§ Read 3a, with the amendments.
§ [Amendment No. 1 not moved.]
§ Clause 6 [Right to registration by virtue of residence in U.K. or relevant employment]:
§ 3 p.m.
Lord Elwyn-Jones moved Amendment No. 2:
Page 6, line 23, leave out ("subsection (6)") and insert ("subsections (6) and (6A)").
§ The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 2 and to speak to Amendment No. 3. These amendments appear on the Order Paper in the name of my noble friend Lord Pitt of Hampstead. The significant amendment—Amendment No. 3—is at once, I submit, more liberal and at the same time more limited than similar amendments to this clause which have been suggested so far. I see that my noble friend has now arrived. Perhaps he will permit me to conclude my few words of commendation of his amendment because I shall not take up too much of the time of the House. It is a helpful amendment to a small group of young people who need every assistance that we can give them. I beg to move.
§ Lord Pitt of Hampstead
My Lords, I must apologise for not being in my place when the amendment was called. It is obvious that the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, did not take the House very 699 long to deal with, because I was in the Salisbury Room when I saw the notice on the television screen and, between then and coming here, the noble Lord's amendment had gone and mine was being dealt with.
I am grateful to my noble and learned friend for moving the amendment and I am glad that the Government intend to accept it. Indeed, the Minister has indicated to me that the Government will accept it, and I am very grateful to them for that. As your Lordships will remember, I have argued throughout this Bill that it is wrong to take away an entitlement that already exists. That was the point about not accepting the five years. On the other hand, since the Government were determined that a cut-off point was necessary then a cut-off point should be chosen which did not adversely affect anyone who had the entitlement at the time. The only people who would have been adversely affected by the cut-off point which was chosen by the Government were the youngsters who, because they were not of full age when the date arrived, were not able to claim their entitlement as of right.
The Government accepted an amendment from me earlier which reduced the number who would suffer in that way, but there was still a three-year group—children born after December 1968, or after January 1969 or after January 1970, depending on when the Government intend to have the commencement of the Bill; children who, when the Bill came into effect, would be 15, 16 and 17—who would have been adversely affected had this amendment not been accepted.
I am grateful to the Government for being willing to accept this amendment. Although it may be only a small number who would be affected, they would be the type of group who would feel the greatest amount of injustice. We are talking about kids who have grown up in this country and who know no other.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Belstead)
My Lords, I am pleased to be able to support this amendment put down by the noble Lord, Lord Pitt of Hampstead. I regret that it was not possible for me to communicate with the noble Lord until this morning. I think that if I had been a little quicker off the mark then the noble Lord would perhaps have been able to be even earlier into the Chamber. However, we are indebted to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, for moving the amendment.
The amendment seeks to ensure that Commonwealth citizens' children settled in this country before 1st January 1973 will be able to benefit from the entitlement to British citizenship conferred by Clause 6(1)(a) of the Bill. I should like to add to what the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, has said that we are concerned here with those who were born abroad, who were brought here as very young children and who were probably only about two or three years old when 1st January 1973 arrived. We have always taken the view in the Government that no great hardship would arise if those children were not brought into the entitlement to citizenship in Clause 6(1)(a) because they could, if their parents so wished, have been registered during their minority under the Home Secretary's discretionary power to register children under Clause 3(1) 700 of the Bill. Incidentally, of course, at the moment children are not within the entitlement under the present law.
However, it has been put to the House by the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, on more than one occasion during the various stages of the Bill that there may be children whose parents have not been registered because the parents did not realise that they could do so, or for other reasons. The noble Lord has suggested, again on more than one occasion, that that would cause resentment and we have taken seriously the view of the noble Lord in this matter.
The earlier amendments proposed by the noble Lord would, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, said, have gone wider than this one. This amendment concentrates exclusively on children and young people and we are able to support it. I should just like to add that I think that it is possible that acceptance of the noble Lord's amendment may need one or more consequential amendments purely for drafting purposes and for no other reasons. If that is the case, it can be attended to in another place. However, here I am glad to support the noble Lord on this matter.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ Lord Pitt of Hampstead moved Amendment No. 3:
Page 7, line 40, at end insert—
("(6A) In the case of any person who is a minor at commencement, the reference to five years after commencement in subsection (1) above shall be treated as a reference to five years after the date on which he attains the age of majority.").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 3, which has already been spoken to.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 10 [Right to registration by virtue of United Kingdom nationality for European Community purposes.]
Lord Bethell moved Amendment No. 4:
Page 10, line 36, leave out from second ("of") to ("shall") in line 39 and insert ("any of the pre-Accession Treaties listed in Part I of Schedule 1 of the European Communities Act 1972").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 4. This amendment is a drafting amendment which does not, I believe, affect the principle which was established at the Committee stage of this Bill by a substantial vote of your Lordships' Committee to the effect that Gibraltarians should be included in the Bill and should have the rights, when this Bill becomes law, to apply for registration as British citizens and he granted British citizenship.
Subsequent to the acceptance of this amendment at the Committee stage, it became clear that there were certain drafting flaws in the amendment which your Lordships were good enough to approve, and it became necessary to clarify what exactly was meant by the term used in the amendment:
United Kingdom national for European Community purposes".
§ I wish now to express my gratitude to my noble friends Lord Belstead and Lord Renton, who raised this matter and brought it to my attention. I should like to thank my noble friend Lord Belstead for his help in enabling me to reconsider the wording of this new 701 clause and my noble friend Lord Renton for being kind enough to withdraw his amendment at the Report stage a few days ago. I have consulted with both my noble friends and I believe that the new clause, as proposed, will meet the objections put forward.
§ Your Lordships will, I am sure, be aware, since this matter was very carefully debated in July, that there is a declaration annexed to the Treaty of Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Community making it clear that Gibraltarians are United Kingdom nationals for European Community purposes. This declaration was part of the Treaty of Accession; it was annexed to that treaty, and it was part of the treaty, which was debated in your Lordships' House and in another place, and approved and ratified during 1972. It was, of course, on the basis of this principle that I invited your Lordships to approve the amendment in the first place in July of this year.
§ I know that my noble friend Lord Belstead still has his doubts about the principle which enabled myself, my noble friends and the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, to put forward the amendment in July; but in his contribution today I hope that my noble friend will agree that at least this amendment clarifies the principle. What one then makes of it is, of course, up to my noble friend and another place to decide. However, the principle should be clarified, and I believe that it is clarified by the amendment which I put forward today. I beg to move.
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, the amendment of my noble friend Lord Bethell will materially improve Clause 10 in one important respect—the right of abode in Gibraltar will no longer be one criterion for access to British citizenship under that clause. It is clearly undesirable that merely because someone held the right of abode in a dependent territory—a matter that was determined exclusively by local immigration ordinances—he or she should in consequence have an unqualified entitlement to British citizenship. Such an arrangement would mean that access to British citizenship was effectively in the hands of the Gibraltar legislature; if that legislature decided to alter the ambit of the right of abode, then this would decide who had an entitlement to British citizenship under Clause 10. From my noble friend's remarks I do not think that this was his intention, and the House would not consider it appropriate.
Therefore, I would reply to my noble friend saying that I believe the amendment as it is now drafted is workable. However, I do not think that it is necessarily technically absolutely correct. But that is as may be, for the drafting would be a matter for another place which, of course, will also be considering the merits of my noble friend's new clause.
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 14 [Meaning of British citizen "by descent"]:
§ The Lord Advocate (Lord Mackay of Clashfern) moved Amendments Nos. 5 and 6:
Page 14, line 33, after ("Kingdom") insert ("(a)") line 35, at end insert—
(b) in service under a Community institution, his recruitment for that service having taken place in a country which at the time of the recruitment was a member of the Communities.").
§ The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, if may, I shall take Amendment No. 6 with Amendment No. 5. These amendments are essentially consequential on one that we brought forward on Report. The House will recall that on Report your Lordships agreed an amendment to Clause 2(2) which provided that after commencement a child born overseas would be a British citizen if, at the time of his or her birth, the child's parent was a British citizen serving outside the United Kingdom in service under a Community institution and had been recruited for that service in a country which was at the time of recruitment a member of the Communities. Such a child is to be a citizen otherwise than by descent and is to be able to transmit his or her citizenship automatically to any children he or she may have abroad. This amendment thus puts children born abroad after commencement to British citizens working in Community institutions in specified circumstances on the same footing as children born abroad after commencement to Crown servants under the Government of the United Kingdom, or those serving in service designated under Clause 2(3), and who had been recruited for such service in the United Kingdom. In moving that amendment I explained that the Government considered that our unique and special links with the Community justified this special provision for the children of British citizens working for Community institutions.
§ Thus, we have dealt with the position after commencement. It seems right that we should also deal with the position before commencement. Accordingly, we have brought forward this provision which ensures that persons born abroad before commencement who become British citizens on commencement will be citizens otherwise than by descent if at the time of their birth their father was serving under a Community institution and had been recruited for that service in a country which was at the time of recruitment a member of the Communities. Those concerned will, therefore, enjoy the same status as children born before commencement to fathers in Crown service under the Government of the United Kingdom and recruited for that service in the United Kingdom.
§ Your Lordships will appreciate that this provision applies only to those born abroad before commencement whose fathers meet the specified requirements, as at the time of their birth our citizenship was transmissible only in the male line. With that explanation, I hope that your Lordships will feel able to approve these amendments. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 5 and 6 en bloc.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, at least it can be said that this amendment maintains the total complexity of the Bill. The explanation that the always lucid noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate has given is yet another illustration of how almost impossible it is to follow a great deal of the Bill itself.
§ Baroness Elles
My Lords, before this short debate is terminated I should like to reassure the noble and learned Lord that this amendment is anything but unclear to those whom it affects. Judging by the 703 correspondence and pressure that we have had from those who are serving this country abroad in institutions of the European Community, I know that they will be extremely grateful to both the Government and this House for accepting these amendments.
§ On Question, amendments agreed to.
§ Clause 15 [Acquisition by birth or adoption]:
§ 3.18 p.m.
Lord Geddes moved Amendment No. 7:
Page 15, line 5, leave out ("citizen of the British Dependent Territories") and insert ("British Dependent Territories' citizen").
The noble Lord said: My Lords, to the best of my knowledge the phrase:
citizen of the British Dependent Territories
appears exactly 100 times in this Bill as amended on Report; that is, excluding any reference in the Arrangement of Clauses. Your Lordships will have noted—doubtless with relief—that I have not tabled the necessary 100 amendments this afternoon, not least because we have now (dare I say it?) gasped our way as far as the Third Reading of this highly complex and more than somewhat controversial Bill.
However, I am advised that it is the duty of both Government and Parliament to ensure that a Bill is complete, which in this context I understand could be interpreted as "correctly drafted". I, therefore, trust that if this amendment is approved, the consequential amendments, which I believe to be 99, can be formally tabled and approved, preferably in another place or, failing that, when amendments from another place are discussed later in this House. Therefore, this amendment is solo and is placed as the first substantive appearance of the phrase:
citizen of the British Dependent Territories".
In fact, I think that that phrase appears once only earlier in the Bill, in Clause 4(1), which as it happens chronicles four of the five categories of an individual's British status. Perhaps, as it very neatly highlights the purpose of this amendment, your Lordships will permit me to read that subsection. It reads:
This section applies to any person who is a citizen of the British Dependent Territories, a British Overseas citizen, a British subject under this Act or a British protected person".
The one remaining category is, of course, that of a British citizen. Thus, as presently drafted, four of the five categories start with the word "British"; namely, British citizen, British overseas citizen, British subject and British protected person. The odd one out at the moment is:
citizen of the British Dependent Territories".
Many of your Lordships will have been in the Chamber during the debate on 13th October on my Amendment No. 117A, which endeavoured to give the status of British nationality to the three categories of citizenship created by this Bill. This amendment was defeated, albeit very narrowly, and my noble friend on the Front Bench will be glad to hear that it is not my intention to resurrect that subject today. Indeed, it would be improper for me so to do, not least because manifestly it would be an abuse of this House's time.
Nevertheless, I hope that I shall not be out of order in referring to remarks made in that debate as appropriate to this amendment. My basic aim, as I said at that time, was,
To underline the Britishness of each category of citizenship".
My intention was not to wreck the Bill, nor to make any material alteration to it. This amendment is drafted to achieve the same end in a different way—albeit this time the amendment refers only to a,
citizen of the British Dependent Territories",
or perhaps I should say,
British Dependent Territories' citizen",
since all the other categories already have "British" as the first word of their title. In this context, I am delighted, as I am sure are all your Lordships, to see my noble friend Lord Kadoorie in his place today. I am sure we are all keenly awaiting his maiden contribution to our debate later this afternoon, which I am confident will underline the very real importance which the British Dependent Territory that he knows so well attaches to its British connections.
Again to the best of my knowledge, but this time of the English language, it is optional whether a phrase includes the words "of the" or whether an apostrophe is placed in the relevant position before or after the letter "s" of the primary noun concerned, depending of course whether that noun is singular or plural. Thus, from the point of view of this Bill, my amendment, I contend most strongly, is neutral. The words "British Dependent Territories' citizen" means precisely the same in English grammar as "citizen of the British Dependent Territories". However, from the point of view of the individuals concerned, it is very positive and very important that the word "British" shall stand first in the title of their citizenship category. Indeed, my noble friend Lord Trefgarne said in reply to my Amendment No. 117A on 13th October,
Neither can there be any doubt, in the Government's view, that the status of citizen of British Dependent Territories is a 'British' status".
I very much hope that this amendment will be approved. I beg to move.
§ Baroness Wootton of Abinger
My Lords, I should like warmly to support this amendment. Verbal niceties often have more importance than it appears at first sight. If all other categories of British citizenship have the word "British" at the front, I believe it would be wrong and anomalous if this particular category had the word "British" later in its title.
§ Lord Pitt of Hampstead
My Lords, I hope that the Government will support this amendment. The amendment does not in any way undermine the principles on which this Bill is based, and I have no doubt that it will have a very good effect.
§ Lord Tanlaw
My Lords, I hope that the Government will follow the advice of other noble Lords on this side of the House and will accept this amendment, which will go a very long way to satisfying some of the doubts and worries which British overseas citizens have.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, I, too, should like warmly to support this amendment. It is a much 705 smaller proposal than the one moved earlier, but I believe it will prove to be very helpful for those concerned to be able to write the word "British" not only in a hotel register but, more importantly, when making visa or similar applications. I hope that the mood of accommodation which has been reflected so far from the Government Front Bench will be met again on this occasion.
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, in reply to this amendment, I should first like to repeat a view which was expressed by my noble friend Lord Trefgarne to which I believe my noble friend Lord Geddes alluded; that this Bill in no way alters the present constitutional relationship between the United Kingdom and its dependencies. The Government nonetheless accept the force of the argument made by my noble friend Lord Geddes that many people in the dependencies may well prefer that their citizenship title should begin with the word "British". In principle, therefore, we accept the amendment. I must just add one point about the nuts and bolts. When moving his amendment, my noble friend pointed out that the consequential amendments which he reckons would be needed amount to exactly one hundred. At this late stage of the Bill it is perfectly understandable that my noble friend has not attempted to draft those amendments, and it would be asking a lot of the other place to do so instead. The Government would therefore wish to suggest that my noble friend's amendment be replaced in the other place with a provision that would make the term" British Dependent Territories' citizen" interchangeable with "citizen of the British Dependent Territories." I hope that your Lordships will agree that that is a reasonable way in which to proceed, and, subject to that, the Government are pleased to accept this amendment.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, I am not sure about the use of the word "interchangeable". What is the person concerned to do? Is he to make his choice? Would this not add to bewilderment? I am trying to be helpful, but I wonder whether the proposed solution will not cause a great deal of confusion. Apparently there are 100 references. We are very anxious that this change should be made, and I do not want to obstruct matters at all, but I am not at all happy about the dual meaning which the phrase will have throughout the Bill.
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, I believe that if it is made perfectly clear in the Bill that "citizen of the British Dependent Territories "shall be" British Dependent Territories' citizen" as an interchanged definition, this would wholly meet the point which has been made by my noble friend Lord Geddes. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, may ask, "Why are the Government responding in this way?" when we are accepting, as indeed we are, my noble friend's amendment. The answer is, although it would be impertinent of me to suggest that I have any understanding of the rules of procedure in another place, that I doubt whether an amendment of this kind would 706 be accepted at Third Reading in another place—although I am delighted that the rules in your Lordships' House allow us to accept a valuable amendment of this kind. The inevitable consequence, if we do not go about things in the sort of way the Government are suggesting, is going to be a major job of work involving a great number of people, who would have to go through the whole Bill to transpose the term "citizen of the British Dependent Territories" to "British Dependent Territories'" citizen—which, I underline, I accept on behalf of the Government and wish to insert by a declaration instead of making 99 other amendments.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, I do not wish to crab. We welcome this amendment and, if this is the only way in which it can be done, so be it—although it is unfortunate that legislation is going through in this untidy form. The pressure of time which the Government have brought upon themselves makes this, alas, inevitable.
§ The Earl of Lauderdale
I wonder whether my noble friend would say how long it would take physically to do the reprinting that is necessary. Would it take one day, two days, three days, or a week?
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, as I am not a printer, I cannot answer that question, and as I am not an official member of my right honourable friends department, neither can I answer how long it would take to go through the Bill and physically do the homework of getting it ready for the printer.
§ Lord Garner
My Lords, may I remind the House that "British subjects" and "Commonwealth citizens" were interchangeable for a number of years without any obvious embarrassment.
§ The Lord Bishop of London
My Lords, if the course which is proposed by the noble Lord is necessary, what I believe would make a considerable difference would be if the title in line 2 on page 15 could be changed and brought into line with the other titles. That is, after "Part II" instead of "Citizenship of the British Dependent Territories", that line alone could be altered to "British Dependent Territories' citizenship". That would make eminently clear what is intended by the other amendment.
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, if, with the leave of the House, I may speak once more, of course I will take on board on behalf of the Government what the right reverend Prelate has said on this particular point. But we have looked at it, again with some speed, because quite naturally the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, was not able to give either himself or the Government a great deal of time—that was no fault of my noble friend at all; it was a question of' the time factor. All I can say to the right reverend Prelate is that, if your Lordships accept this amendment as I very much hope you will do, we will look carefully so far as another place is concerned at the points that have been made.
§ Lord Jenkins of Putney
My Lords, being fairly fresh from another place, I am wondering whether the advice which has been given to the noble Lord on the difficulty of the proposed amendments is not a little bit heavy? I wonder whether the noble Lord might be able to go this far: can he give us an undertaking that, if he finds it possible, he will substitute these amendments, or will ask his friends in another place to substitute these amendments, for the one now proposed?
§ Lord Renton
My Lords, may I make a further suggestion in a constructive hope that, when this interchangeability is introduced into the Bill by amendment, it should be done so as soon as possible in the Bill so that those who read it will understand it for the rest of their reading of the Bill? If it gets tucked into a definition clause at the end, it will not have as good effect. I would have thought that perhaps the right place to put it is in Clause 4(1).
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, if your Lordships will bear with me yet one further time, the reason why I replied in single negative to my noble friend Lord Lauderdale was that the one thing we are sure about, having looked at the amendment of my noble friend Lord Geddes, is that it really does entail quite a lot of work. There are the two limbs. There is both the printing and the sheer work of going through the Bill and getting it right before you can get it to the printer. If I am not sure of very much, at least the one thing I was sure about was that I could not accede to what my noble friend said to me, which was that it ought to be done and done pretty quickly.
This leads me to the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins. For the reason that I have given to my noble friend sitting behind me, I do not think I can give the undertaking which the noble Lord has asked for. We have looked as carefully as we can at Lord Geddes's amendment and we felt, at least at the start of this short debate on this amendment, that the only way to go about it was to put a declaration into the Bill without the Government flooding another place with 99 other amendments. Of course, we will take into account, in looking at it again, what the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, has said, but that was the reason for it.
Finally, there is the important point which has been made by my noble friend Lord Renton. I should like to give my noble friend an assurance that we shall certainly look at that point very carefully indeed.
§ Lord Avebury
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question? I understood that we were now in the twentieth century and using word processors for the drafting of successive prints of a Bill. If that is so, most word processing packages have a facility on them for finding particular words or sequences of words even if there are numbers of repetitions of them. If that were so, and this Bill had been produced on a word processor, then it would be a matter of a few seconds to find all the instances of "British Dependent Territories".
§ Lord Leatherland
My Lords, the noble Minister suggested that if Lord Geddes's amendments were adopted it would cause great difficulty between the 708 authors of the Bill and the printers. I think he exaggerated those difficulties. It used to be my delightful job every night to put through with the printers half a dozen different editions of a morning newspaper. Printers are very able and competent people, and I am quite sure that it would not be beyond the wit and wisdom of the printers to comply with any of these alterations which were suggested.
§ Lord Geddes
My Lords, I should like to say first, and most genuinely, a very real "Thank you" to my noble friend on the Front Bench for agreeing, at least at this stage, to the principle behind this amendment. I cannot in all fairness—and I think my noble friend is already aware of this—give my unqualified thank you, because I, too—and it will not surprise your Lordships—cannot see any practical reason why these amendments should not be put through.
Indeed, if I may reply indirectly, if your Lordships will give me leave, to my noble friend Lord Lauderdale, I am pleased to say that I have every single necessary amendment marked in my copy of the Bill and I could give it to the Front Bench this evening. So, with great respect to my noble friend Lord Belstead, that is not a problem. I do not again, like my noble friend Lord Belstead, claim to be a printer so I can only stand by the words of the noble Lord opposite who clearly has much more experience that I.
More seriously, I feel most strongly on behalf—I must not say that; in the interests of British dependent territories' citizens that they must see this particular amendment as a full-blooded one so far as it goes and not in any way a diluted one. I ask one question only of my noble friend Lord Belstead at the moment, and it is a question asked out of ignorance: that is, if it is possible for a clause of interchangeability to be inserted in the Bill, is it possible for a clause of substitution to be inserted in the Bill? Would that particular possibility get round the problem that he referred to? To an extent this is an enlargement of the suggestion from the right reverend Prelate of changing the title of the Bill. I wonder whether my noble friend could answer that point?
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, if the House will give me leave, that of course is a matter for another place. The second point which I ought to make is that I do not think in my reply to my noble friend I talked about a clause of interchangeability. What I was suggesting to your Lordships' House I envisage may be done in another place by a simple amendment.
May I finally say to my noble friend that of course the difficulty of discussing this question in this way is that we are at the very final stage of the Bill; and of course constitutionally the only House which could now make amendments, the next group of amendments at any rate to the Bill, would be another place. Having said that, may I thank my noble friend for the reception which he has given to my acceptance of his amendment. May I underline that on behalf of the Government I am accepting his amendment.
§ Lord Geddes
My Lords, I must confess that I am now somewhat confused. I thought I had understood my noble friend to say that he was accepting the principle behind the amendment rather than the amendment itself. Am I correct?
§ Lord Leatherland
My Lords, the Minister has indicated his assent to that question by nodding his head. Can we ask—I ask it as an old reporter—how that will be recorded in Hansard?
§ Lord Swinfen
My Lords, I just wonder whether there is a way round this. Can my noble friend Lord Geddes, who already has his copy of the Bill marked, not put a manuscript amendment on all the amendments on the Table at the moment? Is that a matter that would be procedurally correct?
§ Lord Skelmersdale
My Lords, I perhaps should inform my noble friend that manuscript amendments are not allowed on Third Reading of Bills.
§ Lord Geddes
My Lords, I shall be very brief. I should like again to thank my noble friend on the Front Bench, and indeed every noble Lord who has spoken. We have all tried hard to find a way round this. I would be unfair to the principle behind this amendment if I did not say that I must reserve the right, if the Bill is not satisfactorily amended in another place, to bring the consequential amendments again if the opportunity should arise. But I do most appreciate the acceptance by my noble friend on the Front Bench, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Several noble Lords: No!
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.
§ 3.40 p.m.
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. Despite the fact that a piece of important work at the very end of the Third Reading stage was nearly not completed, I am glad of this opportunity to express my thanks to your Lordships for the work which has been done on the Bill. The House has taken great care over the details of the Bill and has shown yet again concern that the individual should be properly protected in his or her dealings with the state. I will not attempt to detail one by one the amendments we have made, but perhaps I could say a few words about the major changes which the House has made and about some of the changes which, although they are less important, will be looked at as of great significance by particular people.
First, of course, there are the changes in the arrangements for the transmission of citizenship. We have greatly simplified these arrangements and have ensured that the children of British citizens by descent will be entitled to British citizenship if they are in the second generation born abroad and their parents can meet an absolutely clear residence requirement which, I think it is fair to say, was recognised both as desirable and reasonable when we discussed that matter on Report. And beyond the second generation, there will still be opportunities for children to acquire British citizenship. There is the entitlement under Clause 3(1) if the family returns to live in this country for three 710 years, and the Home Secretary also has discretion under Clause 3(1) where the child continues to live abroad. In those cases the nature of the links with this country obviously needs to be assessed before our citizenship, and the right of abode, can be granted. In that context, it will obviously be right for any business or employment connection with this country to be fully and sympathetically taken into account.
Secondly, there are the changes that have been made to clarify a person's right of access to the courts where an application for citizenship as an entitlement has been refused. The House has made it clear that people may go to the courts to challenge such a refusal and that nothing in the Bill prevents that. We have removed references in entitlements in the Bill which might have implied that no entitlement could have been held unless the Secretary of State was satisfied that specified requirements were met. And as I have said, the requirements for entitlement to citizenship by descent have been greatly clarified and simplified. We hope that these changes will he recognised as a positive contribution to a clearer Bill.
As to the other changes, which will be much welcomed by particular groups, there is the discretion to allow longer periods of absence during the first 10 years of the life of someone born in this country who applies for citizenship in his or her own right under Clause 1(4). I am glad that we were able to devise a way of meeting the concern which was expressed by many of your Lordships on that point. Then there is the recognition of the special position of those of our citizens employed by European Community institutions, reflected in the addition to Clause 2 agreed on Report, a measure which owes much to the advocacy of my noble friend Lady Elles. The Government are glad that it has been possible to recognise the service such people give to the United Kingdom and our partners in the European Community in that way.
I speak on behalf of the House as a whole—because the suggestions came from all parts of the House—when I say that your Lordships have made a number of useful changes in the language requirement for applicants for naturalisation under Clause 5. The requirement has now been removed altogether for husbands and wives, a measure which could greatly help women from the third world who may not have opportunities for learning English. There will now be a discretion to waive the language requirement on grounds of mental condition—a matter which was brought to our attention by my noble friend Lord Renton—a measure which will, we believe, help to relieve the particularly painful situaion of parents of mentally handicapped adults who are anxious that their child should be able to secure citizenship.
Finally, your Lordships will remember that the House admitted Scottish Gaelic to the language test, a measure which was, I know, greatly welcomed in Scotland. I will not conceal the fact that I am glad we were able to meet the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, on changes to the preserved entitlements in Clause 6, which will particularly benefit young people in the ethnic minority communities and will ensure that those of them who have been long resident here but born elsewhere will be able to secure British citizenship, when they are of age, as an entitlement. Where appropriate, these changes have been carried into 711 the scheme for the British dependent territories citizenship—I hope my noble friend Lord Geddes notices the form of words I have just used—and that will be to the benefit of that scheme, too. I reiterate the Government's total commitment to the maintenance of our existing very strong links with the British dependencies. Nothing in the Bill in any way weakens our constitutional relationship with them or our right or commitment to represent their interests internationally.
But, despite those and many other improvements, there appears on the Order Paper in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, an amendment which refers in terms of the Bill to injustice, statelessness, uncertainties, insecurity and racial tension. I am surprised because, as I have good reason to express in gratitude, the noble and learned Lord has thrown all the weight of his knowledge and experience into improving this endeavour to modernise our nationality law, an endeavour which, after all, the Labour Party has previously recognised as being necessary and overdue. Of course, the noble and learned Lord has expressed criticisms of the Bill, but he was good enough to say at the start of the Report stage that the procedures of the Bill through your Lordships' House had established the value of the House as a revising Chamber.
I will not anticipate any speech in support of the amendment, but for the first time this is a Bill which will give us British citizenship, carrying with it, without question, the right of abode in this country. That, of itself, surely must be good for race relations, and it marks a long-overdue reform of our nationality law. My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.
§ Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Belstead.)
§ 3.48 p.m.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones rose to move, as an amendment to the Motion, That the Bill do now pass, at end to insert ("but this House deplores that, if enacted, the Bill will result in injustice, greatly increase the number of stateless men, women and children, create new uncertainties and feelings of insecurity and exacerbate racial tension").
§ The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, we did not call for a Division on the Third Reading, the Bill having previously been passed by the elected Chamber. But, as has been done before, we have thought it right for the House to have an opportunity, if it thinks fit, to express its disapproval of the Bill at its valedictory stage on the Motion, That the Bill do now pass. My noble friends and I believe—and I hope we shall be supported from all parts of the House—that, much as it has been improved during its progress through Parliament, the Bill as it stands is still so objectionable as to merit special condemnation.
Of course we welcome the amendments to which the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, referred—and earlier I paid tribute to the part that he played in the success of those endeavours. But in my submission the substance of the objections to the Bill that were announced on its publication remains. Indeed, seldom has a piece of legislation been so generally, so widely, and, if I may
say so, so responsibly condemned. It was condemned by the Roman Catholic Archbishops of England and Wales:
out of concern for everyone involved, but particularly for the minority community in our midst, and for those who are vulnerable and insecure".
Far from responding to this concern, the Bill creates new uncertainties, and if it becomes law, will sharply increase feelings of vulnerability and insecurity".
We have sought to diminish the extent of that potential damage; we have not sufficiently succeeded. That was said when the Bill first appeared. I submit that it can be said about the Bill now.
§ The General Synod of the Church of England also expressed its concern about the Bill; and it is a great pleasure to see included on the list of distinguished speakers who are to take part in the debate the name of the Head of the Church. The list also includes the name of the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, and we very greatly look forward to hearing him.
A great variety of organisations have also expressed alarm about the provisions of the Bill: the TUC; numerous ethnic minority organisations; the Action Group on Immigration and Nationality (for whose assistance we are particularly grateful); the Commission for Racial Equality (the body set up by the Government to promote racial harmony and equality)—a fierce critic of the Bill; Justice (the all-party British branch of the International Commission of Jurists); and many more bodies. So far as I am aware, there has been no welcome to the Bill from other Commonwealth countries, no welcome from the dependencies, no welcome from the European Communities' institutions. On the contrary, what comment has come from those sources has been critical. The press, too, has voiced a great many doubts. The Economist commented on the scheme in the White Paper of July 1980, which is now embodied in the Bill, that it demonstrated
the increasingly racial loading of the concept of British citizenship".
That racial loading still exists in the Bill.
We have of course welcomed the non-discrimination provision—Clause 44(1)—of the Bill. We have also welcomed the leaving out of the phrase:
if the Secretary of State is satisfied that…
which we came to know as the "Gifford amendment", providing an opening of the doors to the courts in relation to issues arising from entitlement to registration.
§ But the Government rejected the modest proposal introduced by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, in regard to the unfettered discretion given to the Secretary of State to reject applications for naturalisation. The noble Viscount's proposals were modest. All they did was to allow a circumscribed right of appeal against the Minister's decision, still giving the last word to the Secretary of State. Unfortunately by a small majority, the Government's objection was maintained.
§ In truth, the Bill remains seriously unbalanced. The Government have not yielded an inch on the principle of jus soli—the acquisition of British citizenship by the simple fact of being born in this country. In my submission—and we view this point very firmly on this side 713 of the House, as has been done in other places—it should have been retained. It is simple, it is clear, it is familiar. It avoids statelessness on our soil, and it encourages the integration and the confidence in this country of all who live here.
§ Instead it has been replaced by a complicated provision which is a mixture of birth, descent and immigration status. For the first time in our history a number of children born in the United Kingdom will be stateless, running quite contrary to our national traditions. This fundamental change in our law has perhaps caused more alarm and anxiety among Britain's ethnic minorities than has any other provision in the Bill, because it introduces a new uncertainty into an important area of our law. Because the definition of "settled" in Clause 50 relies on factors that are too variable and unclear—what constitutes "ordinarily resident" and who is without doubt free of conditions regarding his stay under the 1971 Immigration Act—many children will grow up without it being clear whether or not they are citizens. The 10-year rule in Clause 1(4), to which the noble Lord might refer in reply, does not overcome that uncertainty. Whether it offers any remedy at all will not he clear until we see the new immigration rules that are yet to be laid. If they are so drafted that the children concerned are deportable, Clause 1(4) will have little value in practice.
§ I tried to get an assurance on that point on the first day of the Report stage of the Bill when, at the end of the debate, I asked the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, whether he would give an undertaking that under the immigration rules no stateless child would be deported from this country. The Minister gave no answer, and the Government have persisted in rejecting an amendment proposing that none of the children born here would actually be stateless. Perhaps we shall have an advance on that position before the end of the day's debate; I sincerely hope so.
§ As the noble Lord has said, it is the case that major changes in the Bill introduced in this House—and I gladly pay tribute to the skilful performance of the revisory powers of this House—greatly liberalised the provisions on citizenship by descent for British citizens. It is also true that the emphasis on citizenship by descent was greatly increased as the Bill progressed. We welcomed and supported those basic proposals because our guiding principle has been that people who at commencement are British nationals should all have a national status that gives some protection to themselves and their children and that preserves existing rights. But that guiding principle, which we have sought to maintain at every stage, to be followed for all existing British nationals, has been rejected by the Government whenever we have raised the question of what is to happen to those who receive British overseas citizenship. They would not be able to pass on citizenship to their children, even for one generation. Under the Bill there will be disturbing contrasts in entitlement, and perhaps I may be permitted to give one or two illustrations.
§ In future a child born in, say, the Argentine to a father and a mother both born in Argentina, and one of whose four grandparents was born in the United Kingdom, will be entitled to register as a British citizen if his father once spent three years here, say as a student. 714 That is provided for in, I think, Clause 3, as amended. But a child born in Malawi to parents who are both British overseas citizens will be born stateless because, unhappily, Malawi limits citizenship to the child of a Malawian citizen parent of African race. That, I fear, is a reversal of racial prejudice which one is unhappy to see emerging in Malawi. The first child in that situation will be Argentinian as well as British; it will have two citizenships; the second child will have nothing.
§ One might take another example of this difference of treatment under Clause 39 of the Bill. A Canadian citizen whose mother was born in this country, even if he has no British passport but only a Canadian one, will have the right of abode here under Clause 39 of the Bill. He will have an absolute right of entry and employment in the United Kingdom. He will have the right of abode and the right to work in two countries. But a British man from Uganda who fled from the persecution of Amin, was not admitted here at the time and so went (as he thought, temporarily) to India, will have no right of abode or employment anywhere. So that this gross difference of treatment to different categories of people is still maintained in the Bill; and I regret to say it is the black people who will be most adversely affected.
§ My Lords, we began consideration of this Bill as a Bill which was unbalanced. It is still unbalanced, and its confusion and complexity do not obliterate that unhappy fact. Last week the Government saw fit to reject an amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, which would at least have declared and clarified who were British nationals. It would have affirmed an undeniable fact; namely, that all the categories of being British in the Bill—being a British citizen, being a citizen of the British dependent territories (now happily reversed in its order of description) and being a British overseas citizen—have at least one thing in common: they all denote British nationality in some degree or other. It would have denoted that they would all be British nationals. I submit, without covering the whole of the ground that we covered before, that to declare this not only would have clarified the law for our own purposes but would have been of great value to those affected in their dealings with the authorities and inhabitants of other countries. It would have been an affirmation of continuing British responsibility and of British connection.
§ The Government response was to say that to declare that people who undoubtedly are British nationals actually are so under this Bill would (I quote) "serve only to generate confusion". I quote from the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne. Is it surprising that such a response has added to anxieties that already existed? The tragedy is that this Bill comes before Parliament at a time of increasing racial tension which we fear the Bill will exacerbate. It is a moment when this country's commitment to racial equality needs to be affirmed and confirmed. The Bill fails to rise to that challenge. It should have offered encouragement and a sense of security to British people. It has done neither. My Lords, I beg to move the amendment which stands in my name.
§ Moved, as an amendment to the Motion, That the Bill do now pass, at end to insert ("but this House deplores that, if enacted, the Bill will result in injustice, 715 greatly increase the number of stateless men, women and children, create new uncertainties and feelings of insecurity and exacerbate racial tension".)—Lord Elwyn-Jones.)
§ 4.5 p.m.
§ Lord Avebury
My Lords, the noble Lord the Minister devoted a great part of his remarks to an analysis of the concessions which were extracted so painfully from the Government during the many hours that we spent considering this Bill, and I share his pleasure in welcoming the improvements that your Lordships have seen fit to make. But I must agree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, that these changes do not alter the fundamental objections that we had to the Bill when it first appeared in your Lordships' House. The concessions, it seems to me, were mainly ones that were designed to placate white middle-class opinion; and, indeed, the main defeat of the Government was occasioned by a coalition of sentimental imperialists, Europeans and those who would like to see the whole scheme of citizenship in the Bill undermined.
So, with respect, this House has not been able to play the role, which is frequently assigned to it by its defenders, of the dispassionate and acute critic of legislation. We have succeeded in altering some words here and there, as the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has explained, but we have left the edifice of the Bill untouched. As Pope said:So well-bred spaniels civilly delight In mumbling of the game they dare not bite".My Lords, it is simple to outline in a few words the issues which divide us from the Government. We do not agree that citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies should be replaced, as it is, by a three-tier system, the bottom rung of which is occupied by people whose so-called citizenship does not confer on them the right to live in any part of the globe. We deplore, as the noble and learned Lord did, the abandonment of the jus soli, which for the last 700 years has meant that every child born on the territory of this country has been one of our citizens; and we very much regret the Government's failure to heed the criticisms of this aspect of the Bill which were advanced by the most reverend Primate on behalf of the Church of England as well as by, I think, every single other Christian denomination as well.
Third, we do not accept that in a matter as important as naturalisation the Executive should have a virtually unfettered discretion, subject to the right of access to the courts. We believe it would have been much better, as we said originally in 1977, if there had been a system of objective tests of citizenship in place of the subjective and complicated tests, including the test of character, which we have retained in this Bill. At the very least, we believe that there should have been the modest rights of appeal, both on entitlement and on discretionary decisions, which were proposed last week by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville.
My Lords, on these three issues the Government have been totally obdurate. But even the minor changes, which in many respects would have simplified the Bill and alleviated anomalies, have in many cases been summarily rejected by the Government. Ministers 716 would not entertain the idea that citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies already here should become British citizens on commencement, or even that those persons should have the right of abode. They turned down most of the suggestions for reducing statelessness—a point which has rightly been emphasised by the noble and learned Lord—and they declined to give any assurances on the question of fees, which is not a trivial matter for many of the people who face naturalisation in place of the present system of registration.
I do not think it can be contested by the Government that in passing this Bill they will be causing uncertainty and insecurity, as the Motion suggests. The evidence of the Citizens' Advice Bureaux has already been quoted several times in the course of our proceedings, but many of us know more directly, both from our own postbags and from conversations we have had with people in the communities, how widespread are the fears aroused among people belonging to ethnic minorities particularly. These fears are not concerned simply with the actual contents of this measure, and therefore cannot be removed by explanation, however desirable that may be in itself. They stem, I think, from the perception of the trends of immigration and nationality legislation over the years: the successive tightening of the screw by way of restrictions on the right of entry which were imposed in the 1962 Act, the 1965 White Paper, the 1968 Act and the 1971 Act, to which must be added, of course, the expanding interpretation by the courts of the term "illegal entry".
Now, on top of all that, we have this Bill, which removes citizenship from people who enjoy it now and makes it harder for Commonwealth citizens to acquire our citizenship in the future. So brown and black people ask themselves; where is this process ultimately going to lead? And although I should say that most of them recognise that Mr. Whitelaw would not travel very much further down the road, they can hear the demands for his removal from the extreme Right, and they can read about the policies of the Monday Club, which are not always easy to distinguish from those of the National Front; and then say, "Where will this process lead to in the end?"
The present Government have given a pledge that certain United Kingdom passport holders formerly resident in East Africa will continue to be admitted to this country under the special quota voucher scheme notwithstanding the fact that they become British overseas citizens on commencement. However, it has been made as difficult as possible for them by reducing the number of voucher allocations to only 500 a year and by requiring dependants who reach the age of 18 to apply separately; so that, without any increase in the numbers in the queue, it gets longer and longer. If a young person gets married, he or she is instantly struck off the list and, of course, there are those old people who die during the waiting period. There is attrition of the numbers of people wanting to come here and yet the queue gets longer.
Now, the people in this tiny group can see all too plainly that the Tory Government have done their best to stop them from entering Britain—short of repudiating the longstanding undertakings which have been repeated several times since they were given initially by the late lain Macleod. Therefore, people 717 may be excused for wondering whether there is any guarantee that at the end of six, seven or eight years' wait they will still be allowed to come here whether there will be a further turn of the screw with one of Mrs. Thatcher's more lunatic Right-wingers taking the place of Mr. Whitelaw as Home Secretary and battening down the hatches against people who, under this legislation will no longer be citizens of this country. Thus the British Nationality Bill will be seen by those people as a preparatory step which would be necessary to the denial of entry in future so that we could not be accused of imposing restrictions on people who were our own citizens.
Similarly, with the abandonment of jus soli, the immediate consequences may be quite small in terms of the numbers of persons affected but the principle of jus soli having been violated there would be less of an obstacle in the way of any future Government which may decide to limit citizenship more overtly to those of European descent. We did not see any immediate need for legislation on citizenship although it would have been necessary in the long run to revise the schemes of the 1948 Act. So the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, is wrong: there is a necessity for nationality legislation but it was certainly not overdue.
We consider that Britain should have honoured, first, the promise made many years ago to our own citizens that we would admit them to our country; we should have undertaken consultations with our partners in the Commonwealth and the leaders of the dependent territories, particularly Hong Kong, which has been so clearly lacking; and there should have been a public debate in this country based on the comments made in answer to the previous Government's Green Paper, comments which were never published. In particular, we should have been ready to listen to the clearly expressed opinions of the ethnic minorities who are alarmed by the attitudes and assumptions which shape this Bill. Because none of these things has been done and because the forceful criticisms made in both Houses have been largely ignored, we say that the country is left with a bad and unnecessarily complicated system of nationality law.
My Lords, we associate ourselves with the protest of the noble and learned Lord and we bitterly regret that the reasoned arguments of the Churches and of the other religions, the criticisms of the ethnic minorities and of the Commission for Racial Equality and the united force of the Opposition parties in this House have not moved the Home Office from their basic plan. One of the great leaders of the party opposite, Lord Salisbury, 100 years ago said:By a free country, I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like".We object to this Bill which embodies that principle.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
My Lords, when I spoke in the debate on Second Reading I explained why the leaders of the Churches in this country felt that they must oppose this Bill and expressed the hope that this House would be able to remove some of those aspects which had caused the deep concern that I tried to voice. I am glad to join with others in acknowledging the changes which the Government have been 718 willing to make at the Committee and Report stages, notably the very substantial concessions on Clause 3 of the Bill. These changes are helpful and welcome and I take this opportunity to congratulate the noble Lord the Minister on his astonishing patience and courtesy throughout these debates. But I have to say that the main criticisms of the Bill which I and others made on Second Reading still stand.
It was a complicated and bad Bill then and it is a bad Bill now; for the changes which have been made have not altered the basic principles on which the Bill was based nor removed the objections which had been put forward by those of us who felt that we must voice the fears of those, particularly among our ethnic minorities, to whom this Bill has spelt doubt and uncertainty. Someone from one of these communities said to me last week in Hackney, that concessions for Gibraltarians and missionaries do not meet the real fears of the British members of our long-established Asian and West Indian communities. That may be unfair comment on the scope of the concessions, and I believe it is, but it reveals how things are seen from that angle.
At this late stage I do not want to go over all the reasons why the Churches of this country have felt that they must oppose this Bill and which led the bishops in this House to support so many of the amendments that were proposed; but I want, once again, to place on record our deep concern that on so fundamental a matter as nationality we seem about to pass into law a measure which, in the view of the leaders of all our Churches—and we are increasingly working together in these matters—is questionable when judged by moral principles and the effects of which will be to sow doubts in an area where reassurance is desprately needed.
This is an occasion when I speak not for a single denomination. The bishops' assertions have not been academic, theoretical or party political; nor do we claim any monopoly of moral sensitivity; but they arise from our deep pastoral concern and extensive local knowledge. History, I suspect, will judge that this was a great opportunity missed. This is a Bill of which future generations will not be proud. This could have been a better Bill if some amendments, narrowly lost in certain cases, had been passed.
I naturally regret the loss of the amendment to Clause 1 moved in the name of myself and three other bishops, to retain the principle of jus soli. A much simpler Bill it would have been if that fundamental change has been accepted. I regret particularly the loss of the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, which would have treated generously those who had been British for many years but who came from colonies which have since achieved self-government and who therefore ceased to be citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies without, in many cases, realising that change in their status.
I am sorry that the modest amendment proposed by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, on the question of appeals was narrowly lost; for that would have done something to improve what I regard as one of the most serious defects of the Bill.
I want to conclude by saying a word about the future. The Churches, for reasons that I have referred to, remain profoundly unhappy about this Bill. I 719 shall wish to register this by voting for the amendment in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, tonight. But if, and when, this Bill becomes law, we shall seek to help people to understand it and to claim their rights under it, until such time as I hope a new Bill, based on sounder principles, can be introduced. That is the democratic way. We will have no truck with those who are determined to make mischief and never to be satisfied.
I believe, however, that the Government can help very greatly if the administration of this legislation can be characterised by qualities of generosity and understanding. I have never for one moment questioned the sincerity of either the Home Secretary or the noble Lord the Minister in their claim that they introduced this Bill to give people greater security. I hope that in drawing up future regulatons there will be the closest consultation with the Commission for Racial Equality and with the organisations which represent the ethnic minorities, and in using the channels offered by such bodies and their publications.
The Bill provides for a high degree of ministerial discretion—too much, some would say. But that can be used helpfully and I appeal to the Government to use it in that way. I ask them to do so particularly on behalf of our immigrant communities for whom the Churches have felt bound to speak because of our experience in inner cities to which I have referred. As we all know, there is a growing sense of alienation and of discrimination among this section of our people to which the indignity of unemployment has contributed and which those who unhelpfully talk about repatriation as a possible course of action have increased. This Bill has added to the sense of insecurity and rejection.
The test will come in the way in which the legislation is operated. I pray that Ministers, and the officials who operate in their name, will bear this in mind, for this is an area where sensitivity and humanity are desperately needed. We remain convinced that this is a defective Bill, but I hope that if the legislation can be carried out in that spirit that I have just mentioned our worst fears may in practice be mitigated.
§ 4.23 p.m.
My Lords, on this, the first time that I have the honour to address your Lordships, my instructions are clear: "Your maiden speech may be informative but not controversial". That I have chosen today, the occasion of the Third Reading of the British Nationality Bill, is coincidental and will not prejudice these instructions. Since Hong Kong is so far away from here that one cannot go any further without coming back, it is not too surprising to meet with misconceptions as to the past, present and future of this city.
In attempting to present the picture as seen through the eyes of one of its citizens—and an old "China-hand"—I trust that I may be forgiven for telling your Lordships much that you may already know. To understand the Hong Kong of today, and the importance of continued strong and friendly ties to China, one must look into the past. According to Britain, the United Kingdom owns the island of 720 Hong Kong and the Kowloon peninsula, while China owns the remainder of the colony but will not exercise effective sovereignty over it until the New Territories' lease expires on 1st July 1997. In China's view, the status of this unique territory is quite different. The agreements under which the island and the peninsula were ceded to the British were unequal treaties extorted by force from a weakened China incapable of defending its territories.
Today, de facto, Hong Kong has become the free zone of China under British management. It is a neutral point of contact between East and West. It enables China to regulate the flow of expertise required to fuel its four modernisations programme. From a devastated colony, said to have been the most looted city in the world, Hong Kong has risen like a phoenix from the ashes to become a prosperous industrial centre boasting of little unemployment. Today, with a population of over 5 million people in an area of fewer than 400 square miles, Hong Kong continues to fill its traditional role providing asylum for thousands of refugees, the majority of whom will have to be absorbed into the economy.
In no place in the world have the Government done so much to improve the lot of their people. This does not mean that we are living in Utopia—far from it. However, what has been achieved in the post-war period is remarkable. Hong Kong's unique value as a neutral point of contact between East and West leads me to believe that the future holds a real possibility of merging interests to mutual benefit. There is no doubt that China intends to use to fullest advantage the facilities and expertise of the West that are concentrated in this area, and that of all the Western powers the United Kingdom is best placed to assist in this process.
Now I propose to move into the realm of, "Let us see ourselves as others see us". How does a Hong Kong citizen, one who is born in Hong Kong or who has become British through naturalisation in Hong Kong, see the United Kingdom? We are puzzled why a change in the political status of former colonies should create an apparent lack of self-confidence. Britain's assets are inherent in its people and the vast experience that they have gained in constructive management over the past century. It is very noticeable that so much of the initiative to preserve Britain's export trade comes from its citizens overseas. An example of this that has been apparent since the war is that Hong Kong has placed very substantial orders in this country. For a new power station alone, orders have been placed in the United Kingdom which, over an eight-year period, will amount to £2 billion and will provide about 7,000 jobs for seven years in the Midlands and the North-West—areas which I understand are in much need of employment.
To many Hong Kong citizens the proposal that we are no longer to share a common citizenship with those of the United Kingdom and colonies gives an impression of rejection, a feeling that at this important stage in our history Britain is distancing itself from Hong Kong and that we are losing our Britishness. The majority in Hong Kong are satisfied with their present status. They are not seeking refuge or the right to live and compete with your working population. We in Hong Kong do not regard the words "United Kingdom 721 and" which appear on our present passports as being of practical significance in terms of the right of abode in the United Kingdom. What Hong Kong's citizens are asking for is that in any eventuality and at all times they and their children born in British Hong Kong can rely on world recognition of the international benefits inherent in the British passport. They require the assurance that Great Britain, a country they have come to trust, will not let them down.
I have endeavoured in these few words to show you the Hong Kong of today, its raison d'ëtre and the unique position that the country occupies as a neutral point of contact between East and West. It is well to remember that this link is British, that it enjoys the friendly acquiescence of China and that this places the United Kingdom in a very special position not available to any other Western power. Hong Kong's influence and the attitude of the Hong Kong people to the United Kingdom can play a vital part in the future of Sino-British relations and the development of British trade in the Western Pacific area. Hong Kong's relationship with both the United Kingdom and China has never been better. Surely the goodwill of its citizens is a valuable asset which it is in the interests of Britain to preserve. Governments tend, quite naturally, to concentrate on matters of law and fact, but human feelings can often be more important.
My Lords, I am indeed privileged to have had the opportunity to speak to your Lordships today. I thank you for your patience in listening to me and I hope that I have not strayed too far away from non-controversy. May I in conclusion ask: why alienate the goose that has the potential to lay so many golden eggs?
§ Several noble Lords: Hear, hear!
§ 4.34 p.m.
§ Lord Aylestone
My Lords, it is a considerable pleasure to me and a great privilege to follow the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie of Kowloon, who joined us so recently. He comes to us with perhaps as great, if not greater, knowledge of the Far East, and especially of Hong Kong, as any other person. We have listened very carefully, and I am impressed with his peroration, because never at any time have I or my colleagues felt that there were something like millions of Hong Kongese anxious to get on to boats and to come to reside in this country. That was never true. They are happy where they are. All they wanted was to be associated with this country, to have British passports and to feel that in 1997 this country was behind them in the negotiations which, whether we like it or not, will have to take place. His membership of this House brings among us one whom we ought to recognise as a great intellectual power in the affairs of the Far East. We have listened to his speech with great consideration and I am sure it will be a pleasure to us to listen to him on many occasions again.
My Lords, on the Second Reading of this Bill I said from this Bench, and I remember it although probably nobody else does, that I felt this Bill was quite unnecessary. I still think that. It was unnecessary to introduce it at this time. The former Administration felt, as did the present Government, that it was necessary to do some tidying up—but why now, 722 immediately following the racial tensions and problems we have had in this and almost every other country? It could have waited. The Bill does not add one single immigrant to the people of this country and it does not take one single immigrant away. What it does do is to add disturbance and fear in the minds of many immigrants who are already living in this country. Maybe much of it is unnecessary; maybe they should not have felt that way; but nevertheless they do.
However, we are coming to the end of the Bill and it would be ungracious of me not to thank the Government for taking out some, if not all, of the power of the Secretary of State, which they have done, and permitting us in this House to do what I consider to be the right thing about Gibraltar. I sincerely hope the Government have no intention of putting that back in another place, or maybe we shall have a constitutional problem here the like of which we have not seen for a very long time. It is, in the view of my colleagues and myself, something which ought perhaps to have been done at some time, but not now, and I support the amendment on behalf of the official Opposition. This cannot do anything other than exacerbate the position. Perhaps more than anything else I regret the disappearance of the system we have over many generations known as jus soli. For that reason, my noble friends and I on this Bench will support the amendment.
§ 4.38 p.m.
§ Lord Geddes
My Lords, I should like first to join with the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, in congratulating my noble friend—and I use that word most deliberately—Lord Kadoorie on a quite outstanding maiden speech. If one of the younger Members of your Lordships' House may be permitted to make such comments, it was short but far from indecently so; it was succinct but none the less full of quite impeccable English; it was not controversial but it was highly relevant to this Bill. My only regret—and I hope that many of your Lordships will agree with me—has been that he was not able to open his account slightly earlier and therefore lead me in the constant endeavour I have tried to achieve in looking out particularly for the interests of the British dependent territories and particularly of Hong Kong. What could I personally not have done with him in front of me?
The noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, is a very remarkable man, as I personally know from the years that I have known him, with an amazing and most impressive list of commercial achievements which it would be invidious to repeat in this House. Nevertheless I should like to mention the quite remarkable park, if that is the right word, which the noble Lord and his brother Horace have started and have now enlarged considerably in the New Territories of Hong Kong, with an amazing variety of flora and fauna on display for the whole world, and in particular those in Hong Kong, to see. The noble Lord is a multi-educated man in all manner of seats of learning, both in this country and, indeed, in Shanghai. He is a man who has been honoured not only by this country but by Hong Kong, the United States, the Philippines, Belgium and France. We are, I suggest, most fortunate in having the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, with us and I, too, look forward to his future contributions to our debates.
723 As to the Bill itself, I have been privileged in sitting through each day of the deliberations of the House or the Committee on the subject. I should particularly like to thank—and I am sure that this is the overall feeling of the House as well—my noble friend Lord Belstead for the very graceful and tactful way in which he has handled the Bill throughout. While on different sides of the House there may have been strong disagreements with the line that he was putting forward, nevertheless his manner in dealing with the Bill has been faultless.
I should like to comment on only two points. On Clause 3 of the Bill, I should again like to thank my noble friend, and, through him, the Government, for the tremendous improvement on the original drafting of Clause 3, about which many of your Lordships, including myself, had considerable debate on Second Reading. The other point—and I feel it only right that I should make it—is on the amendment put down by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, and I should like to add my support to the expression that he used about creating feelings of insecurity.
The noble and learned Lord was kind enough to instance the amendment that I had down, which was narrowly defeated last week. I do not wish to go on to that subject again, but I strongly believe that the Bill, as it leaves your Lordships' House, will create feelings of insecurity for whatever reason and however logical or illogical that may be. The fact is that those feelings of insecurity do exist and will continue to exist, and that is an area of the Bill which I personally deplore.
§ 4.43 p.m.
§ Lord Tanlaw
My Lords, I should not normally have intervened in this debate if I did not feel so uncomfortable about the passing of this Bill, mainly because of the misunderstandings that will arise overseas as a result of its passing. There are very great worries in that we can pass a Bill in this country, which concentrates entirely and solely on what appears to be a British problem and which the Bill sets out to solve, but which, inadvertently perhaps, creates great doubts and uncertainties for some of our friends—and, indeed, our best friends—overseas. I want to add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, of Kowloon, on his remarkable maiden speech to which I shall have great pleasure in referring later.
One of the uncertainties of this Bill is the creation of legal doubts about the team "nationality". These were well covered during the Committee stage. I hope that some definition will be given to this term in another place, not just in the context of this Bill but because of what will happen as a result of its passing. For example, I was alarmed by a newspaper report yesterday, which stated that 10 hospitals have been selected by the Department of Health for a pilot scheme, under which a patient's nationality must first be established before National Health Service treatment is offered.
We have been asking how one establishes nationality in regard to this Bill, yet here the National Health Service is asking people to define their nationality before they can get treatment. This is just another loose end. I am particularly upset about this in a personal way. Is it really the fact that, because somebody does not look British—for instance, my wife is 724 Chinese—she will have to be asked to establish her nationality at one of these hospitals, although she is a British citizen?
Do the Government realise some of the problems and difficulties? The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury is worried about community relations, as we all are. Is this a helpful step towards improving them? I do not think that it is, because it is a fact that the Government will not define the word "nationality". We have warned enough on this and this is not the time to warn any more; there comes a limit.
There is the other effect on people overseas. Warnings on another Bill came from these Benches. My noble friend Lord Gladwyn, and many others, warned the Government about the effect that the Government's policy on education of overseas students is having overseas. The connection with the British Nationality Bill may not be immediately apparent, but in an article in the Financial Times on Friday, 16th October, the following statement was made by the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie, who said:Now British companies will have to compete on a par with everyone else. The 'bias for' has now been taken away".I do not want to develop this aspect, because it has all been said before. But here is an example of another Government—in this case, the Malaysian Government—who have been good friends of this country of very long standing, saying: "We have given you a bias before. The British connection meant something to us. But a Bill which is passed by you, and which you are entitled to pass, is affecting our future relationships and affecting the young men and women who want to be educated in your country. So we will not give you the bias that we gave you before."
I want to come to what the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, said, in a most elegant, intellectual and polite way. It could have been said in many other ways. It has been said to me, and to many others, by good friends in Hong Kong in many other ways, which it would not be profitable to put forward in this House. The British connection means something to people living many thousands of miles away, but if it is to mean something it has to mean something tangible. This Government have based their policy on economics, monetarism and so on. That is very important. They say that they are concerned about unemployment and the regeneration of British industry, and yet they are passing Bills the side effects of which will not enhance British industry or help reduce unemployment, but will lose very great friends of long standing. This is something which does not arise in a Committee stage. I am talking about the side effects of a Bill which were not properly considered before the Government asked us to pass this Bill.
Finally, I have a very small and trivial point. At an earlier stage, I mentioned the example of a citizen of the Pitcairn Islands. I thought of the smallest common denominator of the British dependent territories which will be affected by this Bill. I took the trouble of ringing up the Treaties and Nationality Department of the Foreign Office, to see whether all 61 or so of the Pitcairn Islanders had been informed of the effects of this Bill on that small and isolated community, 9,000 miles away from where I stand. 725 They assured me that the islanders had been informed. The Governor, who is the High Commissioner in New Zealand, had despatched letters and they have three letter drops a year by sea.
But how it is that an amateur radio operator in the Nottingham area received a call on his short-wave set from Mr. Tom Christian, who sits on the council there, saying that Mr. Christian had heard that there was a Bill passing in London which might affect his community? He had heard nothing about it. I am not blaming the Government, but I ask that they try to find out a little more carefully whether consultations could have gone through in far greater depth on the commercial and emotional sides, so that these small communities are not dismissed on the basis that they are bound to accept everything that is done. There is a perfectly good short-wave radio connection with the Pitcairn Islands, and Tom Christian operates the radio for the cable service, as well as having his own amateur radio status. Yet the Government are unable to say definitely whether the Pitcairn Islanders have received a copy of the letter, White Paper and explanatory memorandum of their Bill. I just mention this in passing, in the hope that the Government will delay the passing of this Bill and therefore delay the effects about which so many of us have so many doubts and uncertainties—in which case I shall support the noble and learned Lord's amendment with great pleasure.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ Lord Auckland
My Lords, first I must apologise to your Lordships for not being in my place when the debate on Third Reading started this afternoon. A very important business engagement kept me away. I think that the Government are to be congratulated on at least endeavouring to tackle this very difficult and inevitably controversial subject of nationality. Whether they have tackled it in the right way is quite another matter. There are Members of your Lordships' House, from all sides, who can speak on that topic With far more expertise than I can. However, I am particularly worried about the effect of this Bill on the Commonwealth.
Having strong connections with New Zealand and having been to a number of Commonwealth countries, in particular the new Commonwealth countries, I am concerned that this Bill at least gives the impression that there is one rule for the EEC and another rule for the Commonwealth. In correspondence which I have had and in views which have been put to me, this is the message which has been passed. Whether or not this is fair comment is for others to say. However, I am bound to say that there are some very serious anomalies—in particular, for example, for the children of a family going out to a country like Tanzania. I understand that the wife's citizenship is protected, but I am still quite uncertain, as I am sure many of your Lordships are, about the position of the children. This is a matter of tremendous importance for the future.
As I said at Second Reading, the real trouble with the Bill is that it is too lengthy and too legalistic. Although I am not a member of the legal profession, I have friends and acquaintances in that profession who 726 have made just that comment: that it is a very difficult Bill to understand. However, given that the Government have at least tried to seize this almost poisoned nettle of controversy and have tried to do something about overcoming the problems of British nationality, I shall support the Third Reading. But the Bill will be watched, even by those of my noble friends and others who support the Third Reading, with a certain degree of scepticism. Obviously we must have some kind of control over those who have complete British nationality, but let us not forget that throughout the Commonwealth there are those who have helped us over the years, in peace and in war, and who, through their achievements, deserve British nationality in full. Whatever happens to this Bill when it passes into law, I hope that this Government and other Governments will give this matter very serious thought.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ Baroness Elles
My Lords, with the permission of your Lordships, I should like to add a few words and to speak both to the Motion and to the amendment tabled by the noble and learned Lord. I apologise to your Lordships for not having put down my name beforehand, but I returned from Brussels only at lunchtime today and found that the list had already been prepared.
I feel somewhat like the odd man out, in that I very warmly welcome this British Nationality Bill. I think it is time that we recognise what a very great contribution it is making to British legislation. The fact is that for the first time we in this country will have a British Nationality Act which depends upon nexus with this country, regardless of colour, race, creed or religion. It is the right of every sovereign state to define its own nationality based on connection with the territory of that country. The Bill also removes about 18 different types of nationality which have developed since the British Nationality Act 1948. If this Bill is considered by noble Lords to be complex, surely they will admit that the present situation concerning British nationality, British citizenship, is far more complex than anything which any other country or any other citizen or non-citizen has had to tolerate. I hope this point will be recognised by your Lordships' House.
This Bill is evidence of the fact that we are no longer an Empire, that we have very few dependencies left and that every Commonwealth country has introduced, in full right, its own nationality law and its own immigration rules. This fact must be taken into account, even in the example given by the noble and learned Lord regarding the situation of a child born in Malawi. It is the Malawi law which is at fault. It has nothing to do with British nationality law. If this kind of situation is to arise between Commonwealth countries, it is precisely what should be discussed on an equal basis at a Commonwealth conference, because every Commonwealth country has its own rules regarding the acquisition of citizenship, naturalisation and so on.
In no case that I know of is this British Nationality Bill providing harder terms than apply in any of the independent Commonwealth countries. Even the removal of jus soli, which has been practised in this country for the last 100 years—not 700 years, with 727 respect—follows the trend of the nationality laws of most states, particularly those of the United Nations. I would point out that there is no provision in the Bill which goes in any way against the provisions which guarantee the human rights of individuals on the basis of race, colour, creed or national origin.
I should like to thank my noble friend Lord Belstead in particular for two amendments which have been introduced into the Bill. The first relates to the only case where there was a question of discrimination on religious grounds, to which I drew the attention of my noble friend. It was only a very small but nevertheless very important point for individuals. It related to the definition of the word "terminated". That has now been changed and I am very grateful to my noble friend for that amendment. The other point might appear to be very small to many Members of your Lordships' House. Nevertheless, it is of very real concern to the many Asian families with which I have close connections in this country, where the women have difficulty in learning English because of the kind of life style that they lead in this country. Provision for these people has also been made by my noble friend and the Government.
I rather resent the attitude which has been evident in this debate—the non-recognition of the very real attempt by the Government to meet these very many difficulties which concern a great many individuals in this country who would have been affected by the terms of the Bill as it came here from another place.
In conclusion, it should be recognised that minorities—by which I do not mean ethnic minorities, although that is the normal term given to regional groupings (I am sure that the noble and learned Lord would not consider the Welsh, the Scots and the Northern Irish to be ethnic minorities in the sense in which he has used the term in his amendment) but rather those groups of people who have come from other parts of the world and who now live in this country as citizens of the United Kingdom—are for the first time being guaranteed British citizenship on equal terms with any other British citizen. With that British citizenship they have the right of abode and the right to transmit their citizenship to their children, if they are born abroad, on precisely the same terms and conditions as any other British citizen. Surely the Government are to be congratulated upon that. This is something which has never happened before.
No Government up to now have had the courage to introduce this kind of Bill. I would implore all those sections of society who deal with minority groups to explain to them the benefits of the Bill, and to assure them that those living in this country have equal rights, regardless of colour, regardless of race, and regardless of creed. I beg to support the Motion.
§ 5.1 p.m.
§ Lord Walston
My Lords, I, too, apologise for speaking without having put my name down earlier. I am moved to do so by a profound sense of sadness. This—I agree with virtually all the speakers to whom I have listened today—is a bad Bill, albeit that it is not quite so bad as when it first came to this House. But it is a bad Bill and it is a sad Bill for this country. I base that statement on four grounds: on the grounds 728 of history, on the grounds of Commonwealth, on the grounds of pragmatism, and on the grounds of justice.
Historically, as we all know, this has been a country that has by and large kept its gates open, very much to our own advantage, whether it was in the time of the first Elizabeth, to people like Holbein and Erasmus, whether it was to the Huguenot refugees from France, or to the Jewish refugees from Germany and from Russia and Poland. We have this long tradition of welcoming people who want to come here. It has been very much to our advantage and it has been to their advantage. This Bill is not by any means a major step in retreat from that, but it is just one more nail in the coffin of free access and the welcoming of strangers and foreigners. So on historical grounds it is a sad Bill.
So far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the noble Lord, Lord Auckland, quite rightly reminded us of that, and, in a somewhat different way, in his remarkable speech so did the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie; and the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, mentioned the case of Malaysia. We are, after all, the home of the head of the Commonwealth; we are the originator of the Commonwealth, and whether we like it or not, we cannot divorce ourselves from a rather special position, not as leader in any formal sense, but as the country to which all other members of the Commonwealth look. This Bill is not going to strengthen the bonds of the Commonwealth, it is not going to strengthen our influence. Rather it will loosen them and diminish such influence as we have.
Thirdly, on purely pragmatic grounds, again, we have already heard from other speakers, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, and my noble friend Lord Aylestone, of the effect that this is going to have, is already having, upon race relations in this country. I do not for a moment believe that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government that it should have that effect. I do not believe that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, or any of his colleagues in the Government are in any way opposed to our immigrant population. I believe that they wish to do all they can to help to integrate them into our society.
But this is something that has been with us now for over 20 years—we have been aware of the problems. It has been necessary—and I believe it was necessary and right to do so—to put some restriction on immigration, as much in the interest of the immigrants as in that of ourselves, the natives. We have made progress, thanks very largely to a great number of anonymous, unsung people, social workers, members of the police force, academics and others, and Members of your Lordships' House, too, who have worked to improve race relations. Progress has been made. But, alas, that progress is now in jeopardy. It is in jeopardy very largely because of the economic circumstances of this country, because of the enormous number of unemployed and the way this affects the immigrants, even second and third generation immigrants, more than those who consider themselves to be natives. So the tensions are higher, and this Bill cannot fail to exacerbate those tensions and to make a difficult problem yet more difficult.
Fourthly, and very briefly, I come to justice. This is an unjust Bill. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, pointed out some of the inequities that arise from it; ridiculous, ludicrous, as we sit here and 729 listen to him, but painful, heartrending for the people who are affected by the inequities of this Bill. To see this country, this House, enacting a Bill which is basically unjust, which is going to cause increased hardship, increased suffering, increased inequities, for no good purpose whatsoever, is indeed a sad experience. For those reasons, I shall certainly support the amendment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones.
§ 5.6 p.m.
§ Lord Pitt of Hampstead
My Lords, like previous speakers, I have to apologise for my name not being down on the list of speakers. Unlike previous speakers, the reason in my case is that I had not realised a list was being made. I came here with a half-an-hour speech and your Lordships will have noticed that I have been busy cutting it down. I have instructions to make it two minutes. I cannot make it two minutes, but I will try to make it about five minutes. I had intended to divide the House and invite the House to reject this Bill on Third Reading, but I have been persuaded that it would be better to support the amendment in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Elwyn-Jones, and I shall do so.
My Lords, the Bill is wrong in principle and it is discriminatory in practice. It will increase statelessness and insecurity. One feature of the Bill that has worried me is the cavalier attitude of the Government to the fact that it will increase statelessness. For the first time, people will be born in this country stateless. For the first time, children in British schools will be stateless. When a teacher has to take a class to the Continent, she will have to worry about the citizenship of the children in her class. This is one of the consequences of this Bill. Noble Lords who have been attending the debates during Committee and Report stage know that I have tried to see to what extent could ameliorate it, without success.
The Bill also breaks an important Commonwealth link. I have discovered that the Commonwealth High Commissioners in London made representations to the Government, to the Foreign Office and to the Home Office, in this matter, but they seem to have had no effect. I have been a little saddened by that. One of the things they asked was that persons who qualified for British citizenship but who were born in a British dependency or former colony should not be subjected to unnecessary difficulties in establishing this newer British citizenship. This is what I was asking your Lordships to agree to, but your Lordships would not do so.
My Lords, all over the world, there are people, many of them now adults, like me, who grew up to regard themselves as British and who were proud to regard themselves as British. Most of them were taught British history at a time when they were not taught the history of their own country. Most of them know more of British geography than of the geography of their own country. Most of them know the flag of Britain and sing the National Anthem and "Rule Britannia" with pride. Those are the people who are, in fact, discovering that Britain does not interpret their relationship in the way in which they interpret it. I go further and say that thousands of them came here and volunteered to fight for Britain and to defend Britain during the war. To none of 730 them was that a peculiar action because they regarded themselves as intimately involved. Britain was at war and so they were also at war. They could see it no other way because, as your Lordships know, their economy was tied to this country and the laws under which they were ruled were inherited from Westminster. As I said earlier, they were taught not only to regard themselves as British but to be proud to be British.
I do not want to speak for too long—because I said that I would cut my speech down—on the de-merits of the Bill. I merely wish to say to the noble Baroness, Lady Elles, that of course after the Bill you will no longer be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights as regards citizenship, because what you have done is to take away the citizenship from the people whom you were told by the Commission you were discriminating against. Now they are no longer citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and since they no longer have United Kingdom citizenship you cannot be condemned for not allowing them to come into the United Kingdom. That is how you have solved that particular problem. It is no use being proud of the fact that you have done that.
I want to look at the Bill as it would affect people after it has been passed. What will happen in practice? I mentioned earlier about the children in school. Another noble Lord has mentioned people going to hospital. When the hospital clerk has to put down the nationality of a child and the child is black he will not automatically put "British". The child's parents will be cross-examined as to their immigration status. If they tell a lie there will be serious problems that could accrue to them for telling that lie. Alternatively, they may make a genuine mistake and, as many of your Lordships know, genuine mistakes in immigration matters have often been regarded as outright lies.
I should like to refer to the point which I raised on Second Reading. When the first British overseas citizen passport is presented for the first time to an immigration officer abroad how will that officer react? Will he treat the passport as worth anything whatever? Will he treat the holder as someone who enjoys the protection of the British Government or as someone whom the Government explicitly and categorically refused last week in the debate on the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, to call a British national at all? I must confess to your Lordships that I regarded the rejection of the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, last week as the most disgraceful act ever committed in this House. It was shameful. This Bill is a shameful measure. It can bring us only disrepute in the eyes of people at home and abroad. The only right which a British citizen has in this Bill is the right of abode in the United Kingdom. That right, of course, is denied to people who at present are as British in law, in personal history and in sentiments as those who are given that right of abode. However, there is an anomaly, because while those people are denied that right of abode, that right of abode is given to many people who are citizens of other countries, who do not live here, who have never lived here and who have no intention of living here.
We could have had a simple Bill—a Bill which would have been vastly simpler and some would say more rational. It would not have been odd if we had merely given citizenship to the people who have it 731 now. That is what the French have done. As consequence a black Martinican man has more rights in this country than a black man from Montserrat. Montserrat is a British colony and because that black man comes from Montserrat which is a British colony he will not have any right of abode here—he will have no right to enter this country. However, the black man from Martinique, because he is a Frenchman and France is in the EEC and Britain is in the EEC, will have a right to come here and look for work and to stay. That is the difference.
One realises—I am very sad about this—that this country is in the process of repudiating its history. That is a very sad sight for any country. I believe that Great Britain was great, is still great and will still be great. I wish that the Government could believe that.
§ 5.17 p.m.
§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
My Lords, I do not begin by apologising for seeking to address your Lordships without my name being on the list of speakers, because I did my best last week to put it there but apparently something went wrong. It is a mistake in this House, as no doubt elsewhere, to think that anyone remembers one's speeches except oneself. But those of your Lordships who were present as long ago as the Second Reading may possibly be reminded that I did say in an intervention then that I thought that this was a pretty poor Bill and that I might have some difficulty in supporting it at later stages if improvements were not effected. It is only fair to say that considerable improvements have been effected.
In the first place, the highly restrictive provisions of Clause 3 in respect of our fellow countrymen working abroad in private employ or self-employed have been very greatly improved. Although there is still some disparity which I regret between the automatic rights of those in Crown service, which are given in Clause 2, the disparity between their treatment and that of the non-Crown servants covered by Clause 3 has been very substantially reduced and I welcome that.
There have been a number of other improvements resulting from the interventions, pressures and speeches of noble Lords in all quarters of the House and, if I may be allowed to say so, this Bill has been a classic example of the value of this House as a revising Chamber. There has been also a further amendment carried against the wishes of the Government—the amendment referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, in respect of Gibraltar. I do not know what the Government's intentions in another place may be, but I do hope that my noble friend will take very seriously the warning given by the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone. This is a matter on which some of us in both Houses feel very strongly. I would only differ from the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, when he suggested that if the Government acted foolishly in this matter there might be a constitutional crisis. There will be nothing of a sort. If the Government like to wait a year and use the machinery of the Parliament Act they can get their way, but, of course, this particular Bill would be lost.
As I see it, there is no question of a constitutional crisis. This House has a right to its view on any 732 provision of this Bill, subject, of course, to the Parliament Act procedure, with a year's delay. After long debate this House came to a view on the Gibraltar question. Perhaps some noble Lords will attach weight to the fact that a substantial majority voted to put in what is now Clause 10 against the strong efforts of the former Leader of the House, a most formidable and admirable character, and against the arguments of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor who, in my personal view, is the greatest advocate of the day. So no one can say that this was not a carefully considered decision, and I venture to express the opinion that it is a decision that this House would be unlikely to be persuaded to reverse.
It would be only fair when we are talking of these improvements—apart from the particular one which my noble friend Lord Belstead did his best to prevent—that I should join with other noble Lords in expressing my enormous admiration for the way in which my noble friend Lord Belstead has handled this Bill. First, he argued the unarguable and defended the indefensible with superlative skill, as did, let me say at once—for I do not wish to be discriminatory—my noble and learned friend the Lord Advocate. But my noble friend Lord Belstead, having defended with great vigour, then always did what he promised: he went back, I hope and believe bullied his officials, and has certainly returned with a remarkable number of improvements. I hope that I am not guilty of impertinence when I say that my noble friend's conduct of this Bill has been a classic example, which I hope Ministers will follow in the future.
§ Several noble Lords: Hear, hear!
§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
My Lords, having said that, I must admit that this is still not a very good Bill. One cannot ignore the general expressions of criticism, regardless of party alignment or of party questions, which it has aroused, can one? I, for one, cannot help being impressed by the attitude of the Churches. We all listened this afternoon with very great respect—a respect due both to his office and to his personality—to the most reverend Primate. One cannot overlook the fact that opinion outside, academic opinion, opinion among the ethnic minorities, opinion in the press and opinion generally is still intensely critical of the Bill.
It is perfectly fair to say—as my noble friend Lord Belstead has sometimes said—that a good deal of that criticism is still founded on misunderstanding of its effect. However, we are almost at the end of the road with this Bill. It has had its proceedings in the Commons. It has had proceedings in this House, which no one has criticised on the ground of brevity. If it has been impossible for the Government to satisfy opinion outside—opinion in the Churches and impartial opinion in many quarters—if the Government, with all their powers of advocacy and all their technical means of persuasion, have been unable to convince people, perhaps it must raise a doubt even in their minds as to whether this is a particularly good Bill or whether, indeed, there may not still be very substantial defects in it.
I am unhappy about many aspects of it, with which I shall not weary your Lordships at this stage. However, I was very struck by one remark in the very 733 impressive maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, when he said, speaking of the Hong Kong that he knows so well, that they liked their citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies and saw no reason to change it. I wonder why the Government have thought it necessary to change it. It was that that raised the Gibraltar issue; it was that that raised the Falkland Islands issue, which my noble friend Lady Vickers very nearly succeeded in rectifying. We are told that to make those exceptions is contrary to the main scheme of the Bill. So be it. But if that is so, does it not raise a doubt as to whether the main scheme of the Bill itself is right, whether a system of three different types of citizenship£I forbear to say tiers or classes—is necessarily right? If the Bill causes unhappiness, for example among the loyal citizens of Hong Kong, does that not raise a question in your Lordships' minds as to whether this system is right?
I cannot help feeling that if anything were to go wrong in the next few stages of the Bill, and the Bill were not to pass into law this Session, it might be a blessing in disguise to the Government. No doubt to my noble friend Lord Belstead the disguise would be pretty thick, but it might give the Government a chance to think again and at least to apply their minds to this question, which troubles me, as to why it is that there is so much unhappiness about this Bill and the whole of its structure in so many people's minds.
Having said that, as one who is probably as loyal a Conservative and as loyal a supporter of this Government as anyone in this House, I am presented with a problem as to what I should do about the amendment tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones. I must say at once that I can see no point or value in that amendment at all. It proposes to give the Bill its Third Reading while at the same time saying, in the nastiest way possible, what an awful Bill it is. I really do not think that that is the right posture for your Lordships' House. I cannot think that we should give the Bill a Third Reading and then send it forth, with all the handicap and disadvantage of this House having said that it is bad in the various ways listed. Whatever we think of this Bill—and I have made my views pretty clear—if it passes into law, if it goes over the hurdles that are still ahead of it, I am sure that we all want it to work as well as possible; I am sure that we all want our doubts and anxieties about it to prove to be exaggerated; and, above all, I am sure that we want to ensure that the anxieties of those concerned and involved, which have been aroused, should be quieted.
I can think of no better way of stimulating those anxieties than at the same time to say: "This Bill shall become the law of the land, but we all think that it is a most terrible Bill which will create injustice and ill-feeling". Therefore, the one thing that I am sharp and clear about in my own mind on this issue is that, much as I dislike the Bill, I dislike the amendment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, even more.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
My Lords, the last words of the noble Lord, Lord-Boyd-Carpenter, have put on the record the sort of thing that was disturbing me. 734 I think that it has been a most unbalanced debate and, in view of all that has gone on, a most unfair debate. If it was not for the refreshing intervention by my noble friend Lady Elles, I do not think the debate would have reflected what was intended and what has gone on. I hope that what she has to say will be read.
We should keep in mind that the Government have tackled this very difficult problem, this hot potato, from which so many other Governments in the past have run away. It is not only recently that there has been known the need to have a clearer distinction as to what "nationality" means as regards Britain; it has been known for years. It has been in the knowledge of all of us, and I should have thought nowhere more so than in the knowledge of those who represent us in the Churches, that the uncertainty of the past causes and creates many of the difficulties.
I believe that at this last stage in your Lordships' House we ought to be prepared not only to congratulate my noble friend on the excellent way in which he has piloted this Bill through, but also to congratulate the Government on having the courage to tackle this and to try to do something about it: they have tackled it with sincerity and with a genuine desire to try to arrive at the right answer.
One could not have arrived at an answer that would have satisfied everyone. This was an issue which was positively incapable of being committed to print and being able to satisfy all the diverse views, emotions and reactions which surround it—that was an impossibility. I do not believe that we are dealing with the matter by accepting this amendment, which has been put on the Order Paper by the noble and learned Lord; I do not believe that we are dealing with it as parliamentarians. I do not believe that it is the job of Parliament, acting in their capacity as parliamentarians, to add a rider such as this to a Bill which they recommend be passed.
I was appalled—I think that is the right word—to hear the most reverend Primate say that he was going to vote in support of this amendment. I accept his arguments and I respect his point of view. I believe he did his duty through all the stages in putting on record the point of view he truly believed, but to say that he is prepared by his voting to have it on record that he is allowing to go through a Bill that in the words of the amendment "will exacerbate racial tension" is virtually inviting the people who intend to exacerbate racial tension (in any case) to use the Bill as an excuse to go on doing just that. To go to the extent of the vote following the voice of the right reverend Primate is dangerous in the extreme. I am glad that he said he was only talking for the bishops because as a practising member of the Church I do not believe he was talking for the whole of his flock.
Although I agreed with his closing words, I should also like to take issue with my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter. Who says that this is "the end of the road"? When one is dealing with a matter such as this one does not think of it in terms of only one Parliament. This Government has had the courage to set something on its way. This Government has had the courage to try to commit to paper something which will overcome many of the problems which we have all been aware of for so many years past and have 735 done nothing about. It may well be that this Bill is not perfect. It may well be that there are still many matters that will have to be looked at and dealt with. Other Parliaments can do that; this is not the end of the road. If it is proved that the Bill will result in injustice, such as the amendment says, then future Parliaments—perhaps a future Parliament led by the same Government—can deal with it. What an idea—that it is the end of the road because a Bill dealing with a matter that has been bubbling under for years brings us to that very definite end. I do not believe that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, is doing a service by moving this amendment. I do not believe that he is being a good parliamentarian by putting such an amendment at this stage of the Bill.
§ Several noble Lords: Oh!
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
I echo the words of my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter when I ask: How can we at one and the same time say that we agree to pass a Bill which we say is full of injustice and which will exacerbate racial relations and which will do that amount of harm?
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, will be here at the end of the debate because he was not here at the beginning. Had he been here at the beginning he might have heard my explanation that it is not the convention in this House on Third Reading of a Bill which has passed in the elected Chamber to vote against it on Third Reading. Had that not been the convention, then of course I would have invited the House to do so on this occasion.
§ Lord Harmar-Nicholls
My Lords, of course I heard the noble and learned Lord say that at the beginning, but I doubt whether it is the convention that in passing a Bill one should add words such as those which exist in the noble and learned Lord's amendment. I would like the noble and learned Lord to produce a similar amendment from the past. Is he aware that he may well be setting a precedent and a dangerous one at that? The whole idea of the parliamentary system is that one fights to try to get the right answer in a Bill and battle hard through all the stages of Second Reading, Committee, Report and Third Reading. The whole idea behind parliamentary government among civilised people is that if one has lost the argument, one allows the Bill one has lost to have a fair run. This amendment is not giving the Bill a fair run. I believe that is absolutely against the principle of parliamentary government as I have experienced it. It is because I feel so strongly that I wanted to add my words to those of my noble friend Lady Elles in a debate which has been so unbalanced. I hope that even at this late stage many of your Lordships who thought of supporting this amendment will have second thoughts. I believe that the amendment is dangerous, unnecessary, and, in the words of the noble and learned Lord himself, is against the conventions of the way in which this House passes its Bills.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Baroness Trumpington
My Lords, I too should like to associate myself with the words spoken by my noble friend Lady Elles in supporting this Bill at all stages. I find myself in the impertinent position of disagreeing with the most reverend Primate and others of great eminence. This Bill was entirely necessary and despite what the noble and learned Lord who moved this amendment has said, his party certainly did recognise the need for change when they were in Government. It is rather like the days when the Commonwealth Bill was opposed by the Labour Party and then brought in by them two years' later; a switch when it seems necessary to them.
I believe that the fears which have been expressed have been exaggerated. Ninety-five per cent. of the population will continue their lives without any qualms and I find it irresponsible to fan the flames of disquiet about the remaining 5 per cent., who anyway have various avenues open to them through which to obtain British citizenship if their reasons for so doing are right and proper. We seem to be forgetting that whatever a person's colour may be, a person who holds a British passport now and who has been here for more than five years will be British. I was glad to hear the most noble Primate say that the Church would undertake the task of reassurance because unfortunately doubts will have been raised by the very nature of today's debate.
I am glad we have gone through the process of defining our own citizenship for the first time. To do so is not racist by my definition. I would like to join those who have congratulated my noble friend Lord Belstead, not only for the way in which he has presented his Bill but also, and I must use the word popular on the opposite side of this House, for his compassionate attitude which I am sure has been responsible for many of the amendments which are now included in the Bill and which, despite criticisms on other issues, have pleased many speakers here today. Life goes on and, as the last speaker said, this is not the end of the road.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, before replying to this debate may I welcome the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, of Kowloon, and say that I know how much the whole House appreciated his speech. I hope that your Lordships will take the Government's acceptance of the principle of the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Geddes today as proof of the Government's total commitment to maintaining our strong links with the British dependent territories. So long as distinguished representatives of those territories are prepared to come to Westminster and to speak their feelings in this matter, as the noble Lord, Lord Kadoorie, has done so effectively this afternoon, so I believe our links will remain firm and unbroken.
At the start of this afternoon's debate I sought to set out the need for this Bill and to remind your Lordships of some of the many improvements which have been made by your Lordships' House and to which many of your Lordships have most generously alluded during the speeches that have been made. The need for the Bill is simply that the present law does not provide for British citizenship. As it stands the 737 law provides for a citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies, which does not necessarily allow many of those citizens to enter either the United Kingdom or the colonies.
Therefore, I reject the charge in the amendment that this Bill will create uncertainty. Under this Bill British citizenship will carry the certainty of the right of abode in this country: a provision from which incidentally the children of people settled here will benefit, which must include many children in the ethnic minorities. Such a provision in my book spells reassurance and certainty. I think it is worth noting that on Third Reading in another place Mr. Alexander Lyon, the honourable Member for York in another place, who is the chairman of the United Kingdom Immigrants Advisory Service and who had opposed the Bill from the Opposition Benches, expressed approval that at last we had in this Bill defined our citizenship.
This acknowledgment was scarcely surprising, for the Opposition have recognised for several years the need for a new law of nationality. As my noble friend Lady Elles showed so clearly in her speech, this however is not an easy task. The previous Government in the final event did not feel equal to the task at all, and indeed the problems of legislating afresh on nationality are considerable.
It is not that the present law is so framed that we leave it with regret, because after all the law as it stands today is illogical and very complicated. For example, how can it be defensible to deny, as the present law does deny, women the right to transmit citizenship? And how can it be defensible to restrict, as the present law does restrict, the right to transfer citizenship overseas to children born beyond the first generation in foreign but not, I say to my noble friend Lord Auckland, in Commonwealth countries? Both those anomalies are rectified by this Bill; scarcely the injustice to which the amendment refers.
Nonetheless, however desirable a new nationality Bill may be, there are, I admit, bound to be difficulties. But this is where the work of your Lordships' House comes in, for in this House we have built upon the work which has been done in another place. For instance, the 10-year provision in Clause 1 has, in your Lordships' House, been further eased. Your Lordships have brought clarity and certainty to the difficult area of citizenship by descent in Clause 3; a matter with which my noble and learned friend the Lord Advocate dealt. We have clarified the rights of those seeking entitlements throughout the Bill. We have greatly improved the entitlement to register of young Commonwealth citizens settled here before 1st January 1973, and the House has removed entirely the language requirement for husbands and wives who apply for naturalisation. These changes made by your Lordships are the antithesis surely of the "injustice", "uncertainties" and "insecurity" to which the amendment refers.
My right honourable friend the Home Secretary gave an undertaking on Second Reading in another place that the Government would consider constructively the case for amendments to this Bill, and I think the House will agree that my right honourable friend has been as good as his word. I would just like to end by referring 738 to one or two specific points. There is no justification for the allegation that the Bill will greatly increase statelessness. Many of our European neighbours, whose provisions for passing on citizenship by jus sanguinis are more restrictive than the proposals in this Bill, have a greater problem to face in this respect than we do.
This Bill complies with our obligations under the United Nations Convention on the reduction of statelessness, and I am very glad that in several respects it goes a great deal further than the convention; and as a result of amendments made by your Lordships we have specifically guarded against statelessness arising with children born in the second generation overseas, while of course there always remains in reserve the general discretion of the Home Secretary to register children.
Nor is there justification for the accusation of creating racial tension. The Bill gives clear entitlements to registration, and specifically provides a declaration that decisions which are at the Home Secretary's discretion are to be taken without regard to a person's race, colour or religion. The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury made a specific point during the speech which he made about consultation with interested organisations. The Government certainly welcome at any time views from those organisations who would be involved in race relations and the bringing in of this Bill. But may I respond to the most reverend Primate by saying that I shall ask my right honourable friend to consider whether their views should be invited on some of the procedures necessary for bringing this new legislation into force.
My noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter was not only kind in his personal remarks but also characteristically downright in the views which he expressed on the Bill and also upon this amendment. To launch legislation, in essence my noble friend said, with such an amendment tied around its neck would create the very situations of uncertainty and tension to which the amendment refers. And surely—and I add this, my Lords—this would not be a wise course to follow in trying to promote good race relations.
This is a Bill which will give British citizenship which, for the first time, will carry with it the right of abode. It will make secure the position of many people who come and settle here from overseas. After many weeks of work in your Lordships' House, in contradiction of the amendment, the Bill will bring people together; it will not divide them. For that reason, I ask your Lordships to reject the amendment and to approve the Motion, That the Bill do now pass.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, this has been a serious debate, conducted, with one notable exception, in accord with the usual high standards of this honourable House. The exception was the intemperate, somewhat menacing, and arrogant speech of the noble Lord, Lord Harmar-Nicholls. That I should suffer the indignity of being lectured to about parliamentary correctness by the noble Lord really does undermine my confidence in the institution of the other place where we were together for many years. But I do not want to embark 739 upon personal abuse of the kind that he embarked upon, but to return to the merits of this matter.
I should like to express, as one who had the responsibility of moving the amendment, gratitude for the fact that it has been supported from all parts of the House. With regard to the procedure that has been followed—and I noted the enjoyment with which the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, my old friend, made something of a mockery of the procedure—it is one which has been well established by convention since 1945. It has been recognised by all parties that this House does not divide against Bills passed by the elected Chamber, nor against Bills introduced in this House. That has been the practice ever since the agreement in 1945, I understand, between Lord Addison, the then Leader of the House, and Lord Salisbury.
In that situation if, nevertheless, it is desired to express a hostile view about a Bill, as in this case, there are at least three precedents for doing so. Curiously, I did that very thing on Second Reading and I noticed no lofty constitutional objection on that occasion, even from the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, who is the custodian of constitutional propriety, if I may say so, and who, as the Lord High Steward of Kingston-upon-Thames, one would expect him to be. Thus, while I agree it has given him a bon quart d'heure of enjoyment, attempting to make something of a mockery of what has happened, what has happened is a very serious challenge to the provisions of the Bill from all parts of the House.
The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury not only opposed it but made a suggestion which I hope will be communicated to the Home Office; that at any rate if the Bill receives the Royal Assent, those who have to apply its provisions and exercise the massive quantity of discretion—which rests nominally in the Secretary of State, in practice in them—will see that it is exercised as humanely and liberally as possible. That is the least we can ask. But there is no time now to go through the whole argument.
To say, as the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, did at the end, that this is a Bill which has achieved or may achieve harmony is, I regret to say, in the view of those who live near this problem and have worked in the communities concerned, a piece of total misunderstanding of the deep anxieties the Bill has already raised. I make no apology for having introduced an amendment stating that the Bill, if enacted, will result in injustice: we have traversed some of that ground already. The amendment goes on to say that it will,greatly increase the number of stateless men, women and children".That it will increase the number is undoubted; there would have been no stateless children born in this country if we had not abolished jus soli. Even if 100 or 1,000 children born in this country are now, as a result of this Bill, to be stateless, that is a shame and is quite contrary to the traditions of this House. Then the amendment says there will be created,new uncertainties and feelings of insecurity",and that has been voiced by organisations connected with and working in this field throughout the course of the Bill, and it still comes through to us. Alas—and it gives me no pleasure to say this in the amendment— 740 the Bill may also be likely to exacerbate racial tension at a most difficult time in our country's history in regard to race relations. Therefore it is with no joy but with regret that I feel it would be right for this House on this occasion to send the Bill away with the message contained in the amendment.
§ 5.54 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 92; Not-Contents, 149.741
|DIVISION No. 1|
|Amherst, E.||Lichfield, Bp.|
|Ardwick, L.||Lincoln, Bp.|
|Avebury, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.—[Teller.]|
|Bacon, B.||Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.|
|Balogh, L.||Longford, E.|
|Banks, L.||Lovell-Davis, L.|
|Bernstein, L.||McCluskey, L.|
|Beswick, L.||McGregor of Durris, L.|
|Bishopston, L.||McNair, L.|
|Blease, L.||Milford, L.|
|Blyton, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.|
|Briginshaw, L.||Noel-Baker, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Ogmore, L.|
|Brooks of Tremorfa, L.||Oram, L.|
|Bruce of Donington, L.||Peart, L.|
|Canterbury, Abp.||Phillips, B.|
|Carlisle, Bp.||Pitt of Hampstead, L.|
|Chelmsford, Bp.||Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.—[Teller.]|
|Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.||Reilly, L.|
|Cooper of Stockton Heath, L.||Rhodes, L.|
|Darling of Hillsborough, L.||Rochester, L.|
|Davies of Leek, L.||Ross of Marnock, L.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Sainsbury, L.|
|Sefton of Garston, L.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L.||Segal, L.|
|Evans of Claughton, L.||Shepherd, L.|
|Ewart-Biggs, B.||Shinwell, L.|
|Fisher of Rednal, B.||Sligo, M.|
|Fulton, L.||Stewart of Alvechurch, B.|
|Gifford, L.||Stewart of Fulham, L.|
|Glenamara, L.||Stone, L.|
|Hale, L.||Tanlaw, L.|
|Hampton, L.||Taylor of Gryfe, L.|
|Hanworth, V.||Taylor of Mansfield, L.|
|Hayter, L.||Tordoff, L.|
|Hooson, L.||Underhill, L.|
|Houghton of Sowerby, L.||Wallace of Coslany, L.|
|Jacques, L.||Walston, L.|
|Jeger, B.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Jenkins of Putney, L.||Whaddon, L.|
|John-Mackie, L.||White, B.|
|Kadoorie, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|Kilmarnock, L.||Winterbottom, L.|
|Lawrence, L.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Leatherland, L.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Abinger, L.||Boothby, L.|
|Airey of Abingdon, B.||Boyd-Carpenter, L.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Brabazon of Tara, L.|
|Ampthill, L.||Brougham and Vaux, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Caccia, L.|
|Avon, E.||Cairns, E.|
|Baker, L.||Camoys, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Campbell of Alloway, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Campbell of Croy, L.|
|Benson, L.||Carrington, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Cawley, L.|
|Chorley, L.||Macleod of Borve, B.|
|Cockfield, L.||Malmesbury, E.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Mancroft, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Margadale, L.|
|Constantine of Stanmore, L.||Marley, L.|
|Marshall of Leeds, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Mersey, V.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Monson, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Montagu of Beaulieu, L.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Montgomery of Alamein, V.|
|Croft, L.||Mottistone, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Daventry, V.||Murton of Lindisfarne, L.|
|Davidson, V.||Napier and Ettrick, L.|
|de Clifford, L.||Northchurch, B.|
|Denham, L.—[Teller.]||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Derwent, L.||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Dilhorne, V.||Onslow, E.|
|Ellenborough, L.||Orkney, E.|
|Elles, B.||Pender, L.|
|Elton, L.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Energlyn, L.||Peterborough, Bp.|
|Exeter, M.||Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.|
|Fairfax of Cameron, L.|
|Faithfull, B.||Portland, D.|
|Ferrers, E.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Foley, L.||Rawlinson of Ewell, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Redmayne, L.|
|Fraser of Kilmorack, L.||Reigate, L.|
|Gainford, L.||Renton, L.|
|Garner, L.||Renwick, L.|
|Geddes, L.||Robbins, L.|
|Gisborough, L.||Rochdale, V.|
|Gardner of Parkes, B.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Glendevon, L.||Saint Oswald, L.|
|Glenkinglas, L.||Sandford, L.|
|Gore-Booth, L.||Sandys, L.—[Teller.]|
|Gormanston, V.||Savile, L.|
|Gowrie, E.||Seebohm, L.|
|Greenway, L.||Selkirk, E.|
|Gridley, L.||Shannon, E.|
|Grimston of West bury, L.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Halsbury, E.||Spens, L.|
|Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Stamp, L.|
|Hawke, L.||Strathcarron, L.|
|Hives, L.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Sudeley, L.|
|Kemsley, V.||Swinfen, L.|
|Killearn, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Kilmany, L.||Teviot, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Thomas of Swynnerton, L.|
|Kinloss, Ly.||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Lane-Fox, B.||Tranmire, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Lindsey and Abingdon, E.||Trenchard, V.|
|Linlithgow, M.||Trumpington, B.|
|Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.||Tweeddale, M.|
|Vaux of Harrowden, L.|
|Long, V.||Vivian, L.|
|Loudoun, C.||Wakefield of Kendal, L.|
|Lucas of Chilworth, L.||Ward of Witley, V.|
|Lyell, L.||Westbury, L.|
|McFadzean, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Mackay of Clashfern, L.||Young, B.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.
§ Lord Denham
My Lords, before moving that the House do now adjourn, I wish to mention that I said earlier that dinner would be available. It is now just after six o'clock and I have my doubts as to whether many of your Lordships will be remaining here. So if no noble Lord objects too strongly, I think it would be better if we cancel the dinner arrangements for tonight.