§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. Speaker
May I announce that I have selected the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) and his right hon. Friends.
May I also say, at this stage, that today, as on so many occasions, many right hon. and hon. Members wish to speak—more than 50, in fact—and that we can have a true picture of the varied opinions of the House on this important topic only if those called will speak briefly.
§ 4.11 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. James Callaghan)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
This Bill was foreshadowed last summer by my predecessor, who indicated then that the Government intended to legislate further on race relations, and his intention was confirmed in the programme set out in the Queen's Speech.
The House has rarely faced an issue of greater social significance for our country and our children. We are discussing a subject which is heavily charged with emotion, in which there is nothing easier than to fan the flames of suspicion and resentment or of fear. That is not the responsibility, I suggest, of the House of Commons today. We are called upon to lead the country and our fellow men and women away from a prospect of strife and enmity and towards a society in which we shall live in freedom and in peace with each other, no matter what may be our race or our colour.
This is a time for responsibility, for leadership and, if I may dare to use the word, for nobility. My starting point is that a society is most healthy and most free from tension when it is based on the simple principle that every citizen within its boundaries shares equally in the same freedoms, the same responsibilities, the same opportunities and the same benefits. The history of the British people is a story of struggle to achieve full citizenship in our own country. It would be a denial of our own history if, having won 54 these freedoms for ourselves, we were now to exclude other groups who have come to live here as full citizens.
None of us can shrink from the challenge of racialism. It is a live force in this country, but I believe that it is not yet deeply rooted, and this Bill puts to the test what our response is to be. Legislation, of course, cannot stand alone. I have frequently said—the Leader of the Opposition has also taken this view—that it needs to be supported by effective social policies, but, on the other hand, social policies by themselves will not be sufficient without legislation.
I outlined to the House on an earlier occasion what the Government are doing, particularly in financial assistance for local authorities with special immigrant problems. Those with more than 2 per cent. of immigrants within their areas have a prima facie claim for special grant; last year, 57 such authorities submitted claims in respect of expenditure totalling more than£3 million, and I expect that figure to be higher this year. The Government will keep this aspect of the matter under continuing review, being mindful of the great pressures to which a number of local authorities are subject in matters of education, housing and training.
The Government have also set in hand studies of a number of other problems connected with immigration. These studies are concerned with both social and economic questions. In this work, we hope to enlist the aid of universities and other institutions, and I intend to take an active part myself in overseeing the assembly of the necessary information, much of which is lacking at the moment, and the programme and nature of the research work which needs to be done. In matters of race, so much of our prejudice springs from ignorance and from fear. Knowledge and understanding are the essential prerequisites, and are, therefore, the enemies of prejudice.
It is argued by some that legislation will do more harm than good. I might find this argument harder to rebut if we did not have the evidence of the 1965 Act to call upon. The same criticism, that it would do more harm than good, was made before that Bill reached the Statute Book—made, indeed, by some 55 senior Members of the House who are present this afternoon. They said then that it would do more harm than good, but they would be bound to admit now that experience has proved them wrong.
It is clear from the evidence of the Race Relations Board in its annual Report, and from other quarters, that legislation has proved of value in the limited field to which the 1965 Act applied. Let me quote from paragraph 22 of the Report, on the mere declaratory aspect of that law:The mere passage of the law probably decreased the incidence of discrimination.Again, in paragraph 26:The Board is satisfied that conciliation would have been virtually imposstible were it not for the sanctions provided in the Act.There is also the evidence from the United States that the very declaration of what the law is tends to lessen discrimination in practice.
Mr. Anthony Lewis, the chief correspondent in London of the New York Times, wrote in the London Times yesterday, referring to the United States:…the legislation works because most people in our two countries are basically law-abiding and will adjust to a changed legal framework.I attach great importance to the declaratory nature of the first part of the Bill. I believe that what Mr. Lewis said is profoundly true, and that the very process of giving the law brings an instinctive response from the great majority of our citizens.
The legislation which I am proposing does not seek to put any group in a privileged position. There is evidence that coloured people suffer from grave disadvantages on matters like housing and jobs. To remove those disadvantages and place them on the same footing as their fellows is not to create a privileged class. What the Bill is concerned with is equal rights, equal responsibilities and equal opportunities, and it is, therefore, a Bill for the whole nation and not just for minority groups. Its purpose is to protect society as a whole against actions which will lead to social disruption, and to prevent the emergence of a class of second-grade citizens.
Of course, legislation cannot make us love one another. Nor can it change our hearts. One cannot legislate prejudice 56 out of existence, but legislation can ensure that prejudice does not show itself overtly in acts of discrimination which provide a favourable breeding ground for resentment and bitterness.
The Bill comprises three main elements. There is, first, a declaration of public policy that discrimination is unlawful on grounds of race, colour, ethnic group or nationality. The second main element is a process of conciliation. Under the Bill, machinery is provided for hearing all parties and all sides to the argument with a view to reconciling the differences. The third main element in the Bill is the enforcement provisions that will come into play if, and only if, the process of conciliation breaks down and the Race Relations Board decides to take further action. These three elements depend upon each other; they form a common pattern.
I shall now describe some of the Clauses. Clause 1 is the definition Clause. Clause 2 does two things. First, it extends the range of public places in which discrimination on racial grounds will be unlawful, and it also extends the scope of the legislation to cover the provision of goods, facilities and services. The Bill, therefore, covers all the situations in which people meet for the common exchanges of ordinary living, in shops, in public parks, in hotels, public houses and boarding houses, in the cinema and the holiday camp, in buses and trains, in interviews with the bank manager, in negotiations with an estate agent, as the purchaser of an insurance policy, or an applicant for a mortgage.
These are examples of the areas in which discrimination on grounds of race or colour will be unlawful under the Bill. But the Bill will not inhibit the exercise of proper commercial judgment in, for example, situations such as the assessment of insurance premiums or the consideration of individual creditworthiness.
Clauses 3, 4 and 8 deal with employment. There are some encouraging signs that coloured people are being accepted in industry on their merits; but on the evidence it is abundantly clear that coloured people are handicapped in their search for work despite their qualifications. Some of them are refused the promotion to more responsible posts to 57 which their qualifications entitle them. Perhaps some of the first generation immigrants are resigned to this. But there will be growing tension if coloured youngsters leaving school in the next few years cannot readily get jobs for which they are qualified on the same terms as their white contemporaries. There is evidence that this is happening now; and these are the children who are, and who will be, the product of our own education system, brought up in our own traditions. It hardly needs me to underline the danger to our society if intelligent, high-spirited young people are marked down as second-class citizens because of their colour.
There is a great deal of industrial statemanship among employers and trade union leaders and many are concerned to prevent this problem. While I very much welcome the voluntary efforts which they are making, I propose to strengthen those efforts by legislation. Therefore, discrimination in employment matters will, under the Bill, become unlawful.
Clause 8 contains certain exceptions which deal with such matters as domestic employment and sleeping accommodations for ships' crews. In neither instance, given the personal nature of the relationships involved, does the Bill place legal obligations on the persons concerned.
An exception in Clause 8(1) provides that the employment provisions of the Bill shall not apply during the first two years to employers with not more than 10 employees and in the third year to employers with not more than five employees. This is a temporary and precautionary provision.
In drafting the legislation I have proceeded on the basis that for practical reasons industry should make the maximum use of its own machinery for conciliation. I have a considerable knowledge of that machinery and a great respect for it and I have no doubt that complaints of racial discrimination will be best settled by using industry's own procedures. But, regretfully, there are still considerable areas in the employment field where no effective joint industrial machinery is available or in prospect. Clause 15 and Schedule 2 therefore introduce statutory procedures for dealing with complaints which take full account of the present methods of 58 conciliation where they exist and cover the situation where they do not.
Complaints made to the Race Relations Board on matters of employment will be referred by the Board in the first instance to my right hon. Friend the First Secretary. If she is satisfied that the industry concerned has suitable machinery for dealing with the complaint, she will pass it on to that machinery. If there is no suitable machinery, the complaint will be investigated by the Board with the assistance of its conciliation committees as necessary.
Where the voluntary machinery settles the complaint, it will be required to report the terms of the settlement to the parties concerned and to the First Secretary; and it must also report to the First Secretary whether or not it has settled the case, not later than four weeks after receiving the complaint. It is the Government's expectation, and that of industry also, that the great majority of cases can be settled within this period, but there will be provision for further time to reach a settlement if that seems necessary. My right hon. Friend will keep the Board informed of the nature of the settlements reached.
Should the voluntary industrial machinery report that it has been unable to settle a complaint to the satisfaction of all parties, the First Secretary will report that fact to the Board. It will then be open to the Board, if it sees fit, to discuss the case with the voluntary machinery, to refer the complaint back to it for further consideration, or alternatively, to make its own investigations.
The interaction between the voluntary conciliation machinery that already exists in industry and the work of the Board is of the greatest importance. I am, therefore, glad to inform the House that Sir Roy Wilson, the President of the Industrial Court, has agreed to serve on the new and enlarged Race Relations Board. His unrivalled knowledge and experience will be invaluable to both sides in this field.
I further propose, after consultation with the First Secretary, the Confederation of British Industry and the T.U.C., to appoint two other members to the Board, with special knowledge of industry. This procedure will need to be kept under review, but I believe that, 59 with the co-operation of both sides of industry, we have forged a workable and practical scheme.
In approving the Board's arrangements under Clause 13(3), I shall require the Board to ensure that complaints about employment are dealt with under the general direction of the Board by a subcommittee which includes these two members and has Sir Roy Wilson as its first chairman.
I turn now to Clause 5, which deals with the discrimination that is practised in the matter of letting and selling property. The scope of legislation to make discrimination in housing unlawful presents perhaps the most difficult problem of all.
First, it is important that local authority housing should be covered. Many local authorities are already making great efforts to deal with their own problems in this field. I believe that the House will agree that it would be wrong to deny any citizen whose need is established the kind of council house available to anyone else merely on grounds of his race or his colour, especially as such housing is supplied through public funds.
But the majority of immigrants do not look to local authorities for their housing and the Government have, therefore, had to consider very carefully the question of bringing private housing within the scope of the Bill. This is a very personal and sensitive matter. Clearly, a person must be free to decide to whom he will sell his house and this Bill does not require a person disposing of his house to sell or let it to a particular individual. But it is a different matter to refuse to sell a house on grounds of racial prejudice or to deny anyone the right to buy on those grounds alone. The principle of making racial discrimination unlawful must, therefore, apply in this field as in others.
This is a field in which conciliation must have and will have a major rôle to play. It is not an area in which the ultimate power of the law is likely to be an appropriate weapon in any but the most blatant and flagrant case; within the terms of the Bill I shall expect the Race Relations Board to use the full scope of its conciliation procedures to 60 reconcile the differences referred to it, and to secure equality of treatment between those who are disposing of their property and those who are seeking no more than decent homes for themselves and their children to live in.
Therefore, it is not my intention, because I place great weight on the conciliation procedures of the Board, to provide the Board or the courts with power to issue interim injunctions to require the sale of a house to a particular person. It will be open to the Board—not to the complainant—to take the vendor to court to obtain damages for the complainant, both in respect of his material loss and in respect of loss of opportunity of obtaining the benefit of buying the house. But I would expect this to be done only in extreme cases of blatant refusal to sell on openly expressed racial grounds.
The main effect of Clause 5, as I see it, is that the public in general will be guided in the conduct of their affairs by the principles laid down in the Clause; and that the ordinary business of negotiation between individuals will not be influenced by considerations of race or colour.
Clause 25 provides that the new legislation shall bind the Crown, and thus makes Government Departments account-table to the Board. The public service has an exemplary record of non-discrimination, but the Government consider that to give a lead to the country as a whole on this matter members of the public service who might feel they have a grievance should be free to take their cases to the Board. But as Ministers are responsible to Parliament for the conduct of their Departments, it is sufficient that I should make arrangements with the Board under which allegations of discrimination against a Government Department will be referred to the appropriate Minister.
The Minister will investigate the complaint and endeavour to satisfy the Board that it has been properly dealt with. If the Board is not satisfied with the action taken in a particular instance, it can refer to the case in its annual report, which I am required to lay before Parliament, when it can be debated and discussed and the conduct of the Minister concerned can be called into question.
Clause 10 provides that anything done for the purposes of safeguarding national 61 security will not be unlawful under the Bill and that a certificate signed by or on behalf of the responsible Minister shall be decisive in indicating to the Board that national security is involved. The security procedures apply equally to all who have access to Government classified information, irrespective of race or colour.
The Crown will retain discretion in the case of those engaged on secret work, particularly those concerned with defence. The Crown will also retain discretion to apply nationality rules to employment in the Civil Service, the Armed Forces, and the Diplomatic Service. This is provided for in subsection (6) of Clause 25. The United Nations Handbook on Civil Service Law and Practices points out that most countries have rules of this sort. In essence, they provide that established recruits to the public service must be British citizens. They are not discriminatory in the racial sense.
Although the police are not, as a matter of law, employees, the House will note a provision in subsection (2) of Clause 25 applying the employment provision to them as though they were.
The House should also know that I am about to consult the Police Advisory Board on a proposed regulation amending the Police Discipline Code to provide that it shall be an offence for any police officer to discriminate against anyone on grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins. I am in no doubt that under the existing code of conduct chief officers of police would have taken disciplinary action against any officer guilty of such discrimination, but the proposed regulation will ensure that specific provision is made for this type of offence.
The Bill provides that the legislation will be administered by a Race Relations Board. The present Board, to whose work I should like to pay a warm tribute, consists of only three members. Clearly, with the considerable extension of its operations which the Bill proposes, it will be necessary to increase its membership, and subsection (2) of Clause 13 provides that the new Board shall consist of a chairman and not more than 11 other members. I hope that with a Board of this size it will be possible to select members who can command the confidence of all those with whom it will have to deal.
62 In addition to appointing Sir Roy Wilson and two representatives of industry, I propose that one member of the Board, whom I would appoint after consultation with the Minister of Housing and Local Government and the local authority associations, should have a special knowledge of local authority housing. I intend to select the other members of the Board on as wide a basis as possible, including members of the immigrant communities.
Clause 13 also provides for the continuation of the system of conciliation committees under which the Board at present operates, and which, because they are drawn from leaders of local opinion, are doing such good work.
Clause 14 emphasises that the first duty of the Board and its committees is to attempt to settle cases by conciliation between the parties concerned. I lay considerable emphasis on this procedure, which seems to me to be the key to the success of the legislation.
Clause 18 provides that proceedings for enforcement in England and Wales may be brought by the Race Relations Board in specially designated county courts. These courts will sit with two assessors having special knowledge and experience of problems connected with race and community relations. Similar provisions for Scotland are contained in Clause 19.
Clause 18 also empowers the Board to seek an injunction and to seek damages, either separately or together with an injunction. Damages provide an appropriate remedy against single acts of discrimination which have resulted in an individual suffering material loss. The Bill provides not only for payment of actual expenses incurred but for what is described as "loss of opportunity"; that is, the loss of any benefit which a person might have expected to receive but for an act of discrimination. I do not expect that the amount of damages involved would normally be very large but there may be cases in which a claimant can demonstrate substantial loss as a result of an act of discrimination, and I think that this should be payable in full if the case can be proved.
Clauses 18 to 22 have been criticised because they do not give powers of enforcement to the Race Relations Board 63 itself or enable it to summon witnesses or demand the production of documents. I shall, of course, listen to what is said in Committee on this point, but I would remind the House that the essential task of the Board is to settle cases of discrimination by conciliation, and at present I think that it would be inconsistent with this to give the Board judicial authority or compulsory powers. Nor do I believe that the Board will be unduly limited in its conciliation procedures by the absence of compulsory powers. The possibility of court proceedings will always be in the background, and this will be reinforced by the fact that under Clause 18 the Board, and not the Attorney-General, as under the present Act, will be empowered to bring proceedings to the courts.
Clause 23 constitutes a statutory commission to be known as the Community Relations Commission, and sets out its terms of reference. This Commission will replace the present National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants, which was appointed in 1965 by the Prime Minister, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman. The functions of the Commission will be broadly the same as those of the existing Committee, whose task has been to foster good race relations in this country but, with the Committee's agreement, I have taken the opportunity of altering its name and revising its terms of reference slightly to take account of the changing situation.
As time goes by, the Commission will be more concerned with the problems of the second generation—those born and brought up in this country who are distinguishable from the rest of us only by the colour of their skin. The new terms of reference, therefore, direct the work of the Community Relations Commission to the more general question of community relations in a multi-racial society. The Government attach the utmost importance to voluntary effort in that connection, and it is our intention, by creating this new body on a statutory basis, to give added point and emphasis to its work.
In deference to your request, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have tried to keep as short as possible my description of the main points of the Bill. There will be a great deal to be said in Committee on these 64 and many other matters that I have discussed, but I have endeavoured to set out the broad outline upon which the Government believe it right to proceed, having regard to our experience to date.
Before I conclude, I wish to refer to the Amendment put down by the Opposition, and to their attitude to the problem of race discrimination. The Amendment itself is obscure, and on a matter as important as this, especially in the light of recent events, I do ask for a precise and clear statement of the Official Opposition's policy. Let me see how far we move together in this matter. The Amendment says that racial discrimination is to be condemned. We all fully accept that. The Leader of the Opposition told us in the letter he wrote to Mr. Humphry Berkeley last week that more and better housing should be provided for immigrants, there should be more school places and improved health facilities. This we accept, too. It is already part of Government policy, although it hardly chimes with constant Opposition calls for reductions in public expenditure. However, that is an argument for another day. We march together so far in our desire in this matter.
Then I understand that the official Opposition want to control the numbers of immigrants coming into the country. That, too, is not only the policy of the Opposition, but of the Government. What is more important, it is being carried out. It is a matter of degree. The number of voucher holders arriving has been limited. Let me give the figures to the House now, and they will see what the pattern of arrival of voucher-holders is. In 1963, 30,125 voucher-holders arrived; in 1964, 14,705; in 1965, 12,880; in 1966, 5,461; in 1967, 4,978. There has been a most remarkable decline in the number of voucher-holders arriving in the country.
How, then, to explain the large number of dependants arriving in these islands? It is larger than the number of voucher-holders would seem to justify. The explanation is a clear one. The backlog of dependants are now arriving in this country whose breadwinner arrived several years ago and who has by his work and his savings been able now to afford to send for them.
65 I understand from what the Leader of the Opposition has said that he would regard it as inhuman to keep families separated. I agree with him. It must surely provide family stability when they join the breadwinner and he is able to provide for them. But, over the next few years, it must be clear, with the tightened provisions that have been contained in legislation and practice, that the number of dependants reaching this country will decline, because the number of voucher-holders itself has been sharply reduced.
So far, I do not think that there is any difference in principle on all these issues, although there may be some differences of emphasis between the Government and the official Opposition.
I come now to the final question, and it is this. I want to address a question to the spokesman for the Opposition. It is one to which I think the country is entitled to have an answer and about which the Amendment is singularly cloudy. It is a basic question of principle. Do the Official Opposition believe that it is right to legislate to make discrimination unlawful? It is essential to have a clear answer from the Official Opposition on this subject. Either they are in favour of the principle or they are against it. They cannot be modern Laodicians—neither hot nor cold.
Tonight, they will seek to reject the principle of the Bill. The Bill will fall if their Amendment is carried. The principle embodied in the Bill is that racial discrimination should be made unlawful. What is impossible for me to understand is why they take a different attitude to industrial relations from the attitude that they take to race relations.
Let me quote the official Conservative pamphlet which was issued with the authority of the Leader of the Opposition:No Act of Parliament will make people like each other or understand each other. But acceptance of this does not mean that the Government can therefore do little to influence the situation; that it should just sit on the sidelines exhorting people to change their attitudes and habits and providing voluntary conciliation machinery when disputes arise. The concept of freedom under the law is fundamental. But if that freedom is abused by irresponsible elements to the detriment of the nation or to the basic rights of the individual, the Government has the right to step in.66 That is the justification advanced by the Official Opposition for a framework of law in the field of industrial relations.
I hope that the Opposition's official spokesman will tell us what is the difference in philosophy between that and the framework of law for the preservation of good race relations. This is the justification for accepting the principle of the Race Relations Bill. I do not ask the Opposition to accept the details, but tonight they will be voting against the principle. Why? If the Official Opposition wish to amend certain provisions in the Bill, either to modify or to strengthen them, then let us consider them in Committee. That is what Committees are for.
Some people on both sides of the argument believe that the Bill is not perfect, and that there should be Amendments. Let us start a discussion. If they regard certain provisions as likely to make the law unworkable, let them try to prove their case in Committee and make them workable, not destroy the Bill. The Official Opposition will never be able to do it in Committee because they are going to vote against the Bill. There is no case for voting against making discrimination unlawful, nor for voting against the principle of settling racial disputes by a process of conciliation to be followed by the process of law. It is hard to construct a rational case for casting a vote on that subject tonight.
After the events of the weekend in which the Leader of the Opposition acted in a very firm manner, it is doubly important that votes should not be cast against the Bill on points of detail. This is a historic day. Parliament is being asked to outlaw racial discrimination. I still cannot believe that it is right for the Official Opposition to vote against that principle.
I suppose that the Amendment that was put down was originally stitched together in an attempt to preserve party unity. It is not for me to discuss the rights or wrongs of that. I certainly know the difficulties of trying to preserve party unity in a matter of this sort. I was in opposition long enough on our own Parliamentary Committee. I think that I am the only hon. Member on this side of the House who served on the Parliamentary Committee from 1951 to 1964, including my right hon. Friends here. But, since 67 this attempt to stitch party unity together, events over the weekend have changed the position.
It is important that we should have a declaration of principle from Parliament, and I wish to make this offer to the Opposition parties. If it would assist, I would be ready to discuss with them both the setting up of an all-party Select Committee or a similar Committee of this House. The purpose of such a Committee could be to oversee the operation of the 1965 Act and of the new Act; to keep the Race Relations Acts under review; and to make reports of its conclusions and recommendations as often as it considers necessary, so that the House as a whole might be involved in coping with the problem.
I make that offer because I care, as so many hon. Members do, about the future development of our country and about the necessity to preserve peace and harmony among all the races. It is on that basis that I ask hon. Members of the other parties to consider what I have said. I earnestly appeal to the Official Opposition, if possible between now and 10 o'clock tonight, to consider whether they must go on record for ever as having voted against the principle of outlawing racial discrimination. But, whatever the response, it is the Government's duty to give leadership in this matter. Every one of us in the House knows the contribution that these new citizens are making to the prosperity of our nation and to the work of our essential public services.
The Bill offers the opportunity to Parliament, on St. George's day, to declare that we shall extend in full measure to these same citizens the privileges and responsibilities that we fought for and won when we were excluded from them.
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (St. Marylebone)
Mr. Deputy Speaker, I told the right hon. Gentleman when we happened to see each other last night that, although I recognised that he would be in a position to present the House with a coherent and ordered exposition of his Bill, I would think it my duty to listen very carefully and to address my remarks very much to what he said when I heard him and, therefore, that I could not ex- 68 pect to come here with the same admirably prepared speech and with the same exactly moderated phraseology to cover each distinct point.
Quite obviously, I must answer at once the proposal about a Select Committee with which he almost concluded his remarks. His suggestion was that we should consider such a project. In the heat and flurry of a Second Reading debate, obviously I cannot say whether we should ultimately want to say yes or no to the project. However, his request was that we should consider it, and to that I can give an unequivocally affirmative reply. We must consider it. As I think the right hon. Gentleman knows, I am not a tremendous friend of the new trend in favour of Select Committees, but, if it will tend to make relations sweeter, calm opinion and assist in the oversight of policy, certainly I do not wish to turn it down. I will consider it most carefully.
Its success or failure will depend much less upon what I say than upon the willingness of hon. Members in all parts of the House and of all shades of opinion to work in co-operation with such a body. I can only ascertain that by inquiry. I do not think that I should be unreasonable if I asked the right hon. Gentleman to take that as an interim reply and added that I will cause an answer to be made later when we have had an opportunity of consulting with our various hon. Friends in all parts of the House.
I agree very much with what the right hon. Gentleman said at the beginning of his speech. I think that the House agreed, because it listened to a speech which at the end was reasonably contentious with patience and with obvious attention. It deserved both. It would be a disaster if either of the great organised bodies of public opinion upon which the country depends for its successive Governments sought to exploit or to gain political advantage from the deep feelings which are held about this topic. I think that I can honestly say that I have not done so in the past. I promise sincerely that I shall try not to now or in the future. But it has always been my philosophy that, when one is considering the Second Reading of a Bill, the contribution which a responsible Opposition can make to debate is not necessarily to oppose but to 69 provide an independent assessment of the value or otherwise of the Government's proposal. That also is what democracy is about.
I was both pleased and perhaps a little surprised that the right hon. Gentleman made an oblique reference to what we said and did in discussing the Race Relations Act, 1965, when it was still a Bill. The right hon. Gentleman reminded us that we said that it would do more harm than good. He said that, when it became an Act, it did more good than harm. With respect, I agree with both those propositions. But, on Second Reading, when we were faced with a totally different Bill from that which became law, we were right in saying that it would do more harm than good, and so we divided against it on a reasoned Amendment. When it came back to the Floor of the House, after what I can only describe as a most revolutionary but constructive Committee stage in which the whole conciliation procedure was substituted for a criminal procedure, we let it through without a Division, and I spoke from below the Gangway to give it a welcome. Therefore, I agree that it did more good than harm, and I hope that history may repeat itself.
Again we are proposing to divide the House on a reasoned Amendment. Again we will seek to improve the Bill in Committee. Again, if some of our objections are met, there may be a chance of passing the Bill on Third Reading. It depends upon the force of our arguments and the attitude with which our objections are met. But I cannot accept the implicit assumption in the contentious part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech that, when the bishop offers the curate an egg which is only good in parts, he must eat the egg or, at any rate, spoon out the bad bits in order not to offend the bishop.
There are hon. Members who do not want eggs for breakfast at all. I do not think that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) would object to being included among that company. He has no moral problem in being faced with a Bill of this kind. I have other hon. Friends—and perhaps I had better not enumerate them—who are so afraid of offending the bishop that they would eat almost anything that he put before 70 them, notwithstanding that the egg had got past the point of no return. But the great mass of us, faced with the dilemma in which we have been placed, say in all humility to the bishop, "We like eggs, but we would like a fresher one rather lightly done. Please take this one away and give us another nearer to our specification". I see nothing either offensive or immoral in that particular attitude towards the Parliamentary process.
No one thinks that the Bill is altogether a good one. Speeches were made by prominent persons over the weekend. I am, of course, referring to the Lord President of the Council and to no one else. He said that when the Bill became law it would "probably be uneven in application and partially ineffective". I am bound to say that when after that he went on to appeal to the Opposition not to divide on a reasoned Amendment, he was going a little beyond the degree of responsibility which a responsible Opposition ought to observe. We think this subject is so important that Parliament ought not to be asked to pass a Bill which will "probably be uneven in application and partially ineffective". If a Bill is partially ineffective it will bring the law into contempt. If it is uneven in application, which is what the Lord President said, it will certainly exacerbate racial relations, not improve them. Although I welcomed the view of the Lord President that religion and race are far better not discussed in party political terms—and I welcome it now—I could not help allowing the thought to pass momentarily through my mind that it would have been of vast assistance to us in 1962 if he had announced his conversion when the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill was going through the House.
I am reminded that I have not moved my Amendment, which I must do formally at the end. I am told that if I do so I shall be in order. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Whitelaw) for keeping me straight on that.
To respond to the right hon. Gentleman's demand for a statement of Conservative policy, which is the purpose of my speech about the Bill, I have been the official Opposition spokesman for Home Affairs for nearly two years now, 71 and this has been one of the most difficult and delicate of my tasks. I sometimes found it a little difficult during the weekend to realise that I was the official Opposition spokesman and that no one else was. But I have endeavoured in that period of time to establish three broad principles of policy. I do not know that they differ enormously from those of the right hon. Gentleman. I only know that they were arrived at independently.
The first is that because this country is not self-evidently under-populated at the moment and evidently has a higher standard of life than many other countries, strict control of immigration on the lines of the 1962 Act must continue to be imposed. Although I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that I could never find it in my heart to say that a man should not be reunited with his wife and young children, the proportion which the number of dependants appears to bear to the male voucher holder suggests that there is a good deal of evasion and perhaps a certain amount of abuse.
The second principle—and I beg not the right hon. Gentleman to take this personally, because he knows it, but some people who communicate with me do not—is to realise that this is not a problem which will disappear. We may want some immigrants to go away. If I were allowed to select some of the demonstrators in Grosvenor Square recently I should not be sorry to see their departure. But we are talking about a group of people who will be with us for the indefinite future and the question is: how are we to treat them? The right hon. Gentleman asks me for an unequivocal declaration of principle. I give him what I regard as an unequivocal declaration of principle. We should forget the colour of their skins and treat them as equals. I say that not for the sake of the immigrants—I should not have called them "immigrants" because many of them are and many will be British subjects and citizens. I say that not for their sake alone, but for ours. We are trying to create a Britain of which all its inmates may be proud. All the evils and sicknesses of a divided society are such as will bring a curse upon us if we do not take this, the only road to safety.
Let us remind ourselves for a moment that it is a policy to which, in law, this 72 country is committed. We signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That was not a pious aspiration. It was a legal instrument. We endorsed it by adhering to the European Convention, which largely reproduced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 2 of the Declaration states:Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.That seems to be a declaration which is unequivocal and binding on this country both as part of the fabric of international law, which we are seeking to build up, and, incidentally, as a practical policy which we must seek to perform.
There is set out in the preamble to the Declaration of Human Rights:it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.Is that unequivocal enough for the right hon. Gentleman? It is something to which I can adhere without any kind of qualification.
If one goes on to inquire what human rights are so protected, one finds that they include a right to a house, a right to employment, a right to a pension, social security, and, perhaps most important of all, a right to education. Those are the rights about which we are mainly talking, although the Bill does not list the last specifically. I can accept that unequivocally.
Perhaps I might pause for a moment in the logical development of my argument. I am sure that in the course of the debate reference will be made to American experience and American tragedies. I was not happy about the reference in the right hon. Gentleman's speech to American experience, because I do not think that the story is one of unmixed admiration, much as I love my mother's people. What I say to the House about it, and this has a definite bearing on the kind of legislation which we support, is that I am not trying to under-estimate the importance of the spark of race as the factor which explodes into violence in the streets of American cities, but that the explosive mixture is caused by under-employment, by ghetto 73 housing, by inadequate Federal social security, by the absence of medical care, and by differential education. I say that because anyone who knows anything whatever about America—I do not claim to be an expert, but I am half-American—realises that on every American shoulder there is a little black dog which says, "What will happen to you when you get old, or when you fall out of work, or when you are ill, or if you cannot afford to keep your boy in college?".
We are very fond of denigrating ourselves in this country, but I believe that we have set ourselves on the right road when we have provided those things. I believe that to try to cure racial prejudice without an adequate sub-stratum of social policy on a basis of universal provision in case of need, where there is no reference to race at all, is like trying to carry water in a bucket with a hole in the bottom.
I start from there, but before I come back to the main line of my argument I should like to say that there is a second feature of policy which must be accepted, and indeed I thought that the right hon. Gentleman was accepting it. I think that the Government must be quite sure that they set their own house in order first, by administrative action if need be. I see not the slightest need for a special reference to race in the instructions to the police. I should have thought that that was covered by the general instructions. When one is dealing with racial prejudice, I should have thought that one of the wisest precepts was to refer to race as little as possible, and to make rights universally applicable. I shall come back to that when I deal with the declaratory Clause.
Why should not Government contracts, which have a fair wages clause, have a non-discrimination clause of some kind? Why should not local authority housing, obviously by far the most important where individual sources of private accommodation are concerned, be dealt with by the Government through their general authority of the general grant? We must set an example in that way if we are to expect other people to follow in our footsteps, and still more if we expect compulsion to be operated against them.
74 I come, now, to say a few words about compulsion, although I shall have to deal almost entirely with this in what remains for me to say, and I am afraid that there is a good deal for me to say. Compulsion is the sanction of the law, but we must be sure that our instrument of compulsion is workmanlike, effective, and enforceable, or the law will be brought into disrepute. We must make it equal in operation, and be seen to be just. It must be based on a coherent theory which is seen to be just. We must carry people with us.
The Lord President's speech, and the last part of the Home Secretary's speech, leads me to say this at this stage. We cannot paper over the differences in the debate which is going on, not in this House, in perfect order, but all over the country, in every public house, in every street, in every household, and in every club, and in which it is idle to pretend that the party opposite is any more united than the party behind me. It has to be a very small party indeed to command 100 per cent. support for any particular policy in this sphere. I name no names.
That brings me to the third broad principle, because I said that there were three things which I had been trying to labour to produce for two years. We cannot achieve unity about this in a short time either between parties or between individuals, or inside parties. What we have to learn is how to debate these contentious matters without losing our own tempers, or causing other people legitimate offence. I have laboured that more seriously than I have laboured any other part of the things that I have been trying to do. I really have. It is as much a part of my policy, and of the Conservative Party's policy, as the two more substantive principles which I have been trying to elaborate.
I said that I would have to speak about my right hon. Friend's speech over the weekend. This is where I fall foul of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). I am bound to say so, for this reason. There is nobody that I admire more in this House than I do my right hon. Friend. We have so much in common. We have the same love of Greek literature. We have the same devotion to the same political party. We have the 75 same religion, the same religious beliefs. But if one is going to say—and this was my right hon. Friend's analogy, not mine—that we are living in a roomful of gunpowder, and if one is going to say—and this was his analogy, not mine—that this Bill, which in many ways I think inappropriate, and which we have said in our Amendment will, on balance, do more harm than good—is like lighting a match to the gunpowder, it might be thought a little careless to go about with a lighted cigarette in one's mouth, flicking the ash all over the place. That is the modern equivalent to the mote and the beam, and the gnat and the camel.
If one is going to say, and goodness knows many of us have thought, that the streets of our country might one day run with blood—and make no mistake, it is usually the innocent, usually the defenceless, and sometimes just the ordinarily good, who are the victims of that kind of violence—then surely one ought to consider whether, in the more immediate future, one's words are more likely to make that happen, or less likely to make that happen.
It was not as if my right hon. Friend did not know what the effect of his remarks would be. He did, because he said in terms that he could imagine the outcry he would cause. He did not come to me. He did not give me a sight of what he was going to say. He did not ask my advice, though, goodness knows, that advice is fallible enough. He summoned two television networks so that I could see him saying it. He sent a hand-out to the Press, by-passing the Conservative Office. He said what he said without a word to any of his colleagues that he was going to say it.
With the utmost charity in the world, I am bound to say that this is not what I mean by loyalty to colleagues, even if there is no more serious charge to be levelled against him. If my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition had not anticipated it, I should have gone to the Shadow Cabinet yesterday and told my colleagues that they must choose between my approach and that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, because I attach every bit as much importance in this sphere to the way things are said as to what is said in them.
76 In this world we have got to be ready to take knocks. We have got to be prepared to be called "limeys" and "pommies". Rude remarks are constantly being levelled at us. We must learn to bear them, even if they are offensive. However, there comes a point at which things are dangerous. Then it rests for public opinion in this House, not to create a false unity which does not exist, or to paper over real differences, but to create a pattern in which controversy can take place in a civilised way, remembering that the purpose of controversy is to grow together by the discussion of differences and not, by accentuating differences, to grow further apart.
That brings me to the actual terms of the Bill, which I hope to deal with shortly. If anybody had told me beforehand—I make no reproach at all against the Government for not doing this; I think that Governments are wrong to consult Oppositions; I think that it deprives Oppositions of their independence of movement if they are consulted—that the Government would introduce a Bill which would have the precise declaratory Clause which it has, plus insurance and credit in its scope, plus no adequate exclusion for small operators in employment and housing, plus a right to claim for damages, plus the removal of the constitutional officer—the Attorney-General—who is questionable in the House, within certain limits, from his rôle in relation to the Race Relations Board, I could have told them in advance that there was no chance of an unopposed Second Reading.
If people tell me that these are all Committee points, I say two things to them. First, although each one of them may be capable of amendment in Committee, the totality of them amounts to a great deal more than a Committee point or a Committee objection. Secondly, these various defects are, at any rate in my personal opinion, defects which reflect a weakness in the constitutional theory behind the Bill, and not just chance defects due, perhaps, to bad draftsmanship or compromise or inattention.
I come now to the actual defects—or some of them, because I do not want to take up an inordinate length of time. First, the declaration. I thought, and I think now, that it was a major defect in 77 the Race Relations Act, 1965, that in effect it confined its declaration against discrimination to race discrimination. That is not what the Declaration of Human Rights does: it includes religion; it includes class; it includes many other things.
This is not a minor matter. If I wished—God knows that I do not—to discriminate against the Southern Irish, I could do so by an attack on Roman Catholicism as easily as I could by an attack on their Irish ancestry, which is common with my own. If I wanted to attack the Jews—I have seen it done; I have heard it done in Parliament, in another place—I could attack their dietary laws, their methods of slaughter. I could invent some imaginary political conspiracy of rabbis. I have seen it done. When the trouble arose with the Sikhs, it was not their Indian origin that caused the bother. It was their turbans, their topknots and their beards—all points of religious observance.
If we are to go in for declarations—I must say that up to a point I am sceptical of them; I think that they are rather a sign of the formative period of law than of a refined and sophisticated period of law—let us stick to the Declaration of Human Rights and not modify it.
Secondly, scope. I do not believe that there is any case for including insurance and credit in the Bill. I will say why. I think that the economic laws operate in that field against discrimination. Underwriters, it is true, discriminate against fighter pilots, who are amongst the most noble members of the community, and did so against my son when he was an undergraduate. I believe that actuarially fighter pilots and undergraduates are more apt to have motor accidents. If I am wrong, I hope that I shall be forgiven for saying so.
I do not know, because I have not inquired—and I do not propose to inquire—what the actuarial risk attached to a newcomer from another country is. It would not surprise me if those who come from a place where there is less motor traffic had an actuarial risk greater than those of us who have been brought up with the internal combustion engine in their Christmas stockings.
If I were on the Race Relations Board—may I say in passing that I welcome 78 the appointment of Sir Roy Wilson, who is known to me—one of the very first things I would do would be to go round to the very highly competitive syndicates at Lloyds or to one of the insurance companies and try to make them write a beneficial policy for London bus drivers who had been in service for more than six months. I reckon they would make more on it. I reckon that that would be a much better way of dealing with discrimination in insurance matters than by passing a law to say that the whole thing has got to go to Mr. Mark Bonham Carter and one of the series of selected county courts with two assessors.
In housing and employment, which, I agree with the Secretary of State, are amongst the most delicate of the fields in which we have to operate, it was chivalrous of the Secretary of State not to remind me, but I will remind him, that I said some months ago that I had come to the conclusion that some action was necessary. I do not propose to unsay now what I said then. On the contrary, I propose to say again what I said then, although I know that some of my friends do not agree with it.
I want to say why I thought it and then why I think that the Government have acted wrongly. I was convinced in the end by the evidence of the P.E.P. Report and the Street Report and various other documents that, whereas in matters of insurance and credit it was safe to leave discrimination to the economic laws to destroy it, in the fields of housing and employment there were circumstances in which the economic laws would operate in favour of discrimination and against human rights. I thought so because, with the best will in the world and without casting aspersions at anybody, employees can form up against an employer and say, "If you employ this man or this type of man, we will go on strike". Tenants can form up against a landlord and say, "If you admit this tenant, we will not pay our rent". The inhabitants of a district can go to a house agent and say, "If you do not discriminate, we will not use your services". They may do so in some cases for, if not laudable, at least morally indifferent reasons. The effect, however, would be to create a social condition which requires the attention of Parliament.
79 As to the employer, the landlord and the house agent, the law may be a protection and not a threat, because one of them might be able to say, "I cannot do that now because Parliament has passed a law against discrimination." I was always willing to accept that, or, at least, I became willing to accept it.
Although the experimental evidence in favour of that conclusion is, I am sorry to say, lamentably small, it is not nonexistent. In the experimental evidence, the notable case was that of a Mr. Levitt, who said that he owned property all over the United States of America. Where there was no anti-discrimination law, he discriminated and did not lose money because he discriminated, but he would have lost money if he had not. Where there was an anti-discrimination law, he did not discriminate and he did not lose money because the law was obeyed. That is a sound basis for legislation.
What it is surely necessary to do is to differentiate between two quite separate sets of consideration. The first is the haphazard effects of individual prejudice which may be morally objectionable but which are socially without significance and which, if it is attacked, confronting the two individuals concerned, almost always exasperates both and satisfies neither. The other is the mass effects due to the systematic operation of individual prejudices which, although in origin they may be perfectly legitimate or, at least, morally indifferent, creates social evils against which one may have to deal by act of Parliament.
Secondly—and I add this because it is a cognate point—if we are to do it, we must surely recognise that we are embarking on a new, or almost new, field in legislation and law enforcement. Our methods of law enforcement are traditionally based upon the division into the criminal, which carries a penalty and is enforced in practice by a public body, and the civil, which gives a remedy but not a penalty and is enforced in practice by a privately wronged individual.
In recent years, however, we have been developing a third field. Notable examples are in the Restrictive Practices Act, the Resale Price Maintenance Act, the monopolies legislation and also the 80 legislation proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) for trade unions, to which the Home Secretary referred. The essence of it in those cases, however, is that the initiation rests with the public body. The remedy rests with that public body and does not consist in a penalty. In the ordinary course—again, I am over-simplifying—we do not give rise to an individual right to damages or confront the victim with a defendant in such a way as to exasperate relations. In the field of race relations, this may be of importance.
Those of us who have practised at the Bar know what a terrible weapon of oppression damages can be and how it can embitter both the complainant and the defendant for the rest of their lives, especially when what is given to the court to estimate is not an actual loss but a purely suppositious or guesstimated sum for lost opportunity, which is what is proposed in the Bill.
I implore the right hon. Gentleman, if he wants this legislation to be a success, as, I know, he does, and as I would like it to be, too—I hope that he believes that—to consider very carefully whether the legislation in this critical sector of housing and employment would not be much better if he made vastly greater exemptions for a small employer, a small landlord, a person letting his house or part of it and an owner-occupier not using a house agent, and if he tried to operate against the mass effects, at any rate at this stage.
As I have said, the Government will not improve matters in this field unless they can carry the people with them. Some of us flatter ourselves about being progressive. But the more progressive we are in this field, and the more progressive we think ourselves, very often the more surprised we are at how our constituents say that we are out of touch with them. And so it may be the case.
I do not want to say much more—I have outstayed my welcome—but I hope that I have responded in the spirit in which it was meant to give the Home Secretary a fairly clear idea of what I would do and why I say that the Bill may be good in parts but I ask him, please, to take it away and give us a better one.
81 I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:This House, reaffirming its condemnation of racial discrimination and accepting the need for steps designed to improve the situation, nevertheless declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which, on balance, will not in its practical application contribute to the achievement of racial harmony.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Sir Dingle Foot (Ipswich)
The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) has just delivered a speech of studied moderation. It was a speech which in parts commanded the assent of hon. Members on this side of the House. I particularly welcomed what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said about colour prejudice and our obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention, on Human Rights. In passing, however, I would like to express the hope that we shall hear similar references and sentiments from the Opposition Front Bench when next the House debates Southern Rhodesia.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman delivered an extremely moderate speech, but at the end of it I was completely at a loss to know why his name appears to the Amendment. I gather that he did not dissent from the aims of the Bill. Its aims are set out in Clause 2, from which I quote:It shall be unlawful for any person concerned with the provision to the public or a section of the public (whether on payment or otherwise) of any goods, facilities or services to discriminate against any person…I leave out the rest. That is the aim of the Bill.
I gather that the right hon. and learned Gentleman—I do not know to what extent he speaks for his colleagues—does not dissent from the aim of the Bill. If so, does he say that it should never be embodied in legislation? If the answer to that question is in the negative, what form of enforcement would he prefer to that which appears in the Bill? That is the crucial question which the party opposite have to answer.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to envisage a different kind of procedure. He referred to the monopolies legislation and the work of the Monopolies Court. Here, however, there is a fundamental difference. When deal- 82 ing with monopolies, one is dealing with the public interest and with large corporations. In the Bill, we are dealing with something quite different. We are dealing with individual grievances. It is the protection of individuals with which this whole Measure is concerned.
I join the right hon. and learned Gentleman in his welcome to the recruitment of Sir Roy Wilson to the Race Relations Board. The members of the Board have done admirable work since it was formed in 1965. Its last published Report is a masterly document containing quite unanswerable arguments in favour of the Bill or similar legislation. We should acknowledge what the Board has done while welcoming the addition of Sir Roy Wilson.
In the past few days a great deal has been said and written on race relations. Some letters and articles have very clearly implied that there is a natural incompatibility between peoples of different races and colours. We on these benches utterly reject that notion, and it is also rejected by a good many hon. Members opposite. It is manifest nonsense. There are many communities in the world—some nations and some communities inside nations—where different races live and work quite amicably side by side. It is true in the West Indies, and in various Commonwealth countries.
In our own country we have the example of our student population. We have thousands of overseas students, and one cannot go to any university or technical college today without seeing students of different races and colours mixing with complete freedom and complete lack of embarrassment. One can see the same phenomenon elsewhere, and I see it every day when I go to the Inns of Court. There is no problem of clash of race or colour so long as there is equality of status and what used to be called parity of esteem.
The House must ask itself two questions on the Bill. Is there a problem which requires to be solved? If so, can we help to solve it by legislation? Everyone would agree that the first question admits of only one answer. There is the evidence which was contained in the P.E.P. Report last year and which is referred to in the Report of the Race Relations Board. No one can have any doubt that in many parts of the country 83 there is widespread discrimination in housing and employment. Of course, we all agree that that cannot be wholly solved by legislation. It depends on the climate of opinion, but the climate can alter. Sometimes it can alter very rapidly.
When I paid my first visit to Kenya in January, 1952 there was in hotels and other places of resort in Nairobi a colour bar hardly less rigid than that which now prevails in Pretoria or Salisbury. I arrived late one evening at the airport and was met by two coloured friends. One was a member of the Legislative Council and the other was a West Indian lawyer in practice in East Africa. We drove to a hotel in Nairobi where accommodation had been reserved for me. My two friends went in first, carrying my suitcases. They were refused admission by the manager at the door and a moment later he refused to admit me. My first experience of East Africa was being out on the street at 10 o'clock at night.
That was in 1952. In those days it was practically impossible for an African or an Asian to go into any of the principal hotels in Nairobi. I continued going there, and only three or four years later things had completely changed. My wife and I could go into a hotel and ask any of our African or Asian friends to join us and nobody batted an eyelid. That is an example of how quickly these things can change.
Indeed, we saw a change in the climate in this country between the General Election of 1964 and that of 1966. In Smethwick and elsewhere, and even to some extent in my own constituency, racial prejudice played a very considerable part in the 1964 election. In the 1966 election it had almost entirely disappeared. Part of the credit for that is due to the Leader of the Opposition for the attitude he adopted in the 1966 election. I want to emphasise that there was a complete change of climate between 1964 and 1966.
But now the question we must consider when we are thinking about the racial discrimination which undoubtedly exists at present is whether the climate can be altered in some degree by legislation. I am one of the very few Members who was here in 1936. We then had a very similar problem. There was a very ugly situation, as we had the Blackshirt processions through the streets in the 84 East End of London. In those days the provocation came from Sir Oswald Mosley, who made the same sort of speech then as the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) makes now. The only difference was that in his case the venom was directed against the Jews. We were faced with appeals to racial prejudice in 1936 and Parliament passed the Public Order Act. I shall not remind the House of all the details now. There have been very few prosecutions under that Act, but that means that it has in large measure achieved its purpose. It brought about a very considerable transformation in the circumstances that then prevailed in London.
Here we are dealing with discrimination, and I suggest to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone that we cannot ignore the American experience. We know the events that have taken place in the United States during the past few weeks. In that kind of situation there are not only differences of race and colour but social differences which coincide. The Street Report, to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred, seems to me to contain the most convincing evidence as to what can be achieved by legislation. On page 41 it refers to changes in the attitude of industry, and states:Further evidence of changes in public opinion which can be directly related to legislation is to be found by examining changes in the attitudes of industry, the unions and other bodies towards legislation. When a bill was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature to outlaw employment discrimination in 1945, it was fiercely opposed by industry, the unions, the churches, the legal Profession and other groups, on the grounds that it would interfere with freedom of choice, and would ultimately increase prejudice. In time the law ceased to be opposed, and on the contrary, industry began to develop its own schemes to co-operate with the commission and to further its aims. This pattern of opposition followed by acceptance and then active co-operation was reproduced in many States. The final stage is exemplified on a national scale by 'Plans for Progress' and by the vigorous support given by the leaders of trade unions to the introduction of Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act, 1964.That was the experience in the United States, and the result described there would not have been brought about without legislation.
I shall not at this stage go into the details of the Bill. I agree with the right 85 hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for St. Marylebone that it is necessary to examine the Clauses with great care. But the question which some of my hon. Friends and I ask ourselves is whether the Bill will be really effective for its purpose. I turn for a moment to one of the enforcement proposals. Under Clause 14, if a complaint is made, the Race Relations Board must make inquiries, it must send the conciliation officer, and then, only if he fails, can the Board as a last resort go to the courts for an injunction.
I agree that in many cases resort should be had to conciliation before anyone makes an application to the court. But there must be some cases in which it is obvious that conciliation can produce no effective result and in which time runs on. Time may be extremely important for the man who wants to buy a house, get a job, or whatever it may be. Therefore, the one point on which I criticise my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is in his reference to interim injunctions. In my view, it ought to be within the discretion of the Board, in a proper case, after receiving a complaint, to apply to the court right away for an interim injunction. An injunction is always a discretionary remedy. It is not something which the court must grant, and in each case the judge would grant an interim injunction only if he thought that it was justified in all the circumstances.
In my view, it is of the utmost importance that we pass the Bill now. I say that for two reasons. First, as the Home Secretary said, we are reaching a stage when we have here children who either came to this country at a very early age or were born here and who are now leaving school and coming on to the labour market. This is happening in my constituency, and I suppose that it is happening in many other places as well. They are not discriminated against at school. There is no sense of race or colour among school children. But these young people may have to encounter discrimination when they apply for jobs. This is why it is extremely important that we legislate at this stage.
There is an even more compelling reason. If we did not pass the Bill, or if it were watered down in Committee, this would be interpreted throughout the 86 Commonwealth and the world as a surrender to racialism. If there were no other, that would be the reason why we should pass the Bill, and a very heavy responsibility will rest upon those who vote against it or who try to impede its progress.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Mr. W. F. Deedes (Ashford)
As the Home Secretary reminded us at the outset, the Bill deals with a difficult and contentious social subject. Unlike some hon. Members, I do not find it in the least surprising, therefore, that it should tend to divide parties within themselves or even colleagues one from another. Indeed, I should think it surprising if it did not have that effect, though I must add that, for most of us at least, the brilliant speech delivered by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) will have helped to restore a little perspective to the scene.
The Home Secretary was quite fair, but he was critical of our attitudes to the Bill. In my view, one is entitled to begin by being a little critical of the Home Office's and Government's approach to and handling of the Bill. The Home Secretary passed rather lightly over the preliminaries which have led to the arrival of the Bill at only 14 days' notice so far as the public and the House of Commons are concerned. No one can read the sober account by Mr. Norman Fowler which appeared in The Times this morning—which from my knowledge of the facts I know to be true—without accepting that the Government's handling of this Bill during the past year or so leaves a great deal to be desired. The Government have elected, virtually, to keep the public in the dark.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Ennals)
§ Mr. Deedes
The hon. Gentleman may dispute that later, but the Government have undoubtedly kept a great part of the public in the dark about it. There have been very few attempts by Ministers to convince, to justify or to explain, and the simple outcome is that the Government, having given themselves 14 months to prepare a Measure of enormous import, have given the country and the House 14 days in which to digest it. I 87 regard that neither as defensible nor as an emollient approach to this difficult subject.
What matters now, I suppose, is how we grope our way to the right answers, not the quarrels which may occur on the way. I only wish that I felt that the Bill would help to redeem the history of mistakes which we have all made, at least during my time in the House. Because I fear that, on balance, it will not redeem those mistakes but may well add one more to them, I shall tonight have no hesitation in supporting the Amendment. I say "on balance" because the history of our endeavours in this field suggests that a note of diffidence, even of humility, on the part of anyone who addresses himself to the subject from either side of the House is not out of place at this point. None of us can afford to stand here in a white sheet and point the finger of reproach at anyone else.
I say at once that we on our side havered over the question of immigration control as far back, within my knowledge, as 1954. I held the hon. Gentleman's job at the Home Office, and I remember the history very well. But we acted eventually in 1962. The party opposite, with passionate sincerity, assailed what we were doing. On taking office, it felt it necessary to adopt the same policy more rigorously. Perhaps "policy" is the wrong word. In the minds of many people in this country—I am not sure that they are far wrong—we have no immigration policy, or not one which is clearly understood, not one which we understood ourselves last February. I speak here of both sides. We have tended to scuttle from one expedient to the next, as we did in February, without coherent thinking and thus without any really convincing pretext for enlisting public co-operation at this critical point. We did nothing about race relations until the Bill of 1965, and then, as my right hon. and learned Friend reminded us, with a Bill that would have been disastrous if it had not been radically altered in Committee.
The present Bill has been painfully threaded together and thrown to the public without rehearsal by Government White Paper, announcement or statement of any kind and without any real pre- 88 paration on the issues involved. It incorporates new and, to some, astonishing principles of law. I take the point made by my right hon. and learned Friend, as a lawyer, about the constitutional aspects of it, and I only regret that some of these points are in danger of being lost—I hope that they will not be—in the emotive arguments about race.
What appals and saddens me is that those elements of truly liberal opinion in this country which ought to regard this sort of law making vigilantly and critically have—or many of them have—simply assailed the Bill's critics as, if not racialists, something not much less. We are being told, in effect, that to act against racial discrimination is so strong a cause as to justify methods which, in my view, would not be contemplated for a moment outside this sphere by the House. For example, I understand from reading the Bill that the Race Relations Board is to be given inquisitorial powers to investigate complaints or, without complaint, allegations of racial discrimination—and, it appears, not publicly but privately—and that it will then determine whether to bring legal processes against someone whom it decrees has offended. That takes us some way beyond where the law stands now. That is not a detail which can be blinked over here and then mulled over in Committee. Speaking as a layman and not as a lawyer, that to me goes to the root of English law. I genuinely fear the note of almost religious fervour in some attitudes towards the Bill, and this may make a proper vigilance of its detail difficult. I hope that we will approach the Committee stage in a different state of mind.
It may well be—and here I attempt to answer the question posed by the Home Secretary—that the law must be enlisted to help us stamp out racial discrimination. I cannot believe that bad social practices can be remedied by the law made in this Bill, so much of which is bad. Rather, I fear that in some respects they will flourish in an atmosphere of resentment.
We are told—and Professor Street argues this forcefully in his Report—that America has found the law necessary and useful. I am sure that that is true as far as it goes, but nobody can have read the United States Riot Commission Report, produced under the distinguished 89 chairmanship of Otto Kerner—which I spent part of my Easter reading; it must be one of the most remarkable State documents of our time—without realising that the law does not go nearly as far as some might wish to think; that legislation even of this kind can really only scratch the surface of the problem. How we plan and build our cities, towns and suburbs, how we educate our people, particularly the young, and how we enlist and use the agencies which every civilised country has at its disposal are some of the bigger, harder and decisive issues which must be faced. We have hardly begun to think about these things. We have had no lead on them and I do not believe that the Bill will promote serious public thinking about them.
What I resent above all is our total failure to give voluntary effort encouragement and a fair trial. It is fair for hon. Gentlemen opposite and others to ask, "What would you do?"
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
Like the right hon. Gentleman, I spent part of my Easter reading the American Report to which he referred. Would he agree that it emphasises, particularly in housing and similar matters, the need for legislation to be extended?
§ Mr. Deedes
It is perfectly true that, within that sphere, it advocates an extension of legislation, and I agree that to some extent that contradicts what I was saying. However, if one sees the social scene as set by the Report one realises that there are other elements involved besides legislation.
As I was saying, those of us who support the Amendment might reasonably be asked, "What would you do?" For my part, I would have made a much stronger approach to what is, after all, the greatest asset we in this country have—the enormous network of agencies and voluntary organisations—and I would have sought to enlist them, as we have not tried to do in this case. We are the most organised race on earth. We have at our hand not simply voluntary organisations but bodies like the T.U.C. and confederations of employers, some of which have already attempted to do valuable work here.
Why not present them first with a stronger challenge and give them a 90 chance to meet it? Perhaps we could make it clear to them that if they fail, legislation would become the alternative. If we do not believe that that approach might be possible and could work, then this Measure is foredoomed, for without that approach the Bill will prove unworkable, remembering the degree of public co-operation which will be needed to make sense of the Bill and that voluntary effort, to which the Home Secretary rather late in the day referred, will be crucial to its success or otherwise.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York) rose——
§ Mr. Deedes
I will not give way because I wish to be brief and because I am trying not to be contentious.
It is legislation pitched upon us in this style to which I object, because I fear that it will not foster this voluntary spirit but rather the reverse. We are really saying that the British people cannot be trusted to act properly in this matter—this after they have not been told very much about it—and that now they must be coerced. We are passing a vote of no confidence on our own people and organisation, and I cannot accept that.
Collectively we have wholly failed to produce an immigration policy which is convincing and calculated to inspire public confidence and co-operation. We have a large share of the blame and, for our failure, we are now, it seems, blaming them—to an extent which the survey published this morning indicates is far from justified. Discrimination is not a natural instinct of the people of Britain. It arises largely, where it arises, from fear and from lack of confidence—and for that we in Parliament hold a considerable share of responsibility.
We have a particular duty in Parliament to look beyond the immediate issues, which are so emotionally exciting to some, and to pay some regard to the kind of law which we are promoting, and then to the kind of people for whom we are promoting it. I do not believe that one can achieve justice for a minority by inflicting injustice on the majority—not in this country, no matter how good, how noble the cause. Indeed, history suggests that the nobler the cause, the more likely it is ultimately to lead 91 to cruelty and injustice. It is on that, above all, that we in Parliament have a duty to be watchful and to try to see a little further than the rest. This will be a very hard test for us, but, in my view, it is unquestionably the only test by which we can now attempt to redeem our record in this matter and ourselves.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Paul B. Rose (Manchester, Blackley)
I welcomed the restrained and statesmanlike tenor of the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg). I also welcome the scope and breadth of the Bill. I begin by reminding the House of this passage in the Street Report:There is no necessary correlation between the quality of drafting a code concerning racial discrimination and the effectiveness of that code in operation. The machinery to implement the law is as important as the substantive law itself.In an Adjournment debate which I initiated on 27th May, 1966, I proposed certain methods of remedying the deficiencies of the 1965 Act, a Measure which I described as lacking teeth and guts. It sems that we have now got some guts injected into that Act, although the teeth need sharpening.
The machinery relating to the Race Relations Board is much improved, the strengthening of the Board in size and in power is to be welcomed, and I hope that future appointments to it will be imaginative. With its conciliation committees, it is right that it should take over the powers of the Attorney-General to bring recalcitrant discriminators to the courts. But without power to subpoena witnesses and order the production of vital documents, its functions may be undermined. It is not good enough to say, as the Home Secretary says, that this power is unnecessary because the courts have such a power and because the Board's object is primarily that of conciliation. We want conciliation rather than action before the courts, and, without the appearance of the parties before the Race Relations Board, it is impossible to have any conciliation. This above all other defects in the Bill must be remedied.
Nor, as was pointed out earlier, is there any interlocutory relief. For example, when a person is denied a house or job 92 and the sale goes through, or the job is given to someone else, if he goes to the Board something in the nature of an interim injunction should be obtainable at short notice when there is prima facie evidence of discrimination. Something of that nature would remedy that defect, because there is scant satisfaction to a complainant if the job or house has already gone when he succeeds in his action before the Board or court.
The damages awardable by the court should also take into consideration the distress and the humiliation and the affront to human dignity to the person who is discriminated against, and that does not appear to be provided for. Some of the exemptions in the Bill will have to be questioned in Committee, and I expect a whole series of probing Amendments for explanations of the purposes of various Clauses, particularly Clause 8(2) which refers to preserving a balance of different racial groups. At the very least, an assurance must be given that this subsection will not be used to provide a loophole to evade the provisions of the Bill. This may well be done by leaving the judgment of whether exceptions are bona fide on the part of an employer to a decision by the Board rather than action before the county court.
It is interesting that clubs should not be included by the Bill. Some by their very nature cannot be included. Some clubs are set up to bring together people of a particular background, but when clubs purport to be open to the general public and the only criterion for membership is ability to pay membership dues and abide by the rules, then only those factors should be considered when dealing with an application.
It is rather ironical that the Opposition should oppose this Bill only a week or so after the passing of the Civil Rights Bill in the United States of America. American experience above all should demonstrate the need to act quickly in this matter before the problem solidifies. If the Americans had acted in this way 20 years ago, they might have been excused some of the problems which have occurred recently. Certainly, far from exacerbating tensions, as some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite say, this is the way to avoid tension and to avoid the ghetto situation which has arisen 93 in the United States. It is discrimination outside the ghetto which creates the ghetto, and that is what the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) purports to fear when he talks of whole areas of a city being taken over and of whole cities being taken ever. Of course that can happen if discrimination goes on. One of the results of opposing discrimination and taking action against it by law is to prevent that situation, to prevent the concentrations which lead to this kind of tension.
It is also ironical to note in this debate the criticisms made at the time of the 1965 Bill, when Mr. Peter Thorneycroft, then leading for the Opposition, said—and I well remember that speech—that the then Home Secretary wastackling a very narrow area of discrimination. If one asks those with any knowledge of the subject what the areas are, they will say that the most important are employment and housing."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd May, 1965; Vol. 711, c. 946.]Much of the criticism of that legislation seemed to be that it did not go far enough, but this goes much further and we are still waiting for the support of the Opposition. Mr. Thorneycroft went on to say that the 1965 legislation dealt with the extreme outer edges of the target. Happily, that criticism is not justifiable today, and to oppose the Bill is to fly in the face of the evidence which has been given by the Race Relations Board itself, by the P.E.P. Report, and by the Street Report on anti-discrimination legislation.
There are some people who see opposition to the Bill as a rather cynical piece of political manoeuvring, who put the exploitation of the crudest political clamour of the bigots before principle. I do not dissent from the view that legislation alone cannot solve the problem. The Street Report itself said:Protection against discrimination must be buttressed by an extensive educational programme.But those who oppose the Bill are usually precisely the same people who do nothing to educate and who do nothing to stimulate positive action to promote harmony between different communities. Rather like the biblical injunction to love the stranger as thyself, quite apart from the effect which it may have in law, the Bill is largely a declaration of 94 public policy and a declaration of public morality. It backs up those who might otherwise yield to social pressures, who do not want to discriminate themselves, but who are nevertheless not willing to stand up and who therefore discriminate.
Public attitudes all too often are determined by and derived from public actions. Discrimination, therefore, is not merely caused by prejudice, but itself also causes and contributes towards prejudice.
As has been stressed, this is not a Bill merely for the sake of the minority; it is a Bill for the sake of the majority as well. It allows for the humiliation, this pent-up humiliation, to express itself in a lawful form, rather than in the uglier forms which might otherwise occur.
I do not propose to go into all the details of the Bill. I have already drafted a large number of Amendments and I promise to keep this speech short, but I should like to mention one or two matters. First, the time limit of two months for an application seems to be remarkably short. Many applicants will not know the law and, by the very nature of this problem, they will need advice.
Secondly, the incitement provisions of the 1965 Act are left entirely untouched. The loophole for those who publish offensive literature, by allowing them to form a book club, is not touched by this legislation. This is at a time when the chain of racialist and neo-Fascist groups in this country under the surface is a frightening aspect of the danger which lies in the kind of speech to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred. The road from humane repatriation to the final solution by other means is not very far to tread, and those of this generation who know a little about that ought to beware of making the kind of statement which can lead in that direction. The terms of the 1965 Act on incitement should be extended in order to cover the deliberately offensive material which is still published in spite of the 1965 Act because that wording was not strong enough.
Religious discrimination is not included. A special problem which has come to light in connection with the Sikh community, for example, may be capable of solution only by including religious discrimination. In Committee on the 1965 95 legislation, I referred to the possibility of avoiding those provisions by saying that one's motives were religious. Perhaps my misgivings were overcome to some extent after the Colin Jordan case, but religion might well be used as a subterfuge for racial discrimination and incitement, and this matter should be seriously considered.
There is another subject which is always considered to be taboo in the House. I cannot see why this legislation should not be extended to religion and made to cover Northern Ireland. The Human Rights Bill was put forward by Sheila Murnaghan in Stormont and rejected. It is up to this House to take action to implement the Conventions signed by us. I am sick and tired of one Home Secretary after another trotting out the excuse that we have a convention that we must not interfere in Northern Irish affairs. Yet hon. Gentlemen from Northern Ireland come to this House and will vote against this Bill tonight. [Interruption.] My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) will be supporting it, I know. However, the Bill does not apply to the Northern Ireland constituencies.
This is Human Rights Year, and the Bill will make a fitting contribution to it. If I were to leave Parliament and if I had done nothing more than contribute something to this Bill I would be satisfied. I am not unaware of the unpopularity of this view in certain quarters, nor am I unaware of the strength of irrational feeling being whipped up. I for one would rather not be a Member of this House than yield to bigotry, prejudice and racialism.
§ 6.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
We can all agree that we have listened so far to four remarkably effective, interesting and moving speeches. It would be proper to refer to one speech not so far referred to in this House, and that is the speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). Whatever one may think of that speech, good or bad, there is no question but that it has made a great change overnight, and catalysed the various views and opinions held throughout the country. It should be taken into account when the House debates the Bill.
96 Speaking personally, I cannot see that the reasoned Amendment of my Party is intellectually acceptable. Speaking generally, I believe that the Amendment, politically and practically, to be inept. My right hon. and learned Friend for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), in a speech of great charm and interest, scarcely referred to the issue of whether legislation can play a part in the amelioration of race relations. This is the question which we must all have at the forefront of our minds. Small though this part may be, it is an important part.
I am reinforced in this view not only by the two important reports published in this country, and the much more voluminous report published in the United States, but also by the Report of the Race Relations Committee. Like the Home Secretary, I am also reinforced in that view by the article written by Mr. Anthony Lewis, of the New York Times, in the London Times yesterday. I cannot but believe that this issue is one which must be dealt with. Last night, on television, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition suggested that legislation could be important. I hope that my hon. and right hon. Friends on the Front Bench, or what is left of it, will look at this again, withdraw the Amendment and leave this to a free vote.
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) said, this is a matter of individual views and consciences. There must be differences between members of a political party and I do not find it odd that there should be. I find it healthy that this debate should be before the House and the country. The important thing is to take action now, because in many areas it is still a peripheral problem and should be dealt with before it becomes a national one. That is why I am in favour of legislative action.
The Amendment tabled by my right hon. and hon. Friends really rejects legislative action and says that it is not important. If one takes this attitude one moves to the next step, that the real solution to the problem is some form of repatriation. I do not believe this to be a practical solution. We have to deal with numbers in this country running into many hundreds of thousands. The question of stopping more coming in is different. 97 We have to deal with the problem now, and it cannot be dealt with by a scheme of repatriation. To say that the American case does not apply is not true.
These people are here just as much as Welshmen are here, just as much as a North of Scotland aborigine like myself is here. Here we are—the Jutes and the Angles and all these people, right through history. We come here because it is a good country and we must be protected under the law. I very much hope that the idea of repatriation of people here as a possible policy will be rejected. It is simply not on.
I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will consider dropping this Amendment. It is important that there should go out a message from a House which is united on this issue. The proposal for an all-party watchdog committee put forward by the Home Secretary is important, but I would like to go even further. As Mr. Lewis said in his article yesterday, we are moving into a new realm of legal relations. After the Government have won their Bill tonight, as they will, and before it goes into the normal Committee, it should go to a committee consisting of the leaders of all three political parties, so that when it goes into Committee proper it can have the imprimatur of this House and country as a whole.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Maurice Orbach (Stockport, South)
I find myself in the strange position of agreeing with almost everything said by the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser). I admire very much the stand that he has taken and the moderate words he has used in putting his point of view. While I congratulate most of the speakers who have contributed to the debate, I do not want to go over the ideology behind the arguments. I have appreciated everything that has been said by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg). I could not, however, understand the latter's attitude in opposing the Bill when, in all but one or two minor matters, he seems to be very much in support of legislation and action.
One of the issues that the right hon. and learned Gentleman took up was that of insurance. He said that this was an 98 area in which we ought to let the insurance actuaries operate. I want to speak of my experience in dealing with the question of prejudice in the insurance market. For 28 years I have been the general secretary of an organisation called the Trades Advisory Council. This is the only body which has been dealing with the question of economic discrimination. It has denied discrimination against the Jewish community wherever it has found it.
Very early in the history of this body I discovered that the Jews in our business community were being discriminated against by almost every insurance company. I made the sort of approach that I believe the new body that has been set up will make in respect of coloured people or people of other ethnic origins. I approached the insurance companies, and from them was referred to the actuaries who had declared that Jewish businessmen in the rag, gown, furniture and food trades were serious risks. From the insurance companies I went to the Institute of Actuaries, which told me that it was definitely correct, statistically, that Jewish traders were poor risks.
When I asked how it was possible to designate a person as Jewish I was informed that it was easy; it was only necessary to look at his name to know whether he was Jewish. I instanced a letter that I had received from a man named Abraham Levi, who was living in Abergavenny at the time and had written to me saying that he liked the idea of the Trades Advisory Council but that it would not apply to him because he was not a Jew; he was a Welsh Methodist and his people were Christians. After two or three weeks of argument the insurance companies agreed that Jews should not be discriminated against, and they have not been except in isolated instances, which we have been able to clear up without any difficulty.
Everything that has been said by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) about the attitudes that people are adopting towards coloured people was said about my parents, 60 years ago. A Royal Commission Report exists, and can be read, in which witness after witness testifies to the fact that the Jews were dirty and shiftless; that they created slums and were blacklegs, and that in all ways were 99 as bad as some of the black barbarians that the right hon. Gentleman described in his notorious speech. The Jews have proved that they can be integrated in this country and during the 28 years in which I have been working on this problem I have found no difficulty in conciliating either employers or employees to accept Jews in trade unions, trade associations or in employment generally.
During that very ugly period for the Jewish community—1947 to 1949—I found no difficulty in approaching employers who had exercised discrimination, or whose employees had exercised discrimination. For years I meditated upon this fact and considered that I was a very bright, charming gentleman who happened to be able to get beyond the irrationality of the person whom I was addressing and show him the logic of accepting a person on the basis of merit rather than religion.
I now turn to an entirely different reason for the success that I have achieved. I have dealt with about 6,000 cases of discrimination and I doubt whether 0.01 per cent. has been unsuccessful. The reason is that there was a sanction behind my approach. When I approached an employer and said that I represented the Trades Advisory Council, an organisation of Jewish businessmen, industrialists and professional people, including firms like Marks and Spencers and—at that time—Unilevers, or whatever the other firms might be, I conjured up in the mind of the anti-Semite whom I was approaching a picture of the world Jewish conspiracy that he had adopted as a prejudicial link, and he was for the moment worried about the economic effects of any sanctions that he thought I might want to introduce. In fact, no such sanctions were ever contemplated.
I bring up the question of the Jews, because in my opinion religion must be included in the Bill, not because of the Jewish community but because, even going about the Lobbies of this House, apart from going around outside, I hear too much about a minority called the Romans. I detest the word, and also the attitude in which I am spoken to by people who are referring to a minority with a religious faith which does not happen to be mine. I therefore hope that the question of religion will be 100 introduced in Committee because, although under the term "ethnic origin" we can include Jews of all kinds, whether religious or non-religious, we cannot include under that term the religion of a certain person——
§ Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas (Chelmsford)
I speak as a Roman—whatever that may mean. Does the hon. Member realise that not only I but the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster has made it quite clear that he does not wish the Roman communion to be covered by the terms of this or any other Bill?
§ Mr. Orbach
I am not sure how many Roman Catholics would agree with that sentiment. At any rate, it does not apply in respect of the agitation which we had recently against the Sikhs.
Clause 8(2) of the Bill sets up a quota system. I find that more unacceptable than complete discrimination. It means that we accept the idea of racialism. In the circumstances, I hope that the Minister will withdraw this provision in Committee.
Clause 9(1) provides thatNothing in this Part of this Act shall render unlawful an act which is done in order to comply with the provisions of any enactment passed or other instrument made for charitable purposes…Many schools operate as charitable trusts, having been set up originally for the indigenous poor but now being used for the children of the useless rich. This Clause will need examination before we can accept it.
Clause 25(6,a) raises the question of public service. This provision should be spelt out more precisely. We shall want much more information from the Home Secretary because certain Ministries have laid down regulations not only concerning the birth of applicants, but the birth of the applicant's parents and, occasionally, grandparents. Under those circumstances, there would be discrimination not only against British subjects but against British subjects who are the children of British subjects.
I am disturbed about the question of conciliation, because I have found that it can be a very explosive subject. The division that I previously represented—Willesden, East—was the first in the country to set up an International Friendship Council. Although Willesden, East 101 probably has more coloured people, or people of different ethnic origins, than any other constituency, there has been a complete absence of difficulty because of the efforts made during the past 12 years to integrate coloured and other people who live in that division.
I ought to call the attention of the House to the fact that when I first stood as a candidate at Willesden, East I could appeal to the Welsh miners who had settled in the district. When I was elected as a Member of Parliament I found them complaining about the Irish who had come along and were looking for jobs. Later, the Irish complained about the Indians who were moving into the district, and then the Indians complained about the West Indians who moved in later. Willesden has learned the lesson. People have integrated and are getting on well with one another and I hope that others may learn from that.
What I deplore about the speeches we had over the weekend from hon. Members opposite was that they were turning the clock back. Over 100 years ago the Governors and other administrators of our Colonies and territories received this instruction, forbidding them from creating any ordinance whereby persons of African or Asiatic birth might be subjected to any disabilities or restrictions to which persons of European birth or descent were not also subject. If we could agree upon that as an administrative act well over 100 years ago it is disgraceful that at this stage learned Members of the House should be opposing a Bill which has such great importance at a time when we have seen that the absence of Bills and Acts of this description has led to a great deal of difficulty in other parts of the world.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
I wish at the outset to refer to an aspect of the Bill which has, I think, received as yet very little consideration. My right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), in a speech to which I listened with considerable interest, illustrated this by asking the question whether legislation can play a part in the amelioration of race relations. It seems to me that that is not the right question. The right question is, should it be used? That is 102 the one to which neither my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) nor, up to now, anyone else has given very much consideration.
In my view, the Bill before the House would make very deep and damaging encroachments into the proper sphere of personal decision. It happens to be about race relations, but my attitude to it would be quite unchanged if it were about anything else, because to each subject as it has come before the House in the past, whether it was about divorce or homosexuality or abortion or anything else, I have tried to apply exactly the same criterion. After all, we are at present hearing agitation for a sex discrimination board supported by legislation.
The trouble is that everyone thinks that his own particular interest is of unique importance and justifies this kind of interference with personal freedom, and the hard-working words like "injustice", "prejudice", "irrationality", "human rights", "human dignity", "basic decency" are by their nature omnidirectional and can be trained on any target by any set of dedicated cranks.
Here I think that it is necessary to establish in our minds a clear distinction between what has been the experience in the United States and the position over here. In the United States the civil rights movement—if I may use a convenient expression—was in the past, before 1945 certainly, concerned with securing for Negroes political and legal rights, and for that purpose the law is the appropriate instrument. In this country every immigrant, the moment he steps over our shores and is accepted as an immigrant, steps at once into full political and legal rights and nothing whatever needs to be done in that field. So that, in fact, the Bill which is before us is concerned solely and exclusively with the intention to achieve social equality.
Unless that distinction is grasped and never lost hold of I think that false analogies may be drawn, and that a degree of urgency and priority may be put forward for the provisions of this Bill, which appear to justify the encroachment on personal freedom which it represents. I do not wish in what I hope will be a very short speech to go into the question of 103 privilege which has been so much canvassed in many speeches. I believe it to be a legitimate criticism of the Bill. If the Bill is calmly considered it will be seen that it does, in fact, employ legal inequality with the intention of creating social equality.
In the case of adults it seems to me that, in general, an educative use of the law is objectionable. We have heard a great deal from the Home Secretary and from my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone about the declaratory part of the Bill. I think that I should object to it if it were indeed merely declaratory, but, of course, it is the foundation for the coercive part of the Bill. I think that in matters of this kind one is either a dirigiste or one is not. I hold one point of view and I respect the other. I cannot, however, respect those who claim the widest freedom of dissent and protest for themselves, but wish to regulate by a close and vengeful prescription the words and behaviour of others.
Of course, it is sometimes said, "Well, it is not the first encroachment upon personal freedom in the interests of—" various aspirations. Well, it is not. I do not want to check back over the others, with which I have not always agreed, but I would put this question to the House: are we, each time such a proposal comes up, to answer the moral question, the constitutional question, by saying, "Well, it has been done before"? Because, if so, that is an argument for unlimited encroachments upon personal freedom in this process of using the law as a declaratory and educative instrument.
The line is, of course, hard to define. The line must somewhere be drawn but I would draw it, and it must be, in broad terms, on the grounds where public order is involved or contemporary necessity. Now public order is not involved here, and the question is whether contemporary necessity is involved. It must be, I would suggest, a very compelling contemporary necessity to make so deep an encroachment upon personal freedom in such sensitive areas for a purely social purpose.
The Home Secretary did seek to justify this. He said that jobs, education, houses, and so on, were the basic elements of life. But all these people enjoy those freedoms 104 and opportunities already. They are not without housing. They may not always be able to buy the house they want. Nor, of course, very often, do members of the indigenous population have the jobs they want. Many people have ideas of their suitability for jobs with which other people do not agree. This has even been known to happen to Members of Parliament.
I know that two reports have been published on which great stress has been laid. I would only say about them that I regard much of the evidence in them as suspect. One has only to look at the way in which some of it was obtained. In one case, two coloured girls were sent to say that they had higher qualifications than two other girls who were also sent to apply for the job. At the interview, they were rejected. It was, therefore, said that there was a clear case of discrimination. The purpose of an interview, surely, is to judge a person when one sees and speaks to him or her.
The two coloured girls in that case, by definition, did not have the qualifications which they claimed to have. Secondly, they were lying, Thirdly, they went in bad faith, not seeking the job but to make a report to an organisation. If I were interviewing two girls in those circumstances and I did not finish up with some kind of adverse sense, I should regard an interview as a wholly useless operation. I mention this only because that agent provocateur system is always open to that objection where an interview is involved.
Reference has been made to insurance, to which the hon. Member for Stockport, South (Mr. Orbach) also referred. This illustrates precisely the fallacy of this kind of Bill and the attack on prejudice. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) said, university graduates as a category are penalised. That is very unfair to some undergraduates who may be sober and discreet drivers, but in their first year the insurers do not know who is sober and discreet and who is not. They therefore take them as a category based upon experience. That is quite lawful.
If the Bill is passed, it will be unlawful to take coloured people as a category even though actuarial experience may show that a significant line of category may be drawn around a coloured community. Since insurance proceeds by 105 categories and by experience, it is wrong that it should be forbidden by law.
I turn at once to the mechanics of the Bill, to which not enough attention has been paid. Let us get it clear that we are here borrowing an American procedure and taking it over virtually lock, stock and barrel. It is interesting to see what the American propagandists over the past few years have been telling us that we ought to do and why, because we have it in the Bill.
The first principle on which the American propagandists insist is that the legislation must cover everything. The Bill is indeed comprehensive. The second principle is that enforcement must be mainly administrative so as to overcome the reluctance of individuals to make and prosecute complaints, but to put it in the hands of a board which is amply provided with public funds. That is the system of the Bill.
The third principle is very interesting. The Home Secretary referred to the mildness of the civil procedure and the conciliation procedure. It is interesting to see what is the American commendation in this respect. The Americans say that the civil, and not the criminal, procedure should be used, for the following reasons. In the criminal procedure, proof must be beyond reasonable doubt. There may be trial by jury. The fines may be too small and it has been found that judges are reluctant to imprison in this class of case, whereas, it is said, the civil procedure has the following advantages, and I list them.
First, the damages in the civil procedure provide an incentive of possible economic gain which will encourage complaints. Secondly, proof is by the preponderance of the evidence. Thirdly, exemplary damages are a far greater detriment to the defendant than any fine could be. Fourthly, the expense of defending a civil action is always very high and a person who defends unsuccessfully may have an order for costs made against him, whereas the costs of the Board are always paid for out of public funds. Fifthly, there is available in the civil procedure the remedy of perpetual injunction as a matter of course, enforced by unlimited imprisonment. Sixthly—I am still quoting—not being technically penal, the provisions will be broadly interpreted.
106 That is the procedure in the Bill, and those are the reasons why it was chosen. In an interview with The Times some months before the Bill was published, the Chairman of the Race Relations Board said that we should be drawing heavily on American experience and that the American system included a system of escalating deterrents. We have it in the Bill. A person may have an order made against him although there is reasonable doubt of his guilt. In any event, one would scarcely dare to defend because of the cost. On this balance-of-evidence procedure, the penalties can be crushing and irresistible and bind a person's behaviour as long as he lives. It will be like being on permanent probation. It is no wonder that conciliation is such a success. The American writers observe that in those states where the enforcement procedure is sufficiently fierce, conciliation is almost invariably successful, whereas in those states where it is less fierce many people remain obdurate.
I finish this part with a quotation which is very common among those writers. It says:Conciliation in this context is a mixture of coercion and educational persuasion.The purpose of conciliation is to get the house or the job, with back pay. In the Bill, there is provision to extract a written assurance from the defendant that he will never discriminate again and the terms of settlement may include anything, including back pay, an apology or anything that the complainant chooses to insist upon. The person complained against dare not resist because the process of the law under the Bill is crushing if he tries to do so.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
The hon. and learned Member says that the process of the law is so crushing that the person complained against would not dream of opposing an application to the Board. Surely, he fails to understand that before the matter gets to that stage it has to go through the whole conciliation procedure. The Race Relations Board has to be persuaded that there is a prima facie case of racial discrimination. It is only in the case which requires that kind of burden upon the person complained against that this would ever happen.
§ Mr. Bell
Perhaps the hon. Member was not listening carefully. Of course, the Race Relations Board will have found that there was a prima facie case before even the conciliation procedure comes into operation. The point which I was making was that the conciliation procedure is coercive, because it has behind it the formidable engine of the civil method of enforcement.
What will be the effect of the Bill on race relations? In the United States so many people have spoken and written about this that it is presumptuous to dogmatise. I can but offer, therefore, a personal opinion, based upon some little evidence, that it was when the American legislation, after the war, moved into the social field out of the political and legal that the tensions rose, and that it will be the same for the same reasons here.
May I take one example to show what I mean? Suppose that now a coloured man wants to buy a house and he is not able to buy it. He will be disappointed; he may suspect it is because he is a coloured man, but he will not be sure, and the matter will probably end there. If the Bill becomes law, he may be tempted by the prospect of damages to make a complaint and then, if there is held to be a prima facie case, the seller will be dragged through the conciliation procedure. The seller will cave in at that point and sign a somewhat humiliating document. He will probably agree, indeed he may be forced to agree, to sell the house to the complainant. If he does not, he will go through the court procedure that I have described.
In that case that man, his family, his neighbours and his friends will all be deeply resentful for ever. The coloured man will for the first time have taken a formal hostile step against the native community, with psychological consequences which will remain with him for ever. It is the accumulation over the months and years of thousands of such cases that builds up the tensions from which a flash of violence comes. It is necessary to know what is in store for us in the Bill.
I ask how it came about that such a Bill could be proposed to the British Parliament. There has been a skilful and persistent campaign by a resolute minority. One American principle is, 108 "Use all disciplines", by which is meant promote or commission legal, sociological, psychological and scientific articles, blind your opponents with slanted science.
A columnist writing in The Times this morning claimed to know the recent history of this. The Government, he says, carefully avoided any major reference until after the General Election. Then it set up two inquiries. First came the P.E.P. Report and then, 10 days later—he says the timing was carefully planned—the Race Relations Board published its annual report asking for extended powers. Then, in July, we were told about the Bill. The once great Times, now owned by Lord Thomson, would twist no facts against the Bill. Its attitude to the subject is most kindly described as obsessional, and in the last week one wonders what has happened to its journalistic integrity.
The Director-General of the B.B.C. has openly said, and so informed Members of Parliament, that impartiality on the B.B.C. does not extend to what he was pleased to call racialism. One knows how the public mind can be assailed under cover of entertainment by such programmes as that featuring a character called Alf Garnett. I do not want to be unkind to the intellectualist Left, the Liberals. I have a lot of respect for the party, but their part as catalysts of tragedy is too great for mere oblivion. With unction on their lips they embalm and seek to embody the death wish of the British people. I can only trust that in this they fail.
The subject of coloured immigration is separate and distinct from the Bill, but its relevance is obvious. It was about this that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) made the speech over the weekend which has been the subject of controversy. He called for a reduction in immigration and some movement towards repatriation, which appears to have obtained approval. But it has been condemned today by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone and others for intemperance of language and for the tone in which it was uttered.
I would ask hon. Members, my hon. Friends in particular, looking back over 109 the history of the matter, where those who have used muted language have got us. For example, what part have those who condemn strong language played in procuring the passage of the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act? Those who were afraid to take any unpopular line, or to utter what 90 per cent. of the population thought at that time, are responsible for the problem that we have on our hands now. What sort of country should we be living in if they had prevailed in 1962?
It is so easy and so rewarding in the short term to steer a middle line in politics, leaving it to others to trace the boundary. But those who trace the boundary define the line of progress. At present two taps are running. There are 50,000 coloured immigrants coming in and 70,000 native British going out in a year. If the present Government stay in power for much longer, there will be a lot more than that. When one looks at those two contemporaneous processes and estimates how great and how fast a change in the composition of the community is represented by that, then I must say that tentative anxiety and modulated euphoria are inapposite to the nature of the problem.
The problem is so great that if my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West had used language less vivid it would have been inadequate to the needs of the moment. If what we need is not to be reminded but to be jolted, then nothing less would have done. I believe that we need to be jolted, because time is short. It is easy to say that repatriation is impossible and that they are here and must have the same rights as others. They have the same rights as others, and we do not need this Bill. But must we accept it as axiomatic that everyone who has come here in the last 10 years must stay here? Is it inhuman to offer a free passage home with a resettlement grant on a voluntary basis? Has anyone an objection in principle to that?
If it is to be done, and it is to make a useful contribution to the problem, it must be done within the next 10 years. When one considers that the Commonwealth Immigrants Act was passed in 1962 and that there are 50,000 coloured immigrants coming in in 1968, it is time for a jolt. Having given that jolt, my right hon. Friend deserves and will obtain in increas- 110 ing measure the thanks and recognition of the country.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
The hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) said in his opening remarks that he would make a short speech. I do not know whether he surprised himself, but certainly it did not seem that way to a good many of us.
In the course of his remarks, he said in substance that only the dedicated cranks need worry, because nothing need be done. That seemed to me to be somewhat in contrast to what was said by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), who appeared to think that there was a powder keg and that there would be rivers of blood. We are in a certain amount of confusion. After all, we are considering an Amendment of which the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) and the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West were joint authors. They have each made speeches saying what they think that it means. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, who is either very good or very bad, but who was very good today, gave his explanation of what the Amendment meant. It meant that we had produced an imperfect egg and should take it away and bring back a better one. On the other hand, another co-author, going straight from that Shadow Cabinet meeting, believed that what his colleagues had decided was that it was necessary to stop the Government lighting a powder keg and causing streams to flow with blood. These are very odd and wide differences as to the meaning of the same words.
The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West often surprises me. We are told that he appears in the rôle of the high priest of Toryism, yet his sentiments generally strike me much more as those of a Manchester school little Englander. He is derived much more from Richard Cobden than Benjamin Disraeli. Certainly his escapade into racialism has little to do with Toryism, whatever one may think of it.
This racial fear of the man who is coming in and who will take the bread out of one's mouth is the fear of the poor white and of the very lower middle class 111 shopkeeper and tiny business man. He is the man who fears the competition of the incomer. That is not the attitude of a Tory, to whom I should have thought that the pigmentation of the labouring classes was a matter of some indifference.
I should perhaps express an interest here, because I come of immigrant stock. The fear of the incomer is not a new one. It was said of my forebears:The time has come to speak out. We are told that these aliens who come here, springing themselves upon the public expense, taking bread out of the mouths of honest Englishmen, overcrowding, stealing and cheating, arousing disgust and loathing wherever they go…we are told that these aliens are fellow-Christians and that we must endure their insolence and their outlandish ways in a Christian spirit… Let us not put up with them any longer. If the French do not want them, neither do we. And if the Lord Himself chastises them, why should we oppose Him? Let us admit that they richly deserve it. And let us tell them to go where they belong—if not to France, then to Hell…That was said in 1688, when the Huguenots came, from whom my mother's family springs.
We have had the Flemings, the Huguenots and the Jews all coming here, generally oppressed and always arousing antagonism. After the war, we had the Poles and the Balts, and recently we have had West Indians and others. But, right through, they have enriched our community. We must absorb them and bring them in, because it is in the very variety of mankind that lies its genius.
As long ago as 1946, I wrote a series of articles in the now defunct World Review designed to analyse full employment, which at that time was a new conception. The point that I made then was that full employment involved an immigration policy, because full employment meant a choice of jobs. I argued that a choice of jobs meant that there would be jobs which would not be chosen, and that we would not have an effective policy of full employment unless we opened the doors for people to come in and take the jobs which our people would not choose because progress and education had promoted them above the jobs which were still suitable for people coming from less developed communities.
I made the point, too, that at the other end, as the educational system developed, inevitably there would be a promotion 112 block at the top so that there would have to be what is now termed the brain drain, with people from an advanced community with full employment going to the less advanced communities, taking with them the benefits of the education which they had obtained in our community.
In 1946, I conceived that that was what full employment was about, and I urged that the immigration system should be a planned one. The tragedy is not that it has happened but that it has been unplanned. We have allowed concentrations to take place which have had a socially disruptive effect in certain parts of the country. That is what is wrong. There is nothing wrong with immigration. We need it, and we shall go on needing it, but it must be planned, providing the necessary services, opportunities and equality of treatment.
I believe that this Bill is on the right lines, and it will do a lot of good. It is a charter of aspirations, and those aspirations could not be enforced by ordinary methods. A lot of immigrants have chips on their shoulders. If ever anyone else gets the job, the house or the insurance policy which one of them seeks, they will consider it to be racial discrimination, when in many cases it is not. If they bring actions based upon that, racial good will will not be created. Therefore, it is right that, between the immigrant and his grievance, there should be the Board, and the Board's job is primarily conciliation. That is what I conceive as the number one priority: conciliation boards finding and explaining what is wrong and clearing matters in that manner.
Secondly—and this will be most important—where conciliation has not worked and is resisted there should be an inquiry by the Board, and that should be the real sanction. It is that inquiry that should be given all the teeth. The Board should hold the inquiry, or, if necessary, appoint commissioners to take the inquiry. It should be a public inquiry with the right to subpoena, the right to interrogate in public and the right to examine documents. As the hon and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South said, that will be a formidable deterrent.
This will only work if it is something which public opinion feels is right. I am 113 sure that that is so now. Whatever may be the feeling of the general public towards immigrants or immigration, there is a great feeling in the English people that one ought to be fair and that when they are here they should be fairly treated. If they are not being fairly treated, that is a dirty thing to do and anyone treating them unfairly should be pilloried, made to stand up in public and have his mean conduct pointed out, exposed and examined.
This is an important deterrent. But behind it, in case of total defiance, I suggest there should be criminal prosecution. I do not believe that this county court arrangement can possibly work. In a case of damages the person damaged must be entitled to claim. If one allows that Part I is unworkable. If one does not allow it and says that only the Board may claim the damages, even though they are paid to the damaged people, what is the feeling of Jones who get substantial damages because the Board brings his case and Brown who feels he has had the same treatment and does not get any damages because the Board does not bring his case?
§ Mr. Ronald Bell rose——
§ Mr. Paget
This seems to me to raise an impossible position. The courts will only deal with injunctions where matters are specific and the courts can supervise and inspect. That inevitably means that the courts, to apply injunctions, will continually restrict the broad requirements of Parliament. If we are to get the breadth we require we cannot have an injunction procedure, because the point of that procedure and the way it works out will be that it gets narrower and narrower.
Again, behind the injunction procedure is imprisonment for contempt of court. That is the worst form of imprisonment, because it is indefinite, and a stubborn man may make it difficult for the courts to let him out and the whole procedure is brought into disrepute. It will happen in the rarest circumstances, but when necessary we should have a definite sentence by a criminal court. I do not think that quasi-civil compromise can work. However, we can work all this out in Committee. Surely that is the place to do it.
114 We do not know whether what the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton. South-West said was or was not Conservative policy. Whether his crime is heresy or letting the cat out of the bag, nobody knows at this stage. I hope that with the opportunities being given by my right hon. Friend we shall hear no more of this Amendment, which can only do us harm.
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ Dr. M. P. Winstanley (Cheadle)
I am sure that every right hon. and hon. Member has a great deal that he or she would like to say on the Bill. I am no exception. I also have the burden of putting the views of my colleagues in the Liberal Party. Nevertheless, I will do my best to cut out Committee points and to shorten my speech as much as possible. Hon. Members who have spoken have been co-operative in making short speeches and I am not anxious to be the exception.
I was glad to find that at least the point of view of the Liberal Party on this important subject has penetrated the somewhat closed mind of the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell). He spoke about the responsibility for the present situation. I agree with the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) that no one has the right to throw stones. We have all made mistakes. However, I do not accept what the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South said about the responsibility for the present situation laying solely at the door of those who have taken this or the other view during the past two, three or four years.
The matter goes back a great deal further than that. Much of the responsibility for the situation in which this country finds itself rests with those who were responsible for imperial policies at a different time and those who did not take the necessary steps to develop some of the communities from which the immigrants have come. For instance, had the opportunities of jobs and improved standards of living been made available in the West Indies, the passage would probably have been in the opposite direction across the Atlantic. If we are to spend time apportioning responsibility, let us not forget those who, in the past, neglected to raise the standard of living 115 in and bring to maturity those countries from which people come to the better standards of living here.
No one will deny the importance and seriousness of this occasion but I suggest that it is also an unusual occasion in that the speeches so far have obviously been made with the intention of influencing the views of those listening and of influencing the vote. We have not had the sterile kind of performance—a long speech to which nobody is listening and of which everybody knows the end. We have had speeches from both sides genuinely trying to influence views.
It is clear from what has been said that divisions on a matter such as this do not lie along ordinary party lines. Such disagreement as exists crosses party lines. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) said that a small party had smaller difficulties in arriving at a unanimous point of view. I accept that it is easier for a party of 12 Members to reach a unanimous point of view on a Bill such as this. But, in passing, I reject the opinion expressed by the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) in the debate on the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill that we were expressing certain views because we did not have this problem in our constituencies. I assure him that many of us are in constant contact with this problem in many ways. I have lived and practised in areas where this problem exists and, in any case, we all have hospitals in our communities in which we have a very large number of immigrants and coloured people upon whom we depend. I mention that as the other side of the coin, because what we are concerned about here is not merely the under-privileged immigrant who comes here and lives in under-privileged circumstances, but those who come here and make a major contribution to our affairs. We must ensure that they, too, get equality of treatment.
I hope that when the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West suggested that we were taking this view because we did not have the problem in our constituencies he was not suggesting that we ought to take a different view merely because of local pressures. I hope that he was not suggesting that we should be more diligent in safeguarding our seats 116 than in safeguarding our principles. I hope that no hon. Member would wish to stay in this House under false pretences. I am sure that my right hon. and hon. Friends would not wish to bend to the winds of prejudice.
§ Dr. M. S. Miller (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
My hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) is not here, but I am sure that I am speaking for him when I say that although I do not agree with his opinion in this matter, he would accept that when we are dealing with immigrants who are here this is an entirely different question, and that there should be no discrimination against them.
§ Dr. Winstanley
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that intervention, because it leads me to my next point. What we were discussing on the previous occasion was immigration. It is essential to make clear that today we are not discussing that subject. What we are discussing is the sort of treatment which should be afforded to those who are here now. We are discussing what can be done by the use of the law to ensure that they have equal rights and equal opportunities as equal citizens. We are discussing the rights of citizens of this country, not immigration. It is important to make that clear because it would be regrettable if, at the end of the day, it was thought that the vote, which I hope will be overwhelmingly in support of the Bill, was for unrestricted immigration.
Unfortunately, we have a somewhat confusing system of politics. It has been arrived at by an evolutionary process over the years, and in some ways it is divisive. If the Government think one thing, it is necessary for the Opposition parties at least to appear to think the other things. The result is that the country is constantly in doubt about various issues. I have difficulty in recalling a time when we had a Government in which the public had confidence. There is an almost perpetual state of confusion about whether the right thing is being done.
There are certain areas of politics in which it is essential to give a clear lead. When we are in that kind of territory—and we are with this Bill—we must jettison certain of our procedures to ensure that we get what is often objected to, 117 a consensus. I should like a clear message to go out from this House at the end of the day, because I think that the racial problem is one upon which we cannot afford to equivocate. It is a problem which must be solved.
The right hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Sir Dingle Foot) posed two questions is. He asked, first, whether there was a problem, and, secondly, whether the Government could give any assistance in finding a solution to it by the use of the law. There is a problem. I am sure that we all agree that there is a problem which must be solved. We cannot leave it to solve itself. There has been the odd hesitant suggestion that there is a problem, but that as long as we leave it alone everything will be all right in the end. I do not think that it will.
There is a tendency—and I am sorry to say this—for politicians to assume that there is nothing wrong with humanity, that people are nice, and will always behave in the right way provided we give them the right environment. This is not necessarily true. Human beings have weaknesses. They have certain innate tendencies which are less attractive than others. On the whole, human beings are insecure. We are easily frightened, and our security is easily threatened. It is because of this that the whole problem of racial discrimination arises.
It arises from our resentment, our fear, of things that are different. We see it with country dwellers objecting to town dwellers. We see it towards people who wear different clothes, who do their hair in different ways, who eat different foods, or use different forms of speech. We see it most clearly with people whose skins are of a different colour.
Discrimination arises essentially from fear and insecurity, and it can be overcome in only two ways. First, it can be overcome by getting accustomed to the differences so that in the end they seem to disappear: by familiarity breeding a healthy contempt for the differences. Secondly, it can be overcome by getting rid of the differences by absorption. The right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), whose speech I enjoyed immensely, spoke about the Angles, the Jutes and the Saxons He was right to do so, because our routs are very broad-based. It is 118 difficult for anyone to say who is a Roman, who is a Jute, who is a Celt, a Scot, a Pict, a Norman, or a Dane, although originally between these peoples there must have been profound resentment of the kind that is felt today. The different peoples have become asborbed into one community by inter-marriage and by intermixing. This is one solution to the racial problem, but not necessarily the only one, and certainly not a practicable one here and now, but I think that we can look forward to a remote future in which inter-marriage between the various races in the world has become so complete that nobody knows precisely what colour he is or once was.
It must be emphasised that there are no biological objections to inter-marriage between the different races. No evidence has ever been produced that damaging or dangerous biological tendencies have arisen from that kind of inter-marriage. I mention it merely as a long-term solution, as a means of getting rid of the problem altogether but here and now we have to look for a more immediate solution. If we do not find it in the short-term, no long-term solution will be possible.
The short-term solution, surely, is to get accustomed to the differences, for people to become familiar with them to such an extent that they cease to matter? It is in this respect that the House must give a lead, and I come now to the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone. I listened to his speech with profound respect, and with enjoyment and interest. I agreed with most of what he said, but at the end of his speech it became difficult to see why he was taking the position that he did. He explained his attitude in detail. Indeed, he has done so before, and he has always been consistent. On at least three occasions I have heard him make clear his view that, irrespective of the problem of immigration, once people are here they must be treated as equals in every possible way. I also understood the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that he was in favour of using the law to ensure that there was equality of treatment in certain respects, particularly housing and employment. If he is in favour of the use of the law to ensure complete equality in these two important fields of human activity, 119 why on earth is he not supporting the Bill?
I said that I thought there should be a consensus, but it ought to appear to the country that this House very substantially, with a very small minority against, is in favour of legislation on this subject. It may be that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is in favour of that and that when the Opposition spokesman winds up for the Amendment he will say that they are in favour of that. I want to give him a warning as a member of a party which has certain difficulties in deciding how to vote.
Sometimes we are against a Conservative reasoned Amendment and people say, "You voted with the Government". Sometimes, in order to oppose the Government, we have to support a reasoned Amendment and people say, "I see you voted with the Conservatives". The public of Britain do not hear the reasons which lie behind a reasoned Amendment. They are not interested in a reasoned Amendment. At the end of the day they will say that so many voted against, but they will not know the reasons given in the long, persuasive and compelling speech by the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone why the Opposition voted against the Government.
My principal reason for supporting the Bill is not that I am wholly convinced that it will do quite as much as the Home Secretary thinks in practical terms, but because I believe it absolutely essential in this crucial field of human activity that the Government, the State, Parliament, this House, should give a lead and set a good example.
Hon. Members may remember that the question of the example being set by the State or the House was used by the Lord Chancellor in his argument in favour of the abolition of capital punishment. It is interesting to note that the noble Baroness, Lady Asquith, and the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, used the same argument in discussing the Commonwealth Immigration Bill in another place. They both were talking of the importance of not setting a bad example, and they were saying that Parliament was setting a bad example by that Bill. Here we have an opportunity to set a good example and 120 it is the most important thing about this legislation.
As the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone said, I hope that right hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition Front Bench will think again. If they have objections to the Bill, let them pursue them in Committee. If they still have objections, let them raise them on Report. If they cannot get it right then, let them vote against the Bill on Third Reading. If, at the end of the debate, there were an overwhelming vote in this House in favour of legislation, it would have an immense effect outside. I think it not too late for us to arrive at that solution.
I say two things about objections to the Bill. It has been said over and over again that it restricts liberty and individual freedom of choice. I do not believe that the provisions of the Bill restrict freedom in any objectionable way. The ordinary person operating a choice and saying, "I will sell this to you rather than to you", or "I will employ you rather than you", seems to be in no jeopardy at all. The person is in jeopardy only if he does so on strictly racial grounds. This House should not object to restricting the freedom of people to take that attitude.
It is also said that this legislation will not be enforceable. It may not be. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone asked, what is the point of having a law if it cannot be enforced? Yet he knows that the detection rate of crime in London at present is only 20 per cent. and in the case of some offences it is as low as 2 per cent. or 3 per cent. Are we to abolish the offence of theft of a motor car because only one in 40 is punished for that offence? It is not a question of whether this can be enforced but a question of setting an example and of this House saying that it considers this kind of behaviour intolerable and undesirable. Let us say so with a loud and clear voice.
Both Opposition parties were asked if they would consider the procedure of a Select Committee. We find this wholly acceptable. We do not share the anxieties about it expressed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We welcome Select Committees in general and in particular we would welcome an all-party Select Committee on this subject because we 121 believe it would be of substantial assistance in arriving at an all-party solution on a matter on which there is very largely all-party feeling.
I hope that the Bill will get a Second Reading and, having got it, I hope that things will settle down in the country. I think they will and that people will slowly learn to work together. I hope that we shall not try to slide the problem under the carpet. Part of the strength of this nation lies in the diversity of the communities which make it up, and the richness of the world lies in the diversity of its peoples. Each has his or her particular contribution to make. Let us enrich our community by absorbing these many different types of people and by seeing that all enjoy equal rights.
§ 7.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)
Like other speakers in this debate, I shall try to be brief. I believe that I can say what I want to say in approximately 10 minutes.
First, I wish to say how much I welcomed the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg). I can well understand the reasons why the Conservative Party Front Bench found it necessary to put forward the Amendment. I can well understand that, faced obviously with a division of opinion on the back benches, and perhaps even on the Front Bench of the Conservative Party, it was found necessary to put forward an Amendment which, it was hoped, would lead the party united into the Lobby.
Unfortunately, that hope—such as it was—was shattered by the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), whom I am very pleased to see in his place because I wish to refer to his speech. I do not want to go into the details of the speech, nor into much of its language. Suffice it to say that I read it very carefully and watched a fair part of it on television over the weekend. They were the sentiments of a Mississippi demagogue expressed in the measured accents of a ex-professor of classical Greek. I looked for the qualities for which in some fields he has such a high reputation, for his integrity and his logic, but—and I would not have said this if the right hon. Gentleman had not been here—I looked in vain.
122 Nevertheless, having listened to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, I thought that perhaps we might yet be able to develop a national consensus in our approach to this racial problem. I think it good that the two great parties of State are—at least at Front Bench level and, I hope, increasingly at back-bench level—now prepared to try to develop that general consensus and whether this is by way of a Select Committee or not seems to me secondary.
As the spokesman for the Liberal Party said, we are not here talking about limitation on the number of immigrants coming to this country. Some of us on these benches were most unhappy at the time the Labour Government introduced the White Paper on immigration in 1965. A number of us accepted that there had to be limitation on the numbers of people coming into the country for one main reason, which was expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) in these phrases:Integration without limitation is impossible…That may or may not be true, although I certainly accept it—But limitation without integration is indefensible.What we are talking about today is, not the first half of that equation, but the second half. What we are discussing on this Bill is not what numbers are coming into Britain, although I must say that some of the arithmetical projections I have heard as to the size of the coloured population of Britain by the end of the century are so wild and lacking in any mathematical precision that it is difficult for me to understand the basis on which some of the figures are put forward. We are considering the simple issue of whether this Bill helps to make integration easier or whether it does not help to make integration easier.
The issues are twofold. and there are two questions that the House and the country must ask themselves. First, is racial discrimination, if it exists in Britain, a proper subject for legal intervention—in other words, the question which was asked specifically by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary of the Opposition Front Bench this afternoon: do they believe that racial discrimination should be made unlawful? We received 123 a qualified answer to that question, though not as complete or as definite a one from the Opposition spokesman as I would have liked. Secondly—and perhaps this is consequential—does this Bill help?
As to the first question, there is overwhelming evidence in Britain that racial discrimination exists. I have not heard much from anybody, either in the House or outside, which has gone any substantial distance to convince me that the P.E.P. Report, the Street Report, and the Report of the Race Relations Board should be disregarded and that we should come to the decision, as the starting point for the argument, that racial discrimination does not exist in Britain. There is strong and abundant evidence that it exists, and that it exists moreover in certain key fields, particularly those of housing and employment.
If there is discrimination, the second question we must ask is, therefore: does the enactment of any law against racial discrimination help to lessen that discrimination? In other words, would the Bill make racial discrimination less? Here again, there is abundant evidence. There is the whole of the American experience. I have heard nothing, either inside or outside the House, which leads me to believe that we can totally disregard the American experience as being somehow or other inapplicable to the British situation.
It is true, as the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone said, that economic conditions here are different from those that exist in certain parts of the United States. However, one thing that clearly emerges from the report made by the Commission headed by Governor Kerner into the recent riots in the United States is that increasingly the protest is one about status and not about material conditions. It is the drive by the negro in America, not for a larger car or a newer television set, but much more for equality of the negro in America with the white man in America. The overwhelming American evidence to the effect that legislation does bring about a lessening of racial discrimination in key fields which improves relations between the races must clearly be given serious attention.
124 Therefore, if racial discrimination exists in Britain, and there is evidence to prove it, and if there is evidence to prove, further, that the imposition of the law helps to lessen that discrimination, there is then the consequential point we have to consider on the Bill. Indeed, it is the only one left for the House to consider tonight. It is: is this Bill the right sort of Bill to enact for our problems? I listened with a great deal of attention and sympathy to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, but I heard nothing in his speech which led me to the conclusion that there was something so inherently wrong in the Bill that it should not be accorded a Second Reading.
After all, if the principle be accepted—and I think that really the Opposition do accept it—that racial discrimination should be made unlawful, that a Bill should, therefore, be passed to make it unlawful, and that specifically the Bill should deal with the two key sectors of housing and employment, then although I can perhaps understand the internal political pressures which led the Opposition to take the course that they did I do not feel that the reasons they have been presenting this afternoon are sufficient for them to refrain from giving the Bill a Second Reading.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman was absolutely right in saying that the tone of the debate is very important. It is not only what one says about race relations that is important. It is also the way in which it is said. This debate has I believe helped. The attitude of the Opposition today as expressed at the Dispatch Box has helped to undo some of the mischief which was done over the weekend. I very much regret, however, that members of the general public, when they watch television in their sitting rooms or when they read the Press tomorrow morning, will be confronted merely with the fact that on the Second Reading of the Race Relations Bill of 1968 the Conservative Party, one of the two great parties of State in Britain, went into the Division Lobby and failed to give their support to the Bill.
I therefore make this earnest appeal to the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling), whose problems and difficulties I do understand. Even if he cannot go so far, and even if his party will not now go so far, as to say that it will 125 vote for the Bill on Second Reading and then try to amend it in Committee, could not the right hon. Gentleman, when he winds up, give at least a clear, unequivocal and definite statement to the country, first, that the Conservative Party accepts that racial discrimination exists in Britain, particularly in the two key sectors of employment and housing; secondly, that the Conservative Party believes that racial discrimination should be made unlawful and, finally, that therefore, in principle, it would support a proper Measure which did precisely that? I hope that the right hon. Gentleman can go that far.
§ 7.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith (Warwick and Leamington)
As I was saying when I was so summarily interrupted by the electorate two years ago, there are many things which Parliament can achieve without resorting to legislation and many areas which it can influence for the good of the people. This debate is pertinent to that theme. I venture to contribute because I now represent a Midlands constituency which has a minor but growing problem of race relations.
I venture to contribute also because just recently I have been involved in a by-election campaign—I do not wish to make any political point about this—together with three of my new colleagues in the House. We have had the unique advantage of having very close contact with large segments of the electorate, something which other hon. Members have not been able to experience since the last General Election.
I speak also because I wish to see race relations in Britain improved, as do millions of honest, sensible and straightforward people. These are people who feel that they want someone to speak up for them amidst all the miasma of charge and counter-charge about race relations which go on, not only in the House, but in the Press and on television. I have discovered—I am sure that my three new colleagues here have discovered it, too, although I have not consulted them—that these people are genuinely worried and puzzled. They are genuinely worried because we in Parliament have let so many immigrants in—I go back now over the course of the last 10 to 14 years—and are continuing to let too many 126 immigrants in. They are also worried because they believe that possibly common sense may not ultimately prevail and that, unless we tread very carefully indeed, we shall finally be presented with a problem of the type which is now very much to the fore in the United States and which could lead to very serious trouble in certain areas in Britain.
It is important to try to identify who these people are that I am talking about. They are neither the extremists who incite hatred with intemperate speeches or who daub slogans on walls, and neither are they the esoteric intellectuals who preach multi-racialism from the security of Mayfair and Hampstead drawing rooms or who preach through the editorial columns of the Thomson newspapers or the New Statesman.
Many of these people who are moderate in their approach and who take a sensible line are much incensed when those who disagree with them try to brand them as racialists, just because they do speak up. They are people who, I believe, probably started out with a latent ethnic prejudice against the coloured man, but who have done much by their own efforts to overcome such prejudice and who now, despite what their basic feelings were originally, are anxious to live and let live, particularly where the immigrant population is prepared to come to terms with them.
One of the main features of my by-election campaign was the number of questions I received on the doorstep and at meetings—exceeding even the number concerned about the nation's economic situation—about immigration, what future trends would be, and what would be done to solve the problem by Parliament as a corporate entity. In complete fairness to both Government and Opposition Front Benches, I must say that there was considerable disturbance in the minds of many people in contemplating the projected legislation now embodied in this Bill.
I have always maintained that, while Governments can lead, they cannot in the end compel against the general will, unless they finally revert to totalitarian methods. The people about whom I have spoken recognise the objectives behind the Bill as humanitarian. They realise 127 that there is good will in the Government's effort in bringing it forward. But they believe that the Bill is misconceived and that it may well have an effect opposite to what is intended. I am sure that there are many hon. Members on both sides, if they stop to think about it, who dislike legislation which is not properly enforceable, which is not truly acceptable to the majority of the nation, and which may eventually be brought into contempt through non-observance.
It is my belief that, for the reasons and provisos which I have stated, the Bill is a bad one and will not be capable of operation in a democratic spirit. Yet to make it even stronger than it is in order to make it work would be an even greater affront to the majority of those who are prepared help overcome discrimination by other means. We cannot legislate to make people better human beings in their hearts, but we can educate and lead them, we can show them by good example. This is necessarily a slower process, probably a much slower process, but it is more effective in the end, and, if our cause is right, we shall succeed.
My impression is that, over the past three or four years, racial tension has subsided in this country, except, perhaps, in the areas of worst overcrowding in parts of Birmingham, the Midlands and London. I believe that in public houses, restaurants, places of entertainment and most public places one now sees a general acceptance which was not previously there.
I agree with those who say that the controversial and difficult areas of race relations are in housing and employment, and these allow for a much more subtle discrimination by racialists. In my view, extra steps should be taken in these areas. But I believe that the voluntary system, properly worked, is best, and success will depend on maximum good will on both sides. If we are realistic about these things, we must recognise that coloured people in this country will always find it difficult to be accepted completely in our society, which is far from perfect, but I am sure that there will be a gradual growth of acceptance and tolerance if the immigrant population itself is prepared to respond.
In a slightly different context, this has, surely, been the case with Jewish people, 128 to whom the hon. Gentleman the Member for Stockport, South (Mr. Orbach) referred in his speech. Jewish people often had to stand up to extreme prejudice of the most bigoted kind in the 1920s and 1930s, but it is not going too far to say that today the vast majority of Jewish people are largely accepted and assimilated by society. They are unremarkable people and they do not stand out in any particular respect. When one does occasionally hear anti-Semitic prejudice expressed today, it sounds curiously old-fashioned. I was talking about this to a Jewish man yesterday. He said that, as anti-Semitism has simmered down and passed away, it is sometimes imagined in the minds of Jewish people when, in fact, it is not really there. He said also that the bad Jew will find in it a refuge for his own lack of success or disappointment in life. This particular man was against the Bill because he fully expects the prejudice against coloured people to be exacerbated and that the bad coloured man may well take a line similar to that taken by the bad Jewish man.
The Bill worries me particularly because I believe that the racialists, with a little ingenuity, will be able to get round its provisions, while those who have far less guile and are completely innocent and honest will find themselves enmeshed and intimidated, making poor decisions as a result. I have already heard stories of house agents who are planning to circumvent the Bill's provisions in order not to sell houses to coloured people. I have been told, also, by a personnel manager, who is extremely worried and who is by no means a racialist, that if, in the course of many weeks, he turns down too many coloured people who fall below his usual acceptable standards, he will have the humiliation of being taken before the Race Relations Board and then possibly be prosecuted, and his firm with him.
One of the worse ways of emphasising the difference between people is to discriminate between them in the law of the land. It is generally accepted that many immigrants here now are under-privileged, though not to the same extent as coloured people are in the United States. This Bill will definitely discriminate in their favour. Some people will say that this is right. But I submit that the many immigrants who are genuinely anxious to have the opportunity to integrate with 129 us will ultimately find that the Bill proves an embarrassment and handicap to them, while for others who are bent on trouble and not anxious to take a full part in our society it could provide a dangerous weapon
Like most hon. Members, I have had a large number of letters on the subject, particularly since the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) at the weekend. Almost without exception, they have urged me personally to vote against the Bill. I shall not do that, but I shall support the reasoned Amendment so ably put forward and argued by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg). But some useful comments were made in some of the less extreme letters I have received. If the House will bear with me, I shall quote just one paragraph which sums up the feeling of many people, particularly in the Midlands. This gentleman writes:Why should we have to change our ways and have new laws thrust upon us for a section of the community which usually refuses to become part of us? The immigrant who is determined to integrate and take up our ways will usually become a good and acceptable citizen. This is the price he should be asked to pay. He cannot have equality on his own terms.I believe that many people would subscribe to that view.
A very good case can be made for the Bill, and it has been made by a number of hon. Members in their speeches today. But Governments can be most plausible. I do not accuse the Government of just being plausible on this issue today; I believe that they are sincere. But progressive people can be plausible, too, and, in the end, a large amount of undesirable legislation reaches the Statute Book because of that plausibility, and all the time it is whittling away at individual freedom. Every such step which is taken by Parliament, for whatever expediency, takes us further along the road to full control of the individual's life, and these steps can seldom be retraced.
I submit that the answer for men of good will is not in a Race Relations Act. Neither is it an answer to those intolerant people who would drive all coloured families away from these shores. The answer, surely, lies in Government action over houses, schools and health facilities, 130 and in a much more stringent control of immigration. For my part, I would stop it temporarily straight away, in the interests of society and in order to give those who are already here a much better chance—a real chance—to integrate with us.
I believe that we must have truly representative race relations committees, in trade union and employers' committee co-operation, and in a united and sensible crusade led by voluntary organisations of proved calibre. Many of those organisations are now ready and waiting and can shoulder these responsibilities. They could do it far more effectively and with better good will than by having the legislation which the Government propose today.
We can show the nation by the right example and we can shame those who are out-dated and prejudiced. Legislation is a failure and an admission of failure. There is still time for us to do something concrete and right for the coloured minorities of this country. But time is slipping by. Perhaps it is going rather faster than Parliament anticipates.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Mr. David Winnick (Croydon, South)
I should like to begin by paying tribute to my noble Friend, Lord Brockway, who tried unsuccessfully on a number of occasions to introduce a Bill of this nature. I am sure that he is very pleased that this Bill is now before us. The hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) has also been very consistent in opposing any such Measure.
In many ways I am very sorry that it has been necessary for the Bill to be brought in. I would have wished that we could deal effectively with the coloured minority in our country without a special Bill, but it seems to me that it is essential. If anybody had any doubts about the extent of colour discrimination they should have been removed by the publication of the P.E.P. Report last year. We have known over a period of time that discrimination against people because of the colour of their skin has been taking place, and the P.E.P. Report, which only the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South questioned, confirmed the amount of discrimination which exists.
131 The most important part of the Bill relates to employment. In December, 1966, I had a short Adjournment debate on the difficulties of coloured school leavers. There is little difficulty for the first-generation coloured immigrant in obtaining unskilled and semi-skilled manual work. He is willing to do that type of work, but when it comes to more skilled work and various categories of non-manual work, the coloured person is discriminated against in many respects.
Quite a number of large, well-known firms in Britain refuse to employ coloured people in certain categories. Some employers who do so rationalise their discrimination by saying, "We as a company, and certainly I as an employer, have no prejudice against coloured people, but if I employed them my customers would object". I do not believe that the majority of customers or clients could care less, and even if they do object it is quite wrong for business firms to discriminate for that reason.
If we are not careful there will be, over a time, a tremendous amount of bitterness among coloured people, many of whom were born in our country and have gone through our school system. They have the qualifications, but know that when they seek employment in certain types of jobs they will be penalised and discriminated against simply because of the colour of their skin.
We talk about the possibility of various extremist movements similar to those in the United States growing up. But the possibility of such movements here among the immigrant population would be far greater if we did not now take the necessary steps to overcome discrimination. I do not believe that there is much danger of having in Britain what has been described as a Black Power movement, or at least a Black Power movement of any significance. But if more and more coloured people feel a burning sense of resentment that in the country in which they were born, or have spent most of their lives, they are excluded from certain categories of employment or housing because of their colour, it is quite likely that they will turn to extremist measures and movements, as has hap- 132 pened in the United States. It could happen here in those circumstances.
I recently saw a B.B.C. television programme about discrimination relating to Birmingham, where a number of coloured youngsters were interviewed. Had it been a radio programme it would have been virtually impossible to know that they were coloured. They had local Birmingham accents, and most of them had been born in Britain. When I watched the programme on a Sunday evening and saw a number of coloured youngsters one after another stating the amount of discrimination they had faced I felt very concerned indeed. It is necessary to remove the disqualifications which exist at present simply because of a person's skin.
Another rather controversial part of the Bill relates to housing. Last year, in Croydon—not in my constituency—a house in what I suppose could be described as a good residential area was up for sale and a coloured person sought to buy it. He is a senior postman and his wife is a district nurse. A group of white residents pooled together and bought the house, apparently to prevent a coloured person from buying it. It is quite wrong to have a sort of conspiracy to prevent coloured people from living in certain areas.
I can see no justification for discrimination in either housing or employment. Some people say, "If a coloured person lives next door to me the value of my house will go down." Of course it will, as long as we have the silly notion that living next door to a coloured person is wrong and undesirable. Of course, some people who are coloured are undesirable neighbours or tenants, but the same applies to white people. What I find so obnoxious is generalising about whole race and saying that all coloured people are undesirable as neighbours, which is just as foolish as saying that all white people would be undesirable.
I can understand people who argue that they are against the Bill because they are not too much concerned about discrimination. I do not suppose that the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South loses any sleep over discrimination. The people I find difficult to understand are those who say that they are against discrimination, that they believe that it is wrong and can never be justified, and 133 yet are opposed to the Bill. I just cannot understand the logic of their arguments, because unless we have an Act such as this Bill will become how shall we combat the amount of discrimination which exists at present? At least with such an Act it will be possible to take complaints to the Race Relations Board, and the Board will be able to act on them and see that justice is done.
I urge Members with doubts on the Bill to bear in mind what I can justifiably describe as the success of the 1965 Race Relations Act. We were told at the time that it would not work, that it would be useless and would bring the law into disrepute and so on. But a report in today's Guardian states:The Race Relations Board's conciliation machinery dealt successfully with 94 per cent. of complaints of discrimination upheld during the year ended March 31…So the Board, in the limited number of years it has operated, has done extremely well. To the best of my knowledge, no one outside or in the House has argued that it has been a wash-out. It has done a very useful job.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)
My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) made it perfectly clear that the Conservative Party voted on a reasoned Amendment against the 1965 Act when it was introduced as a Bill, because of various unsatisfactory features, but when they were remedied in Committee it supported the ultimate Act, the very Act the hon. Gentleman is praising.
§ Mr. Winnick
I may well be wrong, but I get the general impression that many hon. Members opposite are against the principle of this Bill. We shall see later if I am wrong.
What has happened in the past few years since the Race Relations Board came into existence is that a large number of complaints has been received by it which it has not been able to investigate. The reason is simply that it has been outside the scope of the Act.
The report in The Guardian today states:The Board received 574 complaints which it was unable to investigate, since they fell outside its present powers. Of these, 44 per cent. were about employment, 12.8 per cent. about the police, 11.6 per cent. about housing…134 It seems, therefore, that a logical extension of the 1965 Act is justified.
I am somewhat concerned about the machinery whereby complaints will go first to the Ministry of Labour. In my view, they should go straight to the Board, whereupon that body should be able to decide whether or not there is justification for sending them to the voluntary machinery. However, this is a Committee point and at that stage I will submit a number of Amendments along those lines.
I am not certain that the Board should be given full judicial powers. As a parliamentarian, I am reluctant to give non-judicial bodies the same powers as the courts. However, I have an open mind on the subject and if it seems in Committee or on Report that the Board is unable to work properly without added powers, as some critics of the Measure have suggested, I will support Amendments along those lines.
Because a number of hon. Members still wish to speak, I have endeavoured to be brief. I have a limited amount of family knowledge of immigration in the sense that my grandparents were immigrants at the turn of the century. They came to Britain because, like so many people, they were fleeing from racial terror. I have no doubt that at that time people were complaining about immigrants of that type—were saying that Britain had a large pool of unemployed, that the people coming in were not desirable and that, as they were not wanted in their own countries, there was no reason why we should have them here.
We have largely overcome the antagonism that existed towards immigrants at that time. I believe that with good will and good sense we can absorb and integrate the more recent immigrants to this country. I accept that, to an extent, it will be more difficult, not only for economic reasons but for psychological reasons relating to colour. Nevertheless, I am sure that we can overcome the problem.
We live in a very tolerant, liberal country in which the vast majority of people are against discrimination. I have no illusions about the Bill and I accept that many of them may not be greatly in favour of it. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people are not willing to accept discrimination against people with 135 a different coloured skin. If we have good will and if we in the House of Commons are determined to overcome discrimination—are determined to ensure that no one is penalised or discriminated against because of the colour of his skin—I am sure that we can make certain that our coloured immigrants are able to live here without fear of discrimination or persecution.
We have not made the same mistakes as the United States. We are acting in time. I only wish that it would have been possible for the Opposition fully to support the Bill without a Division taking place. I wish that we could have had a good and controversial debate in Committee, instead of a Division in the House, to ensure that when the Measure finally leaves Parliament it is one that all hon. Members could support.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Fisher (Surbiton)
I agreed with practically everything that the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Winnick) said. My attitude to the Bill is that while by itself it will not cure the problem, it will at least help. We should not give up this effort to help and simply opt out of the whole problem. Naturally, we all agree that the long-term solution lies in education. But the trouble is that that is very long-term indeed. I do not believe that we have as much time as that if we are to avoid the American experience, and this is where I differ from the view expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Dudley Smith), whom I am so glad to see back in the House and whose first contribution was a very good one indeed.
I imagine that no hon. Member will claim that legislation by itself is the solution. We must acknowledge that we cannot alter human prejudice and make people tolerant by law. Nevertheless legislation can make a contribution. It can influence the way in which people behave although not the way in which they think and feel. It can certainly stop obvious acts of prejudice and it can remove the excuses. For example, few people admit to having any colour prejudice. It is rather like admitting that one has no sense of humour. Instead, we blame others, as the hon. Member for Croydon, South pointed out: the factory manager says his other employees will 136 not work with coloured colleagues; the shopkeeper says his customers will object and the property owner says that his other tenants will leave. The Bill will at least put an end to this sort of discrimination by proxy.
Perhaps there has not yet been enough research into some aspects of this difficult subject. But all the research which has been carried out, both here and in the United States, leads to the conclusion that legislation is an essential beginning and that it does help to influence people's attitudes. This was the view of the Street Report in Britain and of the National Advisory Commission in the United States.
Until I saw the Conservative Amendment I thought that we on this side of the House subscribed to that view and were prepared to act upon it. The only way we can act on it effectively is by legislation. I am quite sure that my right hon. Friends are against the creation of second class citizenship in Britain. Indeed, our General Election manifesto in 1966 spelt this out. It stated, I believe rightly, that all immigrants in Britain should be treated "in all respects"—we used those words—as equal citizens and without discrimination. I still support that position and so, I am sure, in their hearts do my right hon. Friends. But I believe that we should implement our words by deeds.
It is not enough for us merely to talk about the problem. Does anyone claim that there is equality of treatment in Britain today? Of course not. Does anyone really think that the status quo is enough and that nothing needs to be done except spend some more Government money on schools and health and housing? To do that is not an alternative to the Bill. Those things should be done, anyway, in addition to the Bill.
The figures are known and I will not weary the House by relating them all. However, I must mention a few because they are not so generally known outside the House. The P.E.P. Survey showed that 27 out of 40 coloured applicants for a job were discriminated against on grounds of colour, and that those with the highest qualifications and the best general ability experienced the most discrimination. I know that to be true. In housing, the Milner Holland Report 137 showed that out of 60 advertised properties, 45 owners discriminated on grounds of colour, that 20 out of 30 estate agents discriminated and that it was the same story, in about the same proportions, for house purchase.
What is the alternative to legislation—to the principle of legislation—because I am not talking about the details. We are not voting today on the details but on the principle of whether or not we have legislation. I am especially anxious about the second generation of immigrants, many of whom are now leaving school and all of whom have the same education and qualifications as English children. But will they get the same sort of jobs and will they get the same sort of houses? If not, by doing nothing, we shall simply perpetuate the problem and build a store of bitterness and frustration which will be a dangerous legacy for those who come after us.
I should have thought that the American experience was sufficient warning of the dangers of leaving legislation too late. After all, the purpose of the Bill is admirable and respectable. It is to treat people on the basis of their own merits as individuals and not to mistreat them simply on the basis of their race or colour. Of course, the Bill is not perfect. In some respects it may go too far and in others it does not go anywhere near far enough. Like my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), I doubt whether some of the insurance provisions are workable in practice and I am still more sorry that the Race Relations Board will have no real power of investigation. That is a serious matter, for it is difficult to conciliate effectively without full information about the circumstances. But, broadly speaking, the Bill is on the right lines. It relies mainly on conciliation, which I am sure is right and there are to be no criminal proceedings, which I am sure is right, too.
I was, therefore, frankly surprised and a little shocked by the Conservative Amendment. I thought that we wanted consensus on this problem. I thought that we were against it becoming a party issue. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has said so and I believe him. But the point is that the 138 Amendment makes it a party issue. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone did his best—and it was a very good best, in a most moderate, restrained and excellent speech—to restore what I call the consensus atmosphere.
I know that, basically, the Tory Party is in favour of equality of treatment for immigrants already here, but, whatever its shortcomings—and they may be many—the Bill is a serious attempt to establish exactly that. Had we been responsible, we might have produced a better and more workable Bill, and both sides of the House will try to amend this Bill in Committee. But a Second Reading debate is about the principle, and the Conservative Amendment is a flat rejection of the whole Bill.
I am sure that that is a very popular line to take in the country, but, taken in conjunction with the official Conservative attitude to the Kenya-Asian Bill, it does not seem to me a very tolerant or progressive line. Yet the ironical thing is that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet are, I am absolutely certain, no more racialist than I am. My right hon. Friend's firm and instant repudiation of the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) at the weekend proved that, if proof was ever needed.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
Is my hon. Friend aware that I associate myself with absolutely everything he has said?
§ Mr. Fisher
I am, naturally, always entirely delighted by the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas). It encourages me.
§ Mr. Harold Gurden (Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Is my hon. Friend aware that I disagree with everything he has said?
§ Mr. Fisher
That does not surprise me in the least.
Having paid a tribute, and I meant it, to the Leader of the Opposition, I well understand the difficulties of my right hon. Friend the Chief Whip. His job is to unite the party, if he possibly can, and people like me make that task very difficult. He is always accessible and helpful, but the fact is that on this occasion he was given an impossible task. 139 It was not conceivable that the party could unite on this Amendment.
What is the Amendment designed to achieve? If the party's new policy in future is to rely on education and on local authority effort and on saying nice things, I can respect although I do not share that view, but if as I suspect—and I hope that I am not being uncharitable—the Amendment was designed as a party compromise to paper over the cracks between widely different views, I cannot respect it because it can never work. It is a disingenuous, politically naïve and rather pathetic piece of semantics to think that one can devise words which will get me, on this subject, into the same Lobby as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell).
Of course, the Bill will be unpopular in the country and will not win any votes and those of us who support it will no doubt be a little unpopular in our constituencies for a time, but I must honestly say that I am confused and concerned about the direction in which the Tory Party sometimes appears to be moving. Do we still claim to be a party of social reform, not just by declaration, but by legislation, which is the point? If so, surely there are few areas in which reform is more needed, more urgently. I do not believe we can effect that by good intentions alone. We have to act, not merely talk.
No one enjoys opposing his own party. I felt obliged to do so on the Kenya-Asian Bill, and I hate having to do it again. And it worries me very much, because I do not regard my own judgment as by any means infallible. I am sure, in retrospect, that I was wrong to oppose the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962. I acknowledge that there must be control of immigration. I accept that we have imported a problem, but our task now is to try to deal with the problem. Some of us may have been wrong in the past, hon. Gentlemen opposite, myself, and the Liberals. We were wrong to think that we could keep the open door. I have corrected my view on that.
But now we have to deal with the problem facing us and there are times when one must stand up and be counted for what one believes in. I am sure that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway will not 140 take that as an incitement to vote against their Government on the incomes policy—they need no advice from me. At the risk of sounding priggish, sometimes it is quite important, at least to oneself, and perhaps in the end even to one's party, to be counted for one's convictions rather than merely to conform for the sake of party unity. It might even help to lessen the present public disenchantment with politics and politicians.
If we are not prepared honestly to dissent, why are we in public life at all? That is about the only thing, in this context, on which I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has been prepared, greatly to his credit, this weekend, to be counted by what he has said as being against racial discrimination. Those are absolutely the right words and so were the words of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone this evening.
But, logically and to be effective, they need to be followed by the right action. The Amendment provides for no action at all and it is on the Amendment that we shall be asked to vote tonight. Some of us on this side of the House believe that action is needed now on this problem and we, therefore, support the principle of the Bill. For this reason I—and I think that I carry my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) with me—cannot vote for the Conservative Amendment and, if there is a Division upon it, I must vote for the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)
The House of Commons very rarely fails to respond to a sense of occasion. Very few of us here would imagine that after the events of the weekend this is not an occasion. I would very much like, formally, to pay my tribute to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, who presented the Bill, and to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), for the tone of their speeches, which have helped all of us to regard this very serious matter in the spirit in which it should be regarded. The hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) certainly lived up to the very best of those speeches in the early stages of the debate. I feel sure that the House on the whole will continue so to do.
141 A tremendous amount is being written in the Press, and spoken here and elsewhere about the possibility of the effectiveness of legislation to prevent the clash of races. I have listened to everything that has been said in the debate and read a good deal in the Press. I want to express my admiration for the way in which the Press has handled this matter since the Bill was presented and made public. It has expressed what I believe to exist, namely, a consensus that this effort of legislation may really do something good.
One would be stupid to imagine that this is the only thing that needs to be done, but that it does some good is sufficient. It is, therefore, necessary to pass it, even though it has in my opinion, and the opinion of a great many Members on both sides of the House, some considerable faults which can be altered at a later stage if the House so wishes.
Everybody knows from his own experience in his constituency or in his home that considerable difficulties arise, of the sort referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Winnick), concerning the sale of property. If a house in a street is occupied by a coloured immigrant one may be fairly sure that certain things will happen—although not by any means completely sure. It is likely that within a short time the house will have far too many people in it and that customs and habits will be indulged in which are by no means in keeping with the habits of the neighbourhood. A possible result will be the exodus of the white people of the street and a catastrophic fall in the value of the houses.
Unfortunately, these things are facts, and it is the fault of us in the House and of other people that these things come about. It is surely for society to make conditions for the immigrants such that these things are unlikely to happen. This we have not done. The fact that the results that I have described follow is not due to the fact that the immigrants' skins are coloured brown, yellow or black; it is because the immigrants have customs which are different from those of their neighbours. Neighbours never like people who are different from themselves. That is an unfortunate fact, about which we have heard a great 142 deal this afternoon. It has occurred from the time of the Huguenots onwards.
The reaction of the natives is entirely understandable. In my submission it is due entirely to fear for their own standards. One of the main troubles of the Bill is that it applies its remedies—or penalties, in that damages may be awarded—straight across the slate, without any discrimination. In my opinion there should be discrimination between a public act and a private act. By all means bring before the Board people who are thought to have been guilty even of private discrimination against persons on grounds of race, or whatever it may be, and let the Board say whether the action taken by those persons is reasonable.
Let us suppose that a man who is about to sell his house to a coloured immigrant says, "You may have my house but it must be used only by you, as your private residence". That would at least prevent 20 or 30—or whatever number it might be—lodgers being brought in later. But under the Bill such a seller would be liable—or at any rate be at great risk—to have damages awarded against him, yet he would be doing something which might save the livelihoods of other people who had small businesses in the street.
We can understand these difficulties, and I believe that this sort of situation will have to be considered. We shall have to see whether, in such circumstances, the Board thinks it is really reasonable that such a thing should be done. If a man is taken before the Board and is found to have acted unreasonably, I submit that that is a sufficient dealing with him at this moment in time. Let us come to this thing gradually. In time the cases which are brought will build up a case law in the public mind and this will have a great effect. I am not sure that damages should be awarded.
Other action must be taken. We must have better housing, better educational opportunities, better training and better instructions of immigrants. The Bill may be a small step, but it is sweeping in some respects, in the way it slaps on penalties straight across the slate. I believe that most of us in this House are completely without racial prejudice. 143 I am sure that the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) was right in that. We recognise, however, differences between the races. We all have far too many friends in races which happen to have coloured skins to be anything but completely and absolutely tolerant as between them. Some races excel in some things and some in others. Therefore, it is not prejudice to recognise differences. One thing of which I am completely certain, however, is that if a minority is to live happily in the midst of a majority, that minority must have equal opportunity with the majority to be educated, to have proper housing and generally to live.
What are the conditions, therefore, which are likely to prevent that minority from becoming a cancer inside the body of the community because it is not happy? If it is not happy, it will certainly become a cancer. As we know from this debate, the answers to that question are probably as numerous as the people to whom one puts the question. Everybody has different ideas. The fact is that we cannot say with confidence what are the conditions which make for the possibility of real happiness for the minority on the terms which I have just mentioned.
We do not know, for instance, how many immigrants, of what races, we are capable of assimilating without damage to our own native community. We do not even know that it is possible to integrate certain numbers of certain races. Nor do we know whether the immigrants themselves or the majority of them want to be integrated, or whether they should be integrated from their own point of view or ours. I rather gather that the majority of our people——
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I really meant a combination of the two. It is important that they should be integrated and I do not think that integration is permanently possible without assimilation. It is, therefore, a combination of the two.
The fact is that we simply do not know what are the conditions under which those things can take place, although I imagine that the majority of people believe that 144 it is possible to integrate and, I would say, to assimilate. They may be right, and I sincerely hope so, but I am in some doubt because we have had no proper investigation of the subject to find the truth of this.
The fact is that in a time of full employment and shortage of manpower, we abolished National Service and encouraged immigration. Both industrialists and trade unionists were equally to blame about this. They should have modernised their plant and their organisations to a much greater tune. We now have a million immigrants and, perhaps, half a million unemployed natives and year after year thousands of Britons are leaving our shores, very often Britons of high skill and high potential. Their place is being taken by immigrants who have less skill and, perhaps, a lower potential.
That could be of immeasurable harm to this country. On the other hand, it could be looked upon as a quixotic sharing of our skills with people who do not have so many of those skills. It may be extremely praiseworthy. The fact is, however, that we do not really know the considerations behind whether it is right that that sort of thing should go on.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
I get the impression that my hon. and learned Friend is attacking the Bill and, at the same time, pretending to support it. I live in an area which is fully integrated. I have worked with coloured workers and I was in the Air Force with coloured West Indians. I have never understood the argument that it is not possible to get integration.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
That is my hon. Friend's opinion. It is the opinion of a great many other hon. Friends and of hon. Members opposite. I say that I do not know whether that is so——
§ Mr. Mallalieu
—and I do not think that there has been any scientific inquiry to find out. What I do know is that already in housing and education and employment the thing is touch and go at present; there is an explosive situation. What I want to see is a real investigation, a taking of stock, to try to find out what is the best thing to do, a full examination of the whole question in all its far-reaching aspects, social, economic 145 and racial. This should not just be left to television programmes and private organisations.
If the newcomers fail to adapt to their new surroundings friction is bound to increase to the point of violence and disorder. It is not just a question of numbers, of how many can come in. It is a question of the willingness and capacity of the immigrants to adapt, and of the readiness and ability of ourselves to absorb. Many concessions will, quite obviously, have to be made on both sides if we are to come to that racial harmony which I think all of us here want to see.
What this calls for is a searching inquiry by liberally-minded men and women who have the confidence both of the minority and of the majority, and, I would say, presided over by a high judicial personality of relevant experience. Taking this view, as I do, the House can imagine how pleased I am to see Clause 24 in the Bill, which gives the Home Secretary power start a scientific investigation of the very kind I want. Of course we must have this Bill. It will do good; I am sure of it. I want to see an end to discrimination, but that is not the end of the story; we must go on to many other things, too, and it seems to me that we have got to give the Home Secretary the Bill if only for that Clause 24 which will allow this investigation to take place, and upon which we may base future policy with some degree of confidence.
If we can tackle the problem now, before it is too late, I believe that we can spare ourselves and our friends from the Commonwealth the fate which is now unfortunately befalling our American friends, but if we drift from expedient to expedient not based upon the best ascertainment of the relevant facts and considerations which we are capable of devising we shall find ourselves before the end of the century, possibly well before the end of the century, in a state which is as serious for ourselves and the world as that in which our American friends now are.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Gurden (Birmingham, Selly Oak)
There are only a few minutes left for me, but I do not have to explain to the House why I am against the Bill, because I can rely entirely on the speech 146 made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell), plus a few other remarks made from this side of the House, to explain why I am against the Bill, and I think that is the best thing I can do now in this short time.
To me, this Bill is a serious thing. I feel it is directed against our people—our own people in this country. So much has been said from the Front Benches on both sides about human rights, but it always stopped short at the point of human rights and privileges and freedoms for the immigrants and did not extend to the human rights and freedoms and equality for our own people.
As I was listening to those speeches, I had a telephone message from a Birmingham man, not in my constituency, who told me that 600 children today have been sent home from school because there were so many immigrant children at the schools in Birmingham that they could not be accommodated and taught there because of the lack of teachers. He asks about equal opportunity and rights for our own people and our own children. A constituent of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) a few weeks ago was unable to get his children into school.
There are two points of view on the Bill. There are those who are against the Bill, and those who are for the Bill. We who are almost wholly against it are against it because it impinges on the freedom of our people. We who represent the vast majority of the people in the country think that the Bill is a very bad one. The people in favour of the Bill are those who were against immigration controls in the early 1960s and who have always been against complete and effective control of immigration.
It is a shame and a disgrace upon the political parties and upon the House of Commons, not upon the immigrants or our own people, that such a Bill is considered to be neccesary. It is born of the failure of Governments properly to restrict immigration.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West has been criticised, taken to task and even threatened with prosecution. His crime was that he was completely truthful, honest and sincere in his Birmingham speech. It has been said by an hon. 147 Member on the other side of the House that his integrity was in question. I cannot understand anybody who knows anything about my right hon. Friend saying that.
I deny that the people against whom the Bill is directed are race haters. I deny that my constituents are race haters. Their morality is as good as that of the members of the Government who have brought the Bill before the House. The Home Secretary said that the Bill was needed because of the ignorance of the people we represent. They are not ignorant; they know all about it. What has been said by my right hon. Friend, by myself or my other hon. Friends is not as inflammatory as the Bill or as the statement that it is the ignorance of the electorate which necessitates a Bill of this nature. That, in my opinion, is inflammatory. The people against whom the Bill is directed are no more wicked racialists and sinners than the people who think that they should teach us what sort of conscience we ought to have.
Hundreds of letters have been received about the most extraordinary circumstances which can arise under the Bill, but I have said sufficient to declare my hand. I have said that we ought to stand up to be counted tonight, and for that reason all hon. Members ought to go into the Lobbies.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Reginald Maudling (Barnet)
As befits the subject, this has been a very grave debate, and one of the best that I have ever heard in the House. It is well that it should be so. Every point of view has been expressed. That is as it should be. On a subject like this, hon. Members, like their constituents, can have very different feelings and views for equally genuine reasons.
During the course of the debate, the House has listened to differing points of view always expressed with genuineness and sincerity. I do not agree with much of what my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) said. My attitude to the Bill is different from his, but I respect his point of view and his concern for what, in his judgment, he believes to be the views and 148 interests of the people whom he represents in the House.
Most people would agree with my hon. Friend that it is a pity that a Bill of this character should be thought necessary. In a sense, it is a human failure that it should be necessary to proceed by legislation in these matters. Compulsion should not be necessary to ensure that men and women live happily together and treat one another in a decent and civilised manner. I am sure that there is no disagreement on that from the other side of the House.
Before I come to the issues posed by our Amendment, I might perhaps say that I am sure that we should not underestimate this country's record in these matters. We have been critical of ourselves in many ways today, and rightly, because that is our job. However, if one compares the record of the British people and of British society in these matters with those of so many other countries in every continent of the world, we have a right to be proud of what has happened.
That makes it all the more important that what we do from now on should be evolutionary, based on the sensible measures which have been taken up till now, and aimed to contain and develop the sense of partnership within the community which is outstandingly high in the country.
The British people have faced a problem which is quite unique. The rate of inflow of people from other countries of different cultures, backgrounds, religions and colours in recent years must be almost unprecedented in any country. That has been combined with what probably has been the inevitable concentration of the inflow on one or two districts which has made a dramatic change in the character of those areas. As I say, the country has faced a quite unprecedented problem and, as one would expect from the political tradition of the British people, it has been faced with tolerance and common sense.
In winding up the debate on behalf of the Opposition, what I should do is to focus the issues raised by our Amendment with the utmost clarity possible. In a speech of remarkable power and insight, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) 149 stated very clearly the attitude of the Conservative Party in these matters. If I may say so, what is meant by our Amendment has sometimes been misunderstood and even misinterpreted outside this House, particularly in the Press. Therefore, I read it again:That this House, reaffirming its condemnation of racial discrimination and accepting the need for steps designed to improve the situation, nevertheless declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which, on balance, will not in its practical application contribute to the achievement of racial harmony.That is what we believe about the Bill. Believing that, I think that we were right to put down our Amendment and, therefore, we are right to vote on it tonight.
The Home Secretary came near to suggesting today that, because we put down this reasoned Amendment, we are against the principle in the Bill in the sense that we are not opposed to racial discrimination. He rather implied that. I am sure that he does not mean to say it, because it must be clear and in no way distorted that, in these matters, the Opposition are just as opposed in principle to racial discrimination as the Government are. It would be a pity if any other opinion were to gain currency in this country.
It is sometimes said—and I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) said it—that by our Amendment we are registering our opposition to any legislation at all in this sphere. This is not so. Our Amendment does not say that. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone made it clear that we believe in legislation on a number of matters in this connection. Let us get it clear once again that we are not against all legislation, but we are exercising the proper duty of an Opposition in saying that we are against this particular legislation and explaining the reasons.
This is a different matter from what has been suggested by one or two speakers. The hon. Member for Cheadle (Dr. Winstanley), speaking for the Liberal Party, appeared to argue that the idea of a reasoned Amendment was unacceptable because people outside would not understand. I cannot accept this. It is not the same thing to vote against a Bill as to vote on a reasoned Amendment. This 150 is a well-known and well understood parliamentary procedure for which there is excellent precedent in the 1965 Act on which occasion, by taking the same course of action, we achieved results which both sides agree have in practice been very good indeed.
I rather resent the charges made in some of the Press that because we oppose the Bill we are not against racial discrimination. It is utterly untrue.
§ Mr. Maudling
I hope that the hon. Member will forgive me if I do not give way, but time is limited and the Minister has yet to reply.
We oppose the Bill because we believe that it will not, in practice, contribute to the achievement of racial harmony. Equally, because we say that certain attitudes of mind or thought are immoral or objectionable but they do not offer themselves as proper subjects for legislation, does not mean that we do not condemn them. The simple fact is that there are many frailties in the human mind and spirit—greed, intolerance and all sorts of things—which are morally wrong but cannot be made into crimes. Certain things which happen as a result of these infirmities can be and should be dealt with by law, but there is a definite limit in practice where one can go in this direction.
We are not quarrelling with the purpose of the Bill, which is to promote racial harmony. We would certainly accept a Bill which, in our judgment, would achieve this objective, but we object to this Bill because we believe that, on balance, its provisions will not contribute to the objective that we have in mind.
There has been much reference today to situations and conditions in other countries. Many countries throughout the world have their racial problems—not only in Europe and North America, but in the Caribbean and in Fiji. We have many examples from our own experience of racial tension arising not necessarily between white and coloured people, but between Asians and Africans. All these are problems of intense importance, but all differ very much. Therefore, I doubt the wisdom of trying to base too much on experience, for example, in the United 151 States. Their colour problem is different from our own. The numbers involved are much higher, and they have lived there against a background of resentment for many generations.
That is different from the situation in this country where, as we all know and rejoice in the fact, there is not the same ready turning to violence as one finds in the United States. Therefore, I would counsel caution in building too much on what is thought to be the analogy of what happens in America.
The problem here arises from two things. First, from the rapid inflow of immigrants. Secondly, from a tendency to concentrate in certain areas. It is true that this is a problem which we have largely created for ourselves, or allowed to grow. The Conservative Government allowed immigration to proceed for a long time at a very high rate. Many people now criticise us for doing that, and I accept quite unreservedly that by doing so we have created a very serious problem, but, looking back on it, I have no regrets at the course we took.
We were very reluctant indeed, and I think rightly, to depart from the British tradition of the open door for those who wanted to come to this country. We were very reluctant, and rightly so, to depart from the concept of British citizenship and British sovereignty under the Crown, but in the end we had to call some halt, or put some limit on immigration. Incidentally, we were criticised at the time by people who genuinely thought that we were acting against the interests of the immigrants, but I think that everyone now recognises that it is in the interests of the immigrant himself, as well as the people already here, that there should be some control over the rate at which people come to this country.
I mention that because I believe that it is a genuine fear of uncontrolled immigration which underlies the resentment felt by the public towards the Bill. It is not the Bill itself, it is the circumstances. People genuinely believe that the enormous rate of influx of people into this country will continue. It is on that belief that much of their hostility to the Measure is based. I therefore think that we on this side are right to emphasise that as a basis for all policy on these racial discrimination matters there must first 152 be a genuine, definite, control over new immigration.
I know that the number of heads of families coming in has been cut back, and rightly so. We felt, and still do, that perhaps it could be done even more in present circumstances, and certainly in the context of the immigrants from Kenya we said that at the time. The real problem is that of the dependants, and here I feel very strongly with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition that it would be wrong to prevent dependants from coming in to join heads of families who have established themselves in this country, but that the condition for their entry must be that they are genuine dependants. It also must be expected that the total number will fall soon, and fall rapidly, because if the number of dependants coming in in a year's time is as high as it is now it will be evidence that they are not genuine dependants in many cases. I think that we must watch the position very carefully.
I believe that it is also right and sensible to say that we will offer help to any immigrant who wants to return home, but I do not believe that this will make a major contribution to the problem, because the number of immigrants who will want to return home—despite all the discrimination by the way—will, I think, be very few indeed.
Finally, it is important that those who come to this country should not abuse our hospitality. Immense damage is done to racial relations by the spectacle of people from other countries doing things for which they would be imprisoned in their own countries. People who act to the detriment of the public and to law and order in this country must be dealt with because they do tremendous harm to race relations. [HON. MEMBERS: "What things?"] Stirring up trouble for the police, creating problems of public order, and generally creating chaos, actions which are illegal in the countries from which they come.
We on this side of the House accept that there must be no second-class citizens, that there must be equality before the law as the Home Secretary said. But there is equality before the law. That is not the point at issue in any sense. The point really is how far the law should extend. In dealing with that we must recognise that the problem is one of 153 human resentment, and that it can come from either side. We have heard a good deal today of the natural resentment felt by loyal people who have come to this country, who live here, who are educated and trained here, and who then cannot get jobs of the calibre they are capable of carrying out because of discrimination against them on grounds of race or colour. I can see perfectly well, and it is absolutely right, that this natural resentment can give rise to great problems for the social health of this country in future, but we must not neglect the resentment of the people already here, of the indigenous population.
When I think about this problem I always feel that I must remember that in my constituency there are very few immigrants indeed and that I do not live, and have never lived, in an area whose total character has completely changed. We must recognise as a House the genuine feelings of people faced by these circumstances because, unless we recognise their feelings, we shall not in the long run be able to deal with them properly. People resent finding the whole circumstances in which they live changed in a short time without consultation with them by the arrival of many people of totally alien character and outlook which changes the conditions in which they live.
It might be quite trivial things such as the noise they make at night, or the smell of unusual cooking, but these are things which matter to people in their homes, things which add to the genuine human problem which we have to face. There is fear that if immigrants come into an area property values will fall. This may be an irrational fear, but we cannot legislate it out of existence. There is the fear of competition for jobs, competition for houses and for places in hospital and that immigrants will bring in lower standards of accommodation tolerance. More than anything else, there is the fear of the unknown which affects people's minds in these matters.
The only solution to this in the long term is a change in human attitudes. This can be done only by tackling social conditions and enlisting—as many have said, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes)—all the voluntary organisations which can help. Legislation, I am certain, in some 154 forms can help. We have said this time and again in this debate, but we must judge any legislative proposals on the basis of whether they will encourage racial harmony or in practice increase resentment and resistance. This, I admit, is a very difficult judgment to make.
I believe that we are right in saying that, on balance, the Bill will create more resentment than it will deal with and, in the long run, therefore, will not aid the cause we all have at heart but may, in fact, impede it. This is not a Bill of principle, but of compromise. It makes racial discrimination unlawful with many important exceptions, domestic employment, accommodation in small lodging houses and the rather peculiar provision that employers can discriminate to maintain a racial balance—which I do not quite understand and which the Home Secretary did not explain. This is totally contrary to the idea of disregarding race altogether in matters of employment.
The Bill sets out to deal with racial discrimination, but not entirely and as a matter of principle. Our argument is not, therefore, on a matter of principle with the Government, but whether, in fact, the extent to which they go is not too far. Our objections to the Bill, therefore, are threefold. First, we believe that it definitely encroaches on individual freedom and individual liberty. Secondly, we believe that it will be unworkable in practice; and, if it does not work in practice, it will be very serious indeed, because the immigrants who believe they will get protection from the Bill will feel that they have been deceived and will turn, not only against the local population, but against the law itself.
At the moment, I am sure they believe that the law is fair, but, if they believe that the law lets them down, I think that we may in the long run get a very serious situation. I fear that the Bill encroaches too much on individual liberty. It will not work in practice. As a result, it will increase resentment because those whom it is designed to protect will feel that they have not got the protection that they were promised, while those against whom the Bill appears to be aimed will feel resentful that others have been given an apparently privileged position before the law.
These are the problems that the House has to face in dealing with the Bill. Many 155 legal points have been made; and they should not be brushed lightly aside. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone made many points. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) made very important points indeed about the effects of the Bill on the legal rights of the individual citizen. It introduces some very novel provisions—a statutory body with inquisitorial powers which afterwards could lead to the imposition of proceedings. The burden of proof concerning conduct which could be illegal appears to impose the presumption of guilt on the person complained about. The procedure permits secret accusations. A person may be loaded with heavy damages because of an act committed by somebody else without the first person's knowledge or consent.
All these seem to me to be great exceptions to our normal rule of law. To make great exceptions in this case will exacerbate race relations precisely because people think that a particular class is being created. [Interruption.] If hon. Members do not believe this I ask them to consider the matter carefully.
I promised to give the Minister plenty of time to wind up, as the House will understand.
Finally, on the legal points, the whole provision about damages will lead to great difficulties. Where I think that, in particular, the Bill will lead to great troubles is where it infringes on really deeply felt personal interests or personal matters. The Home Secretary spoke about this difficulty; he said in particular that in the field of housing any man should have the right to decide for himself to whom he sells his house or to whom he lets his house. However, the Bill does not do that. It does the opposite of that.
156 On the particular matter of house ownership and house letting, I particularly ask the Government to think again, because I am certain that many people will feel that this is quite a wrongful infringement of the right of people to make decisions of their own and of their own free will. In the general field of employment, although I agree with my right hon. and learned Friend that it is right and proper to deal with discrimination in large-scale industry, and although it is clearly right to say that trade unions and traders' associations should not discriminate in their membership, when we get down to the employment of one or two people in a small firm, when we get down from a policy of discrimination, to the fact of individual choice, it will be virtually impossible to enforce the Bill.
When we come, for example, on to the question of promotion—it is probably promotion more than employment that will count in industry—it just will not be possible to decide whether the decision on the promotion of an individual was taken on racial grounds or on other grounds. The Bill, by containing a provision that it is wrong to discriminate in this matter, will enact a provision that cannot be enforced in practice in all the important personal decisions in employment which arise all the time in the conduct of industry.
As I said, our objections to the Bill are that it will not work in practice. We accept the objective. We do not believe that the Bill will improve the situation. We think that it will make it worse. We welcome the Secretary of State's suggestion of a Select Committee to consider the possibility of how this legislation will work in practice, but that cannot alter our attitude to the Bill itself. I think that it is wrong for the Government to present a Bill to Parliament and to the country with very little preliminary explanation.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I should like to make this clear. I have checked on the point. We consulted over 80 separate national organisations about this legislation, and the Conservative Central Office, also, was aware of its purport.
§ Mr. Maudling
The reaction of the public in general to the Bill shows how inadequate has been the preparation of the public mind.
§ Mr. Faulds
A deplorable speech. Absolutely irresponsible. And he is their alternative Leader, God help us.
§ Mr. Maudling
The hon. Gentleman is forcing me to intrude on the Minister's time, which I have tried not to do.
It is no good saying that we can now consider approaching the Bill on a Select Committee basis. The question is whether we think the Bill as it stands is a good or bad Bill. On balance, we are convinced that it is wrong. The Government cannot say to the House of Commons, "This is our proposal. If you oppose it, you are being partisan". Our job is to oppose if we think that it is wrong.
To sum up our position, the purpose of the Amendment is to reaffirm our condemnation of racial discrimination, to accept that steps in the social field and legislative steps of the kind which my right hon. and learned Friend and I have put forward are right, but to say that, on balance, we consider that the Bill will not contribute to the solution of the problem. For that reason, we are against its passage.
§ 9.26 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Ennals)
In many ways, as the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) said, this has been a constructive debate. All hon. Members who took part spoke with sincerity and a desire to influence the course of events. Even though the debate takes place in the wake of the weekend speech by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), it has been typified by a mood of moderation in both language and tone, and for this we are indebted both to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) in the speech which he made in opening for the Opposition. I think that we are indebted also to the Leader of the Opposition for dealing so firmly with the speech made last Saturday, to which reference has been made. Had he not done so, the right hon. Member for Barnet and his right hon. and learned Friend, and the House 158 itself, would have been in an impossible position.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has always sought to maintain a consensus on these issues. I have had opportunity to pay tribute to this on previous occasions from this bench. He sought to do so today, too, and I thought, with respect, that he did so in a very much more positive and constructive way than did the right hon. Member for Barnet. We have seen differences of opinion between the parties and within the parties, and we have seen, apparently, differences of approach within the Front Bench opposite as well. I do not intend to follow that line myself.
The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone seemed to give the Bill a conditional welcome. In spite of the wording of the Amendment, he hoped that it would do more good than harm. He supported the extension of the law as regards public places, housing and employment. He offered the hope, which I hope will be a reality, that there would be support when we reached Third Reading. This will be the real test for the House, when we come to the Third Reading debate. The right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of the importance of carrying the public with us in what we are trying to do. It was encouraging that there were during the debate only two hon. Members really against the purposes of the Bill, the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) and the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden).
I do not believe that hon. Members opposite have given a valid reason for dividing the House this evening. The right hon. Member for Barnet and the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone said, "But we did so in 1965". They must well know that the issues then were very different. There were two clear issues of principle. When brought before the House, the original Bill made discrimination a criminal offence, and it made no provision for conciliation procedure. From the back benches I attacked that as strongly as did right hon. Gentlemen opposite from the Front Bench. There were fundamental differences of principle, but it cannot be said that there are fundamental differences of principle concerning this Bill, and none of the right 159 hon. Gentlemen who have spoken today have shown that there are any.
I wonder whether the right hon. Gentlemen who have been calling on their colleagues to vote tonight really recognise the effect that this can have in the country. The hon. Member for Cheadle (Dr. Winstanley) said—I thought quite rightly—that the general public do not follow the intricacies of our procedure and the question of reasoned Amendments. All that will be seen by the general public will be a vote, and it will be thought that by it the Conservative Party, or those who go into the Lobbies—I hope that it will not be all of them—are voting against the Bill. I hope that even now the party opposite will decide not to divide the House.
In an outstanding and very courageous speech the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) said that by the very tabling of an Amendment this had been made a party issue. None of us want these questions to be party issues. It is no good saying, as I felt that the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone said in opening, in a sense, "Do not take too much notice of our vote. We are really with you. We have some criticisms, but we hope to go to the end and it would be very nice if we can support you on Third Reading." It is not good enough to do that. I support the view of the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), who said that the Amendment was inept and that it should be withdrawn.
It was unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues decided very quickly after the presenting of the Bill to table an Amendment. It was in part that decision which enabled the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West to claim that in his speech he was interpreting Conservative Party policy. These are not the principal issues before the House. The damage done by that one speech can hardly be overestimated. There has been set loose a torrent of feeling, maybe sincerely held but extremely damaging to good community relations. When the right hon. Gentleman was in church in Wolverhampton on Sunday I wonder whether he thought of the words of Hosea. [HON. MEMBERS: "Really."] Hosea said: 160For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…The House was entitled to expect that the Bill would be given an unopposed Second Reading, that its broad principles would be accepted, and that its detailed provisions would be subject to searching scrutiny in Committee. In the debate on 15th November, 1967 the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, addressing my right hon. Friend the former Home Secretary, said:I tell the right hon. Gentleman plainly that, originally, I was very critical of fresh legislation on this subject so soon after the last. But I was immensely impressed by the quality of some of the documents to which I have referred.He was talking about the P.E.P. Report, the Race Relations Board's first Report and the Street Report.
He continued:In at least some of the fields which he has mentioned, I consider that there is a strong case for Government action of one sort or another, and I should myself be prepared to support that in general.He said that he would oppose an extension of the criminal law. Right—and so do the Government. He hoped that the law would not concern itself with the haphazard expression of individual prejudice. He said that today as well. Right again—and the Bill does not seek to do that.
He then assured the then Home Secretary that…we on this side will give them a sympathetic, if critical, reception."—OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November 1967; Vol. 754, c. 452.]The right hon. and learned Gentleman today did give them a sympathetic, if critical, reception, although the right hon. Member for Barnet did not do so.
It is difficult to know what has happened since November to oblige hon. Gentlemen opposite to withdraw that sympatheic reception. Apparently it is not because the Opposition has less confidence in the value of the documents that have been presented; the P.E.P. Report, the Report of the Race Relations Board, the evidence of the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants and the Street Report. It cannot be because they are dissatisfied with the achievements of the Race Relations Board. Only a few days ago the Leader of the Opposition said:Conciliation by the Race Relations Board has proved successful and it can undoubtedly perform a wider rôle.161 The evidence published only today—showing that last year a 95 per cent. success rate was achieved in securing a settlement in discriminatory situations—is proof not only of the right hon. Gentleman's statement but of the value of the work of the Board.
It is precisely because we believe that there is evidence of a degree of racial discrimination—unfortunate, as has been rightly said—that the law can, within limitations, play a part and because the Board has proved the value of conciliation that we have brought the Bill forward. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite may have thought that it has been rushed. Some have said that perhaps we should introduce it next year or the year after that. "Too little too late" would have been the cry had we not acted now.
The right hon. Member for Barnet and the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone made some criticisms concerning consultation in the preparation and presentation of the Bill. The right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) did the same. Let us look at what happened. There was, first, the publication of the P.E.P. Report, the Street Report and the Report of the Race Relations Board, all of them documents widely discussed and considered in the House. Then, on 26th July of last year, my right hon. Friend the former Home Secretary announced the intention to legislate, and in that announcement he included not only employment and housing but insurance and credit facilities.
It seemed that one, if not the only argument which the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone adduced for his criticisms of the Bill was that he could not, would not, support it had he known that it was to have included insurance and credit facilities, although it was said as long ago as 26th July of last year that it would.
Since then a document was prepared setting out what it was intended to include in the Bill. As my right hon. Friend said, this was circulated among 80 national organisations. When I heard the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone say that had he known what the Bill would have contained he would not have supported it, I was much disturbed because it was certainly 10 weeks ago that contact was established with the Conservative Central Office by a 162 distinguished former hon. Member of this House who had been appointed to prepare material for briefing for this debate and for consideration of the Bill. I gave him all the information that was available. I gave him a copy of the memorandum—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who is he?"] I refer to Sir Anthony Meyer. I gave him all the information I could and I indicated that at any stage I would be available for discussions with any right hon. or hon. Gentleman opposite because we on this side of the House wanted to ensure that when we reached this stage we would not have a divided, but a united, House.
§ Mr. Hogg
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he has, first, misquoted me and then, I think, misstated the facts. He said that I told the House this afternoon that if I had known what the Bill contained, I would have said that it could not be accepted. I said that if I had been told that the Bill would contain a whole series of objectionable features and had been asked for my opinion, I could have told anybody that it would not receive an unopposed Second Reading. Those are my exact words as far as I remember them. It is true that Sir Anthony Meyer showed me a document, which I was forbidden to show to my party as a whole, but which I was entitled to show to my Shadow Cabinet colleagues, showing what was said to be in the Bill as it was then proposed. I was not asked for my opinion and I did not think that it was wanted. I was grateful to the party opposite for letting me have for my Shadow Cabinet colleagues information about what was then proposed. If I had been asked for my opinion, I would have given it, but I was forbidden to tell my party.
§ Mr. Ennals
The House will not want to take too long pursuing this. I made it perfectly clear that we on this side of the House were anxious that the information should be in the hands of the party opposite, not only the information given, but that provided by any consultation which could take place, and I offered myself as being available for consultation. I said that only to show that on this side of the House we have wanted throughout to have an undivided House when this stage was reached.
Before turning to some of the matters in the Bill, I should like to make a few 163 remarks about the context within which the debate is taking place. It has been said that many people are fearful of what they call mass immigration, thinking almost that the Bill is designed for mass immigration. The extraordinary things which have been said outside the House show how much concern there is.
In the debate on the Commonwealth Immigrants Act in February, the right hon. Member for Barnet said:But even here there is bound to be a flash point. Let us make no mistake about that…and if the flash point occurs everyone will be burned…".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th Feb., 1968; Vol. 759, c. 1345.]That is a counsel of despair. I do not believe that there need be a flash point in this country. As recently as 11th April, President Johnson signed the new Civil Rights law, guaranteeing equal housing opportunities to American citizens regardless of race. That Bill was advocated by the President during his 1964 presidential campaign, and he presented it to Congress in 1965. It was held up in Congress for three years, held up during a period when discontent fermented and held up until the flash point came, and the flash point was the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Those who suggest that we ought to delay before bringing in our legislation are playing with fire and danger. There need not be a flash point in this country, but it can happen if we dither, not just in our handling of the legislative aspects of race relations, but in the other aspects which have been mentioned. For instance, it could happen if we had uncontrolled immigration from the Commonwealth and elsewhere. From the lurid fantasies of some of those who have spoken and written one might imagine that we were living in a situation of uncontrolled immigration.
§ Mr. Ennals
The hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) who intervenes, knows that it is not the policy of this Government. [Interruption.] He knows that since 1962—[Interruption.]—The House gave a fair hearing to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone and I would ask hon. Gentlemen to give the same hearing to my reply.
164 The vast proportion of Commonwealth immigrants in Britain came to this country before the 1962 Act. The flow of immigrants was changed, firstly by the Act, and subsequently by actions taken by this Government.
As is known, we have greatly reduced the number of labour vouchers so that last year, as my right hon. Friend said, there were fewer than 5,000 persons admitted for employment from all parts of the Commonwealth. The system of employment vouchers has only just been reorganised, and when the right hon. Member for Ashford criticises us for having no immigration policy, he ought to know that there has only just been this reorganisation. There are now no unskilled workers coming into this country from the Commonwealth.
Those who are coming in are almost entirely people with special qualifications—doctors, teachers and others—who come to fill posts here and are vitally needed in this country. In November, again, the right hon. and learned Gentleman urged the Home Secretary not to put a stop to these vouchers for skilled people. The vast majority of those who are coming in are dependants of those living and working here. I was glad to hear the right hon. and learned Gentleman say that he would not wish to propose that we should stand in the way of a wife and children joining a worker who had already settled here.
It is absolutely clear that with the dramatic rundown of employment vouchers the tail of dependants will inevitably decrease. It is sad that there are hon. and right hon. Members who in their writings and speeches should suggest that we are faced with a dramatic burst of population coming into the country. The claim was made that in 15 to 20 years there will be 3,500,000 Commonwealth immigrants in Britain. This inflated figure is based on assumptions which the Government have never accepted.
§ Mr. Ennals
The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well. He has heard my explanation seven times from this bench, and quite intentionally, he wishes to mislead the public—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Ennals
The hon. Gentleman asks me to give way, and I have done 165 so on this subject time and again in this House, when right hon. Gentleman who are interrupting from a seated position were not here.
§ Sir C. Osborne rose——
§ Mr. Ennals
I have explained this many times, but the hon. Gentleman still sustains a figure which he knows is not based on assumptions accepted by the Government—[Interruption.] I am trying to reply to the debate. What worries and disturbs me is the attitude adopted to those citizens who have come from Asia, Africa and the West Indies. Of course, the House knows that immigration brings its problems. Of course, some of our citizens have a way of life and customs which irritate their neighbours. Of course, there are not common standards in religion, in feeding habits and hygiene. But this has been so throughout successive waves of immigration into this country, and it should be said in this House that the great majority of immigrants from the Commonwealth are law-abiding and hard-working people, who are anxious mainly for security and a higher standard of living. That is why they have come.
They have made a significant contribution to our economy. Hon. Members have referred to queues for the hospital services. Of course, they are irritating, but I wonder how much longer the queues for our hospital services would be were it not for the Commonwealth doctors in our hospitals. We have to impose immigration control, but it should be said, and said loudly, that Commonwealth citizens and those of Commonwealth origin who have been admitted to this 166 country are welcome here. I have felt ashamed during the course of today when I have seen coloured people in the streets and have thought to myself, "What are they thinking that I think because of what has been said?" The Huguenots, centuries ago, and the Jews, decades ago, met bitter resistance from some members of our indigenous population, yet our society has been enriched by their presence, and some hon. Members are descendants of those people.
We have to deal with the social problems involved in immigration. I would like to have spent a little time discussing what has been done in education and housing, and through the additional grants being made to local authorities, but I want to deal with some of the points raised concerning the contents of the Bill.
I say with absolute conviction that we may have a flashpoint in this country if we do not extend the field of legislation. In his "Social Contract" Rousseau said:…it is precisely because the force of circumstance tends continually to destroy equality that the force of legislation should always tend to its maintenance.We cannot change men's hearts by law but we can outlaw the actions that can flow from prejudice. I believe that the very passing of law can influence the course of events and the course of thoughts in people's minds.
If we take our minds back to the Road Safety Act we remember the dramatic fall in the number of deaths as a result of it. To begin with, people were frightened of being caught, but I believe that it has now become not a social thing to say "One for the road"; it has become anti-social, because the law says that it is wrong. I believe that this will be so in the case of racial discrimination. In reply to the pressures of workmates, neighbours, customers, and people in any position to exercise discriminatory judgment, those under pressure will be able to say, "I am sorry, mate; it is against the law".
Much has been said by some hon. Members—including the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell)—about this Bill's creating a privileged minority. That is not true. The Bill seeks to ensure that, so far as the law can provide, all men and women 167 shall have equal opportunity—nothing more and nothing less. At present, many coloured people undoubtedly have unequal opportunities. No one who has studied the facts can deny that there is discrimination in some parts of Britain today—but not by the majority of people. The vast majority of British people are tolerant and understanding, and want to see a genuine free society.
The Bill will give no special rights to anyone. It will apply to the whole population, and should one of white pigmentation believe himself to have been the victim of discrimination his right to lodge a complaint will be no less than that of a coloured citizen. The law will not oblige an employer to take on a particular person or a landlord to rent a house or a flat to a particular person. No special classes of privilege are created by the Bill.
It has also been argued that it is an infringement of individual liberty—again, the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South raised this point—to include in the Bill the private sale of houses. It has to be said that a house owner should not be obliged to sell a house to any particular person. Neither will the Bill oblige him to do so. If, however, he uses colour and race for the main reason for his distinction or for his refusal to sell or to rent, that would be a social offence.
Hon. Members must see the nature of the problem that we are dealing with. It is not simply that we have a large number of coloured people in this country. It is that they have congregated in particular parts of our towns and cities. One of the reasons for this is their own sense of security. Another reason, however, is that when they wish to move into other parts of towns they cannot do so. There are obstacles against their doing so. If it is said that we must pursue a policy of dispersal, we can do it only if the doors are open, if the opportunities exist, for people to be able to move and live in any part of the town that they wish.
Many other points have been made during the debate which undoubtedly are Committee points. Important points were 168 made about the racially balanced labour force and about the powers of the Race Relations Board. These are points which my right hon. Friend has said that we will consider. Where clear representations are made, we will look at them in Committee.
It is sad, to put it no higher, that the Opposition should have decided to divide tonight. If they accept that there is a rôle for legislation but they disagree with some of the Clauses in the Bill, it would have been more appropriate for them to have sought to secure Amendments in Committee and to have given the Bill a clear run on Second Reading.
We have been debating one of the greatest social challenges of our age. The Government have shown that they are prepared to give a lead—and Governments must give a lead to public opinion on issues like this. They have shown that they are anxious to secure all-party agreement. It is also for the Opposition to give a lead. I believe that the country as a whole will respond to the lead. It can only be expected to respond to it, however, if right hon. and hon. Members, on both sides of the House, not just by what they say in this House but by what they say in the country, can show that there is a national consensus on this issue.
The British people are more tolerant towards coloured immigrants than many hon. Members give them credit for, as the report which was published today shows. I think that no right-thinking person would want to see this great issue become a bone of party contention. I hope that the Leader of the Opposition and his right hon. colleagues will accept the initiative taken by my right hon. Friend and will decide not to divide the House tonight.
§ Sir C. Osborne rose——
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Silkin)
rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.169
§ Question put accordingly, That the Amendment be made:—170
§ The House divided: Ayes 209, Noes 313.173
|Division No. 121.]||AYES||10.0 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Goodhart, Philip||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Astor, John||Goodhew, Victor||Neave, Airey|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Gower, Raymond||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Awdry, Daniel||Grant, Anthony||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Balniel, Lord||Grant-Ferris, R.||Nott, John|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Gresham Cooke, R.||Onslow, Cranley|
|Batsford, Brian||Grieve, Percy||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Bell, Ronald||Gurden, Harold||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Percival, Ian|
|Boardman, Tom||Hastings, Stephen||Peyton, John|
|Body, Richard||Hawkins, Paul||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hay, John||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Pounder, Rafton|
|Braine, Bernard||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Higgins, Terence L.||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hiley, Joseph||Pym, Francis|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Holland, Philip||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Bryan, Paul||Hordern, Peter||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hornby, Richard||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Burden, F. A.||Iremonger, T. L.||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Campbell, Gordon||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Carlisle, Mark||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Royle, Anthony|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Clark, Henry||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Clegg, Walter||Kershaw, Anthony||Sharples, Richard|
|Cooke, Robert||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Kitson, Timothy||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Cordle, John||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Lambton, Viscount||Speed, Keith|
|Costain, A. P.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Stodart, Anthony|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Crouch, David||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Longden, Gilbert||Teeling, Sir William|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Loveys, W. H.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Tilney, John|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||MacArthur, Ian||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Deedes, Rt, Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||McMaster, stanley||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Doughty, Charles||Maddan, Martin||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Maginnis, John E.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Drayson, G. B.||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Webster, David|
|Eden, Sir John||Marten, Neil||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Maude, Angus||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Emery, Peter||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Mawby, Ray||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Farr, John||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Fortescue, Tim||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Foster, Sir John||Monro, Hector||Wright, Esmond|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G.||Montgomery, Fergus||Wylie, N. R.|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Williams, W. D. (Dudley)|
|Giles, Rear[...]-Adm. Morgan||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Murton, Oscar||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Mr. Jasper More.|
|Abse, Leo||Alldritt, Walter||Ashley, Jack|
|Albu, Austen||Allen, Scholefield||Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Archer, Peter||Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Barnes, Michael||Foley, Maurice||Mackie, John|
|Barnett, Joel||Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Baxter, William||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)|
|Beaney, Alan||Ford, Ben||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.||Forrester, John||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Bence, Cyril||Fowler, Gerry||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Freeson, Reginald||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Bessell, Peter||Gardner, Tony||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Ginsburg, David||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Manuel, Archie|
|Blackburn, F.||Gourlay, Harry||Mapp, Charles|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Marks, Kenneth|
|Booth, Albert||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Marquand, David|
|Boston, Terence||Gregory, Arnold||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Boyden, James||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Bradley, Tom||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Brooks, Edwin||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hamling, William||Millan, Bruce|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hannan, William||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Harper, Joseph||Molloy, William|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Moonman, Eric|
|Buchan, Norman||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hattersley, Roy||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hazell, Bert||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Heffer, Eric S.||Moyle, Roland|
|Cant, R. B.||Henig, Stanley||Murray, Albert|
|Carmichael, Neil||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Neal, Harold|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hilton, W. S.||Newens, Stan|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Chapman, Donald||Hooson, Emlyn||Norwood, Christopher|
|Coe, Denis||Horner, John||Oakes, Gordon|
|Coleman, Donald||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Oram, Albert E.|
|Concannon, J. D.||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Conlan, Bernard||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Orme, Stanley|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Howie, W.||Oswald, Thomas|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hoy, James||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Huckfield, Leslie||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Cronin, John||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Paget, R. T.|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Grossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Pardoe, John|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hunter, Adam||Park, Trevor|
|Darling, Rt, Hn. George||Hynd, John||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Irvine, Sir Arthur||Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Pentland, Norman|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn, R. E.|
|Dell, Edmund||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Dempsey, James||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Dewar, Donald||Kelley, Richard||Probert, Arthur|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Kenyon, Clifford||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Dickens, James||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Rankin, John|
|Dobson, Ray||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Doig, Peter||Lawson, George||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Driberg, Tom||Leadbitter, Ted||Richard, Ivor|
|Dunnett, Jack||Ledger, Ron||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lee, John (Reading)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)|
|EdwardS, William (Merioneth)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Ellis, John||Lipton, Marcus||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|English, Michael||Lomas, Kenneth||Roebuck, Roy|
|Ennals, David||Lubbock, Eric||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Ensor, David||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Rose, Paul|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||McBride, Neil||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McCann, John||Sheldon, Robert|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacColl, James||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Finch, Harold||MacDermot, Niall||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Macdonald, A. H.||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||McGuire, Michael||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Tinn, James||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Skeffington, Arthur||Tomney, Frank||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Slater, Joseph||Tuck, Raphael||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Small, William||Urwin, T. W.||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Snow, Julian||Varley, Eric G.||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Stonehouse, John||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Winnick, David|
|Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Wallace, George||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Swain, Thomas||Weitzman, David||Woof, Robert|
|Swingler, Stephen||Wellbeloved, James||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Taverns, Dick||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Yates, Victor|
|Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)||Whitaker, Ben|
|Thomson, Rt. Hn. George||White, Mrs. Eirene||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Thornton, Ernest||Whitlock, William||Mr. Charles Grey and|
|Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy||Wilkins, W. A.||Mr. Brian O'Malley.|
§ Main Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 39 (Amendment on second or third reading), and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time and committed to a Standing Committee, pursuant to Standing Order No. 40 (Committal of Bills).