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Racial Discrimination

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 18 April 1951

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what Colonies have legislation or regulations making unlawful any discrimination of colour, race or creed in respect of accommodation, entertainment, refreshment or employment; and in which colonial areas such discrimination operates.

No territory, so far as I am aware, has general legislation of the kind described. There are some examples of legislation against particular discriminatory practices. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) on 14th February.

Is the Minister aware that there are some colonial areas where race and colour discrimination are being practised at present? In the circumstances does he not think it rather advisable that legislation should be introduced, where possible, in those areas to meet that situation?

I think it is advisable that we should consider whether legislation should or should not be introduced, but in any case before considering these questions we think it better to await the Survey of Racial Discrimination now being made. In the meantime those who feel, as I think most hon. Members do, that racial discrimination is repugnant in every country should express their feelings by refraining from entering any public places where it is practised.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the strong feeling that exists in Northern Rhodesia that certain hon. Members on the opposite side of the House showed racial discrimination against Europeans in Northern Rhodesia?

Will the Minister of State and the Colonial Service generally, be warned by the aphorism of a famous Socialist, Mr. Sidney Webb, about the inevitability of gradualness?

Do I understand from my right hon. Friend that he thinks it advisable that legislation of this character should be introduced? Is so, would he consider the possibility of recommending legislation for Northern Rhodesia, where, according to the noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), white settlers are badly treated?

I think it would be better to await the Survey of Racial Discrimination, which I hope will be published within a reasonable time.

Has the right hon. Gentleman had time to read the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen), in which he does not prescribe any protection against racial discrimination in employment in this country?

As the question has been put to me in a rather peculiar manner, I would point out that the hon. Member is not the only person who has time to read Bills. I have, in fact, read that Bill.