Lords amendment: No. 61, in page 38, line 8, at beginning insert:
Subject to subsection (1) herein,
§ Mr. Raison
I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.
The effect of the amendment is far from clear. Clause 43(2) provides that the Secretary of State shall not be required to give reasons for decisions on applications which are at discretion and that such decisions shall not be subject to appeal to or review in any court. The amendment would make the subsection subject to the provisions of the preceding subsection. That states that the discretionary powers in the Bill shall be exercised without regard to an applicant's race, colour or religion.
But there is an inherent difficulty in this amendment since clause 43(1) and (2) are concerned with two different situations. Clause 43(1) —what might be called the antidiscrimination provision—is concerned with the procedures leading up to the decision whether to grant citizenship. The first concerns the reaching of a decision which is a discretion without regard to the applicant's race, colour or religion. The second is concerned with access to the courts if a discretionary decision is challenged. To say that clause 43(2) is subject to clause 43(1), without explaining in what sense it is subject, can only make for obscurity and confusion. That seems to us to be a major objection to the amendment.
However, even if that problem of meaning were to be resolved, I am afraid that the amendment would still remain unacceptable to us. As I understand it, the intention, if not the effect, of the amendment is to ensure that an applicant who believes that he has been discriminated against on grounds of race, colour or religion should not be barred from taking the matter up with the courts by the general bar on access to the courts in discretionary cases set out in clause 43(2). But such a provision would, in our view, have serious drawbacks. It would mean that everyone whose application was refused would be able to challenge the Secretary of State's decision in the courts merely by alleging that he had been discriminated against on grounds of race, colour or religion.
As I am sure hon. Members will appreciate, such a provision would have undesirable consequences. After all, in deciding whether the applicant concerned had been subject to discrimination, a court seized of a case would clearly have to consider the Secretary of State's actual grounds for refusal, which would have to be disclosed. So this amendment might, in practice, lead to the Secretary of State having to give reasons for his decision, even in cases where that was clearly undesirable. As we see it, a system of review of discretionary decisions is fundamentally incompatible with the system of naturalisation as it appears in the Bill. That system was accepted both by this House and by another place.
Under that system, the final decision on naturalisation applications rests with the Secretary of State, and one of the criteria for citizenship is, as hon. Members will recall, the essentially subjective assessment of good character. As 787 I have explained to the House on earlier occasions, if there were to be an appeal system involving examination of good character, it would considerably fetter the Secretary of State's discretion. It would mean that we should have to rely more and more on objective tests relating to an applicant's financial or criminal record. Applicants who fell short of generally accepted standards of behaviour, but whose activities had not been proved unlawful, could no longer fall to be refused, and the standards for naturalisation would thus inevitably be lowered. Particularly, difficulties would also arise with security cases. If a person refused on grounds of security were to allege that he had been discriminated against, would it be necessary for the whole matter to be raised in open court?
There is also the related problem of reasons. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary told the House on Report, it is our practice to give reasons for the refusal of naturalisation applications whenever possible and particularly when the reasons for refusal are matters which in time the applicant might overcome—such as the language requirement. But there are cases where the giving of reasons is not so easy and matters are not so clear cut: where refusal is on a combination of factors; where, for instance, an individual has criminal associations which have not as yet led to charges and convictions but may do so; where an individual's financial reputation and dealings have been dubious, but have not yet led him to bankruptcy. In such cases, giving reasons would be difficult. The work of the police and the authorities could be hampered, since the individual would become aware that his activities had come to official notice.
Those arguments apply all the more powerfully to security cases, where refusal on grounds of national security would alert an individual to the fact that his activities were under scrutiny. Nevertheless, the amendment, if it were to remain in the Bill, might be used successfully by applicants as an indirect means of discovering the reasons for refusal of their application where those had not already been given to them, even in cases in which it would not be appropriate or not in the public interest for the reasons for refusal to be divulged in public. With this amendment an aggrieved individual might, by alleging discrimination—and he might in practice need to offer only very minimal evidence—secure disclosure of the actual reasons for refusal and a review of that decision.
Finally, I should point out that removal of the amendment—which, in any case, as I have already explained, is of very uncertain effect—will not mean that those who believe that they have been discriminated against will be without means of redress. They will, as now, be able to take the matter up with their Member of Parliament. Where maladministration is alleged—which it presumably would be if a breach of clause 43(1) were in question—Parliament has its Commissioner for Administration—the Ombudsman—to investigate if the case is referred to him.
To sum up, the Government believe that the amendment is of uncertain effect; that, if it were interpreted as apparently intended, it could have harmful and far-reaching consequences; and that there are already remedies available to those who feel that their application for citizenship has been dealt with in a discriminatory manner. For all those reasons, I call upon the House to disagree to the amendment.
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
I hope that on this occasion the Commons will feel that wisdom resides with the Lords and will support the proposal from another place. It is embodied in what I regard as an admirably simple amendment. I say that so that there shall be no doubt as to why I support it and why I believe that my hon. Friends will wish to do so.
The amendment simply calls for clause 43(2) to be conditional upon the obligations placed upon any Government by subsection (1) of the same clause. Subsection (2) provides that in responding to an application for registration or nationalisationThe Secretary of State … shall not be required to assign any reason for the grant or refusal of any application under this Act the decision of which is at his discretion; and the decision of the Secretary of State … on any such application shall not be subject to appeal to, or review in, any court.
That is a comprehensive allowance for the Secretary of State to use a discretion which is entirely unfettered. If the Lords amendment is incorporated, that at present unfettered discretion will be qualified in one particular way. The provision in subsection (1), which the amendment seeks to incorporate seeks to link to what follows:Any discretion vested by or under this Act in the Secretary of State … shall be exercised without regard to the race, colour or religion of any person who may be affected by its exercise.
It is important that the history of subsection (1) should be made absolutely clear. The subsection was incorporated by the Government in Committee, with the enthusiastic support of the Opposition, albeit against the wishes of one or two Tory Back Benchers. In proposing it, if I may say so without sounding patronising or condescending, the Minister of State spoke with great eloquence about the Government's determination to apply the Bill in a nondiscriminatory way. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth, Central (Mr. Tilley) and I both congratulated him on establishing beyond doubt a point that we would quote—we hoped, to his and the Government's credit—namely, the Government's determination to apply the principles embodied in the clauses dealing with applications for citizenship in a way which could not and would not be in any way discriminatory with regard to race or religion.
We were told at that stage that this was a declaration, no more that that. Its effect was wholly declaratory. I welcomed that declaration, if it was no more that that. I think that a declaration of non-discriminatory intention in this part of the Bill did something to allay the fears of the ethnic minorities. If the Government have their way today, and if the Lords do not ask us to reconsider their proposals later in the week, I shall still regard the addition of subsection (1) to clause 43 as an advantage and an improvement.
The second historical point that the House must bear in mind concerns subsection (2), which it is proposed to modify. That subsection gives the Home Secretary a wholly unfettered discretion. My right hon. and hon. Friends and I believe in both an appeals system and what must go with an appeals system if it is to work, namely, the obligation on the Home Secretary of the day to publish the reasons for his refusal to grant naturalisation or registration.
I do not believe, however—and here I cross swords with the Minister of State and take issue with him—that by accepting the Lords amendment we are opening up the entire area of appeals and notification. Towards the end 789 of his remarks the Minister either said or implied that to allow this single limitation on the Secretary of State's discretion was to open up the whole range of appeals and to require the Secretary of State to stipulate why he had refused an application. That is what I should like to see come about. The new nationality Act which must be introduced in the future must include an appeals system preceded by an explanation of why an application has been refused. But I do not believe that that is what we are debating today. We are debating a much narrower point concerning race and religion which need not, if it is sensibly applied, and in my view cannot, no matter how it is applied, open up the entire issue of appeals and explanations. I believe that unfettered discretion is wrong in general, but it would be disastrous if we provided today that a Home Secretary of any party had unfettered discretion to operate in a way which was discriminatory in terms of race or religion.
The Minister of State may argue that no Home Secretary supported by the House would ever behave in such a fashion. I concede at once that it is inconceivable that the present incumbent would do so, at least by intention. These matters are always subject to occasional, inadvertent administrative slips, but clearly the present Home Secretary would never remotely behave in a way which needed to be described the amendment suggests. Equally important, however, is the obligation upon the House to state that, having declared our opposition to racial and religious discrimination, we shall do our best to incorporate it into the Bill in such a fashion that a person who feels that he has been subject to such an unacceptable act is able to seek some kind of redress and compensation in law.
When the matter was debated in the House of Lords on 28 July, noble Lords who could not be described, in the patois of some Tory Back Benchers, as "part of the race relations industry"—Lord Boyd-Carpenter, Viscount Colville of Culross and Lord Mackay of Clashfern—all advocated the course that I now advocate and were uncertain during that debate as to the exact reasons for the Government's opposition.
§ Mr. Raison
I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can say that Lord Mackay advocated the course that he describes. Lord Mackay is the Lord Advocate. He may have been advocating, but he was certainly not advocating that course.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I am sorry. Lord Boyd-Carpenter and Viscount Colville advocated that course. They went on to say that Lord Mackay had offered three objections to it which they found confusing and in conflict with one another. It is indeed with Lord Mackay's speech that I wish to deal in detail before turning to the Minister of State's remarks. I am sorry if I inadvertently included Lord Mackay among those who had taken a more rational view of the amendment.
Lord Boyd-Carpenter and Viscount Colville, who are not normally regarded as part of the race relations lobby, argued that Lord Mackay was making three criticisms of the proposal. First, he said that the amendment was unnecessary in that a general prohibition on racial discrimination already applied. If the Minister of State has 790 the opportunity to speak again—I am sure that the House will be happy to give him leave to do so—I hope that he will expand a little on Lord Mackay's point that subsections (1) and (2) are not simply taken together but are both part of the whole Bill, that the Bill must be examined as a whole, and that, therefore, if subsection (1) remains in the Bill, it applies in every sense to all parts of the Bill. Lord Boyd-Carpenter and Viscount Colville both took that to mean that there might possibly be a recourse to law if there were a fear of the kind of discrimination that we seek to avoid.
Having argued that the amendment was unnecessary, however, the Lord Advocate then argued that it was undesirable because it would oblige the Government to give reasons for refusal—a point with which I shall deal in a moment. Thirdly, he argued that it was unworkable because it was less than precise in describing the redress that an applicant who suspected racial discrimination would be able to obtain.
When I mentioned this proposal yesterday, the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), I believe, described subsection (1) as meaningless. By that, I think he meant that it could not be tested in court. I repeat what I said a moment ago. If that were all that subsection (1) stood for, I would regard it as valuable as a sign and a promise. The ethnic minorities have had plenty of signs from Government supporters in the recent past which are likely to encourage their feelings of insecurity and to increase their apprehensions about their future status. I have no doubt at all that a sign—if that is all the subsection is—is valuable in itself. However, the Opposition argue that it would be much better if the aggrieved applicant, or the applicant who believes himself to be aggrieved, were able to appeal to the courts and say "I was excluded from British citizenship only because of my race or religion", and feel that he had some redress there.
What are the possible objections to this amendment, which received such wide support and enjoyed such a large majority in the other place? I suppose that there are two basic objections. The first was best described in Committee by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) when he talked in general about the Home Secretary's discretion. As I remember it, the right hon. Gentleman was not offended—indeed, I think that he was positively flattered, as I half meant him to be—when I said that his objection to limiting in any way the Home Secretary's discretion in these matters was mystical. I argued that the right hon. Gentleman believed as a matter of principle that the Home Secretary, acting as the embodiment of the State, ought to have the right to accept or refuse applications for citizenship according to whatever seemed to him to be appropriate reasons because it was the State's right to deny additional citizenships.
Those hon. Members who want to cleave to this mystical concept of government will choose to do so. But that is not for me nor, I suspect, for the Government. My own suspicion is that the Government's objection is the sort put to them by civil servants who, while saying that the objects of the clause are undoubtedly worthy, add, "They are undoubtedly objects that you, Minister, subscribe to as you moved the new subsection (1). But if you try to give them any force and meaning, they will, in that time hallowed phrase, be administratively unworkable". What crimes have been committed in the name of those things that are administratively unworkable! 791 For my part, I do not accept that to be the case. The Minister of State confirmed my suspicion that those were his objections by talking again in the language of the administrative classes of the Civil Service. He referred to "very serious drawbacks". But while some drawbacks certainly exist, they are nothing like sufficiently substantial to justify the withdrawal from applicants of what to some of us seems to be a basic right, namely, the right to ensure that if they are not allowed to become British citizens they shall be assured, and have it proved to them, that that is not because of their race or religion.
The Minister of State said that if we inserted this one proviso to limit the Home Secretary's discretion it would require him to give all the reasons that might have motivated him to refuse an application, including those reasons that were not concerned with the applicant's race or religion, I do not believe that for a moment. The several distinguished lawyers who spoke on this subject in the other place all believed that it was a workable proposition and that a man or woman who genuinely believed that the reason for the refusal concerned his or her race or religion should, and could, be able to take the case to court on that limited point, and that the Home Secretary should or would be able to demonstrate his good intentions and honourable behaviour in this particular alone.
As the Minister knows, I have always accepted that some refusals of British citizenship might be made for reasons that are good in themselves but that cannot be explained in open court. I have always accepted that security considerations might make it impossible for the Home Secretary to say, "I am denying this man British citizenship and this woman registration and these are the reasons". But I have always taken the view that in such cases the Home Secretary ought to announce simply and baldly that it has been refused for reasons concerning the security of the State, and that in itself would be a protection from any action in the courts which could and should be written into legislation.
On the other hand, I do not see why, as a matter of administrative opportunity and legal possibility, it is not possible for the courts to adjudicate on this simple principle that a man or woman claims to have been refused for this specific reason and that the Home Secretary refutes the specific nature of the claim and complaint, if refutation is possible.
The Minister suggested that there would be some frivolous or fractious applications and that men and women who had patently been refused British citizenship for some other reason might complain that the only thing held against them was their race and religion. In any case, I am deeply worried about denying rights to a few merely because others may unreasonably try to exploit that loophole.
Other hon. Members know more about this subject than I do. But I suspect that the costs in such cases would prohibit many specious applications, frivolous complaints or fractious actions. I suspect that the actions that do come about, but only in small numbers, will come from people who genuinely believe that British citizenship has been denied them because of their race and religion.
I do not believe that many cases of this sort will be brought to court if the two clauses are related in the way their Lordships propose. But to fail to give power to the Minister's admirable original proposition to demonstrate the Government's good intentions and their determination to avoid racial and religious bias would do enormous 792 damage. To implement that would give the clause real power and move us forward a great deal along the road to a position where we could genuinely argue that at least parts of the Bill did not bear unequally on the different communities that make up Great Britain. It is enormously important to do that for the sake of good race relations in this country.
The Government may well persist in rejecting the Lords amendment. With the guillotine and Whips at their backs they may carry the day. If that is the case, I hope that their Lordships are as wise this week as they were on 28 July.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I shall gladly give way, but I suspect that the Minister will want to speak at least once more.
§ Mr. Raison
This is an important debate and it is right that the protagonists on both sides of the House should be clearly understood. I return to what the right hon. Gentleman said about whether the courts can look at the question solely in terms of an application dealing with colour, race or religion.
If somebody appealed to the courts on the ground that the Home Secretary's discretion had been exercised in a biased and prejudiced way, what would happen in the court? The appellant would put forward his argument. He would say, "The Home Secretary has behaved in a biased way about colour. The reasons have not been given so I do not know what they are." How would the court be able to judge the issue without probing into the reasons for refusal? The argument cannot be contained at the level that it is—simply race, religion or colour. In most cases the courts would have to penetrate the argument to find out what the reasons for refusal were before they could decide whether it was a matter of colour.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The Minister of State and I obviously disagree about what is practical. I believe that it would be possible for the Home Secretary to demonstrate his good intentions without having to refer to all the reasons for refusal. Even if the Minister is right—and I do not believe that he is—I hope that, when he speaks again, he will tell us what Lord Mackay meant when he said:The court in reading subsection (2) of this clause would read it in the light of all the provisions of the Bill, including subsection (1)."— [Official Report, House of Lords, 28 July 1981; Vol. 423, c. 695.]Lord Boyd-Carpenter, Lord Mishcon and Viscount Colville, who followed the Lord Advocate, took that at least half to mean that this subsection had force, since it was already part of the Bill and, as part of the Bill, must be related to the whole Bill. Although we can do no more than disagree about the practicalities of such an application, I hope that before the night is over we shall be told the relevance of that point, made with the authority of the Lord Advocate.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
I was one of those who originally opposed the provision—indeed, I still disapprove of it—requiring the Secretary of State or the lieutenant-governor to exercise his discretion without regard to race, colour or religion. It is contrary to the spirit of Conservatism, because there should not be empty gestures in legislation. Abstract human rights should not be conceded without the means of enforcing them. It means that, although we state that a certain thing shall be done, 793 we are not providing, as we should, the means of ensuring that it can be done and that it can be enforced in a court of law.
To that extent, I have some sympathy with what the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) says. It was a mistake to have inserted the provision in this part of the Bill. In the Bill as originally printed it was the part that is now subsection (2), and it should have been left like that.
However, an amendment has been made linking the two subsections in a curious way. It is hard to believe that it was drafted by a former Lord Chancellor, because the effect of the amendment is to make nonsense of subsection (2). Subsection (1) is the commandment that the Secretary of State shall behave in a non-racial way in the exercise of his discretion. Subsection (2) says that he is not to give reasons for his decisions and that no court shall inquire into them. Linking the two subsections by saying that subsection (2) is subject to subsection (1) is unnecessary verbiage that does not convey the intention or the consequences that the right hon. Gentleman seeks. If the other place had wanted to reverse the principle of subsection (2), it could have done so simply by saying that the Secretary of State, in exercising his discretion under the Act, shall give reasons and his decisions shall be subject to review by the courts. That would have been straightforward and would have been far more acceptable than what has been done.
I am sorry to suggest that people with whose logic I agree have produced a way to achieve their object that is ham-fisted and leaves the whole thing impossible to carry out. Let us have it one way or the other. Either the Secretary of State's decisions may be challenged in the courts or they may not. If they may not, why tell him that he has a statutory duty to do anything? There is no point in legislating unless we ensure that the Secretary of State complies with the requirements by some process through the courts.
The introduction of subsection (1) makes the clause nonsense. The amendment from the other place would make it even more so. Subsection (1) is part of the Bill, as is subsection (2), and linkage of the two is not meaningful.
§ Mr. Hattersley
What is the nature of the nonsense about which the hon. Gentleman complains? Is such a provision nonsense because it would give an applicant the right to appeal to the court or because, despite the linkage, it would still not give him the right?
§ Mr. Stanbrook
It would not give him any such right. I do not disagree with the logic of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, but the object of the exercise was to have the Secretary of State's decision subject to review by the court, so the amendment should be that the Secretary of State must give his reasons and they may be challenged in court.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The hon. Gentleman is a lawyer and I do not have that disadvantage. All the objections concerning administrative convenience and fractious applications come to naught in the hon. Gentleman's view, because the right to appeal to the court would not exist.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
That is the commonsense view. I agree with the spirit of the right hon. Gentleman's 794 argument. It is about the first time that we have agreed on the Bill. However, we must do one thing or the other. We must either provide a proper channel to the court to challenge the Secretary of State's decisions or say that they shall not be challenged in any court. In that event we should not put a statutory duty on the Secretary of State to exercise his discretion.
§ Mr. Edward Lyons
In Committee and on Report the hon. Gentleman voted against amendments designed to provide a resort to the courts. He says that the provision is useless without resort to the courts but he made certain that there would be no such resort by voting against earlier amendments that I and others proposed.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
That is true. I do not believe that decisions within the Secretary of State's discretion should be challenged in the courts. However, we are not discussing that. We are discussing the merits of the amendment and not what I would have in the Bill. If I were drafting it, it might be different.
We are discussing a manoeuvre by the Lords to provide for some form of judicial review. They have done it by linking subsection (1), which imposes a statutory duty on the Secretary of State, with subsection (2), which says that his decisions shall not be challenged in the court. That is nonsense. Let us not make foolish legislation. If there is to be a challenge in the courts, we should say that the decisions are subject to review by the court.
I believe that the original wording of the clause was acceptable. If we are talking about discretion, it is a subjective view of the merits of an application for naturalisation. It is not something for which reasons can be given that can be challenged in court. I therefore see no need for the injunction of subsection (1). I approve of the Government's general stance that there should not be a review in the court.
§ Mr. Peter Archer (Warley, West)
The issue is simple. The Government do not dispute that there should be a non-discrimination clause. Indeed, the Minister of State introduced it in Committee. As he said, he did so to allay the fears of minority communities.
There were such fears. There was a deep anxiety among minority communities. They felt that where a decision would profoundly affect the lives of people they ought to know the reasons to enable them to challenge mistakes which had crept into the file, to understand what they had to do to rectify matters and, at the very least, so that they might go away understanding why they had not received the answer for which they were hoping. Of course there were anxieties.
In Committee, the Minister of State fairly accepted that there were those anxieties. The purpose of introducing the non-discrimination clause was to allay those fears. So presumably the Government intend the clause to be effective. They intend it to have a purpose. Surely they cannot have intended to allay the fears of minority communities, without dealing with the grounds for those fears, by a declaration which was totally empty—which was sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) and I are certainly at one on this. We may disagree about whether there ought to be a right at all, but we agree that it is illogical, misleading and unfair to introduce a right and then not to introduce a remedy. Before the debate began, I should 795 have thought that that was almost dishonest. That is not an allegation that I would make against the Minister of State. I believe that he must just be very confused.
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said, the amendment may have some value as a declaration. But, as a method of setting people's fears at rest, it is a non-starter. None the less, it is introduced and included in the same clause as another subsection which states that all the rights in the Bill are to be unenforceable. Common sense and logic would suggest that the two cancel each other out. What is the Government's answer? What is their quarrel with common sense and logic and why are they so anxious to resist the amendment?
Before the debate began I thought that I knew the answer to the last question because in another place the Lord Advocate gave some reasons. One reason, as has already been said more than once in the debate, was that he thought that the amendment would not achieve its purpose. He stated that, since the two subsections dealt with two different stages of the process, it would not make sense to say that one was subject to the other.
I am not persuaded by that argument. The courts are perfectly capable of understanding what is meant. There is only one thing that the words could mean—the inhibitions on challenge in subsection (2) shall not apply to a challenge on the ground that subsection (1) has not been complied with. Any English speaker would understand that that is what was meant. But let us suppose that I am wrong and that the Minister is right about this. Then the argument would be that the drafting was defective.
With all the Government's resources, surely they can produce an amended draft. It would be monstrous, in a debate of this kind on a fundamental issue of principle—whether a non-discrimination clause introduced by the Government should be effective—for them to shelter behind a drafting point.
§ Mr. Raison
I was not sheltering behind a drafting deficiency. I pointed out that, in our view, there was a drafting deficiency. I attempted to explain that it concerned the linkage between subsections (1) and (2). However, I made it clear that the principal reason for my objection was the practical question of what would happen if one went to court and argued that the Home Secretary had refused somebody's application for naturalisation on grounds of colour, race or religion. How could that be argued without the true reasons for the refusal coming before the court?
It would be extremely interesting and helpful to the House if the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who is a former Law Officer, would give his views on how, as a matter of practice, that could happen. How could somebody say that the Home Secretary had discriminated against him on grounds of colour, race or religion without the court wanting to find out the reasons for the decision?
It might be possible on occasions to tackle such cases without penetrating into the real arguments, but surely that must be exceptional. The norm would be for the court to question the reason for the refusal.
§ Mr. Archer
I am grateful to the Minister of State for that intervention, but he must not make my speech for me. I am coming to the point that he made. We have now achieved one thing in this debate. The drafting argument has gone.
§ Mr. Archer
The Minister cannot have it both ways. He cannot say that he does not want the subsection to be subject to review and then object that the drafting is defective.
§ Mr. Raison
The right hon. and learned Gentleman can do better than that. I said that there were two things wrong. The first, to which I attach less importance, concerns technicalities; and the second, to which I attach greater importance, concerns how the procedure would operate. I do not abandon the first point. It is significant, but the second issue is more significant and that is where I prefer to put the substance of my argument—perhaps because I can argue and grasp it more persuasively. There are two arguments, and the second is more important.
§ Mr. Archer
The Minister of State has now made the same point four times. I am seized of it and I promise to come to it in due course, but perhaps I may be allowed to make my own speech in my own way. It still seems to me that if the Minister is saying that he does not want a review, it is irrelevant for him to say that the drafting does not achieve one.
I should like to make one other point before coming to the Minister of State's argument. I wish that the Government would be consistent. Before the debate began I thought that I knew what the Government's case was. I thought that the Lord Advocate had argued in another place that the words were not necessary—that, even without the words in the amendment, it would be possible for the courts to review the discretion on the ground that it did not comply with subsection (1).
However, it transpires that if that was what the Lord Advocate argued, it was not what the Government wanted to achieve. They do not want courts to be able to review the discretion. At various stages in our debates the Government have said not only things that are not necessarily the same, but things that are inconsistent. They now say that it can all be left to questions and debates in the House.
We discussed that matter at earlier stages of the Bill. It is difficult publicly to give parliamentary answers and to have debates about matters relating specifically to the position of individuals. They may be confidential or it may be unfair to say certain things about individuals. In addition, there is no prospect of cross-examination in the House. Law Officers in particular know that the House is not the best forum for such an exercise.
The Minister of State said that we could leave matters to the Parliamentary Commissioner. But he has to be satisfied that there is maladministration, which has a highly technical meaning, and that process would be no substitute for review in the courts.
We debated these matters at length on 2 June. We discussed in general whether it was right that the Secretary of State's discretion involving matters of great importance to individuals should be beyond challenge—whether the Secretary of State should virtually be beyond the challenge of any tribunal except those in the hereafter. I do not propose to repeat the arguments deployed on that occasion, but again I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member for Orpington that what is proposed is contrary 797 to the spirit of Conservatism, as I tried to show on the previous occasion. The Minister of State may care to refer to that debate.
The Home Secretary rejected our arguments on that occasion and said that it was not possible to lay down criteria for the exercise of discretion which could be tested on appeal. Whatever the merits of that argument in that debate, it cannot be applied to the subject of this debate because, if subsection (1) has any purpose, it is precisely to lay down criteria for the guidance of the Secretary of State.
I come to the argument used time and time again by the Minister of State. He says that if we allow the courts to examine allegations that there has been an infringement of subsection (1) and that discretion has been used in a discriminatory way, we shall open up all the reasons that guided the Secretary of State to his decision. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook, I am not sure why that would be so wicked or worrying.
There are many ways in which a court can investigate reasons without necessarily making them public to the whole world. They could be in the form of affidavits, which could be read quietly, not aloud, by the court. We have discussed that frequently in another context in recent months. If necessary, courts can conduct proceedings in camera. The only people whom one needs to trust are the judges, and I do not understand the difficulty about that.
The reasons that the Government give for a conscious decision to place subsection (1) beyond review are unconvincing. What is even more worrying is that it seems to be a habit of the Government to include in their Bills rights that appear impressive, but then to ensure that the rights cannot be enforced. In our debates on the Companies Bill in 1980 the Government introduced a new clause to the effect that company directors, in the performance of their functions, should have regard to the interests of their employees, but they then added a subsection which ensured that the employee should not have any right of action to enforce it.
I hope that the Minister of State will not repeat the same arguments in his reply. We are seized of them. But will he at least make clear what I think he was trying to make clear earlier—that the Government wish the discretion to be beyond challenge, even on the ground that it infringes the criteria which they have provided in subsection (1)? If so, will the Minister of State explain how it can serve to allay the fear of minority communities, how it can be other than a purely empty gesture, and how he can justify so empty a shell?
§ Mr. Marlow
If I understand the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) correctly—I apologise for not being present at the beginning of his speech—he was concerned about the potential denial of rights to people and that if those rights were denied, people would not have recourse to a court of law. As I also understand it, the clause concerns decisions involving the exercise of discretion. In this area we are not talking essentially about people's rights but, to an extent, about people's privileges. I believe that the grant of nationality, except in the majority of cut and dried cases that we have already discussed, is a great privilege and that the Government and the people of this country want the Government to hold that privilege very dear. 798 As I understand it, the Government have been as fair as they can to everyone, particularly those with the right to British citizenship. Earlier today we discussed the giving of the right of British citizenship to those people who happened to have a British granny whose mother might have been a part-time charlady in an Athens canteen for the European Community. We cannot be any fairer than that. Not only are this Government fair and not only are any other Government likely to be fair, but we already have in this clause the statement that any discretion vestedshall be exercised without regard to the race, colour or religion of any person who may be affected by its exercise.
I am sure that any civil servant assisting my hon. Friend the Minister of State or his successors in the Home Office will be sure that the subsection is fairly and correctly applied. But woe betide any Government at any stage who try not to apply the subsection fairly. I should think it will be possible, by various means that seem to have become more common in this day and age, that a wrongful application of the subsection will be brought to the public's notice. I cannot see that happening, but if it did the public would get to know about it. Further, hon. Members would be involved. If a person had been discriminated against on those grounds, I am sure that an hon. Member would be given the facts and, in the way of hon. Members of this House, would pursue it with the utmost vigour to see justice and fair play.
All hon. Members should be concerned that if in the exercise of discretion—which, as I have said, is a privilege—people were allowed to pursue the matter through the courts, there would be those with a chip on their shoulder. There would be those with vexatious causes. There would be those who had been put up by troublemakers. There would be those who, knowing full well that the discretion had been properly exercised and knowing full well that the reasons for the proper exercise of that discretion were perhaps a matter for national security, would wish to pursue it through the courts to embarrass the Government. They would wish to pursue it through a trumped-up case of alleged discrimination on the ground of race, colour or religion.
I believe that the Bill as it is, without the amendment, is a fundamentally fair Bill. I believe that my hon. Friend and his successors, of whatever party—long may he reign, and I believe that his successors will be from our party anyhow—and their civil servants will see that this measure is properly and fairly applied. I believe that there is no cause for concern on this issue.
§ Mr. Marlow
I am just about to sit down—I have one further point to make—and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be able to make his own speech.
Apart from the fundamental issue of privilege in taking a matter to court, if the amendment, as so far put forward, is nonsense, and if it is ambiguous—and we have had two very distinguished hon. and learned Gentlemen putting forward different points of view—should we in this House put forward ambiguous legislation? Surely not. I believe that for those reasons the amendment should be rejected.
§ Mr. Edward Lyons (Bradford, West)
The Soviet constitution has the most magnificent clauses in it. Anyone reading it would imagine that the Soviet Union was governed on the most enlightened democratic principles 799 But, of course, there is not much opportunity, when the principles in the constitution are not followed, for ordinary Soviet citizens to do anything about it.
As we look at the constitutions of other countries, we say to ourselves, "They do not have an independent judiciary, they do not have access to a free Parliament, and they have not independent media; therefore, what is written in their constitutions does not mean a thing." I am not suggesting by any stretch of the imagination that what we have in Britain is something similar to the Soviet constitution, but there is a lesson to be drawn. It is that high-sounding phrases—verbiage, which comes cheap—written into legislation, without the possibility of redress in the courts, will not be of very much use.
Although it is not the case at the moment, there could come a time when clause 43(1) could almost be an engine of oppression, in the sense that, in dealing with cases alleged discrimination, the authorities could say, "You are entirely wrong to accuse us of discrimination, because all our decisions are governed by clause 43(1), which says clearly that we never do that sort of thing. All our decisions are fair and just. You are entirely wrong, therefore, in making any contrary allegation."
The way to deal with that possibility—however far in the future it might be—is to provide teeth for the high-sounding phrases. What the Lords have sought to do—as was sought to be done in this House at an earlier stage—is to provide teeth for the high-sounding phrases. Those high-sounding phrases did not come from the Opposition; they came from the Government. The Government put subsection (1) into the Bill.
The argument throughout has been that since the protection of the citizen against an accumulation of power by the Executive must lie with the judiciary as well as with the legislature and the media, it is unfortunate that the judiciary—one of the three pillars on which our freedoms rest—is excluded from the ability to review decisions reached by the Executive under the measure.
The Bill is now to contain a clause stating that rights which are affected by the operation of the Bill shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts—but discretion, no. The principal argument that is being used is that embarrassment could be caused if people took the Government to court on an allegation that there had been an improper exercise of discretion due to prejudice about race, colour or religion, and that that would force the Government into an embarrassing situation and improper disclosures.
Let us consider the realities. As a matter of habit, the Government reveal the ground of refusal when it amounts to a person not having lived here for five years. As a matter of practice, the Government reveal the ground for refusal when it is based on the failure of an applicant to pass the language test. All that remains is good character and security. The idea that a mole who applies for British citizenship and is refused is not alerted because he is not told the reason is fanciful. If a dangerous spy applied for British nationality and were refused without reason presumably he would know the reason, if he had been here five years and he had passed the language test. What would be left? If he had not been before the courts and was a person of good character, he would be left with only one inference, and that is that the Government were on to him and suspected him of being a spy. There would be no need 800 for him to go to the courts. Why should he do that? That would certainly blow his cover, because he would be closely examined. The Government would then fear that the man suspected that they knew that he was a spy and their reasons for suspecting him.
It would have been open to the Government to exclude security from the provisions. The Government might have received sympathy if they said that if there were certificates for security there would be no need to go into the details behind the certificate. Of course the applicant would know that security was involved. A person who was a genuine danger to security would be caught by such a certificate, and probably he would not proceed with an application to the courts in any event. There would be no point in his doing so if he knew that he were a genuine security risk, because the certificate would stop him dead.
There is another protection, and that is if the Government made it clear—as might be the case with the present drafting—that the burden of proof lay on the applicant to prove that prejudice had been exercised and therefore an improper exercise of discretion. If the applicant could not make a prima facie case, in the first place, a judge might say at the end of the plaintiff's case "This case fails, and therefore I do not need to call the Government lawyers to give an answer."
Anyone who went to a lawyer who dealt with a large number of cases involving nationality would know that either good character or security were the reasons for refusal, because his lawyer would be able to say, "They have not said that it is a time factor or that there is a language problem." In cases where a case involved a person of bad character who had been before the courts, how would the Government be harmed, in an action brought by such a person, if they produced in private proceedings a list of his convictions? Moreover, the moment the Government did so, the man himself would know that it was pointless to proceed on a different ground, namely, that the refusal had been based on an improper exercise of discretion about race, colour or religion.
Altogether, therefore, I am not satisfied that the Government are acting reasonably having regard to their own introduction of the subsection. One can argue that there would be a recourse to the courts by persons who did not want to be removed from this country and wanted extra delay, but that does not apply to nationality. A person who applies for nationality has first to show ordinary residence. Therefore, no application to the courts here could be introduced as a means of delaying removal from this country, as a mere delaying tactic, because such a person would have a right to residence in the first place before he could go on to apply for citizenship.
Since the Government have addressed this matter, the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) has throughout given it a very warm welcome. I have taken the view that overall and in present circumstances it is better to have it in the Bill as a matter of reassurance than not to have it included, despite the fact that it is not backed by any sanction such as a right to approach the judiciary for review. None the less, one has seen an attempt made in the House of Lords to make sure that this preliminary subsection is not meaningless, since the declaration to be given is unenforceable anywhere. The Government immediately react strongly and say that they will vote against the amendment made by the House of Lords. 801 I should have hoped that the Government would not do that but would accept the Lords amendment as they have accepted a number of other amendments by the Lords. The Government have thought again about a number of proposals which they vehemently opposed in Committee and on Report. The Minister has stated repeatedly that one needs time to think. The fact that one refuses vehemently and adamantly does not mean that one was right. No, it meant that the Government needed months and months to think. Eventually, the Government concluded, after all, that the language test for spouses was not necessary, and therefore they have agreed to the Lords amendment in that respect, which I find very satisfactory.
Therefore, when the Minister tells us that we on the Opposition Benches are wrong about our insistence, why should we accept his refusal and his reasons when, after a time, he has backtracked on so many arguments and conceded that he was wrong? All that one needs to do is to repeat the arguments for long enough and the Government, after many refusals, will accept that they were wrong and accept the Lords amendment. Only on this matter do the Government dig in their heels, saying, "No, we cannot have it." After what the Minister has been saying about other matters, he should follow his reasoning. At a very late stage it is possible to change one's mind and suddenly to see the merits of an argument, particularly if they have been advanced in the House of Lords.
It has been a most humiliating experience for Members of the House of Commons to see the alacrity with which the Government have accepted arguments in the House of Lords—glad though I am that they have accepted them—when similar arguments put forward repeatedly by assorted Opposition Members have been rejected out of hand throughout the proceedings in this House. It seems that the Government favour ermine and arguments advanced under robes of ermine and coronets. Apparently those views are taken into account to a far greater degree than are the views of the Members of the House of Commons.
At this late stage, I hope that the Government can be persuaded to think again. I share the view that there will be few applications to the courts under clause 43(1). It is not easy to foresee circumstances in which there could be a mass of applications. The Government should think again.
§ Mr. Greville Janner (Leicester, West)
The hon. and learned Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) is right. From the legal point of view, there is no reason why the Lords amendment should not remain. However, there is another reason that is, perhaps, more important that that. It is atmospheric.
Leicester has a large Asian community that is, on the whole, happily integrated. In cities such as Leicester it is correctly believed that the Bill is basically divisive, racist and contrary to the community's interest. They believe that it may well lead to the exercise of discretion with regard to race, colour and religion.
The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) said that the Bill was fundamentally fair. We on this side of the House regard it as an unfair Bill that will lead to ill feeling and that is fundamentally evil in its effect, not least on the atmosphere in which people live 802 and work as citizens in the same country. Indeed, the children of immigrants cease to be immigrants and are citizens of this country, with the same rights as any others.
A clause has been inserted in the Bill and its intention is to give some reassurance. It states that the discretion that is vested not only in the Secretary of State but also in a governor, or lieutenant-governorshall be exercised without regard to the race, colour or religion of any person who may be affected by its exercise.The provision was inserted by a Secretary of State whom we all recognise to be someone who would not exercise his discretion willingly or knowingly in a way contrary to the decencies of normal parliamentary procedure and rights. However, one would not necessarily have such confidence in a governor or lieutenant-governor. Nor would one necessarily have such confidence in a future Home Secretary. We are determined to repeal the Bill at the first opportunity. Meanwhile, we could not be sure that a governor, lieutenant-governor or different Home Secretary would not take a different approach from that of the present Secretary of State. We were pleased when the Lords inserted an amendment to the effect that the absolute discretion vested in the Secretary of State could involve having regard to security and to a person's character, but not to a person's race, colour or religion.
If amended, the clause would state:Subject to subsection (1) herein,in other words, to the requirement to exercise the discretion without regard to the race, colour or religion of anyone affected by the provision's exercise—the Secretary of State, a Governor or a Lieutenant-Governor, as the case may be, shall not be required to assign any reasonIn other words, he is bound to have regard to subsection (1) and is accountable if he does not. I accepted the Minister's reasoning when he said that this might lead to a possible challenge in the courts. That is right.
I have a healthy regard for the right of appeal. It is a basic right. I have a deep dislike of any unfettered discretion in anybody's hands which is not subject to the right of the courts to review it. Ministers are not elected as Ministers but appointed, and on occasion they are liable to be changed sometimes to the public benefit but sometimes for reasons which are not necessarily connected with that. If there must be a discretion, for security or personal reasons, and we are to have trust in the exercise of it by Ministers, that discretion must be subject to appeal in the courts in all cases. I know that such a right does not exist under the Bill. I know that it is too late, but I believe that it is a mistake that a person should not be entitled to go to a court, even if it has to sit in camera because of a security aspect. Courts frequently sit privately for that reason. The exercise of the court's discretion is itself subject to the right of appeal to other courts in most cases.
Since there is no right of appeal, there is still a possibility, in cases which affect race, colour or religion, of the Minister regarding himself as having not an absolute discretion but a discretion which is subject to limitation. I respect the Minister's view that if a discretion is subject to limitation the citizen is given the right to say to the court, "The Minister has acted beyond his powers. He has not acted in accordance with the discretion vested in him by Parliament. Indeed, he has acted contrary to that discretion, and therefore he should be taken to account." That is the essence of the individual's democratic freedom. 803 The Minister says that that is not necessary because a person can already appeal to his Member of Parliament. I pay tribute to the Minister for the occasions when he has helped in individual cases which I have brought to his attention. In other cases I protested because he did not act. But, when the Minister has been convinced of the justice of a case, he has intervened and exercised his discretion.
I have always felt uncomfortable that there should be no right of appeal, other than in certain cases, to tribunals. I hope that, if there were a right of appeal against him, the Minister would feel no more fettered than does a High Court judge. High Court judges do not enjoy being appealed against, particularly if the appeal succeeds. I suggested to a High Court judge the other day that he had been appealed against successfully rather often lately. He said, "Yes. The Court of Appeal is frequently wrong." A judge might be wrong and a Minister might be wrong but the judge has no absolute right. His decisions are open to review. It is wrong that a Minister should have an unfettered liberty to decide on such a crucial issue as whether a person shall be allowed to live in a country, without at least some fetter on that power.
The total fetter for which some of us wish?the right of appeal to the courts—does not exist in the Bill. Instead the Lords have inserted a modified fetter which would lead in some cases, although not many, to people saying, "The Minister has not complied with his duties under clause 43(1)."
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)
Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman would clarify one matter. I have listened to him with great care. As I understand it, the amendment does not say that the Minister should state at any stage that he has had regard to the criteria in clause 43(1). If that is right and he is not obliged to state whether he has had regard to those criteria, I do not understand how the amendment gives rise to a greater ability to challenge decisions in the courts.
§ Mr. Janner
I think that the hon. Gentleman had the misfortune of not being in the Chamber when the Minister opened the debate.
§ Mr. Janner
I am not happy about trying to translate the Minister's objections as he may disapprove of my interpretation. However, I understood the Minister to say that once there was a right to challenge his discretion, the right would be exercised in the courts. He added that the courts would have to ask the person concerned, "Why do you say this?". He would reply, "It is on the ground of race, colour or religion." The court would then ask the Minister, "Is that right or is it wrong?; If it is not right, what is your reason?" In other words, the procedure would lead, by an indirect route, to the Minister having to explain why he refused to exercise his discretion. If I am wrong in my interpretation of the Minister's argument, I shall gladly resume my place while he intervenes.
§ Mr. Janner
If the Minister is wrong, it will not be for the first time. On this occasion I am trying merely to deal with the objections that the Minister has raised. It seems that there are only two possibilities. Either the Minister is wrong, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, in which case the 804 worries that he raises are incorrect and without foundation, and the amendment should be allowed, or the Minister is right, in which case I rejoice, as those who believe that a discriminatory decision has been made will have a right to go to the courts. I am satisfied to rest my case on the basis that the amendment will do good and will emphasise that it is not the intention of the House that there should be any refusal of an application without regard to the just criteria which have been embedded in the clause.
I invite the House to consider the effect of not accepting the amendment. Would that have much the same impact on the atmosphere as the Bill itself? Would it be regarded by those who are, not surprisingly, sensitive to the effect of the Bill as reflecting an intention on the Government's part to reject any fetter and to reject even that which has been inserted by those in another place, which would in my view and the Minister's give those concerned a limited right to go to the courts? In my view and the Minister's it would allow people to challenge the Minister's reasons and at least the Minister would be required to give them. That would allow the courts to say, "We shall sit in camera" or allow the Minister to use his ordinary powers in law to say, "These are matters which in the public interest cannot be revealed".
If I am wrong, as the hon. Gentleman has been kind enough to suggest, there is no ground for the Government's opposition to the amendment. In the circumstances I hope that it will be allowed to remain in the Bill, where it belongs.
§ Mr. Alton
I listened with interest to the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner). I agree with much of his case. I agree also with the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons).
It seems that two debates have been taking place simultaneously. One debate concerns the technical linkage of subsections (1) and (2) and the other appears to concern one's attitude and approach to race relations and whether one wants to make a reality of the statement contained in subsection (1).
The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) put it well when he said that we were discussing empty words. I suspect that without subsection (2) and the linkage to the right of appeal that is all that they will be. They will be merely a gesture and a cosmetic approach without giving any reality to the fears that many within minority groups, especially within the black community, have about the implementation of this proposed legislation.
In many ways, the decision by the Government to write into the BillAny discretion vested by or under this Act in the Secretary of State … shall be exercised without regard to the race, colour or religion of any person who may be affected by its exercisewas an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
The legislation is regarded by many throughout the country as intrinsically wrong. The suspicion lingers that it is a racialist piece of legislation. In an attempt to respond to those fears, the Government decided to try to allay them by writing in those words at the beginning of the clause. It was suggested by Lord Elwyn-Jones in another place that, by linking that to the right of appeal, teeth would be provided for the statement that the legislation was not discriminatory and that it did not work against people on the basis of their race, colour or religion. 805 The other debate that has been going on in the Chamber has been about Britain being a multi-racial society. Some hon. Members wish that in some ways this country were not a multi-racial society. I believe that it is and that we can be proud that, regardless of the colour of their skin or of their background, people have equality of opportunity. Many people in Britain are committed to the cause of integration. It is a tragedy that at this sensitive moment in race relations this legislation has sullied the approach to race relations in Britain.
The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) said that some people would try to bring the Government into disrepute by making out bogus cases, saying that they had been discriminated against. Such people might choose to go to courts of law if they felt that the new British Nationality Act had worked against their interests. They should have that right of appeal; they should have that chance to go to court. If those people genuinely believe that the legislation has worked against them, they should be able to appeal to someone other than their Member of Parliament.
The Minister said that people had the right to go to their Member of Parliament, but it should be enshrined in law and above the Member of Parliament. It is true that the Minister is helpful to hon. Members who approach him with cases concerning immigration?I have always found him to be helpful?even to the point of meeting hon. Members to discuss the details of cases. But it should not be a question of the Member of Parliament having to go to the Minister. Surely it should be the right of the appellant to take his case to a court of law and to say that he feels that he has been unfairly discriminated against.
That will not lead to people queuing at our courts, because, if the legislation works in the way in which the Minister has assured us it will, there should be no fears. Few people will harbour a grievance or be prejudiced. There will not be vexatious cases for the sake of having vexatious cases. If the legislation works as it should, we shall not have hundreds of people queuing up at the courts. However, many people who believe that there are racial undertones in the legislation will have their fears allayed if they believe that they have that right of appeal.
§ Mr. Raison
The hon. Gentleman has been talking about appeals and also about appeals to Ministers. He must know that in immigration matters there are extensive appeal rights. He has also probably deduced that, despite those extensive appeal rights, there are still large numbers of appeals to Ministers by Members of Parliament. That shows that the belief that the introduction of an appeal right in this area would solve all our problems is a fallacy. Members of Parliament are able to appeal on naturalisation cases in exactly the same way as on immigration cases. There is an appeals system in the realm of immigration, but, judging by the reaction of hon. Members, it does not seem to be the panacea implied by the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Alton
I do not believe that it is any kind of panacea. I remember the words of the Minister of State, shortly into the life of this Parliament. Speaking at a meeting outside the House, he said that he felt that the whole procedure whereby Members of Parliament could go to Ministers should be abandoned.
§ Mr. Alton
I am sorry if I have misrepresented the Minister, but I believe that is what he said. Indeed, it is implicit in what he argued earlier—that the whole appeals procedure is such that it does not satisfy Members of Parliament, who frequently have come to Ministers. He is presumably arguing that that procedure is cumbersome and ought to be changed.
I draw the Minister's attention to the words of his noble Friend the Lord Advocate, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, who was asked this very question in another place. In reply to a question about the right of appeal, his answer was that to some extent it must depend upon the circumstances. The appellant should have the right to know clearly what those circumstances are. That, again, is a reason for tying subsection (2) to subsection (1). People will then have an automatic right to appeal if they feel that the legislation is working against them. I also believe that the contradictions which will be implicit in the legislation, if it is passed in its present form, will lead to expensive and prolonged litigation and confusion in the courts.
As the Lord Advocate said, I do not believe that we can contemplate that a Secretary of State, governor or lieutenant-governor vested with discretion would act in breach of subsection (1). It seems to me that the present Home Secretary and, indeed, the Minister of State are unlikely to act in breach of the legislation. However, as others have pointed out today, legislation should not be based on the nature of individuals. Somebody might in future occupy a ministerial position and he might not exercise the kind of discretion that one would expect from the present Home Secretary or the Minister of State. I should therefore prefer the right of an individual to know precisely where he stands vis-a-vis the law to be clearly spelt out in the legislation.
The Minister of State talked about obscurity and uncertainty in the legislation. That is precisely what I believe he has achieved by refusing to tie subsection (2) to subsection (1). If the Minister and the Government mean what they say about there being no discrimination on the basis of race, colour or religion, it would have been more straightforward for that to be tied clearly to the right of appeal.
I hope, therefore, that, even at this late hour, the Minister will think again, listen to the objections that have been raised, not just here but in another place, and accept that, if the Bill is enacted as at present proposed, it will be one more piece of divisive legislation which will place fear in the hearts of many people in the minorities which form part of the complex chemistry that makes Britain the integrated community of which we are all proud.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
I have listened with great interest to the Opposition speeches. Although I am in agreement with the general propositions put forward, I did not find in any of them a reason to support Lords amendment No. 61. I agree with hon. Members about the undesirability of extending the discretionary powers of Ministers. As a general proposition, I believe that the discretionary powers of Ministers should as far as possible be subject to judicial 807 review, and I am uneasy when I find that under clause 43 the power of review is expressly excluded. That is not a process that I like or approve of.
Having said that, however, I do not believe that the desirable objective of subjecting the Ministerial discretion to judicial review will be achieved by Lords amendment No. 61 or indeed by Lords amendment No. 62, which we shall shortly reach.
Lords amendment No. 61 provides only that the exercise of the power under subsection (2) should be subject to the overriding criteria set out in subsection (1). There is no coexisting power to require the Minister or official to state that he has had regard to the criteria contained in subsection (1), or to set out any of the considerations or criteria to which he has had regard. That being so, simply to accept Lords amendment No. 61 will not enlarge the grounds of appeal. It will not enable any dissatisfied applicant to appeal against a decision, because, unless the statute requires that the Minister state his reasons and goes on to say that those reasons will automatically be the subject of judicial review, there is nothing in the amendment that extends the grounds of appeal.
Let me make this point in answer to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton). Although I am in favour of judicial review, it will not be achieved by anything hitherto contemplated either in this place or in another place. Simply to preserve the existing powers of judicial review, as is contemplated by Lords amendment No. 62, serves no purpose at all. The courts can review a judicial decision only if it can be shown that that decision is, for example, ultra vires or contrary to natural justice, or that the Minister has had regard to considerations to which he should not have had regard. Rarely will that be the case.
If we really want to subject decisions of this kind to judicial review, we must go beyond the scope of administrative law as we now understand it and say not that an applicant has a right to challenge the decision within the existing criteria but rather that the High Court should have the right to adjudicate on the merits de novo. I personally think that there is a lot to be said for that, because I do not like discretionary powers, nor do I like Ministers to be possessed of discretionary powers. Wherever possible, I should like some independent tribunal, such as the courts, to have the right to inquire into and adjudicate upon such matters. But that can be done only if this House is bold about it and says that discretionary decisions of this kind may be inquired into de novo and decided upon their merits. That will not be achieved either by Lords amendment No. 61 or by Lords amendment No. 62.
§ Mr. Archer
I do not wish to discourage the hon. Gentleman from urging a wider right of appeal. However, what is his comment on the Lord Advocate's argument that the exercise of a discretion which infringed subsection (l ) would not be a discretion within the powers granted by the Bill?
§ Mr. Hogg
I am sorry to disappoint the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but he has failed to grasp the point of the argument. As baldly stated, that proposition is correct. If the Minister failed altogether to have regard to the criteria set out in subsection (1), he might well be acting ultra vires and the order he issued could be quashed. 808 However, there is nothing in Lords amendments Nos. 61 and 62 that requires the Minister or the other official to state his reasons. In the absence of a requirement obliging the Minister or other official to state those reasons, which goes on to say, "and furthermore he shall set out the considerations upon which he comes to his conclusions", there is no way in which one can argue that the decision is ultra vires.
Simply to build in a requirement that the Minister shall have regard to subsection (1) carries the case no further at all. We must go on to say, "and furthermore he shall state his reasons and set out the considerations upon which those reasons are founded". If we say that, the decision could be challenged in the courts on the ground that it was ultra vires or a breach of natural justice. But unless we do so, we do not enlarge the grounds for appeal at all. That is the objection. The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) nods in agreement.
That is the objection to Lords amendment No. 61. It is mere verbiage. It does not carry the case any further forward, and for that reason the House should not be troubled with it. If we were bold and robust about it, that is another matter, and I would be sympathetic. But the truth is that we are wasting our time discussing Lords amendment No. 61.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the hon. Member for Leicester, South (Mr. Marshall), may I say that we hope to start the reply at 9.45 pm? I feel sorry for the hon. Gentleman, but those are the circumstances.
§ Mr. Jim Marshall
You may be sorry, Mr. Speaker, that I have only six minutes, but I am sure that your concern is not shared by the House generally.
I do not intend to follow the tortuous road outlined by the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg). His speech was undoubtedly of great relevance to the legalistic interpretation of the amendment but it had little in common with the spirit that underlies clause 43(1). The best compliment that I can pay to the hon. Gentleman is that he shows all the best qualities of the son of a Lord Chancellor.
When the Minister opened the debate he introduced a red herring by bringing forward arguments that we had advanced in the House and in Committee concerning an objective appeal system against decisions made by the Secretary of State on the grant or refusal of naturalisation.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) was right. Although it is not pertinent to the discussion today, when we have the opportunity—as we shall after the next general—election?to introduce our own nationality legislation, not only shall we remove the blatant racial discrimination inherent in the legislation but we shall give everyone the right to appeal against any decision of the Home Secretary exercised in his discretion. It is important to make the Labour Party's position clear.
The second and main point is that it is ironic in the last 19 minutes of debate on British nationality legislation that we should be dealing with the racial discrimination, which underpins the basic assumptions of the legislation. It is all very well for the Minister and his colleagues to say, "We introduced that part of the Bill somewhat belatedly to show that we hold dear to our hearts a multi-racial society." That belies what has happened in Britain since the legislation was introduced. Every group concerned with good race 809 relations and the welfare of immigrants has attacked the legislation as racist. If we look at the way in which the legislation treats people who will become British overseas citizens, or at the mean-spirited way in which it will affect the few hundreds of children born in this country after its commencement—the children of students and people here on short-term work permits?we see that it is blatantly discriminatory.
To assuage his Tory conscience and to appease some of the immigrants' fears the Minister has introduced into clause 43(1) a declaratory provision that means nothing and does nothing to remove the basic discrimination. The words mean nothing and will not give immigrants who fall within the three headings in clause 43(1) the right of appeal to the courts.
The Minister's reasons are somewhat strange. The hon. and learned Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) highlighted the State security aspect. The mind boggles at the idea that a Russian or Chinese spy would apply for naturalisation, unless he were a double spy acting on behalf of the Home Office or Foreign Office and it wished to protect him.
Already under our immigration laws people can be prevented from entering the country if it is felt that their admission is not conducive to the public good. The Government already have those draconian powers. They could be maintained, but with an objective appeals system.
The clause will do nothing to remove the basic racial discrimination inherent in the legislation.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) urged us, if we wished to fetter the Home Secretary's discretion—a view with which he several times said he had sympathy—to be bold and robust in the promotion of amendments that did exactly that. I only wish that he had been sufficiently bold and robust and followed us into the Lobby on Report for that purpose. However, I put that inconsistency aside; I wish to deal with a different one.
The hon. Members for Grantham and for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), who I regret is not now here, made lawyers' points. I do not say that critically. With their experience they believe that incorporating the amendment and linking the two subsections would have virtually no judicial effect?the appellant to whose aid we wish to come would have no greater right to appeal as a result of what their Lordships propose than is already inherent in the Bill.
The hon. Member for Grantham said that he had listened to our side of the debate carefully. Had he listened to his own side with equal care he would have heard the Minister argue against the proposal for quite different reasons. His objection was not that it would have no effect but that it would have one that was administratively unacceptable or inconvenient.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I take it that that is an hereditary view. The hon. Gentleman may hear the Minister of State, when I sit down in three minutes, repeat what I told the House two hours ago. Fractious persons would appeal and apparently get into court with such devastating effect on the Government that they might be forced to give the 810 reasons for refusing naturalisation or citizenship, reasons altogether unrelated to the race or religion of the applicant and perhaps concerned with security. However, the Minister of State's view throughout his previous speech was that those unacceptable practices would flow from linking subsections (1) and (2).
My quarrel is essentially with the Minister and not with the hon. Gentleman. The Minister cannot argue or appear to argue simultaneously that linking the two subsections has no force in law and that it would have unacceptable consequences in requiring the Home Secretary to reveal his discretion. In the 10 minutes that remain, I hope that the Minister will tell us which is the principal objection.
Indeed, I hope that the Minister will do something more specific which will be enormously to the benefit of the House. As I understand our procedures, some of us are required to move to a different place if the Government will prevails and form ourselves into a Reasons Committee to stipulate why the House disagrees with the Lords. I am assured that the reason is always constructed in a single sentence or simple paragraph. Does the paragraph, which must now be at the Minister's disposal, state that the objection is that the provision has no force in law or that it has a force in law with which he disagrees? The Minister of State has given us both reasons tonight and the Lord Advocate gave both to the other place on 28 July.
In the dying minutes of the Bill perhaps we might have a firm answer to a firm question—a clear reply to a clear point. Some of us regard it not as wrong but as typical that, at the last moment of the Bill, the principles of which I will not dilate on any further, our final pathetic word is for the Minister to tell us what he means. Will he tell us the exact nature of his objections? Is it that it has no force in law, or is it that it has too much force in law? It cannot be both simultaneously.
§ Mr. Raison
Some hon. Members may recall that I promised the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) a reply to a point that he made about appeals in our first debate.
We cannot predict what view the courts will take should appeals come before them. One could argue that, if someone were registered when he had no entitlement, registration would be invalid. The arguments in favour of the satisfied formula were put to the Lords. The Lords were insistent that the applicant would be benefited rather than disadvantaged if the formula were removed. On balance, the Government would therefore recommend agreement with that view, although I agree that the matter is arguable.
I shall endeavour again, dealing with the subject of this debate, to put the reasons why we should reject the Lords amendment. First, in spite of what my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) said, I still believe strongly that we were right to include clause 43(1) in the Bill.
I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) for stating that, whatever the outcome of this debate, he is grateful that we incorporated the subsection. I believe that we were right. It indicated our strong feeling that there must be no discrimination. As the right hon. Gentleman acknowledged, we stated at the time that it was fundamentally a declaratory provision.
I have attempted to stress that, quite apart from the question of appeal to the court, the Home Secretary could be taken before the Parliamentary Commissioner. Of 811 course, hon. Members can exercise some surveillance in the House and by approaching Ministers on questions of refusal.
I do not accept the argument of the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer). He said that maladministration has a highly technical meaning which implied that it could not be spread to this area. My advice is that if an applicant who is refused has grounds for believing that his refusal was on the basis of race, colour, or religion, there is no reason why he should not be able to pursue the course of maladministration However, that is not the main part of this debate. I still believe that the amendment of Lord Elwyn-Jones is not workable. I have said consistently throughout the debate that there are two reasons for my argument. However, I attach much more importance to one than to the other.
I have attempted to argue that the "linkage" as it now seems to be termed is basically not a workable system. There is a technical deficiency in the amendment. I have attempted to explain why that is. In addition, I have made it clear that the real objection is something else.
There are two alternative ways in which one can approach the issue of naturalisation. One is our traditional method of granting it at the discretion of the Home Secretary. I remind the House that this is a well-tried method which worked for a very long time. Some hon. Members appear to have approached the debate as if we were cooking up something new. However, we are continuing a system that stretches back into the last century. I hope that that is clearly understood.
I accept that there is an alternative way of approaching this matter. It would be to adopt clearly objective criteria where the reasons for refusal would have to be made clear. They would be open to challenge, probably in the courts, but perhaps in some other form of appeal system. I recognise that there are arguments for both approaches, and we have heard them in our debates and outside. We believe that on balance the traditional method is preferable, and both Houses have supported us in that view.
The amendment attempts something that is half way between the two. It is calculated to produce muddle. One way is discretion and the other is objective tests and appeal rights. Something between the two would be unworkable and to fall between the two would be a considerable mistake. Equally, trying to bring into the discretionary system an appeal element in respect of one aspect would be impracticable.
As I have said time and again—and this is the nub of my argument—in endeavouring to show that he had not discriminated on grounds of race, colour or religion, the 812 Home Secretary would always be liable to be required to disclose the grounds on which he had refused an application, and they could include security grounds.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Are we therefore to take it that, since the Minister of State is arguing that to pursue a case in this way might result in the Home Secretary's being forced to reveal that which it is best not to reveal, the linkage of the amendments would enable an appellant to get into court?
§ Mr. Raison
I have tried to say all along that there are technical deficiencies but that even if we put them to one side, which would be difficult at this stage of the Bill, there would still be what I see as the real objection of substance, namely, that if an appellant is able to take the Home Secretary to court to argue that he has been refused naturalisation on grounds of race, religion or colour, it is likely that, in order to establish whether that is so, all the circumstances would have to come out in open court. I do not say that that would always happen, but it is likely to happen rather often.
If both Houses had adopted the view that there should be objective criteria with appeals, that would be a tenable argument, but both Houses have rejected that view and have decided instead to uphold the traditional system by which the Home Secretary exercises his discretion. He cannot normally be challenged in the courts and does not have to give his reasons. The path followed by Lord Elwyn-Jones falls plumb between two stools and his approach is not workable.
The other idea floated by the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West, that cases should be heard in camera, is also not satisfactory. In principle, it is not desirable to have to hear cases in camera unless there are strong and powerful reasons for doing so. I do not want to swap adages with lawyers, but the adage that justice must be seen to be done obviously applies. To say that we should trust judges to look at matters in private does not confer any improvement in the status of appellants compared with the position that we set forth in our approach.
We have a well-tried system for naturalisation which has been in existence for a long time. Many members of the ethnic minorities and others have been through the system and I have never found that we are being submerged by complaints about the manner in which the traditional system has worked.
I do not believe that the case has been made out that the system is bad and it is perfectly evident to anyone who thinks about it that the amendment is thoroughly impractical. I therefore urge the House to reject it.
Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in a the said amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 259, Noes 203.813
Division No. 315]
|Adley, Robert||Forman, Nigel|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Alexander, Richard||Fox, Marcus|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Fraser, Peter (South Angus)|
|Ancram, Michael||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)|
|Atkins, Robert(Preston N)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Baker, Kenneth(St.M'bone)||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Banks, Robert||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Goodhew, Victor|
|Bendall, Vivian||Gorst, John|
|Benyon, Thomas (A'don)||Gow, Ian|
|Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Gray, Hamish|
|Blackburn, John||Griffiths, (Peter Portsm' N)|
|Blaker, Peter||Grist, Ian|
|Body, Richard||Grylls, Michael|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Gummer, John Selwyn|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Hamilton, Hon A.|
|Bowden, Andrew||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Hannam, John|
|Bright, Graham||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Brinton, Tim||Hastings, Stephen|
|Brittan, Rt. Hon. Leon||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael|
|Brotherton, Michael||Hawkins, Paul|
|Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n)||Hawksley, Warren|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Bruce-Gardyne, John||Heath, Rt Hon Edward|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Heddle, John|
|Buck, Antony||Henderson, Barry|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Hill, James|
|Burden, Sir Frederick||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Butcher, John||Holland, Philip (Carlton)|
|Cadbury, Jocelyn||Hooson, Tom|
|Carlisle, John (Luton West)||Hordern, Peter|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd)|
|Chalker, Mrs. Lynda||Hunt, David (Wirral)|
|Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick|
|Churchill, W. S.||Jessel, Toby|
|Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n)||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith|
|Clegg, Sir Walter||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Cockeram, Eric||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine|
|Colvin, Michael||King, Rt Hon Tom|
|Cope, John||Knox, David|
|Cormack, Patrick||Lamont, Norman|
|Corrie, John||Lang, Ian|
|Costain, Sir Albert||Latham, Michael|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Critchley, Julian||Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel|
|Crouch, David||Lee, John|
|Dean, Paul (North Somerset)||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Loveridge, John|
|Durant, Tony||Luce, Richard|
|Dykes, Hugh||Lyell, Nicholas|
|Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||McCrindle, Robert|
|Eggar, Tim||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Elliott, Sir William||Macmillan, Rt Hon M.|
|Emery, Peter||McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)|
|Eyre, Reginald||McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)|
|Fairgrieve, Sir Russell||McQuarrie, Albert|
|Faith, Mrs Sheila||Madel, David|
|Farr, John||Major, John|
|Fell, Anthony||Marland, Paul|
|Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Marlow, Antony|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Fisher, Sir Nigel||Marten, Rt Hon Neil|
|Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N)||Mather, Carol|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles||Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus|
|Abse, Leo||Cant, R. B.|
|Adams, Allen||Carter-Jones, Lewis|
|Alton, David||Cartwright, John|
|Anderson, Donald||Clark, Dr David (S Shields)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Cohen, Stanley|
|Ashton, Joe||Coleman, Donald|
|Atkinson, N.(H'gey,)||Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Cook, Robin F.|
|Beith, A. J.||Craigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill)|
|Berm, Rt Hon Tony||Crowther, Stan|
|Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't N)||Cryer, Bob|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Cunliffe, Lawrence|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Cunningham, G. (Islington S)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Proven)||Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n)|
|Brown, R. C. (N'castle W)||Dalyell, Tam Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) Davidson, Arthur|
|Buchan, Norman||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'Ili)|
|Callaghan, Rt Hon J.||Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd)|
|Campbell, Ian||Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Dewar, Donald|
|Canavan, Dennis||Dixon, Donald|
|Mawby, Ray||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Mayhew, Patrick||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Shepherd, Richard|
|Miller, Hal (B'grove)||Shersby, Michael|
|Mills, lain (Meriden)||Silvester, Fred|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Sims, Roger|
|Moate, Roger||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Molyneaux, James||Speed, Keith|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Speller, Tony|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Spence, John|
|Moore, John||Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)|
|Morgan, Geraint||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Sproat, lain|
|Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)||Squire, Robin|
|Mudd, David||Stainton, Keith|
|Murphy, Christopher||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Myles, David||Stanley, John|
|Neale, Gerrard||Steen, Anthony|
|Needham, Richard||Stevens, Martin|
|Nelson, Anthony||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)|
|Neubert, Michael||Stewart, A.(E Renfrewshire)|
|Newton, Tony||Stokes, John|
|Page, John (Harrow, West)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Page, Richard (SW Herts)||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Parris, Matthew||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Thompson, Donald|
|Patten, John (Oxford)||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Pattie, Geoffrey||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Pawsey, James||Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)|
|Percival, Sir Ian||Trippier, David|
|Pink, R. Bonner||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Pollock, Alexander||Viggers, Peter Powell, Rt Hon J.E. (S Down) Waddington, David|
|F'rentice, Rt Hon Reg||Wakeham, John|
|Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Proctor, K. Harvey||Walker, B. (Perth )|
|Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.|
|Raison, Timothy||Warren, Kenneth|
|Rathbone, Tim||Watson, John|
|Fees-Davies, W. R.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Renton, Tim||Wheeler, John|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Whitney, Raymond|
|Ridley, Hon Nicholas||Williams, D.(Montgomery)|
|Pitkind, Malcolm||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)||Young, Sir George (Acton) Rossi, Hugh|
|Rost, Peter||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Royle, Sir Anthony||Mr. Alastair Goodlad and|
|Sainsbury, Hon Timothy||Mr. Nick Budgen Scott, Nicholas|
|Dobson, Frank||Leighton, Ronald|
|Dormand, Jack||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Douglas, Dick||Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Dubs, Alfred||Litherland, Robert|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||Lyon, Alexander (York)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W)|
|Eastham, Ken||McCartney, Hugh|
|Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're)||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||McElhone, Frank|
|English, Michael||McGuire, Michael (Ince)|
|Ennals, Rt Hon David||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Evans, loan (Aberdare)||McKelvey, William|
|Evans, John (Newton)||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Ewing, Harry||McMahon, Andrew|
|Faulds, Andrew||McTaggart, Robert|
|Field, Frank||McWilliam, John|
|Flannery, Martin||Magee, Bryan|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Marks, Kenneth|
|Forrester, John||Marshall, D(G'gow S'ton)|
|Foster, Derek||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Maxton, John|
|Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert|
|Graham, Ted||Mikardo, Ian|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Milian, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Grimond, Rt Hon J.||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton ltchen)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)|
|Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)||Moyle, Rt Hon Roland|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Newens, Stanley|
|Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Heffer, Eric S.||O'Neill, Martin|
|Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'11)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Home Robertson, John||Park, George|
|Homewood, William||Parker, John|
|Hoyle, Douglas||Parry, Robert|
|Huckfield, Les||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Hudson Davies, Gwilym E.||Pendry, Tom|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Penhaligon, David|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Prescott, John|
|Janner, Hon Greville||Price, C. (Lewisham W)|
|Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Pitt, William|
|John, Brynmor||Race, Reg|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby S)||Radice, Giles Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda) Richardson, Jo|
|Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Kerr, Russell||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)|
|Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)|
|Lambie, David||Robertson, George|
|Lamborn, Harry||Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Ryman, John||Tilley, John|
|Sandelson, Neville||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|Sever, John||Wainwright, E.(Dearne V)|
|Sheerman, Barry||Wainwright, R.(Colne V)|
|Sheldon, Rt Hon R.||Walker, Rt Hon H.(D'caster)|
|Shore, Rt Hon Peter||Watkins, David|
|Short, Mrs Renee||Weetch, Ken|
|Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)||Welsh, Michael|
|Silverman, Julius||White, Frank R.|
|Skinner, Dennis||White, J. (G'gow Pollok)|
|Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Soley, Clive||Whitlock, William|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Williams, Rt Hon A.(S'sea W)|
|Steel, Rt Hon David||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)||Wilson, William (C'try SE)|
|Stoddart, David||Winnick, David|
|Stott, Roger||Woodall, Alec|
|Strang, Gavin||Woolmer, Kenneth|
|Straw, Jack||Young, David (Bolton E) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)||Mr. George Morton and|
|Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)||Mr. Frank Haynes. Thorne, Stan (Preston South)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am now required to put the Question on any Government amendment to a Lords amendment, followed by the Question, That this House doth agree with the Lords amendment, as amended. There are two such amendments, both to Lords amendment No. 89.
Lords amendments, as amended, agreed to.
§ Mr. Speaker
I now have to put the Question on all the remaining Lords amendments.
Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.
§ Mr. Speaker
Finally, as the House has disagreed to one of the Lords amendments without offering an alternative, I have to put the Question on a motion made by the Minister to appoint a Committee to draw up the reasons for disagreeing to that amendment.
Committee appointed to draw up a Reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to one of their amendments to the Bill: Mr. Gummer, Mr. Hattersley, Mr. Morton, Mr. Raison and Mr. Whitelaw; Three to be the quorum.—?[Mr. Raison.]
To withdraw immediately.
Reason for disagreeing to one of the Lords amendments, reported, and agreed to, to be communicated to the Lords.