§ Second Reading debate resumed.
§ 4.23 p.m.
§ The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
My Lords, some play has been made in another place with the fact that the Churches together have levelled criticism against the proposed British Nationality Bill, and there have been references to the enthusiastic amateurs of the cloth tripping over themselves as they rush to the barricades. I hope I shall not be accused of tripping over myself, if I try to put before noble Lords some of the reasons why the Churches are so concerned.
The clergy may often be ill-advised to comment on some of the complexities of current economic and political life, but they are not only widely deployed in every locality of this country; they actually are among those workers who reside in the inner cities, alongside those most deeply troubled by this Bill. Again, through our international obligations, we are not ill-placed to reflect some of the reactions elsewhere to the image presented by a nationality Bill.
Along with others who have already spoken, I accept that a new nationality Bill is needed. In the 30 years since the present British Nationality Act was passed, we have seen an enormous change in the relationship between the United Kingdom and the former Commonwealth and Empire. We should also remember that, during that time, our country has benefited immeasurably, and continues to benefit, from the presence of people who have settled here from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Our economy has benefited; our cultural life has been enriched. Even, I should say, our religious perspectives have been widened. The other great change has been our entry into the European Community. We have accepted the advantages of a system of free movement of labour throughout the Community, as well as the exposure to continental concepts of citizenship and nationhood.
All these point to the need to reassess our law on citizenship and nationality. I speak of reassessing advisedly. We cannot start with a clean sheet, as though all our past and its obligations could be wiped 876 off. Nor can we make the law depend on the application of a single principle applied consistently. There are, in fact, a number of considerations which should guide us, if we are to produce a law on nationality which will be serviceable for the next generation and beyond. It should first make clear, as the Government have stressed on many occasions, who belongs; who has a real connection with this country. Belonging is a basic human need and it is one of the tragedies of the world we live in that there are so many people today who are, either formally or effectively, stateless; without rights in the country in which they live. Patriotism is a virtue in my book, but countries, like individuals, thrive only if they are loved.
A Bill should also recognise the fact that nations today are not sealed off from each other. A constant movement of people is today taking place; people seeking education, work and experience of the world. Encouragement to travel is the mark of a free society. Totalitarian societies, from Plato to the present day, all discourage travel. There must, therefore, be provision for people from other nations to acquire our citizenship and for our citizens, who travel for longer or shorter periods, to be assured that they and their children will not be disadvantaged. Lastly, and above all, it must do justice to the existing fabric of social life and not inject uncertainty where none existed before. This is of particular importance in a society like our own, which is still learning, often painfully, what is required if people of different ethnic origins, cultures and religions are to live very closely together in mutual respect.
How does the present Bill look when measured against those criteria? I pay tribute to the patience of Ministers in listening to criticisms and, indeed, in going out to meet critics, and to their willingness to make changes in the Bill. I hope that that will continue, for I am bound to say that, in terms of the considerations that I have mentioned, the Bill is still seriously defective. The message that I am receiving from the Churches, particularly in areas where there are large numbers of people who originally derived from the African, Asian and West Indian countries of the Commonwealth, is that this Bill is causing very real anxiety and even fear among this section of our population.
It is a fact that the great majority of those who settled in the United Kingdom from those countries during the last 30 years regard themselves as British, and have totally identified themselves with this country. Their children, who are now becoming adults, were mostly born here and have known no other country. They passionately want to be accepted by the rest of the population as the full British citizens they believe themselves to be. There will be no doubt, in the new categories, where Category 1 British citizens will belong. They will have the right of abode and the right to enter without let or hindrance. They will form the largest group of the five, and it so happens that almost all of them—over 95 per cent. of them—will be white people. The British people in the other four groups will almost all be of non-European descent. This main scheme remains untouched by the amendments that have been made to the Bill in another place. So arises the anxiety which this Bill has produced, since it seems to many to raise question marks where these 877 did not exist before.
First, of course, the Bill is so complex that it is difficult for most people to understand. That is not good in a matter which affects something so basic as citizenship. Secondly, it requires many people to register where there is no such requirement now. This will itself be an enormous initial burden on those who will have to administer the Act and will lead to delays and uncertainties. Thirdly, they fear that it may be difficult and certainly time-consuming to produce and to prove the evidence which this process will require, to say nothing of the cost involved, for the simple possession of a British birth certificate will no longer be a guarantee of British citizenship.
Can the anxieties of so many of my inquirers be allayed?—for example, the clergyman in the East End of London who writes:I find it nightmarish to imagine that in eight years' time a child taken to hospital or wanting to go on a school trip or entering some other situation wanting a passport might be subjected to inquiries about his or her right to be here.This is what I am hearing from clergy, who have no political axe to grind in this particular matter, from many parts of England. Uncertainty about one's position leads very easily to a feeling of being unwanted, and that is serious. Someone again wrote to me recently from the East End:Whilst we all recognise that there must be clarification of the nationality issues, ethnic minority communities in the East End certainly feel this is a major intrusion into their peace of mind and their proper membership of our community. So little will be achieved because the effect on immigration will be minimal and the cost will be great in terms of a sense of rejection and vulnerability".Last Thursday the Home Secretary kindly invited me to bring seven clergy from Brixton to talk about the recent troubles in that area. Even while we welcome the present inquiry, life in Brixton must go on. The people who came were all involved deeply in community life there and wanted help in finding answers to their problems. They were positive and constructive and the Home Secretary listened most attentively to them. Much of the discussion was of course about policing and about contributory factors such as unemployment and housing, but they went on to say that this Bill has contributed to the increased tensions because of the insecurity and feeling of being unwanted which it has injected.
The proposals in the Bill have to be seen in the context of all the other experiences the ethnic minorities have been through. We cannot escape that. It is not an Act being passed in a vacuum. I recognise there are evil forces, from left and right, ready to play on people's fears and to stir up divisions, but we must not present them with any material to do so. What is needed, above all, from a new British Nationality Act is reassurance: reassurance that could only be provided by a measure the basis of which is seen to be equality of respect and regard. It would surely not have been more difficult to frame that than this amazingly complicated Bill. The guiding principles of such a new Bill which seeks to reassure would also ensure that no child is born here stateless, or born abroad to a British parent stateless, and should reaffirm the existing rights of those living and legally settled here. If these simple requirements were met by the Bill, the fears that have been aroused, some of them needlessly and 878 mistakenly, would be allayed and a redefinition of our nationality would become a source of new self-confidence for all our people.
There should be security about British citizenship. There should be a clear message about the sort of society we have become. When the legislation of any country defines what its nationality is to signify and who is to hold it, it establishes more than a set of regulations which particular individuals have to satisfy. It says how we conceive the nation. For example, the citizenship law of the German Federal Republic, West Germany, provides that the inhabitants of the German Democratic Republic are citizens of the Federal Republic. An East German arriving in West Germany is therefore already a citizen. He needs no immigration papers. He has no need to go through naturalisation. That is not only convenient for East Germans; it says something about how West Germans conceive of the German nation. The rules for the nationality of non-Germans are very restrictive. By contrast, Canada gives preference within its overall immigration restrictions to people of no matter what national or ethnic origin who speak French or English and makes it comparatively easy for them, once accepted for entry, to become full citizens. In this way, many French-speaking Lebanese, for example, have been accepted for settlement with a view to their becoming citizens.
The present Bill, even though it has no preamble declaring a theory of national identity, cannot avoid establishing by its provisions a picture of British national identity. The fact is that many feel that it gives a picture of first and second-class citizens. It is no help to an individual Jamaican or Barbadian to say to him, "Don't worry about this Bill, because you've been registered here and your children were born here. So you'll be all right", or, "You still have five years in which you can register as a British citizen and get full rights here". The Bill does not seem to spell out the securities of citizenship within the multiracial society that this country has now become.
I began by asking for a hearing from Church opinion. I conclude by reminding your Lordships that one of the greatest of my predecessors as Archbishop of Canterbury was Theodore of Tarsus. He might have had some difficulty in establishing his citizenship under the present Bill. However, in the seventh century he unified the English Church, and it is no exaggeration to say that Theodore gave a shape not only to the Church but to a nation over against its separate kingdoms of those days. It is because this Bill will give a shape and character to our future society that it is of such importance for us all. Though a Bill is needed it may even be questioned whether this is the right moment to bring it in. It is at least my hope that this House will take its opportunity as a revising Chamber to remove some of those aspects of the Bill which have caused the deep concern that I have tried to voice.
§ 4.40 p.m.
Lord Home of the Hirsel
My Lords, the whole House will have welcomed the contribution of the most reverend Primate and, in particular, the thoughtfulness with which he has made his contribution to a problem which is human, has a high moral content and 879 which, as every noble Lord knows, is very complicated indeed. If, later on, I have perhaps to offer some criticism of the approach of some of the Churches I can promise him that my criticism will be completely ecumenical.
For a good many years the rules of citizenship—and here I think we are all agreed—have been untidy and the pattern of immigration disorderly. The situation has cried out for a definition of British nationality which would carry with it the right of abode, because that alone gives the kind of security for which the most reverend Primate was seeking. The task is daunting and complicated by reason of our imperial and Commonwealth legacy, but the Government have grasped the nettle and I think we should be grateful to them. I happen to believe that this Bill, when it has been through both Houses of Parliament, will remove a lot of the uncertainty and with it therefore a lot of the fear. I should like to try to say why.
On the Second Reading of so comprehensive a measure, one must be selective, and I should like to ask three questions which involve the principle and the matters which have been touched on by every speaker in your Lordships' House this afternoon. Should the Act declare that Britain is a multiracial society? Would that give greater confidence? Would it give a greater feeling of security to the ethnic groups? Secondly, would it have been preferable, or possible, to pass a Nationality Bill separate from the facts of immigration? Thirdly, should birth in the United Kingdom give an absolute right to citizenship and abode?
On the first question I am quite clear. In this Act of Parliament we should not include a declaration that our society is multiracial. We know that it is so we accept that an immigrant must be treated exactly like any other member of our society. The noble Lord, Lord Beloff, in his maiden speech the other day expressed the matter exactly. He said that all must enjoy a common law and common institutions in a common country. I do not see how our purpose could be more succinctly expressed, and in the text of this Bill, as I understand it, the two essential conditions for citizenship with abode are laid down. The one, descent from British parentage, the other, the status of a settled person. They apply to everybody without distinction of race or creed or religion. In that sense, this is a non-racial Bill and I do not see how the Government can be accused of having introduced a racial Bill.
General declarations add nothing to the law, but this must be added. It is less what we write than what we do on the ground which will justify us in claiming to be a multiracial society and living up to our word. I would not include a declaration, but I should like to see the most positive action on the ground approved in all parts of the United Kingdom that when we say we are multiracial we mean what we say. Would it have been possible to contrive a nationality Bill and ignore the facts of modern, present-day immigration? Such a question has a high moral content.
I hesitate to interpret Christianity to the Bench of Bishops, but I think I shall not be far wrong when I say that the Christian code exhorts us to treat any immigrant, whatever his colour or race, as our brother, but it does 880 not tell us—and cannot tell us—how many immigrants we can accept in this country without positively creating racial problems which make the situation, already bad, worse than it was before. Therefore, in these matters, while our guide must be Christian principle, we must act from experience and common sense.
If I may say so, I thought the one weakness—perhaps there were more, but one weakness—in the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, was that he did not say one word about the fact that this island is grossly overcrowded, now that it contains 3 million unemployed, or thereabouts. We do have our duty, not only to the immigrants; we have our duty to our own citizens in this country. I do not think I can be charged in this context with being illiberal or inhumane. I happened to be the first Minister for the Conservative Government of the day to urge that we had a particular obligation to the Asians of Uganda and that we should bring them in at once. What is more, I had a good deal to do with the designing of the pattern of the immigration from Kenya in the same type of situation. I stand by those decisions.
But the Commonwealth and the world have changed even since then. We have moved on from the days when, by reason of the responsibilities of Empire, we lavishly distributed British citizenship to all and sundry with the possible implication of the right of abode. Commonwealth countries are now totally independent. The Commonwealth countries and some of the protected territories have their own conditions for citizenship; they have their own rules of immigration and often they are very tough.
In this context there are two matters for particular consideration. The one, citizenship for the protected territory; the other, the impact of this Bill on citizens from independent countries with a British connection. I believe the Government were right to devise the comprehensive citizenship for the protected territories with no exceptions; admit exception and you invite odious comparison.
I think there are two essentials for the protected territories. The first is that the passport should be clear. For instance, "British Passport, Hong Kong", or whatever the territory may be. It must be recognisable as such immediately in any other territory. But just as important is an assurance to all the citizens of the protected territories that the new citizenship in no way dilutes the consular protection which has previously been available for the safeguarding of the interests of those countries in their international relations. We are still as responsible for that—whether it be the Falkland Islands or Hong Kong or Gibraltar—as ever we were; and that, I think, should be made clear.
Let me say, in respect of the new Commonwealth countries, that it will be healthier and better when the inhabitants of those independent countries cease to look over their shoulder to the United Kingdom as a sort of refuge for citizenship and justice. I am not very keen to give particular examples, but happily the future for Malaysia is bright—for their prosperity and I think, for peace and harmonious living within that country. But, my Lords, we could not absorb some hundreds of thousand from there, or from any other populous country, in the present state of our over 881 crowded island, and if that is so it is better to say so clearly and to say it now. Far better that all should settle down in their natural homes in the countries from which they draw rights and to which they owe duties.
My Lords, I will answer very shortly the last question that I posed. Again the world has changed. Britain receives into our shores millions of tourists every year, and we welcome them. We accommodate thousands of students for a number of years at a time. And we all know—I have been in the reception areas in Bangladesh—of the immigrants attempting to come to this country. When I was there very few of them had a claim; they were simply trying to escape from poverty. I am bound to say that if I were one of the officers dealing with those people, from sheer compassion I would let in about one family out of five, so miserable was their situation. But they did not have much of a claim; their motive was to escape from poverty. We all know, and I have seen it myself, that the business of illegal immigration is still farmed, unscrupulously farmed, in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and possibly in India. There is no case, I think, in equity or justice for conferring citizenship on those who deliberately evade our nationality law. I cannot see that they have the right to expect that their children fathered in this country should be automatically citizens of Britain. They surely have an obligation to give them the citizenship of their own country. Therefore, while I hope we shall take the Committee stage in this House with great care and much humanity, I am bound to say that at this time I have no hesitation whatever in commending the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ Lord Elystan-Morgan
My Lords, I am deeply conscious of the fact that I have the privilege—perhaps awesome privilege—of addressing this distinguished House for the very first time. The Bill we are considering today has perhaps a more massive capacity to foment powerful passions in delicate areas of British life than perhaps almost any other legislation that Parliament could initiate. This is understandable, in that the Bill is concerned with that intimate and fundamental link between the state on the one hand and the governed on the other.
The short title of the Bill refers to nationality, but the subject-matter of the Bill is of course citizenship. I would respectfully submit that the two matters are very different and separate things. The citizenship is a legal and constitutional concept of belonging to a certain state, of owing obligations towards it, of enjoying its protection and having the privilege of joining in certain of its institutions.
On the other hand, nationality is the concept of the mind and heart, a feeling of belonging to a nation community, an attitude that draws sustenance from the rich heritage of the past coupled with a desire to share a common future with other members of that nation group. Happy the nation that is also a state and uncomplicated the state that has only one nation within its structure. No Act of Parliament can by itself either create or destroy a nation, for it is an organic entity which is as strong or as weak as the will of its members to live as a nation. I think it is right and proper to bear in mind those distinctions when 882 considering this Bill now and during its later stages. Indeed, if the House would not think me too churlish, it might have been better if it had been labelled Citizenship Bill.
There are many matters that come to mind in relation to this Bill, but I totally appreciate the need for restraint at this stage, and although it might be difficult not to be controversial I can certainly assure the House that I would not wish to be politically partisan in any way at all. Perhaps the more porcupinal criticisms might be reserved for another occasion.
In terms of law and jurisprudence the main significance of the Bill, as my noble friend Lord Elwyn-Jones has pointed out, is Clause 1—that provision that removes the qualification of citizenship by the jus soli, the law of the land of birth. That at the moment is the foundation of British citizenship. Despite all the traffic between the rest of the world and this island Kingdom, it stood the test of time for no less than seven centuries. And it did so, I believe, because it was a clear test turning upon a single ascertainable and irrevocable act, the fact of birth within our shores.
Unfortunately, the substituted test has no such qualities, as previous speakers have already pointed out. It involves in one category, as already endorsed by my noble friend Lord Elwyn-Jones; children born here to a parent already settled in the United Kingdom. That, despite the amendment made by the Government, which is welcomed so far as it goes, can never make up for the fact that it does not confer a final and irrevocable status. It is always possible to re-open that question and it is always possible for the status of that child to be lost. The fear that arises from that one provision alone must be incalculable. Where there was once certainty and finality the Bill proposes uncertainty, complexity and the prospect of retrospective withdrawal of status. For the individuals concerned there will be the misery of contingent doubts and fears. For society as a whole I fear indeed that there will be opened a Pandora's box of suspicion of ill-feeling, where there is the widest scope for misconception and there will be the most bountiful opportunities for the blackmailer and also for those who traffic in racial hatred.
The Bill has been called by some a racialist Bill, a charge which the Government and its supporters reject with horror. They say, "There is no mention of race in the Bill", and indeed Clause 43 specifically abjures racial discrimination. Ergo, say those who support the Bill, it therefore must be non-racialist. It matters not what was the intention of Government—and I accept that intention to have been honourable; it matters not that assurances have already fallen from the lips of Ministers like autumn leaves in Vallombrosa. Legislation in a free community must be judged by the attitude of society towards it; what effect it has day-by-day upon the lives of people; whether that effect falls equally upon people of diverse race and colour; and whether, in fact, it discriminates against any one group as a practical consequence.
The Bill therefore falls to be judged not just by what its provisions say, but also by consideration of whether it deepens rifts that already exist in society; whether it precipitates fresh crises; and above all whether it will destroy fragile bridges built at great pains by people of 883 goodwill. It will, I am sure, be in those terms and only in those terms that future generations will judge this legislation. In the circumstances it is, I believe, a situation where the onus of proof lies upon the Government to show that this Bill was necessary; not that there was a justification on account of all that has happened since the Act of 1948, but whether it was necessary.
The argument sometimes put forward for Clause 1 is that so many millions of tourists come to Britain every year that there is the likelihood that teeming hordes of children will be born here, thus creating a massive problem in our legislation. The Minister of State in another place dealing with this matter gave the figures: he calculated that somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 children are born every year to persons who are neither British citizens nor, in fact, settled here. I repeat, 5,000 to 6,000—in other words, one hundredth of 1 per cent. of our total population.
There are many other matters that I cannot possibly touch upon due to the constraint of time. I should like to ask two questions of the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, who I understand will be replying to the debate. I trust that I am entitled to put matters in an interrogatory way to Ministers, even though I have not completed my maiden speech. The first concerns the European Economic Community. Under Article 48, as the Minister knows, there is guaranteed the right of a worker from any member state to work and to have abode in the country of any of the other member states. "Nationality" not being defined in the Treaty of Rome, is there any possibility that those people might well find themselves—that is, those who are so connected as to be comparable with overseas citizens or citizens of dependent territories—in a better situation than the two latter categories that I have mentioned?
Secondly, it has been stressed by many that this Bill does not deal with immigration, but that nevertheless it could be a platform for immigration legislation in the future. Is it, or is it not, the intention of the Government that in the foreseeable future there should be a further immigration Bill? If there is not to be, then it means that this is a cosmetic exercise in legal definition. If there is to be, then surely it would be proper to bring both pieces of legislation before Parliament at the same time so that they can be dealt with and examined comprehensively.
In conclusion, the Government of course will not be turned from their course and are determined to have their Bill—I am a realist enough to appreciate that. But the Government could well abandon Clause 1 and still not emasculate their Bill. If Clause 1 deals only with that minuscule number of a few thousand, bearing in mind the price that has to be paid, then surely such a concession can and should properly be made. If the Home Secretary and the noble Lord the Minister were to concede such an amendment it would not be regarded as an act of weakness or as the "in" term now has it, of wetness on their part. It would be interpreted properly as an act of magnanimity and statesmanship—two qualities which I am quite certain loom large in the characters of both the Home Secretary and the noble Lord.
§ 5.5 p.m.
§ Lord Aylestone
My Lords, it is a great pleasure for me to follow the noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, in his maiden speech. The noble Lord comes to us with two great attributes. First, he comes to us with knowledge of the Department of the Home Office in another place where he was a distinguished Minister. Secondly, of course, probably the greatest attribute of all is that he is a Welshman, which means that he will contribute to our debates from time to time with that fervour and knowledge with which Welshmen are associated. I personally can claim only partial Welsh background and, therefore, I do not intend to compete. The noble Lord's speech gave us a great deal to think about and I am sure that we shall think about it. In the future when he contributes to our debates, he will always be listened to carefully, if not quite so peacefully as he was on this occasion.
The House is indebted to the noble Lord the Minister for his introduction of the Bill. His was the extremely difficult task of making this somewhat intricate and involved Bill seem relatively simple. I am not really sure that he was completely successful. Should it be decided that the Bill goes through the normal stage of Committee on the Floor of the House then we shall all find that it will take a very long time, because there is so much of it that needs detailed examination.
Both this Government and their predecessor felt that a nationality Bill was necessary—necessary perhaps to define, or maybe to change, what is the position of those people who are currently citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. The Bill now before us is based upon the Government's White Paper, while the former Government's proposals were based upon a Green Paper which is, of course, a much more deliberative document than a White Paper. However, we on this Bench, which is not exactly overcrowded—there are only 24 of us—find it difficult to understand that there is really any great urgency about this Bill at all. It may be necessary, but is it urgent?—because it does not in any way affect the rate of immigrants entering this country—not at all—nor, I am sure, was it intended to do so. What it does do, unfortunately, is to cause unnecessary worry to a lot of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who are quite happy with the position as it is.
The Green Paper on which presumably the last Labour Government would have based their legislation had they won the last general election, differs from this Bill, but not materially. It suggested two forms of citizenship while this one suggests three. We find it difficult, when reading the speeches of the Labour Opposition in another place during the passage of this Bill—the Committee stage and the Report stage—to reconcile their speeches today with the attitude which those same ex-Ministers must have taken up when their views were outlined in their Green Paper. But in saying that there is no apparent reason for the urgency of this Bill, some of us, having had experience in Government, realise that there may be a reason. If there is, we should like to be told what it is. As far as we know, there is no country, nor are there citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, who want immediate changes in our nationality laws. If there is a country which, for its own reason, needs it—and 885 there may be—we shall be glad to know which it is.
It seems to us to be extremely regrettable that a Bill dealing with the constitution—and this is a constitutional Bill affecting the lives and wellbeing of many thousands of people at home and abroad—should have been timetabled in another place or, to use the more usual expression, "guillotined". It has been the established custom over many years that no constitutional Bill seeking constitutional changes should be guillotined, and that the Committee stage of such a Bill should always be taken on the Floor of the House. In this case this Bill was guillotined in another place and the Committee stage was taken in a Standing Committee, which means of course that all the proposals contained in the Bill and all the arguments pertaining to the details of the Bill could not have been fully debated. We would prefer the position to remain as it was in the old days; that in the elected Chamber of another place the whole thing could have been fully discussed. But I am afraid that standards have changed.
We, the Social Democratic Party—which is, as I have already said, rather small—will support the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, to refer this Bill, after Second Reading this evening, to a Select Committee. If it is taken to a Division, we shall vote with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, and his colleagues, because we believe that a Select Committee would then have the time to consider the Bill's proposals in whatever detail we thought necessary. Evidence could be heard about the Bill from those who approve it and from those who are opposed to it, and at least the people most affected would be sure that their views were heard. Of course I appreciate that this would take a little longer than a normal Committee stage; in all conscience it would take a long time, but at the end the Government would still have their Bill.
We have also looked at the Motion in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, which he proposes to move after the Second Reading of the Bill this evening, The Motion suggests that because of its possible racial overtones the Bill should not proceed. But from this Bench we do not think that this Bill would in any way add to racial tension and there is a concern, to say the least, that any reference whatever in the Motion to the Scarman Inquiry is absolutely regrettable, because this Bill has nothing to do with Scarman.
If we are to discuss this Bill on the Floor of this House in Committee, I hope that we can do so calmly and without too much reference to racial tension. We understand that Her Majesty's Official Opposition in another place have decided to repeal this Bill. They were the authors of the Green Paper and, therefore, we are entitled to ask, if this Bill is to be repealed as a result of a general election, what is to replace it.
With so many speakers on the list for this Second Reading, I do not propose to deal with the many points which we might perhaps better look at in Committee. But I should like to put down one or two markers. First, we on this Bench are opposed to changing the basic law known as jus soli. We think that this ought to remain in its present form because there are still very many people who, living inside and outside this country, despite the country's troubles 886 and problems, are very proud to hold British nationality and who would like it to continue, not only for themselves but also for their descendants.
There is also a very strong case for retaining jus soli until the EEC has made its examination—and I understand that the matter is being examined—as to what is the position regarding the nationalities of those nationals of other countries who work, bring up families and reside in the country of another EEC colleague. It is also necessary to look at that. We do not know how long this examination will take, but it is important because, as noble Lords are aware, at the moment nationals of EEC countries are entitled to work and reside in each other's countries.
Then, of course, there is the position of those people who are currently citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who reside in Gibraltar or Hong Kong. Neither of those groups would be happy about a change in their nationality status. The position of the two and a half million people holding British citizenship and living in Hong Kong is perhaps unique. They are mainly Chinese and they have, as I understand it, no right of abode here at all; nor do many of them wish to come here. Probably less than 100 a year come here, and then they come only when they have a labour permit. However, with the possible constitutional change which is to come later in this century, they may well feel more secure in retaining their current nationality status as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. So we ask, why change it at all?
I should just like to quote one other anomaly. There are thousands of Indians quite happily residing and working in Malaysia, and, as we understand it, without too much difficulty. Many of them may not even know that they are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Do we really want to create problems and stir up trouble with their host country? Again, why not leave it alone? Why change it?
Finally, there is no definition whatever in the Bill about what is meant by "British nationality". There are other equally valid points and their possible effects which I could raise, but at this late stage I hope that the Government will give much consideration to a change of mind and will agree to this Bill going to a Select Committee. I make this suggestion not with a view to delaying anything, but in the hope that it will give a much greater sense of security to those who may be subjected to nationality change, and avoid all criticism of having rushed this Bill through Parliament in the other place by a guillotine, and perhaps in this place not so hurriedly.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
My Lords, I feel particularly fortunate in having been given, by the luck of the draw, the first opportunity from this side of the House to offer congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord ElystanMorgan, on his delightful and impressive maiden speech. As I listened to his Welsh eloquence rolling and roaring, as the weather sometimes does among his native mountains, I could not help recalling, as I am sure he will recall, that long stint in another place on the now forgotten Parliament (No. 2) Bill which, when the great men of his party and his Government had decided that it was not going to pass, they abandoned to him and to his right honourable friend Mr. Merlyn 887 Rees, and how gallantly the noble Lord argued the unarguable. It is one of the happy ironies of the way our constitution works out that his own gallant effort largely to destroy in that measure the effectiveness of this place, has ended up so happily with him as a much appreciated Member of it.
I am sure that my noble friend Lord Belstead will appreciate that there is a good deal of disquiet in many quarters about this Bill, and a certain measure of unhappiness and of concern. I must confess to some amusement to hear the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, a former very efficient Chief Whip in the other House, condemning the use of the guillotine there. That was Satan rebuking sin with all the expertise which he alone can command. But it is a fact that this Bill did not get the fullest discussion in another place, that it comes to us at a rather unfortunate time of the year, and that it gives rise to issues many of which have nothing whatever to do with the normal controversies that divide the parties but which require careful analysis and consideration.
For my part, I do not think that that consideration can best be given in a Select Committee. It is much better given in the traditional methods of Parliament in a Committee stage on the Floor of this House, though I would say to my noble friend and to the Government Chief Whip, if he were here—perhaps mercifully he is not—that that examination is likely to take quite a considerable time. It is right that it should, because, as has already been said, though this is an important measure it is not an urgent one compared with some of the measures with which we have to deal in this House concerning the changes and chances of our difficult economic situation. This Bill, though it is importaat, is not urgent in the sense of being required this month, next month, or even in a limited period. It is one of those measures which it is most important that we should get right; more important that we should get right than that we should get through promptly. I am certain that coming as it does on this difficult topic, guillotined in another place, it is going to require careful consideration during the later stages.
The examination it will get this afternoon is, as the list of speakers indicates, likely to be given by a large number of noble Lords, so I shall confine myself to two topics, both of them, I am sorry to have to tell my noble friend, topics on which I feel strongly critical. The first arises on Clause 3 of the Bill. If your Lordships will compare Clauses 2 and 3 you will sec that from the point of view of the citizenship of children born to parents serving this country overseas, a clear distinction is made between those who have the good fortune to be born to those who are serving the Crown overseas (the Diplomatic Corps, and perhaps, even today, a few in the armed forces) and those who are equally serving their country by representing businesses abroad, who are dealt with in Clause 3.
In the first case, if the child is born abroad and one parent is a British subject serving the Crown abroad, as I read the Bill, his British citizenship is automatic. In the second case—that of the representative, shall we say, of a British company in Saudi Arabia—with his child it is not automatic. He can apply to the Home 888 Secretary and if, in the words of the Bill, the Home Secretary sees fit, and if the Home Secretary is satisfied that four conditions spelled out in Clause 3 are satisfied (these conditions themselves are explained by two further pages of the Bill that follow) then the Home Secretary may, if he thinks fit, grant British citizenship to that child.
That is a distinction about which the Confederation of British Industries, which has written to me and to a number of noble Lords, is very much concerned. Those of us who are in industry know two particular things. One, how important it is to get people representing our companies to serve abroad, with all the difficulties of climate, education and all the rest that that service poses, and secondly that it could be a very real discouragement if, on top of all the other problems, there is going to be a doubt as to the citizenship of one of their children born in those countries. The Confederation of British Industries is genuinely agitated at the possible effect of this upon those of us whose companies send representatives abroad.
Perhaps at this stage I should declare an interest because a company of which I happen to be chairman does exactly that, and we are extremely well served by young men who go abroad and who not only serve the company well but undoubtedly serve the British economy well by being willing to go and take up appointments, sometimes in disagreeable places with disagreeable climates, but always far from home. That distinction between automatic citizenship for the child of the civil servant and citizenship at the discretion, if he sees fit, of the Home Secretary for the child of the person who is equally serving this country abroad in a business and commercial capacity is one that is difficult to defend.
If I may be blunt, it is even more difficult to defend when one appreciates the reality. It is not in the ordinary case the Home Secretary who is going to see fit. He cannot, in the nature of things, see more than the occasional case that goes wrong. The matter is going to be decided by a civil servant—if he is not on strike at the particular moment—in the Home Office. It is perhaps indicative of some of the things that went into the drafting of this Bill that the civil servant serving abroad is fully protected in respect of the citizenship of his child, and that the ordinary citizen doing equally important, and perhaps sometimes even more difficult, work is not. I hope that in our consideration of the Bill we shall look at this very seriously because it does not, as some of your Lordships may think, affect only a few people. According to EEC figures there are 80,000 UK citizens working in the European Community alone, leaving aside those throughout the rest of the world, in Arabia, in Asia, in Africa. There are a large number of people concerned, and their work is absolutely crucial to the economy of this country.
If we cannot persuade people to represent our big companies abroad, what is to happen to our export business? What is to happen to our invisible exports? There are obviously—and the noble Lord, Lord Robbins, knows more about this than any of us—going to be very considerable damaging effects. I hope that the Government will be prepared—I know what advice they will get from their advisers—to overrule their advisers and say that there must be 889 equality of treatment in this respect, and that if it is satisfactory for the Crown servant it is satisfactory for the servant of a British company.
The only other matter about which I desire to detain your Lordships is a matter which the noble Lord, Lord Aylestone, just touched on, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, mentioned; the treatment of the people of Gibraltar. Those of us—and there are a number of noble Lords who have had this experience—who know Gibraltar, and those of us who have recently seen the Chief Minister, Sir Joshua Hassan, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Isola, and the Leader of the Labour Party, Mr. Bassano, know how passionately and unanimously the people of Gibraltar feel about the provisions of the Bill which would, if not amended, remove them from their present status of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies with automatic right of access to this country, and put them into the new category of citizens of British dependent territories.
Those of us who know Gibraltar know the passionate loyalty of the Gibraltarians to this country and to the British Crown. They know how they stood the arduous times of war and how they have stood 10 or 12 years of Spanish blockade with unflinching loyalty. They regard this aspect of the Bill—I must say this to my noble friend—as a smack in the face to them and as a failure by this country to appreciate their loyalty. That is the main and emotional side of it. There are of course a few practical angles, one being that they are not all treated the same way.
Your Lordships may recall that during the war the civil population of Gibraltar was evacuated to this country; a considerable proportion of those now in the 36 to 41 age group were born in this country and therefore have such rights as that might give them. Many of them have been educated here. They have come here freely, but now they find themselves faced with a proposal to deprive them of a common citizenship with us in this country which they had thought was assured to them indefinitely.
Then there is the question of access. The Minister of State, Mr. Raison, when I wrote to him at the Home Office about this and asked about the question of their access to this country, included these interesting words in his reply:There is no question in present circumstances of the immigration practice being changed or the administrative concession for entry into the United Kingdom, arising from the unique circumstances of Gibraltar, being withdrawn. They will still be able to enter the United Kingdom to seek and take up employment".No sensible person would happily exchange a present right enforceable in the courts for "in present circumstances there is no intention". I am sure Mr. Raison and his right honourable friend the Home Secretary mean that, but they will not be there for ever. There may be another Secretary of State for the Home Department and another Minister of State who may decide that "present circumstances" have changed. That therefore raises a considerable doubt.
I must face the argument—because if I do not deploy it I know my noble friend, with his usual adroitness, will—that though the Government sympathise with the people of Gibraltar, they cannot distinguish between 890 them and the other dependent territories. I suggest that is a false argument. First of all, the Gibraltarians—there are only 26,500 of them, so if they all decided to come here in one great expedition it would not be of catastrophic size—are the only dependent territory in Europe, and the significance particularly of that (lest noble Lords opposite think I am tending to be even moderately racialist) is that they are already citizens of the European Economic Community. They have that already under Article 227(4) of the Treaty of Rome, and that distinguishes them entirely, I suggest, from the other dependent territories, however admirable and worthy they are.
Indeed, if the Bill stands in its present form there will be the rather curious situation of two different categories of British subjects, both of them having the same international status as citizens of the EEC, which would be an odd and—I know how tidy-minded the Home Office is, and therefore I use the argument—untidy state of affairs. I therefore suggest to my noble friend (I have no doubt we shall be discussing this in the debates on the Bill) that there is here a clear distinction and that it would be perfectly possible for the Bill to be amended so as to provide that where a citizen of a dependent territory is also a citizen of the European Community, he shall then be entitled to be registered as a British citizen. That, effectively, would distingusih their case on respectable and not at all pedantically legalistic grounds from those others who might wish to have a similar status.
I beg my noble friend to consider this issue. I believe he has seen the depth of feeling which this has caused. I am bound to say I share it because I know the Rock and I have, if your Lordships will permit a digression, a very old family connection with it; a forebear of mine helped to defend it during the four-year siege in the 18th century and died in office there as governor at the comparatively youthful age of 84. I know the Rock and I know the spirit of the people there. I know that your Lordships who go there like to see the prominence of the Union Jack and the emphasis on their Britishness, which has been accentuated and sharpened by the clumsy measures which the Spanish Government have seen fit to apply, most unfortunately from their own point of view. To snub that feeling, to turn away a small, faithful, loyal community, to degrade their citizenship standards and hurt their feelings is something this House would want to avoid if at all possible, as I am sure the people of this country would wish to avoid it. Therefore I beg my noble friend—whether by the method I have suggested or by other methods; we can discuss this later—to seek to try to solve this problem; and in that case I hope he himself may share the fate of my forebear, namely, to go out and govern Gibraltar and die there at the age of 84.
Those are my own only comments on the Bill at this stage. I am, as your Lordships will have gathered, unhappy about certain aspects of it. That is no reason for not giving it a Second Reading. We must give it a Second Reading so that it can then be properly discussed and amended. However, if it is not amended, helpfully in a few of these directions, I am bound to tell your Lordships that I shall find it very difficult to support it on Third Reading.
895 These people are concerned, alarmed and disturbed at the way in which their young people are responding to the difficulties which confront them. They are upset at discovering that they need to show their passports in order to be treated at a hospital when they are ill. They are alarmed by the "fishing" raids which have been carried out to detect illegal immigrants, and which have resulted in respectable citizens being taken to police stations, where they spend long hours proving their right to be here. They are disturbed by the fact that there can be sudden discoveries relating to their status which result in their being termed illegal immigrants and threatened with deportation. They are alarmed to find that the Home Secretary will be taking powers in this Bill to deprive them of citizenship on the same grounds as are currently used to declare them illegal immigrants. Then they discover that, after going through all this, their children, who they thought were safe, will now be required to prove not only that they were born here but that their parents had a right to be here at the time of their birth. I can assure your Lordships that some of them have said to me that this looks to them like repatriation by stealth.
The Motion of the noble and learned Lord provides an opportunity for a calm appraisal of the situation, because this Bill will be out of the way for a moment. It will allow us to pause, to take breath and to think again on this matter. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, is establishing great rapport with the people of Brixton and calming their fears, and we should all be grateful to him for the way he is doing that job.
The delay which will be provided by this Motion will allow time for his report to be received and his recommendations implemented. It will also allow time for the Government to try to secure agreement along the lines suggested at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference on the status of British citizens who are living in Commonwealth countries. It will also allow the Government to see to what extent their Bill can conform to the principles enunciated by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury; and it will allow the Government, the Opposition and the leaders of the ethnic minorities, after that is done, to explain the provisions of that Bill and to assuage some of the fears that exist. This is an occasion on which your Lordships' House can act on behalf of the British nation. I implore your Lordships to seize this opportunity.
§ 6.3 p.m.
My Lords, we have just listened to a speech of passionate sincerity by the noble Lord, Lord Pitt—a most powerful speech which I cannot hope to emulate and have no intention of trying to emulate. I am likely to be much more prosaic and somewhat more brief, bearing in mind that my number in the speaking list is only No. 10 and there are over 30 speakers.
I join the chorus of all those in your Lordships' House who feel very unhappy about this Bill. The very complexity of this Bill, as has been said, is a source of great anxiety to many people—many people who will not self-evidently, automatically, immediately or at all aspire to British citizenship under Clauses 1 and 2. 896 This Bill is already doing a disservice to harmonious community relations in this country. I propose to focus my concern on that category of people defined as "British overseas citizens" in Part III of the Bill, and in particular on the dilemma which the provisions of this Bill pose to the East African Asians to whom, as the noble Lord, Lord Home, himself said when he spoke of his own connection and his own commitment, we owe very special responsibility.
I am not unmindful that there are other categories of people covered by this Bill who have anxieties and who feel that they are likely to be unjustly treated. I speak about the East African Asians mainly because of my own long connections with India and with people of Indian origin. I am proud to do so today as I did during the passage of the Immigration Bill in 1968. We have heard that many of those people, holding, as they do, United Kingdom and Colonies passports at present, with the rights and protection which that document affords, are to be deprived, defaulted, of one essential aspect of those rights and that protection—the right of abode anywhere, at any rate for a time being. By my book, to deprive anyone of such a right cannot be correct.
We also know that it is proposed to create the dilemma of insecurity and uncertainty by delay for a considerable number of those East African Indians who are already in this country by virtue of the fact that they have not completed five years' residence; and to create an even greater dilemma for a larger number who are awaiting their turn to come, in the queue, as voucher-holders—most particularly of all, those who have been waiting, some of them for many years, in transit in India. I believe the number may be as many as 39,000.
I am well aware that there may be as many again as that number still in the East African countries from which they originated, but they at least need not suffer delay in coming here as voucher-holders. All these people, having no right of abode anywhere, are going to be placed for the time being in limbo. To call them citizens is a contradiction in terms. As has already been said by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, it makes a nonsense of that word; and I hope the Government will have the honesty, when we come to the Committee stage, to bring forward an amendment to provide for a new title for Part III which does not include the word "citizens".
I, like others, am concerned about the fee they will have to pay, which can amount to anything between £300 and £900, depending on the size of the family. That is a fee to be paid by the breadwinner, and, as we all know, so many of these breadwinners now are (and if the economic forecasts are any guide, they will continue in the future to be) unemployed. I am concerned for those who, when they eventually come to the United Kingdom under the voucher scheme, will have a further five years to wait before (if I have understood this complex Bill correctly) acquiring the right to qualify for naturalisation—which, as we have heard, the Home Secretary has a discretion to refuse. All this adds to the anxiety and the insecurity which these people will suffer.
As to the criteria of naturalisation, I dislike very much indeed the language criterion or qualification in respect of Asian wives. It seems to me that the principle, 897 the reason for it—that of equity with males—is misplaced in this particular respect. It is far harder for many Asian women to acquire a sufficient knowledge of any foreign language on account of their customs, their culture, their lack of education and in some cases their age. Surely an Asian wife may be deemed to have (I think the expression is) thrown in her lot with this country by virtue of her allegiance to her husband and her devotion to her family. We have heard from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, and others about this matter of not giving reasons, the lack of the right of appeal and recourse to judicial review. In respect of the language criterion, that discretion seems to me to be manifestly unjust. We all know that such a decision would be subjective, that it would be taken at a relatively low official level and perhaps with a lack of judgment and even possibly with some prejudice on the part of the person who reports upwards to the Home Office.
So much for the present adult generation of East African Asians who will be placed in this situation. My concern, which I share with other noble Lords, is a concern about their children. We have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, of what they have to do under Clause 1 before they can become British citizens having been born in this country—the ten-year rule, the 90 days, the maximum period during which they can be absent in any of those 10 years—but the point that still remains to be made is that the application may well not be made (for reasons one does not need spelt out) by the parents. The application may have to be made by their child when he or she comes to the age of 18 or more, when he or she applies for a passport. Imagine the complication and the delay of inquiring about those first ten years of residence, about the maximum absence and whether the rules have been complied with. All these facts speak for themselves.
My Lords, they are not the only facts about this Bill which, for my book, label parts of it as manifestly unjust. They will create, and have already created, a good deal of anxiety on the grounds of the insecurity in which the East African Asian community, both here and still abroad, will have been placed, and they have been the natural cause of a good deal of resentment. We pride ourselves on being a just and humane society. The Government insist, rightly, on taking every possible step to improve relationships between all the communities in our multiracial society, that multiracial society which received mention this afternoon from the most reverend Primate and others. Sometimes I wonder whether those who promote a Bill such as this have really fully accepted the fact of a multiracial society; not a society which is the result of invasions from Romans, Norsemen, Saxons and Normans and immigrations that have taken place from abroad and movements within this country, but of immigration of a much wider society, a global society, which is mixing our people into a truly multiracial society—one can say for better or for worse. The most reverend Primate has pointed out the advantages which we derive or could derive from that multiracial constitution.
My Lords, it is my belief that some of the provisions of this Bill—and I have instanced Part III—fail to meet the criteria of justice and humanity; that some of the provisions of this Bill come very close to discrimination 898 on grounds of race, colour and custom. Its very existence at this present time in its present form is already frictional at a time when harmony within our societies is so desperately important.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ Lord Barnby
My Lords, I came into this House this afternoon feeling that the Bill was unsatisfactory and could benefit from redrafting. I felt it was a minefield of words capable of double interpretation—which constitutes a bad Bill. However, after the brilliant catalogue of shortcomings and causes for perplexity about the Bill given us by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, I am still more satisfied that it is going to need (as has been urged in other directions) very considerable discussion and amendment in the course of its passage through the House. One point that I want to make particularly is that it seems to emphasise that environment is all-important and heredity unimportant. Perhaps the faults, whatever they may be, arise from the shortcomings and ill-judgment of previous Bills in 1971, 1948 and so on.
My own reason for intervening received encouragement from the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, who reminded us that what was said in this debate would justify consideration when future immigration Bills came to be discussed. I take the opportunity of congratulating the noble Lord on the strength and interest of his maiden speech. As my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter reminded us, he has had a long experience in these fields of how best to present his thoughts. My feeling is largely actuated by the volume in the past two or three decades of immigration of ethnic groups, differing from the Anglo-Saxon and Nordic populations of this country. I fear that there is danger in this and in its influence in our country. I believe that, as a result of this Bill, there is a likelihood of an increase in the number domiciled in this country and a consequent increase in the numbers of those with a right of entry. If I understood him aright, that was the point made by my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel in his interesting presentation to us.
I believe that the inflow is still too large, but I appreciate the assurance that I had from my noble friend the Minister that the figures available (which I have not seen) for the last few months show that the inflow has actually been considerably reduced. There is little need to remind Members of this House, who have heard it so often in our discussions on immigration, of the unfortunate resulting pressure on schools, on the health services, on education and on housing. That is all justifiable to touch upon in a discussion at this time. Of course, a much bigger inflow of other ethnic groups into this country is the desire of the "one worlders", who want to see complete integration and, rising from that, I suppose, the disadvantages that come from an increase of the proportion of such as the mulatto groups in our country. So many of these ethnic groups have no respect for our habits. They prefer their own habits and their own religions. Complete integration is not one of the possibilities that arise.
Then there is the danger in time of war. My mind goes back to World War I when we did not have the danger of all these potential non-supporters of the 899 British national effort. It arouses in my mind grievous concern.
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, I interrupt the noble Lord with great temerity because of the respect that we have for his agility and eloquence at his age. But does he realise the seriousness of a speech such as his being reported? Does he realise what talking in terms of disloyalty and impossibility of integration does to the security of the ethnic minorities what we have been talking about and are trying to safeguard? I beg him to think twice before he continues his speech in this way.
§ Lord Barnby
My Lords, if the noble and learned Lord does me the compliment of castigating me—possibly quite rightly—I must accept the inability to reply. I must wait until I read Hansard. Alas, my hearing, without my hearing aid, does not take in what he said. I shall read it with great interest because anything coming from him will be a very proper correction. I feel regretful that I have incurred it.
What I was saying—and I am in danger of repeating it—is that I believe that the great proportion of ethnic groups in this country have more respect for their own habits and their own religions than what has been traditional among us as Britons. I take the opportunity of saying this. I justify it by several of the speeches that have been made referring to the confusion of those who may have dual nationality. I urge the Government again—as I have done before—to establish a generous voluntary repatriation fund. I am confident that a very large number of these other ethnic groups, if they had such an opportunity, would readily return to their places of origin and lessen the pressure on our own domestic services.
The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, made an appeal for the residents of Gibraltar. I make a humble appeal for the residents of the Falkland Islands. I have never been there but I had a good deal to do with them in administration in World War I. I feel that they are entitled to the greatest consideration.
In many quarters today patriotism and emphasis of British priority seem to be dirty words. I was glad to hear the most reverend Primate emphasise that patriotism was strongly in his catechism. But I repeat again that I feel that patriotism does not hold the place in our thoughts, actions and behaviour that it used to. I differ from the majority of the Members of your Lordships' House in that I suffer from the misfortune of having been born well back in the last century. I remember that I then lived in a staunchly Conservative household. Partisan politics were emphatic and much more vehement than they are today. I recollect that the very mention of the word of Gladstone brought an almost violent opposition.
I raise this because I repeat my anxiety of the danger in time of war. My mind goes back to the relief of Mafeking. Vehicular traffic in the streets of London stopped. There were milling, dense crowds of jubilant patriots at that event in the war. I go on to the funeral of Queen Victoria. The gun carriage carrying the coffin was pulled to Windsor Castle with a naval contingent taking the place of the horses. One felt full of enthusiasm in the proximity of the naval contingent 900 as it constituted the admiration and loyalty of every Briton.
My Lords, I conclude with my justification of what I have presumed to say. I am among those millions of our fellow countrymen who feel that we would perhaps be less insecure and less crowded if we were without the large inflow of other ethnic groups which have occurred. That is why I urge that we feel great responsibility today and make sure that in the passage of this Bill there is nothing which increases the likelihood of inflow and the right of abode. We had a brilliant exposition of the Bill by my noble friend the Minister, and I commend that thought to him.
§ 6.29 p.m.
§ Lord Chitnis
My Lords, in the four years in which I have sat in your Lordships' House I do not think that I have ever agreed with a single word that the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, has said in this Chamber on any occasion. I thought when I looked at the subject of today's debate that today was unlikely to be the day in which this position was going to change. Even though I recognise that the noble Lord is old enough to be my grandfather, I have to say that he talks more rubbish on this subject than any other person I know inside or outside this House. However, he need not feel that his security is threatened by my presence here, nor will I crowd him out, since I suspect that it will be a long time before I shall find myself sitting on the same Bench as the noble Lord.
I will not, therefore, follow him; nor will I follow those of your Lordships who have already spoken, generally condemning this Bill in principle, because to do so, to repeat the obvious, would be tedious. All I want to do is to follow the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, to make some further points about the difficulties in which some of the East African Asians now in India who are subject to the voucher scheme find themselves. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, covered much of the problem they have but there were some additional points which seemed to me to require answers from the Government if the status of these people is going to be changed.
As many of your Lordships will be aware, there are 5,000 vouchers available globally for people under this scheme, and globally those are under-utilised. Yet even though this is the case, those in India are finding that they still have to wait something like five and a half years for a voucher to be issued to them. Indeed, over the past few years the waiting time has been continually increasing, and I would remind your Lordships of the point that children born to those people while they are waiting after their status has been changed in India will be unable to have British nationality passed to them.
I emphasise that these people have an absolute legal and moral right of abode in this country, and in fact the Government of India rightly regards them as being the legal responsibility of the United Kingdom Government. Indeed, when it was very reasonably decided that admissions from East Africa direct to this country were to be given priority, the Government of India had an understanding with the United Kingdom Government that it would not place difficulties in the way of the other Asians temporarily residing in India, 901 but that this would not affect their eventual admission to the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom Government are dishonouring that understanding by not using the under-taken-up vouchers from East Africa for those still waiting in India, and it seems that they are trying in every possible way to avoid their responsibilities to these people. The Home Office memorandum of December 1977, discussing these people, even had the nerve to say that they could "consolidate their position" by seeking citizenship in India—which would involve their renouncing United Kingdom citizenship.
The other point that has been made is that generally overseas British citizens will not be able to transmit British citizenship to their children, who could then become stateless. An interesting feature about those in India is that this will not happen to them. Children borne to East African Asians waiting for entry from India, if born there, will acquire Indian citizenship because any child born in India acquires citizenship of that country.
The point I make to your Lordships is that there seems to be a cynical reliance on the willingness of India to confer citizenship on a child born there in these circumstances while it is proposed to end the equivalent position in British law that any child born here is a citizen by birth, irrespective of the parents' status. I hope that your Lordships will realise that this is why many members of the ethnic minorities in this country, particularly the Asian minority, feel that, whatever the intention of this Bill, the effect is bound to be racially discriminatory. And other changes in the Bill may be necessary for this charge to be wholly refuted.
In this particular case, the one thing that should be ensured is that citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies in India who are subject to this scheme should not have their nationality status altered and the annual quota should be fully utilised rapidly to clear the current queue. I hope that at some stage as the Bill goes through this House the Government will find it possible to take that view.
§ 6.34 p.m.
The Lord Bishop of Truro
My Lords, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of the general disquiet felt by the Churches in regard to this Bill. I wish to speak about two points in particular: the modification of the jus soli and the question of the right to appeal. But I should first like to say something about legislation of this kind. Any Act of Parliament dealing with a point of substance must command general consensus of opinion if it is to have the desired effect for our society. That consensus must surely embrace both the content and the intention of the legislation, and if that consensus is not forthcoming, and particularly with regard to the intention, then I would say that enforcement may well be difficult, harm may be done and the effect of the legislation may well be very different from that which was intended. One of the points that occurs to me about this Bill is that I do not believe there is a general consensus of opinion about its intention.
The second point about any legislation of this kind is that I believe it must be seen as fulfilling, and not 902 impairing, fundamental characteristics of human nature; and when some of us speak about the moral aspects of this Bill it is precisely for that reason. It is not because we are, as it were, judging it from some arbitrary standard or concept but because we believe that it does impair a fundamental characteristic of human nature—in this case the deep desire on the part of men and women to belong, to have roots and to be secure in those roots.
The general reaction to the Bill leads me to ask if that consensus can be assumed, and I must confess that for myself I have to give the answer, No. I do not think it exists at the present time and I think that lack of consensus springs to some extent from a feeling that changing the basis of our nationality is doing something drastic to the roots of our being. I think it is difficult for those of us who have never had any doubts about our nationality to appreciate the fears and concerns of those who are affected by this Bill. I have talked to many such and I have tried very hard to put myself in their position; and I must say I would be profoundly disturbed and worried—possibly unjustifiably, but that is not the point: the point is that they are.
I think that many of your Lordships share my experience when I say that this has not been by any means the easiest of Bills to understand in preparation for this debate. It has demanded many hours of very careful attention. If we have found it difficult—I should not want to pitch our expectations too highly so as to appear arrogant in any way, but if we who, being here, might reasonably be expected to understand the Bill yet find it difficult, how about some of those who are most affected?
I would also make the point that concern about this Bill is not restricted to those who are particularly concerned with race relations and so on, and those who are concerned with ethnic minorities. Someone made a point to me the other day which I should like to repeat to your Lordships. I might add that this was a person who was white, whose ancestors have been in this country for many years and whose general opinions, generally speaking, would not be in any way offensive to the Government. He said to me: "I can see the need for some degree of immigration control, but changing the basis of our nationality seems to me a very high price to pay." I do not think he was alone in holding that opinion.
May I now turn to the two specific points with which I wish to deal? The first is the modification of jus soli. Hitherto, as has been said already, anybody born in the United Kingdom—with a few exceptions—has, by that fact, acquired citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies, with British subject status. I am told by those who are legally qualified that the legal basis of this is the continued adherence of British law to the primary notion of allegiance to the Crown. I hoped that I might have heard something, from those who have legal and constitutional expertise, of the effect of this change of nationality upon the significance of the Crown in our society. I hope that somebody might like to illuminate me on that point.
The fact is that that provision, and its legal basis, in our increasingly multiracial society has been of inestimable value in reinforcing the process of integration. The registration of births, and the resultant birth certificate, provides clear evidence of citizenship 903 without the need for a separate process of registering it. It is not, of course, a sufficient basis for a comprehensive law of citizenship. Provision needs to be made both for persons born overseas to people with citizenship of the United Kingdom, and for people who wish to settle in this country and acquire its citizenship. Birth has long been the primary means by which the great majority of people acquire British citizenship. That has been one of the great contributing factors in the establishment of our society up to the present time, and, as I said, it has contributed greatly in helping to develop our present multiracial society.
The Government's case for change seems to stem from a desire to restrict citizenship to people who have some real connection with the United Kingdom, and I should like to come back to that point of "real connection" a little later. It was recognised in the White Paper that, to limit citizenship to the children of citizens, would be to go far in the direction of jus sanguinis—citizenship by descent—but it was acknowledged that that would have a serious effect on racial harmony. A number of instances were given of the difficulties which would arise if that alone were accepted. But the Government have also expressed uneasiness on the score, in that allowing birth to confer citizenship on such a child means, also, that after he returns with his parents to their country his own children, born years later, will be British citizens by descent. So there is the reference to the pool of additional British citizens so created, with a right of abode here, who would have no real connection with the United Kingdom.
On the face of it, the requirements in Clause 1 might not seem unreasonable, but the arguments against them are very strong. First, the simplicity and certainty of existing law will be lost. A birth certificate is, at present, all the proof required to show that a person born in the United Kingdom is a full citizen. Once a birth certificate ceases to be proof, a whole new bureaucratic procedure will be required to establish whether or not children born here are citizens.
Perhaps I may just remind your Lordships that it would eventually be up to both parents and their children to prove their citizenship. The parents' status would have to be proved. The Government propose to leave the process of proof to the parents, or later to the child, to establish. Parents born in the United Kingdom will have ready proof of their own citizenship in their birth certificates, though after about 20 years parents born here, after the commencement of the new Act, will have a double process of proof to go through for themselves and for their children.
Further, the definition of "settled" in the Bill, as was said by several of your Lordships earlier, is unclear and depends, in part, on ordinary residence; a term with no clear meaning in immigration law, which is the part of the law that will cover it. It will be the case that some parents, legally though temporarily here, like students, will not have their children born here as citizens, and some who have actually been admitted legally for permanent residence will still not be considered ordinarily resident by the Home Office, and their children will not therefore be entitled to citizenship.
Reference has already been made to the Filipino 904 girls whose cases caused so much distress. They thought they were happily settled here, and legally so, and then found that the situation was not as they had thought. But the new rule could affect many refugees who settled here, if they had children in the first four years after admission and before obtaining settlement. It will, of course, affect many foreigners with Commonwealth parents. Some children will actually be born stateless in the United Kingdom. This will occur if the law in the parents' countries does not, in particular circumstances, allow citizenship by descent, or where the parents are themselves stateless.
I do not find the arguments for change convincing. As has already been said, it is not likely that a great many women will come here just to have their babies born British. In any case, we should remember that no airline these days will carry women who are more than seven months pregnant, which is not irrelevant to the argument. Furthermore, National Health Service treatment is not available for confinements to people who are visitors anyway.
Clause 1(3) provides that a child born here a non-citizen, whose father or mother later becomes settled here, will be entitled to registration. This entitlement will certainly not be known to all the parents involved. Those who do know of it, and make use of it, will have to go through the process of registration with an already over-burdened Home Office, in order to get what could have been their child's right from birth without any procedural requirements at all.
I know that there is a provision in Clause 1(4), but, frankly, it defeats the imagination to see how that would work. There is the difficulty, or, at best, wearisomeness of producing proof of not more than 90 days' absence in each of the first 10 years of your life. How many of your Lordships could have done that when you were 11, even in the days when travel abroad was not quite as frequent as it is now, in this more affluent age?
But the point I want to make is that, in practice, hardly any children will be able to benefit from this amendment. By definition, they will have been born to parents here either temporarily or illegally and they will have no right of abode. They will be deported. In practice, when the parents have to leave, they will have to leave, and long before they reach the tenth birthday. So I do not think the claim that this amendment does away with the objections to the abandonment of jus soli can stand great weight.
But the main point I want to make on the abandonment of jus soli is this. It is the emphasis on a real connection which really worries me. It is a very subjective concept, in an area where clarity and precision are required. How are we to judge concepts such as identification with and loyalty to British society? They are subjects of daily political and moral debate, precisely because they mean different things to different people. How are we to judge whether somebody has a real connection with the United Kingdom? Is it the man who takes an active part in political life, but spends his time being highly critical of the Government of the day, or is it the man who is just doing his daily job extremely well, without drawing anybody's attention to it? The Government are not very logical over this point, because, as has been pointed out, a man with a grandfather who lived in this country at six months 905 will have rights, if he is living abroad, which are not shared by somebody whose mother may have lived here for many years and moved abroad to marry. The connection would appear to be greater in the latter case than in the former, which was by descent.
It is the question of real connection and its meaning which brings me to the second main point; namely, the right of appeal. When I spoke to the Minister about this matter he gave me the arguments in favour of a discretionary system rather than one which was basically judicial. There was a press release after our meeting which summarised his view that the right of appeal from a refusal of naturalisation would represent a shift from a basically flexible administrative system which had been used for many years to a judicial approach which would depend on a few objective criteria, rigidly applied. There was also a problem about divulging security considerations in open court. The press release also noted my reaction that the Government's approach relied too much on subjective criteria.
It must be accepted that a discretionary system has certain advantages, not least the freedom from restrictive judicial rulings on appeal. Where political decisions are involved, those responsible must retain freedom of manoeuvre but it must be questioned whether the grant of naturalisation or discretionary registration is of this character. In 1980, 6,825 such applications were granted. An administrative process on this scale requires the elaboration of guidelines which can be applied by civil servants and which ensure consistency of approach.
The risk is not so much, I would suggest, of wholly arbitrary, inconsisent decisions but of decisions based on unpublished guidelines, of which account has not to be given. The case for requiring publication of reasons and for providing a right of appeal is in essence the case for reducing the imbalance between the individual and a system which of necessity tends to be restrictive and secretive. Recently, in the Church of England Board for Social Responsibility of which I am chairman, we had a discussion about rights of information and summarised our discussion in a paper which was published. We emphasised there the risks to which individuals today may be exposed when decisions concerning them are taken on the basis of information about them, of which they may be ignorant and which in fact may be inaccurate.
But the case for a right of appeal is in my judgment greatly strengthened by the Government's decision in Committee in the other place to add to the Bill the non-discrimination provision, now Clause 43(1). This provides, as has been said already, that any discretion vested in the Secretary of State shall be exercised without regard to the race, colour or religion of any person affected by its exercise. This is a very welcome addition to the Bill and should be acknowledged as such. However, it has already been pointed out that it logically requires to be accompanied by provisions which enable it to be seen that non-discrimination is in fact being practised.
In conclusion, I should like to make one simple point, based on my experience of the administration of a diocese. If, with the pastoral committee of the diocese, I produce a scheme of pastoral reorganisation for an area in the diocese which both I and the pastoral 906 committee fervently believe to be just, sensible and wise and which we believe takes account of the interests of all concerned and if, having published those proposals, they are met with dismay, concern and disquiet, are misunderstood and, as I would see it, are unjustly criticised, then I believe that it is my duty to think again. It may be that in the long run I shall still feel it right to press forward certain points, notwithstanding, but I shall have taken, I hope, infinite trouble to have tried to listen to those people and to understand why they are concerned. I am not suggesting that the Government have not tried to do that, but it has already been said today that there is no great urgency about this matter.
I believe that in the interests of our country as a whole, and in particular of ethnic minorities—I have said little about them today but they do suffer a very great deal, and that we must recognise—it befits us to do all in our power to alleviate their fears and worries. Yes, in such a situation I would want to think again—as I say, even though I might think the criticisms misconceived and even though I might think that I have been unjustly criticised. The Government may well be convinced of the fairness and the rightness of this Bill and may well feel that we who have criticised it are misguided. I do not question their integrity or their intentions, but I do ask the Government to recognise that those who criticise the Bill do so because they, like the Government, according to their own professions are profoundly and deeply concerned with the welfare of this country and the harmony of all who live here.
§ 6.57 p.m.
My Lords, I am pleased to have the opportunity to take part in this debate, though I do not have the great qualifications of so many other noble Lords who have spoken. However, I worked in Malaysia for over four years, in East and Central Africa for over a year and in India for nine months. Therefore I have had the opportunity to mix with a great many different people. Also, for over 25 years I have been on the executive committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and have kept up my contacts. This is one of the most important Bills to come before the House this session. It affects the lives of millions of people. I believe that the Commonwealth is one of the best organisations—certainly it is better than the United Nations—for getting people together and creating understanding. I do not want any of this to be disturbed, if this can be avoided.
I should like to thank my noble friend Lord Belstead for being so succinct and for putting forward the Government's point of view on a very difficult matter in a way which has cleared up many of the problems. I should also like to say to my noble friend sitting below me that I do not think he needs to be frightened about so many things, as he is. He may remember that when we went into the last war the Barbadians sent a telegram to us saying, "Go ahead, Britain. Barbados is behind you". I think that this would happen again in the future. I was delighted to hear the last speaker talk about discrimination. I must say to him that the Church discriminates against women. Perhaps he will be able to change his mind about that. One cannot have it both ways. My noble friend Lord 907 Boyd-Carpenter knows that I have just been to a conference in Gibraltar. I fully support what he has said. It seems ironic that Gibraltarians can come into this country by means of the provisions of the Treaty of Rome and in no other way legitimately. I think that the idea of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury about Canada is excellent. They are crying out for young people. I have already had a number of opportunities to help young people to go there.
It is gratifying that so many of the bishops are here today. A little while ago I was in the Edgware Road waiting for a bus when somebody from the Caribbean asked me where he could find a church full of people. Fortunately, I was able to tell him that All Saints, Margaret Street, is generally very well attended. He said to me, "Your country brought Christianity to our country. We are beginning to wonder whether you really believe in it now." As I have said, it is very comforting to see the bishops here today. I hope they will take an even greater part in the future in getting matters sorted out for those who really need help.
I do not really like the Motion on the Order Paper. It makes people even more anxious. I hope that it will not be moved because I do not think that it will be at all helpful. It is very unfortunate to bring in the Scarman Inquiry which is doing so well. People may think that it is not doing as well as it is. I am very glad that the noble and learned Lord told me that once I was of the ethnic minority, because I am English—very English—and, as he said, well, I survived it and I suppose many others will, too. But I should like to draw attention to the fact that over the years we have had so many people here—the Huguenots and the Jews and a smaller number of Cypriots—and we have brought in many refugees from time to time. Eventually they have all proved to be good citizens and I am quite sure that will happen again.
I should also like to mention the voucher system. I believe it will continue and will knit together people with United Kingdom passports living outside the United Kingdom. I understand that there are about 5,000 Asian families (making about 30,000 people in all) from East Africa waiting in India for admission.
I should like to turn now to another point in regard to nationality. I am worried about abandonment of the principle of citizenship by birth, as so many people have said today. Throughout our history from the 13th century a child born on the territory of this country has automatically, from birth, been a subject, and since 1948 a citizen. The simple principle has meant that there was certainty about the nationality of anyone who was born in this country. It also has played an important part in the creation of a society that has been identified (and I think this is very important) by rights and obligations held in common rather than by ancestry. The Bill abandons that principle, which I think is unfortunate, and proposes for the first time to make our citizenship dependent upon descent from a citizen parent or from a parent settled here. The Filipinos have been mentioned and at one time au pair girls caused a great deal of anxiety, but the definition of "settled" in the Bill is complicated and is not, I 908 think, secure. It will give rise to many uncertainties and personal problems.
The creation of different categories of citizenship and of nationality with no rights attached is a very difficult conception. The new British citizenship will carry on rights to enter and reside and work in any territory for which the United Kingdom Government are responsible. The two other proposed citizenships, the remaining categories of protected persons and the British subject without citizenship in any Commonwealth country will have no right of entry anywhere attached to their nationality. The peoples of the dependencies are given a status belonging to no particular territory but the generic citizenship of the British dependent territories, and I wonder what will happen when some of the territories become independent, with more difficulties.
Wide executive powers—which I think have been mentioned already—are given to the Secretary of State to grant citizenship and there is no appeal against those decisions. There is the cutting off of existing entitlement to registration of those Commonwealth citizens settled here and non-British wives of British men, and I am wondering what will happen to (to use a term that is used a great deal now in this country) the common law wife. Will she have any rights at all? I agree with other speakers that we may create statelessness. Some children born in the future in the United Kingdom to British citizen parents born overseas will also be stateless. In addition, British overseas citizens, British protected persons and British subjects without citizenship in any Commonwealth country will be unable to transmit their nationality to their children in any circumstances; therefore even more children may be born stateless.
British overseas citizens are not given the right to transmit citizenship as this Bill is drafted at the present time. What worries me about the Bill is that, as has been mentioned before, it has connotations with the Immigration Bill. I think about 28 other Acts of Parliament also come into it, which makes it even more confusing. It appears that the right that cannot be given here to a child is presumed to be available to a child of overseas citizens. Clause 7 deals with registration by virtue of marriage. This is another difficult problem in the case of two persons who have children without being married. I should like to ask whether registration is still to be done through High Commissions or through the consulates for people living overseas? Can this be done under Clause 26 at any future date? Also, is it accurate to say that, according to this Bill, no citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies has a right to a British passport? I shall be glad if the noble Lord the Minister will confirm whether that is the case.
Finally, nationality has no definition and it would be helpful if we could have some idea of that. For example, on the Hong Kong question, which I have no doubt we shall be raising at the Committee stage, I was given this point of view: "If asked by an immigration authority in a third country—and they do ask this—to describe our nationality, do we answer, 'British' or 'British citizen' or 'citizen of British dependent territories'?" That is not a very nice answer to have to give. On the other hand what are these people to answer in future? I gather that they 909 would like to be British nationals under Clause 4. I have a little sympathy and experience in this matter because when I was working in Malaysia my passport ran out and I had to get one in Singapore. In every country that I went to I had to declare the position and I had to pay for extra visas when I came to Europe. I was asked why I was travelling with that passport and what was my nationality. So I have a little understanding of some of the problems that may occur for these people unless we can get the position right in this Bill. I hope that my noble friend will consider these points.
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Lord Gifford
My Lords, those of us who have never had occasion to doubt our British citizenship I think must take a leap of the imagination in order to put ourselves into the shoes of those who are affected by this Bill. Then we might understand how fundamental are the questions which it raises. As the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Truro said, the central question is whether people belong to this country and should therefore be treated as its citizens. The refusal of citizenship is a statement that you do not belong, that you are alien, that you are not accepted. The grant of citizenship is a declaration that you are part of the British community.
How necessary it is that this Bill should be fair and just when our country is now composed of immigrants and the children of immigrants from all parts of the world who belong as much as any of us but who are constantly being told by racists and by others who should know better that they do not belong. To be acceptable, a nationality Bill should at least fulfil two criteria: first, there should be clear, workable, certain definitions of citizenship in order that people can establish that they are citizens, and, secondly, in cases of dispute there must be effective channels of redress.
This Bill fails on both of those counts. It takes away that clear, certain definition that a person born in Britain is a British citizen. I cannot believe that the consequences of this provision have really been thought through. As other noble Lords have explained, a person who is born in Britain now will have to show either a parent who is a citizen or a parent who is settled or that they have been here for the first 10 years of their life without being absent for 90 days. When these issues come up and applications for passports are scrutinised or other questions of citizenship arise, whose applications will be the most rigorously scrutinised? Obviously, those of people who are born to immigrant parents.
At the very best, there will be uncertainty and long bureaucratic delays, for which the Home Office, I am afraid, in this field is absolutely notorious. It can take years for an answer even to be given to an application for nationality. If the parents of the applicant are dead, or have emigrated, or have no passport, or have lost their passports, or have split up, or have left their child in the care of a local authority, or in a great number of other uncertain circumstances, there is the possibility of the most severe injustice, people in a kind of limbo of not belonging, made all the worse as I understand it, as there is not even a right which can be justiciable in a court to obtain and possess a 910 British passport.
Why is all this uncertainty being created? The Government have made their position clear in paragraph 43 of their White Paper. It says,:The Government's main uneasiness"—I emphasise the words "main uneasiness"—on this score is that allowing birth to confer citizenship on such a child means also that after he returns with his parents to their country his own children born years later will be British citizens by descent. The additional British citizens so created, with the right of abode here, would form a pool of considerable size, and they would have little or no real connection with the United Kingdom".This is a phantom scare, a bogy which is being created as to which there is no evidence at all. I ask the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, whether he can say that any trickles of this pool of considerable size have been dropping into British consulates around the world—these occasional children of visitors or transients claiming years later that they are entitled to British citizenship. There is no evidence which has been adduced in another place that this is happening at all.
I should like to take a little bit further the point which my noble friend Lord Elystan-Morgan made. I warmly congratulate him on his maiden speech; it was an inspiring and thoughtful contribution to this debate. He said that only a few thousand children are born to temporary visitors in this country each year. The numbers we are concerned with are far far fewer than that. The vast majority of the few thousand visitors or students or businessmen on temporary permits to whom children are born in this country take their children home to their own countries at the end of their stay and bring them up in their own countries; and the children in question, if they know they could be British citizens, probably do not care and do not exercise the entitlement. Those who stay will probably stay for 10 years, and therefore be British citizens in any case. So for the sake of a handful of children, for the sake of tidying up a pretended anomaly in the law, we are doing away with a principle which has stood for hundreds of years, and worse, we are creating this uncertainty and certain injustice in a number of cases.
Coming to the second criterion that I posed, the more complicated the law is, the more necessary it is for someone who has been aggrieved to have an effective right of redress. This Bill is a very complicated Bill. It introduces far more complications and uncertainties into the law than were there before. But, at the same time, it takes enormous pains to protect the Secretary of State from any form of judicial review of his decisions. It is a bureaucrats' charter and it is necessary to examine how it works. As I understand it, there are two classes of people who are likely to seek citizenship under the Bill, those who seek to be naturalised, which is a purely discretionary application, and those who will seek to be registered, which is said by the Bill to be an entitlement.
Those who seek naturalisation—and those now are to include the husbands and wives of British citizens, and a number of other new categories—are caught by the provisions of Section 43(2). They are to be given no reasons in the case of refusal. They are to have no right of appeal anywhere and there is to be no judicial review of the Secretary of State's decision. This may 911 indeed reflect existing law, but if we are overhauling existing law, it is fitting to say that that is not good enough for a reform. In a number of other countries, notably the United States of America and Canada, there have been created effective forms of appeal against the refusal of naturalisation, and I pray in aid particularly the United States, whose capacity to build in effective forms of legal process to give redress against administrative decisions is well known. Why can we not follow? Why should we accept that such fundamental decisions as citizenship entails should be taken by secret unreviewable processes under the exclusive control of the Civil Service?
The problem does not end with these purely discretionary provisions about naturalisation. Even when there is an entitlement to citizenship under the Bill, there is a catch. The people who are to be citizens, who are to be registered as citizens, are not automatically entitled if certain conditions are fulfilled; they are only to be entitled if the Secretary of State is satisfied that they are fulfilled. The injection of those extra words may seem harmless, but for the purposes of considering whether there is an appeal they are absolutely crucial. If you go to court and say, "I am entitled; the Secretary of State has got it wrong", the court will not ask, "Are you a citizen, are the relevant conditions fulfilled in your case"? They will ask a much more limited question; they will ask, "Was there any basis on which the Secretary of State could have made the decision which he did? Did he act unreasonably"?
It has recently been established in parallel cases of immigration, by the House of Lords, that that is the case. The words of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilberforce, in the House of Lords, in the Zamir case are worth studying, because this is the test which will apply to this Bill. The noble Lord said in that case, which was a decision to deport:The decision can only be attacked if it can be shown that there were no grounds on which the Secretary of State, through his officers, could have acted, or that no reasonable person could have decided as he did".Stripped of its legal language, the lesson is this. Wherever you see the words "if the Secretary of State is satisfied"—and they appear no less than 26 times in this Bill—you should be very cautious. The right of judicial review is pared down. It is wrong to say it is non-existent: you could go to a court, but if the Secretary of State were to say, "I did not believe the applicant", or "I considered all the case and I did not think he had a close connection", or "I did not think he was telling the truth when he said he had been here for 10 years", or whatever it might be, the court would not intervene. One thing that needs to be done to this Bill is to strip away the words:If the Secretary of State is satisfied".Some of the factors causing bitter resentment among ethnic minority communities are: the uncertainty which is generated about their status; the inquiries and the delays which will be caused to establish an entitlement; and the absence of effective redress if mistakes are made. Those are matters which this House can change without even detracting from the basic purpose of the Bill to tidy up British citizenship.
912 Finally, I should like to add one or two comments to what has been said about British overseas citizenship. That is a second grade citizenship; an insult to those to whom it is offered. This topic takes me back to one of the earliest battles in which I was engaged in your Lordships' House in February 1968, when the Commonwealth Immigrants Act was introduced to this House by a Labour Government. The House of Lords put up massive opposition against the combined force of two Front Benches. It was my noble friend Lord Brockway who led the charge, but Back-Benchers from every party in the House as well as those from none and from the Benches of the Prelates very nearly succeeded in overturning the will of those Front Benches in a vote at 2.30 in the morning.
The Labour Front Bench—certainly Mr. Hattersley who spoke in another place—have, I think, repented of that Bill. In those circumstances I think that this House can repeat more effectively its opposition: it can avoid compounding the injury of imposing immigration controls upon those British citizens who are affected by the Bill by the insult of giving them a so-called British overseas citizenship which means nothing at all. I hope that this will be another area in which the House can change the Bill and, in changing it, allay the fears which so many of us on all sides of the House believe are justified, having regard to the Bill as it stands.
§ 7.23 p.m.
§ Lord Renton
My Lords, thanks to the wise and important speech made by my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel, I shall be able, I trust, to shorten my own a good deal. But I shall refer in passing to one or two points made by the noble Lord, Lord Gifford. The citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies, introduced for the first time in 1948 by the then Labour Government, has been overtaken by circumstances. It has, in effect, become obsolete and it is overdue, I suggest, for replacement. Indeed, it is arguable that when the Labour Government legislated in 1968 in a way with which we are all familiar, that would have been a suitable moment for making the change. However, that was some 13 years ago and it was not done.
I support the Bill mainly because it reflects the reality of what has happened since 1962 when, towards the end of four and a half years in the Home Office with Mr. Butler, I had the responsibility of joining with him in piloting what became the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of that year. It was an Act which the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, earlier in the debate described as having a racial basis. But I say with deep respect to the noble Lord's great sincerity that that was not true, because we were at the receiving end of protests from people in Canada, Australia and New Zealand who expected to be treated better than they were treated. However, we insisted that all Commonwealth citizens should be treated the same, and they were treated the same in that Bill.
The Labour Party said at the time that they would repeal the Bill, but of course they never did so. In fact they tightened the control in the 1968 Act. It was said in another place on behalf of the Labour Party that they would, if they had the opportunity, repeal this Bill when it gets on the statute book. I 913 was rather relieved that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, did not mention that possibility today because, quite frankly, once this Bill is on the statute book I think that it might cause great confusion if it were repealed.
I congratulate the Government on the substance of the Bill and the open-minded way in which they made it more acceptable to all concerned in another place. I should like to say in passing that, without doubting the sincerity of any noble Lords, it is very sad that colour prejudice is too often alleged against good people who do not practise it. This holier than thou attitude gets nobody anywhere: it is unconstructive and it does not help to improve race relations whatever the motive from which it stems.
No major Bill in recent years has been misunderstood so seriously nor, I think, misrepresented so thoughtlessly as this Bill has been. Heaven knows! it is complicated, and I shall say a little more about that in a moment. I should also like to say in passing that I agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, about some of the difficulties that will arise through the lack of clarity of purpose and meaning. I think that that is something that we might well try to improve in Committee. However, there is no excuse for people, who I suggest should know better, condemning the Bill, not for what it does but because of the impression and the fear which they say it would create among the ethnic minorities, whatever its effect may be and, indeed, contrary to the effect which one can glean from the Bill. So that attitude also can only damage race relations in this country.
The idea that the Bill is racialist was courageously and effectively demolished in another place by a Labour Member, Mr. Alexander Lyon. I must not quote his words, but I am entitled to point out that he maintained that, apart from one matter which the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, raised, which lawyers know as the jus soli—the nationality which arises automatically from the place of birth—a matter which still worried Mr. Lyon, he said quite clearly that the Bill was no longer racist. At the other end—
§ Lord Avebury
My Lords, if the noble Lord will give way, I should just like to say that not everybody in this House would accept Mr. Lyon, as the ultimate authority on this matter.
§ Lord Renton
My Lords, he may not be the ultimate authority but he is a man of principle who resigned from his position, I think as Minister of State at the Home Office, because he disagreed with the Labour Government of the day on their policy for race relations. He is a man of deep sincerity as well as of great ability, and in another place a very great deal of note was taken of what Mr. Alexander Lyon said on Third Reading. I think that one is entitled to quote him, at any rate to the extent that he denied the racial character of this Bill.
At the other end of the political spectrum there are those who fear and complain that the Bill will lead to an increase in the coloured population, which now numbers about 3 million and which will inevitably further increase steadily year by year, the more so unless immigration policy is changed fundamentally. But this Bill will not affect the amount of immigration 914 one way or the other. So those who take the view that it will increase immigration have nothing to fear, although they may be disappointed that it does nothing to stem the flow when we already have so many unemployed.
This is a nationality Bill but it is one which, rightly or wrongly, by reference to the Immigration Act 1971, causes the operation of the nationality law to depend in tens of thousands of individual cases upon the operation and effect of the immigration law without substantially changing that law, although it substantially amends the 1971 Act. Apart from one's age and the question of whether one is a male or a female, there is nothing more important in life than one's nationality. The law which determines this should be clear, certain and, if possible, easily understood.
To put it as mildly as I can, I find it regrettable that a major Bill, which is so sound in substance and dealing with such a fundamental human status as nationality, should depend upon such complex legislation by reference to the Immigration Act 1971 and other statutes. Having said that, I think that the Bill is necessary. I consider that it is timely, realistic, sensible and fair, that it should pass into law, and I shall vote for it.
§ 7.32 p.m.
§ Lord Foot
My Lords, I hope to detain the House for only a few moments. I shall refrain from the temptation to discuss any further the merits or demerits of this Bill. I should like, in a few moments, to ask the Government some questions about how the Bill will be dealt with in the later stages of Committee, Report and Third Reading. Perhaps I can express what I want to say in the form of three propositions.
The first proposition is one which I think will receive almost universal assent, in this House at any rate. It is that the business on which we are engaged in this Bill is likely to be the most important business that is transacted not only in this Session but in this Parliament in relation to the future wellbeing of our society. Many of us for a long time have thought that in this country we need a new constitutional settlement. That would perhaps involve the restructuring of our political and governmental institutions, and it would perhaps involve the redefinition of civil rights and the rights of the citizen. However, underlying those great questions there is the more fundamental question which is raised by this Bill; that is, who is it who is to be entitled to participate in the working of those institutions, and who is entitled to enjoy those civil rights? That is the first proposition.
The second proposition is one to which the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, referred in the preliminary observations in his speech. I believe it is supremely important that, as far as is humanly possible, in trying to redefine British citizenship and the other citizenships about which we are talking, on this occasion we should get it right. This point was also made by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Truro, who said that if this legislation is to last and to be effective, there must be a consensus. I would put it this way. We must settle the issue which is now before us on a basis that will so commend itself to the majority of people in this country as being fair and just that it 915 will be an enduring settlement.
However, some remarks have caused me great dismay. I do not say this in criticism of Mr. Hattersley but during the course of the debates in the other place he said that in course of time, if this Bill remained practically unamended, it would be the intention of any future Labour Government to repeal it. I say that that causes me dismay, not in criticism of Mr. Hattersley, but I would regard it as wholly deplorable if, in these two Houses and in this Parliament, we could not arrive at a definition of the citizenship of this country which would be acceptable to all parties in the state. That is the supreme objective that we should have—to try to arrive at a final settlement of what citizenship should consist of.
The third proposition which I would venture to put to the House is that the issue of citizenship is the last of all issues that ought to be settled in the cockpit of party strife. I entirely agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, said earlier, that this Bill is neither urgent, nor is it a matter that ought to be the subject of party dispute. One of the things that caused me considerable dismay about proceedings in the other place when this Bill was being dealt with, was the way in which the House divided over and over again upon party lines. Perhaps I could just give one illustration.
Today much has been said about Clause 1 and, of course, the great argument about the jus soli and so on is central to the whole matter which we are discussing. The issue there, of course, is whether a British birth certificate should remain incontrovertible evidence of British citizenship. That is the issue. I shall not speak about the merits of it, but I would invite your Lordships to consider how that matter was dealt with in the other place.
There was a long debate during the Report stage upon this issue. If I may say so with respect, it was a debate which, for the most part, was conducted upon a high intellectual and sensible level. It was a great credit to the House that the matter was discussed in that way. I happened, quite incidentally, to be present and had the pleasure and advantage of hearing Mr. Enoch Powell. Mr. Enoch Powell was speaking about the problems and the difficulties of dual nationality. Although I did not agree with the conclusions at which he arrived, to listen to Mr. Powell talking upon a subject of that kind is part of one's education. Indeed, I would say to any student in this country who is engaged in studying international law or constitutional law that that speech of Mr. Powell should be prescribed and required reading. That was the standard of the debate that was conducted. But what happened when they went to a Division? The House divided on that subject and on that debate in almost exactly the same way as it would have divided upon a minor clause in a housing Bill or after talking about the closed shop. I regard it as appalling that this matter should be settled upon that sort of party basis.
That brings me to what is going to happen here in this House as this Bill goes through its different stages. The most reverend Primate the Archbishop reminded us just now that there are indeed grave issues which have still to be decided. In that remarkable maiden speech 916 that we heard from the noble Lord sitting on the Opposition Benches, he went out of his way to ask the direct question of the Government: Is Clause 1, which is virtually the heart of the Bill, going to be negotiable in this House? Is the Government's mind absolutely closed? Is it still open? We are entitled—and indeed I think we must ask the Government this question now that they have the Bill through the House of Commons—to know whether they are now going to be engaged in the further stages of this Bill in simply defending an entrenched position. Are the major issues which are still there open for discussion? Or is the role of this House to be reduced simply to tinkering with the wording of the Bill, which would, as I suggest, achieve nothing at all?
I ask these questions because in matters of this kind, in matters of constitutional law, of the rights of the citizen, of international law, this House, with all its faults, can make a contribution quite as important as any contribution that could be made in the other place. This House has a unique quality of accumulated wisdom and experience which expecially equips it to pronounce upon a Bill of this major importance. I hope, therefore, in these next few weeks as we discuss this Bill that we shall have a real debate. I hope that the Government's mind is not closed to argument. They have already—and I am glad to acknowledge this—given way on one or two points, as the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, was telling us. I hope that that form of operation may continue.
Perhaps I might conclude with an anecdote about the contribution which this House might make to this debate. Many years ago I saw a television programme called "Face to Face". Many of your Lordships may remember it. Mr. John Freeman used to interview distinguished people. On this occasion, the interview was with Mr. Adlai Stevenson shortly after he had been defeated for the second time for the Presidency of the United States. It struck me at the time, and I have remembered it ever since, how towards the end of the interview Mr. Freeman said to Mr. Stevenson, "Well, Mr. Stevenson, you have now been working in the politics of your country for 30 years. On two occasions you have fought for the highest position in the state, and on two occasions you have been defeated. Do you think that you have made any particular contribution to the good government of your country?" Adlai Stevenson paused for a moment. He then said, "Well, Mr. Freeman, I hope that I have done something to raise the level of the dialogue". I hope, my Lords, that in our discussions we may be able to maintain the level of the dialogue.
§ 7.44 p.m.
§ Lord Merrivale
My Lords, in view of the long list of speakers, and despite my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter's strong and eloquent plea for Gibraltar, I propose to confine my remarks to the question of the citizenship of the people of Gibraltar. It seemed to me that the Government are being excessively stubborn on this question, despite logical and realistic pleas in another place on Second Reading, and in Standing Committee F on 28th April, when an amendment to exclude Gibraltar from Schedule 6 and to add its name in what is now Clause 49 to the names of the Channel 917 Islands and the Isle of Man was then defeated only by the casting vote of the chairman; and again on 2nd June, when the Government's majority was reduced to 25.
On that day, the Home Secretary conceded that the exclusion of the people of Gibraltar from British citizenship had nothing whatever to do with Spain or the Spanish position on Gibraltar. Emphasis was placed on the consequences for Hong Kong with, I feel, a total disregard for the fact that Gibraltar is in Europe, is part of the European Community, has had the closest links with this country for nearly three centuries, and that as a fortress it can never become independent. Furthermore, as has been mentioned before, as recently as 1967, by referendum, the people of Gibraltar overwhelmingly reaffirmed their desire to remain British.
Last April, the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Richard Luce, reaffirmed the Government's intention to honour the preamble to the 1969 Constitution. In their White Paper of July last year, Cmnd. 7987, under the heading British Citizenship, Permanent Arrangements for Acquisition, et cetera, the Government state that applicants should be expected to demonstrate a real intention to throw in their lot with this country. Surely the people of Gibraltar as a whole have done that by sharing the exigencies of war in the distant past and in the two World Wars; by adopting a democratic system of government based on the principles and ideals of Westminster; by a judicial system which follows that of Britain; by having an educational system and a public service based on that in Britain, and so on.
Furthermore, if the people of the Channel Islands, for instance, are to be British citizens but are not to be defined as United Kingdom nationals for Community purposes of free movement of labour, surely then, as the people of Gibraltar under paragraph 227(4) of the Treaty of Rome are United Kingdom nationals for EEC purposes, accepting as they did the requirement that any EEC national has the right of entry, they should be entitled to British citizenship. Let us not forget that this requirement was accepted by Gibraltar despite the consequences it could have on Gibraltar's resources.
I believe that they deserve, and should have, a right to what they consider to be first class citizenship; for in the words of the article which came out on Thursday, 14th May last, in the Guardian, they are already the EEC's only second class citizens, since they are without a vote and therefore without the right of representation in the European Parliament. For the people of Gibraltar British citizenship is not a question of immigration into Britain—a right they already have, as has been said before—but a matter of status. Surely that is something we cannot deny them, bearing in mind their British traditions, their connection with the EEC and the intense political and economic pressures as well as physical restrictions that have been applied on them by Spain for the last 15 years. In their reply of 1st January to Gibraltar's memorandum containing representations on the proposals of last summer's White Paper British Nationality Law, to which T referred, Her Majesty's Government stated:Gibraltarians will not be materially affected under the terms of the Bill".The Government omitted to mention how psycholo 918 gically affected they would be.
As for the Home Secretary's reference to the resentment of the people of Hong Kong if Gibraltarians were granted British citizenship, it would appear that the people of Hong Kong are already resentful of the fact that Her Majesty's Government are taking away by legislation their existing citizenship, and they would prefer to retain their present United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship with, for instance, the added words in their passports, "No right of abode in the United Kingdom" for those citizens who do not already have it. The people of Hong Kong also appear resentful of the fact, as I see it, that there has been no clear definition of "nationality"—that point has already been made; in other words, they feel that the citizens of the three categories should all be British or United Kingdom nationals, Therefore. they already have some grievances, so I cannot see that the question of Gibraltar should affect them to any extra extent.
It would be regrettable and unrealistic if the people of Hong Kong continued in their objections to the granting of British citizenship to the people of Gibraltar for, in effect, they would thus be desirous of totally ignoring the fact that Gibraltarians are considered United Kingdom nationals by the European Community countries. Also, not to grant such citizenship to the people of Gibraltar would create and perpetuate a totally anomalous situation whereby in a two and a quarter square mile area there would be a two-tier system of citizenship because of the already sizeable number of Gibraltarians now entitled to British citizenship.
In his opening remarks, my noble friend Lord Belstead said that Clause 4 would affect the people of Gibraltar. As those people have the right to come to this country to work and settle and, after five years, to obtain British citizenship, in all logic I cannot see why, without having to come here, they cannot be granted British citizenship when this measure becomes an Act.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ Lord Macleod of Fuinary
My Lords, were he present, my opening words, as brief as they are sincere, would be to thank the noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, for his maiden speech and his insight into the essence of the Bill, and I hope we shall hear him often. My main reason for speaking is that I wish to be associated, as I do without difficulty, with the Motion in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones. I wish to be associated with it not only in my own behalf but, as a Minister of the Church of Scotland and—because it is a member of the British Council of Churches and the British Council has spoken about this and because the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has set up a special committee on this very subject—I can almost say that I am speaking in their name also. We are all speaking for the obvious reason; the dangers between black and white people. It is universally desired that, in our now small world, there should be an end of this real danger, a danger which in my view is increasing.
We are all aware of the vision created by the one word "Brixton", although perhaps it should be spelt "Brickstone" because—whether they are the bricks 919 that are thrown by the blacks at the stones of the whites or the stones of the whites being thrown back—"Brickstone" is symbolic in word and action of a growing danger in our country. I am certain that both the present Government and the Labour Government who preceded them never felt it in their mind to worsen the situation but, rather, to better it, and the question is whether the Bill is bettering it, despite the intentions. Inevitably at this point in this sort of debate one is aware that many of the arguments one intends to use have already been adduced, and I do not intend to repeat them just for the sake of it. But it might be worth while briefly to refer to a member of a community to which I belong, a man who for eight years has been a community relations officer. In other words, every day for eight years he has been meeting ethnic minority people and seeing what their problems are. I know this man very well and he is reporting to me that never was there a greater danger of the situation being exacerbated, instead of being assisted, than there is a result of this measure. He gave me three instances, two from Africa and one from India, and I shall refer your Lordships briefly to them in the light of his experience of them, but first there is a matter to which reference has not been made, although it has been carried in the press.
I refer to the extraordinary happenings to an entirely British family. The newspapers reported the case of Colonel Tulloch, whose great-grandfather was a General in the British Army, as was also his grandfather. The present Colonel Tulloch was born in Ireland, where his father was temporarily in command of the Royal Engineers. Colonel Tulloch—would you believe it?—has been told that he is not a citizen of this country because he was born in Ireland and his father was born in India. His daughter—would you further believe it?—how 22 years old, has been refused a British passport because she was born in Malaya, where her father was also serving in the British forces; she must have an Irish or Malayan passport. Every time she enters Britain she may be closely questioned by an immigration officer. Yet there has not been a drop of alien blood in the whole of the Tulloch family throughout the generations. Incidentally, she might well be questioned by an immigration officer who happens to be a Pakistani. To my way of thinking that case in itself justifies the kind of attitude that is contained in the Motion to which I have referred.
But we must also, of course, be concerned with the ethnic minorities. My friend the full-time Scottish community relations officer tells me of three cases, all of which I can deal with quite briefly. One of the cases relates to Africa. In 1968 Parliament pushed through in three days an Immigration Act which prevented non-white British citizens living in East Africa from having the same rights as white British citizens living in East Africa. That situation played into the hands of the dictator Amin in Uganda, and he expelled British citizens, whereupon the white British citizens came to this country, without documentation, but the non-white British citizens who came here found themselves caught up in a web of bureaucracy.
During the expulsion from Uganda one woman with six children, and expecting a seventh child, went to Glasgow, but her husband, who had not had time to 920 go through the complex High Commission procedures, was sent to Norway. It took six months to persuade the British Government that the family should live together, not apart. When this present Bill is enacted there will be no chance for a family such as this to be united. Families will be broken up according to the categories stamped on their passports. That is the kind of prospect that faces some people in Glasgow at the present moment, bearing in mind the experience to which I have referred.
Instance No. 2 is also reported to me from Glasgow. It concerns an Indian couple who went to Glasgow and had a family of five girls, all of whom, except the middle one, were born in Glasgow. The middle girl happened to be born in India because her parents, quite temporarily, were at the time visiting their relatives in India. Under the effects of the Immigration Act 1971, as amended by successive Governments, the middle girl, if she marries someone of her own religious background, will have to go to live in India. Under the present law there is at least a glimmer of a chance that she could join her family in later years when the parents are old. But the new regulations would completely deprive her children of any right to join the extended family in Glasgow. Yet this girl is totally a Glaswegian, and has been all her life, except for the mere (temporary) chance of being born in India. This is the kind of situation that people are talking about in areas that are close to the problem.
My third example takes us back to Africa. The wife of a politician in Malawi fled to Tanzania when her husband was assassinated for anti-South African activities. She stayed in a refugee camp, but she was eventually given a travel document to come to Britain. Since her own country and Tanzania would not accept her, Britain gave her a resident's permit and British citizenship—as has been done throughout recorded history for refugees in danger of their lives. But under the present proposals she would not be accepted by Britain and would become a permanent refugee, swelling the number of stateless people in refugee camps in Africa. I have endeavoured to state those three examples as briefly as possible.
Finally, I wish to refer to the situation as it affects both Hong Kong and Gibraltar. This question, too, is discussed by people in similar situations in Glasgow. We have heard much about Gibraltar and I do not intend to add much to that point, but I should like to refer to Hong Kong, which is a Crown colony of the United Kingdom. At the moment people born in Hong Kong are British citizens. Under the new legislation they would be given a category of "citizens of British dependent territories", which is not British citizenship, yet is not citizenship of any other country in the world. Hong Kong is not being offered independence; therefore this large number of people would be left without any right of abode either in the place of their birth or in the place of their present citizenship if, for example, China decides to renounce the current lease of Hong Kong. Under the new rules these "citizens of this country" would therefore be left to the mercy of a country—namely, China—which may or may not wish to have them as citizens, and they may or may not wish to apply for citizenship in China.
In connection with this situation I would point out that in Glasgow there are 4,000 people who are of 921 Hong Kong origin and most of them have relatives in Hong Kong. The anxiety that would be created by the denial of full citizenship to these colonial people would cause grave tension among the friends and relatives. It should be noted that the United States, in its equivalent colony of Puerto Rico, has guaranteed that so long as the island is a colony of the United States its citizens will be United States citizens and this will be altered only if Puerto Rico becomes an independent nation. France, too, in its decolonisation was scrupulous in honouring its agreements with its citizens. Only Britain has chosen to repudiate the citizenship of people who have a colour different from the native-born citizens.
As I have mentioned, there is also the question of Gibraltar. The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has spoken about this aspect of the matter much better than I am able to speak about it, and so I shall add only a few sentences. For nearly 300 years Gibraltar has been part of the British nation, with the people enjoying citizenship equal to that enjoyed by anyone in Britain. By the new alignment projected in the present Bill this citizenship is threatened. By very large majorities the present citizens of Gibraltar have pleaded that their "simple membership" in relation to Britain be preserved. Among the signatories there were at least 600 who had been serving in the Army, and we are reminded here of people of Gibraltar who died while fighting for Britain. Under the present Bill this simple recognition has been threatened. It has been alleged that Gibraltar is comparable to Hong Kong and so should be similarly treated. But, for one thing, Gibraltar is part of the Economic Community, to which Hong Kong does not belong. When some such amendment as is now being sought was recently considered in the House of Commons it was very nearly carried that there be a special arrangement relating to Gibraltar; and I hope that this question will be gone into again.
I feel that for this House to raise the issue on behalf of the people of Gibraltar and to legislate in the terms that they seek would mean that there would be rejoicing in Gibraltar, and it would in no way threaten any parallel with Hong Kong. Anyway, the people of Gibraltar can be reckoned in thousands, whereas Hong Kong is more a matter involving a million people. My Lords, in the name of the Church of Scotland I would associate myself with the Motion of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones. The Motion is the only reasonable response at present to the situation before us.
§ 8.9 p.m.
§ Lord Rawlinson of Ewell
My Lords, I have listened to most of the debate and have reached the stage when the only thing I want to do is to go and dine. Looking around the Chamber I suspect that that is what most Members of your Lordships' House are at present doing, and so probably I would not get a seat in the dining room. I have noted that practically everyone accepts that the present nationality law is fundamentally misleading; and of course it is. It is grotesquely out-of-date. Then the same people go on to say "There is no urgency". My reply is that there is urgency. The trouble we have had with passport holders, with immigration, with cheating and racketeers, 922 and with the anxiety over families to which the previous speaker referred, all stems from the faults of the present law; a law that is too uncertain, too easy to cheat, and under which it has been too easy to obtain citizenship.
At the heart of the immigration problem, which has bedevilled the past two decades in the history of this country, is the British Nationality Act 1948. It has led to great unease in the United Kingdom, and it is silly and stupid of legislators to ignore this. It has led to great unease in the United Kingdom and, in certain circumstances, to resentment and anger. If some say that we have reached a dangerous situation, then not a little of that is due to the absence of a valid and acceptable citizenship law. There is a prime responsibility on this Government and on any Government at this time to undertake a great reform of the British Nationality Act. This Government have taken this duty upon themselves, and I believe that this Bill is in the interests of, and will be for the relief of, the great bulk of the population. The only people who should feel valid fear are the racketeers and trouble-makers.
Unlike the noble Lord, Lord MacLeod of Fuinary, I do not commend the Motion standing in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones. I understand that the Scarman Inquiry is an inquiry into policing after shameful scenes which aroused angry reactions, and the whole country awaits the publication of that report, which I hope will be thorough and which will take months to produce. How that report can affect the duty of Parliament to enact rational nationality laws I fail to understand. If it does, then all I can say is that it is an extraordinary situation when the citizenship law of the United Kingdom is being held to ransom, as it were, which could be of grave consequences to the rule of law.
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, I will not debate that particular matter with the noble and learned Lord—certainly not now. However, I am sure the noble Lord would not wish in any way to have a misleading report of his speech in regard to his comments on the Scarman Inquiry. The inquiry is, of course, first of all into the causes of what happened in Brixton and not into questions of policing—that is merely one matter. Secondly, the purpose of the inquiry is to make recommendations.
§ Lord Rawlinson of Ewell
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, should read what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, himself has said. Lord Scarman said that it was an inquiry into policing as well as other matters.
§ Lord Rawlinson of Ewell
The noble Lord opposite will have an opportunity to make his own speech. All I will say to him is that, for the rule of law, I think it is very necessary that Parliament should go about a very important reform and should get on with the business of reforming the British Nationality Act, which I believe is at the heart of a great deal of trouble in this country today. Some 33 years after it was 923 enacted, the whole concept of the British Nationality Act is absurd and damaging. It was introduced at the time when the British Empire was coming to an end, when there were no republics. There were new dominions coming into existence and 14 years later there came the tide of immigration and the need to restrict immigrants from the New Commonwealth. That was a necessity.
I remember—though perhaps not as well as the noble Lord, Lord Renton—the 1962 Act. The noble Lord was one of the Ministers responsible for piloting it through, and I remember the tremendous opposition led by Hugh Gaitskell as the Leader of the Opposition. But is there any doubt now that that legislation was absolutely essential and that it was essential to impose restraints? That legislation was continued in 1968 by the then Labour Government and by the Conservative Government in 1971. It reflected the will of decent people in this country. Britons generally are tolerant, fair-minded and just people. There are, of course, abominable creatures whom we read about and encounter, but, taken as a whole, ours is a tolerant and fair-minded country. But the people of this country are entitled to fair restraints and they believe that we have taken as many immigrants as it is sensible to take—as many as we can absorb. The difficulties of the intermingling of citizenship, the right of abode and the holding of passports all led in 1962 and 1971 to the present makeshift arrangements, which are to the advantage of no one. They also led to the difficulties concerning East African Asians to which my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel referred and in which I too was involved. It is essential to deal with citizenship; it is a reality which the country demands.
The critics who have labelled this Bill racialist serve their cause—which is also one that I believe in—very ill. Is it racialist to establish a rational system of citizenship of the kind that exists in other countries? Is it racialist to prevent the passing on of the rights of British citizenship to people who had the opportunity because they are at present cheating or illegal? Most Britons do not harbour racialist attitudes—unless they are stirred up by those people who are in what some call the race relations industry or by the arrogant attitudes of alleged representatives of minority community groups—who I believe are not representative of such groups. If people come here and have their children here, it is felt that they should reasonably respect the laws, customs and traditions of the country they have chosen to come to and to start a family in.
I have been saddened by the attitude of the clergy in respect of this Bill—and genuinely mystified. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, referred to the Catholic Commission for Racial Justice. He read out at some length what the Roman Catholic bishop said, which was endorsed by the British Council of Churches and by the Church of England House of Bishops and the Board of Social Responsibility. I listened with deep respect to the words of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop, but I wish to deal with the views of the Church to which I belong. I consider that they are too facile. I do not believe that they really represent or take into consideration what this Bill sets out to do, and in fact does. If there is unease and a need for reassurance then could 924 we not look to the clergy to give that reassurance? Why do the clergy not say, "If you are here legally, you have nothing to fear"? The clergy may tell people that in certain circumstances they will require more records or documentation and that they will help. Of course there is unease among illegal immigrants and among the racketeers.
I have spoken before in this House about the rackets and the money that is being made out of unfortunate people. Of course troublemakers are going to stir up trouble against this Bill because they make a great deal of money out of rackets and it is in their interests to fan the fears of the simple in a complex matter such as this one. I would have hoped that it would be the duty of the clergy to reassure people. I say I am saddened because I believe that part of the opposition to this Bill was misconceived, while part of it was simply unfair. What I find so difficult as a lay member of my own Church is being told by the Catholic Commission for Racial Justice about forms of statutory drafting or about what the powers of the state should be with regard to the issuing of passports. These are not matters of faith and morality.
I feel that I am entitled to set my political and experienced judgment contrary to their views, much as I dislike doing so: the laity are entitled to express views based on their experience and perhaps to inquire who are those who advise the Prelates to make these statements, because there was a blanket condemnation of this Bill when it was first published. They said that the preamble should declare that we are a multiracial society. Why? The preamble has no meaningful legal force, so what is the need for it? Why do they say that, speaking in the name of this particular commission? The nation is well aware of the fact that it is a multiracial society. However, at the forefront of their criticisms of this Bill they put the fact that it should have this preamble, which is a legally meaningless announcement. In fact, as I understand the Bill it gives an equal opportunity to everybody to acquire British citizenship, regardless of racial origin; and the children of British citizens will be born British citizens although from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds.
Then I come to the jus soli. I accept, of course, that that was the ancient concept. I believe it was right and apt for ancient times. But how relevant is it as a concept in the times of today, in the context of rackets and the exploitation of people trying to get into this country? Because, as my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel said, in such places as Bangladesh and Pakistan there are queues of people trying to get to this country. Is it therefore so apt in the context of the end of empire? Is it apt in the modern circumstances of tourists, travel and movement? It is common sense to the people of this country, I would suggest, that if a tourist visitor or a student bears a child while they are here, with no other connection with the United Kingdom and with close links with some other country, then those people should not, merely because that child happened to be born here, acquire the citizenship of this country and hand it on to their descendants. The ordinary people would think that common sense; and they would think it common sense that it is not right that someone who is here illegally, against the law, cheating to have got in, should be able to give to the family that they started in this country the right 925 to be British citizens and to hand on to their child the descent of British citizenship. I would suggest to your Lordships that that strikes the ordinary person as being wrong.
Then, another of the criticisms levelled against this Bill by this particular commission is this. It calls for United Kingdom and Colonies citizens under the 1948 Act, who have no other state, to have the right to enter, reside and work in the United Kingdom. That, with respect, is a little late in the day. Why blame this Bill? Where were they in 1962 through to 1971? Because that control was imposed then; it was felt by Governments of different parties to be essential. So I believe, my Lords, that it is unfair to make the blanket criticisms which have been made. I wonder what the effect would be if, as has been said here, hundreds of thousands of Malaysians took the opportunity, or had the right, to come here. We must get away from this. We must get into the proper situation, as have all the other countries where there is a proper law of citizenship.
Now passports. It is said, as I understand it, that the issue of passports should no longer be in the discretion of the Secretary of State. It always has been, and I have not heard any criticism directly of it. Why now? There has always been this discretion—a discretion which has been used as regards wards, minors, people for whom there has been issued a warrant for arrest or people who are undesirable in the public interest. Is it not right that that discretion should be retained? What has been wrong about that in the past?
I am not satisfied that there should be the right of appeal. I think this is a difficult question, and I can see the force of the arguments of some who have spoken about it; but I am not sure about this right of appeal. If you do have criteria fixed by statute, if you do say that it must be someone who has not got a criminal record or is not financially insolvent, then inevitably you will have some naturalised citizens who are unsuitable. But the defect in our present law, unlike that in all other countries, is that there is no clear indication of who belongs to this country; and the Bill seeks to give British citizens cohesive and comprehensive citizenship. I think that a limited departure from the jus soli is, as I say, apt for present times.
I note, though, that it does not limit the acquisition of British nationality to those who have British citizens as parents, but it gives it to a child if one parent has been settled here. Is the difficulty over "settled" such a great difficulty? Settled, as I understand it, means ordinarily resident without being subject, under the immigration laws, to any restriction during any period for which they may remain. That seems to me, with respect, to be a perfectly sensible and rational definition. Of course it strikes, as I have said, at the over-stayers. It strikes at them because they are not wanted in this country. They are here contrary to our law, and they should not be entitled to pass on British citizenship.
So, my Lords, I believe the Bill is needed. I think we are entitled to enjoy a nationality law. I would have hoped that we could have had a nationality law not across party lines, because I believe it is in the great interests of the whole of this country—and I was 926 impressed by what the noble Lord, Lord Foot, had to say in his speech. All British citizens must be treated fairly and justly, whatever their race or colour. Nobody would disagree with that. I believe the critics here are misguided. I am sure there can and will be improvements made to this Bill as it goes through Committee, but it is right for the Government to set out on this path of reform, because I believe that without reform the people of this country would feel a very grave resentment.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Lord Brockway
My Lords, I shall be voting for the amendment in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Elwyn-Jones at the end of the day but I do not regard this Bill as untimely only now: I regard it as untimely at all times. I want first to acknowledge that I approach this Bill differently from the approach of many Members of this House. I feel a sense of world citizenship more than I feel a sense of national citizenship. I love this country. I feel identified with our history and its great figures—the movements ever since the 14th century which have been struggling for justice and for freedom; and our countryside. Every spring as one gets older is more beautiful than the last. And our people—the beauty of so many families, parents towards their children. I revere the people of our country who are dedicated in service to others and to peace and to ending hunger in the world. I love this country for its toleration, its freedom of thought and of speech. But as I go about the world I find that those characteristics are also true of many other races. My feeling is that I belong to the human race even more than I belong to the British race. My first reason for opposing this Bill is that it rejects world citizenship and rejects belonging to the human race.
I recognise the difficulties of the problem with which this Bill deals. They arise mostly from the dissolution of the Empire. That was illustrated in East Africa where thousands of Indian immigrants had to choose between British citizenship and citizenship of the countries where they were resident. At that time, I campaigned in East Africa with Indira Gandhi urging the Indian people to become citizens of the country in which they were resident; but thousands of them chose to become citizens of this country.
I recognise that the problem is much wider than that. I have been overwhelmed with letters from one Commonwealth country after another expressing resentment that their inhabitants should be treated as second-class citizens under the provisions for British overseas citizenship. During this debate, Hong Kong, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands have often been mentioned. I was surprised last week to receive letters not only from the opposition groups in Hong Kong but even one from the Government of Hong Kong itself, so rarely critical of this country. That communication, as the noble Lord, Lord Merrivale, has indicated, showed the depth of feeling of uncertainty among the people of Hong Kong not only for their future because of Hong Kong's relations to China but for their future because of the Bill which we are now discussing. Among the strangest of the letters I have had is perhaps that from the Tamil Indians in Sri Lanka. We must not shut our eyes to the fact that all over the Commonwealth there is now great disquiet about the terms of this 927 Bill. I hope before I conclude to make a suggestion which may help to unravel that problem.
Secondly, I oppose this Bill because, despite all that has been said, it is a racialist measure; it is based in its philsophy on the series of immigration Acts which we have had. My noble friend Lord Gifford referred to the Act of 1968. The European Commission of Human Rights held that that Act had racial motives and involved racial discrimination amounting to degrading treatment. And the subsequent Immigration Acts have maintained the practices of the 1968 Act. Under this Bill, the majority of people who would be affected are those who belong to non-white communities.
I also oppose this Bill because of its arbitrary restriction of the freedom of the movement of peoples. In this House we have rightly denounced the attitude of the Soviet Government in denying exit permits, particularly to the Jewish community. But freedom of movement is two-sided. It is not only in regards to those who leave the country; it is also in regard to those who enter the country. This Bill denies passport rights without any judicial survey or any opportunity to appeal against the decisions of the Home Secretary. His decision is absolute. I regard that as totalitarian. Decisions of this kind should not be left to one individual, however prominent he may be in the state. This power not only applies to passports; it applies to registration for citizenship and to applications for naturalisation. In 1980, last year, the Home Secretary refused 326 applicants for naturalisation. Under this Bill the sphere of applications is greatly extended. I want strongly to urge—and I hope that we may have a suitable amendment to this Bill when it is in Committee—that the present limited system of public tribunals should be extended to all cases which are concerned.
My third reason for opposing the Bill is because it actually creates thousands of stateless people all over the world. The figure of 220,000 has been given. The Government have indicated that 75,000 will not be involved. But even if the stateless persons created by this Bill number only 150,000, it is something of which we should all be ashamed. Stateless persons are not only created abroad, they will be created in this country. The children of overseas students, the children of those who are allowed here under work permits, the children of non-patrial visitors—they all become stateless under this Bill. Only when they reach the age of 10 years will they have any right even to apply for recognition as British. I emphasise the fact that that will apply in our own country but recognise that mostly the thousands of stateless people will be abroad.
My Lords, I have had many messages, particularly from the Churches, on this subject of the stateless people whom we are creating. May I pay my tribute to that wonderful contribution to our debate which was made by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. I do not think I have heard a more impressive speech than his to us today during the 17 years that I have been in this House. I quote only from the Quakers. They say on this subject of the British overseas citizenship which creates stateless people: 928British overseas citizenship is little more than a label of nationality which involves no entitlement to live anywhere in the world".There is the statement of the Commission for Racial Equality:British overseas citizenship would be the only citizenship in the world that is not linked with any territory or carries with it a right to entry or abode in any country".On all these grounds, I beg the Government to withdraw this Bill. It is perfectly clear that great sections of our nation are opposed to it: all the Churches, every representative group in our society. This debate today has made an unanswerable case against this Bill. I ask the Government to withdraw it, and instead I make this constructive proposal. The alternative is for us to negotiate with the Commonwealth countries, to call a conference representative of all the Commonwealth countries with representatives also from all the peoples concerned. I recognise that this is an even greater issue than our own Commonwealth. I should like to see us proposing to the United Nations Council that they should appoint a commission to consider this problem all over the world. We are dealing with the lives and the happiness of thousands of people. This Bill will bring ruin to them. My appeal is that we should begin an approach that will give to the thousands affected by this Bill hope of security and fulfilment in their lives.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Lord Geddes
My Lords, I should like to echo the remarks made by noble Lords before me, to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, on a extremely impressive maiden speech in your Lordships' House. While I may not always agree with the sentiments that he may in future profess, we shall all be the better for his contributions to our debates.
Finding myself speaking towards the end of this Second Reading, I am conscious that to a certain extent what I have to say will sound repetitious. However, this Bill is so full of anomalies that I feel that a certain degree of repetition cannot be other than of benefit in impressing on my noble friends on the Front Bench the very real concern felt, I believe, on all sides of the House at specific clauses in the Bill. As has been said again and again in this House today, we are debating a highly complex piece of legislation, one that may or will affect the status of very many people.
We have had, and still have, a long list of most eminent speakers and I shall therefore restrict myself to only two aspects on which I have some practical experience: the first being the resultant position of Hong Kong; and the second, the "penalty" of working overseas. Of the 5 million people in Hong Kong, 2.6 million are presently citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, either because they were born in Hong Kong or have acquired such citizenship through naturalisation after seven years of residence. Only a minute handful of that 2.6 million have the right of abode in the United Kingdom. I am not suggesting—nor have any representations been made to me so to suggest—that the balance of that 2.6 million should have the right of abode in the United Kingdom. By dint of the 1962 and 1968 Commonwealth Immigration Acts, and the 1971 Immigration Act, they do not have such a right. With reference to the point raised by the 929 noble Lord, Lord Macleod of Fuinary, to the best of my knowledge, they do have the right of abode in Hong Kong. My right honourable friend the Minister of State at the Home Office said in another place on 4th June:It is the fact that nothing in the [Nationality] Bill changes the relationship and commitment of her Majesty's Government to the people of Hong Kong".The noble Lord the Minister commented in similar vein earlier this afternoon.
While there is no denying that such words were and are comforting, and while in no way imputing anything against their sincerity, those are words only and Hong Kong is looking for—and, I submit, has every right so to look for—more than words. Hong Kong people are watching with great interest the progress of suggestions being put forward which would give the right of British citizenship to the citizens of Gibraltar. Of the 3 million people who will become citizens of the British dependent territories, 2.6 million (or 86½ per cent.) live, as I have mentioned, in Hong Kong, and 27,000 (fewer than 1 per cent.) in Gibraltar.
I am advised that Hong Kong has been given a clear undertaking by the British Government that citizens of the British dependent territories will all be treated the same and that no exceptions will be made. Naturally enough, many potential "citizens of the dependent territories" feel that a special case could be made out for them to become British citizens. Like Gibraltar, Hong Kong can never become independent. As with Gibraltar, Britain has for over a century had responsibility for Hong Kong and its people. Like Gibraltar, Hong Kong is of strategic importance to the United Kingdom. Additionally, Hong Kong is—as has been said this afternoon—of considerable economic significance to the United Kingdom.
My Lords, unlike my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter, I do not claim specialised knowledge of Gibraltar in this context, so I feel it only right to adopt a neutral stance—at least at this stage. However, I am aware that if there are further moves to single out Gibraltar and give it special treatment, there will be great bitterness and resentment in Hong Kong. Rightly or wrongly (and I have my own views) it will be said that the principles of the Bill, which provide the three clearly defined types of citizenship, can be readily set aside by some Members of your Lordships' House and of another place, simply because the numbers of people concerned in the territories involved are very small in immigration terms.
If this Bill is based on principles, then the people of Hong Kong at least expect those principles to be upheld. The Bill has the title of "Nationality", but that is just about the one word it does not define. If the Bill passes as it presently stands, what nationality—and I stress that word—will be held by those previously entitled to a Hong Kong British passport? During my domicile in Hong Kong, I was the proud possessor of such a passport. I have it here. In it I and at that stage maybe slightly fewer than 2.6 million others, were described as:British citizen, subject of the United Kingdom and Colonies".That passport did not in itself give me or any of the others any right of abode or entitlement to work in the United Kingdom. It did, however, give me a recog 930 nised status, not only inside but—perhaps more relevant—outside Hong Kong.
My noble friend Lady Vickers has mentioned this point. Unless the requisite amendment is made to the Bill, what will happen to the Hong Kong passport-holder when entering a third country and being required to fill in an immigration form? One box that will surely require completion is "nationality". As the Bill stands, what does he put? Is he British—my right honourable friend in another place said that the United Kingdom—Hong Kong relationship would not be changed—or is he not? The noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, commented that passports must be made clear, and I totally endorse that comment. If that passport-holder is still British, would it not be possible for his passport to remain effectively exactly as it is, except that it would read, towards the bottom of page one,British subject—citizen of British dependent territory"?I want to emphasise this problem because I know that it is a very real one in the minds of those in Hong Kong. What may appear to us here at Westminster as possibly a semantic point is a very real, practical problem in South East Asia. The niceties of words and "face" may seem to us to be of little import but, particularly to the Chinese (and it is important to consider attitudes on both sides of the border between Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China) status has an importance far beyond its apparent immediate relevance. The feeling in Hong Kong was well précised in a recent editorial in the South China Morning Post, which finished with these words:… if it transpires that in spite of all its lobbying and representations Hong Kong has achieved little or nothing, London would do well to ponder the disillusionment this will cause. And not a few are going to ask whether the British Government can be trusted any more".The second point on which I should like to comment concerns the extraordinary anomalies regarding Clause 3, which gives every impression of discriminating against certain types of overseas employment. Like many others, I feel strongly that citizenship is not and should not be related to employment. The nub of the problem seems to bite deepest, with respect to the right reverend Prelates,unto the second and third generations".Rightly or wrongly, my reading of Clauses 2 and 3 of the Bill is that they give at best an inferior status to citizens by descent from which they cannot ascend to the status of citizen by birth, and at worst they deny the individual British citizenship. All sorts of anomalies arise vis-à-vis the European Economic Community, and other noble Lords have instanced them.
Without apologies, my Lords, I revert (at least mentally) to South-East Asia and pick up a point which was raised by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter. A British citizen, whether by birth or descent—I am reading this as if the Act had become law—recruited in the United Kingdom and working as a Crown servant outside the United Kingdom, let us say, for instance, in Japan, becomes the parent of a child born in Japan. That child is, if I understand Clause 13(1)(b) correctly, automatically a British citizen by birth. However, it would appear that a child who is also born in Japan of a British citizen by birth but not in Crown service will automatically 935 whatsoever about the desire of the people of Gibraltar to continue to be British. They were not content with the assurances given then, and repeated later by Ministers, that their position would be unchanged by virtue of their membership of the European Community and would be continued administratively. A position granted by law is a very much safer thing than an administrative arrangement.
Since then there have been repeated respresentations from the people of Gibraltar about their wish to continue to be British. While we were there we were so impressed by all that was said to us by the people in this small community that we undertook individually to support their position if a Bill was presented to Parliament. That undertaking has in fact been carried out in another place by the other three members of the delegation.
It has been said during this debate that the subject of nationality ought, desirably, to be the subject of all-party agreement. If ever there was a matter which really ought to be dealt with on a non-party basis, this is it. I say "non-party" rather than "all-party" because "all-party" implies that there is a party viewpoint to be expressed. I believe that this House is in a very much better position to take a non-party view of this matter than the other place. I am firmly convinced that if it had been possible for the Bill to be considered in another place as a non-party measure it would not be necessary to attempt to amend the Bill in this House. I am quite certain that Gibraltar's position would have been recognised.
Contrary to what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, I am not supporting citizens in Gibraltar on the basis that there are only 26,000 people in Gibraltar; but because the position of Gibraltar, while it resembles that of Hong Kong, is that it can never become independent because if it ceases to be British it becomes Spanish. While we were there we were able to see and hear for ourselves the constant propaganda which was coming over the television from Spain. The point was repeatedly being made by the Spaniards: "This is what the British think of you. All that they are going to offer you, in terms of the White Paper that has been put out, is second-class citizenship; but if you agree to become part of Spain, as we claim you have been all along, you will have the same rights in Spain as any other Spaniards. We will give you first-class citizenship; your British friends offer you only something second-class".
I have agreed that when we come to the next stage I will join with Members from all parts of this House in a non-party amendment seeking to give to the people of Gibraltar that which, in 300 years of loyalty to the British Crown, they have earned. Nothing that has happened in recent years should deprive them of that right.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Viscount Massereene and Ferrard
My Lords, I was interested to hear the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, speaking about Gibraltar because I think he has a very good point there. At the same time I should like to bring in the question of the Falkland Islands, with a population of almost pure Scottish descent. Certainly it is a very small population of only about 2,000-odd, 936 and although I quite see the point of the Government that they would like to make a general rule for all the dependencies, I hope that they may be able to alter that rule slightly with regard to the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar.
I shall speak for only a short time, but I was interested to hear the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Foot, and I quite agreed when he said that this Bill—which is a very important and also a complex Bill—ought not to be a matter of party politics. Of course he is quite right. Although I would certainly not dare to criticise the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, I was sorry to hear him make rather a party political speech. I thought that was rather a pity.
§ Viscount Massereene and Ferrard
My Lords, so far as I can see, all that the Government are trying to do is what I believe every other country in the world has done, including all the countries of the former Empire. They are really trying to marry up—if that is the right expression—nationality with the right of abode. I feel that it was a great pity that in the 1948 Act—I can quite understand the reasons why; they were sentimental and emotional reasons—we did not tidy up affairs then in regard to citizenship. It used to be allegiance to the Crown, I think, when we had the jus soli, but under the 1948 Act I believe that rather ceased and it was really a looser tie; nevertheless it gave the right. I do not know what the population of the Commonwealth was at that time but it must certainly have been 700 or 800 million. Theoretically it gave the right to all those people to come and settle in England. Of course it could not have happened in practice, because they would have sunk the country. Although it is quite understandable why it was granted I feel it was rather a mistake, because we had a great opportunity then to put our affairs in order.
When we dismantled the Empire all those countries gave citizenship to the people in those countries—Australia, New Zealand, Canada and indeed all the Colonies, and they had the right of abode in those countries. It was done in the old Dominions before then. I cannot really see why we cannot have the same right in Britain. After all, it is the right in every other country in the world, so far as I know.
Anyone calling this Bill racialist cannot have read it or else they are completely off the point, because it is certainly not racialist in any way. In fact we have always bent over backwards in this country to be non-racialist; we are the most tolerant country in the world. If you want to see real racialism between tribes and races you want to go to Africa. I have been there a few times.
As a matter of fact, I also used to have agricultural estates in Jamaica and I used to employ about six or seven hundred people at various times of the year. I always got on very well with the Jamaicans; they were very loyal, very cheerful. But the trouble was—I think the noble Lord, Lord Rawlinson, mentioned this—that, when the welfare state came in in this country, the 100 per cent. welfare state, and with cheap air travel, there were quite a few agents going around telling the Jamaicans about it. I tried to dissuade them and tell them that the streets of London were 937 not paved with gold, but those agents told them they were. Of course they brought over hundreds of thousands, and a lot of these people have been disappointed; it has made them unhappy and I think that is a terrible thing. If any of them do want to go home I think it is incumbent on this country to make it financially possible for them so to do. That is the only form of repatriation I would ever adhere to. I think it would be terrible if it ever came to any form of forcible repatriation from this country.
Well, my Lords, I must not speak very much longer. I have a lot written down here, but I know that time is extremely short—well, short for me, not for the winders-up. I would like to speak about just one aspect. Perhaps I am being very foolish, but I am not too happy about this dual nationality. Dual nationality places the holder in rather an awkward position. Where does his allegiance lie? For instance, if you have conscription, where do you conscript him for the armed forces? I do not think you could, but perhaps I have not read the Bill right. I do agree we cannot have stateless citizens, but what I do not understand is this: when children are born to two parents who are not British citizens, as I understand it, they do get British citizenship if the Home Secretary agrees to that; the Home Secretary can do it. What I do not understand is why they cannot be given the nationality of the parents' country of origin.
Of course, if you have refugees that cannot be done; if they are fleeing from a tyrannical government obviously they would not have the nationality of their former country because the government would not allow it; we must take them in here. But I cannot understand why we give nationality to babies whose parents are not settled in this country and are not citizens of this country. After all, if I was born in China, I should still be British. Well, I hope so; I do not think I look very like a Chinaman. One can apply the principle throughout the world. It applies to almost every country; to Swedes, Germans, Dutch, Belgians, and so on. If a Belgian is born here, he is a Belgian citizen, is he not? If he is born in Germany he is a Belgian citizen. I cannot see why, if a citizen comes from, say, Malaysia, the child cannot take Malaysian nationality. Perhaps I have not read the Bill sufficiently.
§ Lord Elwyn-Jones
My Lords, if the noble Viscount was born in China, he would be in the company of a large number of fellow Chinese.
§ Viscount Massereene and Ferrard
My Lords, I think that I have said enough. I cannot support the noble and learned Lord in his Motion, and I cannot support the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. However, I do support the Bill, because it is high time that we had a new Nationality Act.
§ 9.27 p.m.
§ The Earl of Shannon
My Lords, I too am among those who welcome the Bill. It is long overdue that we should have a rational, well-deliberated definition of our citizenship law. I cannot claim to speak on behalf of any ethnic minority or, perhaps, if I did, the ethnic minority that I should be speaking on behalf of is one that should be trying to make life utterly 938 impossible for Mrs. Gandhi on behalf of the British in India; we would probably want special legislation to our advantage, and of course we would probably run the country much better than she does. I might be right, but I do not intend to go and do that sort of thing.
I also welcome the fact that the time hallowed nonsense known as jus soli is at last due for debunking and shown to be the highly simplistic, although exceedingly administratively convenient, fallacy that it really is. I must say that I am most happy to see this first chip being knocked out of this monolithic clay idol that has lasted for so long. Also I do not wish to parade a bleeding heart on behalf of some hypothetical pregnant Nubian woman who is imminently producing quills and then show your Lordships how each one of those quins will be dealt with separately under the Bill. Nor do I intend to follow the sterile course of trying to infer racialist intentions either to any speaker who has spoken or will speak, or to the Bill itself.
The subject to which I wish to direct my attention is that of British citizens by descent who are born abroad. Like the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, I believe that they and their children should have an inalienable right, not a privilege. The British working abroad are of great value to our economy and we should recognise it. We should recognise their and their children's rights in clearly stated legislation not at the whim or favour of some official or Minister.
It has been said that there is perhaps no necessity for the Bill, "Let us put it off; let us do nothing". No, my Lords, there is a necessity for the Bill. We now have the chance not only to get the situation clarified for the future, but also, hopefully, to clear up some of the anomalies of the past. As an illustration—and not a hypothetical one—I should like to declare my own interest and refer to the magnificent mess over my own nationality. We have had a lot of talk from people firmly clutching their British passports and, secure in the knowledge of their own citizenship, saying how dreadful it is to deprive someone. Well, your Lordships will get the other side of it now. I have been deprived.
I was deprived of my nationality by a combination of this lovely myth of jus soli, together with a clause similar to what I understand Clause 34 of this Bill to be. My father was a regular soldier; he was an ADC to a British governor. Thus, I was born in India although I was domiciled in England ever since 1927. Eight years later I applied for a passport—and, like the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, I too have a passport. In those days we seemed to be very proud of our Foreign Secretaries because inside the front page there is the Foreign Secretary's signature and his coat of arms; and I find that Sir John Allsebrook Simon issued me with Passport No. 352076 on 28th June, 1935, describing me on page one as a "British subject by birth". On page two it says that I am "domiciled in England". The height is wrong—I have grown a bit since then.
There I was, a British subject by birth. Sir John Simon had requested and required, in his capacity as Foreign Secretary and in the name of his late Majesty King George V, all the usual things. That passport obviously expired in 1940. I did not have much need of it at the time as for the next few years, along with many others, I was despatched at the whim 939 of senior officers to various places where it was felt that I might possibly do something useful.
However, in the early 1950s, being by then a Regular Army officer of some years' standing and wishing to go abroad on leave, I applied for a passport, still believing that I must be a British subject by birth and, apart from military service, I had also been in residence in England for over a quarter of a century. But here I hit a snag. Unbeknown to me I had been deprived of my status of being a British subject by birth, not by my action, not by the action of this Parliament at Westminster, but by the whim of a foreign Government who claimed me as one of their citizens. Hence I had acquired a foreign nationality and was no longer British.
I tried another course. I tried to be a British subject by descent. But, ha-ha!, there was another snag: my father had been born in the United Kingdom, but the part of the United Kingdom in which he had been born was now no longer a part of the United Kingdom. I had a long chat with a very helpful passport officer, who was forced to tell me that although I was still a regular serving Army officer and had been domiciled here for 26 years, and however much I wanted to be British, I was, in fact, almost anything else but British, and, sorry, no passport. In fact, his best suggestion was that I was an Irish-Indian, and if I approached either of those Governments I might find it slightly more rewarding. In fact, I arrived in your Lordships' House with a nationality status which was more like a music hall joke than anything else. Fortunately, the matter has now been sorted out by filling in forms and applying for some sort of registration. Of course, I had to pass through a period of being a British subject and citizen of nowhere. Finally, I hope that I now possess a passport the same as the rest of your Lordships.
I have used this illustration as an indication that we must do something about British citizenship, especially by descent. It must be clearly defined and not subject, as I was, to the whim of a foreign Government or other officials. I suggest that Clause 34 must be most carefully examined in view of what it can lead to. It should be a subject of careful, reasoned debate here, and an obvious entitlement established as of right, without being subjugated to the convenient, and hence fairly universal but nevertheless totally wrong, concept that the place of birth must overridingly dictate nationality. After all, a chicken hatched out in a stable does not sensibly have to be considered a horse.
§ 9.35 p.m.
§ Lord Auckland
My Lords, I must first apologise, in his absence, to my noble friend Lord Belstead for the fact that, due to the rearrangement of trains on British Rail, I may have to leave your Lordships' Chamber before the end of this debate as I have an important business engagement in Surrey tomorrow morning. Inevitably this has been a long debate, it has been a contentious debate, and I have been doing some arithmetic here and I have ascertained that the Bill has 52 clauses, nine schedules, and parts of 70 Acts to be repealed. I join forces with those noble Lords who have criticised this measure as being unduly complicated.
940 At the same time, I also join those who say that this Bill is needed. It is all too long since we have had legislation to clear up the anomalies of British nationality. No doubt distinguished lawyers will have a really good heyday in trying to sort out the implications of this Bill as it goes through its lengthy Committee stage, but at this time on a Monday evening, particularly for somebody who is not a lawyer, this is not the opportunity to do that. But there are two measures which inevitably bring reams of legislation in the form of Bills when they are presented. One is labour relations—and your Lordships will remember two major measures of labour relations which were of interminable length—and the other is any legislation to do with immigration, or with a subject of this kind. Really the weakness of this Bill is that it has become unduly complicated, whilst at the same time the intention behind the Bill is, I am inclined to think, right.
I have one major criticism about the situation, as I understand it, between the EEC countries and the countries of the Commonwealth. Right of entry must of course be a matter for the Home Office. Where there is reason for right of entry to be withheld, this must be done whether a citizen comes from the EEC or from the Commonwealth. But it is hard to accept that there is not at least some degree—certainly in the eyes of Commonwealth citizens—to which discrimination exists here. After all, I submit as a supporter of the EEC that our citizens from the Commonwealth, notably from the Caribbean—which I have visited two or three times both on business and on parliamentary business—contribute a great deal to this country, both in culture and work, which many of them do in the legal and medical professions and elsewhere. Therefore, I believe there should be equal rights between the EEC and Commonwealth countries, subject to the provisions of the Bill.
The hour is late and, as I said earlier, I shall probably have to do the House the discourtesy of leaving early, for which I apologise. The Bill will clearly have a lengthy Committee stage and this House has the vital task before it of knocking a Bill which has very good intentions but a number of drafting defects into the kind of shape which can make it both fair and workable.
§ 9.41 p.m.
§ Lord Beaumont of Whitley
My Lords, a number of your Lordships have suggested that this is not a matter for party speeches. Nevertheless, a number of noble Lords have made speeches which were very representative of the philosophies of their various parties. And speaking from this Bench at the end of the debate on this subject, I shall not refrain because my party has, over a very long period of time, nothing whatever to be ashamed of on this subject.
There was a time, I recall—because I was brought up in a Tory household—when one of the matters on which the Conservatives prided themselves (then as now, one of the many matters on which they prided themselves) was an understanding of the complexities of life. The Socialists and Liberals were starry-eyed dreamers who did not understand the problems posed by original sin and thought one could legislate for perfection. The Tories realised that life was infinitely more complicated than that, which was one of the main reasons why they were chary of reform.
941 Now all has changed. Wet or dry, the Tories have now become the party of the simple answer. It is now the parties to the Left who understand how complex government is. It is the Tories who have inherited the mantle of Lord John Russell, of whom it was said by Disraeli that he was equal to any occasion; he would deal with a financial crisis, take command of the Fleet or perform an operation, and one would never guess from his demeanour that the country had gone bankrupt, the Fleet had sunk and the patient had died.
It is the Tories who walk with fearless blue eyes gazing steadily forward into the most fearful ambushes. Must we slave at righting inflation? Let us arm ourselves with the slingshot of monetarism, assuming on the way that we can without difficulty tell the difference between M2, M3, M4, and M5. The evil is obvious and we are pure of heart. All is simple but, alas! it is not simple. Or liberty: are we not going to set the people free, and will not the great ogre of bureaucracy turn and flee at our very approach? But alas!, by the time we are finished, local government has been enmeshed in the ogre's tentacles and the greatest centralisation of power this country has ever seen is accomplished in less than two years by a Tory Secretary of State.
Or conservation: let us show that Tories care, and codify the conservation measures. It looked so simple—did it not?—but now, alas! it seems that no one is satisfied with the Countryside Bill wending its rural way through the committees of another place. But never mind: let us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and codify the immigration laws. After all, with the help of the Labour Party—and let no one on that Front Bench ever forget that we are now reaping the reward of that shameful night in 1968 involving both Front Benches—backed by cohorts from the City and from the trade unions against the best of their Back-Benchers led by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway (and I am sorry that the noble Marquess, Lord Hertford, is not here to remember that occasion, for there were many Tories who can be proud of that night), with the bishops, and most of the Cross-Benches, and the whole of the Liberal Party, the Ugandan Asians Bill was forced through. Both Front Benches worked together against that opposition. With the help of the Labour Party the Tories can say, "We have a system of immigration which will satisfy the most behatted Madam Defarge of the Tory conference". It should be easy; but, my Lords, once again it is not easy.
It is late at night and your Lordships will be very relieved to hear that I shall not go through the many points on which we feel that we must challenge the Government and argue the case in Committee. In passing I shall very briefly mention merely three or four of the major points. Clause 1 should be amended so as to restore the existing system under which any child born in the United Kingdom is automatically a citizen from birth. Jus soli, which so many people have talked about tonight, has the advantages of simplicity and certainty, and it has been tested by time. Perhaps the "tested by time" argument is not a very radical one, and it is less important than the other two; yet it is still something to back it up, and it is a reason why we ought to be able to rely on some noble Lords on the Benches opposite in Committee having another look 942 at this particular problem.
Then there are the problems raised by Clause 6, which must be amended so as to retain the existing right of Commonwealth citizens settled here before 1973 to register as citizens of the United Kingdom. They were guaranteed this right under the Immigration Act 1971, on the ground that those settled here by then had come in expectation of being entitled at any time to register. This is now to be cut off most dishonourably, I would suggest.
In relation to Clause 7, the existing entitlement of wives of British men to register should be maintained indefinitely, and for women married after as well as before the passing of the Bill. To require naturalisation is wrong. A woman married to a British man working abroad will never be able to observe the residence requirements. Women already married to British men will lose an existing right. Ideally there should be real sex equality in future, not the bogus equality that the Government would impose by making wives go through naturalisation just like men. Both wives and husbands of British citizens should be entitled to registration.
There are many more subjects I should like to touch on. As an old Hong Kong hand myself, I was delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, went so fully into that particular problem. There is the whole matter of the right of appeal on naturalisation, and here I detected the usual Home Office note of ultra caution entering into the opening speech of the noble Lord, Lord Belstead: "Precautions must be taken, lest undesirable persons be naturalised". How sad it would be if the occasional undesirable person should be naturalised! Our gaols, which are of course now empty, so well behaved are our citizens, would have to be guarded again; the News of the World, which has ceased because there is nothing awful to report about British citizens, would have to be revived!
Can we not be fair and generous? Can we not establish a system whereby people's rights are out in the open, where they have a right of appeal, and where we welcome people, rather than otherwise? Is that not rather more worthy of this country? If the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, is to commend this Bill to your Lordships' House, as I believe he will, then can we have his definite assurance that, in his opinion and that of the Government, under the provisions of this Bill no person will ever end up stateless who would not have ended up stateless had this Bill not been passed?
Distasteful as this Bill may be as it stands, we are not proposing to divide against it. It is not the custom in your Lordships' House and, besides, the basic aim of the Bill is not ignoble. The codification and simplification of our nationality and immigration laws would be worth while, but not if such simplification would be at the expense of those who are most easily scared and who are most likely to be made stateless in other countries. We on these Benches will listen with care to the words to come from the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. At the moment we do not see what the mere delay proposed by the noble and learned Lord's amendment would achieve. The Labour amendment would seem to assume that it is an asset just to wait until things get better, but all the signs are that they are not getting better. Bristol gives way to Brixton, and Brixton will give way to what? As 943 unemployment increases from 2 million to 2½ million, and from 2½ million to 3 million, does anyone imagine that the situation will get better?
We on the Liberal Benches commend the Motion in the name of my noble friend Lord Avebury for your Lordships' attention. It would involve a Select Committee which could hear evidence and which would bring in the voice of the coloured community, which, due partly to our electoral system, is hardly heard in the Palace of Westminster—although when it is heard, as in this House today, it is compelling. It would involve a detailed examination of the Bill not subject to the hurryings of time, the threats of all-night sittings, small attendances and lengthy sittings of the House after 11 p.m. It would be a rational and reasonable way of dealing with the Bill. If it involves a delay and if it means your Lordships sitting a little longer, perhaps through August, or a delay until next year, then it would be time well spent. The time would be spent on your Lordships giving the matter the kind of detailed attention which only your Lordships can give it.
This could be a good Bill; it seems unlikely at the moment, but it is possible. We on these Benches will certainly do our best to see that the Bill is improved at Committee stage, whatever form the Committee takes. I should like to give one warning which ties up with what I have just said about the advantages 944 of the Select Committee. I am sorry that the Chief Whip is not in his place to hear this but no doubt he will read what I have to say, and it is not the first Bill on which I have said it. Once again, this is not a Bill of which large and important parts can be considered in Committee at one or two o'clock in the morning. There will be no filibustering from these Benches but we are entitled to proper consideration of a Bill which has such far-reaching consequences for so many people.
It is a Bill on which Members from all parties have earned the right to speak, and yet we were rewarded by being replaced by Mr. Enoch Powell, of all men, in Committee in the other place. We will play fair with the Chief Whip, but it will be better for your Lordships' House if we sit long and late, whatever the inconvenience, than if we skip the job of improving a Bill which will affect the lives of so many of our citizens.
I believe almost everyone is agreed on one thing, which is that this is a complex Bill full of contention. It is not only the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, who is baffled—many of us are baffled. I suggest to noble Lords on all sides of the House that the solution my noble friend Lord Avebury proposes is the most sensible solution. It is the one most reassuring to all minorities, the one most worthy of your Lordships' House, and I invite your Lordships to join us in the Lobby tonight.
§ 9.55 p.m.
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, this has been a most interesting debate. There have been some eccentric speeches, if I may say so. Indeed, when Lord Barnby rose (and I am so sorry he is not in his scat) he started in a way which made me feel that for the very first time I was going to be grateful that the noble Lord had participated in our debates—and we all have a great affection for him, in spite of his extraordinary views. He started off by saying that he felt when he entered this Chamber that this Bill was a minefield, and I thought that, obviously, his was a speech that was going to be in favour of all that I stood for. I felt that the minefield exploded in my face a very short time afterwards, and I know he forgave me when I had to make an intervention because of some of his unhappy remarks.
The noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, charms this House always. I never know whether I am going to hear from him a very reactionary speech, if I may say so, or one that is neutral. Today, I think we all heard—and we heard it with great pleasure—a speech in which the noble Viscount invited the party opposite to be non-partisan in its approach. Indeed, he inflicted a minor correction upon my noble and learned friend Lord Elwyn-Jones for having dared to make what he thought to be a political speech.
I am going to try to follow the advice of the noble Viscount. I will say nothing, beyond mentioning it, about the fact that this is a Bill which, for the first time in our glorious history of welcoming the stranger, will be rendering at least 150,000 people stateless; and I will gloss over the fact, because so much has been said about the jus soli, of the right to citizenship by birth. I will also gloss over the fact that we are creating, at all events for several youngsters up to the age of 10, this situation—and I ask the noble and learned Lord, Lord Rawlinson, to listen to this if he would. Such a youngster is not necessarily the child of a cheat; he could be the child of somebody entering this country with a labour permit in a proper way; trying to stay here to work, and to do so very properly. But, having been born here and being different from all the other boys in his class, he has to face the mercilessness of having, at the age of 10—I will do no more than quote this in order to satisfy the requirements of the noble Viscount, and I am quoting the Minister in another place—to prove at the end of that time, by (and I must be careful) the use of school records, National Health cards and child benefit records, that he had been here for 10 years since the date of his birth and had not gone out of the kingdom, even for a surgical operation abroad, for more than 90 days (that is what the Bill says) in any one year.
I will not go over other provisions of the Bill which my party finds unacceptable. What I will say, as others on this side of the House have said and as it is only sensible to say, is that of course a nationality Bill of some kind is necessary. We are in a state of confusion. But what I want to say, in a non-partisan spirit, is this. Every one of us, every speaker, with possibly the exception of one or two, has stressed the need for us to try to integrate into our way of life the immigrant whom we want to welcome on these shores 946 because he came here legally, and to have in this country a family at peace with all its sections, understanding the differences in culture, tolerating (as we always do) the person who is slightly different from us, but saying, "You, like us, are British; you, like us, serve the Union Jack and you, like us, are proud of this country".
If we are trying to do this, is it not necessary, at least as a public relations exercise on such a major purpose, to see that before you bring a Bill into Parliament you have satisfied not just the ethnic minorities but the leaders of thought in many, many parts of our national life that it is a fair measure and a just one? I am not going to use the word "racial" for the purpose of this argument. I say this in no sense of undue criticism, or of trying to score party points. The Government are to blame for this and this alone—and that is the message of my speech—for a complete failure to realise the importance of public relations before bringing in a Bill of this kind.
My Lords, why do I say that? We have heard speeches tonight about Gibraltar. The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, is a man of temperate habits and temperate speech. He is a master of the rounded phrase and we were all absolutely delighted to hear him. What did he say that Gibraltar felt about this Bill? "A smack in the face", were the words that the noble Lord used. What a great exercise in public relations, when good, old, loyal Gibraltar, putting up with all it has put up with over the past years, regards a Bill of a Conservative Government, of all Governments, as a "smack in the face"! And Hong Kong. Forget the ethnic minorities in this country for a moment. What does the official document say? We heard the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, on this matter. We were all delighted with his speech and with the speeches of others who spoke of Hong Kong and of Gibraltar. What does Hong Kong say in an official document that I received from the Hong Kong Government office?—There is fundamental, deep-seated and emotional opposition to the Bill among Hong Kong people".What a great exercise in public relations has the Government carried on in order that Hong Kong people should feel that way!
No consultation with the dependent territories, no consultation at top Government levels with the countries of the Commonwealth, leaving poor Mrs. Thatcher to go to India, having to argue with Mrs. Gandhi that the nationality Bill was not as bad as she thought it was; that it was not really racialist; and unfortunately, whatever else she achieved on that visit (and I am sure that she achieved much) not convincing Mrs. Gandhi before she left that it was not a racialist Bill and that it was not, in fact, a very bad Bill.
So far as this country is concerned we have heard some speeches tonight which are unduly complex, say the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, and others. The noble Lord was frank enough to say with the courage written—as it has been throughout all his public career—on his face: "I shall have to vote against this Bill on Third Reading unless there are substantial amendments made to it".
947 I turn to the bishops, if I may. It may be a rather foolish phrase for me to utter but I say thank God for the bishops tonight. We are not dealing with the representatives of ethnic groups; we are not dealing with people who have some sordid idea that you can use a Bill like this to stir up political unrest. What did the bishops have to say? Incidentally, the noble Lord who delivered one of his usual glorious speeches—and I am obviously referring to a gentleman who has, I suppose, given more of his life to his idea of world citizenship than anybody else and it is a delight always to hear him (I refer of course to Fenner Brockway)—complimented so rightly the most reverend Primate, who delivered I thought one of the finest spiritual messages that I have ever heard in this House.
What did he have to say? It was that he had heard from the clergymen of all denominations and that led to the declaration to the Council of Churches; the Roman Catholics said it; the Church of Scotland said it; and the Jewish community said it: "Please, we are getting reports of the utmost insecurity felt as a result of this Bill". The most reverend Primate said: "I ought to know, I am getting these reports from people engaged in race relations work. Please do something about at least telling the people of the provisions of this Bill and explaining it to them, because they feel insecure". He gave good reasons as to why they should feel insecure. Noble Lords opposite who queried the relevance—as did the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, in his opening remarks—of the Scarman Inquiry to this Bill ought to have listened to the most reverend Primate when he said in very clear terms that only last week seven clergymen from Brixton were asked to see the Home Secretary. They told him what were the anxieties that they found in the Brixton area. They all mentioned this Bill as causing the utmost anxiety and feeling of insecurity.
I am not on the point of the racial content of the Bill. I am on the point that this measure is, if you like, my Lords, misunderstood. Many of us feel that possibly it is rightly understood. Take it for granted that it is misunderstood. We are asked to pass a measure now amid all the difficulties of racial relationships in this country at the moment. We do all this before Scarman's recommendations, in spite of, as I said, what the seven clergymen from Brixton reported to the Home Secretary only last week. We are doing it with no public relations at all.
That brings me, as your Lordships may be relieved to know, to the Motion that stands in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Elwyn-Jones. This is not meant—and I ask your Lordships to take this seriously—as a wrecking Motion. Whatever else may be before your Lordships tonight, this Motion is not a wrecking Motion. It cannot wreck the Bill if it is passed. It does not ask for the Bill to be deferred until the next Session. It does not say it has to be referred to the next Session. It is an expression of view that until there has been carried out the public relations exercise of explaining this measure to those who are so concerned about it and until Scarman has had an opportunity or reporting, until all of us have had an opportunity of considering—with the dependent 948 territories, it may be—all the Government have to do as a result of this Motion being passed is to have an expression of opinion before them of this House and to decide themselves what they ought to do with regard to the rest of the programming of this Bill.
It has not been a very good management exercise by the Government on programming so far, to have brought this matter before another place when they did and to have guillotined a Bill of this kind. It was described in a leader in The Times of 29th April in the following terms:The British Nationality Bill is the most complex and the most controversial piece of legislation in the current Session".A guillotine Motion on that; no reference to the new Standing Committee procedure so that evidence could be taken and rushed through another place; so that even though there were, I have no doubt, 200 hours spent on it, vital clauses were not fully debated.
Let the rest of the programming of this Bill be done against the background of a Motion that implores the Government to see to it that our ethnic minorities—and it may be Hong Kong, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and the rest of them—will have an opportunity of expressing their view and of knowing that when we pass constitutional measures of the importance of a nationality Bill, we have given them great consideration and have had the decency to consult those who are going to be affected. In that spirit I commend this Motion to your Lordships when it is moved; but as your Lordships know, in accordance with our tradition, the Opposition will not vote against a Second Reading of this Bill.
§ 10.14 p.m.
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, first I should like to welcome the noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan. As the noble Lord is a former Minister at the Home Office, I am bound to admit to him that I feel myself to be rather in the position of a conjuror who is welcoming someone who is in fact seeing behind his hand. Nevertheless my welcome to the noble Lord has no reservation. He made a most distinguished speech and throughout the rest of the day he has shown that he is a very good listener. The House very much enjoyed listening to the noble Lord this afternoon and I hope—indeed, with this Bill before us, I am sure—that he will return to take part in our affairs again very soon.
The noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, has just made to your Lordships, typically, a most able speech. The noble Lord called in aid all the critics of the Bill, but he did not reveal what the Labour Party, for their part, would do about bringing our nationality law up to date. I say that, because we need nationality legislation. We need it, because citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies has lost almost all its meaning. Those who are such citizens are rarely connected with a colony, many are not eligible to enter the United Kingdom and that is not good for race relations. We need a new law to cure old anomalies, of which, of course, the absence of the right of a woman to pass on her nationality is the most obvious; and we need 949 a new law to bring some certainty into a most complex area of the law.
My noble friend Lord Home said that our nationality law cried out for certainty. The certainty that this Bill would bring is the knowledge that the status of a British citizen is a certain right to be in this country and to belong here. My noble and learned friend Lord Rawlinson described in his speech, much better than I can, that on grounds of good race relations it really is urgent to remove the uncertainty and put in its place a clear entitlement to British citizenship.
It has been mentioned, but not argued substantially this afternoon, that this Bill was not properly considered in another place. Obviously, this has a bearing upon the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. I just ought to say that the Bill was most thoroughly considered in another place. It was debated in Committee for almost 140 hours; it was debated on Report for three full days, which was something in excess of 20 hours, and, of course, there was Second Reading on top of that. It is true that a timetable Motion was brought forward by the Government, but that was only after the Committee had spent 90 hours on the Bill, and it cannot be said that, once the timetable Motion had been agreed, it seriously limited debate. Indeed, it proved possible, I notice, for the Committee to rise early on five of the seven days provided by the timetable Motion, without the need to curtail debate. The Bill was, however, exhaustively considered and—I say this most seriously to your Lordships—the amendments made to the Bill on Report are proof of the attention which the Government paid in the other place to the views which were put forward in Committee.
The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has alleged that this Bill is racist. I must say to your Lordships that I find this charge wholly groundless. For everyone who is already a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, with a right of abode, there is the clear-cut status of British citizenship. Then, for those who are to acquire British citizenship through birth after the commencement of the Bill there are the two avenues of deriving citizenship from parents, one of whom has to be a British citizen—either the father or the mother—or one of whom is required to be settled here. I am sorry, my Lords, but by no stretch of the imagination can such alternative entitlements be regarded as racially discriminatory. They are not only fair; they are far more generous than the entitlements to citizenship offered by all but one of our partners in the European Community.
I remain surprised at the criticism which continues to be levelled at the departure in Clause 1 from the full effect of jus soli—the right of citizenship by birth, if the birth takes place in this country. I would tell the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, that we on the Government side do not have visions of large numbers of pregnant women descending on our arrival lounges at the airports. It was the Green Paper of the noble and learned Lord's party which referred to "women en route elsewhere". But we think that when people profess to be here temporarily, then it is over-generous to confer citizenship on the children born in that time.
The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, charged the Bill with creating statelessness. The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, raised the same issue. The facts 950 are these. The Bill complies with the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness: that is to say, where the United Kingdom is obliged to prevent or remedy statelessness the Bill does so. It is in fact unlikely that the move in the Bill away from the jus soli principle will create stateless persons in any appreciable numbers. In almost all cases the children who do not acquire our citizenship at birth will acquire another citizenship; namely, the citizenship of one of their parents. And where this does not happen, Schedule 2 provides for the stateless child who remains in the United Kingdom to acquire British citizenship on registration as an entitlement after five years of residence.
If I may now turn to the question of descent, my noble friend Lord Geddes, speaking with his knowledge of trading with the Far East, expressed considerable concern about the provisions in the Bill regarding descent. I was grateful to my noble friend Lady Trumpington, speaking I think just after my noble friend, for putting squarely to your Lordships some of the points on descent which are to be found in Clauses 2 and 3. If I may add to what my noble friend Lady Trumpington said, there are serious anomalies in the existing law which the Bill would correct. Interestingly, I do not think we have heard very much about them this afternoon.
At present, only men can transmit. They alone can transmit beyond the first generation born overseas in foreign countries. The Government's proposals on descent would apply in all countries and, of course, for women as well as for men. Obviously, therefore, the Bill would operate more generously as far as Commonwealth countries are concerned. There seems to be no serious argument for not having the same arrangements in foreign countries, especially given the extremely significant provision for descent in the female line and the entitlements which the Bill would provide for registration based on a parent's employment.
But my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter was critical of the provisions in Clause 3 about the rules for citizenship by descent which are specially designed for people working in businesses abroad. With respect to my noble friend, I think the basis of his argument was not entirely correct, because under the provisions set out in Clause 3(2) the registration of children of people working abroad is an entitlements The Government believe that while, as a general rules citizenship should be automatically transmissible to the first generation born overseas, British citizens by descent who have real and continuing links with this country should be able to secure citizenship for their children born overseas with a minimum of difficulty. This we think is reflected in Clause 3 which, as amended in another place, will entitle a very wide range of British citizens by descent working abroad to secure citizenship for their children.
§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
My Lords, does not my noble friend accept, however, that there is a distinction between Clause 2 in respect of Crown servants abroad, where the entitlement is automatic, and Clause 3 in respect of businessmen abroad where they have to apply and where there is a measure of discretion in the Home Secretary?
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, that is perfectly true. I agree entirely with my noble friend. But the reason for the discretion in Clause 3 is because the whole purpose of the Bill is to ensure that those who are continuing to transmit their citizenship shall retain links with the home country. That is the reason why the basis of the entitlement is set out absolutely clearly in Clause 3. So far as Crown servants are concerned, that is a different matter; and if for no other reason, because we know that Crown servants posted abroad will always return to live at home.
§ Lord Belstead
Perhaps I may go on now, my Lords; I have answered the noble Lord and we can pick this up in Committee. May I now go on to the citizenship of the British dependent territories. I reject entirely any suggestion that it is one of the aims of the Bill to put people from the dependencies at a distance from the United Kingdom. I thought the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, spoke as though the people of Hong Kong and the Falkland Islands were to be British overseas citizens. The Government have departed in this respect from the Green Paper of the previous Government, which would have given everyone connected with the dependencies British overseas citizenship. Instead, the special position of the dependencies is recognised in this Bill by the proposal to give them their own distinctive citizenship.
In reply to my noble friend Lady Vickers, the intention is that the passports for the dependencies would have "British Passport" and the name of the dependency on the cover, and "Citizen of the British dependent territories" and the name of the dependency inside. I emphasise that the territories would remain the British dependent territories, and I repeat that there is no question of any change in their constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom, or, so far as Gibraltar is concerned, in her membership of the European Community under Article 227(4) of the Treaty of Rome.
The Government recognise the desire of some of the dependencies to have British citizenship but, if that were done for one dependency, it would be difficult to explain it logically, despite the very special links which some of their inhabitants have with the United Kingdom. I say that, bearing in mind that the advice given in his speech by my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel was that in creating a citizenship of the British dependent territories, it really had to be a citizenship for all the territories and not for each individually, which could then be picked apart individually. I would only add, on what I know is a difficult and controversial subject, that we believe that the addition of Clause 4 to the Bill goes a long way to recognise the entitlement of the British dependent territories when their citizens are settled here and the right of those who serve the Crown in the British dependent territories to registration in special circumstances.
If I may, my Lords, at this hour I will just answer two or three questions. I really do not think that there is any possibility of beginning to answer all the questions which your Lordships have asked, but to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, and to the right reverend Prelate 952 the Bishop of Truro, I would just say that so far as the absence of rights of appeal and the discretion given to the Home Secretary are concerned, I thought that perhaps the two noble Lords, and the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, did scant justice to those provisions of the Bill which confer entitlements to registration. Where there are such entitlements, it is already the practice for the Home Secretary to give reasons for refusal and application can be made in the courts for the refusal to be reviewed. It is only when the decision is at the Secretary of State's discretion that he is relieved from the need to give reasons, although even then reasons are given whenever possible.
At the start of the debate I sought to explain to your Lordships why naturalisation has never been the subject of appeal, and I remind the House that the Green Paper made the point that the issues concerned in these naturalisation matters are not easily justiciable. The noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, asked me whether there would be a new Immigration Act. My answer to that is that the Government at present have no plans to replace the 1971 Act. However, we have said that we will look again at the Immigration Rules in the light of this Bill, and particular points will be looked at in the light of that consideration. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, suggested that British overseas citizens would have to apply for naturalisation. This is not so. They would be entitled under Clause 4 to registration as of right after five years of ordinary residence here. The noble Lord's remarks about the disadvantages of naturalisation do not, therefore, apply to British overseas citizens.
Both the noble Lord, Lord Chitnis, and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, spoke about the special voucher system. The only thing I would like to say here is that the Bill does not in any way elongate the length of time that somebody has to wait, coming in under the special voucher scheme, before they can have citizenship. It is true that there is a difference of view, particularly between that put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Chitnis, and the Government, about taking all those who would be eligible for special vouchers at once. The Government have said, and I say it again this evening, that we keep under constant review the working of the special voucher scheme; but for the moment we keep to the quota which is at present in existence.
The House will have before it two Motions which will be put to the House, as I understand, after the Motion for Second Reading, if your Lordships approve it. Both those Motions share a common objective, which is to delay this particular Bill. I find it strange that noble Lords of the previous Government can counsel delay on a matter which they considered with very great care only two years before they left office; and they made perfectly clear in their Green Paper that our existing citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies no longer identifies those who have the right to enter and live in this country, with all the uncertainty which flows from that for good race relations.
The noble Lord, Lord Foot, called for an objective study of the Bill in your Lordships' House and a willingness to be shown on behalf of the Government to listen. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has shown just that willingness in another place, 953 but I think it is fair of the Government to ask your Lordships to bear in mind that this Bill is based upon a very great deal of the previous Government Green Paper, and that Green Paper was clear that British citizenship needed to identify those who belong in this country. It is not surprising that the previous Government took that view, for, as today's debate has shown, our present law is full of anomalies. The subject is complex and I know it gives rise to controversy, but that is no reason for the tabling of amendments which are going to have the effect of doing no more than turning their backs on the need for modernising our nationality law and simply hoping that the problem will go away.
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, the noble Lord the Minister is always courteous; I am grateful to him for allowing me to intervene. Will he be good enough, because it is so important, to deal not with the question of delay or what another Government might have done, but with the whole question of the public relations exercise which is so obviously necessary, as the most reverend Primate has already said and, indeed, as has been echoed in so many circles? Will he deal with that point?
§ Lord Belstead
My Lords, I think I can best deal with the question which the noble Lord has asked me, as my noble friend Lord Renton did, by reminding your Lordships of the view which was put forward by Mr. Alexander Lyon, a former Home Office Minister in the Labour Party in another place, who took a leading part for the Opposition on the Bill in Committee. After hours and hours of discussion on the Third Reading he said that after the Bill is enacted a British citizen will have all the rights, all the obligations and all the privileges that now attach to his status as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies who is patrial. After all those hours of consideration, Mr. Lyon added that he reckoned that would mean about 95 per cent. of the people living in this country. He then went on to say of the other 5 per cent. who have come here from abroad in recent years or who were born to those who are here from abroad, that they will also be British citizens. I am suggesting to the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, that so far as hearts and minds are concerned in this Bill, after hours and hours of debate an opponent of the Bill delivered himself of that particular judgement.
I think, therefore, that I am entitled to say that the Government believe, particularly after amendments made since its introduction, that this Bill is on the right lines. It will bring security to our ethnic minorities for at last it gives us British citizenship which unambiguously carries with it the right of abode in this country. That is a very significant step for good race relations. I am sure that it is right that your Lordships should now give this very detailed Bill proper scrutiny in Committee. I, therefore, have no hesitation in recommending that your Lordships should this evening give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a.
§ Moved, That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee.—(Lord Avebury.)954
§ 10.36 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 42; Not-Contents, 99.
|Airedale, L.||Hunt, L.|
|Amherst, E.||Jenkins of Putney, L.|
|Avebury, L.||Kennet, L. [Teller.]|
|Aylestone, L.||Kilmarnock, L.|
|Barrington, V.||Lincoln, Bp.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Listowel, E.|
|Brockway, L.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.|
|Byers, L.||Northfield, L.|
|Canterbury, Abp.||Ogmore, L.|
|Carlisle, Bp.||Pitt of Hampstead, L.|
|Chichester, Bp.||Rochester, Bp.|
|Chitnis, L.||Rochester, L.|
|Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Seear, B.|
|Foot, L.||Simon, V.|
|Gifford, L.||Southwark, Bp.|
|Gladwyn, L.||Stedman, B.|
|Grey, E.||Taylor of Gryfe, L.|
|Hampton, L.||Truro, Bp.|
|Hereford, Bp.||Wedderburn of Charlton, L.|
|Houghton of Sowerby, L.||Whaddon, L.|
|Howie of Troon, L.||Wigoder, L. [Teller.]|
|Airey of Abingdon, B.||Loudoun, C.|
|Atholl, D.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Lyell, L.|
|Avon, E.||McFadzean, L.|
|Bellwin, L.||Mackay of Clashfern, L.|
|Beloff, L.||Mackintosh of Halifax, V.|
|Belstead, L.||Marley, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.|
|Boardman, L.||Merrivale, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Mersey, V.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, L.||Monk Bretton, L.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Caithness, E.||Murton of Lindisfarne, L.|
|Campbell of Croy, L.||Norfolk, D.|
|Chelwood, L.||Northchurch, B.|
|Cockfield, L.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Orkney, E.|
|Craigavon, V.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Pender, L.|
|Crathorne, E.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Rawlinson of Ewell, L.|
|De La Warr, E.||Reigate, L.|
|Denham, L. [Teller.]||Renton, L.|
|Digby, L.||Renwick, L.|
|Dilhorne, V.||Romney, E.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Eccles, V.||Sandys, L. [Teller.]|
|Elles, B.||Shannon, E.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Sharples, B.|
|Elton, L.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Erroll of Hale, L.||Soames, L.|
|Faithfull, B.||Spens, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Stamp, L.|
|Gainford, L.||Stodart of Leaston, L.|
|Geddes, L.||Stradbroke, E.|
|Gibson-Watt, L.||Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.|
|Gowrie, E.||Terrington, L.|
|Gridley, L.||Teviot, L.|
|Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Trumpington, B.|
|Harvey of Prestbury, L.||Vaux of Harrowden, L.|
|Henley, L.||Vickers, B.|
|Home of the Hirsel, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Hornsby-Smith, B.||Ward of Witley, V.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Westbury, L.|
|Kinnoull, E.||Wynford, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Yarborough, E.|
|Long, V.||Young, B.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Motion disagreed to accordingly.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Moved, That, irrespective of the merits or demerits of the provisions of the British Nationality Bill noẃ before the House, it is inopportune and potentially harmful for such a measure to be enacted at the present time when there is abundant evidence of a grave sense of insecurity amongst the ethnic minorities of this country and when the Scarman Inquiry is currently taking place and has not yet reported.—(Lord Elwyn-Jones.)
§ On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 71; Not-Contents, 100.956
|Amherst, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Avebury, L.||Lincoln, Bp.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Listowel, E.|
|Beswick, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. (Teller.)|
|Bishopston, L.||Longford, E.|
|Boston of Faversham, L.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.|
|Brockway, L.||Milner of Leeds, L.|
|Brooks of Tremorfa, L.||Mishcon, L.|
|Bruce of Donington, L.||Northfield, L.|
|Byers, L.||Ogmore, L.|
|Canterbury, Abp.||Oram, L.|
|Carlisle, Bp.||Pargiter, L.|
|Chichester, Bp.||Peart, L.|
|Chitnis, L.||Pitt of Hampstead, L.|
|Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.||Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]|
|David, B.||Rochester, Bp.|
|Elwyn-Jones, L.||Rochester, L.|
|Elystan-Morgan, L.||Ross of Marnock, L.|
|Ewart-Biggs, B.||Seear, B.|
|Gifford, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Gladwyn, L.||Simon, V.|
|Gosford, E.||Southwark, Bp.|
|Greenwood of Rossendale, L.||Stewart of Alvechurch, B.|
|Grey, E.||Stewart of Fulham, L.|
|Hampton, L.||Stone, L.|
|Henderson, L.||Strabolgi, L.|
|Hereford, Bp.||Taylor of Gryfe, L.|
|Houghton of Sowerby, L.||Truro, Bp.|
|Howie of Troon, L.||Underhill, L.|
|Hutchinson of Lullington, L.||Wedderburn of Charlton, L.|
|Irving of Dartford, L.||Wells-Pestell, L.|
|Jeger, B.||Whaddon, L.|
|Jenkins of Putney, L.||White, B.|
|John-Mackie, L.||Wigoder, L.|
|Airey of Abingdon, B.||Caithness, E.|
|Atholl, D.||Campbell of Croy, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Chelwood, L.|
|Avon, E.||Cockfield, L.|
|Bellwin, L.||Colville of Culross, V.|
|Beloff, L.||Colwyn, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Craigavon, V.|
|Bessborough, E.||Craigmyle, L.|
|Boardman, L.||Crathorne, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Cullen of Ashbourne, L.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, L.||De La Warr, E.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Denham, L. [Teller.]|
|Digby, L.||Murton of Lindisfarne, L.|
|Dilhorne, V.||Norfolk, D.|
|Drumalbyn, L.||Northchurch, B.|
|Eccles, V.||Nugent of Guildford, L.|
|Elles, B.||Nunburnholme, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Orkney, E.|
|Elton, L.||Orr-Ewing, L.|
|Erroll of Hale, L.||Pender, L.|
|Faithfull, B.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Rawlinson of Ewell, L.|
|Gainford, L.||Reigate, L.|
|Geddes, L.||Renton, L.|
|Gibson-Watt, L.||Renwick, L.|
|Gowrie, E.||Romney, E.|
|Gridley, L.||St. Aldwyn, E.|
|Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.||Sandys, L. [Teller.]|
|Harmar-Nicholls, L.||Sharples, B.|
|Harvey of Prestbury, L.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Henley, L.||Soames, L.|
|Home of the Hirsel, L.||Spens, L.|
|Hornsby-Smith, B.||Stamp, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Stodart of Leaston, L.|
|Kinnoull, E.||Stradbroke, E.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.|
|Long, V.||Terrington, L.|
|Loudoun, C.||Teviot, L.|
|Lucas of Chilworth, L.||Trefgarne, L.|
|Lyell, L.||Trenchard, V.|
|McFadzean, L.||Trumpington, B.|
|Mackay of Clashfern, L.||Vaux of Harrowden, L.|
|Mackintosh of Halifax, V.||Vickers, B.|
|Marley, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Ward of Witley, V.|
|Merrivale, L.||Westbury, L.|
|Mersey, V.||Wynford, L.|
|Monk Bretton, L.||Yarborough, B.|
|Monson, L.||Young, B.|
|Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Motion disagreed to accordingly.