§ Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ 10.15 a.m.
§ Mr. Richard Wood (Bridlington)
On Second Reading, several of my hon. Friends and myself drew attention to the need for adequate statistics if the Secretary of State was to be able efficiently to exercise the powers for which he is asking under the Clause. I drew attention to the acknowledgment by the Overseas Migration Board that the sample survey had represented a considerable improvement on the statistics hitherto available, but I also drew attention to the Board's view that nothing short of a complete count of migrants would provide fully satisfactory statistics and its anxiety that the position should be reviewed at the end of this year or next year.
During the Committee stage of the comparable Bill five years ago, the present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was extremely eloquent on the matter. He moved an Amendment, which was pressed to a Division, calling for the fullest statistics so that the Overseas Migration Board could best do its work.
I do not intend to do that today, because the Board has acknowledged a useful contribution having been made by the sample survey. I should, however, like the Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs to give a clear undertaking that the re-examination of the position for which the Board has asked will take place in the fairly near future, either this year or next, and that if it is then found necessary, and if the Overseas Migration Board should desire it, there will then be introduced some means of producing fuller statistics to enable the Secretary of State the better to administer the money for which he is asking us under the Clause.
656 I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be able to give that undertaking.
§ The Minister of State for Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. George Thomas)
I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood) for the manner in which he has approached this question. I assure him that we are anxious to obtain the maximum advantage from statistics and that the Commonwealth Office will look with the utmost sympathy on what he has said.
I cannot give the right hon. Gentleman a categorical assurance about what statistics will be produced, but I can assure him that we are with him in his desire to have the statistics made available and that we will press for the recommendation of the Overseas Migration Board to be fulfilled. This would be very useful.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment.
§ 10.20 a.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
The Bill has been warmly welcomed by both sides of the House. There is a great tradition in this Mother of Parliaments of encouraging migration to the Commonwealth. I come from what I call a Commonwealth family. My mother's three brothers migrated to Commonwealth Africa and raised their families there. The families are still there. Her two sisters migrated to Canada and raised their families there. Scores of friends of mine are in Australia.
The House and the country have indefinable links with the British Commonwealth, and I believe that the world would be a weaker place without the Commonwealth. The continuous renewal of the human links which bind us to the Commonwealth is essential. On this both sides of the House are agreed. I take great pleasure, therefore, in moving the Third Reading of the Bill, which has the blessing of all right hon. and hon. Members.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.