HL Deb 28 January 1974 vol 349 cc9-55

2.50 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Immigration Bill be now read a second time. We had a fairly exhaustive discussion on the identical Bill when I brought it before the House on June 29 last, so that it will only be necessary for me to summarise, briefly I hope, the background to this Bill and the reasons why I hope your Lordships will allow it a Second Reading this afternoon.

During the proceedings on the 1971 Act my noble friend Lord Wade moved an Amendment which provided that nothing in the Bill should take away any right enjoyed by a Commonwealth citizen who was ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom at the time the Bill came into force, and later the Government incorporated words, substantially to the same effect, in what are now Clauses 1, 2 and 5. The public, and in particular, the immigrants into this country, thought that in adding those words Parliament had safeguarded all the immigrants present in the United Kingdom on January 1, 1973, against any retrospective effects which might otherwise have followed from the 1971 Act. But we now find, as a result of the decision of the courts in the case of Azam and Others, that anyone who entered the country between March, 9, 1968, and January 1, 1973, without submitting himself to an examination by an immigration officer, even though he had become immune from prosecution through the passage of time, is now liable to be picked up on the warrant of an immigration officer, detained until the Home Secretary has decided on his case, and then may be removed back to whatever country the Home Office decides. The alleged illegal entrant has no opportunity of challenging the decision of the Home Secretary in a court of law.

I think I should re-emphasise, as I did on the last occasion, that this effect of the Act was by no means as obvious as the Home Secretary and his colleagues, the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham and the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, have pretended. Neither the Court of Appeal nor the House of Lords reached a unanimous decision on the case I mentioned, and I suggest that most laymen in the country would interpret the crucial words "in breach of the immigration laws" in Section 33(2) of the 1971 Act as meaning "liable to prosecution under the immigration laws". If that had been the meaning, once a person was no longer liable to prosecution under the 1971 Act he would have continued to have an immunity such as he enjoyed between March 9, 1968, and January 1, 1973. But once a person was no longer at risk of prosecution, he would have been "ordinarily resident", to use the 1971 Act words, and thus be immune from removal, as my noble friend Lord Wade intended. But as it is, in the concise words of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, he had an immunity which he has now lost. I am sorry that the noble Lord is no longer in his place; he was there a minute or two ago, but he made quite a long speech on Second Reading in introducing the Act. He may remember the French phrase "qui s'excuse s'accuse"; and it is clear that without having intended to do so, he misled the House and the country as to the effect of the 1971 Act at that time.

My Lords, I want to give the reasons for wishing to restore the immunity which was taken away by Parliament without realising what it was doing. First and foremost, it has always been a fixed principle that retrospective legislation should be enacted only for the most compelling reasons of national interest where a serious evil or injustice would otherwise occur. That must be an immeasurably stronger argument in considering a measure which in the words of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Salmon, "affects the liberty of the subject by cutting down his basic Constitutional rights". I quote the opening words of the dissenting judgment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Salmon, in the House of Lords: It has been considered unjust that a Statute dealing with substantive rights should operate retrospectively". That is what we are dealing with in this Bill.

The removal of a small number of people who entered Britain clandestinely over a period less than three years cannot be a matter of any great interest to the State, but if the Government say it is, they have a responsibility to bring the case and not simply rest on the unsupported assertion they have made that much harm would be done to race relations in this country if a handful of illegal entrants were now permitted to remain here. That is in conflict with the opinion of all the experts who have expressed their opinion on this matter. They say it is the Government's obstinate stance which is doing grave damage to race relations. That is the unanimous decision of the British Council of Churches, the Community of Race Relations Unit, the Institute of Race Relations, the Community Relations Commission, the Race Relations Board, the Indian Workers' Association, the General Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, and every single one of the Community Relations officers and the Community Relations Councils who have written to me on the subject of this Bill. So in the face of all this evidence, I think it is impossible for the Government to deny that a serious evil has not been removed by the retrospective elements of the 1971 Act. On the contrary, a serious evil has been created directly by it.

My Lords, the most alarming consequence of having this provision on the Statute Book in the long term is that, as my noble friend Lord Foot put it on the last occasion, the Government have opened the door of retrospection, and the door may be pushed open much wider by future Governments which may not be so well disposed towards immigrants as the present Government. Where are we to draw the line? There is in this country a small but vociferous minority of out-and-out racists who say we should send all the immigrants back to where they come from, no matter what right of abode they may have acquired under our law. By the 1971 Act we have created a precedent which these people are certain to invoke as an argument for going much further. Once one has conceded this principle, there is no logical place at which it is possible to call a halt.

My Lords, even if these fears were groundless, it cannot be denied that to the immigrant communities they are real indeed, or that the way in which the 1971 Act is being enforced has added greatly to the feeling of insecurity and tension which was already apparent. On June 12 last, the Home Secretary gave an assurance that he was taking no new dramatic steps to hunt out illegal entrants, and he followed that by a circular to chief constables a month later, pointing out the need to avoid any action which could be construed as harassment, in particular the practice of asking for passports in connection with minor offences.

But then, in a letter to me on December 7, the Minister of State, Mr. Mark Carlisle, said that the non-interference of the Home Office in the operational activities of police forces is not affected by the number of houses to be searched in the attempt to detect illegal entrants, or the number of persons who may be interviewed in the course of those operations; so we see that the assurances of the Home Secretary that no witch hunt would take place to search out illegal entrants is completely without value if the police are going to carry out large-scale raids, and to detain many people on suspicion, without preferring charges, simply because these people are unable to produce passports. What is worse, I think, is the disingenuousness of Mr. Carlisle's bald statement, because from inquiries at Scotland Yard by the Community Relations Commission after a particular incident that occurred in Whitfield Street when a number of houses occupied by Asian immigrants were searched, and numbers of people were taken into custody, it appears that the police were acting at the request of an immigration officer for whom, of course, the Home Office do have a direct responsibility.

In this particular case, the Chairman of the Community Relations Committee for Camden, Alderman Roger Jowell, has asked for an inquiry to be held, on the discrepancies between the eye witness accounts and what was said officially about the incident after on behalf of the police and the Home Office, but so far without results. I hope that ultimately the Home Secretary will agree to such a public inquiry, which perhaps should be held under Section 49 of the Police Act 1964, if no other machinery is available. I think it is essential, if the harm done by this episode is to be repaired, that all the facts should be established. I hope even now that the Home Office will agree to Alderman Jowell's proposals.

This is an illustration, and I use it, not because it is unique or exceptional, but rather in order to draw the attention of your Lordships to the fact that this sort of thing is happening fairly widely. As a result of these searches, a substantial number of people are detained who are innocent of any offence except that they were unable to produce passports when requested to do so by the police officer. That is creating very great insecurity and tension among the immigrant community. I would just ask your Lordships how many of you, if a police officer requested you to produce your passport, could do so at a moment's notice or say where you kept it. I am sure you would be very angry indeed if a police officer were to take you into custody because you could not produce that passport at one moment's notice.

It is impossible to avoid the suspicion, if not the certainty, that large resources are being concentrated on the search for illegal entrants simply because they are black. When have the police ever carried out a swoop on Earl's Court to detect illegal entrants from Australia, those who might be here in breach of the immigration laws? Can you imagine the fury it would arouse if such an operation were ever carried out? The 1971 Act was racist in its intention and it is being used in a racist way, as some of us predicted at the time.

In general, with a Government that is unsympathetic to our views, and a large majority in your Lordships' House who probably agree with them, we can do very little to counteract the results. But whatever your attitude may be to the question of immigration at large, you surely will not allow the Government to get away with passing laws that go back in time, imposing the harsh penalty of removal on a few hundred people who, until the beginning of last year, were free of any threat of judicial proceedings or of removal. For the sake of such a tiny reduction of immigrant population of the United Kingdom, do not tolerate the enormous damage caused to race relations, the loss of trust in our institutions by over 1 million of our citizens, and the flagrant breach of a principle which is the sheet anchor of British liberty. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a. —(Lord Avebury.)

3.2 p.m.


My Lords, I warmly congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, on having introduced this measure this afternoon. Over ten years ago he and I were instrumental in setting up the Parliamentary Civil Liberties Group; he was the Secretary and I was the Chairman. Since that time I have agreed with the noble Lord on very many issues, and I have disagreed with him I think on no point concerning the liberty of the individual. I therefore welcome, almost without reservation, the Bill which he has introduced into your Lordships' House this afternoon. I say "almost without reservation" simply because I should have liked to introduce it myself.

This is, of course, a Private Member's Bill, and therefore there is no official Party line so far as the Opposition are concerned. Nevertheless, I hope that all of us in this House have one thing in common: that we believe that the health, indeed the very survival, of democracy depends upon respect for the rule of law. If one accepts that basic principle it is easier to put it into effect if the laws we pass command respect and do not simply elicit reluctant acceptance. I believe that that principle is the motivating force behind the Bill the noble Lord has introduced, and that is why, while expressing a purely personal point of view, I hope my noble friends and noble Lords in all parts of your Lordships' House will support the noble Lord in the Division Lobby, if Her Majesty's Government feel unable to accept the measure—a situation I hesitate to envisage, especially in view of the strong line taken last year by the British Council of Churches. I note with interest that the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Birmingham, is to make his maiden speech this afternoon, and we await anxiously and with pleasant anticipation what he has to say.

I think few of us can have been happy, much less proud, when Parliament, and Governments of both major Parties, decided to limit what had previously been the virtually absolute right of Commonwealth citizens to come to what they then regarded—in spite of their own, in many cases, much older civilisations and cultures—as the Mother Country. But the more unhappy we were the more anxious we were to ensure that new legislation would involve no avoidable hardship. In that we were clearly unsuccessful to a remarkable degree, as the noble Lord has so compellingly argued.

I do not for one moment question the decision of the Law Lords in June of last year, for legislators must never seem to be encroaching on the realms of the judiciary. But I believe that all of us who followed the debates on the 1971 Act will be surprised that the wording of that Act is capable of interpretation as introducing an element of retrospection. I should like to remind the House of what Mr. Maudling said in the Third Reading debate. He said: It is important to recognise that we have taken great care not to change to their detriment the position of people already accepted for settlement in this country. During the passage of the Bill it has been pointed out to me that this principle, which I mentioned in the beginning, has not been fully carried out, and I have amended the Bill and the Rules to ensure that it is carried out, for it is of the utmost importance that when we undertake that people already here will not be affected by the Bill, that undertaking should be carried out faithfully."—OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 17/6/71, col. 771.1 There was no equivocation whatsoever on that occasion on the part of the Home Secretary. Yet, as the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, pointed out, the result has been very different from the expectation. I have both affection and respect for Mr. Maudling, and I do not believe that he would have used those words if he had not been advised to do so by his advisers and by Parliamentary draftsmen.

Your Lordships will have noticed the comments of Lord Wilberforce and Lord Salmon in giving the reasons for their decisions in the case to which the noble Lord has referred. Lord Wilberforce said: The machinery which has been used in order to effect the detention of the appellants is set out in a complicated series of provisions in the Act of 1971. I ask your Lordships to note this sentence: I regret that in a matter which affects directly so many individuals so labyrinthine a path requires to be followed". And the noble and learned Lord, Lord Salmon, said: I feel bound to express concern that the draftsmen of this Act should have chosen to achieve its retrospective effect through a labyrinth of verbiage which may well have been as perplexing to many of those who had to consider it in Parliament as it was to many of those it has deprived of their constitutional rights. Your Lordships' House cannot ignore the views of two noble and learned Lords expressed so strongly and I think so convincingly.

Having acquitted the Home Secretary himself of deliberately misleading the House, I must add that I personally find it difficult to believe that Parliamentary draftsmen themselves could have been so labyrinthine and so devious in their behaviour. I hope that I am right in believing that the whole thing was a monumental mistake, which Lord Avebury is giving Her Majesty's Government a chance to rectify to-day, without any loss of face on their part. But where the responsibility lies is surely not all that relevant, compared with the relevance of the injustice which has been done to what is admittedly quite a small number of people, perhaps ten thousand at the most, and the appalling sense of insecurity and inferiority which has been implanted in the minds of many hundreds of thousands of others who, in the view of the Guardian and the specialist bodies referred to by the noble Lord, will be living under what can fairly be described as pass laws unless we support Lord Avebury in the Lobby.

The position of these people—and in practice that means all coloured immigrants—has been described succinctly (and not, I believe, unfairly), in the letter addressed to your Lordships by the General Secretary of "Liberation", and particularly in the last paragraph of that letter. He writes: The enforcement of these retrospective aspects of the 1971 Act has resulted in the entire immigrant and black community living in fear. The Government has put out a dragnet to find those liable to deportation or removal. At labour exchanges, hospitals, Schools, even in the street, non-white people are told to present their passports to prove that they are 'legally' here. Those so-called 'illegal' immigrants who were legal until 1973 are subject to blackmail from employers, among others. The police have also been making general raids in immigrant areas …. I ask your Lordships to try to put yourselves in the position of the black husband who goes with his wife to the hospital, and is asked to give proof that he is legally in this country. It is, I believe, an utterly intolerable situation. If we support the noble Lord we can say that we have relieved our whole immigrant population of a load of fear, that we have discharged a moral obligation that I believe we have, and that we have done our duty to the Constitution of this land by asserting once again our traditional belief that all men are equal in the eyes of the law.

3.12 p.m.


My Lords, it might appear to your Lordships that I am asking for trouble rather than sympathy in presuming to address the House for the first time on a matter of some complexity and a matter about which opinions are likely, indeed certain, to be divided. But in this respect I can only ask for your forbearance. I speak as Bishop of a diocese which contains a large proportion of immigrants, and it has been my good fortune to meet quite a lot of them in one way or another, and for all I know some of them may have been illegal immigrants under the terms of the 1971 Immigration Act, or been made so by the definition (if that is not too strong a word, and personally I think it is), of what constitutes illegality.

"Illegal immigrant" is no doubt a very convenient term, but it can too easily obscure the fact that people so described are not just a type, or a mere classification. They are people, generally with more than their share of human problems but with the same pride in their families and the same sense of responsibility for their children's welfare. But I know very well that a great many of them are, as we have been reminded, living in fear—fear of arrest, fear of blackmail, fear that the new life that they have begun to build by otherwise perfectly legal means, and generally by very hard work, may be shattered and destroyed, and with it their hopes for the future, both for themselves and for their families. And in assessing their predicament, I suggest that we do well to remembered the saying: Judge no man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins"— words which have their counterpart in Holy Writ.

I must declare that I have a personal interest in more than one respect. As a Bishop of the Established Church, with its tradition of pastoral responsibility for all who care to accept it, I regard myself as having no less concern for the immigrant population in my diocese than for the indigenous population of Birmingham and that part of the Black Country which falls within my jurisdiction. And I have found a good deal of support for this view of my responsibility among Commonwealth immigrants, who are no less children of God than the rest of us, whatever their religion. And as a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, I willingly identified myself with the overwhelming majority which last July supported the motion proposed by my right reverend brother the Bishop of Bristol in these terms: That this Synod, deprecating the retrospective use of the powers contained in the Immigration Act 1971 for the summary removal of illegal immigrants and noting with concern the consequent uncertainty and fear arising within the immigrant community, welcomes the decision of the House of Lords to give a Second Reading to Lord Avebury's Bill to remove the retrospective elements in the Act, and urges H.M. Government to undertake amendment of the Act on these lines and in the meantime to reconsider its policy of not granting any general amnesty to those affected. I should add that the Bishop of Bristol underlined that he did not want the word "amnesty" to be understood as implying softness. Amnesty was itself, he said, an act of law, and I interpret it in this sense myself. What is more, I have no doubt that just as illegal entry is not in any degree to be condoned, so too the lawful entry of immigrants into this country must be controlled and contained. But so far as illegal immigrants are concerned, I believe that many are more sinned against than sinning. Few of them would make the hazardous attempt to enter this country unlawfully were it not for the acute pressures of poverty and unemployment in their own countries—countries for which we have had a very long responsibility. Furthermore, they would not do this, or very few of them would do it, without the inducement and aid of those who make a handsome profit out of this deplorable trade. I am sure that all your Lordships indeed welcome the action recently taken by Her Majesty's Government to try to bring this process to an end by the imposition of stricter controls in the homelands from which would-be immigrants come without qualification for entry here.

I do not need to spell out to your Lordships the extent to which the 1971 Act differs from the Act of 1968 in respect of the penalties attaching to illegal entry, and as a newcomer to this House I cannot speak with any first-hand knowledge of the impression which was given when the Immigration Bill was first debated. But there certainly seems to have been a great deal of doubt about what meaning was attached to the word "settled", and so much so that a number of Commonwealth immigrants, whose unlawful entry had been undetected for more than six months and who were therefore thinking themselves to be secure under the 1968 Act, went to the authorities and were told that no action would be taken against them. In fact, of course, no such immunity followed, and is now held to be excluded by the provisions of the Act.

I have tried to do my homework as a new boy, and one of the documents that I studied, realising it was no part of the law but was officially issued, was the Home Office booklet, Immigration Act 1971—A General Guide published in October. 1972. To the question, "Does it affect people already settled in the United Kingdom?", the answer given is: No. The Act provides that everyone settled in this country at its coming into force is to be treated as having been given indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. What is meant by "settled" is nowhere defined in this document, and is hard—or so it seems to me—to discover in the Act itself. For my part I found the Guide rather more illuminating than the Act, and I think that what was true for me would be far more true for the majority of immigrants, who could hardly be expected to understand the complexities of our legislature process, let alone the language in which they are conveyed.

The police force in my diocese is sufficiently occupied without having the extra obligation of seeking out immigrants who entered the country unlawfully before July, 1972. It would be foolish to pretend that there are no problems between the police and certain minority elements in the immigrant population. But undoubtedly one of the chief concerns of senior police officers is to build up good relations in a multi-racial community such as Birmingham. And this process has been put at risk by the retrospective elements of the 1971 Act which this Bill seeks to remove. Information obtained from the Community Relations Office in Birmingham indicates that in the past six months in Birmingham alone some 50 suspected illegal immigrants have been detained, of whom 20 were subsequently released. The high proportion of persons mistakenly detained surely justifies the anxiety which is felt on this account among a far larger number of immigrants, as we have already been reminded.

I have been assured by respected members of the Asian community in this country that the process of raiding of houses and the arrest of people who may or may not come under the heading of illegal immigrants is going on in many areas and is making inter-community relationships very brittle and unpleasant as well as enlarging the scope for blackmail. If, under the law, such action continues it will undoubtedly do much harm in the field of race relations. If illegal immigrants who have been resident in this country for several years are to be sought out and sent back to their country of origin there will be much personal hardship, and potentially good and useful citizens will be lost to this country. There will also be a sense of injustice which will not be confined simply to them. And there is always the risk of some miscarriage of justice, since frightened men are rarely their own best advocates, and any appeal to the courts, as we have been reminded, can only be made after deportation.

I do not believe that if the Amendments provided in this Bill are enacted it will prove to be any sort of charter for further and unlimited illegal entry. But I do suggest that within the limits which are clearly defined in respect of people who are already resident here, it would go far to make good citizens out of fearful ones, with increased respect for the British spirit of fair play and the reasonable toleration of irregularities. And that, my Lords, is why I feel obliged to give the Bill my support, as I hope you will be persuaded to do.

3.21 p.m.


My Lords, it falls to my responsibility and privilege to be the first to welcome the maiden speech of the right reverend Prelate who has just spoken to us and to congratulate him upon the substance of what he said, not only because it is an opportunity for an ecumenical gesture on my part but for a much deeper reason. The speech, if I may say so without impudence, was well-informed, carefully prepared and, so far as I am concerned, a most persuasive utterance which I myself would have been very happy and proud to have spoken. In fact I would have done it if the right reverend Prelate had not already done it for me. Perhaps I may add, in my strong support of this small Bill, a number of angles or attitudes to it which might otherwise not receive sufficient emphasis.

It has been my experience, which may be shared by other Members of your Lordships' House, that within the last few years, at any rate between 1969 and 1971, there was a perceptible, though perhaps not an appreciable, improvement in the general situation in regard to immigration. I have certainly found it in the work to which I am committed, and it seems to me therefore the more deplorable, when there appeared to be a chance of an alleviation of some of the worst miseries endured by immigrants and a finer sense of justice pervading the environment in which they live in this country, that this particular Bill should have been made an Act, thereby very largely reversing this process. Instead of an increasing sense of integration, or at any rate cooperation and security, I testify to a very large increase in the perturbation and sense of insecurity of those who are our immigrant brothers and sisters.

It is for that reason that I look to this Bill anxiously and find that in principle it is almost impossible to read from it a clear and unmistakable comment. This is precisely what, having ploughed through much evidence, seems to me to demand clarification if the Bill is to be operative. Your Lordships have already heard to-day of the way in which different and contradictory interpretations of retrospection could be applied or should not be applied to this Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, is asking for clarification of a matter which is at the moment unclear, and furthermore for clarification which will lend support to what I believe is the general impression of those who have supported this Bill, that in fact retrospection was not included in its provisions.

The second observation I want to make is that working in Camden there comes to my ear and to my knowledge evidence of a kind of pass law atmosphere which is in grave danger of becoming much more widespread. Already your Lordships have been brought face to face with an intolerable evil—the sense of fear and insecurity, of not knowing when at any time you may be accosted by the law and required to produce evidence that you are entitled to be where you are and to be doing what you are doing. If this is to be the process whereby retrospective action on those illegal immigrants is to be continued, then I abominate it and I would invite your Lordships to do likewise. It is a thoroughly bad thing. I was sitting in a railway carriage the other day and a Pakistani asked if he could sit with me. I asked him why and he said, "Because there is a policeman on the train and I think he wants to see my passport; I have not got it with me and I wonder whether I shall be taken into custody". I do not know whether he was an immigrant illegally in this country or not, but he was a human being and I felt ashamed of a situation in which he should be put in such perturbation of spirit and in such real fear. I do not intend to be sentimental about this but it is a matter on which many of us feel very deeply.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham very properly dedicated his maiden speech to a concern for people as people, and he referred to the overwhelming decision of the Synod of the Anglican Church. When the Synod of the Anglican Church takes such a decision it should be treated with grave authority, but when the British Council of Churches comes to a similar conclusion I would suggest to your Lordships that it is almost a working model of infallibility, considering the divisions of churchmen which have prevailed for so long. This is an unmistakable comment by churchmen and it will be warmly supported by the Methodist Church and others. It is supported because there is something wrong about retrospective legislation by which people who have assumed that they were secure from the law, and have not committed any further offence, are made aware of their insecurity and are threatened with it.

There has of course been the answer made by well-meaning and, I have no doubt, charitably minded Members of another place, and indeed the Minister, to the effect that there will be no harassment (in fact there has been harassment in Camden, and I can give chapter and verse for it); also that individual cases would be treated sympathetically and on their individual merits. My Lords, how can a government be so naïve as to think that this kind of thing will satisfy people who have come from countries where the provision of that kind of legislation, dependent on the whims and fancies of the legislators rather than on clearly defined laws, has brought them into a continual sense of insecurity. I wonder whether I may be impertinent and ask how many of your Lordships have been in any continuous or long-term contacts with such immigrant families. They are almost constitutionally unable to frame in precise language what they believe to be the law, but are most anxious that they should have a law which is omniscient, in the sense that it does not depend on the vagaries of an individual. Once you introduce the idea that if an immigrant is to get justice it is not so much what he should know but whom he should know, then you have introduced, I think, one of the most undesirable elements into the administration of any civilised democratic country.

Finally, my Lords, I strongly support this Bill because it will give a measure of happiness and security to a group of people many of whom have already established themselves in the community in which they live. Indeed, if the situation has been improving, that is not I suppose because of the operation of the law of the expulsive power of a new affliction; it is not because we are in other troubles that we have forgotten our immigrant troubles: it is surely because many more immigrants have shown themselves to be citizens of the community in which they have taken up their residence and have nailed once and for all the lie that they are an economic danger to those who lived here in the first instance. They are nothing of the sort. They have contributed and wish to make their contribution in the future. If they are harassed by the kind of law which is imprecise, which is capable of many different interpretations, which has been interpreted as retrospective, and which puts them in jeopardy, I warmly ask your Lordships to support this Bill which will go some way to put the matter right.

3.31 p.m.


My Lords, I am afraid that, judging by the list of speakers, I shall be the only one who is going to say to-day that I sincerely hope that your Lordships will not give this Bill a second reading. It is the fashion nowadays to call "racialists" people who oppose Bills of this kind. I am not a racialist. I have the greatest respect for good, law-abiding and civilised citizens of any colour under the sun. Many of your Lordships of course will remember the late Lord Constantine. He was an example of what I would call a very fine man and everything that a British citizen should be. But, it is an unfortunate fact that not all those who enter this country to take up residence here are of that type. The law after all is the law and anybody coming here permanently to live must be prepared to obey it.

Many noble Lords to-day have spoken about the retrospective nature of the 1971 Act. It is retrospective in only one sense, in that it introduces a new penalty. It is not retrospective in making some act illegal which was legal at the time it was committed. Those who entered the country illegally at that time knew perfectly well, or should have been instructed, that they were doing so. What would be thought of an Act if it was to say to somebody who had broken into a bank eight years ago, or something like that, "Well, you have been extraordinarily clever. You have managed to evade the police up to now. Well done. Very good. We will forget it". Is that any attitude to take towards the breaking of the law? I cannot think that it is.

There is another point. Those who are so anxious to protect the coloured immigrants are sometimes apt to forget that our own native white population also has its rights. Many people have spoken about the rights of the individual. What about the rights of the white individual? Many of their lives have been made extremely difficult by the tremendous influx of coloured immigrants from abroad. There are cases where the more primitive coloured population has made areas so intolerable that the white population has had to move out altogether. I am not saying for one moment that those immigrants who entered the country legally and who are working as law-abiding citizens should not be allowed to stay here. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, who said that thousands of immigrants other than the illegal ones, feel very anxious that they might suffer the same fate. They have no need to fear. If you have done nothing wrong there is no need to fear.


My Lords, if the noble Lord will forgive me, that is exactly the point of which we are complaining. Because of the retrospective provisions of the 1971 Act coloured citizens who have done nothing wrong whatsoever are nevertheless liable to be stopped at any time by the police and asked to produce proof of identity. That I regard as wholly unacceptable.


My Lords, I do not know that I find it so unacceptable. I dare say that if I were driving a car I might be stopped by the police and asked to produce my licence. Would that be so very unacceptable?


My Lords, if the noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting him again, may I say that he would not be taken into custody if he did not have his licence with him. However if the immigrant cannot prove his identity to the satisfaction of the police he can be taken straight to the police station.


My Lords, I think it highly likely that I should be taken into custody if I did not have my licence with me, or at any rate my insurance. But let that go. There is one final point to which I should like to refer and that is the very vexed question of the separation of families. I agree that this is a problem and it is something which, when possible, ought to be avoided. How one is going to avoid it I cannot see, but there is no doubt that families should not be disunited either by emigrating or by being repatriated. Therefore I sincerely hope that some solution will be found for these families.


What a horrid man!

3.37 p.m.


My Lords, I intervene to support the Second Reading of this Bill introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, but first I have the pleasure of congratulating the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Birmingham, on his maiden speech. If anyone knows about the conditions of immigrants it must be the Lord Bishop of Birmingham.

To refresh my memory, my Lords, I read the debate of June 29, 1973 in this House on the 1971 Immigration Act. Not being a lawyer, I am wary of trespassing on lawyers' territory; but re-reading the debate and noting, the differences in legal interpretation of the 1971 Act, I felt that this Bill could have been drafted by Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland fame. To illustrate this, when I heard the Government speeches in June 1973 on the definitions and distinctions between words and phrases like "settled" and "ordinarily resident" they reminded me of Humpty Dumpty speaking to Alice and saying When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less". The Government did not say what they meant clearly and unambiguously in 1971, but in June 1973 the Government meant what they said, and retrospective legislation became law. In human terms, this means that there is no security for many imigrants who were given immunity under the 1968 Act.

All affluent countries are going through very difficult times, and the oil embargo of the Arab countries has struck them like a torpedo. Their sense of security has been undermined and they have had a real taste of insecurity. This should give them some idea of what the 1971 Act has done to the immigrant population, both legal and illegal, in this country. I will not repeat the legal arguments, but from the British Council of Churches downwards every organisation dealing with community relations is at one in pleading for measures to reassure immigrants about this retrospective legislation. I do not condone illegal entry, and I was delighted with the reply to me, of the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, that Mr. David Lane, the Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, had on his agenda the possibility of stopping illegal immigration at the country of origin.

We live in a very strange world, where men have always gambled, by fair means or by foul, for a better chance in life; and, after all, the British Empire was built on such mixed ideals. After the shock therapy of the oil embargo, what lesson have we to learn? Do the people of the advanced industrial countries believe that their standard of living can be raised without the help of people in the less developed countries? We have only to glance around the countries of the world to find the answer. In fact, the immigrant population contribute to the mutual benefit of both the indigenous population and themselves. There is little doubt that in recent years harassment of immigrants by the police has increased and ironically it is the people who profit from illegal immigration who go scot-free. Every speaker has stressed that under the 1971 Act a number of immigrants are open to exploitation and even blackmail.

I support the Second Reading of the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, because it takes the toxic element of retrospection out of the 1971 Act. Any Government have power to control the number of immigrants entering their country, without appeasing racial prejudice or extending arbitrary powers which threaten civil liberties; but stopping up a loophole is no excuse for creating fear and insecurity among any of our immigrant people. As I said, these are hard times and people look for scapegoats when tensions, both social and economic, are increased and exacerbated. Immigrants are the No. 1 scapegoats, whether they are black, brown or yellow, and when these are exhausted there are always the Jews. By giving this Bill a Second Reading in this House we are in a good position to help remove this retrospective legislation—something which I believe would be in the interests of the prosperity both of our own people and of the immigrants who are here.

3.45 p.m.


My Lords, may I begin as others have done by thanking the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham for his speech this afternoon. I speak as a Humanist, and yet I recognise that on very many issues, both domestic and international, he and the Church are speaking in the real spirit of the humanity and ethics in which they believe. This has been a remarkable debate. Every speech has been in favour of the Second Reading of the Bill, and I include the speech of the noble Lord Somers. I have no doubt about his sincerity and depth of feeling, but I am sure that the great majority of those who listened to his arguments against the Bill felt that, in terms of modern day realities, he was in effect urging that the House should accept it.

I should first like to make an appeal to Her Majesty's Government. This House has an extraordinary character, because it so often reaches decisions which are independent and which are seeking the truth, rather than expressing the point of view of one Party or the other. I have no doubt at all that if a vote were taken tonight among those who have listened to this debate, there would be an overwhelming majority in favour of the Bill which my noble friend, Lord Avebury, has introduced. That is the spirit in which I want to make my appeal to the Government.

I was a continuous critic of the 1971 Act, during its passage through this House, as indeed I was of the 1968 Act, but during the discussion on it I accepted the view put forward from the Government Benches that it was not retrospective. We had it in another place, in the most definite terms from Mr. Maudling, who happens to be my Member of Parliament. We had it in this House, with a sincerity which we all accepted, because we knew him so well, from the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, that it was not retrospective. We had it in the most clear terms in the statement of Government policy which was issued to all those who wrote to the Government on the matter. We also had it in a statement from the Conservative Central Office which has been quoted from the other side of the House.

I believe that the Government did not wish the Act to be retrospective. If that was in fact their view how can they possibly vote against the Bill which my noble friend Lord Avebury has introduced today? That the Act is retrospective, despite the declarations about it, has been clearly shown by the judgment of the House of Lords in the cases of Azam and Kehra. The noble and learned Lords themselves indicated that if those cases had come under the previous Act of 1968, those people would have been innocent of the charge against them, and that it was only because of the 1971 Act that the charge against them could be proved. It was at that moment that it became clear that the Act was retrospective.


My Lords, I think the noble Lord ought to remember that that was not a criminal matter; it was a habeas corpus hearing. The case which came to this House was not a criminal prosecution and there was no charge; it was an application for habeas corpus.


That I appreciate, my Lords.


The noble Lord was talking of charges.


I am sorry, my Lords. I am not a lawyer, and I do not quite understand the significance of the difference between a charge and being brought before the court. But what the noble Viscount has said makes no difference whatsoever to my argument that undoubtedly that judgment made this Act retrospective despite the fact that Her Majesty's Government, when the 1971 Bill was being passed through this House, denied again and again that it was retrospective. In view of that fact, I want to make a very sincere appeal to Her Majesty's Government not to oppose this Bill but again to reveal their sincerity by accepting it, for it seeks only to apply the declarations which they themselves made when the Bill was before your Lordships' House.

My Lords, I want to carry that appeal to Her Majesty's Government further, to the Members on the opposite Benches and to the Members on the Cross-Benches, who, because they are present, at least can hear what I am saying. They have listened to this debate. Can they have any doubt at all on which side right is? If they have their doubts, if, indeed, they feel that we have made a convincing case, I ask them, in the spirit of this House, which has so often been shown on measures of this kind, to vote in favour of their conclusions despite what efforts may be made by Party officials to guide them in another way.

My Lords, I have spoken long about this subject because I want my appeal to be considered. I shall therefore be brief in the other references which I make. Again when the 1971 Bill was being discussed in this House I was deeply impressed by the assurances of the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, that there would be no witch hunt. What has happened in Camden, in Tower Hamlets, and even in Westminster, has been referred to. I have some knowledge of those events. A block of flats was surrounded by police and a sergeant and two constables went to each tenement and flat in that building. It is said that there was no objection to their entering or searching it. My Lords, do you really expect coloured immigrants living under those conditions, when a sergeant and two constables come knocking at the door, to have the self-assurance to object?

The policemen entered and told all the inhabitants of that tenement or flat to remain in one room while they searched the whole premises. One man even wanted to go to the lavatory but was not allowed to leave the room. They were kept there until senior officers and immigrataion officials from Heathrow had questioned them. Oh, the farce of it! There were hundreds of police in these mass raids. Do your Lordships know how many people they took to the police station after all their action? Fifteen. Do your Lordships know how many of those fifteen were detained after interrogation? Five. Of those five, two were released after further examination as being completely innocent. Two were kept, not because they were immigrants but because they were deserters from a ship; and this whole mass action resulted in one person being detained for trial. If that is not a witch hunt, my Lords, I do not know what a witch hunt is.

My Lords, I leave other points unmentioned and come back to an appeal which I made earlier. That is, that if immigrants are to be deported they should have an opportunity to appeal to an arbitration tribunal. At the present time an immigration official at Heathrow may demand production of a passport, and if he becomes satisfied that the man is here illegally he can be deported without any trial proceedings at all. I beg the Government to think of these cases in the same way as they think of the cases of those who enter Heathrow illegally in the first place and to allow them, before this action is taken, to go to an arbitration tribunal.

The last point I make is this. I will not read my quotations, but everyone associated with seeking better community relations in this country says that those relations have been worsened by fear, by the danger of blackmail and by the cloud which is always over the people as to what may happen under this Act and its provisions. I beg Her Majesty's Government to try to think in terms of their original intentions, to try to think in terms of beter human relations, and not to oppose the Bill which is now before the House.

3.56 p.m.


My Lords, when the Chief Whip's Office was kind enough to put me on the list of speakers at a late hour I undertook that I should be exceptionally brief, and exceptionally brief I shall be. I can be because, as has been pointed out already, with the exception of one speaker everyone who has spoken has supported the Bill, and I am prepared to eat a substantial portion of this Bench if the noble Baroness who is to follow me does not support it as well—though she may disprove the fact, and I may be put into a digestive difficulty.

The reason why I think it necessary for a number of us to urge the merits of this Bill is, first, that I have over the years, in my increasing experience of this House, become rather suspicious of a circumstance in which a number of people are prepared to speak in favour of something and a large number of people are not prepared to translate their prejudices into reasoned arguments. Hence, I am always convinced that where there is a large number of people speaking on one side and virtually no one on the other, we shall find that in the Division Lobbies it may be prejudice which prevails, and not reason.

I hope that the Government particularly will listen carefully to what has to be said in support of this Bill. I am slightly disheartened—although, frankly, I did not attach too much importance to it—at hearing an interjection from the noble Viscount speaking on behalf of the Government that our noble friend Lord Somers would not be the only person who would be speaking against this Bill. It was disheartening because it implied, which I am sure is not the case, that the noble Viscount was not receptive of the arguments which we were so strenuously addressing to him. I hope indeed that that will not prove to be the case.

Now this is a very important Bill. It is not a trivial Bill in the least: because, after all, what is government about? Government is about the provision of a better society, and I invite your Lordships to consider whether we shall have a better society if this Bill is accepted or if this Bill is rejected. The noble Lord, Lord Somers, made a very sincere and honest speech. He said that these people whom we are now seeking to protect came here knowing that they were committing crimes, and he asked why should anyone have the slightest sympathy with people who know that they are committing crimes. Of course, that is a highly legalistic and uncharacteristic, if I may say so, bloodless representation of the situation which is a million miles away from the realities of the situation. These wretched creatures who came here came because they were in desperate need of succour and refuge. They did not come with the knowledge that they were committing crimes; the question of committing crimes never entered their poor, bemused heads. They came because they needed somewhere to come.

Perhaps I may recall the words of the right reverend Prelate in his admirable maiden speech. I do not intend to add to the plaudits which have been uttered in relation to it for fear of making him immodest, which I am sure would do him great professional harm. I will only say that when he used the phrase (and I wrote it down): "a reasonable measure of tolerance of irregularity"—what a magnificent phrase!—should not a civilised society be prepared to indulge a reasonable measure of tolerance of irregularity? Should it attack things with the total legalism of the inspector in Les Miserables who, I am happy to say, had the good sense to drown himself? Should we not realise that in a society where human beings live it is necessary to depart from the legality in favour of ordinary humanity? Government is not an inhuman machine. This particular Government demonstrated that very clearly and, if I may say so, to their immense credit, in the treatment of the Uganda Asians. I would ask that the same spirit that prevailed in relation to the Uganda Asians should prevail in this matter.

It is intolerable, my Lords, and I think that the noble Lord, Lord Somers, made a very grave mistake in trying to compare the situation of a coloured person, stopped exceptionally because he is coloured and asked to prove that he has a right to be here, with a person asked to produce his driving licence. The whole point about the production of the driving licence is that a man is asked to produce it whatever his colour may be. There is no question of discrimination against him because he belongs to to a particular limited community. I urge the Government to accept this Bill. I do not know what attitude will be manifested towards it. It is not in the least, if I may say so, a challenge to the courts. The courts, as they were obliged to do, interpreted the earlier Act according to their notion of what it meant. If anything, the present Bill is a rectification of draftsmanship. I think this would be a good occasion to show that, at a time when rather difficult things are happening in our society, and when there is a feeling that obdurate attitudes are being taken on all sides, an attitude of tolerance and indulgence towards the weaker fragments of human society could be demonstrated by a humane Government.

4.2 p.m.


My Lords, as well as not wanting to fall out with my noble friend Lord Goodman, I would also say that on principle I am speaking in favour of Lord Avebury's Bill. Like the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, I find that we have already had indications that the Government are going to resist it—unless the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, has a last minute change of mind. No one, except the noble Lord, Lord Somers—who, I believe is sitting on the Cross-Benches—has spoken against this Measure. I hope that I can convince the noble Lord, Lord Somers, that if he was stopped and asked to produce his driving licence but was unable to do so, unless he assaulted the policeman—and I am sure that the noble Lord would not do such a thing—he would be given five days in which to produce his licence at the nearest police station; so the analogy he drew is quite wrong.

One point which struck me in reading the Report of the previous debate (I was not able to be present when the debate took place last summer) is that it would appear that the Government made a mistake about the whole thing; that this was not the intention of the Bill; that it gradually evolved, maybe in a Government Department or in some way or other, and the Government got landed with it. It is not uncommon for that to happen with Governments. It is not the monopoly of Conservative Governments, either, for something which is encased within a Statute to remain there. The corridors of legislation are lined with amending Acts that were passed in order to amend words which have been put into previous Acts but which do not represent the real intention. When the legislation comes to be interpreted by the courts the judges are not allowed to go back to look at what was said in Parliament and to what was the intention; they have to go by what is written in the Statute. So we had to have another Act of Parliament. It seems to me that this is an occasion when the Government honestly, and without any loss of face, could say, "This is not what we meant by this Act. We did not mean it to be retrospective in this way and therefore we shall support Lord Avebury's Bill."

If the noble Viscount is going to rest on the proposition that perhaps the wording is not exactly as it should be, or the drafting needs amending, I am sure that that is something which could be dealt with. It is not a matter of principle but a question of the subject matter of the Bill. We saw something of this sort—fortunately it was caught in time in your Lordships' House—when the race relations legislation was going through. Had it gone through this House in the form in which it came from the Commons, the first clause, which was really the most important clause in the Bill, would have gone through with the meaning that whereas there would be equality, in many ways this would mean being equal but different. The matter was raised in your Lordships' House and I took part in the debate at that time. There was a consensus of opinion from both sides of the House supporting the view on which I based my argument: that if there is a doubt then there is a doubt. If this is so we cannot have a piece of legislation going forward in this way. I am pleased to say that the Government took this view and it was altered; another Amendment, a very similar one, was accepted, and the legislation went through in a different form.

Similarly, in a different example, but along the same line of thought, as it seems to me, were the two fairly recent Gaming Acts. In the first one there was a great deal of argument about whether, if the Bill went through as drafted, it would lead to numbers of casinos springing up all over the place. The answer given was, no, it will not, and that the proposed legislation would stop them. In fact, it turned out to be quite the reverse.

This, it seems to me, is what happens in our Parliamentary system, and there is no reason why it should not. It is extremely difficult to be sure in a democracy, where there has to be a great deal of compromise all the way through, that you are going to get the thing right, first time, or sometimes even on the second time round. I do not believe that the intention of the Government could be to arouse the sort of reaction and behaviour that is going on at the moment, of which all noble Lords who have spoken have given examples, and therefore I think the Government should look at this matter very seriously. The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, was absolutely right when he said that this is not a trivial, but a very serious matter.

To-day, in the economic situation in which unfortunately we find ourselves, to me sensitivity about race relations becomes even greater. In the mail that I have received recently, and indeed in the letters I received after I asked the Question which I asked a week or so ago in your Lordships' House, about the emergency regulations and a family planning publicity campaign, I was horrified to find that every single letter referred to the coloured population; to their responsibility for increasing the population; and, in fact, things very much worse than that were, so to speak, laid at the door of the coloured people. These letters were not all from people who were either illiterate or appeared, on the face of it, to be absolute "nuts". They were letters from people who on some occasions invoked Christianity. Someone wrote to me saying that she was a trained nurse and a midwife. But this theme went all the way through the correspondence.

I would add my voice to those of other speakers in saying that it is the duty of the Government, in circumstances such as these, to make certain that nothing they do, however inadvertently, adds to the exacerbation of existing racial problems. We have to accept that there exists a great deal of prejudice. The duty of a Government of whatever political complexion is to reduce, so far as they can, the amount of prejudice and not add to or exacerbate it. One of the points which has been mentioned is harassment by the police. Here again, I think it is such a retrograde step for the present legislation to operate in the way it does because in many areas liaison committees have been formed; and they work with the police and are trying to create a far better relationship. Once a matter of this sort is put into the hands of the police any good will which has grown up immediately starts to break down.

Then again, the question of blackmail which has been mentioned by several speakers, does not apply only to members of the white population who dislike having coloured people living near them, or who may feel, quite legitimately, that the people they are concerned with may be illegal immigrants. Several people concerned with community relations have told me that this has opened the door to the blackmail of one coloured person by another. Such a situation adds quite enormously to the terrible tensions that will exist so long as things remain as they are. The police have been asked whether they have to take note of anonymous telephone calls; the answer is that it is their duty to investigate them. To this sort of legislation we should give our whole-hearted support, unless it can be proved that what is contained in the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, would constitute a grave danger to the security of the country or to the conduct of community relations in the country.

Even if the Government resist the Bill, I hope that when the noble Lord, Lord Avebury takes the matter to a Division people will forget their Party line and consider the matter as one of humanity and of justice in our society.

4.12 p.m.


My Lords, if I may intervene for one minute, I wish to make one point only. At the beginning of my apprenticeship in your Lordships' House—an apprenticeship which still continues—I found that during the passage of the 1971 Immigration Bill it was an extremely moving and educative experience to notice how many Members holding different points of view were coming together from all sides of the House to offer their advice to the Government as to how the Bill then before us might be improved. I believe that during the passage of this Bill in your Lordships' House we passed three times as many Amendments as were passed in another place; and there were occasions when, late in the night, the noble Viscount, Lord Boyd of Merton, was echoing the words of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. We were concentrating all the wisdom of this House upon this measure, and we had every sort of experience upon which to draw.

I attended the Committee stages in another place as a member of the public. I sat through every stage of the Bill in your Lordships' House. I was no more aware than anybody else that there was an element of retrospection in it. At this moment, when Parliament is receiving so much criticism for being ineffective, for not discharging its functions properly; when the Government are being criticised for being remote and distant and for not taking into account various aspects of disquiet or anxiety among various sections of people in this country, surely we in this House, who spent such a considerable time in 1971 in examining the Bill in great depth, can say with confidence that, looking back, we had no idea retrospection was intended and that in supporting the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, we are merely re-introducing something we thought we had put into the Bill in the first place. I should like to congratulate the right reverend Prelate on his speech. I hope we shall come to a speedy decision.


My Lords, I should like to apologise to the House for not having put my name down to speak. I intervene now only because I was present during all the stages in this House of the Bill which became the 1971 Act. I remember distinctly my noble friend the Leader of the House assuring the House that there was no element of retrospection in the Bill. This was pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. As the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood, has quoted the very words of Mr. Maudling in another place, perhaps I may repeat that the retrospection can have got into the Act only by subsequent judicial interpretation—which is a thing that none of us expected, wished or intended. It is for that reason that I support the Second Reading of this Bill.


My Lords, I do not intend to say more than about six sentences; but as one who came to this debate with an open mind and who has listened to arguments of great cogency, may I appeal to the noble Viscount, in his speech on behalf of the Government, to address himself to two questions? The first is whether, in the present state of the law, there is the element of retrospection which has been alleged; and secondly, if the answer to that is in the affirmative, whether that element of retrospection falls into the category of those exceptions to the general presumption against retrospection which all sensible people must admit occasionally arise. May I conclude by stating what has not so far been stated in this debate but which I am sure must be in the minds of most of your Lordships, that is, the general argument against retrospection. It can be stated succinctly thus: the purpose of law is to guide choice in the future. It assumes the possibility of deciding between one course of conduct and another. Retrospective legislation applies to conduct in the past, in respect of which no further choice can be made.

4.17 p.m.


My Lords, most of those who have spoken this afternoon—the noble Lords, Lord Avebury, Lord Greenwood and Lord Brockway, the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, my noble friend Lord Hylton and others—have referred to the passage of the 1971 Act through Parliament. I am perfectly prepared to accept from the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, that he heard during those earlier debates what he thinks to have been categoric assurances that there was no retroactive element in that Bill. All I can say is this. I was not here, and this subject was a matter on which my noble friend Lord Windlesham spoke at very substantial length on the last occasion. He told the House then that he never said any such thing, and I am afraid that I cannot improve on that. I have not done the analysis that he had on that occasion last year, and I am bound to say that he, as the member of the Government in charge of that Bill, is the one I must believe when he makes the statement that he made then.


My Lords, may I just read what Mr. Reginald Maudling said? Mr. Maudling said on Third Reading of the Bill in another place: I said on the Second Reading, and I am very anxious that this should be known, that Commonwealth citizens already free, free of conditions, which means, broadly speaking, all working immigrants, will not be affected. So far as the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, is concerned (though I acknowledge I have not the terms of his speech in my hands), I can only say, as one who took part in those discussions, that many of us took the view that the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, had indicated quite clearly that the Bill would not apply in a retrospective way.


My Lords, this was a charge that my noble friend took some half hour, frequently interrupted, to rebut last June. I do not think I am likely to do it any better than he did on that occasion. May I say this to the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, steeped as he is in the law of immigration. The noble Lord knows perfectly well what is meant by somebody who is settled here free of conditions; you are free of conditions if you have been properly through the channels of immigration and you have been allowed, by legal means, to come and settle in this country without limit, for example, on the length of your stay or on the question of whether you may take a job or not. The noble Lord knows perfectly well that that does not include people who sneak in in little boats into dark places in the middle of the night. I will come back to that in a minute.

When my right honourable friend the Home Secretary made the statement after the Opinions of your Lordships sitting Judicially had been made known last June, he said quite plainly—and who am I to disbelieve him—that throughout it has been the intention of the Government that the 1971 Act should have the effect that their Lordships then declared it to have. I must make this perfectly clear: Siren voices have been directed against me to try to tempt me or to seduce me into saying that there was a mistake which we can now pleasurably put right. There was no mistake, my Lords; there was no other view in our minds at any time. It is no use the noble Lord, Lord Soper, saying that this Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, is just a matter of clarification. It is not; it is just a plain reversal of the decision of this House sitting Judicially: it is a plain reversal of the Government's policy.

I can tell the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, that the Bill is not technically retrospective; it is retroactive. If noble Lords want an explanation of this, will they please let me give it. The noble Lord, Lord Robbins, specifically asked me for one. The point is this. I accept that there is, first of all, a presumption on the interpretation of the Statute by the court that it will not be interpreted so as to act retrospectively unless Parliament has made it abundantly clear. What we are saying in this case is that there is no question of retrospection, in the ordinary sense of the term, in that there is no making of something illegal which was, until the passing of the Act, legal. The people who are caught by this particular provision came into this country illegally in the first place, they remained here illegally, they never passed through the necessary immigration controls and they never were subjected to the same tests that other people of the same sort had to be subjected to. The only thing that happened was that the time during which they could be prosecuted under the Magistrates' Court Act ran out. This did not mean to say that they were legally here; it merely meant that they could no longer be prosecuted. That is the situation that was put right, in my view, by the 1971 Act. That is, I think, an accurate description of the effect of this particular Act, and it is this which the noble Lord. Lord Avebury, wishes to reverse.

When I spoke last June, I suggested to the House that the Bill we are now again discussing was one that the Government thought it was wrong to support. I would briefly recall the reasons for saying that because I believe that experience since has shown that the Government were right in their judgment on this. I shall disappoint the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood, and others, who thought that I might have a last minute change of heart, but I am afraid that I am coming to the support of the noble Lord, Lord Somers, and I shall be the second person to speak against this Bill.

The drafting of Lord Avebury's Bill, I must tell him yet again, and then I will not mention it any more, is chaotic and nobody knows what it means. But we will leave that, and the noble Lord can produce the same answer that he did last time. So long as the Long Title is all right, that will do.


My Lords, I will say that the drafting is not chaotic. The Bill means what it says.


My Lords, is the noble Viscount saying that the language is "labyrinthine verbiage" which are the words that the Law Lords applied to the Government Statute?


My Lords, I have not the dignity or the point of advantage of the noble and learned Lords to address myself in those terms. All I can say is that my legal advisers cannot give me the faintest idea what the effect of this Bill might be as it is presently drafted. It certainly does not have the effect the noble Lord wants because it is completely contradictory in itself, and at variance with other matters in the 1971 Act, which it does not appear to amend. Never mind; let us leave that.

The point is to try to remove the retroactive effect of the Act. I will remind noble Lords of the two kinds of illegal immigrants who are still able to be caught under it. The first category is Commonwealth citizens who entered in defiance of a specific refusal of an immigration officer at any time since the 1962 Act came into force, an example of which is Mr. Sidhu who had been refused entry twice and had still come back in a little boat afterwards. The second includes those who entered since March 9, 1968, when the 1968 Act came into force, without examination by an immigration officer. I said last June that the Government considered that it was right that there be a power to remove people who had knowingly committed an offence by entering clandestinely, particularly since evasion of the immigration laws continued to be a serious problem. On this point we have had support from noble Lords earlier this afternoon.

Any other course (I said this in June and say it again now) would be unfair to those who had waited their turn to enter this country legally or were still waiting to do so, and it would give encouragement to others to follow the example of those who had succeeded in jumping the queue, or thought they had. May I say to the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that these are no poor, benighted, ignorant people. He should see the stories, the lies they tell and the wriggles they try in an effort to convince the immigration service that they arrived here on March 8, 1968, or that they came through proper channels. There is no lack of sophistication in this field, my Lords. I have seen some of these cases myself. It is quite astonishing how far people will go to try to prove the legality of their entry. I can only deduce that they know perfectly well that it was in fact illegal.


My Lords, I wonder whether I may ask the noble Viscount to address himself to the real issue. Is he saying that the Government of a civilised country consider it right that a man who has been here for fifty or sixty years, who has a family and children and grandchildren, and who has lived lawfully and peacefully in this country should throughout his life be subject to a risk of deportation simply because he effected an illegal entry many decades ago? Is that what the noble Viscount is saying the Government believe to be right? I do not think any right-thinking person anywhere in this country would agree with that.


My Lords, I cannot understand what possible relevance that has to the issue before us. I have explained that this can only possibly have happened since the coming into force of the 1962 Act. Certainly, as I have also said before, if such people remain undetected until they are grandfathers after having been here for fifty or sixty years, this would be certainly one of the matters taken into account in the ministerial consideration of every case. I gave a list of the considerations last time, and I do not think I should spend any further time going through them again, because the noble Lords will have read the debate. I said last time that the Government recognised that we were faced with difficult problems in these cases and there would be instances where, for compassionate or other reasons, such as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has just suggested, it would be right to make exceptions to the basic principle: but where somebody is found in this country illegally, it must be normal practice to send him away. The exercise of the power contained in the Act is at the discretion of my right honourable friend. He has given an assurance, which has been faithfully carried out, that individual cases that come to light will be examined by a Minister in the Home Office, and all the circumstances, including any compassionate ones, will be fully considered before a decision is taken. I will come to the figures in a moment.

Last June concern had been expressed that the implementation of the provisions of the 1971 Act would adversely affect community relations. It has been said again to-day. Fears were voiced that the element of retroaction contained in the Act would be extended and so jeopardise the position of members of the immigrant community who were legally in this country under the existing immigration law. That is what the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood of Rossendale, said again to-day. Certainly I did not understand from the tenor of speeches from the Labour Benches that that would be the policy of a Labour Government, and if in the unlikely event it were a Liberal one, I doubt whether the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, would encourage his colleagues to extend the law in that way, either. So where this fear is to come from I really do not know.

It was our view, on the other hand, that firm and fair control over immigration is an essential part of good community relations—I totally disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Soper, about his interpretation of the 1971 Act on this particular score. It is an essential part: it applies as much to the host community as to the immigrant community, and both of them are entitled to a reassurance. This is at the root of the reason why we think that there should be these retroactive measures. If the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, says that this equal concern for both the immigrant and the host communities is racist, then his use of the English language differs from mine. The immigrant community are entitled to an assurance, if they are legally in this country, that they are secure, that their security is absolutely safeguarded and they need fear no harassment. I shall return to that point again. The host community need reassurance that the control over immigration is firm and effective and that the Government are doing their utmost to prevent people who entered the country illegally from establishing themselves here and obtaining an unfair advantage over those who abide by the rules.

While I join in congratulating the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham on his speech, though I confess that I cannot agree with it, may I point out to him that those who get left behind when people jump the queue are people, too: people who wait patiently, usually in the sub-Continent of India. They abide by the rules; they take their turn and they sometimes have to wait a long time. These are the ones over whose heads the illegal immigrants have jumped. I would put as much store on the personal situation of those people in the sub-Continent, and the hardship from which no doubt they may wish to escape, as I would on the personal problems of the illegal immigrants in this country. There are two sides to this question which one cannot escape.

May I point out to your Lordships that those who have mentioned the efforts that we made in this country at the time of the Ugandan immigration will also remember how perilously close sometimes we get to a position where the pressure on the host community becomes too much for them. During that time there were areas which were beginning to say that they thought they had received about as many people from Uganda and from other parts overseas as they could at that particular moment assimilate. We must remember this, because good community relations depends on both sides: the host community as well as the immigrants. These were the kind of reasons which I gave on the last occasion to suggest that we should not support the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury.

Let us see whether I still have the same to say to-day. It is still the case that illegal immigration is a serious problem. Speaking on December 6 last year in another place on race relations and immigration, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary reviewed the measures that it had proved necessary to take to attack this evil trade, and those who read his speech will see what he was doing at the time, and still is. At a time when there is still continuing evidence of determined attempts being made to evade our immigration control—what about the 22 in the lorry found at Dover the other day?—it would—


My Lords, what the noble Viscount is saying is utterly irrelevant to this Bill, and he knows it perfectly well. Anyone who enters after January 1, 1973, is not covered by this Bill.


What I am saying, my Lords, is that illegal immigration has been, and continues to be, a great evil and is one we must miss no opportunity to try to suppress. It is indeed relevant to see that it is still going on, that it is still highly organised, and that still there is a very substantial amount of it.


My Lords, I do not like to hear the noble Viscount being interrupted so much, but the position is confusing. The Bill specifically states that it does not apply to people who arrived here after January 1. In fact, it goes on to say: ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for any period of more than six months prior to 1st January, 1973. I do not see how the Minister can continue to discuss the Bill in the context of the future of illegal immigration. I should be grateful, and I think many noble Lords would be, if he would keep his observations to the terms of the Bill before us now.


My Lords, I am setting the context of the Bill and I say that illegal immigration in the past, at the time we are talking about, directly in connection with this Bill, was just as bad as it is to-day. We cannot get away from that fact. We cannot burke it, or we should not, with respect to the noble Baroness. We think that any relaxation is likely to give encouragement—even although in law they would not be protected—to those who are still contemplating clandestine entry and perhaps, above all, to those who organise and further this evil trade and batten upon the failure of their clients to understand all the details of the law. To grant an amnesty, we say, to those who knowingly broke our laws, which is what this Bill would do, in our view would indeed encourage others to believe that they, too, in time would be pardoned if they could "get away with it" for long enough—provided they could find their way here and keep out of sight for a sufficient number of years—for another amnesty or another Bill of this kind to come forward. It is all the more important, therefore, we say, for it to be seen by all concerned that the Government are determined to keep a firm control.

After the Judicial decision in this House fears were expressed that large numbers of immigrants would be rounded up by the police and sent away and that hardship would be caused to families who were left without a breadwinner. Split families were very much in point, and I think the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, mentioned them again to-day. My right honourable friend gave an assurance that no new special measures would be taken to seek out those who had entered illegally before January 1 last year, but fears that there would be a large-scale removal continued to be expressed. So let us see what has in fact happened. Full statistics of illegal entrants, or those discovered, from January to September, 1973, have been included in the Quarterly Immigration Statistics which have been placed in the Library, and those for the whole of 1973 will be available shortly.

I can give the House to-day substantially complete figures for the year, but there may be a few minor amendments to be made in the light of detailed consideration of individual cases. I do not know where the figure of 10,000, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Greenwood, has come from. I never have known where this figure has come from. However, during the last year 253 illegal entrants were detained. Of these, 94 entered after January 1 last year and therefore are not affected by this Bill; 159 had entered before January 1. It is these 159 with whom we are concerned here. Of them, 96 have been sent away and 25 have been allowed, exceptionally, to remain. The balance of 38 is made up of cases where, when these figures were collected at the end of December, either a decision by a Minister had still to be taken, or a decision to remove had been taken but removal had not been carried out because the issue of a passport or other travel documents to the person concerned by his own Government was awaited, or travel arrangements were incomplete—this quite often happens. Where the illegal entry occurred before January 1, 1973, all cases of people removed or allowed exceptionally to remain, since the assurance given to Parliament by a Government spokesman in June last, have been considered individually by a Minister—I have considered a few myself.

All the circumstances have been carefully reviewed, and any compassionate circumstances or representations made on behalf of an illegal immigrant have been fully taken into account. I must say that this is no casual, lighthearted matter. The inquiries that are made, and the information put before the Minister, are exhaustive. They are the result of a tremendous amount of research, not carried out in an atmosphere where the illegal immigrant, as one noble Lord put it, had to be his own advocate; all we are after in these cases is to find out the truth, and this is sometimes singularly hard to do. Very few illegal entrants have, after all, been found to have wives in this country. In the vast majority of cases they are either single men or men who have wives and families overseas. Here I can give some reassurance to the noble Lord, Lord Somers. The fears expressed about the numbers of families that would be split by the use of the powers in the Immigration Act have proved unfounded; indeed, the opposite is the case, because very often the man has been sent back to join his own family overseas, and the family is joined up again. But if we were to do as I have been invited to do this afternoon, to allow married men with families overseas to stay in this country, it would produce a still further increase in the number of wives and dependants to which we already have a commitment where the head of the household is settled legally in this country. Again, this would be inconsistent with the Government's aim of maintaining a firm and fair immigration control.

The important question has been raised this afternoon of community relations, and there has been a good deal of talk about the fears that harassment would occur on a widespread scale. Would noble Lords be so good as to give me chapter and verse in the cases of which they have knowledge? I think the noble Lord, Lord Soper, said that he had some in Camden. Please could I have the details?

There have also been some fairly notable exaggerations about this subject. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, mentioned the searches, and he said he knew about what had happened in Camden. I never for one moment doubt the sincerity of the noble Lord, but there are elements in this that he has exaggerated. I know that he has not done this on purpose, and that he really would like to know that it was not such a horrendous occasion as all that, nor one which tallies in every respect with what he described to the House.


My Lords, I should be glad to hear where I have exaggerated. I have gone very carefully through the papers, both the evidence which was given to the Camden Community Relations Committee and the reply from Her Majesty's Government. If, after Hansard has been published, the noble Viscount will point out anything that I have exaggerated, I will withdraw anything that I have said that is wrong.


My Lords, that is as fair as the noble Lord always is. In the course of the periodic discussions that my right honourable friend has with the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, there has already been a discussion of this incident, to see whether lessons can be learned, and I think they can. My right honourable friend is also going to see a delegation from the Council of the London Borough of Camden where again discussion of these facts can occur. Perhaps therefore it is best to wait until the second of those events occurs—it is due soon—and we shall see where the truth lies. I think the noble Lord had it wrong in some respects.


My Lords, the noble Viscount is already saying, even before these investigations, that I have exaggerated to this House, but he has given no evidence that I have exaggerated.


My Lords, I think the noble Lord mentioned the presence of hundreds of police. Lord Greenwood's description was of a general raid. This is not so. If he was referring to that one—and I do not know whether he was—specific information had been received which indicated that there was a probability of illegal immigrants being in those houses; and there were, as we have heard.

Without wishing to elaborate on this point, and without detracting from a promise—indeed, a request—to hear of individual cases of harassment, I have read in the course of preparing for this debate a lot of generalised and very exaggerated material that has been put out by some people, and I do not think it helps the cause of community relations at all. We recognise that there was a genuine concern—and doubtless still is—both in the immigrant communities and among those concerned with promoting good community relations. We think that this was contributed to by much misunderstanding of the people, and perhaps the numbers, who will be affected by the provisions of the Act, about how the provisions will be implemented.

We have done our best to allay these fears. A noble Lord has already mentioned the Home Office circular issued last July to chief officers of police which made it clear that the Home Secretary wished the police, in enforcing the immigration laws, to avoid harassment—and that is why I want details. The police were asked to act with understanding in individual cases and to ensure that persons arrested as illegal entrants were allowed to get in touch with relatives or friends. Instructions were also given to immigration officers to ensure that persons detained as illegal entrants were told that any representations they wished to make personaly, or by a representative on their behalf, would be taken into account when a decision on their future was taken. We also emphasised that if they were to be removed they should have time to settle their affairs and collect their belongings.

We have not had many complaints of harassment; we think that the police generally have been acting in accordance with the wishes of my right honourable friend. We do, however, investigate carefully the few complaints that we have received, which is why I want details of what noble Lords have been talking about. It remains our view that a firm and fair immigration control is an important factor in maintaining and promoting good relations between the indigenous population of this country and the immigrant community, and that the existence of the powers in the 1971 Act to remove people who entered illegally is a significant part of that control.

We believe that it is right that there should be power, and that it should continue to exist, to remove people who are found to have come into this country illegally. It is also right, however, that these powers should be exercised with the greatest care and degree of judgment and circumspection in each individual case. That has been done by Ministers under the assurances given. We believe that is the proper balance to take. We remain firmly opposed to this Bill, and I very much hope that it will not get a Second Reading.


My Lords, before the noble Viscount sits down, may I ask for clarification on one point which seems to me to be the main issue of the debate? The noble Viscount is accused of retrospective action. His reply is: "No, it is not retrospective; it was retroactive". This is absolutely meaningless to me. Is there a distinction of importance here? Could the noble Viscount make this clear?


My Lords, retrospective legislation—to take a case away from this field—is, say, where you impose a tax in a past year on a transaction which was done in circumstances where no taxation was attracted—suddenly a tax is imposed retrospectively on it—or it is said that anybody who built a greenhouse in 1966 has committed a criminal offence, when it was no criminal offence to build a greenhouse in 1966.

The distinction I am making is that it was illegal to come in without going through the ports and the immigration authorities. It remains illegal to have done so. The only thing that happened was that because the six months' period of time to prosecute in the magistrates' court—which is general law—ran out, the prosecution could not be brought. This did not affect the illegality of the entry in the first place.


My Lords, is not the removal of an immunity retrospective?


No, my Lords; I think I have accurately set out the situation.

4.50 p.m.


My Lords, I shall be extremely brief in reply, but I must make one or two short comments on the speech made by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, who, apart from one other noble Lord, was the only one out of the 14 speakers who have taken part to speak against this Bill. I must dispute the distinction which the noble Viscount attempts to make between "retrospection" and "retroaction"—a distinction which is unknown to lawyers and particularly to the noble and learned Lords who had to consider the cases of Azam, Khera and Sidhu on appeal. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Salmon, in particular used the word "retrospective" and that was the view taken both by the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords sitting in its Judicial capacity. I think the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, who is himself a barrister, would possibly defer to the opinion of those higher judicial authorities.

The noble Viscount said that the drafting of this Bill was "chaotic"—which is slightly stronger language than he used on the last occasion when I introduced this Bill. He is wrong. The drafting is perfectly accurate. It explains in precise terms what the Bill means and would have the effect which I have sought. But even if he were right, if the Bill went into Committee the drafting could easily be rectified, and criticisms of drafting are the last refuge of Ministers who have no better argument to adduce. He said that there was no mistake; that the Government had intended this effect. I must say, with great regret, that, contrary to the assertion of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, the Government are an inhuman machine. The noble Viscount said that to pass the present Bill would give encouragement to others who attempted to break the law and to enter this country illegally. But, my Lords, as has been made clear throughout the debate, and as I made clear in an intervention, nobody who entered this country illegally after January 1, 1973, would be entitled to any immunity. We are saying that we concede the democratic right of Parliament to enact laws—although we may dislike them—which impose penalties on people who do things in the future. What we heartily dislike, and what I suggest the House ought to dislike—and the country as well, and constitutional lawyers—is the imposition of penalties on people who committed certain acts in the past which were illegal at the time but which, through the passage of six months, as in this case, have become immune to any proceedings or administrative action.


My Lords. I should like to ask for clarification. Is it not a fact that this Bill is seeking to legalise what was an illegal action?


No, my Lords, it is not. I am happy to clarify that. What was a breach of the immigration laws—


My Lords. I am all for simplicity and I want to ask, was it an illegal act?


My Lords, the entry into this country without submitting oneself to examination by immigration officers was a summary offence—


An illegal act.


My Lords, it was a summary offence.


Use the proper term, please.


That is the proper term. It was a summary offence, triable in a magistrates' court, for which a person became immune from prosecution after six months. Therefore between March 9, 1968, and January 1, 1973, a person who had committed that offence and who had remained in this country for six months was in the same position as anybody else. He was immune from prosecution or deportation or removal, and the expiry of that six months had put him in the same position as the noble Lord who has intervened or myself. Then Parliament retrospectively removed that right from him. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Salmon, put it, it was the removal of a basic constitutional right which that person had enjoyed. I hope that makes the matter plain to the noble Lord, Lord Peddie.

In this Bill we are not seeking to grant an amnesty but are simply seeking to restore a right which Parliament has taken

away. I regret to say that the speech made by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, was in parts intemperate. It was obdurate; it was lacking in humanity; it was aggressive; it was in parts afflicted with bad law; it was calculated to alarm the immigrant community even further than has been done so far and to strike a very serious blow against our constitutional principles. So I implore the House to give a Second Reading to this Bill and to reject the speech made by the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, and the policy of the Government.

4.55 p.m.

On Question, Whether the Bill shall be now read 2a?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 65; Not-Contents, 80.

Airedale, L. Gardiner, L. Platt, L.
Amherst, E. Garnsworthy, L. Rochester, L.
Amulree, L. Gifford, L. St. Albans, Bp.
Ardwick, L. Gladwyn, L. St. Davids, V.
Arwyn, L. Goodman, L. Seear, B.
Avebury, L. [Teller.] Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Shinwell, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Hacking, L. Simon, V.
Birk, B. Hale, L. Slater, L.
Birmingham, Bp. Henderson, L. Snow, L.
Brockway, L. Henley, L. Soper, L.
Byers, L. Hoy, L. Southwark, Bp.
Champion, L. Hylton, L. Stocks, B.
Chorley, L. Janner, L. Summerskill, B.
Clwyd, L. Kennet, L. Tanlaw, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Leatherland, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Lee of Asheridge, B. Wade, L.
Douglass of Cleveland, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Wells-Pestell, L.
Energlyn, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. White, B.
Evans of Hungershall, L. Melchett, L. Willis, L.
Fiske, L. Meston, L. Winterbottom, L.
Foot, L. [Teller.] O'Hagan, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Gaitskell, B. Phillips, B.
Aberdare, L. Denman, L. Lauderdale, E.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Derwent, L. Loudoun, C.
Amory, V. Drumalbyn, L. Lyell, L.
Auckland, L. Ebbisham, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Effingham, E. Mar, E.
Berkeley, B. Elles, B. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Bessborough, E. Elton, L. Merrivale, L.
Bledisloe, V. Emmet of Amberley, B. Milverton, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Erskine, of Roderick, L. Molson, L.
Brock, L. Ferrers, E. Monson, L.
Chesham, L. Fortescue, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Coleraine, L. Gainford, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Gore-Booth, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Conesford, L. Gowrie, E. Rankeillour, L.
Courtown, E. Grenfell, L. Reading, M.
Cowley, E. Grimston of Westbury, L. Reigate, L.
Craigavon, V. Hailes, L. Robbins, L.
Craigton, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Crathorne, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Cromartie, E. Hankey, L. Sandford, L.
Daventry, V. Harvey of Prestbury, L. Sandys, L.
de Clifford, L. Hylton-Foster, B. Semphill, Ly.
Denham, L. Ironside, L. Sharples, B.
Somers, L. [Teller.] Strathspey, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Stamp, L. Thomas, L. Windlesham, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.] Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, B. Wolverton, L.
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L. Vivian, L. Young, B.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Resolved in the negative, and Motion for Second Reading disagreed to accordingly.