§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Tim Renton)
Discussions with our Community partners are continuing. We have continued to emphasise the importance of retaining at United Kingdom ports and airports effective checks to control immigration by non-EC nationals, and to deal with terrorism, drug trafficking and other serious crime. At the same time, we have shown our commitment to joining other Community countries in practical measures to strengthen the external frontier of the Community and co-operation between states in counterterrorism and law enforcement. I believe that our position is increasingly well recognised within the Community.
§ Mr. Renton
Yes, I can certainly give that assurance: every unnecessary control will be removed. My hon. Friend will know that in March we introduced a new immigration channel that merged the British and EC channels, so that both British and all other EC nationals could enter the United Kingdom with the minimum of difficulty. I have no doubt, however, that frontier checks will remain an indispensable part of our control, to impose proper control on third-country nationals entering this country, and to prevent the entry of terrorists and major criminals.
§ Mr. Darling
Is the Minister aware of the growing concern about the quality of decision-making as it affects individual tourists visiting Britain? As we move towards a common regime for entry throughout Europe in 1992, will he consider the need to set up a review procedure so that badly taken decisions can quickly be looked at, especially as he himself has abandoned any pretext of reviewing decisions by individual officers?
§ Mr. Renton
No. I totally disagree with the hon. Gentleman. There is constant and increasing pressure due 1042 to the number of people who want to enter the United Kingdom. In 1978, 27 million people came into this country and in 1988 the figure was 45 million. Every time we try to improve the procedures, the Opposition vote against it. [Interruption.]