British citizenship from East Africa on the ground that the refusal of entry to Britain infringes the four Articles of the Convention. The attitude of the Commission, which took a serious view, must have been very disturbing to the Government. The Commission said, quite rightly, that it would first seek to bring about a friendly settlement, but clearly indicated that if a friendly settlement was not achieved it would refer the issue to the Committee of Ministers of the European Council. In consequence of that decision the Government have had to retreat, and they have now agreed that the 31 applicants for permanent residence here shall be accepted. There are 175 further applications before the Commission, and no doubt many more will be made from East Africa.

I should like to ask the Minister what the Government are going to do about this quite extraordinary repudiation by the European Commission. Have the discussions about a friendly settlement commenced? Also, I should particularly like to ask how this Bill will be affected if its provisions are contrary to the Human Rights Convention of the European Commission. I hope that I may have answers, because this attitude of the European Commission on Human Rights denies the very basis of the Bill which we are now discussing.

The system of patriality is disastrous, because it adds to the distinction between white and non-white a division within the non-white community itself. Under this Bill, the non-patrial would become a third-class citizen in our community. After their defeat in the Standing Committee in another place, the Government withdrew in the case of the Commonwealth the fantastic grandfather clause, which gave the privilege of patriality to a citizen with one grandparent born in this country. I have previously said in this House that I was born in India, my father was born in Africa and my grandfather was born more than 150 years ago; and were it not for the British Nationality Act I should be a patrial under this Bill only because of that fact. I have used the word "fantastic". Is it not fantastic that what happened 200 years ago should decide patriality and non-patriality in this country? The grandfather clause still applies to citizens from the Colonies, and almost certainly they would be exclusively whites. The privilege remains in those cases in which a parent is born in this country; and again, they would be overwhelmingly whites rather than non-whites. My Lords, there is a general body of opinion in this country, and indeed in the Houses of Parliament, that the hereditary principle in this House must be at least modified, and yet under this Bill we are continuing to maintain the hereditary principle so far as immigrants are concerned.

My Lords, if this Bill is not to be discriminatory, patrialism and non-patrialism must go. There are Members of this House who, for constitutional reasons, feel that they should not vote against the Third Reading of the Bill. I do not accept that view; but I would say to them that on this series of Amendments they can vote legitimately on constitutional grounds, and that if they support this Amendment they are in effect destroying the essential basis of the Bill, patrialism and non-patrialism, which is the essence of non-discrimination. I beg to move.


My Lords, without necessarily agreeing with my noble friend's tactic of moving an avowedly wrecking Amendment on Report stage, as he has done so I must briefly say that I agree with every word he has said. I feel that the Government have made important concessions, and we are going to hear more. I do not want to labour the point that the Bill itself is a vicious Bill. I have said so before, and have given reasons. I shall content myself with simply adding my support to my noble friend's Amendment.


My Lords, may I say that the speech we have heard from the noble Lord. Lord Brockway, is exactly the one which we would have expected from him. We all know how strongly he feels on these subjects. But am I not right in saying that the question is not one of colour at all? Nor is it racialist. There are plenty of non-whites who were born in England. One has only to go into certain parts of London to see them everywhere on the streets. This part of the Bill will apply to Australians or Canadians as much as to West Indians or other coloured people. So it is not a question of colour.

There is 'another point. The noble Lord may have heard of the old proverb, "Charity begins at home". This is a small island with room for only a certain number of inhabitants, and we are already grossly overcrowded. That is the whole reason for the introduction of this Bill. Surely, together with his great enthusiasm for extending a helping hand to those from far corners of the earth, the noble Lord might think of those of our own citizens who are finding it very hard to find employment to-day.


My Lords, may I comment on what the noble Lord. Lord Somers, has just said? The immigrants in this country are here because we needed them. That is why they came. They came to help us, and to say that the country is over-populated and that therefore they must go raises many moral issues which I think it would be very hard to face. As I have said before, I believe that if we go into the Common Market we shall need more immigrants and not fewer. That, too, is something of which the Government have to take account in this Bill. I should like further to add that it seems to me that the Government have every right to have as strict an immigration control as they desire, for whatever reason. But at this moment the Government have very strict immigration control, and therefore there is really no need for this Bill. One cannot say that often enough.


My Lords, I had not intended to intervene but I feel bound to do so in view of the arguments that have been addressed to us by the noble Lord, Lord Somers. I do not know whether he has read the Bill, which he contends is designed to put limits upon immigration into this country, whether those concerned he white or black. He says that that is the object of the Bill. But if the noble Lord looks at Clause 2(1)(d), he will see that it opens the door to an unspecified number of people, perhaps running into millions, who have not at this moment got the right of abode in this country but who are going to have it under this clause of the Bill—and those people are overwhelmingly white. Therefore, it cannot possibly be contended by anybody that the object of this Bill is to keep down the total number of people coming into this country, because it will in fact have exactly the opposite result. I am bound to say that I have some doubts about supporting the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, in this Amendment because I have some hesitation about trying to cut the heart out of the Bill at this stage. T think there are difficulties about that. Nevertheless, I agree with him in everything he says in support of his Amendment, and I think it is only right that arguments which suggest that this Bill is intended merely to keep down the general rate of immigration should be hit on the head from the beginning.


My Lords. one of the great things about an Amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, is that it almost invariably provokes a spirited debate, and a rather wide-ranging one, too; and that has happened again on this series of Amendments. The effect of the first of the three—Nos.7, 12 and 16—would be, as he frankly admitted is his intention, to give every citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies exemption from immigration control and the right of abode in the United Kingdom notwithstanding that they have no personal or ancestral connection with the United Kingdom. It would therefore repeal the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968, which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, introduced into this House. Therefore, I think that perhaps the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, parts company from the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, at this stage, because to accept this Amendment would mean that this country was not enforcing strictly the provisions of the immigration control. which she, I think, accepted we had a right to do. The later Amendments, Nos.9 and 11, would go even further than that so far as Commonwealth citizens are concerned; but even the noble Lord, Lord Brockway—and I did not think that I should live to hear this—said that he thought that Amendment No.9 went a little too far and that he would not be moving it.


My Lords, I do not want to be mischievous; but is it not the case that the Minister voted with me when I moved the rejection of the 1968 Immigration Bill?


My Lords, I dodged this question during the Committee stage but I might as well answer it now. I think that the aspect of the problem that particularly concerns Lord Brockway is the position of the British passport holders in East Africa; they symbolise the problem. There are large numbers of other people in different parts of the world to whom his Amendment would apply, but their plight is not the same as that of the Asian people who hold British passports in East Africa. When the present Government came into office neither the Home Secretary nor I were very happy about the situation in East Africa. The Secretary of State himself, noble Lords may remember, when speaking from the Front Bench in the House of Commons on the occasion of the 1968 Act, described the United Kingdom passport holders as having a claim greater than any other category of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. The situation we inherited, through nobody's fault, in the summer of 1970, of people being shuttled all over the world in aircraft, of parties of United Kingdom passport holders stranded in many parts of Europe, in Jugoslavia, in Rome and in Paris, was a situation for which nobody could take any credit at all.

We came to the conclusion that the most fruitful approach was not by way of fresh legislation but by way of negotiation with the East African Governments concerned. This process was, I am afraid, a protracted one and was made longer by the coup d'étatin Uganda. When President Oboté, who had taken an interest in these negotiations, returned from the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference, a couphad taken place and naturally this particular item was not one of the more urgent ones facing the new Administration in Uganda. Our aim then was to bring into balance the rate at which the holders of United Kingdom passports were expected to leave East Africa and the numbers that could be admitted here without causing an undue strain on community relations in this country. The recent settlement has involved a doubling of the quota and a once-and-for-all allocation, catering for a further 6,000 people in extreme need. These vouchers are now being issued at the new rate by the British High Commissions in Kampala and Nairobi.

It is difficult to gain an indication of how successful this policy has been. I think we can take some heart from the fact that the number of people arriving in this country, particularly at London Airport, without proper documents of entry—which at one time, as Lord Brockway knows, was quite substantial each week—and being held in detention at the airport, at Harmondsworth and elsewhere, has dwindled away to none at all in some weeks and to one or two in others. This perhaps is an indication that the rate at which people are being required to leave and the rate at which, with an increase in the number of vouchers, they are being admitted to this country, are being brought more into balance. This may not seem a very high-minded approach, but it seemed to us the most effective way to try to ease the plight of people who were, we accept, often in conditions of considerable hardship.

The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, asked me about the European Commission on Human Rights. The position is that proceedings in Strasbourg are not yet completed. There has been no final decision. The 31 appellants, as he said, have been admitted to this country for settlement. A team from the Commission will be coming to this country in November to explore the possibilities of a friendly settlement and the Government will be discussing this matter with them. The subsequent stages in the procedure are that if there is friendly agreement, that terminates the matter. If no settlement is reached and if the final decision then goes against the United Kingdom before the European Commission on Human Rights in Strasbourg, the case is referred to the Committee of Ministers; or alternatively the United Kingdom Government may exercise their right to refer the matter to the European Court.

I had intended to say at the start from this Box that I should like to echo the tribute made by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, to Lord Sorensen. We on this side agree with everything that he said and we should like to join with him in the sympathy he expressed to Lord Sorensen's wife and family.


My Lords, from these Benches we should like to associate ourselves with what my noble friend Lord Brockway and Lord Windlesham have said. I had the privilege of knowing Lord Sorensen for many years in the other place. Anyone who knew him, particularly in his prime, knows what a tremendous fighter for freedom he was and how much he felt, as a Christian particularly, on the question of the true brotherhood of man and the importance of our recognition of that in our community and race relations.

On the Amendments moved by my noble friend, may I say that I appreciate his reasons for moving them. On the other hand I think I must, from these Benches, as a matter of consistency, acknowledge that the last Administration took steps which would have been at variance with at least some of his Amendments, and I think we should also take note of what Lord Windlesham said about the position with regard to the European Commission on Human Rights which has not yet been fully determined. We hope that negotiations will prove fruitful. If not we may have to return to the matter. At the moment it is still in a sense sub judiceand we should regard the Amendments in that light.


My Lords, I listened very carefully to the reply given to my noble friend Lord Brockway. In passing I ought to say that everybody in the House, in the other place and in the country as a whole will be very distressed at the passing of Lord Sorensen who was such a pillar of strength in his own particular sphere and who had great influence on many people in this country.

I think I ought to say at once that the whole idea of this Bill is objectionable to a large number of us, and the point made by Lord Brockway, one with which many of us agree, was in regard to the division of peoples who are to be allowed to come here. One point on which he did not get a reply was in regard to this being an "anti-colour" Bill. There can be no doubt in the minds of most people who have examined the Bill that its provisions are bound to act adversely in so far as the coloured population are concerned. That is very distressing for most of us. I think that people on both sides of the House would not want the impression to go abroad that this was a Bill discriminating against people in consequence of their colour. I should like to know the real answer to this point.


My Lords, I am not entitled to speak again except by the leave of the House. I do not think that we should make a practice of this on Report stage. Nowhere in the Bill is any distinction made between a citizen of one Commonwealth country and of another. Right at the beginning of the immigration rules—and we discussed this point in Committee—in the first rule for control on entry it is stated quite clearly that immigration officers will carry out their duties without regard to the race, colour or religion of people seeking to enter the United Kingdom. That has always been the policy of successive Administrations; it is the policy of this one and it is reflected in the Bill.

5.10 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No.7) shall be agreed to?

5.19 p.m.

LORD WINDLESHAM moved Amendment No.8: Page 2, line 22, after first ("or") insert ("(except as mentioned below)").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No.8 standing in my name on the List, and it may be for the convenience of the House if with it I speak to Amendments Nos. 10,15,18,36 and 53.

The purpose of this series of Amendments is to provide that a woman who is a Commonwealth citizen, including citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, shall have the right of abode if she is or has been the wife of a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or of a Commonwealth citizen who has the right of abode, or would have had it but for his death before the relevant legislation came into force. Noble Lords will recall that the position of the wives of patrials was raised in Committee by the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, who pointed out that the Bill appeared to be defective in not giving the right of abode to a woman who is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and was married to a patrial. In reply. I said that the Government proposed to come forward with a comprehensive Amendment on Report. This series of Amendments, unlike Lord Crowther's, go rather wide in that they benefit the wife if she is a Commonwealth citizen in the full sense of that term and not just if she is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.

Under the Amendment the wives of patrials will, if they are Commonwealth citizens, acquire patriality in virtue of their marriage, whereas at present they can acquire immunity from immigration control by means of registration. In future, registration in virtue of marriage will be relevant only in that it confers citizenship. Registration as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies will make the wife a Commonwealth citizen, if she was not already such a citizen, within the terms of the Amendment and so give her patriality if her husband is patrial. But wives registered before the passing of the Bill, whether here or overseas, will retain their exemption from control and neither this Amendment nor the Amendment to Clause 35 will subject to control any person now exempt.

Amendments Nos.8 and 10 and the last four lines of Amendment No.15 are also designed to ensure that a woman who acquires citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by registration in virtue of marriage after the passing of the Bill to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies does not thereby acquire the right of abode if her husband is not a patrial. It would not be appropriate if a Commonwealth citizen here on conditions were to obtain the right of abode, and so exemption from control, by marrying a man who was himself a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies but was not a patrial—for example, the holder of a work permit who had been admitted from Hong Kong. In such a case the operative provision is Clause 2(1)(c), which provides for patriality on completion of five years' ordinary residence in the United Kingdom, together with acceptance for permanent settlement here. If and when the husband had acquired patriality under Clause 2(1)(c), the wife would also do so.

Amendments Nos.8,10 and 18 and the last four lines of Amendment No.15, will also affect the control which was introduced for citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies holding United Kingdom passports (but having no close personal or ancestral connection with the United Kingdom) by the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968. This particularly concerns the Asian community in East Africa. Under the laws of the independent African States in East Africa, citizenship is not automatically acquired by birth in the relevant country but is generally dependent on one parent having also been born there. A woman born in, say, Kenya is a citizen of Kenya if one parent was also born there. Such a woman may marry a man who is himself a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies because he was born in India or, if himself born in Africa, because his parents were born in India. He is subject to control under the Act of 1968 because he has no personal or ancestral connection with the United Kingdom. After the marriage the woman has an absolute entitlement to register under Section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1948 as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and the effect of Section 1 of the Act of 1968 is that she, but not her husband, thereby acquires exemption from immigration control.

This is a situation that was not envisaged when the Act of 1968 was passed, the provision in that Act having been framed on the general basis that people registered in independent Commonwealth countries were people with close connection with the United Kingdom. Having obtained exemption from control in this way, although subject to control before marriage and having married a man not exempt from control, a number of wives who have followed this procedure have arrived in the United Kingdom during the last year or two, and their husbands have then applied to join them in advance of those waiting—and waiting, sometimes, in conditions of considerable hardship—for the special vouchers which are issued to United Kingdom passport holders in East Africa for settlement in the United Kingdom. When entry is not granted to the husbands in these circumstances the Secretary of State is then criticised for keeping families apart, although it is of their own volition that the wives may have come to this country while their husbands are still subject to immigration control. These Amendments will not in any way impair the position of women who have married before the passing of the Act even if they have not registered, but will mean that in future they do not obtain exemption from control by registration after marriage to a man who is not a patrial.

To summarise the effect of these Amendments, after the passing of the Act women in these circumstances who are not citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies will still be free to register and to acquire citizenship; but having done so they will not be in the same position as their husbands, who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies subject to immigration control and who consequently require a special voucher for work and settlement in the United Kingdom. As I said earlier, this is a complicated provision. Citizenship law is far from straightforward, but the over-all effect of the whole series of Amendments is that when a woman who is a Commonwealth citizen, including a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, marries someone who has the right of abode and is therefore described in the Bill as patrial, she automatically acquires that status herself. That is what the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, wanted when he moved his Amendment in Committee. Where, however, her husband is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies subject to immigration control the wife acquires no more than the status that her husband holds. Her rights of entry to the United Kingdom are the same as his rights of entry and she will not, as previously, be able to obtain exemption from immigration control by registration, whether outside or inside the United Kingdom. I beg to move.


My Lords, I hope that I will not expose my ignorance too much if I ask this question. What happens in the reverse situation, where the wife is a patrial and the husband is not? If I may give an example known to me, it is only in the hope that it may serve as a general example of what I mean. The wife was born and brought up in this country and has now lived in New Zealand for many years. She married a New Zealander, neither of whose parents was born in Britain; they have been New Zealanders for several generations. If she comes here and brings her husband with her, is he treated as a patrial?


No, my Lords. We discussed this point at length in Committee. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, would have liked patriality to be extended to cases where the husband is non-patrial and the wife is patrial, and he moved Amendments to that effect. I think that I am not misinterpreting the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, when I say that he accepted the Government's view that where the man is patrial the wife should acquire his status, but not the other way round. The reason for this is that wives are expected to make their home in their husband's country. When up until 1969 (was it not?) males were admitted from the Commonwealth—in other words, men from Commonwealth countries coming in to marry women already settled here—I think I am right in saying that the numbers arriving from certain parts of the Commonwealth, most notably India and Pakistan, were so great that more men were coming to the United Kingdom for the purposes of marriage than were coming under the employment voucher scheme. The previous Administration felt that this had become a way of evading the immigration control, and they withdrew the concession which had applied up until that time. So the answer to the question put by the noble Lord is that it would not apply in those circumstances.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question purely for clarification? I am not at all clear in my own mind about the reference the noble Lord made to a woman who might have registered in this country. I can understand the point about somebody who registered in Kenya, for example, but it does not seem to me to be logical to preclude her if she is registered in this country.


My Lords, I understand that in almost every case the practical situation is the one to which the noble Baroness has referred—that is to say, registration in an independent Commonwealth country—but I am told that there might be some circumstances in which registration in this country might occur. There is the question of registration in this country by somebody who is here on a short-term visit. The Amendment is so drafted that it will make no difference whether the registration is performed outside or inside the United Kingdom. But if it is inside the United Kingdom, and the husband is already patrial because he has been here for five years, then under the early part of the Amendment, that introduced to meet the noble Lord, Lord Crowther, patriality would be acquired automatically by the wife.


My Lords, this really is a 19th century view. It makes this Bill a sex discrimination Bill as well as a racial discrimination Bill.


My Lords, am I right in simplifying the Amendment in this way: that a foreign woman married to an Englishman acquires British nationality, but that a foreign man marrying a British woman does not acquire British nationality? Is it not the same thing in this Bill that a woman marrying a man who has the privileges under this Bill acquires the same privileges, but a man marrying a woman who is British does not acquire the privileges? Am I right in that?


Not really, I am afraid. The noble Baroness is in very good company here, because this is very complicated territory. She used the phrase "a foreign woman marrying a British national", but we are not talking in terms of citizenship and nationality at all. What we are talking about is exemption from immigration control. That is why—and it is most complicated—the right of abode, which is what conveys exemption from immigration control, is not linked to citizenship. In most countries it is so linked, but because of the way in which the dependent territories were linked with the United Kingdom in 1948 there exists a citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Therefore, the Amendments that I propose do not affect the acquisition of citizenship by the wife at all. She becomes a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, but she does not acquire exemption from immigration control unless her husband was so exempt.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether, in the event of this Bill becoming an Act, we can look forward to consolidation of all alien and Commonwealth and Immigration Acts?


My Lords, with the leave of the House (and I must not ask for it too often because we are on Report), this is a consolidating measure of considerable scope, as I think the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, will agree, although he may not care for some of the contents. This Bill represents a pulling-together of a great deal of legislation dating back over half a century, much of it temporary in character, and this is one of the aspects of previous legislation that I think almost everybody would find objectionable. It is a consolidating measure; but what it does not do is to place our immigration law absolutely on all fours with our citizenship. much as we should like to do that, we cannot do it without leaving pockets of people around the world, like the United Kingdom passport holders in East Africa, without any effective citizenship.


My Lords, I am not going to oppose any of this group of Amendments. The position, as I understand it, is this. It will remain the law that if a man is allowed to come here and work he must have the right to have his wife with him, but if a woman comes here to work it will not follow that she can have her husband with her. My noble friend Lord Brockway is quite right in saying that this is a pure case of sex discrimination. What I cannot allow to pass without a word is the repetition by the Minister of the justification that he gave last time, which is the cases of bogus fiancé s. The bogus fiancé s have nothing to do with the matter at all. The moral right of a man and a woman who are married to have their spouse with them is of an entirely different order to fiancé s who may well like to be together. The fact that when they allowed fiancé s to come in bogus fiancé s turned up is no justification whatever for not allowing a woman to have her husband with her.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No.10 as one of the series linked with Amendment No.8.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 29, after ("or") insert ("except as mentioned below)").—(Lord Windlesham.)

5.38 p.m.

VISCOUNT MONCK had given Notice of the following Amendment (No.13): Page 2, line 39, after ("citizen") insert ("(0").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I think it will be for your Lordships' convenience if I speak to Amendments Nos.13 and 14 together. I would say at the outset that I do not propose to move the Amendments, but I would crave your Lordships' indulgence for two or three minutes to give my reasons for putting them down. I make this early declaration of intent only in order that, should my noble friend Lord Windlesham wish to go out for a while to have a "quick one", he can do so with a clear conscience. My noble friend is very quick to take a hint.

Your Lordships may recollect that when I moved these Amendments in Committee I made play with the distinction that was drawn between the "Commonwealth "and the" Colonies."My noble friend Lord Windlesham (I am sorry that he is not here, as I am going to pay him a tribute) was good enough to write to me two letters on the matter. I hope that he will, in his absence, forgive me for saying that his first letter made the same impression on me as the ocean on the Ramsbottom family in Stanley Holloway's famous monologue: I did not think much to it. His second letter was much more convincing. He assured me that the sums had been done, and if the grandparentage right were to be extended to the Commonwealth many millions of people would be exempted from control. My conclusion is that this could have a very adverse effect on the employment situation in the United Kingdom, and I am the last person to wish to bring that about. A famous poet—it may have been Shakespeare, Sir Alan Herbert, or even a Member of your Lordships' House—once wrote these striking lines: I could not love thee, dear, so much Loved I not honour more. My affection, regard and concern for the Commonwealth are very deep, but those for my own country are deeper still. I therefore beg leave of your Lordships not to move my Amendments.

5.41 p.m.


My Lords, Amendment No.15 is a consequential Amendment to the last series. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 2, line 43, at end insert— ("(1 A) A woman is under this Act also to have the right of abode in the United Kingdom if she is a Commonwealth citizen and either—

  1. (a) is the wife of any such citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies as is mentioned in subsection (1)(a), (b) or (c) above or any such Commonwealth citizen as is mentioned in subsection (1)(d); or
  2. (b) has at any time been the wife—
    1. (i) of a person then being such a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or Commonwealth citizen; or
    2. (ii) of a British subject who but for his death would on the date of commencement of the British Nationality Act 1948 have been such a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies as is mentioned in subsection (1)(a) or (b);
but in subsection (1)(a) and (b) above references to registration as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies shall not, in the case of a woman, include registration after the passing of this Act under or by virtue of section 6(2) (wives) of the British Nationality Act 1948 unless she is so registered by virtue of her marriage to a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies before the passing of this Act.")—(Lord Aberdare.)

LORI) DENHAM moved Amendment No.17: Page 3, line 8, after ("Kingdom") insert ("and similarly with reference to birth in any of the Islands;")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No.17 standing in the name of my noble friend. This Amendment, which relates to births on board a ship or aircraft, provides that if the ship or aircraft is registered in the United Kingdom, or owned by the United Kingdom Government, birth on it counts as birth in the United Kingdom for the purpose of acquiring or transmitting the right of abode. In its present form, Clause 2(2)(b) does not cover birth in a ship or aircraft belonging to one of the Islands. Since birth in one of the Islands can confer patriality, it is right that birth on a ship or an aircraft belonging to one of the Islands should likewise do so; and that is the effect of this Amendment. I beg to move.


My Lords, the only matter I should like to question here is whether the concluding words really accomplish the purpose which the noble Lord seeks to achieve by this Amendment. I cannot understand these words, as a matter of grammar. I do not want to burden the House by reading this passage through, but if noble Lords will read it from the beginning and add these words, I suggest that the sentence is ambiguous and it is doubful whether it achieves the purpose which the Government have in mind.

Paragraph (b) would read: references to birth in the United Kingdom shall include birth on a ship or aircraft registered in the United Kingdom, or on an unregistered ship or aircraft of the Government of the United Kingdom; and similarly with reference to birth in any of the Islands; I do not think that those words achieve the Government's purpose at all. I think the words are susceptible of the interpretation that you are talking about birth in the Islands, whereas I understand the purpose to be that if you are born on a ship or aircraft registered in or belonging to the Islands that gives you citizenship.


My Lords, I thought very much the same as the noble Lord, Lord Foot, and I feel there is absolutely no objection to the Amendment at all, except that it does not really mean anything, principally because there is no verb in it. It simply states, as the noble Lord, Lord Foot, said: … on an unregistered ship or aircraft of the Government of the United Kingdom; and similarly with reference to birth in any of the Islands; and then you are left hanging in the air. Perhaps the word "reference" should be plural, as it is in line five; but as the sentence stands at present it seems not to make much sense and also it is ambiguous.


My Lords, I have read this sentence through since noble Lords opposite have commented on it, and I still find that it makes sense to me. However, I will certainly have another look at the wording and see whether there is any more suitable form of words. I think noble Lords may be worrying unnecessarily, but I will look at it again.


Is the noble Lord seeking to withdraw his Amendment?


No. If noble Lords opposite will accept my assurance about this, I should like to press the Amendment. It can be amended if found to be incorrect.


My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord will look at this carefully, because although it may make sense to him it is difficult to say that it makes grammar or sense to us.

LORD WINDLESHAM moved Amendment No.18: Page 3, line 24, at end insert ("but, in the case of a registration by virtue of section 7 (children) of that Act, only if the registration was effected before the passing of this Act.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment also is consequential on Amendment No.8, but since it concerns the position of children rather than wives perhaps I should give the House a short explanation. The Amendment deals with the position of children and provides that the registration of children under Section 7 of the British Nationality Act 1958 in an independent country of the Commonwealth will give patriality and exemption from control only if the registration took place before the passing of the Act. The power to grant registration is a discretionary one, but it has been customary to grant it, in Fast Africa for example, to ensure that the whole family are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. The anomaly of the present position is that such a grant serves under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968 to give exemption from control, notwithstanding that the father is subject to it. This has caused not only an illogical situation but also the separation of families.

While this Amendment will mean that the registration of children overseas will no longer be a means of obtaining exemption from control, registration overseas will still give citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies and registration in the United Kingdom will give both citizenship and patriality. Further, there will be no bar on the admission of such children to the United Kingdom, being children of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies: if their parents, whether patrial or not, are admitted to the United Kingdom, their children will be admitted with them or to join them, and after admission will in due course become patrial under Clause 2(1)(c) or, if not registered overseas but registered in this country after arrival, they would at once acquire patriality. This is provided for in the immigration rules.

In practice, I am advised that this change in the law regarding children will not affect many families because the power to register is discretionary, and it has not been the practice of the Secretary of State to exercise the power to register children overseas unless their future clearly rested in the United Kingdom and both their parents were already in the United Kingdom or accompanying their children here.

5.50 p.m.

THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY moved Amendment No.19: Page 3, line 24, at end insert— ("(3A) The Secretary of State may from time to time by order designate as a reciprocal country any independent Commonwealth country which in his opinion confers in the three calendar years preceding the date of the order the right of abode there on a greater number of emigrants from the United Kingdom than the United Kingdom confers on emigrants from that independent Commonwealth country during that period. Provided that the Secretary of State may in his absolute discretion revoke any such order at any time but any such revocation shall be without prejudice to any right of abode previously conferred on any person in consequence of the order.")

The noble Earl said: My Lords, it will be necessary for me, with your Lordships' approval, in speaking to this Amendment to refer also to Nos.82,84 and 86, which refer to page 37 of the Bill. The latter form the main group of Amendments that I propose to move, and No.19 is a paving Amendment. It may seem to noble Lords, looking at it, that it is familiar and that you saw it before at the Committee stage. With one significant detailed change it is the same as the Amendment moved at the Committee stage. But I hope noble Lords will not leap to the conclusion that the remaining group of Amendments are the same as anything they have seen before: I can promise them almost continuous novelty when we come to discuss them.

The object of this group of Amendments is simply to make a slight change in the conditions under which a member of one of the old Dominion countries can become eligible for United Kingdom citizenship by registration. May I stress at the outset that this makes no new conditions of entry, and exempts nobody from immigration control: it is purely a question of how long it takes somebody to do something. It is purely a matter of time. The time factor is that whereas Commonwealth citizens as a whole can apply—and I repeat "apply", not obtain—for United Kingdom citizenship by registration after residing here for five years, citizens of certain countries can apply after two years residence. The countries concerned are identified in Amendment No.19 which provides that the Secretary of State may designate as a reciprocal country any country that takes from us more immigrants than we take from them. I admit that the word "reciprocal" is not entirely perfect. It is a new use of the word, but it is understood, is acceptable and is certainly convenient and probably self-explanatory to a certain extent. It is very good as a piece of shorthand.

The difference between this Amendment and the previous Amendment, which was moved by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh (who is at the moment in Brazil), is that it was proposed then that the qualifying period involving the Amendment was one year, and now it is three. At that time it was pointed out, gently by my noble friend Lord Lothian and with a sledge hammer by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. that this could lead to an idiotic situation, because reciprocality could change from year to year. We could find an Australian citizen, for example, allowed to came here one year but not the next, and the whole matter would be ridiculous. Three years seems to be a good enough period to ensure stability.

The three countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are the ones that take more citizens from us as immigrants for settlement than we take from them. They can be, at the discretion of the Secretary of State, designated as "reciprocal countries". The result of that designation is contained in the group of Amendments Nos.82,84 and 86. Noble Lords will notice at once that they are not Amendments to the Bill but, on the contrary, are Amendments to an Appendix to a Schedule of the Bill. That Appendix is itself an Amendment in the form of a new section to be inserted in the British Nationality Act 1948.


My Lords, will the noble Earl forgive me? I rise on a point of clarity for the noble Earl keeps mentioning Amendment No.86. On the list of Amendments that is a Government Amendment. Does he mean Amendment No.87 in his group and not No.86?


My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Lord, I have obviously made a mistake. It should be No.87, and I beg your Lordships' pardons. The proposed new section of the British Nationality Act lays down the conditions on which a Commonwealth citizen can apply to the Secretary of State for registration as a United Kingdom citizen. I do not propose to go into detail on these Amendments, unless any noble Lord asks me to do so, but will simply state the general effect. A new provision, as set out in the Amendment, will be inserted corresponding in pattern to paragraphs (a) to (e), but applying only to citizens of these independent Commonwealth countries who have been designated reciprocal.

When we come to Amendment No.87 it will read like this, if amended: … the condition that a person is required … is that throughout the period of five years in the case of subsection (1)(a) above "— the existing one— … and two years in the case of subsection (1)(b) above "— that is the Amendment I am proposing to put in— … ending with the date of his application to be registered, or such shorter period so ending as the Secretary of State … ". and so on to the rest of the subsection, which remains the same.

That is the sole effect of these Amendments, to allow a citizen of any one of these countries to apply to the Secretary of State for registration as a United Kingdom citizen after two years, whereas in the case of a citizen of another Commonwealth country the qualifying period is five years. There are no new conditions of entry, and no question of any group of persons being granted some new privilege. The controlling power of the Secretary of State remains the same as in every other case, and he has complete discretion not only to say whether a person will be admitted or not, but also to withdraw or grant the reciprocity order in the first place.

I hope that that explains with reasonable clarity what the Amendments do. The question is: why should it be done at all? What is my purpose in putting down Amendments to make this minimal advantage available to these particular reciprocal citizens? My answer is that first, from a negative point of view, it has nothing to do with race, and certainly nothing to do with colour. I base my argument in no sense on the kith-and-kin argument, British descent, kinship, or anything of that kind. I base my argument purely on the word contained in Amendment No.19, "reciprocal", or reciprocity. If they do something for us, I suggest that it is reasonable that we should do something for them in return. I wish to establish, I hope with your Lordships' approval, in our law recognition of the fact that there exists a special relationship between these countries and ourselves, a relationship, based solely upon the immigration policies that those countries pursue towards us. So far as I am concerned, it depends upon nothing else. They want our emigrants to the extent of being prepared to offer financial assistance to get them, and they get them in large numbers. This, in my submission, establishes a special relationship and it is that which I seek to acknowledge by this method of reducing the residential period by which it is necessary for them to qualify to become citizens of the United Kingdom.

That is all. It is a minimal advantage, if it is an advantage at all. It is probably an advantage in the mind rather than in fact. It is exceedingly small. I am perfectly aware, of course, that what it means in effect, though I cannot speak for the numbers, is that when a person is regarded as being registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, he is such a citizen by registration in the United Kingdom and therefore has, under Clause 2(1)(a) of the Bill, the right of abode. That is all the Amendments propose, and it is so minimal that I venture to hope that your Lordships and Her Majesty's Government may be favourably disposed towards it. I beg to move.

6.1 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to support the interesting and imaginative idea embodied in my noble friend's group of Amendments. Had he stuck to his earlier plan I should not have been so strongly in his favour, but he seems to have made good use of the Recess and produced in these Amendments a scheme which should be much more acceptable to your Lordships' House. He spoke of the special relationship and said that he did not wish to use in support of his Amendments any arguments from kinship. I do not altogether go with him there. The special relationship exists, and the kinship exists; and we have been in a difficulty in this country since the 1962 legislation in that our actions here have alienated from us a good deal of opinion in those Dominions with which we have a special relationship.

I can speak with some small knowledge of this subject, though maybe less than that of many others in your Lordships' House. Two or three years ago I had the privilege of leading a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation to Australia, and I could not avoid being made well aware of the feeling that existed, and I believe still exists, in Australia, that we had let them down by not making in our immigration legislation even a gesture in favour of special relationships. It seems to me that this is an opportunity to make good that omission. If this were a proposal to give special advantages of entry to this country to certain parts of the Commonwealth and not to others, the case would have been much weaker; but it is nothing of the kind. It is. as my noble friend has said, an argument based on the fact that these countries encourage migration from this country, and it is reasonable therefore on that ground alone to accept that there is a special relationship. These are also the countries (and the two facts are of course intertwined) with which there are strong links of blood.

In all these circumstances, it seems to me that your Lordships should consider very carefully whether some Amendment could not be made to this Bill which would go a distance towards removing the feelings that I am afraid have continued against us in these countries, but which at the same time would do no harm whatever to the principles of this Bill: because I stand by the principles of the Bill, as I have stood by the principles of all our immigration legislation passed under different Governments over the last nine years. My Lords, this is not a small matter. The relationship between Britain and Australia and New Zealand, and I think Canada, needs to be fostered by all possible means, especially in these days. They have other countries to which they can look if we appear uninterested in them. It is imperative that we should not appear uninterested in them. Although, as my noble friend said, the change in the law which these Amendments would bring about would in fact be little more than a gesture, it would be a greatly appreciated gesture, and I support the Amendments because they would be that yet would in no way impair the main principles of our immigration legislation.


My Lords, I am not against this Amendment in principle. It is all very plausible. It would be wonderful if immigration were absolutely free all over the world. But it is not free all over the world at all. At the present time this Amendment would give an advantage to our white Commonwealth, the richer countries of the world. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, mentioned Australia. Perhaps if Australia had a more liberal immigration policy, and were not so anti-colour, it might be a help to us; then perhaps the door need not be opened so wide here. So it seems to me that that is not an argument. This Amendment militates against the poorer countries of this world, the countries which we are here to help, and if we are thinking of these countries it seems to me that we should vote against this Amendment.


My Lords, I find myself in extreme disagreement with the noble Baroness who has just sat down. I cannot let pass the chance of supporting what my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor has just told us in support of the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery. Surely what Lord Brooke has just told us covers the ground and will convince a great number of your Lordships who have habitually been supporters of the old Commonwealth. Since this Amendment would involve no sacrifice to anything else, we hope that it will be acceptable to the Government. Certainly many of us, I know, feel that it has been one of the disappointments, or weaknesses, of legislation that we have not brought out sufficiently the fact that in all this type of legislation we concede to the old Commonwealth, and particularly to Australia, New Zealand and Canada; that we do consider them, because of the historical relationship, in a special way. We do so because of the support they gave us when distress came, because of the support they gave us in both of the world emergencies.

Surely, if it is possible without impairing other angles, it would be unwise to lose the opportunity which my noble friend Lord Cork has just explained to us of bringing this principle into effect. No matter how long I spoke, I could not improve upon what my noble friend Lord Brooke has said, but I can add that I have paid many visits to the three main Dominions over a long period and have spent a great deal of time by way or sitting on committees in assisting migration to those Dominions. I therefore know the advantages that have been brought to this country by the strong British content in their population and their determination to buy British at all costs; and there have been other advantages. It is on those grounds, supporting what my noble friend Lord Brooke has said, that I support the Amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Cork.


My Lords, I want to support my noble friend Lady Gaitskell and to speak strongly in opposition to what the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, has just said. He referred to the great assistance that this country has received in the past from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. That we all accept. Does he forget the help given to this country in two wars, not only by those three Dominions but by the people of the Commonwealth generally? Does he realise what part the Africans played in the last war in Burma? Does he remember how the people of the West Indies and of India came to our assistance in both those wars?


My Lords, if the noble Lord will permit me to say so, I well remember on Gallipoli, under the strains of service there, the black negro battalions working to help the white troops.


Of course, my Lords. Therefore, why did the noble Lord make the speech that he delivered a few moments ago? If he recognised those things he had no right to make the comments he did. This is discrimination, and I would ask the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, whether the Anglo-Saxon is our concern in these days. The black populations of the Commonwealth, in proportion to their strength and wealth, have rendered just as great a service to this country as the countries of the white Dominions, and I hope that this Amendment will not be accepted.


My Lords, the answer to discrimination is reciprocity, and the principle of reciprocity is surely unanswerable. And I should like to say to the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, that if we were to carry this Amendment (as I hope we shall) this would in itself be an encouragement to Australia to engage in a slightly less illiberal immigration policy.

The choice as to who comes in and who goes out of a country is itself discriminatory and must be recognised from the start as a discriminatory evil, if one wishes to put it that way. But the principle of reciprocity diminishes this discriminatory taint and, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, said so eloquently but mockingly at the Committee stage, it could even bring about a balance in the exchange. The principle of reciprocity in the immigrant exchange as such cannot be anti-anyone; the principle of reciprocity cannot in itself be discriminatory; the principle of reciprocity cannot be contrary to the multi-racial Commonwealth; the principle of reciprocity a prioriand in the abstract confers no special privilege on anybody. Indeed, as the noble Baroness, Lady White, said at the Committee stage, it might even be to the advantage of the Indians. It would establish an equality of rights and opportunity in all Commonwealth countries.

As for the retaliatory measures forecast by the noble Lord, Lord Segal, at the Committee stage, they surely are impossible. How can one retaliate against reciprocity? The noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, in his answer to a kindred Amendment at the Committee stage said that it would interfere with the right to exclude undesirables. It is intended to do nothing of the kind. All I would say, my Lords, is that it is never too late to mend.


My Lords, I have one disqualification for speaking, which is that I am not old enough to remember wars in which this country has taken part. Indeed, in a way that is possibly a qualification, because I am able to stand back and look at the position from a slightly different angle. I do not know whether this Government believe in the Commonwealth. What we heard on Amendment No.3 from the Government seemed to me to signal the beginning of the process of disentangling ourselves from our remaining Commonwealth ties and joining Europe wholly and wholeheartedly. If I am correct in diagnosing that, or even if I am not totally correct, this is surely not the moment to stop the Commonwealth being a Commonwealth of equal partners and not the moment to start picking out one country for favours and, by so doing, automatically forcing others to be in an inferior position. Therefore I hope that this Amendment will be rejected. LORD GARDINER: My Lords, I had not intended to intervene in this discussion but—I say this with great respect—I simply cannot understand this principle of reciprocity. We arc a fairly fully occupied country with a high standard of living. There are Commonwealth countries which are less populous and where the people are short of work, and it is natural enough that they should want to come here. Australia is the exact opposite. They do not need to come here. They are badly under-populated and are in need of immigrants. They are not taking immigrants to please us but for their own good, because they need them. If I may say so, it seems to me to be an extraordinary proposition, great admirer as I am of the whole Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, that we should show preference not to those people who in their own countries cannot be found work, and who want to come here to work, but to people who have not the same need to come here, whose standards of living are like ours, and to say that a great many of those who ought to be allowed into this overpopulated country because they take a great many immigrants themselves seems to me. with great respect, to have no logic at all.


My Lords, we appear to have got off the point. Unless I am quite wrong, this Amendment makes no difference whatever to the number of people, the shape, the kind, the colour, the sex or anything of people coming to this country. As I understand it, once they have come in under the normal rules they are on a reciprocal basis from the older Commonwealth countries. I think it is proposed that they should be given a gesture: that, roughly speaking (among other things) they would get the vote in two years' time instead of five. I think this is all that the Amendment is about.

6.17 p.m.


My Lords, this is rather an unfortunate Amendment for the Government because it exposes the deep difficulties of this Bill. My grandfather was the first Prime Minister of New South Wales; I had many connections with Australia; I admire the Canadians very much, and I have done everything I could to help towards getting proper terms for the New Zealanders in connection with the Common Market. This really is nothing to do with it. They are our cousins; we are proud of them; we have worked together, and nothing that we are saying now should be taken as criticism.

We are saying something quite different. We are asking whether we are to believe that the old idea of the Commonwealth was always a fraud. Are we to believe that citizens were never meant to be equal; that when India was part of the Commonwealth the Indian citizen had equal rights with the English citizen? This is not the case. It suited us very well, for various reasons of an Imperial kind, to which I do not object, but this was our genuine intention in relation to our citizens. We have got into great difficulty in regard to numbers, and the whole purpose of the limitation of immigration is, quite frankly, to stop too many people coming from poor countries where they cannot get work; and this inevitably means coloured people. The Government have told us again and again—though I must say that not a single noble Lord on this side believes them—that there is no racial discrimination in this Bill. The noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, has finally "blown the gaff" by suggesting that there should be an advantage—admittedly only a three-year advantage, which is not a very big one—given to our cousins who are white rather than to our colleagues who are black. It is not possible to interpret his proposals in any other sense. In my view, the Government must reject it. I do not think it is an offensive thing to have suggested, if I may say so without seeming patronising. We all want to restore the good relations with our cousins, but I do not think we can do it. I believe that we are estopped by our history. If we could visualise the position with regard to Rhodesia, if that country had not made certain arrangements, would any of your Lordships be proposing that the white Rhodesians should have a two-year wait and the black Rhodesians should have a five-year wait? It really will not do.


That is not SO.


I feel certain that the Government will reject this proposal, and we shall be very happy indeed to support them.


My Lords, I have great sympathy with the idea underlying this proposal, since I am well aware of the hurt that has been caused, in Australia particularly, at the treatment that has been accorded to them, largely since the 1962 Act; but I do see some great practical difficulties about this proposal. We have heard a good deal this evening about the principle of reciprocity. I cannot see any reciprocity here at all. To make the period of time during which somebody has to apply for United Kingdom citizenship dependent on the number of United Kingdom citizens his country accepts seems to me an extraordinarily artificial arrangement. Secondly, the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, said that the change was minimal. I cannot honestly think that even this Amendment is going to have a tremendous effect in Australia. Thirdly, I make this practical point. Canada is a country I know even better than Australia, and the extraordinary thing is that while one hears so many complaints from Australia on this score, I at any rate have received scarcely any from Canadians.


My Lords, at first sight this Amendment has certain attraction, but I believe there is one great difficulty to it, and I speak as one who was in New Zealand earlier this year for a month. As your Lordship; know, there are some 200,000 Maoris in New Zealand. Suppose a number of those Maoris wanted to come to this country. There are a number of Maoris here already. The late Inia Tiwiata was well known to many. I ask for information from my noble friend: how would they be affected if they wanted to come over as well as their white New Zealand counterparts?


My Lords, this is an attempt to ameliorate the damage that has been done to the concept that the Romans once had, civitas Romatuts sum, and it was proudly uttered. At one time there was a certain pride in mentioning that one was a citizen of the British Empire. Now it has been so messed up because nobody knows what the Commonwealth is exactly, for we are breaking our ties with the Commonwealth. I have been speaking to New Zealanders and Australians this week at the Labour Party Conference at Brighton. We have been told that everything in the garden in Australia and New Zealand is all right because everything is agreed about our going into the Common Market, but that is not true. The point has just been raised by the noble Lord, Lord Auckland: suppose that gorgeous creature who is the tennis champion and who is an aborigine wanted to settle here. I would welcome her with open arms, especially if I were thirty years younger.

We are getting ourselves into a Conservative acrobatics; you have to be a political gymnast to interpret this Amendment. I hope the Government will not accept it, because if they do it will be impossible to define what reciprocity will mean, when you have to find how many Britishers have gone into New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Finally, my noble friend, Lord Royle spoke about contributions, and we must also remember the contributions right through the ages of our coloured members of the Commonwealth and the old-fashioned British Empire—for instance, the Gurkhas, in the fighting days of the British Empire. I hope those days are finished and we are learning to live in peace—it is probably a Utopian hope—but if we try to implement this Amendment, the troubles that this Government or any Government will have in interpreting it will make them look foolish.

6.27 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, who for the second time in this debate has expressed sympathy with the Government, but in this case I have no need for sympathy. We consider, as we thought at the Committee stage, that we could not possibly accept this Amendment without breaching one of the main principles to which we hold, which is that it has never been the policy of any British Government to discriminate between one Commonwealth country and another. As my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery has said, the Amendment we are considering at the moment does not differ very much from that moved by the noble Lord, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, at the Committee stage. Lord Cork has, however, made some fairly major changes in two particular respects to meet objections that were made at Committee stage. In the first place he has made the period over which reciprocal status is to be calculated three years instead of one, and in the second place he has made it clear that the Commonwealth citizen can apply for registration after two years, which gives the Secretary of State the possibility of excluding undesirable applicants, but I must confess that I do not think that the modification to three years rather than one is all that much of a help.

There has been a great deal of discussion about principle in this debate. We believe in the Commonwealth, I assure the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, and we stick to the principle that we should not make any discrimination as between one Commonwealth country and another. It has emerged—my noble friend Lord Cork has made it clear and certainly my noble friend Lord Barnby—that the object of the Amendment is to extend special privileges to the countries of the old Commonwealth. I would agree with a lot of what was said, and in particular with a lot of what my noble friend Lord Brooke said about his admiration and feelings of kinship with the old Commonwealth. It is indeed a laudable motive that induces them to bring forward this Amendment. But to discriminate in favour of three particular countries of the Commonwealth, even if you provide a somewhat devious justification by means of the principle of reciprocity which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, and the noble Lord, Lord Garner, have done a lot to destroy, I do not think is justifiable.

There are two main categories of people concerned. First there would be the holders of work permits who in the normal course would be allowed to settle here on completing four years in approved employment. The Amendment would enable permit holders from the old Commonwealth to achieve settlement after only two years' residence, which is contrary to the general scheme of control. This would therefore put them in a privileged position, and although my noble friend said it was a small privilege I think it is quite significant.

The second category consists of working holidaymakers. They are allowed to take employment here provided that it is only incidental to a holiday and that their stay does not exceed a total of three years. This is covered in the draft immigration rules, paragraph 10 of Cmnd.4610. The working holidaymaker concession was introduced in 1962 in order to permit the continuation of the tradition whereby young people from the Old Commonwealth have come to work here for a short period while seeing something of the world. There are no precise statistics of the number of working holidaymakers, but they must be included in, and must account for the bulk of, those categorised in the immigration statistics as long-term visitors. These figures are insignificant for the New Commonwealth, but for the Old Commonwealth the annual average is about as follows: Australia 10,000, Canada 2,000, and New Zealand 3,500. Lord Cork's Amendments would enable working holidaymakers from the Old Commonwealth to acquire exemption from immigration control, and so achieve settlement after two years; and this is contrary to the general scheme of control of the Bill, which envisages that only people who come in with a work permit can achieve settlement, and even then only on completing four years in approved employment.


My Lords, is my noble friend right in interpreting this Amendment as meaning that they could automatically obtain registration after two years? Would not the Secretary of State have the final word?


My Lords, they could automatically apply for registration after two years under the Amendment, but I suggest that it would be highly embarrassing to the Secretary of State if he had to refuse it other than because they were people of undesirable character.

A further fundamental objection to these Amendments is that the whole scheme of patriality under Clause 2 is based on conferring the right of abode only on people with a close personal or ancestral connection with the United Kingdom. The only exception to this is that under Clause 2(1)(c) citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies acquire the right of abode alter five years' residence here. These Amendments are quite out of line with the rest of the clause since they would enable Commonwealth citizens to acquire settlement after only two years' residence and with no ancestral or other previous connection with the United Kingdom. There are today a great many independent countries in the Commonwealth, and I cannot believe that it would be right to make distinctions of this sort between them. The circumstances differ in each case. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, was very clear on this point, and I do not think that we should be justified in discriminating between one Commonwealth country and another. If we were to do so I think it would be very damaging to the whole concept of the Commonwealth, and I can only advise your Lordships not to accept this Amendment.

6.34 p.m.


My Lords, at one point this debate began to depart from the subject that I thought I was talking about. I suspected that it might, and I made some provision for this in my opening speech. I think I unintentionally created a slightly false impression. This was borne in on me when my noble friend Lord Brooke was making his powerful speech in my support. He said that he was not inclined to go along with me when I said that I was not going to argue on the basis of kinship. I did say that. I said that I would not use that argument at all. I did not say that I disapproved of it, or was opposed to it. I did confine my speech, however, and I should now like to return to the logical proposition that this Amendment is not based on kinship or race or so called British descent. Arguments on that may, or may not, support my contentions. I believe that they do. I have used them myself, but all I say is that I am not using them now. I stand entirely on an argument that has nothing whatever to do with anything of that kind, but purely with the idea of reciprocity.

One point has been made by one or two noble Lords which was to be expected, and I should like to refer to it. The point was first made by the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, and repeated later on by the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge, who said that this gives an advantage to the countries of the white Commonwealth. First of all, let me say that I do not think that it gives an advantage to anybody. If it does, and for the sake of argument let us say that it does give an advantage to the white Commonwealth, is that an argument against it? If it is, it is an argument that I most wholeheartedly refute. I have never heard anyone say that particular advantages in patriality, and engaging the right of abode which are laid down in Clause 2 of this Bill, are wrong because they give the advantage to citizens of the Colonies, who are mostly coloured. As soon as it comes up, as it does, that apparently somebody is going to get an advantage which other people do not have, it is objected to on the ground that he is white. I very much regret that anybody should find it necessary to discriminate against a person because he is white. This may not be what the noble Baroness intended to say, but in fact what she did say was that this is an objectionable Amendment because it gives advantages to white people.


My Lords, I could not follow the noble Earl's argument at all. I thought what we said was that it was discriminatory and objectionable to give an advantage to one person over another. The second thing is that it so happened that you were giving the advantage to people who were white instead of to people who were black, and this was bound to lead to trouble. That seems to me to be an ordinary series of propositions which are undeniably true.


My Lords, in that case the noble Lord's argument is less strong than that of the noble Baroness. What I wish to refute in this case is the objection to my Amendment on the ground that it gives advantages to people because they are white. That is what the noble Baroness said.


My Lords, as I have been mentioned twice, may I say what I meant? The Amendment definitely gives advantages to the white Commonwealth, and I objected to this because they are countries which do not need help, and there are other countries from the poorer half of the world who do need help. It seems to me that such a distinction should be drawn. I should like advantages to both, if you like, but we cannot have everything.


My Lords, there are two totally distinct arguments which the noble Baroness put forward. One is that this discriminates in favour of the whites and the other is that it discriminates against the poor. I have sought to argue this point on the ground of reciprocity. It has been attacked and refuted by many, but I would underline, if I may, the remark made by my noble friend Lord Lauderdale, who says that reciprocity cannot possibly be discriminatory. Whether in fact this is reciprocity may, or may not, be arguable, and this is what I am inviting your Lordships to consider.

I turn also to a question which was put forward by my noble friend Lord Auckland. He asked how 200,000 Maoris would be affected. The answer is that they would be affected presumably not at all, because this is an Amendment designed to give the right of application for United Kingdom citizenship to people who have been here for two years. If 200,000 Maoris have been living here for two years, then they would be entitled to make the application, although it is not likely. In any case, it is of no interest to me whether the people who become entitled to make this application are Maoris or not. It makes no difference.

The noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, mentioned the question of Rhodesia and asked, are we going to have two years for whites, and five years for blacks. I hope the noble Lord did not mean to be offensive when he asked this. I went to some pains to say that there was no racial discrimination at all. The answer is, "No", it is exactly the same in each case. I have not made any distinction. I would not draw any line whatever between a white or black person, and if Rhodesia should return to the Commonwealth, as it is hoped, and they become an independent Colony, if they take more immigrants from us than we take from them then they will be entitled to be designated as reciprocal. Why not?

I am not sure that I understood my noble friend Lord Aberdare correctly, but he seemed to think that I had done almost nothing in the way of changing from the original Amendments which I supported at the Committee stage and which were put down by my noble friend Lord Clifford cf Chudleigh. I am talking not about the paving Amendment but about the later Amendments, and this Amendment is totally different. Those original Amendments were an attempt to grant the right of abode to all reciprocal citizens, but this is nothing of the kind. I shall not repeat what it is, but it is certainly not that. My noble friend also referred to the possibility of such people becoming free of immigration control. But nobody becomes free of immigration control, and I thought I had made that point clear.


My Lords, it does not give them the right to it, but they have the right to apply for registration. Is my noble friend suggesting that the Secretary of State should turn them all down?


My Lords, the discretion is that of the Secretary of State. I am very much obliged to my noble friend for confirming what I said. The Amendment gives them the right to apply; it does not give them the right to obtain. The Secretary of State will turn down those he thinks unsuitable. That is one of the advantages of this Amendment over the earlier ones. There is no automatic right of abode. There is no evasion of immigration control. This is a question of the continuing attitude to the Commonwealth.

It has always been considered, right from the beginning of the Commonwealth, that all of its citizens should be treated in exactly the same way, and this is to continue. This is the principle of all succeeding Governments over the last so many years. But all citizens of the Commonwealth are not really treated the same. Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies are treated quite differently, and have great advantages in the matter of the right of abode over any other Commonwealth citizen. I have never heard anybody suggest that they ought not to have them, and I myself do not suggest that they ought not to have them. Colonial people are in a different position from the rest of the Commonwealth. There is a distinction between one class of Commonwealth citizen and another. This principle of treating all alike is not only not sacred; it is actually not a fact. We are discussing a possible Amendment to the law of Great Britain, not to the law of the Medes and the Persians. Everything is in a state of flux, including our relationships within the Commonwealth. There is no sacred law which says that nothing shall change; that, "as things have been, so they shall continue unto the end of the earth. Amen! "

If we choose to have a difference in the case of one part of the Commonwealth, then we are perfectly entitled to do so. We may think it wrong to do so, or we may think it right. But if we think it wrong to do so, I hope it will be argued on logical grounds and not on the grounds that we have never done it before. This principle of sticking to something because it has never been altered kept the whole of civilisation in a state of ignorance, from the time of Aristotle until the time of Newton—I might almost say until the time of Boyle. I do not think that is a very strong argument. I put this to your Lordships as a matter for logical consideration.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has put a very strong argument against the Amendment; it is one which I respect. I hope that other noble Lords will take the same view and at least acquit me of any idea of racial discrimination, of overloading the numbers that are coming to this country, because they will not noticeably increase. I also hope that your Lordships will judge this matter on the merits of the Amendment, and not on the opinion of any noble Lord of my motives in putting down the Amendment. Perhaps your Lordships will pay particular attention to the most powerful and authoritative speech by my noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor.

I feel strongly that it would be wrong simply to withdraw this Amendment. It is a small one in effect but, as my noble friend Lord Aberdare has said, it has considerable significance. I attach great significance to it, not from any practical point of view so much as from a psychological point of view. I may be trying to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but I believe the idea that is embodied in the Amendment will be of satisfaction to the countries concerned, and I do not think that it ought to be allowed to go by default. If the Amendment is to be rejected, then I think I should ask your Lordships to reject it and make it perfectly clear that you have done so and why you have done so. For myself, I prefer to go on record as being in favour of this Amendment, and I ask my noble friends and others who feel so inclined to join me in the Division Lobby.

Clause 3 [General provisions for regulation and control]:

6.55 p.m.

LORD WADE moved Amendment No.20: Page 3, line 41, leave out ("restricting") and insert ("defining the category of ").

6.46 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No.19) shall be agreed to? Their Lordships divided: Contents,21; Not-Contents,118.

Balerno, L. de Clifford L. Monson, L.
Barnby, L. Derwent, L. Northchurch, Bs.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Gray, L. Rankeillour, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Gridley, L. Selkirk, E.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Harvey of Tasburgh, L. Sempill, Ly.
Brooke of Cumnor. L. Hatherton, L. Stonehavcn, V.
Cork and Orrery, E. [Teller.] Lauderdale, E. [Teller.] Strange of Knokin, Bs.
Aberdare, L. Drumalbyn, L. Loudoun, C.
Abinger, L. Dudley, E. Lyell, L.
Albemarle, E. Ebbisham, L. Macleod of Borve, Bs.
Amherst of Hackney, L. Eccles, V. Milford, L.
Amory, V. Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Milverton, L.
Archibald, L. Energlyn, L. Mottistone, L.
Ardwick, L. Enniskillen, E. Movvbray and Stourton, L.
Arwyn, L. Ferrers, E. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Auckland, L. Fisher, L. Nucent of Guildford, L.
Avebury, L. Foot, L. O'Hagan. L.
Bacon. Bs. Fortescue, E. Onslow, E.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Fraser of Lonsdalc, L. Pender, L.
Balogh, L. Gaitskell, Bs. Perth, E.
Belstead, L. Gardiner, L. Phillips, Bs.
Bessborough, E. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Platt, L.
Beswick. L. Greenway, L. Poltimore, L.
Blyton, L. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Popplewell, L.
Boyd of Merton, V. Grimthorpe, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Bristol, L. Bp. Hailes, L. Royle, L.
Brockway, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) St. Aldwyn, E.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. St. Davids. V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Hawke, L. Sandford, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Henderson, L. Savile, L.
Byers, L. Henley, L. Seear, Bs.
Canterbury, L. Abp. Heycock, L. Selsdon. L.
Carnock, L. Hoy, L. Serota, Bs.
Carrington, L. Hughes, L. Shepherd. L.
Champion, I.. Hylton, L. Simon. V.
Chichestcr, L. Bp. Hylton-Foster, Bs. Slater, L.
Cornwallis, L. Ilford, L. Stonham, L.
Cottesloe. L. Janner, L. Strabolgi, L.
Cowley, E. Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Craigavon, V. Kemsley, V. Tweedsmuir, L.
Crook, L. Kilbrackcn, L. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvic, Bs.
Darwen, L. Kilmany, L. Wade, L.
Daventry, V. Kilmarnock, L. White, Bs.
Da vies of Leek, L. Listowel, E. Windlesham, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. Wolverton, L.
Digby. L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Wright of Ashton under Lyne, L
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we have now reached Clause 3, which deals with general provisions for regulation and control. I think perhaps it might be helpful if I were to read out the relevant words. Clause 3(1) says: Except as otherwise provided by or under this Act, where a person is not patrial"— and then we turn to paragraph (c)— if he is given a limited leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, it may be given subject to conditions restricting his employment … The purpose of this Amendment is to delete the word "restricting" and to insert instead the words, "defining the category of". This matter was discussed at Committee stage, and it raises the question whether immigrants who come with a work permit should be limited to particular employers or whether it would not be wiser, if there is to be a limitation, that they should be limited to a category of employment. As I say, this matter has been discussed, but I do not think that we have yet had a satisfactory answer from the Government.

I do not think it is necessary to discuss it at great length as it has been referred to before, but perhaps I may argue from the particular to the general and illustrate the point by reference to the textile industry. During the last ten years a considerable number of Asians have found employment in the textile industry. They really have played a very important part there, and indirectly have been of value to the export industry. There is a considerable amount of mobility: not necessarily mobility from one town to another (because they prefer to be with those whom they know, and will very often move to another town where they have relatives) but within a particular town, from one job to another—and that in itself has been of value. The one thing that we are most reluctant to suffer is unemployment, and both from their own point of view and from the point of view of the industry and the economy the fact that they will move so speedily from one mill to another is of value. If there is short time in one mill they will move very rapidly to another, very often without going to the Employment Exchange. Your lordships may or may not approve of that, but I suggest that restricting employment to a particular employer will raise all kinds of practical difficulties.

I should have thought that, apart from the general principles of the Bill to which we have objected, it really is unnecessary to limit immigrants to particular employers and to require all kinds of rather involved procedures to be followed before an immigrant can move from one employer to another. Therefore, simply on grounds concerning the practical aspect of it, quite apart from all the other arguments which have been employed, I suggest that it would be wiser to insert the words, "defining the category of" the employment—namely, the nature of the employment—rather than to restrict an immigrant to a particular employer. I beg to move.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Wade, has explained very clearly the purpose of his Amendment. It would of course, as he realises, completely change the present work permit scheme as it applies to aliens. This scheme has worked well in the past, and we do not see any need to change it. The system of control at present, and the one envisaged under the Bill, depends on tile employer obtaining a work permit for a specific job and on the employee having to obtain the approval of the Department of Employment if he wishes to move to another job. In our view any less degree of control, as the noble Lord has suggested, would have disadvantages. I should like to give some reasons for this. Having once obtained a work permit for a certain category of work, as suggested by the Amendment, an immigrant could then move to any part of the country that he wished regardless of the employment situation there. Under the present arrangements, when an application is received for a change of job the Department of Employment not only have regard to the scope of the work permit scheme but also to the local employment situation in order to satisfy themselves that the job could not be filled by local resident labour. It could also be to the disadvantage of the immigrant because he would be confined to one category of job, as the noble Lord explained, and he would therefore be limited to jobs in that category.


My Lords, would that necessarily follow? The point I was making was that if it was a matter of obtaining consent, the consent would be required to change the category. What I object to is having to obtain consent for a change of employer.


My Lords, I accept that. I was only going to make the point that it would be an additional difficulty for him to change his category. He would have to get consent for that. But I take the noble Lord's point. We must also consider the other categories of people who under the immigration rules are to be admitted with a condition restricting their freedom to take employment—for example, students. They will be allowed to take employment in their free time and vacations but they will first have to obtain the approval of the Department of Employment. Approval will be given for work for which there is no local resident labour available; but it would not be possible to lay down the categories of employment for students for which approval could be given throughout the United Kingdom. If the Amendment were accepted, it would be necessary either to impose a total prohibition on all employment for all students or they would have to be left free to take employment whether or not local labour was available.

The noble Lord, Lord Wade, expressed a happy feeling at the beginning of the debate. I hope that he is feeling even happier now in that we have met various Amendments in the spirit of compromise. We have withdrawn the work permit scheme from wives and dependants of students and work permit holders; but we still think that in this case we should stick to the system which we know has worked well in the past and which we think would work well in the future. I hope that the noble Lord will not press his Amendment.


My Lords, as the Government have made a number of concessions, for once I will make a concession myself and not press this matter. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.5 p.m.

LORD WADE moved Amendment No.21: Page 3, line 42, leave out from ("Kingdom") to end of line 43.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we now come to the subject of registration with the police, and I think it might be helpful if the House were to consider with this Amendment, Amendment No.22 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and others, and also Amendment No.22A, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan. I do not propose to argue this matter at great length in view of an announcement made yesterday. May I just say that it has been argued from time to time by the Government that there were administrative reasons why they could not give way on this point about registration with the police? It was also suggested that in some way it would help public relations between the police and the immigrants if they were to register with the police. On the other hand, the Police Federation have always been opposed to it. I have never felt persuaded by the arguments about good public relations, although I am anxious to see the image of the police improved. As to the administrative reasons, I and others have always argued that there are more important considerations. I certainly welcome the announcement foreshadowing what the Minister is going to say here to-night—or at least what we hope he is going to say. It is a little unusual for the Home Secretary to say on Sunday what the Government are going to say in the House of Lords on Monday. But if it is good news that does not matter. I beg to move.


My Lords, I must point out that if this Amendment is agreed to I cannot call Amendment No.22 or Amendment No.22A.


My Lords, it may be convenient to the House for me to speak early in this debate and to begin by saying on behalf of my noble friend that no discourtesy to this House or Parliament was intended in the comments made by the Home Secretary yesterday. The Government did not make a statement on this subject. It had been our intention that I should make a statement in the House to-day. However, there was a "leak" to one of the Sunday papers. These things happen. The Home Secretary was questioned by the Press, and he felt that the correct thing to do in the circumstances was to give accurate information as to the Government's intentions. We regret that it was not possible to make this statement for the first time in Parliament to-day.

The present position under the Bill is that Clause 3(1)(c) empowers an immigration officer to impose a condition requiring registration with the police. It does not however require him to impose such a condition on any person, and the scope of police registration therefore falls to be settled by the immigration rules. Paragraph 54 of Cmnd.4606, Draft Immigration Rules: Control on Entry, sets out the Government's intentions concerning police registration when the Bill was first introduced. Aliens were to be required to register unless admitted as visitors or for settlement from the outset. This would include work permit holders and students and was to be no different from the present position. As to Commonwealth citizens, only work permit holders and a few smaller groups, excluding students, were to be required to register.

It was with the position of Commonwealth citizens that noble Lords who spoke during the Committee stage of the Bill were primarily concerned. In the past there has been no power to require Commonwealth citizens to register with the police, although the then Government of the Party opposite in 1965 proposed in Cmnd.2739 that such a power should he taken and exercised, particularly in the case of dubious visitors and students. Noble Lords who took an interest in this matter in Committee will recall that the Government's proposal to extend to Commonwealth citizens the requirement to register with the police was strongly criticised by noble Lords in different parts of the House. In accordance with the undertaking that I gave then, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has reconsidered the matter and has decided not to extend police registration to any Commonwealth citizens.

There are a number of reasons for this decision. One is that the Government wish to take full account of what had been said in this House by noble Lords with a wide variety of experience. In doing so, we accept that what was said by a majority of speakers in the debate did not necessarily represent the views of every noble Lord in this House and that there were, as always on matters of this type, contrary views, some of which were not expressed in the same number in the debate as the views the other way. But we did feel that it was right to give close attention to what had been said in the debate.

Secondly, the position has now somewhat altered since the Bill was introduced in that fewer Commonwealth citizens will be admitted for employment, par- ticularly unskilled and semi-skilled workers, as the result of the decision to admit a greater number of United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa. Details were given at the time that the Statement concerning the increase in vouchers from East Africa was made by the Home Secretary, and by myself in this House. The increase in vouchers reduces both the size of the problem and also the risk of evasion of control on employment after entry. This factor has helped the Government to reconsider the arrangements for control of work permit holders after entry. The issue of work permits will remain the primary method of control, and the scale of issue and the types of work for which permits are issued can be adjusted from time to time in the future as necessary.

My Lords, the third consideration which has been in our minds was that referred to by my noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton and other speakers at the Committee stage; namely, that to a newly arrived immigrant the prospect of having to register with the police might give rise to apprehension which, though needless, and in our eyes perhaps unreasonable, might still be genuine enough. His expectations and attitudes are likely to be influenced more by the relations between the police and the public in his country of origin than by conditions here. The Community Relations Commission have also expressed to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary their concern at the effect of police registration from this point of view, and we are bound to give weight to their considered opinion on this matter.

My right honourable friend has also considered the question from the point of view of the police themselves. At a time when the volume of crime, and especially crimes of violence, continues to increase, it is clearly right in principle that we should be seeking to reduce rather than to add to the administrative duties which the police have to shoulder in addition to their primary duty of preventing and detecting crime. As I said in Committee, the introduction of police registration for Commonwealth citizens would not in itself have had much effect on police manpower, the extra requirement being mainly for a small number of additional civilian employees. But in the present situation the addition of even the slightest extra burden may have an adverse psychological effect which is greater than its practical effect. This I believe is one of the conclusions which can be drawn from the Police Federation comment on the Government's original proposal.

I am anxious not to delay the House unduly, but in view of the strong interest expressed in this subject, both inside and outside Parliament at an earlier stage, I think it would be for the convenience of your Lordships if I were to give a brief account of the alternative scheme which has been devised for the control of Commonwealth work permit holders. During their first four years in the country the control will be exercised jointly by the Department of Employment and by the Home Office. The Department of Employment will be responsible for issuing permits which will relate to a specific job with a specific employer for a period of time not exceeding twelve months. The permit holder will be allowed to change his job only with the prior approval of the Department of Employment, who will record all permits issued and all job changes authorised. Having issued the work permit, the Department of Employment will already have the particulars about the permit holder which are relevant for their purposes, and the Department will be notified by the Immigration Service of the permit holder's arrival in this country. There will therefore be no need for the permit holder to register with his local employment exchange on arrival, but the employer will be required to confirm to the Department that the worker has in fact taken up the employment specified.

It will also be necessary for the local employment exchange to be contacted if the worker wishes to change his job. A permit holder who wishes to extend his stay beyond the initial twelve months will need to apply to the Home Office and to demonstrate that he remains in approved employment. If there are any doubts on this point the Home Office will consult the Department of Employment. If satisfied that the permit holder remains in approved employment, the Home Office will then normally extend his stay for a further three years. During this period he will continue to need Department of Employment approval if he wishes to change his job. If at the end of the four years the permit holder wishes to have the time limit on his stay removed, he may apply to the Home Office and will once again need to demonstrate that he has remained in approved employment. Under this scheme is envisaged that the principal control document will consist of some form of work permit certificate. This will be sent to the worker before he arrives in this country, and he will need to retain it for his first four years here. It will be suitably endorsed when his period of stay is extended and when he is given permission to change his job. The permit holder will be under no obligation to produce his work permit certificate to the police.

My Lords, the Government intend for the time being to continue with the existing arrangement for police registration of aliens. The situation here is quite different. The number of aliens entering is very much greater than the number of Commonwealth citizens, and many of them are admitted only for seasonal or other short-term employment, and have therefore an incentive to stay, in some cases in unapproved employment. Nor do the community relations considerations, which played such a major part in the debate in Committee, apply. For these reasons the Government do not at present contemplate any change in the existing arrangements in regard to aliens registration. But we intend to see how the new system works for the Commonwealth and do not rule out the possibility at some later date of extending it to foreign nationals, thus assimilating the provisions concerning those who come to work here from both Commonwealth and also non-Commonwealth countries.

My Lords, as I said in opening, the Bill does not require any particular category of people to register with the police and so the Government's decision does not call for any amendment of the Bill. The final version of the immigration rules will make it clear that no Commonwealth citizens are required to register with the police. I hope that this decision will commend itself to the House.

7.19 p.m.


My Lords, as I took some small part in the discussion at the Committee stage may I say with what delight I have heard the statement made by my noble friend Lord Windlesham. I am quite certain that all those who took part in the earlier debate will be very glad at the change which has been made. I should like to thank my noble friend personally, and the Home Secretary and the Government for the change of view. It will not only remove from the police a burden which I understand they did not wish to have imposed on them, but it will also, I am quite certain, reduce misapprehension, and add to the confidence and peace of mind of Commonwealth citizens coming here for the first time.


My Lords, I want to welcome the statement which the Minister has made. First, there was the pressure from all quarters in this House and I recognise the influence of the noble Viscount, Lord Boyd of Merton, and the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and others in that debate. Secondly, there was the pressure from the Police Federation and, in addition, from some of the chief constables. Thirdly, there was the pressure from nearly all the organisations in this country who are concerned with community relations. Fourthly, there was a very deep feeling among all immigrant organisations against registration with the police. I appreciate the fact that in response to all these pressures the Government have made the changes which have now been announced. I regard this as being, within the terms of the Bill, the most major concession that has been made.

May I go on to say that it will be necessary for us to read in detail the description of the alternative system which the Minister has proposed? It was quite impossible to follow it in all the stages, because it is quite elaborate. But the impression which I obtained was that the case which I put on the Committee stage against any legislation at all was very largely confirmed by what the Minister described. An immigrant arrives at Heathrow or Southampton or another place of entry, and there all the particulars are taken of the man, of his job and of his address, and (unless I misheard) that information goes to the Home Office and is in possession of the Home Office. Then (unless I misheard), when the man goes to his job he does not even have to register with the employment exchange. He goes to his job and his employer has the responsibility of saying that he has undertaken the job to which under the voucher system he was committed. I am wondering, if I heard that explanation aright, where the provision for a particular registration enters at all. The man has a National Insurance card. He has a card for National Health. At Heathrow or Southampton all the particulars about him have been taken. They are all in the hands of the employment exchange, where he is supposed to register. He is committed to a particular job with a particular employer. If he leaves that job, it is the duty of the employer to inform the employment exchange.

I may have missed the point in the explanation of this alternative system, but I cannot for the life of me understand how there is any particular registration of the Commonwealth immigrant concerned and certainly I do not see that there is the need for it, when the Home Office has all the particulars from the place of entry, when the employment exchange has all the particulars on the National Insurance card and when the employer has the duty of reporting if he leaves his job unnecessarily. Why is there need for a particular registration of a Commonwealth immigrant? In listening to the alternative system I may have failed to follow, but so far as I heard it, it seems to me that no particular registration other than those details so fully covered is necessary at all.


My Lords, before my noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton leaves the Chamber, I hope he will permit me, without taking umbrage, to remind him that in his remarks he said that he thought everyone in this House who spoke on Committee stage would agree with the decision towards which he has just shown approval. On Committee stage I stood up first and, being properly disciplined, gave way to my noble friend on the Front Bench but I cannot refrain from reminding him that there were others who took a different view with regard to this proposal. if I understood my noble friend Lord Windlesham correctly, there is to be no change for the present, which means that there will continue to be the requirement for registration by both categories, including aliens—and it is to aliens that I particularly address myself. I would have been torn into pieces by my good and noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton had I spoken before him in Committee, but now that I am following him, I cannot refrain from saying that I am unable to understand how it came about that a proposal by the Government which received such a vehement denunciation not only by my noble friend but also by other Cross-Benchers now receives approval.

Like most noble Lords on this side, I have a great regard and affection for my noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton, with his fine record of service in administration and of service to the country. I was puzzled why there should be this tender consideration for people from parts of the Commonwealth as against aliens. We have heard a great deal of denunciation of discrimination, and I rather think that grammatically my noble friends Lord Salisbury and Lord Lauderdale were right. Surely we cannot have discrimination and reciprocity. My feeling now is that this legislation should not go through the House without somebody standing up and saying that the suggestions here are going to make two classes of citizens, those who come from the Dominions and aliens. In this case I am among those who dislike having aliens in a different category from people from the Dominions.

Historically, aliens have always registered with the police. In nearly every country they do this, certainly in the rest of Europe and in North America, too. Therefore, I was unable to see in Committee why my noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton took this strong line, which was followed so strongly. There is nothing emotional in this thinking with regard to colour or race or anything else. It is merely that I deplore the fact that we should go on record with the insinuation that aliens must be treated more harshly than people from the Dominions. I regret that. Administratively it seems logical. It has always been done in that way. Now my noble friend Lord Windlesham has told us of an entirely revised system which may be extended to aliens. Therefore it is logical that we should be satisfied with this proposal. I repeat that because of the attitude towards aliens I could not let this pass, though of course I have no disagree ment in general with my noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton.


My Lords, with the greatest respect to my noble friend, I do not agree with him at all, and I believe that he is in a very small minority in your Lordships' House. He said that he could not understand how this had come about. I am fairly sure how this has come about, and it reflects credit on my noble friend Lord Windlesham, and even greater credit on the Home Secretary. It requires some political courage towards the end of Parliamentary proceedings on a long Bill to withdraw from a position which he has defended throughout the long days and nights in another place and bow to what was clearly the general wish of your Lordships' House. With respect to the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, I do not want at this stage to ask questions about the detail of the working of the new plan. From the beginning my own feeling about this registration with the police was one of anxiety, and I expressed that anxiety on Second Reading. On the Committee stage, I reached the conclusion that unless it was quite impossible to have an effective form of registration control which did not involve the police, then we ought to make a change. It has been found that an effective method can be devised, and I welcome that.

I think it is worth putting on record that this is a case which shows not only the influence but the power of the House of Lords. We. in all Parties and in all quarters of the House—except in one small quarter—on the Committee stage urged the Government to think again on this matter. I believe that we, though an unelected body, were at that time reflecting general public opinion on this matter, and it seems to me that there would have been a worse outcome for the Parliamentary proceedings on this Bill if there had not been a House of Lords to bring the Government to have second thoughts.


My Lords, it is with exceptional pleasure that I join hands with the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and start hurling rose petals and confetti at the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, personally, the Government in general, and also the Department of Employment. I must say that, in so far as my personal feelings are of any importance, I am deeply grateful for what they have done. But more important is the fact that this brave step on their part—and it is a brave step—will bring to pass a great deal of good in all quarters. At one moment I thought I was going to have to throw some confetti at my noble chief, Lord Boyd of Merton, but fortunately his position has been restored. I would just say again how deeply grateful I am to the Government and to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham.


My Lords, we, too, from this Bench are much indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and to the Home Secretary for having had second thoughts on a matter which quite obviously moved people in every quarter of your Lordships' House. I think there was no doubt in the Committee stage that this was a matter on which there was the deepest feeling. I should like to pay our respectful tribute to noble Lords below the gangway on the other side, and also to the Cross-Benchers, for the part which I am sure they have played in influencing the Government to take a decision which is I think almost, though not quite, universally applauded in your Lordships' House. I am quite sure that this will bring immense relief to the organisations concerned with community relations. This was an aspect of the Bill about which they were extremely concerned and upset. I am sure that this step will be immensely welcomed by all who are concerned with good relations, and not least those who are also concerned for the position of the police in their relationships with the people in the immigrant community.

Having said that with the utmost sincerity, I must say that I wish nevertheless that the Government could see their way to removing the reference to the police from the Bill. I fully appreciate what the noble Lord has said about wishing to retain it for aliens; in other words, that they will fully preserve the status quofor both aliens and Commonwealth citizens. Both Lord Wade's Amendment, and that in the names of my noble friends Lord Shepherd, Lord Gardiner and myself, suggest that we should leave out this specific reference to the police in the Bill. Our Amendment would leave out the reference to the police and insert "in a manner provided by rules". This is psychological possibly, but having gone so far in the substance, I think it would be even more welcome if we could manage to embrace this also in the form of the legislation. I feel that I should make this point, because having taken such an immense step in the direction they have, one would hope that the Government would not feel that it was in any way detrimental to their general position if it were made quite clear in the Bill. As it is, all that we have is an undertaking that the Bill will not be applied to Commonwealth citizens; we are not making any alteration in the legislation, as such.

I know that this is a very late stage in our proceedings to suggest that there might still be further Amendments to the Bill, and I am not necessarily proposing that we on our side—I do not know what the noble Lord, Lord Wade, would wish to do—should press our Amendment. We still have the Third Reading to come, and in your Lordships' House it is possible even then to make some alteration. I am wondering whether even at that very late stage the Government might feel able to give expression to their intention in the form of the legislation itself, because that would complete what I think all of us must agree is a noble gesture which, as I say, we all applaud.

7.37 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to join those of your Lordships—in fact everybody, I think, with one exception—who have welcomed the change that the Government have announced to us.1 should like, as others have done, to convey my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and to the Home Secretary. I am not particularly concerned with the reasons that brought about this change of mind, although it is nice to know that it was in some degree the impression or the feeling that your Lordships had and the arguments that you adduced that produced this result.

The noble Baroness, Lady White, has asked that we should go even further. I do not myself think that such a further change is necessary. We have had from the Government a firm expression of what they are going to do. I know that people often say: "Oh well, if somebody changes his mind this is a sign of weakness." I can only say that, for my part, I congratulate the Government on having done so. To me, it is a sign of strength, and if they are strong in this way I see no reason to doubt their word or to cavil with what they want in regard to this last small point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady White.1 hope that, since we have had the undertaking given, the noble Baroness will not think it necessary to press this small point with regard to the police.


My Lords, everything has been said, but I should like to support my noble friend Lady White in the small worry that she has expressed. First of all, however, I want to say how delighted I am warmly to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and the Home Secretary on their sense and sensibility in bringing about this important psychological change. They have restored a great deal of confidence, and I think that they will restore a great deal of confidence among the immigrants by this change. As to my small worry, it is this. Supposing that we had an illiberal Home Secretary, not a man like Mr. Maudling, here is a loophole that might enable an illiberal Home Secretary to change the rules. He would find it very much more difficult to amend or change the law. I wonder why the Government, having gone so far and having been so generous about this, do not go just a little further and wipe the slate clean, and write this police registration completely out of the Bill.


My Lords, may I briefly join in the chorus of congratulations to the Minister and the Government upon this change. I do not want to repeat what has been said before, but I should like to welcome one particular part of the Minister's statement in which he said that, while the new arrangements would not at this stage apply to aliens, the Government are not going to put out of their minds, if the arrangements work, that it might be suitable later to bring the aliens into this new procedure. Curiously enough,1 was astonished to find myself in almost complete agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, on this issue, because I agree that if there are two different types of registration it means discriminating against the alien. I should have thought that all the arguments which the noble Lord gave to us for having decided to make this change applied to aliens as much as to Commonwealth immigrants.

He referred to the contribution made on the last occasion by the noble Viscount, Lord Boyd of Merton, and he said that the Government were impressed with the report that people coming from Commonwealth countries very often look upon their police in a very different light from the way in which we look upon our police here, and come into this country with anxiety. I should have thought that would also apply to a number of European countries from which aliens come. The Minister said that another good reason for this change was that it would avoid imposing a further duty upon the police and would leave them freer, if only to a small degree, to apply themselves to their duties of detection and prevention of crime. I entirely agree; but if it be the fact that there are many more aliens than there are Commonwealth immigrants who will be registering, then surely if the registration of aliens could be transferred to the new procedure and taken away from the police it would be making a substantial further contribution to reducing the burden on the police. Finally, the Minister gave as a reason for not putting aliens under this new system the fact that there are many more of them. I should have thought that was a good reason for putting them under the new procedure, so that as a result the burden put on the police by their registration would be removed.

But I do not want to cavil. I am delighted that there is the prospect that if this new procedure works with the Commonwealth immigrants it may in due course be extended to the aliens, and the police will be relieved for ever from what I have always thought must be an unattractive duty from their point of view and from the point of view of the alien. I therefore welcome on all counts this statement on the decision of the Government.

7.45 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful, if I may have the leave of the House to speak again very briefly on this Amendment, for what noble Lords have said in response to the statement that I made on behalf of the Government. The noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, and the noble Baroness, Lady White, urged us to go a little further and to remove from the Bill completely the reference to the police. I should like to say that it is not just an assurance that I have given on behalf of the Government to-day: it will be incorporated in the immigration rules. These rules will be subject to a veto of either House of Parliament, so there is a safeguard here whereby either House of Parliament will be able to say, "We do not agree to the change which is proposed." I think we should bear that safeguard in mind.

We gave a good deal of consideration to whether it would be wise to accept the advice of either the noble Lord, Lord Wade, or the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, or something similar to it; but we came to the conclusion that that would not be the correct course of action. We believe that in present circumstances there is still a case for registration of aliens to remain with the police. I noted with interest and attention what the noble Lord, Lord Foot, said. I do not think we want to open up another debate on that now, but there are a number of differences. For example, there is the short-term worker in the catering industry who comes here for six months to take up employment. The arguments are really a good deal stronger in the case of somebody from the Caribbean whose main aim is to settle here permanently: he is going to be extremely anxious to accept the rules and not to put a foot wrong. So a Commonwealth citizen is more likely to work within the framework of the system in the end.

But these are points that we could debate and, as I said in a rather carefully considered passage in my earlier speech, our mind is open on this subject. We think that there is a great deal to be said for trying to achieve uniformity as to the way in which employment control is maintained for people from outside the Commonwealth as well as from inside it. But the power to register the alien is important, and it seems right that it should be incorporated in the Bill itself and not be left to the immigration rules. If we are to have properly drafted legislation where there are matters of considerable importance of this sort, some of them should have a place in the Bill. It seems to us that the important thing here is the decision by the Government on the point of substance. We do not put out of mind the presentational aspects which have been referred to, but we should prefer, on the whole, if noble Lords would be willing to accept the position as I have given it—that the immigration rules will be amended—to leave the Bill as it is.


My Lords, I, too, am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and I will not repeat his paean of praise. I should have been a little happier if the words referring to the police had been deleted from the Bill, but obviously this is a matter to which we must give careful consideration and I do not think we are yet at the end of the road. This is a major concession, and I think it is a major achievement for those who have been pressing for this change. It is a very wise decision on the part of the Government. Having added my thanks to those of other noble Lords, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


My Lords, the Government have given us two days to consider the Report of this Bill. It seems to me, looking at the remaining Amendments, that if we were to exclude Amendments Nos.23 to 28, which 1 think could all go together, this would leave sufficient business to make an afternoon's work so that we do not need to work unduly late to-morrow evening. I would have thought that noble Lords opposite, if they were to concede the request that I am going to make, could quite safely assume that they would be on the seven o'clock train to Brighton. I only hope that the weather in Brighton will be as good as it was for the Labour Party last week.

As a matter of seriousness, Amendment No.23 and the Amendments up to No.28 raise a matter of great principle and importance. I question whether, with the size of our present House, it would be right for us to proceed and give consideration to this matter. Therefore I ask the Chief Whip, and he knows we always co-operate if he is nice to us, whether he would concede that enough is enough for to-day, that we can adjourn now and commence business to-morrow on Amendment No.23, when we will do our utmost to see that he is on that train at 7 o'clock to-morrow evening.


My Lords, I appreciate the concern of the noble Lord for my train, and fully accept that he will do his utmost to stick to the timetable that he has suggested. It goes a little beyond his own personal control in that there are a number of Amendments put down by other noble Lords in other parts of the House who may not feel quite the same as he does. On the basis that if they, by some misfortune, should speak for too long he will speak even less, perhaps we may be able to achieve this target.


My Lords, before my noble friend the Chief Whip puts the Question that the House do now adjourn, perhaps it would be neater if we dealt with Amendments Nos. 22 and 22A, to dispose of the question of registration. They are both quite formal.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, whether Amendment No.22 has been moved?


My Lords, I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Wade, moved his Amendment No.21 and has withdrawn it. The other Amendments (Nos.22 and 22A) have not been spoken to, but I can assure the House that they will not be moved.


My Lords, if it is not moved then I have no Question to put to the House. Amendment No. 22A?


It is not moved.


My Lords, think this may be the appropriate moment for these proceedings to be adjourned.