§ Mr. Kaufman
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,The change in the immigration rules carried out without parliamentary authority whereby applications will, under the White 1358 Paper presented today, no longer be acceptable from today, even though made legally under the present immigration rules.The Home Secretary failed to reply with clarity to a question I put to him concerning paragraph 13 of the White Paper published today on proposals for revision of the immigration rules. With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will read the relevant sentence from the handouts:The new Rules would apply to all applications on which a decision is taken on or after the date on which the new Rules are laid but the Government will be prepared to consider on the basis of the present Rules all applications made before the date of publication of this White Paper".As I understand it, in so far as there is any clarity in that sentence, what it means is that the changes in the rules affecting aged parents, children, male fiances, husbands and a number of others that are proposed in this White Paper will come into force legally only when the rules are tabled and approved by this House. The Home Secretary made it clear in his statement that that will not be for some time. First, we are to have a debate on the White Paper, and only after that debate will the rules be laid for approval. However, even though the change will be legal only from the date of the approval of the rules by this House, the White Paper tells us that the Government will be prepared to consider, on the basis of the present rules—that is, those which have legal force until the new rules are approved by the House—all applications made before the date of publication of this White Paper.
What that means is that, following the publication of the White Paper at 11 o'clock today, applications can be legally made under the present rules and should be treated in good faith as applications made under the present law. Yet the White Paper ultra vires states that none of these applications will be acceptable. The law is being changed by a parliamentary statement. The rights of many thousands of people are affected simply as a result of a statement by the Home Secretary in the House of Commons. That is not acceptable in terms of the authority of the House and the rule of law.
The matter is specific because the Home Secretary has published a White Paper, made a statement about it and failed in answer to questions to clarify 1359 the position. The White Paper must therefore stand as tabled.
The matter is important because it affects thousands of human beings. It affects people who, until the rules are changed, will have a legal right to make applications but whose applications will be a farce because the White Paper states that they will not be treated as they should he treated under the law.
The matter is urgent because the change, unless the House is allowed to debate it, has been made since 11 o'clock today when the White Paper was published. Even the Home Secretary's promise that there will be a debate on the issue, which could be in a few days' time, will not set right a situation which exists ultra vires outside the law from this morning.
I submit that my application qualifies as an urgent matter under the Standing Order. We cannot wait for a debate even if it is announced in the Business Statement tomorrow. Immigration officers at our posts, in the sub-continent in particular, will have to operate on the basis of messages sent out to them from the Home Office and advance copies of the White Paper. They will deal with applications not on the basis of the law as it stands but on the basis of an illegal message sent to them by the Home Secretary.
1360 I submit that this matter is specific, urgent and important. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to give it precedence.
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the change in the immigration rules carried out without parliamentary authority whereby applications will, under the White Paper presented today, no longer be acceptable from today, even though made legally under the present immigration rules.I listened with care to the exchange earlier today. I listened with equal care to what the right hon. Gentleman said. As the House knows, I do not decide whether this subject should be debated. It has been announced that the House will debate it. All that my discretion allows is to decide whether it should be debated tonight or tomorrow.
The House has instructed me to give no reasons for my decision when such applications are made. I have given careful consideration to the representation, but I have to rule that the right hon. Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.