HC Deb 30 March 1961 vol 637 cc1515-6
32. Mr. N. Pannell

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now state what steps are contemplated to control immigration from Commonwealth countries in view of the fact that the estimated net inward movement for the first two months of this year is over five times the figure for the corresponding period last year.

Mr. Renton

I have nothing at present to add to the statement I made in reply to the debate on 17th February.

Mr. Pannell

Is not it reasonable to suppose that the publicity given recently to the possibility of controlling immigration has had the effect of stimulating the inflow, and that the longer action is delayed the worse the situation will become? May I ask my hon. and learned Friend to ask his right hon. Friend to treat this matter with a sense of urgency, as at the present rate we are facing the prospect of an influx of more than 100,000 of these immigrants this year?

Mr. Renton

Whether the debate had the effect which my hon. Friend suggests is a matter on which nobody can draw a firm conclusion. But my hon. Friend is right in saying that immigration is continuing at a very high rate. We are going ahead with our consideration of this matter. Meanwhile, my hon. Friend will have noticed that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is in the West Indies and having consultations with the West Indian Prime Ministers.

Mr. Dugdale

Will the Under Secretary ask his right hon. Friend to exercise his usual caution in this matter and not be stampeded by his hon. Friend? Does he realise—I am sure he does—that this is an exceedingly difficult question which cannot be settled in a day or two because there happen to be a few extra immigrants?

Mr. Renton

My right hon. Friend is never stampeded on any occasion.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Is not there enough evidence in the world today of the difficulty of multi-racial societies to give us cause to pause before we go any further in creating a multi-racial society here?

Mr. Awbery

Can the Minister give the figures of emigration and immigration? Regarding the point raised by the hon. Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby), is he aware that when we send English people abroad we help to create a multi-racial state in the places to which they go, and so a difficulty arises there as well?

Mr. Renton

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question.