HL Deb 19 July 1971 vol 322 cc660-735

2.59 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved. That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Windleshczni.)

On Question, Motion agreed to. House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [General principles]:

LORD WADE moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 13, at end insert— (" ( ) Nothing in this Act shall have the effect of taking away any right enjoyed by a Commonwealth citizen immediately prior to the coming into effect of this Act who was at that time ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and whose residence was not subject to any condition, and nothing in this Act shall adversely affect the status of such a Commonwealth citizen.")

The noble Lord said: I beg to move this Amendment which stands in the names of my noble friends and myself. As your Lordships are aware. Clause 1 of the Bill sets out what are called general principles. The purpose of this Amendment is to insert in Clause 1 the following principle: Nothing in this Act shall have the effect of taking away any right enjoyed by a Commonwealth citizen immediately prior to the coming into effect of this Act who was at that time ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and whose residence was not subject to any condition, and nothing in this Act shall adversely affect the status of such a Commonwealth citizen.

I think it would be helpful if at the outset of the discussions on the Committee stage a clear statement were made as to the position of those who come to live here from the Commonwealth and are residing here at the present time. I doubt very much whether the Government yet fully appreciate the extent of the feeling of insecurity which has been created, following the introduction of this Bill. This is a matter which affects the host community as well as the newcomers. I believe that harmonious community relations are important to the country as a whole; that a sense of insecurity creates tension and that that in turn makes good community relations more difficult to achieve. Therefore, before we come to discuss the many objections to this Bill—the extent to which it introduces discrimination, the proposals for the registration of newcomers, the provisions for deportation, the unsatisfactory position with regard to appeals—all of which will be discussed, together with other matters, during this Committee stage, it is important that Parliament should make clear beyond any shadow of doubt the position of those Commonwealth citizens who are already here.

Although the Government have stated that it is their intention not to take away rights from, or reduce the status of, the Commonwealth citizen already resident in this country without condition, nevertheless there is widespread anxiety among immigrant communities that they will not in fact continue to enjoy the present degree of security. In order to allay these anxieties and to ensure that the Government's expressed intention is achieved, my colleagues and I seek to introduce this principle as set out in the Amendment. I am aware, of course, of the assurances given by Mr. Maudling in another place. For example, on Second Reading on March 8, 1971 (column 47 of Hansard), Mr. Maudling said: Those Commonwealth citizens already here free of condition, broadly speaking all working immigrants here, will not be affected. They will he allowed to work where they wish as at present. They will be allowed automatic citizenship as at present. There will be no new papers to be carried, they will be allowed to bring in dependants. But, unfortunately, the Bill does not actually say this. And I think your Lordships will agree with me that assurances are not enough. There is a great difference between an assurance given by a Minister, duly reported in Hansard, and a clause in the Bill. I have therefore attempted to translate into legislative form the assurance given by the Home Secretary.

There is one unusual feature of this Bill. It sets out at the beginning the general principles, and if that is considered desirable, if it is thought fit to begin with general principles, then surely it is all the more important that the principle to which I have referred should be included in Clause 1. About ten days ago I invited a group to my house representing all the main immigrant communities. It was a comparatively small group but it was very representative; it included Kenya Asians and people who have been living here for a number of years. They were settled, in the normal sense of that term, and bringing tip families, their children having been born here. It was interesting to hear their point of view on a number of matters. When it came to this Bill, I was surprised—perhaps I should not have been—to find the degree of concern about the effects of the Bill. They felt very much more insecure, although they had been here for a number of years. For one thing, they did not believe that this Bill was the end of the story. They thought that there would be further legislation, and it was clearly the view of these people and of those whom they knew in their community that they were no longer safe, that their future was insecure. I suggest that if a subsection clearly spelling out this principle were included in Clause 1 dealing with general principles, it might go some way towards overcoming that concern.

I should like to make clear that support for this Amendment does not imply approval of the other principles contained in Clause 1. I would stress that. There are a number of noble Lords who do not like any part of Clause 1, and at a later stage those views will be expressed; but support for this particular Amendment does not imply approval of the rest of the clause. On the other hand, looking at it from the point of view of the Government (and for a moment I will try to do this), the Amendment does not conflict with Government policy, and I suggest that the least the Government should do is to try to lessen the harmful effects already caused by the introduction of this Bill.

There is one other reason which I should like to mention. If I refer to Mr. Powell, I hope it will be the only occasion on which I shall mention him during the course of discussions on Committee stage, but Mr. Powell recently visited Huddersfield, and from the reports which I have received the whole theme of his speech was the need for bringing about the emigration of those coloured people who are at present living in this country—call it repatriation, or what you like. The whole of his theme was that the numbers already here must be reduced and he hoped that use could be made of this Bill to bring this about. Personally, I do not believe that this campaign for getting rid of our Commonwealth immigrants will succeed, but that is only my personal opinion. It could be achieved only by compulsion, and when it really came to the point I do not think that the British people would stand for it, because it is so contrary to our British tradition. But there is no doubt that speeches on these lines have a harassing effect. They are a form of harassment and are very disturbing to those who are living here. They are bound to make people feel more insecure and therefore add to the difficulties of those who are working for improved community relations. This, I think, provides an additional reason for what I call a declaration of intent. I do not think that it is sufficient to say that if we read the Bill carefully we shall be able to deduce what is contained in this Amendment from the Bill as it stands. Something more than that is required.

As to the wording, the Amendment has been drafted by my noble friend Lord Foot and myself. We think it appropriate that it should be inserted immediately after subsection (1) of Clause 1, but if the Government agree that these words should be inserted but they can improve upon them—and I have scarcely known a case when the Government draftsmen have not said that their wording is better than the Amendment put forward—and are willing to accept this principle in some other form with the same aim, I shall be content. I would agree that if it came immediately following subsection (1) some slight alteration to the wording of the present subsection (2) might be required, but that is only a drafting point. If the Government would agree to this proposal I think it would be a great improvement. On the other hand, if the Committee approve Clause 1 and there is no general statement on the lines that I have suggested, then the fears to which I have referred will be intensified and we shall have set off with a bad start to the Committee stage of this Bill. I hope, therefore, that the Government will see fit to accept the Amendment and that it will commend itself to the Committee. I beg to move.


I hope that the Minister will respond to the appeal that has been made. I want to draw attention to one particular aspect. This Bill removes the right of a wife or child under 16 of a Commonwealth citizen resident in the United Kingdom to join him. We all welcome the fact that the Home Secretary has given an assurance that Rule 37 of the Draft Rules on Control and Entry will not apply to Commonwealth citizens already here. But, supporting the case that has been made out by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, I think that something more than an assurance is necessary here. This Bill is a co-ordinating Bill: that is about the only thing that can be said in its favour. But in that co-ordination, should it not include a clause similar to Section 2(2)(b) of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, as amended by the 1968 Act? That section gave a definite statutory decision on the matter which we are now raising. I do not want to intervene at length, but I hope that in this first Amendment to the Bill the Committee will be able to approach the issue from the point of view of good relations between the immigrant community and the majority community in our nation. I draw attention to the fact that the Community Relations Commission, non-partisan, looking at this problem in an overall way, has recommended that there should be an Amendment to this Bill on the lines that the noble Lord, Lord Wade, has suggested.

3.13 p.m.


I venture to intervene in this debate for a few moments. First of all, I should like to say that I am much indebted to my noble friend Lord Ritchie-Calder for having expressed certain views in the Second Reading debate. Everybody here knows that I am of the Jewish persuasion and participate to a considerable extent in matters appertaining to Jewish interests. I am taking the earliest opportunity of expressing my thanks to my noble friend. That community, of which I am a member, consists to a considerable degree of immigrants who came at one time or another, and more particularly in recent years, to this country.

The other reason why I intervene is because I happen to have been a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Race Relations. I ask your Lordships to understand that, rightly or wrongly—and I am sorry to say that I think rightly—Commonwealth immigrants to this country are deeply disturbed by the implications of this Bill. As has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, the Bill not only is bad in itself but opens up the possibility of much more legislation being passed to their detriment. The fact is that those who are here are very sensitive—and one can readily understand it—to any step which is being taken. They sometimes face rather unhappy experiences, and they look to the Government and to the country generally to protect them against any possibility of discrimination and misunderstanding. The Bill, in my view, creates an artificial tension. That is understandable and I do not think any member of the Committee will disagree. It makes the individual fearful of what might happen. It is most important that when we start on a Bill of this nature it should be made abundantly clear to the community which is affected that the position of those who are here will not he altered in consequence of the provisions of the Bill.

There have been pronouncements by the Government, in many cases very outspoken, that they do not intend in any way to interfere with immigrants who are here; but this Bill whatever one may say about it, will seriously affect Commonwealth citizens who wish to come to this country. Consequently, the feeling of those already here to put it at its lowest, must be one of doubt and anxiety. I make this appeal to the Government. If indeed the position is as is described in this Amendment, and if they mean what they have said, then I ask them not to regard an Amendment of this nature as being unnecessary, even on the ground that the Bill contains terms which indicate that this is the case. Only good can come from making that perfectly clear at the commencement of this Committee stage. I hope that the Government will accede to the requests that have been made.

3.20 p.m.


The spirit underlying this Amendment is something of which all noble Lords must approve. The purpose of it, as has been explained, is to set at rest doubts and fears which have been aroused among immigrants who are already here. I personally think that a very grave responsibility rests on those leaders of immigrant opinion and others who have stimulated those doubts and fears, because in fact there is virtually nothing in the whole of this Bill which could justify such a doubt or such a fear unless the existing immigrant is to misbehave himself and prove himself a bad citizen.

As I say, the principle of this Amendment would carry all of us along with it. What we have to look at, as with all legislation, is the words, and as I read this Amendment it would render it impossible to make small but important changes in the law which I believe are desirable to deal with a small number of bad cases. I feel sure that my noble friend Lord Windlesham will indicate what those difficulties are, but I cannot support this Amendment in these terms as a change in the Bill, although I thoroughly approve of the spirit and purpose underlying it.


I should like very briefly, because I do not think we can enter into a Second Reading debate, to deal with the remarks which the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, has just made. Obviously we do not accept most of them, about whipping up ill-feeling by immigrant leaders. I disagree very much with that statement and believe it to be entirely untrue, and it is a great pity that at this stage it should have been said. However, this is not the Second Reading and I do not want to debate that.

I wish to thank the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and those on the Liberal Benches for giving the Government an opportunity to show their good will. I do not believe that the right honourable gentleman the Home Secretary, the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, or indeed the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, are enemies of the immigrants. I think that some of their colleagues are, but we all have colleagues who are a problem to us. The Government have the opportunity to-day to accept this Amendment, which states nothing which is not adduced from the Bill, and which states nothing which has not already been promised to us by the Home Secretary. It would make a very great difference to the atmosphere of the Committee stage, which could be constructive but which, my Lords, might not be if we get no signs of peace from the other side. It might make a very great difference to the whole future of this problem if the Government would agree that this Amendment says what they mean, and accept it.


I wish to say only three sentences. I support this Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, but with a sinking heart because there are so many things in this Bill which I am against. But this Amendment is very important because the Secretary of State's powers are to be increased by the Bill. That is all very well when we have a nice liberal Home Secretary like Mr. Reginald Maudling, but should we have a Home Secretary who is not so liberal but of quite a different ilk, I think that this particular Amendment would be very important indeed.


It is not my intention either to detain the House for long or to make a Second Reading speech. If the Bill is in such a wonderful state that there is no need for this Amendment, as was suggested by a noble Lord opposite, if there is nothing in the Bill to justify our fears, why not put that into language to make sure? What is the objection to putting in a few more phrases to make it crystal clear?

The object of the Bill, we are told in black and white, is to get"a single code of permanent legislation ". I believe that one of the things we should eradicate is the horrible thing which is running right through the world: fear, religious fear and colour bar fear. Here would be a chance for this country once again to take a lead. Because we are no longer a great military power we should not in panic abdicate the moral leadership which we have given to the world at different times in our history. Here is an opportunity to show we do not.

We were pushed to the other side of Offa's Dyke, and on another occasion we were opposed by those in the Norman castles many times fears between different tribes and races of this country have been alleviated. A lead has to be given in the world, and I should like to see it come from here. I should like to see put in words into the Bill to show our honesty of purpose.


I think Her Majesty's Government are only too well aware that this Bill has been received with a very great degree of misgiving in organised religious circles, by the Council for Civil Liberties, and organisations of that type. I should welcome it very much if one set of difficulties could be removed by the Government's acceptance of this Amendment. I would not immediately concur in all the arguments raised by the noble Lord, Lord Wade. We can hardly get into a position where all fears have to be immediately recognised in legislation without examination of the basis in fact of those fears. But the difficulty I feel at the moment is this. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, had to say in making his speech that there might be certain cases which have to be provided for. I think the Home Secretary, in the passage that was quoted, had some short qualifying phrase at one point, such as"broadly speaking ", or something of that sort. The Government may be faced with a choice between accepting this Amendment and retaining certain very marginal powers. All I would say is that I hope, if they have to make that choice, they will choose acceptance of the Amendment and abandonment of those marginal powers.


I am very pleased to add my support to what has just been said. It may be within the knowledge of your Lordships' House that at the Methodist Conference a few weeks ago, while there was unanimous disapproval of this measure, the salient feature was the repetition of assurances that this would adversely affect personal relationships between immigrants coming here and those who already live in this country. It is that which is the outstanding problem, as I see it, of allaying a personal sense of injustice. Whatever may be the particular legal point, and however arguable it may be, anything that can be done, even within the framework of this Bill, to allay those suspicions and fears, it will be reasonable to do. For the life of me I cannot see why the Government cannot accept this Amendment. It would do something to remove the principal objection to the Bill, which is a personal objection and not a legal or political one.


The only effect the Amendment would have, so far as I can gather, is that it would remove the Secretary of State's power to arrange for somebody to be deported upon being convicted of a crime under Clause 7; and even then that could take effect only if he had not lived in this country for more than five years. I feel that this Amendment could weaken the security of the general public in this country by possibly allowing an undesirable person to remain in this country after being convicted of a crime. I do not think that this is in the general interest of the community.


Would the noble Lord enlighten me as to how what he is talking about differs from the present position in regard to deportation?


There is nothing in this Bill which will prevent any person who is at present ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom from remaining here, so far as I can gather. He can be deported only if he misbehaves himself.


I am sorry to interrupt, but a man's wife, son and daughter can be deported with him, even if they have not misbehaved themselves: not a small point.


I, too, am sorry to interrupt, but I wonder whether the noble Earl listened to the point I made: that the Bill now removes the right of the wife or child under 16 of a Commonwealth citizen who is resident in the United Kingdom to join him. Is that not an element which he has completely overlooked?

3.32 p.m.


I am very grateful for the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Wade, introduced this very important Amendment because I think it raises a considerable principle. Had it been my pleasure to move the first Amendment in this Committee I should have liked to say something about an absent colleague of your Lordships' House. In the light of what the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, has said, I now feel bound to do it.

The House lost a very great coloured man some weeks ago, a man who was born the son of a slave and died a Member of your Lordships' House: I refer, of course, to Lord Constantine. He not only served his island in the West Indies but he served this community, both coloured and white. We in this Chamber were richer for his presence. He was a great community leader, but he always stressed throughout his work and his speeches to his community that they who come from the West Indies to this country, while their love may still be with the islands they have left, owe their duty and responsibility to the people of the country in which they have settled. There may be some community leaders who, in the heat of the moment or in moments of despair, say things which they would prefer not to have said; but my experience is that the community leaders of this country, despite great difficulties and disappointments, do a very remarkable job. We must all be conscious of our own kith and kin, if I may use that phrase, who through the various organisations work with tremendous zeal and passion to improve relations among our communities. As I said on Second Reading, the thing that really concerns me about this Bill—and I can well understand that it should disturb the communities, too—is that our own people who have this responsibility are themselves very gravely concerned.

I would ask your Lordships to look at Clause 1, setting out the general principles. If I may have the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, I would ask him to look at Clause 1, which speaks about those who will have a right of abode in this country; and they are set out in detail in Clause 2. There is no doubt as to who will have a right of abode in this country. Subsection (2) of Clause 1 says: Others may by permission live, work and settle in the United Kingdom… The people concerned in this Amendment are those who will not be covered by subsection (1) as patrials, those who have a right of abode. It is quite clear that within this Bill such people fall under subsection (2) and remain in this country only by permission. But as the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, has said, the Home Secretary has made it quite clear that it is the Government's intention that those who are now in this country legally and lawfully shall retain their present rights. But the Bill does not say that. What we wish to see is that what the Home Secretary has said is incorporated in the Bill. I would ask for the support of any of the noble and learned Lords, but my understanding is that the courts never taken account of what is said in Parliament; they are concerned only with what is written in the Bill and what construction they can put upon it. So all the assurances that are given in Parliament, in terms of the courts, are completely and utterly worthless. Therefore we ask that this important assurance given by the Government should be put into the Bill and should have the same weight as other provisions of the Bill.

It is perfectly clear—and I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, will challenge it—that since the persons involved in this Amendment cannot possible come under subsection (1) they must fall within subsection (2); and subsection (2) is quite specific that they may remain here only by permission, whereas clearly the Home Secretary gave an assurance that their position would not be altered by this Bill. It may be that the Government are reluctant to accept this Amendment because they think that, if they do so, there may be an odd person who has not been here for five years who might fall within that area where it would be justified to deport. If that power does not exist to-day—and I do not believe it does—it means that we are to some extent becoming involved in retrospective legislation; we are taking away the rights of a group of people which have existed in the past. I should have thought that that in itself is not right, but I agree with the right reverend Prelate that it would not be justified to place many thousands of our own citizens—let us regard them as our own citizens—in a worse position to-day merely because we may need the power to deport perhaps a handful, at the very most, to their own countries. I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to rise now and say that he is able to accept this reasonable Amendment. If he cannot—and this is in no way a threat—we shall have to take a much more critical view of the Bill as a whole. It seems to me that if the Government cannot accept this Amendment there is a very hard road for all of us in this Committee stage.

3.40 p.m.


I welcome the spirit in which this Amendment has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Wade. It has made an excellent opening debate to our Committee stage on this Bill and I applaud the generosity of thought which lay behind the way in which he put forward his case to your Lordships. Although I can understand and sympathise with his motives, I do not think it would be right for the Committee to add these words to the Bill and I hope that, when he has heard my reply, he may feel able to withdraw the Amendment, having raised in this opening debate the all-important subject of community relations.

The Bill is about immigration control—about people who come into this country, the terms on which they come in and go out again. It does not affect citizenship in any fundamental way. The only changes are changes related to immigration control. The Amendment speaks of"right"and"status ", two words that are capable of differing interpretations. There are changes in this Bill. Inevitably, some of them flow from changes in immigration policy, but some of them are new in themselves; for example, the liability to penalties for knowingly harbouring illegal immigrants. It has been represented to us that this is an infringement of the rights of those already settled here. A policeman may come to the door of their house and ask,"Are you harbouring an illegal immigrant?" That is not the case at the moment; there is a new offence of assisting illegal entry. This is a desirable change and one which we will be debating when we get to that Part of the Bill.

Again, there is liability to deportation as a member of the family of a person who has not been setled here for five years, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge—quite correctly—as a change from the present situation, a controversial change and one which we shall be debating. On Second Reading I explained that the Government intended to table an Amendment to this Part of the Bill providing a right of appeal, so here is another change. Some may think it right, some may think it wrong. There is the change referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, as regards the right to bring in dependants. At the moment this is a statutory right, contained in the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962; in future the right will be preserved, and we think adequately preserved, by the immigration rules which are to be subject to Parliamentary control. There is a list of Amendments down on that point on the Marshalled List, and here again they are controversial. People have differing points of view on all these changes and we shall be debating them. Whether they are changes which will affect the rights and status of those already here is difficult to say, but let me say a word or two about"status ". This is a word which has a slightly more precise meaning than"right ".

The Bill does not affect the civic rights and privileges enjoyed in this country by all Commonwealth citizens by virtue of their status as British subjects. This is the proper interpretation normally given to the word"status ". This proposition is true whether the persons concerned are established here already or whether they come to this country after the Bill is in force. I accept that the Bill has an effect, an impact, on immigrant communities. Anyone with any knowledge of this subject knows of the interaction between immigration policies and community relations.

There have undoubtedly been uncertainty and misapprehension on this score. If I may pick out the two subjects which have been most widely misunderstood they would be police registration and repatriation. We shall be discussing both those matters later on during the Committee. All I need say now is that it is not the case that police registration will be required of all Commonwealth citizens or, indeed, of any Commonwealth citizens already established here. It will apply only to those entering with work permits in the future. Nor is Clause 29 of the Bill a basis for any large-scale programme of repatriation designed to alter the balance of population in this country. This is a straightforward welfare provision which will be greatly to the advantage of those who stand to benefit under it. Surely, what everyone with a genuine interest in community relations ought to be doing is to try to minimise any feelings of insecurity that may have been aroused amongst immigrant communities.

Some of the criticism's of the Bill have been sweeping; some have been ill-judged—and I am not necessarily speaking now of those advanced in Parliament. They have done damage to community relations by implying that the citizenship or civic status of people from the Commonwealth is threatened and that the Bill will worsen their position under the immigration laws. How many people, I wonder, who are actively engaged in community relations work have chosen to point out that not only are the existing rights of Commonwealth citizens already settled here preserved in all material respects but that where necessary explicit provisions have been written into the Bill? The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, asked,"Why does not the Bill acknowledge some of these points?"I have news for him; it does. Let me give some examples.

The Bill makes provision in Clause 7 to preserve the immunity from deportation of Commonwealth and Irish immigrants with five years' ordinary residence and to enable them to acquire immunity under the current law where they have not already done so. The Bill takes away from no one settled here his absolute entitlement to register as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies on completion of five year' settlement. The Bill in no way impairs the civic privileges of Commonwealth citizens: the right to vote, to serve on local authorities, to serve as a Member of Parliament, or to join the Armed Forces of the Crown. These privileges flow from the status of British subject and are not affected by the Bill.

My Lords, the Bill renders no one liable to compulsory repatriation, whether here already or coming in the future; and it obliges no one accepted for settlement to register with the police. Moreover, as the Government have made clear, it is our intention to permit the continued entry of wives and children of Commonwealth citizens resident in the United Kingdom, and paragraphs 39 to 43 of the Draft Immigration Rules for control on entry provide for this. I should point-out also that the Amendment would not in any event do what the noble Lord, Lord Wade, would like it to do in this respect. It would not preserve the statutory rights of entry of wives and children under 16 of Commonwealth residents because those rights are the rights of the dependants and not the rights of the residents. The Home Secretary undertook in another place that the requirement in paragraph 37 of the draft rules that the head of the household should be able and willing to accommodate and main his dependants without recourse to public funds will not apply in respect of the wives and children of Commonwealth citizens already resident here; and the necessary Amendment will be made in the rules when they are finally presented to Parliament.

Some changes in the position of people already settled here are inevitable. It would be quite wrong to overstate them, and we should have some thought of the dangers in breeding quite unnecessary insecurity in the minds of immigrants already established here. This measure provides substantial safeguards concerning the right of entry of dependants, the eligibility to acquire our citizenship by registration, and exemption from deportation after a period of five years. These are the points that really matter in the everyday life of the law-abiding Commonwealth citizen who has come here and made his life in this country. They are safeguarded in the Bill and in the immigration rules and, for the reasons that I have given, it would not be appropriate to accept the Amendment.

3.5 p.m.


I find myself somewhat bewildered by the argument put forward by the Minister. He concedes and entirely agrees that the Bill does not take any right away from a Commonwealth immigrant, or reduce the status of any Commonwealth immigrant who is at present resident in this country. He goes on to say that if you look through the Bill with care you can find various points where it has been spelt out that the status and rights of citizenship of the Commonwealth immigrant who is already here are not affected by the Bill. He then goes on to the astonishing conclusion that if this Amendment were to be accepted and we were to write into the Bill that the Bill does not affect the status and rights of these people, we should in some way be increasing the fears of the people. Surely what it would be doing would be allaying them.

The reason why it is so important that this principle should be spelt out in certain terms is because of something to which Mr. Maudling referred in the Second Reading debate in another place. He was talking about the complexities of the Bill and said: I am afraid that the Bill is necessarily very complex, because it is a very complex subject, as complex, I must confess, as I have met in my political experience, and that has given rise to a number of misunderstandings in the Press and among the public, some of which I hope to correct this afternoon."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 8/3/71, col. 43.] If it is a complex Bill, and if, in order to make sure that the Commonwealth citizen in this country is not going to be affected, you have to read through all the complex provisions to see exactly what they mean, and if this complexity gives rise to misunderstandings and apprehension, surely that is all the more reason for making the situation clear in the Bill at the very beginning. At the worst, nothing is lost, and we on these Benches think that everything is to be gained.


I came to the Committee with a completely open mind on this particular Amendment. I did not think that an Amendment on these lines would make much difference to any feelings of disquiet that already exist, so I am perfectly prepared to be persuaded by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and I have listened in as dispassionate a manner as I can Having heard what has been said from all quarters of the House, and having listened to the reply by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, I have the impression that for a considerable part of his speech he was not quite answering the points raised. Without thinking that this would be necessarily a major improvement to the Bill, I remain unconvinced by what the noble Lord has said that it is unnecessary to have such an Amendment, or that it would do any harm, but I am still open to persuasion.


I also have listened to this Amendment with an open mind. Having heard what has been said so far I am uneasy. The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, made the point that most of your Lordships would have sympathy with the thinking behind the Amendment. I have also listened to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and he has explained to us the difficulties of accepting the Amendment as it stands. Probably there is good ground for not accepting it as it stands, but I ask the noble Lord to think again to this extent: I ask him to consider the matter further and see whether it is possible to bring forward an Amendment on Report stage along the lines which we have heard. We are told that there are some changes, but they seem very small. The noble Lord gave one example of harbouring illegal immigrants. But that applies to all of us and nobody can mind what happens. I am gravely unhappy about the Amendment in the sense that it has been put forward and ask the noble Lord to give earnest consideration to this proposal with the idea that he might introduce an Amendment on behalf of the Government on Report stage.


I should like to speak in support of what has been said. I do not take quite so dim a view as many of my colleagues. The Amendment seems to be completely unobjectionable provided that it can be amended, possibly in the way that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, indicated—at least, it would be less objectionable than it is at the present time. The Government might well listen to what he said and consider the matter again at the next stage. That will give us a reasonably favourable wind on which to carry through the remaining stages in Committee. I hope that the representative of the Government will be able to indicate that he will fall in with this proposal.


I should like to support my noble friend on the Cross-Benches. I feel uneasy about this matter. I ask the noble Lord to look at the matter again. There may be some objections to the Amendment but, so far as I can see, there are very few, and I think the matter is worthy of careful consideration.


I, too, have great sympathy with what the noble Earl, Lord Perth, has suggested, but I frankly do not know whether his suggestion would be possible. What seems an absurd consequence of this Amendment, if it is passed, is that supposing a policeman came to see whether an illegal immigrant was being harboured, the owner of the house would have a complete defence if he said,"I am a Commonwealth citizen and therefore my rights are not affected by Clause 25 of the Immigration Act 1971 ". That is not what anybody intends, but it would be the direct result of passing this Amendment. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, shakes his head, but quite definitely at present a Commonwealth citizen, and everybody else in this country, has certain rights which will be affected by the new criminal offences created by Clause 25 of this Bill. If we insulate all Commonwealth citizens now in this country from being convicted of the new criminal offences that this Bill will create, we shall be creating an anomaly. Those are the grounds on which it seems to me that it will be quite impossible to incorporate this Amendment as it stands.


I intervene only to say that if the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, will look at Clause 2(1)(d) he will see that a Commonwealth citizen is referred to. If one takes the case that the noble Lord has mentioned, of a policeman going to a house where there is a Commonwealth immigrant and the Commonwealth immigrant then merely having to say that he is a Commonwealth immigrant, that would apply in regard to the Amendment but it would apply equally in regard to Clause 2. Clearly, if the policeman felt that the man was not within the ambit of the Amendment but was subject to some form of control, it would be for him to prove it. I do not see that this Amendment in any way alters the position.


I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, will respond to the invitation which he has now received from all quarters of the House, from all Benches in this House. Can he not appreciate how the Government themselves would surely be helped if they would accept this Amendment, although not necessarily in this precise form? If the only real difficulty is the technicality that harbouring an illegal immigrant or assisting illegal entry might somehow be frustrated by this form of words, that we can deal with. We are still at the early stage of our consideration of the Bill. It would not be difficult for the Government to say that they were concerned about these two matters. I am sure that they would have the sympathy of everyone in your Lordships' House if they accepted the Amendment in its present form but said that they would take it away and look at it again and ask their draftsmen to use their ingenuity. I am sure that where some saving phrase is required, that could be satisfactorily worked out.

What are the persons concerned in the community to think if they have received assurances from the Home Secretary that their position is not to be jeopardised? When they heard those assurances, they were not thinking, I am sure, of these two new offences in the Bill; they were thinking of their general position, of their security as persons, and the security of their families. They received those assurances and now that they are here they are told that they have had the assurances but the Government are too timorous to give them statutory form and they must rest content with the words in a debate. As my noble friend, Lord Shepherd, said, they know enough at least of English law to recognise that this is not good enough for them; that it is not a lasting protection for all time.

I would just say that those of us who are interested in, and concerned with, this matter, who have talked with those in the various communities where there are a large number of Commonwealth immigrants are absolutely convinced that an act of reassurance is necessary. That is what we are asking for at the beginning of this Bill. We shall have our discussions and our debates about the various things we dislike. Family deportation is some thing which I, quite frankly, am passionately opposed to. There are various other things on which we all have our feelings. Could we not at the beginning have this declaration for those who are here, who are already in our midst, that they at least can rest easy, that they will not feel threatened or harassed?

There are some consequences of this Bill, if they are carried through, which, with the best will in the world, are bound to impinge even on those who are already here. We shall discover those as we go along. The intention of the Government has been declared time and time again that those already here—and the date is given; the last day of July, 1971—should without condition have their position fully safeguarded. As your Lordships will see, it is only those persons who are referred to in this Amendment who are affected; those who are resident here are not subject to any condition. It is only those whom we are trying to safeguard, in line with the conditions already laid down by Her Majesty's Government. It would not be a question just of generosity of thought, but also of some generosity of action on the part of the Government. I have spoken to community relations officers, to church leaders, to officers of the main responsible immigrant associations in this country. If you do not help these people, who are doing their best in a moderate way, you will be making their task so much more difficult; you will be playing into the hands of the extremists. Why do that? Why do it when it is so easy not to? I say this with some experience. As some of your Lordships know, I had considerable experience in Commonwealth affairs. At one time I had the honour to be a Minister in the Colonial Office. I have seen what has happened in situations of racial tension in other parts of the Commonwealth. If you do not support the moderate leaders when they are asking for something reasonable, you play into the hands of the extremists. Surely we have had enough experience to learn that lesson by now.

I would plead with the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and with the Government to accept this Amendment even if not in these precise words. If there is a difficulty about the word"right"for example, that can be in some way eliminated or amended. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, shakes his head in a supercilious way. This is too important a matter on which to be supercilious. I do not know how to persuade someone who cannot see the force, who cannot see the statesmanship, of making a generous gesture at the outset of proceedings on a Bill of this kind.


It may be that some of your Lordships feel that the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, about the illegal entry and harbouring was reasonable. If so, I would just point out that all the Government have to do is to say that they will accept this Amendment, for all the good that it will do to race relations, but that they will wish to precede it by the words"save for section 25 ".


I think the whole House would like to believe what the noble Baroness, Lady White, said with such conviction and certainty: that an act of reassurance was necessary and would have the effects she hoped it would. I can assure her that I was not looking supercilious; I was just turning over in my mind the number of times that I have heard that argument in the last six months in relation to this Bill and its provisions. It is an argument that has been used over and over again. It is right that it should have been used, and I hope it will go on being used, because it is of great importance. It was used throughout the proceedings in another place. My right honourable friend at the very beginning made a major concession on the question of dependants, mentioned by Lord Brockway. He said that the Immigration Rules, which the previous Administration and the Conservative Government before them had left as a matter for the Home Secretary's discretion, should be subject to Parliamentary control. This would be an act to reassure those who were worried, to reassure immigrant opinion. Making some sort of concession on the question of family deportation would be another such act. We have not seen the effects of the reassurance that was given. I am closely involved with this matter, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and others are. I can say that I have not seen the effects of these concessions because I believe that those who are opposed to this Bill are opposed to it root and branch and in principle. If one makes a concession of this sort for a reason of this sort one is hoodwinking oneself. I do not say that of opponents in your Lordships' House. I am saying it of those active in community relations, doing the important and active work they do outside. The noble Earl, Lord Perth—


Before the noble Lord moves on may I ask him to repeat that? Is he saying that people who are involved outside your Lordships' House are automatically bigoted and will not listen to reasonable statements from the Government? Is he saying that, or have I misunderstood him? I hope I have.


Yes, the noble Lord has misunderstood me. I did not say that. I hope he will look at what I said, in Hansard.

The noble Earl, Lord Perth, used that most reasonable of Parliamentary arguments that strong feelings have been expressed and would it not be possible for the Government to look again at the provision? This is a difficult argument to answer. The difficulties are inherent in the subject. If I felt that here was a matter that could be resolved—there are a number of Amendments of which this is probably true—by further thought, discussion and consultation, I would willingly say so, but I must confess that I do not feel that. Noble Lords have been very general in what they have said. They have asked that, if it is difficult to define"rights ", could this not be overcome in some way? Well, of course, philosophers have been addressing themselves to the subject for about 2,000 years and there is still a great deal of disagreement. I do not think we are likely to resolve the matter very easily. What Clause 1 does is to set out general principles or themes, at the beginning of the Bill. There are four of these; they are declaratory rather than operative in function and are taken up in the subsequent specific provisions of the Bill. The clauses of the Bill are worded so as to avoid any possible inconsistency with the general declaratory principles at the beginning of the Bill.

My difficulty, and the reason why I do not think that, much as I should like to, I can accept the offer and suggestion made by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, supported by many others, is that to put in a provision of this kind, a general principle, at the beginning of the Bill would be to accept inconsistency. It would achieve one of two things. The noble Lord will find, as we go through the Bill and he becomes a little more familiar with it, that there are things in it which would not be consistent with a straightforward statement of that kind. So either the Bill would have to be altered on all these points, or Parliament would have to accept that it had made at the beginning of the Bill a general statement of major importance and that the provisions subsequent to the statement were not in every respect consistent with its terms.

There is a deep division of opinion, I think, on this matter in your Lordships' House, and if noble Lords feel strongly about it, the subject has been aired and discussed and I think the right thing to do is to leave it to the Committee to decide.


I am very disappointed with the Minister's reply. I shall not attempt to answer every point he made in his two speeches, but may I just touch on one or two? I do not follow him in his objections to the use of the words"right"and"status ", although I would be ready to agree that if this provision were to be re-worded it might be that some improvement could be devised. But when I look at the Government's own wording in the fifth line of Clause 1(1) I see the word"right ". If the Government use the word"right"why should not we in our Amendment use the word

"right"? I really do not follow that argument.

The other argument which may have caused some noble Lords to doubt the advisability of this Amendment relates to the effect it might have on the offence of assisting illegal entry. But is that a valid objection? Subsection (1) of Clause 1 reads: All those who are in this Act expressed to have the right of abode in the United Kingdom shall he free to live in, and to come and go into and from, the United Kingdom without let or hindrance…". Does that mean that all those people are completely free to assist illegal entry? I am sure that that is not so, cannot be so. If I commit the offence of assisting illegal entry I must expect to pay the penalty for it. The insertion of a general principle at the beginning of this Bill will not relieve me from that liability. If there is any doubt about it that doubt can be cleared up in the wording of the Bill. So I do not think that that is a sound argument at all. It has been stated by the Minister that these provisions are declaratory and that the Amendment which we have proposed is declaratory. It is unusual in a Bill to begin with general principles, but here we have a Bill which sets out certain general principles, and I am very disappointed that the Government have not accepted the general principle which I have put forward.

4.16 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 93; Not-Contents, 79.

Airedale, L. Clwyd, L. George-Brown, L.
Amherst, E. Collison, L. Gore-Booth, L.
Amulree, L. Coventry, L. Bp. Granville of Eye, L.
Archibald, L. Cranbrook, E. Gray, L.
Ardwick, L. Crook, L. Greenwood of Rossendale, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Crowther, L. Hilton of Upton, L.
Beswick, L. Davies of Leek, L. Hoy, L.
Birk, Bs. Diamond, L. Hurcomb, L.
Blackburn, L. Bp. Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Hylton, L.
Blyton, L. Douglass of Cleveland, L. Hylton-Foster, Bs.
Brockway, L. Faringdon, L. Janner, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Fiske, L. Kennet, L.
Burgh, L. Foot, L. Kilbracken, L.
Burntwood, L. Gaitskell, Bs. Leatherland, L.
Carnock, L. Gardiner, L. Lee of Asheridge, Bs.
Champion, L. Garner, L. Leicester, L. Bp.
Chorley, L. Garnsworthy, L. Lindgren, L.
Listowel, E. Roberthall, L. Stonehaven, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Sainsbury, L. Stonham, L.
McLeavy, L. St. Davids, V. Strang, L.
Maelor, L. Seear, Bs. Summerskill, Bs.
Maybray-King, L. Segal, L. Tanlaw, L.
Morrison, L. Shackleton, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Moyle, L. Shepherd, L. Terrington, L.
Nunburnholme, L. Sheffield, L. Wade, L. [Teller.]
O'Hagan, L. Silkin, L. White, Bs.
Perth, E. Slater, L. Willis, L.
Phillips, Bs. [Teller.] Soper, L. Wise, L.
Platt, L. Sorensen, L. Wootton of Abinger, Bs.
Popplewell, L. Stamp, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Ritchie-Calder, L. Stocks, Bs. Younger of Leckie, V.
Aberdare, L. Eccles, V. Milverton, L.
Allerton, L. Effingham, E. Monck, V.
Balfour, E. Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Northchurch, Bs.
Barnby, L. Essex, E. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Beauchamp, E. Ferrers, E. Oakshott, L.
Belstead, L. Goschen, V. [Teller.] O'Neill of the Maine, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Greenway, L. Poltimore, L.
Bessborough, E. Grenfell, L. Ranfurly, E.
Blackford, L. Gridley, L. Rankeillour, L.
Bledisloe, V. Grimston of Westbury, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Hacking, L. St. Just, L.
Brock, L. Hailes, L. St. Oswald, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Sandford, L.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Sandys, L.
Burton, L. Harvey of Prestbury, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Camoys, L. Hatherton, L. Sudeley, L.
Conesford, L. Hives, L. Thorneycroft, L.
Courtown, E. Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Tollemache, L.
Craigavon, V. Kilmarnock, L. Trefgarne, L.
Cromartie, E. Kinnoull, E. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.
Daventry, V. Latymer, L. Vivian, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Leathers, V. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Derwent, L. Long, V. Willingdon, M.
Digby, L. Lothian, M. Windlesham, L.
Drumalbyn, L. MacAndrew, L. Wolverton, L.
Dudley, E. Macpherson of Drumochter, L

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

4.24 p.m.

LORD SHEPHERD had given Notice of Amendment No. 2: Page 2, line 10, at end insert (" and the said rules shall, until otherwise laid down by the Secretary of State, be in the form contained in the Draft Immigration Rules: Control on Entry (Cmnd. 4606) presented to Parliament on 23rd February 1971 and the Draft Immigration Rules: Control after Entry (Cmnd. 4610) presented to Parliament on 4th March 1971.")

The noble Lord said: I think the Committee will agree that this is another important Amendment which ought to be included in the Bill. Do I need to remind the Committee again that Clause 1 of the Bill sets out the general principles? We on this side of the Committee believe that, for the reasons given in the previous Amendment, it should be made clear beyond any question that in the framing and the administration of the rules which the Home Secretary can lay down and Parliament will approve there shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour or religion. I do not believe that anything will divide the Committee on that general principle. The Government themselves recognise this by the inclusion of these very words in the draft rules governing the entry of immigrants into this country. Those words are contained in Clause 2 of the rules.

Why, then, do we feel that this should go into the Bill when it is already in the rules? For these reasons: first, during our whole consideration of the remaining stages of this Bill, which clearly must be guided by the general principles contained in Clause 1, Parliament should have in its mind that there should be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour or religion. Second, it is equally true that in future years, when Parliament may be called upon to look at a new set of rules, they should be reminded of what was the spirit and intention of Parliament when it approved this Bill and it became an Act. My third reason I gave in support of the previous Amendment; that is, that it should be quite clear to the courts what was the intention of Parliament when it introduced this new Bill dealing with the control of immigration, whether it be from the Commonwealth or from other foreign lands; namely, that there should be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour or religion.

I hope that the Government will be able to respond favourably to this Amendment. It is not only important in terms of Parliament but, as one sees from the Bill, it would be relatively easy for a future Home Secretary to change the rules. He would be able to do it fairly quickly and with the minimum of Parliamentary approval. I think we must be fair and frank with each other: for many years to come Home Secretaries are going to be under continual pressure in regard to community relations. I am in no doubt about that, despite what was said in Committee in another place. There are certain members of the Party opposite who still speak in terms of immigration of which I think the majority of your Lordships would not approve. The pressure is undoubtedly on a Conservative Home Secretary as it would be on a Labour Home Secretary, and therefore one should make it difficult for any Home Secretary to change the rules.

It is important, too, that we should let all our community, white and coloured, know that it will be difficult to change the rules. If we put this clause into the Bill, then any future Parliament that wished to change the position—I do not believe it ever will, but if it did—would need a new Act of Parliament. It would need Government and Parliament deliberately to come to both Houses with a Bill which would be given its First and Second Readings, Committee and Report stages and Third Reading, with all the checks and counter-checks that arise from Parliamentary approval. That would be of tremendous assistance to any Home Secretary when the pressures become great. So we should like to see it in the Bill for that reason.

But there is another reason. Despite what the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, said on the last Amendment, I believe that it will give a new feeling to the immigrants who are already in this country, and all those who work in community relations. I know that parts of this Bill are not liked by many sections who work in this field; that is understandable. If it is there, it is the duty of all of us to see how best we can remove these genuine fears. I believe that this Amendment, if it were accepted, would in a small way help to remove those fears and uncertainties.


I think this is one of the most important Amendments we have on the Marshalled List to-day. I cannot over-emphasise the necessity of having a categorical statement included in an Act of Parliament on this particular matter of the liberty and the recognition of the three categories to which the Amendment applies. I said a few moments ago that I was concerned with the issue that we were debating in relation to Commonwealth citizens. This goes further, much further. The question here is that if people are not certain that these principles will prevail we should be in a very sorry plight indeed.


I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord in mid-flow. Is he speaking to Amendment No. 2 or is he directing his remarks more to Amendment No. 3?


I fear that I am at fault. My noble friend Lord Kilbracken's Amendments were called in the period of jubilation for this side of the House on the last Division. I had not intended to move Amendment No. 2. I think it was called and I nodded. It was not taken. Then I rose and I thought I was speaking to Amendment No. 3. I thought I made it clear in my speech which Amendment I was speaking to. To regularise the position, if the Chair will call Amendment No. 2 I will not move, and then I will beg to move Amendment No. 3 formally.


I think that course will be quite acceptable to us on this side, and I am grateful to the noble Lord for clearing it up.


I call Amendment No. 2.


Not moved.


I beg to move Amendment No. 3.

Amendment moved—

Page 2, line 10, at end insert— (" Provided that in the framing of the rules and in the administration thereof there shall he no discrimination on grounds of race, colour or religion.")—(Lord Shepherd.)


I am extremely sorry. I had assumed that we were talking on Amendment No. 3, because, of course, everything my noble friend said was directed to that. On the colour question, there is no doubt at all that it must be made 100 per cent. clear that there shall not be discrimination, particularly in view of the fact that there is reaction to the Bill itself in the coloured community, and a reaction which I am sure will continue for a very considerable time and will be referred to again in the course of the debate. I would point out to the Committee that people have suffered very considerably from oppression because of their religion and because of their race. I need hardly remind this House of what horrific barbarisms happened in the holocaust in Germany not so very long ago. It would be simple enough for an extreme régime to alter what certainly is not intended by the legislation that is being passed at present. I do not say that such an event can be near or can be far off, but one thing is 100 per cent. certain; that is, that if a Home Secretary were to choose to use the method which is available at the present time he could change the position overnight. We are told that the rules themselves provide sufficient protection for those who are concerned. That may be the position at the present time. But the question is whether those rules should not become so difficult to change that Parliament has to intervene. Ought not we to consider at this stage what may happen? It may be remote, but nevertheless there is the possibility, and a less liberal Home Secretary can very easily alter regulations of this description.

We heard a few minutes ago that rules of this kind have prevailed before without being incorporated in an Act. I have gone into this matter carefully, and if the noble Lord will make the necessary research—if he has not already done so—he will find we have a precedent for incorporating a matter of this description in an Act of Parliament. In 1905 the Board of Deputies of British Jews were responsible to a very considerable extent in arranging that their point of view, in respect of a legislative measure which was coming into force at that time, should be recognised. In dealing with the problem that was raised at that time in respect of political and religious protection, there was in fact introduced into the Bill in 1905 a provision which provided—and I quote the section: …in the case of an immigrant who proves that he is seeking admission to this country solely to avoid prosecution or punishment on…political grounds or for an offence of a political character, or persecution, involving danger…to life or limb on account of religious belief, leave to land shall not he refused on the ground…or the probability of his becoming a charge on the rates… It may be said that that is not identical with the rights we are discussing at present. My point is that at that time one of the questions that was before Parliament was whether an immigrant would be in a position to support him-self or have to be supported. This particular provision was entered into the Statute to exclude the possibility of that being taken into consideration in respect of a political or religious refugee.

I speak with a fair knowledge of cases in which religious persecution has taken place and in which political persecution has taken place and where asylum has been sought here. There are two clauses in the rules which should be incorporated in the Act itself, and which should—and I hope will—be accepted as of outstanding importance, in order to prevent anybody from altering overnight a situation which the present Home Secretary, I am sure, and the noble Lord and others, would not want to have altered in that manner. There is no earthly reason why, on the precedent that I have quoted—and I am sure there must be similar precedents in various Acts—we should not emphasise the importance of this particular point and in these circumstances I hope that the Government will accept the insertion in the Bill itself of these provisions, so that it will require another Bill, in respect of which the opinion of Parliament must be properly expressed, to alter the position.

4.42 p.m.


The words in this Amendment express a principle which I have tried to reflect in over sixty years in public life in this country. Nevertheless, I do not want to speak at length on the Amendment because we are in Committee, and one does not want to deal with principles, with which one would deal in a Second Reading debate. I just want to put two points which I think are Committee points. First, what disturbed me in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, on the previous Amendment was when he said that the acceptance of that Amendment would be inconsistent with the subsequent clauses in the Bill. We have accepted that Amendment, and I hope that that will mean that the subsequent clauses which are inconsistent with it will be withdrawn or rejected. I recognise, as I am speaking to the Committee, that if we adopt this Amendment many of the subsequent clauses in the Bill will either have to be withdrawn or rejected. As we come to consider those clauses I do not think we shall find any doubt whatsoever that they do discriminate on grounds of race, colour or religion.

The second point that I want to make is that this Amendment may be regarded as unnecessary because it involves the acceptance of a principle, and that after we have laid down certain principles in a Bill we then come to consider concrete proposals. I say to the Committee that the rules which are to be framed may be framed now by my own Member of Parliament, the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, who I have recognised is more liberal than many of his colleagues, but rules can also be framed by other Secretaries of State for Home Affairs who are not so liberal as he is. Therefore it is very important, when we are carrying this Bill, that we should lay down a principle in relation to those rules which shall determine their character. For that reason, on a second ground which I think is relevant to the Committee stage of this Bill, I hope that this Amendment will be accepted, so that we shall proclaim that the rules shall not discriminate on grounds of race, colour or religion.


I should like to support this Amendment extremely briefly. I think that this nation is committed to these three principles through the United Nations. It is likely that if one searched the Conservative Party Manifesto one would find them all expressed there. I am certain that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and his colleagues do not approve of discrimination, whether racial religious, or colour. Therefore, as there can be no possible objection to putting the words in the Bill. I support the Amendment that they should be put in.


I rise to say very briefly that I not only consider this Amendment to be unnecessary but also undesirable. I think it is going to deprive the authorities—perhaps it is aimed at depriving them—of a power which they may badly need. I am not a racialist, and I have had a very considerable world-wide experience in dealing with other races. I believe—and I am afraid it is necessary to explain my objection—in the brotherhood of man so long as it means that it is the duty of every race to regard with respect and consideration the traditions and the outlook of other races. If it means that there is a likeli-hood, or even a possibility, of integrating one race with another irrespective of what their traditions may be, then I am totally against it. In this country already we have groups of other races who are already becoming a difficult section of the community. Surely it is necessary that the authorities should have the power to say that in order to avoid the growth of a cancer in the social life of the country—and the world is littered with these examples, and the trouble they cause if not taken in time—they cannot, for the sake of the welfare of this country and the welfare of the people who are coming into it in other ways, allow a certain racial section to be increased any more.

It may be said that this is not a practical view. I speak as an administrator who has had to discard the pleasure of sitting in a study and having beautiful dreams which are not practically possible or desirable. Therefore, I think that this Amendment should not be allowed to go through. Perhaps I could end with a well-known saying: Time takes his revenge for all the counsels to which he is not called. If you allow these communities to grow which are not integrable at all into the life of the country, you will have a problem which you should have avoided by dealing with it in time.


May I ask the noble Lord whether he is objecting to the rule which contains the same provision?


I did not hear what the noble Lord said.


The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, said that he objected to the Amendment because it was unnecessary. He can only think it unnecessary because nowhere does the Bill discriminate on racial, colour or religious grounds. Were we to ask any noble Lord here this afternoon whether he was in favour of discrimination on grounds of race, religion or colour, he would say—and mean it—" Certainly not ". I think that that is the attitude of the Government.


Would the noble Lord say that one must not regard as the first principle the welfare of the people of this country?


This is part of the welfare of the people of this country, an essential part, and has been for hundreds of years. I have talked often with the noble Lord. I know the way he feels and that his own sentiments are at variance with the speech he has just made. But, with respect, I am not so much concerned with him at the moment as with the Bill and with what we all think about the Bill and whether, when we have studied it, we have asked ourselves whether it discriminates on any one of those three grounds. I should have thought that noble Lords opposite have satisfied themselves that it does not. I believe that that is the position of the Government. If that is so, if they are confident in this matter, there is no reason whatsoever why this Amendment should not be accepted and why it should not be written into the Bill.

The first Amendment struck me as a test for the Government's sincerity and for their belief in this Bill. That Amendment was carried. I should be sorry to see this one go to a Division. It ought not to go to a Division; the Government should accept it. I say to the noble Lord that I should not like the unenviable task of convincing the Committee that the Bill is right and the Amendment is wrong; for it is undeniably, absolutely and unarguably right. It is something that every Member of this House believes in. On a matter of this kind we should now have the courage of our convictions and support it. I should like to see noble Lords on the other side of the Committee take part in this debate and say what are their views. I am convinced that they believe this Amendment to be right. And I am convinced that that applies also to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham. If the Government are convinced that there is nothing in this Bill which discriminates, then there is nothing in this Amendment to which they can object. I strongly support my noble friend.


In Schedule 6 we are doing away with the Aliens Restrictions Acts, or most of them. This Bill concerns immigration from all sorts of different countries. I see the principle behind the Amendment and I have nothing to say against people not being discriminated against on the grounds of colour or religion. I think that most of us will recognise any colour and any religion. But we must be careful about the word"race ". Race can involve any nation—one that might be friendly or one that might be very unfriendly to us in this country. Let us remember that just before the last war we deported Italians, Germans and Japanese. I hope that that will never happen again; but we had to do it. It was in order to protect our own interests that the Aliens Act 1914 was brought in. It is possible that the word"race"in this Bill is capable of misinterpretation.


I should not have intervened at this stage had it not been for the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. I hope that the Committee will pay the greatest attention to the inflection which has been introduced and which this Amendment is seeking to correct. If this is not explicit, and not explicitly said, the most fantastic embarrassment to the Community Relations Commission (of which I was once a member) and certainly to the Race Relations Board will be caused. Anyone who tries to integrate people in this country regardless of race, colour and creed is going to be extremely suspicious—even more so than he is at the moment—about the meaning of this Bill. Therefore, in the interests of what is being done (and very effectively done in many cases, if conditions are not exacerbated by remarks such as we have heard) I ask that this Amendment be accepted. There is no choice. The Government have no choice but to make it as explicit as this Amendment proposes that it should be made.


I should not like it to be thought from my silence that I was not supporting this Amendment. I support it. There is another which I shall be moving later. One has to try to draw the line between a statement of principle and the procedure for carrying out the policy of the Government. I take the view that this Amendment comes down on the side of principle rather than on a matter of procedure. I should prefer to see these words inserted in the Bill. Therefore I support the Amendment.


I, too, should like to add my plea to the Government to accept this Amendment. If there be any need at all for this Bill, which many of us doubt, surely the Government, in their ingenuity to try to elicit grounds for discrimination, can evolve other grounds other than those of race, colour or religion. If this tends to be a discriminatory Bill, there are many other reasons which the Government can adduce to exclude persons involved in the administration of this particular clause. I can not conceive that any civilised Government in this day and age could possibly agree to the exclusion of any immigrants on the grounds of race, colour and religion. Many of us are aware of the long tradition in the Home Office of humanity and fairness and careful consideration of the reasons for political refugees and others coming into this country. There exist bodies which will vouch for them, which will give guarantees that they will not be any charge on the public funds. But to refuse to accept an Amendment of this nature, to imply that the Government intend to exercise discrimination on grounds of race, colour or religion, is to my mind beyond the comprehension of any civilised individual who is a citizen of this country.

5.0 p.m.


This Amendment would add to subsection (4) a proviso prohibiting discrimination on grounds of race, colour or religion in the framing of or administration of the immigration rules. The point was fully debated in another place in Standing Committee, when The Opposition put down an Amendment in the same terms. The Standing Committee supported the Government's view that it was unnecessary to include such a provision in the Bill and I should like to explain the reasons for that advice. It goes without saying that there is no difference in any Party over the principle that discrimination on these grounds should play no part in immigration control, but we have had to look very carefully into the implications of an Amendment on these lines.

First, it is as well to distinguish between the framing and the administration of the immigration rules. As regards the framing—that is to say, the policy which lies behind the rules—I shall have more to say in a moment; but on the all-important question of administration what the noble Lord who moved the Amendment is seeking to achieve is already achieved in Rule 2, to which he referred in his opening speech. Rule I is concerned with interpretation and Rule 2 is the first rule of substance in the Draft Immigration Rules: Control on Entry (Cmnd. 4606). The instruction is as follows: Immigration officers will carry out their duties without regard to the race, colour or religion of people seeking to enter the United Kingdom. I think we can all agree that it is the administration of immigration policy that is of crucial importance. What matters is how the instructions given by the Government to the immigration officers responsible for enforcing the policies which have been laid down, and which are contained in the White Paper now before Parliament, work.

As regards the framing of policy, both the present Government and their predecessors have disclaimed any intention of discriminating on grounds of race, colour or religion. Nevertheless, this has not prevented criticism of their immigration policy as being based on colour discrimination; and such criticism is voiced in public speeches and in the Press, as well as in Parliament. We heard the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, take the same theme to-day and he used similar language in roundly condemning the immigration legislation of the Party opposite in 1968.


As did the noble Lord.


I am in enough trouble already to-day. These criticisms, I think the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, will accept, are likely to continue whether or not these words are put in the Bill. What would be the impact of making this Amendment? I do not think that we can suppose, if we are practical, that it is going to still criticisms of this kind. Those who believe that the Government's policy is discriminatory will continue to urge their criticisms, inside and outside Parliament. We cannot complain about this, it seems to me, because the merits of the immigration policy adopted by the Government of the day are political questions, which ought to be argued out and decided by all the apropriate methods. But the results of making an Amendment might well be that this perennial question would also be argued in ways that some noble Lords might feel were not so appropriate.

It would be open to anyone adversely affected by a decision taken in accordance with the immigration rules to challenge the relevant provision of the rules on appeal against the decision or possibly before the courts, on the ground that the provision itself involved discrimination on grounds of race or colour. The basis of such a challenge, we believe, might well be that the provision in question differentiated between citizens or nationals of different countries. Some differentiation, of course, is inevitable in practice, and this is covered in Clause 3(2) of the Bill. An example of a provision which differentiates on this basis, in a way which a Commonwealth citizen might argue was to his disadvantage, is paragraph 38 of Cmnd. 4606, concerning entry clearances which are required by dependents coming for settlement. This applies also to aliens who are visa nationals, but it does not apply to aliens with whose countries we have visa abolition agreements. So there is a differentiation there.

On the other side, a rule which benefits Commonwealth citizens only, and not people from foreign countries, is contained in paragraph 10 of Cmnd. 4610, relating to what are called working holidays extending for up to, but not more than, a period of three years. It would be quite wrong, we believe, to require the appellate authorities or the courts to determine politically controversial questions, as they will be, about the merits of the Government's immigration policy. The Government should be answerable for that policy to Parliament, and political questions, we believe, are not best decided by judicial tribunals.

It is for these practical reasons that we do not think it would be wise to add these words to the Bill. But I can say to the noble Lord opposite, and to others who have spoken, that we quite understand the thought behind the Amendment, and in the all-important matter of the application of the immigration policy the principle is contained in the immigration rules themselves.


I am bound to say that I find the noble Lord's speech utterly unconvincing and pretty wide of the mark, so far as the Amendment is concerned. I agree with him that perhaps the most important factor is the administration of the rules. But the intention of the Government is perfectly clear: it is set out in subsection (2) of the Draft Rules. I have no doubt at all as to what are the intentions of the Government and the present Home Secretary, but, as I indicated in my speech, they can be removed very easily. In the interests of immigrants, and of all those who work within community relations, I suggested that we should put beyond doubt that the whole operation of this Bill will not be based on discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or religion by establishing this clearly in the general principles. If any Government or any Home Secretary wish to alter it, they are perfectly entitled to do so, but I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, that in the end it is Parliament who has to decide. And it is for Parliament to lay down the policy. The policy should not be changed by a mere deletion of some few words in the rules, but should be changed only by a Bill which has gone through both Houses of Parliament.

As to policy, I thought the noble Lord was getting the question of nationality slightly mixed up with race, colour and religion. If the Government decided that for some political reason they would keep Kenyans or Tanzanians out of this country, then I suppose they could. They would not be affected by my Amendment, because a Kenyan, Ugandan or a Tanzanian is governed not by race but by his own nationality. However, it would be within my Amendment if the Government decided that they were going to keep Africans as a race out of this country. I do not believe that they would ever dream of so doing, but I want to ensure in the Bill that they cannot do so.

Again, on the question of colour I suppose that an African is black. There are varying degrees of blackness. I do not see how this particular description could cause difficulties to the Government. I do not want to delay the Committee too long, but I come back to what I said at the beginning: that this is an important principle. The Government have accepted this principle in the rules. What I and my noble friends wish to ensure is that this important principle shall be clearly established in legislation, and that if it is to be changed it will be changed only by an Act of Parliament and not by something that is just slipped through.


Before the noble Lord sits down, I should say that I follow his argument, but it seems to me that it is really directed at the later Amendments concerned with the Parliamentary approval of the rules. There is a series of Amendments on the Marshalled List on this subject, and we shall be discussing them when we come to them. The noble Lord's arguments will apply when we are discussing whether or not the immigration rules should be subject to the Negative Resolution procedure, the Affirmative Resolution procedure, or whatever it may be. The noble Lord has not, I think, dealt with my reply. I have said that I am with him on this matter, and there is no difference between the two sides on this relatively narrow point. This Amendment was first put down in another place, and we have had many months to study it. We believe that there would be practical implications of the type that I have explained; namely that the basis on which a rule is framed could be challenged through immigration appeals system or through the courts. Charges of discrimination are made, and we do not think that writing these words into the Bill will prevent them from being made. All we should be doing would be to place these political decisions in the hands of the Appeal Tribunal, the adjudicator and the courts. This is our difficulty, and I am not sure that the further comments of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, took account of the points I was making in reply.


What I am discussing at the moment is a question of principle. I hope that the noble Lord will get quite clear in his mind that this is a question of general principle in the Bill. If the noble Lord wishes to make some variation on how policy or administration is conducted, I believe that he already has that power in Clause 3(2), which says that Clause 1(4): shall not be taken to require uniform provision to be made by the rules as regards admission of persons for a purpose or in a capacity specified in section 1(4)…". It seems to me that there the Government have already given themselves some opportunity and flexibility. At the moment, all I am clear in my mind about is that we should get this one fundamental issue established: that throughout this Bill there shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour and religion. If the noble Lord cannot meet us, then I think I must invite my noble friends and the Committee to support me on this important principle.


The noble Lord is in a fighting mood. He is making his point forcefully, but does he feel that by putting these words into the Bill this principle will be universally adhered to: that everyone will say,"Parliament has said that there shall not be discrimination on these grounds and therefore these challenges to our policy and our rules will not be made "? I do not think he would be as unrealistic as that. It seems to me that he is constructing a major principle out of what is, after all, a relatively narrow point.

5.11 p.m.


With respect, it is not a narrow point; it is a major principle. I am wondering whether the noble Lord can enlighten me—and I ask this question for illumination. As he knows, in the set of rules concerning entry there is specific mention of the duty laid upon immigration officers not to discriminate on grounds of race, colour or religion. Therefore it is already something which is to become a Parliamentary instrument by the agreed procedure which the Government have granted. So he cannot be objecting on that ground. A similar reference is not included in the other set of rules, concerned with the treatment of immigrants after they have entered this country. As I understand it from the discussion which took place elsewhere, this was because at the point of entry one is not yet in this country, and one is therefore not subject to the Race Relations Act. Once one is in this country, one is subject to that Act. It would therefore appear that under the Race Relations Act one could fairly argue that it would be improper to discriminate. It was not quite clear from the discussions in the other place whether that was the reason why this is in one set of rules but not in the other set of rules. But if it is to be in one set of rules, and if the reason why it is not specifically in the other set of rules is because they are assumed under another Statute, then what is the real objection of the Government to including in this Statute a specific reference to something which we are all agreed, with, I think, the exception of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, is a matter of principle that we accept.


I feel strongly on this matter, and I hope the Committee will forgive me for intervening. I should like to ask the noble Lord and the Government whether they are genuine in the expression that they give in the rule that has been referred to, that this discrimination should not be exercised. If so, what on earth prevents them from seeing that a future Home Secretary cannot overnight change the rule? Why not let Parliament decide?


We are coming back to what I think is a difference of considerable importance, as I mentioned in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd; and that is the question of Parliamentary control of the immigration rules. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Janner, will follow me on this. He asked me a question, and I should like to give him a reply, but if he is going to talk to his noble friends he will be in the same position as he is now. The immigration rules will be subject to Parliamentary control. Therefore, unless Parliament agrees with him, there is no question of the Home Secretary of the day suddenly changing the rules. If Parliament does agree with him, he can change the rules; but if Parliament does not agree with him, Parliament can negative the rules. This is not true of the immigration rules at the moment. Here we have a major change, a change of substance, made by the Home Secretary when the Bill went through another place. When we talk about Parliament's agreeing, we are talking about the sovereignty of Parliament. It is for Parliament to agree that a future Home Secretary may change the rules, in the same way that it is for Parliament to agree to a future Home Secretary's changing the Bill. Parliament could alter what is in the Bill.

The noble Baroness, Lady White, asked me about the two White Papers, and pointed out, quite correctly, that the instruction to immigration officers that they should carry out their duties without regard to the race, colour or religion of people seeking to enter the United Kingdom was contained in the draft immigration rules for control on entry, but not in the second White Paper concerning control after entry. The main reason for this is that the immigration rules for control on entry are directly binding on immigration officers. These are the instructions they have from the Home Secretary of the day as to how they are to carry out their duties. They are directly binding on the immigration officers because it is with the immigration officers and their responsibilities that this White Paper is concerned. The second White Paper is concerned with control after the person has been admitted to this country, and a wide range of people are concerned in the operation of these provisions. I think that is the answer to the noble Baroness.


But they would be subject to the Race Relations Act?


In some cases, but not all, because Crown servants are not, generally speaking, affected by the provision of services under the terms of the Race Relations Act.


I followed what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and I think I am very much helped by it; but there is one thing I should like to ask him. In relation to the rules laid down for immigration officers, I understand that there are these very important words"subject to Parliamentary procedure ". This means to say that the Home Secretary lays the rules in front of Parliament. Are those rules subject to the Negative Resolution procedure or to an Affirmative Resolution?




For how many days is it to stand?


This is set out in the Bill. If the noble Earl will refer to Clause 3(2) he will find all the details there.

5.24 p.m.


Is it not a fact that the rules come into force as soon as they are made by the Secretary of State? Is it not right that under Clause 3(2) he has from time to time to lay before Parliament statements of the rules, or any changes in the rules, laid down by him…. and then, If a statement laid before either House of Parliament under this subsection is disapproved by a resolution of that House passed within the period of forty days beginning with the date of laying…. then the Secretary of State shall as soon as may be make such changes or further changes in the rules as appear to him to be required in the circumstances and lay a further statement before Parliament accordingly ". Am I not right in saying that the rules come into force as soon as the Home Secretary chooses to make them, and remain in force while from time to time he makes statements about them before the House? If Parliament disapproves of them, they remain in force—is that not right?—and all that happens if Parliament disapproves of them, if Parliamentary time can be found in 40 days, is that the Home Secretary has to make a further statement on such changes as appear to him to be required; but for all this time the rules are in force. Is that not right?


Yes, we must not have any doubt in our minds about this. What the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has said is true, and noble Lords must not lose sight of this.

There are millions of visitors coming to our ports every year. I do not have the figures as to immigration officers, but this is a very substantial service. These people are entitled to know under what rules they are expected to act. These rules are published and laid before Parliament. It would be quite impossible to expect any service of this kind not to operate on the basis of the published rules. If Parliament disapproves of them, this clause says that the Home Secretary must go away and think again and come forward with more rules, and if they are approved they will be substituted. It would be totally unrealistic for noble Lords to expect that if a rule were disapproved to-day it would be deleted and the immigration service would have no rules until such time as a new rule had been substituted.


I am very anxious that we should make some progress on this Bill. I intervene now wondering whether the Committee would feel that this is the moment at which we should come to a decision. If I may say so to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, he has accepted the description and method under which this Bill will operate in making rules as explained by my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner. In fact, what has happened is that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, has sought—I do not think deliberately—to create the impression that there is quite a considerable amount of Parliamentary control before the rules come into operation. It is quite clear that rules come into operation immediately the Home Secretary makes them. Therefore the Home Secretary can make rules, and he can change those rules which have these important words in them. This is the reason why we wish to see in the Bill that these important principles cannot be changed unless the Home Secretary comes to Parliament with an amending Bill. I ask my noble friends and those through

out the Committee who feel our way to vote on this Amendment.

5.28 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 79; Not-Contents, 96.

Amherst, E. Gardiner, L. Phillips, Bs.
Archibald, L. Garner, L. Platt, L.
Ardwick, L. Garnsworthy, L. [Teller.] Popplewell, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. George-Brown, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Beswick, L. Gore-Booth, L. Robbins, L.
Birk, Bs. Granville of Eye, L. Royle, L.
Blackburn, L.Bp. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Sainsbury, L.
Blyton, L. Heycock, L. St. Davids, V.
Brockway, L. Hilton of Upton, L. [Teller.] Segal, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Hoy, L. Shackleton, L.
Burgh, L. Hunt, L. Shepherd, L.
Burntwood, L. Hurcomb, L. Sherfield, L.
Caradon, L. Hylton, L. Slater, L.
Carnock, L. Janner, L. Sorensen, L.
Champion, L. Kennet, L. Stocks, Bs.
Chorley, L. Kilbracken, L. Stonham, L.
Collison, L. Leatherland, L. Strang, L.
Coventry, L.Bp. Lee of Asheridge, Bs. Summerskill, Bs.
Davies of Leek, L. Leicester, L.Bp. Tanlaw, L.
Delacourt-Smith, L. Lindgren, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Diamond, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L. Wade, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. McLeavy, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Douglass of Cleveland, L. Maelor, L. White, Bs.
Exeter, L.Bp. Moyle, L. Wise, L.
Faringdon, L. Nunburnholme, L. Wootton of Abinger, Bs.
Foot, L. O'Hagan, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Gaitskell, Bs.
Aberdare, L. Ebbisham, L. Milverton, L.
Ailwyn, L. Eccles, V. Monck, V.
Allerton, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Monson, L.
Auckland, L. Essex, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.]
Balfour, E. Ferrers, E.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Goschen, V. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Barnby, L. Gray, L. Northchurch, Bs.
Beauchamp, E. Greenway, L. Oakshott, L.
Belstead, L. Grenfell, L. O'Neill of the Maine, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Gridley, L. Poltimore, L.
Bessborough, E. Grimston of Westbury, L. Ranfurly, E.
Blackford, L. Hacking, L. Rankeillour, L.
Bledisloe, V. Hailes, L. Rothermere, V.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Rothes, E.
Bridgeman, V. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Harvey of Prestbury, L. St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Hatherton, L. St. Just, L.
Caccia, L. Hives, L. St. Oswald, L.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L. Hood, V. Sandford, L.
Colgrain, L. Hylton-Foster, Bs. Sandys, L.
Conesford, L. Ilford, L. Selkirk, E.
Cork and Orrery, E. Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Shannon, E.
Courtown, E. Kilmarnock, L. Sinclair of Cleeve, L.
Craigavon, V. Kinnoull, E. Skelmersdale, L.
Cranbrook, E. Latymer, L. Stamp, L.
Daventry, V. Long, V. Stonehaven, V.
de Clifford, L. Lothian, M. Sudeley, L.
Denham, L. MacAndrew, L. Teviot, L.
Derwent, L. McFadzean, L. Trefgarne, L.
Digby, L. Macpherson of Drumochter, L. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.
Drumalbyn, L. Merrivale, I. Vivian, L.
Wakefield of Kendal, L. Windlesham, L. Younger of Leckie, V.
Willingdon, M. Wolverton, L.

On Question, Amendment to Amendment agreed to.

5.34 p.m.

BARONESS WHITE moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 2, line 10, at end insert— (" Provided that in framing the rules and in the administration thereof no Commonwealth citizen shall be deemed to be in breach of the condition of his work permit through illness and where he has a medical certificate certifying his inability to perform the employment specified in his work permit or through unemployment except where he wilfully refused employment on conditions at least equal to the employment specified in his work permit.")

The noble Baroness said: I beg to move the Amendment standing on the Marshalled List in the name of my noble friends and myself. This Amendment and the following ones are concerned with the rules which we have already been discussing. We felt it was necessary to make some reference to these rules because, as our immediately preceding discussion will have revealed to your Lordships, they are going to be of extreme importance in the carrying out of the provisions of the Bill, and if we do not make some indications at this stage of the provisions which we feel should be included within those rules it will be very difficult to do so effectively on any Parliamentary occasion. This is because, as we all know, under the Negative Resolution procedure one cannot amend rules but only approve or, as on this occasion, disapprove of them as put before Parliament by the Secretary of State.

This Amendment asks that in the framing and administering of the rules a Commonwealth citizen who is here with a work permit as one of his conditions of entry shall not be deemed to be in breach of that condition through illness or unemployment. This is of very great importance to those who may be admitted in future, because under subsection (5)(a) of Clause 3 of the Bill anyone who is not a patrial who is in breach of a condition attached to his leave to enter or to remain in this country makes himself thereby liable to deportation. We are very much concerned that Commonwealth citizens shall not, for example, be put at a disadvantage compared with workers who might come to this country if we should enter the European Community. As we proceed through this Bill, although no decision has yet been taken about our entry to the European Community, it would be of great assistance if the noble Lord could enlighten us about the relative positions of workers who could come in under the provisions of the European Community and those who are Commonwealth citizens and will be affected by the legislation we are now being asked to pass.

Perhaps I might say in parenthesis that many of us have felt it would have been desirable to have held up this Bill until we knew whether or not we were going into the Community, and we could then pass legislation, if it were needed, with full knowledge of the true comparability of the position of European workers entering this country and Commonwealth citizens. But the Government in their wisdom have decided to proceed with the legislation forthwith without that knowledge, although it is of some significance that if European workers are to be permitted to enter this country under the provisions of the Community, as I understand it, their position here would be safeguarded in the circumstances described in this Amendment—in other words if they came in legally and were then taken ill or were to lose their jobs.

So far as health conditions are concerned, your Lordships will be aware that, under the rules regulating entry into this country, provisions are made to ensure that those who come and intend to remain in the United Kingdom for six months or longer should normally be referred to a medical inspector for examination at the point of entry; and Rules 56, 57 and 58 give instructions to immigration officers about what they should do to safeguard the position if they have any reason to suspect that someone wishing to enter may be suffering from some disease or condition. The immigration officer is specifically enjoined to consider whether a passenger is suffering from a specified disease or condition which might interfere with his ability to support himself or his dependants, and to take all this into account in conjunction with other factors in deciding whether or not to admit the passenger. Precautions are taken at the point of entry, and we are concerned with what might happen thereafter.

I think we should surely all agree that if a person falls ill he should not be concerned lest he should be in breach of a condition laid down in his work permit and therefore make himself liable to possible deportation. This could add immeasurably to his or her anxieties, and I do not think any of us would wish that. Only those who work among some of the immigrant communities will appreciate the kind of apprehension which can prevail if they are uncertain of their position; if they fear that they may be in breach of some condition and may therefore be sent home. And, of course, under the provisions of the Bill if one person is deported because he is in breach of conditions of entry his entire family is in danger of being sent home; so we can imagine the state of someone who falls ill and is concerned as to whether he might be in breach. I do not believe for a moment that it is the intention of the Government that such a person should be regarded as being in breach of conditions, but we want to make it quite clear. Therefore we thought that by putting down this Amendment we should present the Government with an opportunity of making it clear. We should like to have it spelt out that if a person should fall sick he does not thereby lose his rights.

As we know, a work permit is subject to review at the end of the first year. Then normally there would be a three-year period, and it would be only after the end of four years that one could feel secure. So far as unemployment is concerned, here again if a person is unemployed—there may be every kind of reason why he has not been able to hold the job to which he originally came—we say that unless he has wilfully refused employment on conditions at least equal to the employment specified in his work permit, the job for which he was origin-all admitted to this country, he should not be regarded as being in breach. Again I hope that this is the Government's intention. They have control when the work permit comes up for renewal, if application for renewal is made, so this is not a permanent condition. Obviously the period comes when the work permit has to come up for renewal and that residual control remains. On the grounds of humanity, and in order to provide some kind of stability for the lives of people who have come here to work, we feel it is important that these two conditions should be spelt out. I hope, therefore, that the Government will make it clear that in these two sets of circumstances they will not normally regard it as being in breach of conditions and will be prepared to agree that this shall be spelt out.

As I understand the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, this is something which we should be most happy to accept as an Amendment to our Amendment. I merely say this in advance so as not to take up your Lordships' time in discussing it later. My noble friends say that they will be quite happy to accept his Amendment if he wishes to move it.

5.44 p.m.

LORD GORE-BOOTH moved, as an Amendment to Amendment No. 4, Amendment No. 5: Line 4, after (" certificate ") insert (" or other such evidence as the determining authority may accept as sufficient ").

The noble Lord said: I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady White, for what she has just said and I hope I may have the privilege of giving your Lordships the relief of moving an Amendment which is non-controversial. The basis of my Amendment is, in fact, already in existing legislation, and for that reason I hope it may be considered to be non-controversial. Its object is simply to preserve the position of those people who honestly and sincerely, as good citizens, use means other than those which would produce a medical certificate to claim medical privilege under the National Insurance Act. This right and this privilege are already in existing legislation. I think it is incumbent upon me to produce my own evidence that this is the case and I will try to do so extremely briefly.

When the National Insurance Act was passed in 1946 arrangements were made for people such as I have described—and I should declare my interest: I am particularly concerned with members of the Christian Science Movement—to go through an alternative procedure. Under this procedure the following wording was used. It is in Statutory Instrument No. 1175 of 1946, by which the rules were laid down. The Statement first says that every person making a claim needs to obtain a medical certificate from a medical practitioner. It defines a medical practitioner and then gives an alternative. or such other means as the determining authority shall accept as sufficient in the circumstances of any particular claim or class of claims ". When the legislation was brought up to date in 1967 (and the document there is Statutory Instrument 520, 1967) the same wording for an alternative was used and the legislation went further and prescribed a certain form of certificate which people in this class should produce. Indeed I have a sample with me.

I would add just one point—that the position of the health authorities is completely preserved by this legislation because the kind of certificate produced must be such that the determining authority will accept it. The determining authority is defined in the Statutory Instrument as a principal insurance officer, or a tribunal, or a number of alternative public authorities. In thanking the noble Baroness, Lady White, for her acceptance of my Amendment, I hope that the Government and your Lordships' House will receive it kindly. If this is done, I think this addition to what is a humane and sensible proposal will be received with considerable gratitude by the many good citizens who may come under this provision in the future.


May I ask one question? There has been some disquiet about the nature of the proceedings that will happen at the end of the year, the provisional year, and subsequent years when people are admitted for work on this temporary basis. I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, could say briefly whom the employers will have to report to, what form that report will take and whether it is largely material to the present system.


If I may suggest it to the noble Lord, perhaps a more appropriate place to discuss that would be with Amendment No. 6.

5.50 p.m.


May I deal first with Amendment No. 5? I should be happy to accept this Amendment to Amendment No. 4, but I am afraid that I cannot accept Amendment No. 4. It is an improvement on the wording of Amendment No. 4, as the noble Baroness, Lady White, acknowledges. When I say that I cannot accept it, I hope to be able to convince the noble Baroness that I can satisfy what she is trying to get at without the need for this Amendment.

There is some slight misconception in the way that it is worded. The holder of a work permit will not be made subject to a condition requiring him to perform the employment specified in the permit. The only condition that the holder of a work permit has imposed on him is one precluding him from taking any employment without the approval of the Department of Employment. The permit will constitute approval of his taking the job for which it was issued, and for any change of employment the new employer will have to apply to the Department of Employment for its approval of the change.

The noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, asked me a question. All that is required of an employer is confirmation that he wishes to retain the worker in his employment. No report on the worker's efficiency or conduct is called for. We can go into this in more detail if the noble Lord wishes. So far as the work permit holder is concerned there will be no question of his being regarded as in breach of any condition governing his stay merely because he is unable, through illness, to do the job specified in the permit. Nor will he be in breach of the condition if he loses that job, or gives it up for whatever reason. If he loses his job, or gives it up, the Department of Employment will do all that it can to help him find another within the framework of the work permit scheme. His conditions are only infringed if he takes some other job without the necessary approval of the Department of Employment. I hope this meets the point of the noble Baroness.

Under the draft rules the question of extending a permit holder's stay at the end of the first 12 months, and of removing the time limit after four years, is one for consideration by the Home Office in the light of all the relevant circumstances. It would be going too far to lay down a general rule that a work permit holder from the Commonwealth who at any time after entry loses his job through illness or involuntary unemployment is to be allowed to stay here indefinitely, but each case of illness or involuntary unemployment will be considered sympathetically on its merits, as indeed it is at the moment in the case of aliens. The Department of Employment will give the worker help in finding other employment that it can approve within the scope of the work permit scheme.

As a final stop gap, if any extension of stay is refused, the worker will be able to appeal under the provisions of Clause 14. The appellate authorities will be able to form their own view of the compassionate circumstances of his case and decide whether he has a claim to stay here. It follows that a worker who falls ill, or becomes unemployed through no fault of his own, will not thereby be in breach of the law and will not automatically be sent out of the country. His case will be sympathetically dealt with; he will be given every opportunity to find other appropriate employment, and in the last resort he will have a right to appeal if he cannot find suitable employment and the Home Office decide to terminate his stay. In view of the assurances I hope the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her Amendment.


Is the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, going to press his Amendment?


I am entirely dependent on the noble Baroness in this matter. If this Amendment to the Bill is not pressed, but if subsequently any kind of rule is established, whether as part of these or any other rules, I hope that the Amendment I have moved will be taken into account and adopted in any drafting that may be carried out at that time. As to the principle of whether Amendment No. 4 should be pressed, I am entirely in the hands of the noble Baroness, Lady White.


I take it that the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, has not moved Amendment No. 5.


This is an Amendment to Amendment No. 4. Everybody seems to be agreed that it will improve the Amendment, therefore we ought to accept the Amendment and then return to the main question whether Amendment No. 4 be agreed to. I think that is the best way.


Now we return to Amendment No. 4, as amended.


It is a pity, having had such a good Amendment, that possibly Amendment No. 4 may go by the wayside. I appreciate the explanation give by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. It is important that we should have this explanation. This is one of the fields in which the rules are not as explicit and as specific as they should be. We have said that the purpose of the Amendment is for the framing of the rules and their administration. I hope that if I ask your Lordships' leave to withdraw this Amendment we may have some assurance from the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, that he and his colleagues will look again at the rules as drafted with these points in mind, so that what the noble Lord has explained to us can be spelt out clearly. We have had the privilege of hearing his very lucid explanation. I appreciate that the purpose of the Amendment is covered by what he has said. But anybody reading the rules—and people will be reading the rules and not, I am afraid, our debates—will not want to be in doubt as to the true position. I think the Government should give us some assurance that they will look again at the drafting of the rules to make certain that anybody who reads them will be in no doubt about the true position as explained by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, which in itself seems reasonable and I would not wish to quarrel with it.


I wonder if the noble Lord could clarify something for me. He referred to the unemployment situation and said that the Department of Employment will do their best to find alternative employment. But we are living in days of quite a lot of unemployment; what would happen if the Department of Employment failed to find a man employment? Does this mean that there is only the appeal that can help him after that?


If I may first answer the question from the noble Lord, Lord Royle, each case will have to be considered on its merits. The other point to remember is that work permits will be issued by special categories, and it is unlikely that a work permit will be issued in a case where there is, or is likely to be, considerable unemployment in this country. So far as the point of the noble Baroness, Lady White, is concerned, I will readily bring to the attention of my right honourable friend that we should look at the rules and the drafting of them very carefullly in the light of what she has said.


In the light of that assurance, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.0 p.m.

BARONESS WHITE moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 2, line 10, at end insert— (" Provided that in framing the rules and in the administration thereof no Commonwealth citizen after completing at least twelve months employment specified in his work permit issued prior to entry shall be restricted from entering new employment and at any place or that the wife of a Commonwealth citizen lawfully resident in the United Kingdom shall not be restricted from taking employment.")

The noble Baroness said: I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of my noble friends and myself. It raises two other points which seem to us to be of considerable importance. I must say that on the first there is very great misunderstanding within the immigrant community at the present time, although it, should not affect those who are here. They are concerned about the situation of those of their friends and relations who may seek to come here later on the basis of the possession of a work permit. When one looks at the rules concerning a work permit, it is apparent that in the first place, when one enters the country, one has to have a permit issued by the Department of Employment in respect of a specific post with a specific employer: in other words, one's place of work and the nature of one's work are designated before one enters. The permit is issued initially for 12 months. Then one looks at the other set of rules, the rules after entry, and one sees Rule 19: A person coming here to work…will normally have been admitted for the period specified…up to a maximum of 12 months. Any application for an extension of stay should be accompanied by a letter from the employer confirming that he wishes to continue to employ the applicant; and an extension of stay may be granted where this is appropriate in the light of all the relevant circumstances.

Lord Aberdare, in his reply to the previous Amendment, has stated that this letter from the employer will be a simple confirmation of the fact that the employer wishes to keep the man or woman in his employ, and there will not be a report upon the conduct, capacity or other characteristics of the worker concerned. But this is far from clear in the rule.

Anybody reading the rules, and being told that at the end of his first 12 months his employer will be writing a letter to the Department of Employment, will obviously suspect that that letter may contain all kinds of description of his character or work, or progress of work, or lack of it. This has aroused all sorts of apprehensions among those now working in the immigrant community. I understand that some of them waited upon the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, and that he told them a form would be prepared which would be discussed with the T.U.C., and that it would be a simple form with ticks on it but no description of the worker, or his character, or capacity, or any other personal matter of that kind. The noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, is looking a little puzzled. All I can assure him is that this was told to some of your Lordships in the last week.


I should like to have details of it. It is a little hard to identify the meeting to which the noble Baroness has referred, and what she is saying does not strike a chord in my memory. If she could give me a little more information it would be helpful.


I shall be delighted to let the noble Lord have such information as I have, because it refers, as I understood it, to a deputation which waited upon him. The understanding of at least one person concerned in that deputation was that there were to be some discussions with the T.U.C. about the form in which this communication from the employer at the end of the 12-month period would take. It would be very much better if it were a simple form which everybody could see, so that they would know what is in it. I am sure your Lordships will appreciate that if one reads in the rules that the employer has to write a letter, then the worker coming for the first time to this country might well be apprehensive. That is one of the points that we may be able to clear up during our discussion.

What we wish to emphasise in the first part of this Amendment is that in any case, provided that the worker has completed his first 12 months' stint with his particular job for which his work permit was issued, he should then be free from conditions as to where he works and in what jobs he works. This may be going a little further than the Government intend, but I think we ought to look very carefully at this. We can understand that if one is having a system of work permits, plainly a work permit can refer to a category of work; it can refer to an area of work; or, as is proposed, it can refer to a particular job with a particular firm. We are not at the moment contending that at the outset the work permit should be for a particular job or a particular employer, although one could argue that point. What we are saying is that after the first 12 months, if a man has completed his employment, then he should not feel that he is bound to that particular employer.

If for various reasons—and there can be so many reasons—someone found that the job for which he came was not what he thought it was going to be, or he did not get on with the foreman, or whatever it might be, he might wish to change. As I understood Lord Aberdare, in those circumstances it would be open to the man to go to the Department of Employment and say that he really cannot get on with his job, that he is not using his skills, that he can see no prospect of any sort of promotion, and that he would like to go to Messrs. So-and-So and take a job which is available there. But let us get it quite clear, if he can go to the Department of Employment and say that he wants to take another job, that he would be free to do so provided that he has notified them that he was doing so.

I would quote in aid here comments which some of your Lordships may have seen from the Community Relations Commission on this whole subject of work permits: We repeat our disquiet at the plans for work permits to be issued for specific posts with specific employers. If migrant workers are to participate fully in the life of the community at large they must have the knowledge that they can change their jobs with ease if pressures are put on them by employers or management. They should not feel that their continued residence in this country is in the hands of their employer. This is really very important, because while I am sure that the majority of employers would not seek to exploit workers coming in in this way, there can be exploitation, and we should not delude ourselves about that. Some of the stories that one sees, for example, about the migrant workers in Europe are quite horrifying. Some of your Lordships, who have read the reports in the German Press of the way in which migrant workers can be exploited if they do not have proper security, will know that this is causing concern not only in the immigrant community but also among our own trade union organisations in this country. I do not believe it is the intention of the Government to put a worker in the position where his employer could exploit him. I am sure they intend that he should have the protection of the Department of Employment, and that he should he reasonably free to change his job once he has entered the country and taken up the specific job for which he was allowed entry. We want to get this spelt out, and we want to have it absolutely clear and plain for all. I hope we shall have a really convincing explanation of the Government's intention on this point.

I now turn to the second part of the Amendment. There is a misplaced"or ". It should be an "and" in line 5. The second part of this Amendment concerns the wife of a Commonwealth citizen, the Commonwealth citizen himself being lawfully resident in the United Kingdom. We are asking that wives should not be restricted in the way which seems to us is intended in the rules. In the rules for entry an immigration officer is told that he should permit a wife to enter the country if her husband is lawfully entering, subject to the same conditions as he is subject to, which is not unreasonable; but that she should be subject to restrictions on employment which would not apply to her husband. We find that entirely unsatisfactory—and I speak partly as a woman. Why should she be restricted? After all, if she is able and can find a job and is capable of working, why should she be confined to home or kitchen if she does not wish to be, any more than a normal resident of this country should be? Quite frankly, I move this Amendment partly on that ground; that a woman should not be, simply because of her sex, discriminated against in this matter of employment. If she is willing and able to take work she should he free to do so, and it should he for her and her husband to decide whether their family situation is such that it would be desirable for her to do so or not.

However, I have been particularly asked to mention this point in the context of students. Very often a male student comes here to take a professional qualification, possibly in law, medicine or one of the other learned professions, which involves a long course, as your Lordships know. Often he simply could not take that qualification if his wife did not work to support him. The student organisations in this country are very much concerned at this suggestion. Students are perfectly properly admitted for approved courses in this country and they might find themselves in a position where they could not look to their wives for some financial support while they were following the often long-drawn-out course of study to obtain a qualification. For those reasons, I hope that we shall hear from the Government that they support the intentions of both parts of this Amendment.


It might save time if I did not move Amendment No. 8. I understand that those noble Lords who are associated with me would be quite happy to make their points on Amendments Nos. 6 and 7. As we are discussing work permits it might be more convenient to carry straight on.

6.13 p.m.


May I ask one question concerning this Amendment? The Amendment refers to a person's"entering new employment and at any place ". Those words"at any place"are the words I want to emphasise. I feel, in the interests of our own security, that it might be a pity if the person had permission to go to one of the islands, or if, because of the wording in this particular provision, he could obtain an appointment near an armaments base or an ordnance factory where he could be doing something against our national interest I feel that the words"and at any place"could be left out. It would not change the Amendment to any serious extent. I am very interested in our own security.


This is widening the problem in a way I find distasteful. These are our own British subjects about whom we are speaking. We are denying them the right they have always had. We are making a number of rules to avoid being flooded with them. But they are not spies; they are not members of foreign Powers. I do not think we can look at the matter from that point of view and I hope that no further attempts will be made in that particular regard. It is important that one should allow women the same rights to work as men. I wonder whether in this particular case any arrangement is made for a woman to apply for a work permit at the same time as her husband. I do not know; I should like clarification on that point. But, in general, any easing of restrictions on women, when the restrictions are already so severe on men, is entirely desirable, and I, should like to support the Amendment.


In support of my noble friend on the Front Bench, I wonder whether I might crystallise the first point she made by saying this. I know this is a difficult matter, but assuming I am an immigrant—and I am in one sense, I suppose, having come down the High Road from Scotland—in the sense of this Bill, I might go to an official, or even to the noble Lord himself, and say,"If I were to exercise my rights as an industrial worker and go to my boss and protest or claim the right to appeal, or in some other way assert that I am not being properly treated, he might say to me, ' You watch out. You are here for a year and if you don't behave yourself the letter I send about you at the end of the year will be such as to cause you to be sent back home. So you'd better behave yourself '." That situation, as I read the Bill, could put enormous power for oppression of the individual in the hands of an irresponsible, bad employer. I wonder what reply will be given to that question. This is merely crystallising the point my noble friend has already made, but if the noble Lord could answer that specific question it might help to reassure us.


I am glad this question has been raised. As one who has been an industrial chaplain for some years, I would underline what the noble Baroness, Lady White, said about this entirely wrong conception that an immigrant should be limited to only one employer. It raises the possibilities of an unscrupulous employer's putting undue pressure on that immigrant to the situation where he dare not opt out from that factory because then he would be unemployed and would almost certainly have to go back to the country from which he came. It would be wiser if he received a work permit, not relating to an employer but relating to a job of work. In other words, it should be a"work"permit rather than relating to a particular man or a particular factory.

The other point which worries me about this question of work permits is what I would call the social implications involved in the insecurity of tenure. I should have thought that they were really quite numerous. Again, I should like to underline them because permanent residence can be granted, so far as I can see in this Bill, only after four years, and the immigrant is therefore bound to suffer serious social consequences. He will be unable, or will find it very difficult, to obtain a mortgage or a loan or to enter into hire purchase agreements. That is an extremely difficult situation to have to face. Secondly, without very substantial deposits he will be unable to buy a car or furniture or other essentials, and this will make his life in this country extremely difficult. Thirdly, uncertainty about the reissue of work permits may go a long way towards preventing him from bringing his family into this country. Fourthly, if he is redundant he will have little right to remain. All these factors seem to me to undermine the immigrant's sense of security and to make him what I am sure the Government do not wish to make him: a second-class citizen. Therefore I hope very much that this Amendment will be carried.


While I do not share the feelings of persecution expressed by the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, I feel that, however much this Bill may be improved, it will contain many features of discrimination against immigrants. So I support this Amendment, and particularly when my noble friend speaks about the women. We should not add sex discrimination to a discrimination against immigrants.


I wish to support this Amendment and to emphasise what has been manifest; namely, that we are talking about what I would refer to as the"bondsman"element in the Bill, by which one comes in as a debentured slave—a paid slave, but nevertheless a slave—entirely dependent upon the opinion of one's employer. I also wish to emphasise the point about sex discrimination, and about students. I do not think we should carry discrimination so far as to prevent the wives who are coming in from exercising their great privilege which is known as"P.H.D."—putting husband through degree.


I wish to say a few words in support of this Amendment, but they will be brief because the right reverend Prelate has said, and in more felicitous language, everything that I intended to say. I feel concerned about many of the provisions in this Bill. I can see the reasons for administrative tidiness, but I cannot help feeling, as the right reverend Prelate has said, that they will have a harsh effect on individuals and can be very tough, both psychologically and in practice. For example, an unsuspected"fall-out"of some of the provisions would be that building societies will not be able to give loans because of the lack of permanence. There is no problem about numbers in this Bill. We all accept what the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack referred to in his Second Reading speech as the"fence"that we wanted to erect. A restriction on numbers is accepted, but I feel strongly that those Commonwealth immigrants whom we continue to encourage to settle here should be freed from some of these vexations. I, too, am concerned with students and scholars and I know how worrying it will be for them if there is any doubt about the ability of their wives to help to earn money.

6.23 p.m.


I should like to go back to the speech made by the noble Baroness, Lady White, in moving this Amendment, and to deal first with the point made on the question of the rules, and reverting to the question of the letter from the employer which is required in order that a man's work permit may be renewed after an initial period of 12 months. These rules are not yet agreed, as I have already said, but I will certainly have another look at them. My noble friend Lord Windlesham will also look into the question of any assurance given at a meeting at which the T.U.C. were represented, and perhaps we can sort that out between us afterwards.

The effect of making this Amendment would be that Commonwealth immigrants coming with a work permit would be free from conditions after 12 months. The effect of a later Amendment standing in the names of the noble Lords, Lord O'Hagan and Lord Garner, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry, would be that they would not be bound by any conditions from the moment of arrival. Under the existing law a Commonwealth citizen who enters with an employment voucher can have no condition whatever attached to his stay in this country, under Section 3(2) of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962. Once he is admitted, he can stay here for ever, provided that he does not render himself liable for deportation, and he is not required to obtain approval for the employment he takes. The effect of this Amendment would be that all Commonwealth citizens entering with work permits would be bound by those work permits for 12 months only, and the effect of Amendment No. 8 would be that they would be entirely free of conditions as at present.

It is fundamental to the Government's policy, and has been made very clear during our Second Reading debate and in another place, that our intention is to bring Commonwealth workers into line with foreign nationals by providing that they should be admitted for employment only with a permit to take a particular job in a particular place and for an initial period not exceeding 12 months. Thereafter, like foreign nationals, at the, end of the first year, if there is no adverse indication, a Commonwealth citizen will be given an extension of stay for three years; and at the end of four years, if there is still no adverse indication his conditions will be cancelled. That will mean that he will then be able to stay here indefinitely, subject to his liability for deportation, and that he may take any job without the need for approval.


I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord but will he explain what he means by an"adverse indication "?


Each case has to be considered by the Home Office, and after 12 months a letter from the employer has to indicate that the employer wishes to continue to employ the work permit holder. We consider that the existing system of entry for Commonwealth citizens to take employment is wrong. They enter either with a category A voucher, which is issued for work of a particular type with a particular employer, or with a category B voucher, which is issued in virtue of the qualifications that they hold—for example, as a teacher or a scientist. But, whatever the category of voucher, at present the Commonwealth citizen is not subject to any supervision over his employment after entry. If he has a category A voucher he need never go near the employer to whom it was issued; if he has a category B voucher he need never take employment appropriate to his qualifications. The fact that the Commonwealth citizen is not subject to supervision after entry means that he can straight away take a job for which better pay is available, notwithstanding that this may result in a resident worker becoming unemployed.

Various of your Lordships, and in particular the noble Lord, Lord Brown, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry, have suggested that the system that we are proposing to introduce will put considerable pressure on Commonwealth workers and put them at the mercy of their employers. I can only say that this is a system which has applied to foreign nationals for many years, and it has never been suggested that they have been subject to this sort of pressure. It might tend to be so if the worker were bound to a single employer, under penalty of being deported if he left him, but this is far from the case. As I have said previously, the Department of Employment will help Commonwealth citizens to find new jobs within the scope of the work permit scheme and subject to resident labour not being available for the job in question, just as it does at present in the case of foreign nationals.

Moreover, the workers will be able to bring their dependants with them, or to be joined by their wives and their children under 18. I should like to say a word about the employment of wives, because I think it has not been made clear that the rules do not mean that the wives will not be allowed to take employment at all. On the contrary, the rules are rather wider for the wife than they are for the man, because she will be able to take employment, provided that she gets the approval of the Department of Employment, and this work will not be restricted to the scope of the work permit scheme. The only reason for providing that the approval of the Department of Employment must be obtained is that this will not be given where a job could be filled by resident labour. We feel that this is a reasonable protection for the resident labour force, including foreign nationals and Commonwealth citizens already admitted to the country for the purposes of employment. I hope that the noble Baroness will see that this is a fundamental part of our policy, and that we could not accept her Amendment without changing the whole basis on which this Bill is drafted. I very much hope that she will not press the Amendment.

6.31 p.m.


The noble Lord referred at the end of his speech to bringing things into line with the aliens situation. I feel very strongly that people who come from the Commonwealth, who are our people, should be treated differently from those whom we call aliens; and this is why I support my noble friend in her Amendment very strongly indeed. During the course of this short debate so far, the language has been very restrained; everybody who has taken part has been very careful in the choice of words and in trying to put over a case as moderately as possible. But it has not called for restrained language in this great subject that many of us are so concerned about. Let us face it: in the circumstances of the Bill as we read it at this moment, this is a form of slavery. In the old days the slave was attached to a master, in certain parts of America, for example; and if he tried to break away from his work, or he misbehaved himself, he was persecuted, and sometimes flogged. We in this country are a bit more humane. What we are saying is that he shall be bound to his employer for at least 12 months—that is what the Bill as written at the present time really means. His employer can use all manner of threats on purpose to keep the man where he wants him during the course of that 12 months. In another debate on another subject last week, the nasty word"blackmail"was used by my noble friend who was speaking from the Front Bench, and it seems to me that on this issue it will be possible for blackmail to come into play, and that the people who are employing immigrants on work permits in present circumstances are in a position really to blackmail those employees. My noble friend's Amendment goes some way towards putting this matter right, and I sincerely hope that we shall go further with this. The honeyed words of the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare—and some of us have a very deep regard for him and his fairness—do not meet the case at all. I, for one, hope that my noble friend will carry this Amendment to a Division.


Did I understand the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, to say that he was going to reconsider this point? I hope he is. I still do not think the Government appreciate the practical implications of their proposals. There have been references to bringing the law with regard to Commonwealth immigrants into line with aliens legislation. I mentioned on Second Reading that the aliens legislation was introduced at a time when there was a very illiberal atmosphere, and I believe that we should be very careful about copying the aliens legislation. There is also this practical difference: that most of those who come from the Commonwealth come from a very great distance, and I think one needs to take that into account. I can see many practical difficulties in tying a Commonwealth immigrant to a particular employer.

There is one other point in connection with employment which I think has not so far been mentioned. I fully agree with what has been said by the right reverend Prelate about the other aspects of this matter, but so far as employment is concerned there are some advantages in mobility. There are disadvantages, because it is more difficult to create a settled community when there is this mobility; but from the point of view of keeping in employment the mobility is a definite advantage for the first generation. It is remarkable how rapidly they will move from one place, or one part of a town, to another in order to keep employed. My experience is that there is less unemployment among the immigrant communities than among others. But that does not mean that the members of the host community are thereby losing jobs. The immigrants are doing mainly jobs that other people do not want to do, such as night shift work in the textile industry. But it is this mobility that maintains the comparatively high rate of employment, and it is very desirable for the first-generation—and, of course, for later generations, but particularly for the first generation—immigrant communities to be employed and maintain their families. None of us wishes to see them unemployed, and it is mobility that helps to make employment possible.


May I ask the noble Baroness who moved this Amendment why the first part of the Amendment relating to mobility is coupled with the second part relating to wives? This puts, I imagine, some Members—at least one Member—of your Lordships' House in great difficult. I personally have great sympathy with the point of view of the Government in seeking to assimilate the position of immigrants from the Commonwealth with the position of immigrants from anywhere else in the human race, but I feel absolute indignation at the idea that once a person has been admitted with his wife the wife should be precluded from doing what she likes, including taking work or supporting her husband, if she has to.


I began to realise that my Amendment No. 8 was going a bit far, as did those who agreed with me, but I should like strongly to support the Amendment moved by the noble Baroness. I think the part which deals with wives speaks for itself. It could not be put better than it was just now by the noble Lord, Lord Robbins. On the other part of it, there were two reasons which led me to put down the Amendment and to cajole my noble colleagues into joining me. The first was concern about the social effect of the work permit system. I accept that it is probably a fundamental part of this Bill now, but I would underline everything that the right reverend Prelate had to say about the practical consequences of this provision: that somebody attempting to settle in here should play his full part in our life. Secondly, while it may be administratively more tidy, more convenient, and look rather neater to assimilate everything to do with the rules on Commonwealth people who come here with everything that controls an alien coming here, I should have thought, and I should have expected many of your Lordships to agree, that there was still some validity in the Commonwealth concept, and that if you do away with that it will increase the possible social consequences of the introduction of the work permit system. I very much hope that your Lordships will support the noble Baroness in the Lobby.

6.40 p.m.


The noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, said in the course of his speech that it is a fundamental principle to bring foreign nationals into line with the Commonwealth nationals, or the Commonwealth nationals into line with foreign nationals. That may be true so far as the Bill and the present moment are concerned, but the noble Lord knows that, as a consequence of our entry into the Common Market, at least nine other countries' nationals will have a superior position in this country, not only in terms of entry but for the whole conditions under which they live, to these loyal allies of ours in two world wars—the people of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Caribbean, India, Pakistan, Fiji and Mauritius. To that extent the noble Lord's comment was slightly misleading.

It seemed to me that the noble Lords, Lord Aberdare and Lord Windlesam, do not fully appreciate, as I believe the Home Secretary appreciated, what is involved in Commonwealth immigration, as opposed to alien immigration. Aliens, by and large, come from Europe: from Spain, France, Germany. They come here in the main to seek short-term employment. They work very hard, but basically it is short-term employment. Commonwealth immigration is of an entirely different character. The immigrants are men and women who come mainly because the economic circumstances of the territories, for which we were once responsible, are insufficient to maintain them or to meet their own particular expectations. They come to this country not for temporary employment; by and large—there may be exceptions—they come here with one clear determination, that they will make Britain their home. I do not think there is any doubt about this.

They come with that expectation, and they see the words in the rules. They come, first of all, for one year, to a specified employer and a specified job. Our Amendment does not question that. If control is necessary, then clearly there must be some stipulation so far as the first year is concerned. But I regard it—and I hope the Committee will regard it—as utterly intolerable that the future of these friends of ours from the Commonwealth coming into this country, having completed one year in which they have conformed to all the standards we require of them, should depend upon a letter being addressed, signed and sent to the Department of Employment to say that the employer is willing to continue that employment.

I accept that the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, says that if a man has not got the job that will be taken into account. But that in itself is insufficient; that immigrant will, throughout that year, in his own mind feel a deep sense of insecurity. He will never be able to settle. As the right reverend Prelate himself said, how, during that first year, when the man wants to get his roots firmly entrenched into this country, can he establish himself even in a rented room? How does he find the money for the hire-purchase agreements to buy the bed, the cooker, the pans that are so essential? All these things are themselves dependent upon there being a sense of security, not just for the immigrant but for all those who are involved in his life, including the firms from whom he will wish to purchase. A sense of security is of fundamental importance. The rules, as they are now drafted, do not give that sense of security. What we seek in this Amendment is that when a man has completed his first year under his permit, he should be free to take employment with any other employer and at any place. Those words were put in specifically because it appeared from the rules that a man was tied to a place of employment, which we think is wrong.

In regard to the wife, I fully agree with the case made for the students, but I do not know how many noble Lords in this Chamber this evening feel it necessary to send their wives out to work. I do not suppose there are many. But there are a very large number of our own community who depend upon their wives' going out and working. There is nothing dishonourable in that—in fact, the nation very much depends upon their doing so. But it is an essential for many of our people that two members of a family go out and earn a living. What is the position of an immigrant? He comes here, having spent probably about £150 on his air fare to come to this country. He will come in with very little capital or cash to sustain him. This is surely the very moment when husband and wife need to be working in separate jobs as an essential contribution to the setting up of a home. I should have thought it wrong that there should be any question of limitation upon the wife of an immigrant, who has been permitted to come here quite lawfully, to take up employment. I hope that the Government, even at this late hour, will feel that they can meet us in some way on this matter. If not, I hope that my noble friend will press this Amendment to a Division.


May I ask the Minister a question, for clarification? I think he said that the Department of Employment would enable the immigrant to find another job. From whom then would the immigrant get the certificate at the end of the year, if he had left one employment and had been found another?


He would get the certificate from the employer who was employing him at the end of the year. May I make one brief comment on the debate? It has resolved itself into the question of differences of treatment between those who are members of the Commonwealth and those who are not. May I say at once that all of us appreciate the help that we have been given by our Commonwealth friends; indeed, we have made various concessions in the Bill to Commonwealth citizens on various matters—patrial status, students, and other similar matters. But in the terms of the Bill, where it is concerned with those coming for permanent settlement in this country, we make no distinction between those who come from Commonwealth countries and foreign nationals. I am afraid that this is a fundamental principle of the Bill, and I cannot undertake to reconsider that.

The noble Lord, Lord Wade, spoke about mobility. In the case which he gave there would be no restriction on mobility. He spoke of a worker wishing to go to a job which was unpopular, and which nobody else seemingly wanted. Naturally an immigrant would be given a work permit if he changed his job to one of those where labour was short.


If the man clearly had an opportunity to improve his job and his position, would he get a work permit?


He would have to get permission from the Department of Employment, but the Department of Employment would normally issue him with a work permit if he was in a post where there was a shortage of labour and if there was not resident labour unemployed.

May I make one point to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd? He seemed to imply that there were many more Commonwealth citizens coming here for settlement than there were aliens; but the figures do not show that. For the last three years, 1968, 1969 and 1970 the number of aliens accepted for permanent residence, as compared with voucher holders, is just about double. It is when you come to take dependants into account that, as Commonwealth citizens bring in rather more dependants, 'the figure goes up higher. But I will certainly show the noble Lord these figures. It is, I think, wrong to underestimate the number of aliens who actually complete four years and then are accepted for permanent residence. But I think there is a division of opinion between us here and I am afraid that we cannot give way on this fundamental principle of the Bill.


May I ask the noble Lord to answer the question asked by my noble friend Lord Shepherd with regard to E.E.C. and the new system which would apply to aliens?


I hope I did not mislead the Committee. I meant to speak of present arrangements for aliens. May I leave the question of E.E.C. to the next Amendment which deals entirely with that point?


I have listened with great care to everything that has been said, and I am afraid that I have not been convinced on this occasion by the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. We are discussing the rules. If you look at the rules you will see that the ordinary person will take what is said in the rules to be what is applicable. We are in effect asking the Government to alter the way in which the rules are framed. If you read Rule No. 35, it is clear that the immigration officer is instructed to impose conditions regarding housewives taking up employment. It may not be an absolute prohibition, but there are conditions. Let us take Rule 19 which applies after entry and is about renewal of work permits. Any ordinary person reading that rule would suppose that the employer had a very considerable part to play in the decision as to whether or not the permit should be renewed. It is to these things that we are basically taking exception in this Amendment.

The Amendment is defective in that in line 7"or"should read"and ". I will move it in its amended form. I would ask noble Lords to support us in this Amendment in the Division Lobby. I think that the assurances that we have had from the Government do not go far enough. To my mind, the rules as they now stand are completely misleading.

6.54 p.m.

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 78; Not-Contents, 102.

Archibald, L. Foot, L. Phillips, Bs. [Teller.]
Balogh, L. Gaitskell, Bs. Platt, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Gardiner, L. Popplewell, L.
Bernstein, L. Garner, L. Portsmouth, L.Bp.
Birk, Bs. Garnsworthy, L. Ritchie-Calder, L.
Blackburn, L.Bp. Gore-Booth, L. Royle, L.
Blyton, L. Granville of Eye, L. St. Davids, V.
Brockway, L. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Segal, L.
Brown, L. Hamnett, L. Serota, Bs.
Buckinghamshire, E. Hanworth, V. Shackleton, L.
Burgh, L. Heycock, L. Shepherd, L.
Burntwood, L. Hilton of Upton, L. Sherfield, L.
Byers, L. Hoy, L. Slater, L.
Canterbury, L.Abp. Hylton, L. Stocks, Bs.
Carnock, L. Hylton-Foster, Bs. Stonham, L.
Chalfont, L. Janner, L. Strabolgi, L. [Teller.]
Champion, L. Kilbracken, L. Strang, L.
Chorley, L. Leatherland, L. Tanlaw, L.
Clwyd, L. Lindgren, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Collison, L. Listowel, E. Wade, L.
Coventry, L.Bp. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, Bs. Wells-Pestell, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. White, Bs.
Delacourt-Smith, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L. Wise, L.
Diamond, L. Maelor, L. Wootton of Abinger, Bs.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. O'Hagan, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Exeter, L.Bp. Peddie, L. Younger of Leckie, V.
Aberdare, L. Drumalbyn, L. Milverton, L.
Ailwyn, L. Dudley, E. Monck, V.
Allerton, L. Eccles, V. Mountevans, L.
Amory, V. Elliot of Harwood, Bs. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Auckland, L. Emmet of Amberley, Bs. Napier and Ettrick, L.
Balfour, E. Falmouth, V. Northchurch, Bs.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Ferrers, E. Oakshott, L.
Barnby, L. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Perth, E.
Beauchamp, E. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Poltimore, L.
Belstead, L. Gowrie, E. Redesdale, L.
Berkeley, Bs. Gray, L. Rothermere, V.
Bessborough, E. Greenway, L. Rothes, E.
Boothby, L. Grenfell, L. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Grimston of Westbury, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Brentford, V. Hailes, L. St. Just, L.
Bridgeman, V. Hailsham of St. Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) St. Oswald, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Sandford, L.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Harvey of Prestbury, L. Sandys, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Hatherton, L. Selkirk, E.
Burton, L. Hives, L. Sempill, Ly.
Caccia, L. Ilford, L. Sinclair of Cleeve, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Jellieoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.) Stonehaven, V.
Conesford, L. Killearn, L. Strathcarron, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Kilmany, L. Strathclyde, L.
Courtown, E. Kilmarnock, L. Sudeley, L.
Craigavon, V. Kinnoull, E. Teviot, L.
Cranbrook, E. Latymer, L. Teynham, L.
Crathorne, L. Lothian, M. Thorneycroft, L.
Cromartie, E. MacAndrew, L. Tweedsmuir, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. McFadzean, L. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, Bs.
Daventry, V. Macpherson of Drumochter, L. Vivian, L.
de Clifford, L. Mancroft, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Margadale, L. Windlesham, L.
Derwent, L. Merrivale, L. Wolverton, L.
Digby, L.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 6), as amended, shall be agreed to.


I beg to move that the House be resumed and be again in Committee after the Third Reading of the Isle of Wight County Council Bill.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.