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Immigration From The West Indies (Home Secretary's Statement)

Volume 643: debated on Tuesday 4 July 1961

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asked the Prime Minister whether the statements made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the subject of immigration from the West Indies at a meeting of the Conservative and Unionist Teachers' Association in London on 17th June represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

I refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) on 22nd June.

Is the Prime Minister aware that in this case the Home Secretary characteristically let the cat out of the bag? He said that the Government were contemplating legislation to restrict immigration. He used the phrase that this would be based not on colour prejudice alone. Is the Prime Minister aware that this unfortunate phraseology caused widespread offence? Will he repudiate this statement and affirm that the Government have no intention of introducing legislation which is in any way discriminatory or based on colour prejudice?

The Government's position has been made clear in the House on many occasions and I do not see any need to add to it.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that unless the Government tackle the problem soon the flow of immigrants is likely to affect the employment position and hon. Members opposite and the trade unions in particular will be the first people to say, "Let us put a ban on non-British labour"?

That is quite a different question. I am asked in the Question whether I agree with the Home Secretary's statements. I have said that I think they were in conformity with what has been said over and over again in recent months.

If the authentic notes of all these pronunciamentos were recorded on menu cards, would it not be possible to introduce a card-indexing system so that we could become aware of all the future disasters to which the nation has been committed?

If the hon. Gentleman thought that out while he was sitting there, it is quite good. If he thought it out before, it is not really so good.