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Commonwealth Immigrants Bill

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 16 November 1961

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Order for Second Reading read.

3.58 p.m.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

It is only after long and anxious consideration and a considerable reluctance that the Government have decided to ask Parliament for power to control immigration from the Commonwealth. We all know that throughout the continuous evolution of the Commonwealth, citizens of member-States have always been free to come here and stay here as long as they like. This has been a cherished tradition of the Mother Country and there is little doubt that it has been an important link binding the Commonwealth together. But I sometimes wonder whether the House or the country realise what, in fact, this doctrine of the open door has involved.

The justification for the control which is included in this Bill, which I shall describe in more detail in a few moments, is that a sizeable part of the entire population of the earth is at present legally entitled to come and stay in this already densely populated country. It amounts altogether to one-quarter of the population of the globe and at present there are no factors visible which might lead us to expect a reversal or even a modification of the immigration trend which I am about to describe.

The Government do not believe, therefore, after very serious consideration, that any country would permit an indefinite continuance of virtually limitless immigration. Most people, I think, would agree that eventually an influx on the present scale would have to be controlled. I think that the House knows well that all other Commonwealth countries have power to restrict immigration and all of them, in practice, exercise this power either generally or in respect of citizens of particular Commonwealth countries. Some of them—I should like to pay tribute to them—have been par- ticularly generous in not exercising their powers against United Kingdom citizens.

The Government have now come to the decision that the time has come for us to take some necessary powers. These, as I shall explain later, in the first place are for a temporary period. They will apply to all Commonwealth immigrants and are more liberally conceived than the present power of control of aliens.

That is the general introduction which I want to make before coming to the figures so that the House may assess the extent of immigration. We start from the fact that we are a thickly populated country and certain to become more so. There are fewer countries more densely populated than our own. Over the past ten years the population here has increased by 2½ million, to reach more than 51¼ million. Immigration is becoming an increasingly important factor in this problem. We have long been familiar with the control of the immigration of aliens; it has been controlled in modern times since 1905. An alien is not allowed to stay in this country unless he makes a case, first, for admission and then for permanent residence in this country. Under this system about 16,000 aliens a year settle here as permanent residents.

I should like to refer to the fact that this country has probably as noble and as good a record in introducing refugees to our shores as any other country. Taking the immigration figures, there are immigrants from Canada, Australia and New Zealand; the total of these is not accurately known. Some come here to work for a short time and then return. The best estimate which I can make of people coming from these countries is about 50,000 a year, but many of these are not immigrants.

Then there are workers from Ireland, about whom I shall speak, and many of these also come for a short while and then go back. The number coming in any one year for the first time is roughly between 60,000 and 70,000 in so far as we can calculate it.

From the Republic of Ireland. Many of these are going backwards and forwards, and we cannot be certain about the numbers. We have no check as many are seasonal workers who come and then go back, but we calculate that the figure is about 60,000 or 70,000 who pass through our ports, in so far as we can calculate it.

A new factor in the last eight years or so is immigration from other parts of the Commonwealth, notably the West Indies, India, Pakistan and Cyprus, and to a lesser extent, from Africa, from Aden and from Hong Kong. Immigration from these sources first became a noticeable figure in 1953, and since 1955 we have endeavoured to keep figures of the numbers going in and out. The net intake in 1955 was about 43,000 and an inflow of approximately the same dimensions went on for the next two years. The figure dropped to 30,000 only in 1958 and to 21,000 in 1959.

This striking drop was attributable in part to a slight economic recession which we had. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I thought it as well that I should give the picture to the House so that we can make up our minds in relation to the Bill and the justice of the case. As I said, the drop was attributable in part to the recession here but it was also due to efforts made by other Governments to restrain their emigrants. For example, fairly stringent measures of control have been in force in India and Pakistan for many years past I should like to express—and I hope that this will be carried to these Governments who have tried to help us—the gratitude of Her Majesty's Government for their co-operation.

The possibility of similar restrictions in the case of the West Indies has been put to the Governments concerned, but they have felt unable to do more than to ensure that passports are not given to emigrants with serious criminal records, or to old people or to unaccompanied children. Despite the action taken, a rapidly increasing number of immigrants is managing to come here from all these countries. In 1960, the figure rose to 58,000, and in the first ten months of the current year it was 113,000. Of this figure, in the first ten months about 57,000 have come from the West Indies and about 19,000 each from India and Pakistan. The total number of these newer immigrants, including children born to them in this country, is believed to be now at a level of about half-a-million.

To get the facts clear, will the Home Secretary give the figure for the annual emigration from this country, so that we have the whole picture?

I have not the figure, but I will make a note for my right hon. Friend who is to wind up the debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I do not wish to give an inaccurate figure, but I will see that the correct figure is given in the course of Second Reading.

It is extremely important that as soon as possible the precisely accurate figures for emigration and immigration should be available. Is it not possible—perhaps the Parliamentary Private Secretary is now doing it—for these figures to be produced so that the Home Secretary can give us them in the latter part of his own speech?

I am always ready to suit the convenience of the House and to do what I can, but I do not want to give an inaccurate figure.

While the Home Secretary is looking up the figures, will he also take care to provide the House with figures for the last two or three years of migration from the West Indies of the numbers who have come simply to join their husbands in this country?

That would be a more difficult figure to give. I think that it will be very difficult to give an exact figure of emigration, but I will do my best to meet the request.

The Opposition Amendment criticises the nature and extent of the consultation which has preceded the decision which we have reached to legislate. In answer to the Amendment, I should like to say that contact on this subject has been maintained in a variety of ways with the Governments concerned and with their Prime Ministers and leaders. Many members of Her Majesty's Government have met many of these distinguished leaders of these nations and we have been in contact for a long time. The Opposition Amendment refers to the expression an "inquiry". All I can say—

On a point of order. The Home Secretary has stated that he cannot give figures about emigration from this country and immigration into this country. He gave me those figures this week and I now have them in my hand. Should he, therefore, withhold them from the House?

The hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) rose to a point of order, but I do not think that what he said involves a point of order.

The hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) has the figures in his possession, but I have not.

I have had many contacts with the hon. Member. I do not deny that I gave them to him. But I have not them at the moment and I do not propose to give an inaccurate figure.

Order. There are a large number of hon. Members wishing to take part in the debate. I respectfully remind the House that there is a relation between interventions and the number of hon. Members whom the Chair can call to speak.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. How is it possible to form a balanced judgment in this matter when we are given only one side of the case?

I will examine the figures which have been given and see that a statement is made on behalf of the Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I shall not be rushed by the House into making a statement without proper consideration.

I was saying that the Opposition Amendment refers to the word "inquiry" and I explained that many contacts have been held between members of our Government and Ministers of these other Governments. Not only has there been this contact, but there has been a most heart-searching consideration on our part of what action should be taken. I have reminded the House that the Governments of the West Indies, India and Pakistan did their best to control the flow in 1958 and 1959, and we are deeply grateful for their efforts.

In the end, however, their efforts were not sufficient to keep the flow within reasonable bounds. It was only when we realised this that we gradually came to the decision to control immigration. This decision, of course, was our decision, Her Majesty's Government's decision, and we have fully understood the expressions of anxiety and concern which have come from some of the overseas Governments.

Directly the decision was taken, my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary informed the Governments of all the territories for which he is responsible. He gave them, in confidence, considerable information about the Government's intention and explain the reasons.

My right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary took similar action with the Governments of the independent members of the Commonwealth.

Since then, consultation has continued. As the Prime Minister said in answer to the question of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on Tuesday last, consultation goes on all the time. We gave notice some time before we discussed this matter that we proposed to deal with it. Consultation must go on all the time and it cannot be reserved merely for Prime Ministers' conferences.

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what the result of the talks was and will he read to the House the protest which was sent by the Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation?

I read the hon. Gentleman's intervention at Question Time last Tuesday. The answer to the hon. Gentleman is that consultations with overseas Governments, whether Commonwealth, Colonial or foreign, must of necessity be private. I cannot publish the text of confidential exchanges between one Government and another.

I have explained, in answering the Opposition Amendment, that these consultations took place from the date, and even from a time before then, when the decision was taken. What I wish to make clear now is that future consultations must go on.

We know how valuable the immigrants have been—[HON. MEMBERS: "Humbug."]—and we trust that by close contact with the Governments concerned we can illustrate the spirit in which we mean the Bill to work. I say now, and I am sure that I speak for the whole House, that no one can doubt the value of the contribution which the immigrants have made to our national life. In particular, our hospitals and public transport system would be in difficulties were it not for the services of immigrant workers.

I pay a tribute to the courteous and efficient way in which so many of them serve us in our hospitals, buses and railways, restaurants and other branches of essential services. I say that on purpose. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Anyone listening to the interventions from the other side of the House would imagine that there was a question of imposing a total prohibition. This is quite untrue. It is not proposed by the Bill to impose a total prohibition on further immigration. It is proposed simply to control the flow.

We must remember that we are working in a period of full employment. It does not take much imagination to realise what might happen if, unfortunately, there should be a recession of trade and immigrants were competing for jobs with other people in this country. In such circumstances, life would be very difficult for the immigrants already here, and the situation would be made very much worse if others con- tinued to flock into this country in unlimited numbers in the hope of finding a job. The strain which such a situation would provoke between immigrants and resident British subjects could well have its effect on Commonwealth relations.

The Opposition Amendment is concerned, and rightly concerned, with Commonwealth relations, but I should not wish the House to forget this aspect of the problem.

No. I must explain these matters and make my speech to the House so that other hon. Members may take part in the debate.

It cannot be denied that the immigrants who have come to this country in such large numbers have presented the country with an intensified social problem. They tend to settle in communities of their own, with their own mode of life, in big cities. The greater the numbers coming into this country the larger will these communities become and the more difficult will it be to integrate them into our national life.

During the debate on the Address, the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) questioned what had been done to help immigrants. I remind him and the House of the excellent work done by many agencies to promote good relations between immigrants and the people of this country. I refer, in particular, to the Migrants Services Division of the Office of the Commissioner for the West Indies, the welfare officers of the Indian and Pakistan High Commissioners, and the committees set up in many areas under the aegis of local authorities. We welcome the work they have done, but they can deal with limited numbers only, and, if the numbers of new entrants are excessive, their assimilation into our society presents the gravest difficulty, as many hon. Members on both sides of the House have informed me in the course of private conversation.

Of course, we are doing our best to improve housing conditions. [HON. MEMBERS: "What?"] This is a matter referred to in the Opposition Amendment. I do not wish to omit from my speech any point made in the Amendment. The Housing Act of this year provided the local authorities with better powers to deal with overcrowding and unsatisfactory accommodation and also helped them financially in rehousing families from overcrowded conditions. Given a too rapid increase in the number of immigrants, there is a real risk that the drive for improved conditions will be defeated by the sheer weight of numbers, and the immigrants will be among those to benefit most if the new powers in fact prove, as we hope, to be effective.

I turn now, as is right in a Second Reading speech, to examine the form of the legislation which we propose. Various possibilities were considered by us and rejected. I take, first, a check on accommodation. We do not think that such a control could be operated without intolerable supervision and regimentation. To follow an immigrant moving from place to place in this country would be almost impossible. Also, this would be a power in excess of what we use in dealing with aliens. Therefore, we rejected it. Another suggestion is that immigrants should put down a cash deposit. We do not think that this would be effective. We have, therefore, come to the conclusion that the only practical means of dealing with the situation is to control the incoming numbers on the basis of the issue of employment vouchers.

I turn now to the Bill itself to explain what we have in mind. Part I deals with the control of immigration. Part II deals with deportation. Part III deals with supplementary matters. Part I begins by defining in Clause 1 the persons to whom control of immigration is and is not applicable. The objective here is to except from control—and, therefore, to guarantee their continued unrestricted entry into their own country—persons who in common parlance belong to the United Kingdom. This is achieved by excepting, first, persons born in the United Kingdom, and, secondly, persons holding passports issued by the United Kingdom Government.

This criterion has been chosen primarily for ease of identification by the immigration officer at the port of entry. He has only to look at the passport to see by what authority it was issued, and the place of birth is shown.

The use of such a test will lessen delay at the ports. With these exceptions, Clause 1 applies the power of control to all Commonwealth citizens, a phrase synonymous with British subjects, and also to British-protected persons and citizens of the Irish Republic.

Clause 2 gives power to immigration officers to refuse admission to the United Kingdom to any person to whom the Bill applies or to admit him subject to conditions relating to length of stay or his employment or occupation.

Under this Clause there are three main categories of immigrants from the Commonwealth who will be granted entry into the United Kingdom. The first category is defined in subsection (2, a); people coming here for the purpose of employment and holding vouchers issued by the Ministry of Labour. These vouchers will be issued to three kinds of applicant; first, those who can satisfy the Ministry of Labour that they have jobs to come to; secondly, those who can satisfy the Ministry that they possess training, skill or technical qualifications which are likely to be useful in this country, and, thirdly those who fall into neither of those categories and vouchers for this third category will be issued on a first-come first-served basis.

The Government will decide from time to time how many such vouchers can be issued having gone into all the factors which bear on our capacity to absorb further immigrants without undue stress or strain. The Minister of Labour will be speaking in the debate later and will deal more fully with the voucher system.

Will the wives and families of those who are admitted on the ground that they have skill which we require be allowed to come in, in addition to the quota of migrants?

Yes, the wives and children. When we come to the Committee stage we shall have to consider other degrees of relationship, which is always a problem for the immigration service. As I have said, I am able to say "Yes" to the hon. Lady's question.

The second category of immigrants who will be granted entry are those defined in subsection (2, b). That is to say, those who can satisfy the immigration officers that they are in a position to support themselves and their dependents, if any, without working. This will cover not only visitors, including business visitors, but also, for example, retired people who come to live here on pension.

The third main category allowed in will be those who are granted entry by the immigration officers under administrative arrangements. Here, there will be a number of people who should be admitted in circumstances other than those defined in subsection (2). I have particularly in mind students, returning residents and wives and dependent children. I am particularly keen to make clear that I have no doubt that students coming, from overseas will be able to come in and enjoy their stay here. These categories are not easily susceptible of legal definition, but I have students particularly in mind. I think that this will be best dealt with at the discretion of the immigration officer, in accordance with general directions which I shall issue from time to time.

It is important, therefore, that the House should be seized from the outset with the importance of leaving some discretion to the immigration officer. This discretion is defined in Clause 16 (3) and I can say that our experience of immigration control at the ports and airports enables me to pay a tribute to the fine work of the immigration service of this country.

The experience of the aliens administration also shows the need for flexibility in these matters so that instructions can be modified from time to time according to changing circumstances. The Amendment says that the Bill gives excessive discretionary powers to the Executive. It is important to maintain—and we shall no doubt discuss this in the later stages of the Bill—and preserve the constitutional position in which the Secretary of State is answerable to this House for the policy which he administers and the way his agents carry it out. That is the answer to those who claim that. The responsibility should rest with the Secretary of State and he should be answerable to Parliament.

Will the general directions the Secretary of State proposes to issue be debatable in this House.

No, Sir, but this House will have ample opportunity of asking questions of the Executive, of Ministers. I think that it would be undesirable to do what the right hon. Gentleman requests in this case, but, in any case, there will be ample opportunity in Committee to explain what the Secretary of State has in mind and the manner in which he proposes to administer this. I shall be glad, at a later stage, to give a description of how we propose to deal with the problem of students.

This is an important point and I should like the Secretary of State to make the position clear. He spoke of these general directions under which the immigration officers are to exercise their discretion. When he says that this is a difficult issue, does he intend to publish the details? Will they be made available to hon. Members, so that they may know what instructions he is giving?

They have never been published in the past, even under the administration of hon. Gentlemen opposite and I think that it would be extremely difficult to concede the right hon. Gentleman's request. I realise that it is a perfectly legitimate request, but I suggest that we discuss the matter at a later stage. I want to make that plain so that when we come to discuss the later stages of the Bill we will know just what we are discussing, where we have agreement and where there is disagreement.

Another feature of Clause 2 (3) gives to immigration officers the overriding power to refuse admission on medical grounds, because of a person's criminal record or for security reasons or if a person seeks to return to this country in contravention of a deportation order. As regards criminal records, admission may be refused to anyone known to have committed any of the crimes listed in the Schedule to the Extradition Acts. They include all serious crimes against the person or property.

I need not trouble the House in great detail with Clauses 3, 4 and 5. Clauses 3 and 4 provide the necessary ancillary provisions for the enforcement of the scheme proposed. I would, however, draw the attention of the House to Clause 5, which makes Part I of the Bill a temporary Measure to expire at the end of five years unless continued from time to time for periods not exceeding five years by Order in Council subject to affirmative Resolution of both Houses.

In a matter of such importance the Government feel that we should feel our way, not commit ourselves for an indefinite time for such a substantial change in a traditional open door policy. In five years we may find that the economic condition of this country is different. In five years other countries of the Commonwealth may have different economic pressures from the serious ones they have now to make a review of this kind desirable. We may be able to say where we stand in relation to the Common Market and the operation of the Rome Treaty in relation to this country. This is, incidentally, for the time being, why we have decided not to make permanent our aliens legislation.

I now turn to the Common Market aspect of this and in view of the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition on the debate on the Gracious Speech I must say that we do not accept that there is, or that there should be, necessarily any inconsistency between this Measure and the situation which is likely to result if we enter the Common Market. Let us take the present situation under the Treaty of Rome.

In June of this year the Council of Ministers approved regulations valid for not more than two years which recognise, subject to certain exceptions, the principle of priority of consideration which should be given to indigenous labour. The Prime Minister, speaking in the House on 2nd August, said:
"… It is quite unreal to suppose that we could be compelled suddenly to accept a flood of cheap labour, or to alter the basis of our social security overnight."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd August, 1961; Vol. 645, c. 1490.]
My right hon. Friend then referred to the possibility of measures of administrative control. If one reads Articles 48 and 49 of the Treaty of Rome it would appear that control is possible. Negotiations have not yet properly started and we certainly should not be able to say what the final position is until these negotiations have got a good deal further. It is not for me, in explaining the Bill, to go further into the provisions of the Treaty of Rome, but it is wise to include the provisions of Clause 5, which gives the Bill a temporary character subject to renewal.

I wish now to refer to the Irish Republic. There are a great many anomalies connected with our relations with Ireland, one of which is that the citizens of the Republic, although no longer British subjects, possess under Statute all the privileges and obligations of British subjects. Thus the Bill was drafted to cover the citizens of the Irish Republic, and this is the effect of Clause 1 (4).

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), when Home Secretary in the Labour Government, in referring to a particular anomaly, said on 13th July, 1948:
"It is true that this may present anomalies, but in my experience of attempting to deal with the Irish, whether Southern or Northern, if one can do anything at all it is sure to be either by way of creating an anomaly or of recognising one."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th July, 1948; Vol. 453. c. 1112.]
Under the shield of that benign advice I propose to proceed with the reasons that have led the Government to certain conclusions. The Government have always realised the very great difficulty there would be in operating the control against the Republic, for practical reasons that I shall explain, and I have always thought that we would not be justified in operating this control unless circumstances compelled us, or compel us to do so.

The reasons are as follows. First, the history of previous attempts has left in the minds of all concerned the determination to try to avoid such controls in the future. This was the war-time experience. Secondly, many of those who come from the Republic are seasonal workers who are coming to a job and who would, in any case, be let in under the provisions of the Bill.

It is when we come to the difficulties of physical control that we realise the problem, and I must ask the House to follow me in those difficulties. First, if we established a control we should have to operate it against a large number of British citizens who use the Irish ports. I am here supposing that we could control the Eire—that is, the Republic—and Ulster border and limit the problem simply to shiploads from the Republic to the English ports, but all experience and information indicates how very difficult it is to police the Republic-Ulster border and prevent people getting across it either by day or, especially, by night.

We are, therefore, forced to the conclusion, as we were in war time and after, that if we are to operate a control against the citizens of the Irish Republic we should have to institute a control within the United Kingdom itself; that is, against Northern Ireland and Belfast. I repeat—against the United Kingdom itself and against United Kingdom citizens.

The Government take the view that this would be an intolerable imposition upon British citizens, and would be treated as such. I feel certain that to insist on all passengers from Northern Ireland carrying passports and being subject to examination would present us with a political and practical problem as severe as that which emerges by our decision not to impose control against the citizens of the Republic. We have had discussions on the Bill with the Government of Northern Ireland. Lord Brookeborough said at Stormont, on Tuesday, that he was satisfied that we had taken Northern Ireland's interests fully into account. He has also assured me that any proposal to restrict freedom of travel between Northern Ireland, which is an integral part of the United Kingdom, and the rest of the country would be unacceptable to the Northern Ireland Government.

I fully realise, of course, that our decision can be, and may well be, misunderstood—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The Bill is drafted so that there is no racial discrimination—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and this decision is not dictated by such considerations—

I am certain that the Government is right to reach this decision in present circumstances. To those who are in doubt, I would say that we reserve the right to impose the control should it be necessary in the future in spite of the difficulties.

A great many suggestions have been put to me by hon. Members for dealing with this problem, while accepting, as many of them do, the difficulties relating to the border and accepting the difficulties relating to imposing a control within the United Kingdom itself. I am examining such problems and schemes, but I cannot give the final answer today as they present very great complications.

Meanwhile, Her Majesty's Government have noted the undertaking given by the Foreign Minister of the Irish Republic yesterday that freedom of movement would require the introduction of legislation in the Republic to preserve uniformity of control; and that an early statement would be made.

I have, of course, been talking about Part I of the Bill. The hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) asked why we had this provision in the Bill. I must emphasise that Part II of the Bill, which deals with deportation, does apply in full, and will be enforced in proper cases, against citizens of the Irish Republic as against other citizens to whom this Bill applies. This is a new power which otherwise we would not possess.

I should like now to deal shortly with Part II of the Bill, as I think that it may command more general assent. We have long been pressed to introduce measures to authorise the deportation of immigrants from the Commonwealth who offend against our laws, and thus give this country the same kind of powers as are possessed by practically every other territory in the Commonwealth. We came to the conclusion that the positive results that would be achieved by such a Measure were not in themselves sufficient to justify legislation for that purpose alone, but now we have decided to seek powers for a general control of immigration we have thought it only right to seek powers also to deport offenders. I think that I need comment only on the special features of this part of the Bill.

Clause 6 and subsection (2) of Clause 7 define which persons are and are not liable to deportation. Exemptions from deportation are framed differently from the exemptions from immigration control in Clause 1 because we are here dealing with matters which can be examined by a court, and not with what can be the criterion for a quick decision of an immigration officer. The effect, putting it shortly, is to exempt people connected with the United Kingdom by birth, parentage, naturalization or marriage. We are also dealing with people already in this country, and have thought it right to exempt from deportation any one who has been ordinarily resident throughout the five years before he is convicted.

Subject to what I have said, a court may recommend deportation when anyone over 17 is convicted of any offence punishable with imprisonment, and this definition includes all offences about which concern has been expressed. I wish to emphasise that no one may be deported under this Measure unless recommended for deportation by a court.

Clause 8 provides that any person recommended for deportation has the right to appeal against that recommendation in the same way as he can appeal against conviction. Clause 9 provides that the recommendation of a court does not automatically lead to deportation; it is left to my discretion, as Home Secretary, whether to carry the recommendation into effect by means of a deportation order. I am satisfied that these powers will be valuable in a comparative limited number of cases. Having had to exercise similar powers over aliens for the last few years, I can say that the number of aliens deported annually is about 100.

I come, in conclusion, to Part III, which contains a number of supplemental and consequential provisions which I need not deal with in detail except for Clause 12—

The right hon. Gentleman said, I believe, that the administrative decision as to whether immigrants shall or shall not be allowed to enter the country is not the subject of quasi-judicial appeal. Is it within the Home Secretary's recollection that during the war there were aliens tribunals, staffed by lawyers of considerable experience, who decided precisely this question of whether an immigration officer was justified in refusing entry to an alien? If it was possible to operate that during the very difficult period of wartime, why is it impossible to do it with Commonwealth immigrants now?

Our experience of administering immigration up to date is that the freer we leave our immigration officers the better and more successful the administration, subject to the responsibility of the Secretary of State. What I say to the hon. Member, as I said to the right hon. Gentleman, is that this is a matter which we must discuss during the later stages of the Bill. We shall then go into more details, such as the point the hon. Gentleman suggests.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not like to misrepresent the position. Is he or is he not saying that it is impossible for a quasi-judicial body to be set up to which immigrants refused entry would have the right of appeal? Is he seriously saying that? Will he answer "Yes" or "No"?

I did not say that. I simply said that we should consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, which has a basis of experience, in the course of the later stages of the Bill. I will undertake to do that. I never said that it was impossible. I never intended to say so, in any event. I am perfectly ready to consider any matter in the later stages of the Bill.

At present, a citizen of any other self-governing Commonwealth country has the right after twelve months' ordinary residence in the United Kingdom to be registered as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Clause 12 raises this period of twelve months to five years. We have been reluctant to make this change, but it is a necessary consequence of the deportation provisions of the Bill. The House may like to know that five years is the period laid down in the equivalent legislation of Canada and Australia.

It will be noted that my present discretion to accept less than the prescribed period of residence remains unaltered and this power can be used to prevent the raising of the period to five years operating too harshly in individual cases which deserve special consideration. Particular consideration will be given to persons who have had close contact with the United Kingdom.

That sums up the main provisions of the Bill, because the Schedules are largely consequential. It has not surprised me that the Bill excites considerable feeling on both sides of the House. The Government regret having to produce these proposals, but they believe that this Measure is rendered necessary by the course of events. It would have been perfectly easy just to go on watching the situation, but the Government have preferred, admittedly after hesitation, to take a course which is as distasteful to them as it is to many of their critics.

We consider this course to be right. I believe that this course is right and will be to the advantage of Commonwealth relations. I believe that if we continue consultation with the Governments overseas we should be able to explain the humane and reasonable manner in which we wish to administer the Bill, and with the help of the House I hope that we can make the Bill a good and a humane instrument for doing a very necessary job. I ask the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.

4.43 p.m.

I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:

"this House declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which, without adequate inquiry and without full discussion at a meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, removes from Commonwealth citizens the long standing right of free entry to Britain, and is thus calculated to undermine the unity and strength of the Commonwealth: gives excessive discretionary powers to the executive without any provision for appeals; will be widely regarded as introducing a colour bar into our legislation; and, though providing for health checks and for the deportation of those convicted of certain criminal offences, fails to deal with the deplorable social and housing conditions under which recent Commonwealth immigrants and other subjects of Her Majesty are living."
We have listened to a most extraordinary speech. The Home Secretary in effect, did not attempt to defend the Bill he was introducing. There were two rather amazing passages in his speech. In one he made it clear that he has made up his mind about the Bill without being aware of some of the most significant and important figures. Whether or not he has given them to my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), he clearly does not have them in his mind. The net figure of migration is the absolutely critical figure in deciding this matter.

The Economist Intelligence Unit study on migration from the Commonwealth suggests that the outflow is very much larger than is generally thought. For instance, it is estimated that between 1955 and 1960 no less than 20 per cent. of the West Indians went back. To make up one's mind that this is a desirable Bill without even being aware of the numbers that go back, and, therefore, of the number that stay, is most extraordinary.

The other passage which startled me was the right hon. Gentleman's very embarrassed account of why the Government were excluding the Southern Irish from the Bill. He was guilty of an Irish bull himself. He tried to solace some of his own supporters by saying that he would reserve the right to impose restrictions which he had just shown could not possibly be worked under any circumstances. Why did the right hon. Gentleman put this in the Bill in the first place, as my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) asked? I think I know. He put it in as a sort of fig leaf to preserve his reputation for liberalism. Now he stands revealed before us in his nakedness. He is an advocate now of a Bill which contains bare-faced, open race discrimination. He advocates a Bill into which race discrimination is now written—not only into its spirit and its practice, but into its very letter.

The more I have studied the Bill, the more I have come to the conclusion that it is ill-conceived, that it will not work, that it has been hurried, and that it will do irreparable damage to the Commonwealth.

The Leader of the House, speaking at the end of the debate on the Gracious Speech, showed himself to be sensitive to the charge that there had been unseemly haste in preparing the Bill. It bears all the marks of being rushed and unconsidered. Why were the Irish provisions put in? Why was not time taken to work out the fact that they could not possibly be made effective? The slightest knowledge and consideration would have shown that the Bill could not be applied to Ireland. It is obvious that the Bill has been enormously hurried from the fact that the provisions concerning Ireland were put in.

No time was allowed for an inquiry. The facts simply are not known. The Home Secretary constantly told us, "I do not know the facts. I do not know how many stay. I do not know where they go. We do not even know the total numbers moving about". In its six annual reports the Oversea Migration Board has deplored the absence of decent statistics about emigration and immigration into this country. It has said over and over again in its reports that the figures now in use are almost meaningless and unreal. Our decisions are being taken on this sort of information.

There ought to have been an inquiry to tell us the figures involved, how many are re-emigrating, which the right hon. Gentleman does not know, where they are staying, and whether local authorities ought to have better powers to deal with overcrowding. In this vital matter, which is so important that we are taking the Committee stage of the Bill on the Floor of the House, we are in effect, being asked to legislate in the dark.

Another example of the way the Bill has been rushed is the fantastic absence of consultation with the rest of the Commonwealth. On this matter the right hon. Gentleman employed the ambiguous language he usually employs when he is highly embarrassed. There ought to have been a Prime Ministers' meeting. At that meeting the question of all barriers to movement in the Commonwealth ought to have been discussed. There are many barriers. I deplore them. I deplore other barriers in the Commonwealth as much as I deplore the Bill. One thing which worries me about the Bill is that we now put ourselves completely out of court when arguing with other Commonwealth countries in favour of removing or reducing the barriers to movement.

Even if there were not time for a Prime Ministers' meeting, or if it was difficult to fix the date, there should have been proper consultation. There was none. The Prime Minister made it clear the other day that a week or so before the decision was announced to the Brighton Conference other Commonwealth Governments were informed—not consulted, but just told. They were told at a date which did not leave them time to make any comment at all before the Bill was produced and the decision announced. The Prime Minister of Jamaica learned about this from the Press.

I say this to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. This is an extraordinary and dangerous doctrine about Commonwealth consultation. The doctrine is, "If you are frightened of criticism, do not consult. Just inform, and give them no time to comment". It is the same thing as was done over Suez. This reduces Commonwealth consultation to a nullity. Yet it is the life-blood of the Commonwealth. When I was Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations we followed the opposite policy. If there was anything which was likely to worry or disturb Commonwealth Governments, we conducted long and early consultation before we came to decisions. This is the only way in which consultation in the Commonwealth can be conducted. What was the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations doing? Was he urging that proper consultation should have been undertaken? Was he overwhelmed and defeated, in which case he should resign? Or was he falling down on his job, in which case he should resign?

There could easily have been consultation. There was no need for all this degree of rush, even on the Government's case. They could have left it for a couple of months so that there could have been give and take and movement of opinion. The reason is that the Government are ashamed of what they are doing. They did not want to give time for consultation, and the reason they are ashamed is that this Bill in intention, in fact and now openly, because of what has been done in regard to the Southern Irish, is a Bill based on racial discrimination.

In its first form, before the Irish were taken out, the Bill was very careful to cover up this racial discrimination, but this only makes it worse, because a colour bar clothed in hypocrisy provokes even deeper resentment than a straightforward colour bar. How is this going to work?

The right hon. Gentleman is talking about hypocrisy. Did he read the editorial in the Observer on Sunday, a newspaper which I think he supports, which said that it was sheer hypocrisy to pretend that colour is not an important factor?

Of course, I read that article. I hope that the hon. Member for Louth read the article in The Times the other day. In any case, whatever these newspapers are saying, the fact remains that this is a hypocritical Bill. It is clothed and cloaked as if there was no racial discrimination involved. But how does it work?

The right hon. Gentleman very properly gave us an account, in a sort of formal sense, of how the Bill will work, but what will happen in actual fact is this. Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders will encounter for the first time difficulties in coming here—the formalities of getting vouchers and all sorts of new conditions which will take away from them rights as old as the Commonwealth. But Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders will overwhelmingly fall into the acceptable categories. Some coloured immigrants will come in because they have jobs and vouchers.

Then we have this quota—first come, first served. It sounds as if there will be no racial discrimination, but everyone knows that the overwhelming majority of those trying to get in on the open quota will be coloured people. The net effect of the Bill is that a negligible number of white people will be kept out and almost all those kept out by the Bill will be coloured people. That is why I say that this is a hypothetical Bill, because that is the intention of it. The exclusion of the Irish makes all this blatant, obvious and undeniable.

I doubt, with all the damage the Bill will do in the Commonwealth, whether it will really work or achieve the aim which it is setting out to achieve, because it rests on an economic argument which is completely fallacious, which was echoed by the right hon. Gentlemen.

The fact, to which the right hon. Gentleman and many others who support this Bill shut their eyes, is that an expanding economy creates new jobs. In the Birmingham area, between 1955 and 1960, 60,000 new jobs were created. The services in an expanding economy are continually short. There is a shortage of labour on the buses, in the hospitals and of men for the Forces, for which we are recruiting in Jamaica at the very moment that we are discussing this Bill. We could not run the economy without some immigrant labour from some- where. Even this House depends upon coloured labour employed in the Serjeant at Arms Department.

Therefore, an expanding economy, even one expanding at the rate laid down by this Government, produces labour scarcity. We have to accept this as a fact of life. There is a direct relation between labour demand and immigration. Ninety-five per cent. of immigrants get jobs quickly. They do not just move about casually. They are able to take a share in the working of our economy.

Some widespread fears are, in fact, wholly exaggerated. There was one which the right hon. Gentleman played on. Many people talk about millions of people coming here; he talked about a quarter of the population of the world coming here. But a limit is set on the numbers coming here by the economy itself, by the need of the economy for labour. It is the net figure that matters whether of immigration or migration. I think that the figure is not very great. Some years it is negative; some years it is positive.

Another argument used by the right hon. Gentleman, which is fallacious, is the fear of a slump causing tremendous racial troubles. The truth is that there is a fairly quick adaptation of the numbers to the movement of the economy to and fro. The right hon. Gentleman himself gave an example. He said that in 1958–59 the number moving in dropped and the number going out went up, both of coloured immigrants and of Irish, because the economy contracted. If the Government anticipate a catastrophic slump, they had better tell us, because a lot of other things will arise. But, short of that, the ordinary movement back and forth of the economy produces an extremely rapid adaptation of the figures of immigration, including people going back.

The truth is that the only way of putting a real ban on immigration is if we are prepared to slow up the economy. We must be told if that is the Government's policy. If not, an expanding economy will suck in the labour from somewhere. Recruitment will be organised in the overseas Commonwealth, with labour exchanges being set up in the West Indies in order to get round the Bill so that people there will get vouchers. The Irish will come in in greater numbers.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that his argument would be fairer if instead of "expanding economy" he said "inflation", and does he not think that immigration, however, excellent in the long run, in the short run is inflationary?

I must agree that inflation is inflation, but all the rest that the hon. Member has said seems to be poppycock and nonsense and quite irrelevant to what we are discussing.

Of course, labour will come in from the Common Market countries if we go into the Common Market. There are doubts about the meaning of the Treaty of Rome, but it is quite clear that under the Treaty of Rome recruitment of labour in the various Common Market countries will be much easier and we shall move steadily towards freedom of movement.

The net effect of all this will be an affront to all Commonwealth countries, whether pre-war or post-war—the whole lot—Australians, Canadians, West Indians and Indians will find that for the first time they are being investigated, detained and having to get vouchers under the discretion of the immigration officers, whereas the Irish and people from the Continent will be able to came in freely, or very much more freely.

Soon we shall have to have new notices at our parts. One will say: "British, Irish, German, Italian and French—this way"; and the other will say: "All other aliens and Commonwealth citizens this way."

The Times in a weighty leading article came to the conclusion that the Bill would not work in the terms of its own intentions. On 14th November it stated
"It is difficult to see how it"—
that is, the Bill—
"is going to reduce numbers or do much more than introduce a lot of complicated paperwork".
Much worse than a lot of complicated paperwork is going to result from this Bill. In the same leading article The Times said:
"The damage, emotional, economic, and political, which it"—
that is, the Bill—
"is likely to do to the already fragile fabric of the Commonwealth can hardly be exaggerated."

Conservatives pride themselves on being the party of the Commonwealth. I am beginning to think that they and the Ministers on the Front Bench do not know the first thing about the Commonwealth today.

One thing which I never forgot when I had some part in dealing with this matter was that, although relationships between people of the white race and other races is a world-wide problem, it is, in a special sense, a peculiar Commonwealth problem. European imperialism imposed a long period of domination by whites over peoples of other colours. Consequently, the struggle for independence imparted a special intensity to the relationships of coloured and white people and conflicts between them, which did not attach to other sorts of racial conflict, to other acts of oppression or other acts of intolerance.

The transformation of the Empire into the Commonwealth meant that this special problem was carried over into the Commonwealth, because the essence of the Commonwealth was that we did not terminate our relations with these Colonies but translated them into a continuing relationship between Asian, African and European nations. We must therefore accept—we may sometimes think it not logical—that for some time to come a special tension in relationships between white people and people of other colours will be an integral part of Commonwealth relations.

That is why South Africa presented a special, unique problem for the Commonwealth, which went to the root of the nature of the Commonwealth. That is why this Bill goes to the root of the nature of the Commonwealth. That is why it has produced heart-felt, genuine and deeply-felt alarm in many parts of the Commonwealth. There have already been reactions to it, the strongest in the West Indies. Hon. Members on both sides of the House who know the West Indies knew that this would happen. It has happened. Objection has been voiced by Sir Grantley Adams, a man who I have always found to be one of the wisest and ablest leaders in the Commonwealth and deeply attached to the Commonwealth. His words cannot be ignored by anyone who really has the interests of the Commonwealth at heart.

India has let it be known that, if the Bill is passed, it will consider introducing equal retaliatory measures. There has been much talk about the lack of reciprocity. I do not like bars to movement anywhere in the Commonwealth. In India there is complete reciprocity. A Briton can go to India as easily as an Indian can come here. He can go there, stay there and work there. There are more Britons in India today than there were before she achieved her independence. Imagine all this being stopped, with vouchers and all sorts of restrictions. The Bill will have a very grave effect on our trade, on our exports, because our people in India are primarily there for trade.

It would appear from the timing of the Bill, from the Commonwealth point of view, almost as if the Government have picked the worst possible moment to introduce it. We are at a critical stage in bringing non-racial states in East and Central Africa to independence and self-government. Everything there turns on the tolerance of an African majority for a white minority. To pick this moment to introduce a racially discriminatory Bill into our Commonwealth relations is the height of stupidity. We are at a critical stage in the future of the West Indian Federation. This is also the time when the Common Market, whatever one may think of its merits, has unquestionably introduced doubt and suspicion among the member states of the Commonwealth. To introduce this Bill at this time is really appalling.

The Home Secretary made a lot of this being a temporary Bill. But it lasts for five years and can be renewed by order. It is nothing like the Aliens Act, which we discuss year by year and which we discussed last night. It will be intolerable if this House has greater control over and greater influence in regard to restrictions on the entry of aliens than in regard to restrictions on the entry of Commonwealth citizens. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Minister of State, Home Office, was good enough to say yesterday that the debate that we have year by year has a great effect on administration and that it brings about a great improvement in individual cases and in general policy. But we shall not be able to do that with regard to Commonwealth citizens. This must be an annual Bill so that we can discuss and watch it year by year under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. Parliament cannot delegate to Ministers so much power and so much discretion over a matter which concerns the Commonwealth and Commonwealth citizens.

The heart of our Amendment is that the Government are approaching the wrong problem in the wrong way. Of course, there is a real problem, a problem of social relations, housing, and overcrowding, which produces racial tension. Hon. Members who represent the affected areas—I am in one of them—know that there is deep and genuine feeling on this matter. We have all been told by constituents, "If you had to live in the conditions in which we live your mind might well be changed". I have always thought that there was force in this argument. It is easy to be high-minded from a distance. But Members of Parliament have duties. They have a duty to consider this question in the wider perspective of the Commonwealth and the Common Market. In addition, they have a duty to try to get at what is the real problem and the remedies for it.

There are two causes of the real problem. One is what I might call the clotting of the immigrant population, its gathering together in smallish areas of poor housing and high unemployment. The latest figures which I have been able to obtain show that 40 per cent. of the coloured immigrants in this country live in London, 30 per cent. in the West Midlands and 3 per cent. in Scotland. The position is worse than the figures show, because the immigrants are concentrated in small areas within larger conurbations like London and the West Midlands.

The second cause of the problem is that, in these areas of clotting population, the creation of new jobs by the expanding economy is outrunning the provision of houses. This is the simple cause, and the results, of course, are appalling. They affect everybody, and not just the coloured immigrants, who live in these places. The thought that in 1961 homelessness should be increasing day by day and week by week in London is appalling, and it is a manifestation of the same basic problem that we have to face concerning the clotting of the immigrant population.

The Government are to blame for this situation. The Government have totally failed to relate the increase in the number of jobs to housing. They have totally failed to disperse industry. They have contributed to homelessness and overcrowding by their Rent Act and by cutting back local authority house building.

We must get the problem in perspective. It is a very grave problem, but it occurs only in relatively small areas and the Bill is quite irrelevant to the problem; it will do nothing whatever to remedy it. Immigration will go on under it. If we do nothing else but just have this Bill the problem will get steadily worse. I believe that one motive of the Bill is not to achieve very much but to divert anger in the cities from the Government and its policies.

A real drive now to start local authority building again and to disperse industry would have a relatively quick effect on this problem and much of the present tension might go rather quickly. There have been other waves of rapid immigration in our time. When I was young in politics, there was a great emigration from Wales. I remember that in Oxford all the things that are said now about immigrants were said about the Welsh. That problem has disappeared, partly through time and partly because great housing estates have been built which have totally changed living conditions.

In this respect, there is a point which is constantly overlooked. It is that we cannot build the houses or the roads that we need to get this dispersal, this acceptance of the immigrant population, without immigrant labour. It cannot be done.

We do not take any negative view in opposing the Bill. We think that there is a problem and that it should be dealt with. The Government must make much greater efforts to disperse this population. They must support local authorities much more in using their anti-overcrowding powers. They must take active measures to combat the colour bar. This is necessary now in our country because there are some elements that are stirring up race hatred. We should consider legislation to punish deliberate incitement of race hatred. We must certainly have legislation to stop the practice of the colour bar in places to which the public has access.

The Government must use their full influence. It is no good the Home Secretary praising the bodies who have helped. What have the Government done to help them? A great deal can be done to help the committees set up by local authorities and others. They need welfare officers and interpreters. We all know that where there is bad behaviour by immigrants, if somebody of their own race and colour goes to them with the authority of being a welfare officer, it is nearly always put right and relations improve immensely.

We bitterly oppose the Bill and will resist it. It has been rushed. There has been no inquiry, no consultation with the Commonwealth. It is widely and rightly regarded as introducing a colour bar into our legislation. It will do great harm to the Commonwealth. It is so ill-conceived that it will not achieve even its own mis-begotten purposes. It is a Bill, as the Economist said, that is a ramshackle monstrosity.

5.13 p.m.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker—[An HON. MEMBER: "Deputy for Mosley."]—I hope that hon. Members opposite, who are so keen on racial equality, will at least give me the courtesy of a hearing—[An HON. MEMBER: The hon. Member does not deserve it."]—and will give me the sort of hearing that they would demand for anybody speaking from this side who happened to have a black face. [Interruption.]

The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) made three points to which I should like to refer. He said that one of his constituents had told him, "If you lived in a coloured area, you would think differently about this problem". As the House knows, I have been agitating for this type of legislation for ten years. I make no bones about it and I do not apologise for it. I have received thousands of letters from all over the country, mostly from people who live in the areas—

Is this the sort of liberty that is given to an Englishman? I have received thousands of letters from people who live in these areas and who are affected by this problem.

I have answered every one. Many of them are from the Brixton area which the hon. Member will not touch. These people show an acute sense of distress because of this problem. The right hon. Member for Smethwick gave not nearly enough attention to the English people in the great cities who are affected by this problem.

The right hon. Gentleman's second point—if I may have his attention for a moment—was that the net migration figures would show in some cases that more people left this country than came to it. That is probably true. The position varies from year to year. What the right hon. Gentleman will agree, however, is that those people leaving this country for other parts of the Commonwealth have to subject themselves to restrictions even greater than those that the Bill will impose. That is a fair point to make. Therefore, it does not seem to me at all unreasonable that we should say to other parts of the Commonwealth that we will exercise the same powers in our own country that they have power to exercise in their countries.

I support the Bill wholeheartedly and I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on introducing it. I recognise that this is one of the most momentous decisions that the House will have to take for many a generation, but I believe that it is ten years too late and that it is still inadequate. I think that far greater controls will be necessary before long. As a child, however, I was taught that half a loaf is better than no bread, and I am grateful for small mercies.

Why is the Bill necessary? That is the question we must face. [Interruption.] I beg hon. Members opposite to listen. Last week, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was challenged by the Leader of the Opposition for supporting the Bill after the speech which my right hon. Friend had made at the Brighton conference on the brotherhood of man. My right hon. Friend said:
"I detest the necessity for"—
the Bill—
"but I believe it to be necessary."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th November, 1961; Vol. 648, c. 926.]
I am quite aware that the onus rests upon us to prove its necessity. Yesterday, there appeared in the Daily Telegraph what I thought was a rather good letter giving a number of figures which prove beyond doubt that a Bill of this kind was necessary. The right hon. Member for Smethwick simply ignored those figures and the implications behind them. When the Leader of the Opposition winds up the debate from his side of the House, I should like him to face the ugly facts of those figures that were in my letter yesterday in the Daily Telegraph. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

Order. If the hon. Member who is speaking does not give way, obviously the hon. Member for Abertillery (Mr. LI. Williams) must resume his seat. I would point out that a large number of hon. Members wish to speak. Possibly, we can have fewer interruptions.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for now giving way. Does he consider it justifiable to use one particular word in the letter to which he has referred, in which he said

" 'Keep out brother' is a statistical necessity"?
Does the hon. Member think that he is entitled to use the word "brother" in that context?

Let me answer one at a time. The right hon. Gentleman had a fair run and was listened to patiently. [HON. MEMBERS: "He was talking sense."] That word came from The Times of London and it was in inverted commas to show that it had been copied from elsewhere. Surely the hon. Gentleman understands that?

I appeal to hon. Members to let me get on, but I will give way once more.

Does the hon. Member remember the famous words of John Wesley, "The world is my parish"?

That is true. I agree with that, but even in Methodism each man is entitled to settle his own domestic affairs in his own household.

Every Methodist is entitled to do that. [Interruption.] I was challenged by the hon. Gentleman and I am trying to answer.

The question I want to face is, why do immigrants come to this country? Why do they come here? For the simple reason that the standard of living in this country, as I showed in my letter, is so much higher than that they can enjoy in their own country—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why is that?"]—and they will continue to come here whilst our standard of living is so much higher than theirs. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why is that?"] As long as that is true they will come. This is the honey pot to which they will come, so long as there is any honey in the pot.

The equality of brotherhood which hon. Members opposite show astonishes me.

Will the hon. Member say whether he believes in the brotherhood of all men or merely in the brotherhood of white men?

I believe in the brotherhood of all men, and I would not shut out half a dozen members from my own party just because they disagree. [Hon. Members: "What about Nigel Nicolson?"] So far as I know, the Foot family are still white. I think that hon. Gentlemen opposite—[Interruption.] Do let me get on. If I am constantly interrupted I will only take longer, I warn hon. Members. I am trying to answer a question.

We have got to face this. Why is it that they come here? It is because they can have a very much higher standard here than they can in their own country. In Pakistan and India they work harder for a week's wage which is less than they can get here on the dole for doing nothing, and whilst therefore—

If this is the sort of liberty which we can expect from hon. Gentlemen opposite, God help England if it is controlled by them.

I hope that hon. Members will not keep on shouting out repetitive questions from a sitting position.

I am much obliged to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I say to hon. Gentlemen this will do them no good. What we are seeing is the sort of liberty which they will leave to us. They believe in the black man having his say, but not the white man.

I claim that control is inevitable because of the attraction of our country to the coloured people because of their immense poverty and their low standard of living. [An HON. MEMBER: "Exploitation."] Shut up.

On a point of order. Is the hon. Member entitled to say "Shut up" when addressing the Chair? Is he not referring to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, when he says, "Shut up"?

I do not think the hon. Member addressed that remark in substance to me.

I withdraw that remark. But I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. Does he not think I should have a fair hearing? Is he proud of this sort of thing? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick had a fair hearing.

Therefore, I say with certainty, and I do nor apologise for saying it, that this control which I think is inevitable, and I think ought to have come much earlier, has nothing to do with coloured skin at all. It is due entirely to poverty and to numbers. I want to say this to hon. Gentlemen of those immigrants from the coloured part of the Commonwealth. In my opinion, had they faces as white as snow, their great numbers and their great poverty would have made control of their coming into this country Inevitable.

I beg of you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, some protection.

The dilemma facing our country is this, and I put this to the Leader of the Opposition if I can. Either we have got to bring their standards nearer to our standards or we have got to let them drag our standards down to theirs or we have got to have control of immigration, and that is the problem facing us. The New Zealanders, the Australians, the Canadians, are not coming here in great numbers and that has nothing to do with the colour of their skin. They are not coming here because their standard of living is so very much higher than ours, and therefore there is no temptation for them to come. This problem has nothing whatever to do with skin. Therefore, the real test is the overwhelming numbers and the poverty.

The right hon. Gentleman made a lot of the question of the open door policy, and it is in the Amendment. The open door policy could have been maintained while only a small trickle such as we had pre-war was coming to our country, but once we had the immense rush, the great crowds that we are getting now, the situation changed. Figures have been given for the first ten months of this year—113,009. [An HON. MEMBER: "How many West Indians?"] It has got to be controlled, and surely if we are going to have control of immigration because of the numbers we are entitled to impose the same quality of control which is imposed upon us if we wish to go to other parts of the Commonwealth.

What hon. Gentlemen have got to face is that we have neither the room nor the resources indefinitely to take all who would like to come. That is a fact which has got to be faced. Some day, if it is not done now, we have got to impose some form of restriction, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition would agree with that. We have not the wealth nor the resources nor the space to take the whole of the coloured Commonwealth members who might want to come here. [HON. MEMBERS: "The Irish?"] I would control the Irish if I could, and I am not so sure that it cannot be done. [HON. MEMBERS: "The Welsh? The Scots?"] There are a good many Welsh Members I should like to send away.

I ask hon. Gentlemen to look at another lot of figures the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick completely ignored. In the last nine years the population of three of our biggest overseas areas, India, Pakistan and Nigeria, has increased by nearly 100 million people. If medical science is going to do for those people—I hope it will—what it has done for us, reduce their infantile mortality rate and extend their life, then their numbers are going to double in a very short time. I challenge any hon. Member opposite to deny that we could not possibly take that increase in population for ever.

Of course. Therefore, I say that the sheer weight of numbers—nothing whatever to do with the colour of the skin—is a factor that controls the event and makes it imperative that we should have some form of control.

No, I cannot give way again. I have given way about six times already, and that is more than the right hon. Gentleman did earlier. If hon. Members want me to give way every time they wish to interrupt and want me to take the whole night to finish my speech, I will do that.

I am saying that in the last ten years, off and on, I have continued to press for four things, some of which are not in the Bill, though I wish they were. I have said that vie should insist on a clean bill of health, a good character, a house to come to and a job to come to. I am sure that most people outside the House feel that these are not unreasonable requirements.

The hon. Gentleman quoted The Times and I will, if I may, quote what the Sunday Times said in its editorial. It said:
"Nevertheless, race and colour apart, there is a substantial social and economic problem, and it must be faced … the crux is not jobs but homes, and a certified job is no guarantee that the immigrant will not worsen the slum problem."
I am not apologising to hon. Members opposite for the record of my party in housing. As compared with what their party did in six years, I am proud of what we have done. To allow an unlimited number of immigrants to come into the country with the housing situation as it is at present is criminal. Therefore, I suggest that we should support the action which my right hon. Friend is taking.

The other point made by the hon. Member was that we ought to have consulted the Commonwealth Prime Ministers and obtained their consent before we brought in this legislation. That to me is a fantastic and absurd proposal, for this reason. Australia has one person per square kilometre. We have 301. Australia is determined that not one coloured person shall go into that vast continent. Do hon. Members think that Mr. Menzies would be very pleased to be asked to adjudicate on this situation? What do hon. Members think Mr. Menzies would say to us if we were to say to him, "We want you to come and tell us what we should do"?

To take the example of Canada and New Zealand, Canada has two people to the square kilometre and New Zealand has nine. We, as I have said, have 301. Both Canada and New Zealand impose restrictions far greater than those proposed in this Bill. The other countries of the Commonwealth are all exporters of immigrants. They have a vested interest and they, of course, would want us to keep the door open.

The hon. Gentleman is going to tell me that Mr. Manley, with whom he is in very close contact, has said—

I am not going to say anything of the sort. All that I am going to say is this—do we believe in the British Commonwealth or do we not? If we believe in it, then we have a duty to say to Australia and Canada, "You, too, should be taking your share of immigrants from those countries which need emigration." Therefore, it would be a good thing to put them on the spot.

What does the hon. Gentleman think that Canada and Australia would do? It is a futile argument to say that we should go to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers and ask their permission before taking some action to deal with our own domestic affairs. We have a perfect right to decide this matter for ourselves, and I think that the Government are right to do so. For us to go to the West Indies, for example, and say, "Please may we do this?" is surely colonialism in reverse. I wonder what the people of the West Indies would do if we were to say to them, "You must not do this. We shall not allow you."

The hon. Gentleman has a most extraordinary idea about Commonwealth consultation. It is not a question of vetoes but of discussing and talking things over together. That is what the Government did not do.

But even when we have discussed and talked it over with them, we still have to decide for ourselves. The three great white Dominions could not help us because they are against the policy in their own countries. Therefore, they could not say to us, "Do not bring in the Bill." The other Prime Ministers have a vested interest, and, therefore, we surely could not consult with them over this issue.

The right hon. Gentleman said that this immigration labour is necessary to us, that we could not get on without it on the buses, on the underground and in the hospitals. Last June the Economist put it this way. It said:
"Englishmen find themselves increasingly too fastidious to perform unsavoury or unpopular duties."
Therefore, the Economist went on to say that we must import the semi-slave, second-class citizens to do the unsavoury jobs which we English are not prepared to do ourselves.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman this question, will the immigrants' children who are brought up in this country continue to do our unsavoury jobs for us—

—or shall we have to continue to bring in more and more of these people to do the unsavoury jobs, or shall we do what the Scots do? We have got to face this problem. Last autumn I went to Scotland for a short holiday. I understand that except for the City of Glasgow practically all the other great cities of Scotland run their hospitals, their buses and their railways themselves. The Scots are a better educated, a prouder and more independent-minded people than the English. It is high time that we learned to do for ourselves what the Scots do for themselves and not to rely on immigrant labour.

I asked the right hon. Member also if he would quote to us what was said in the Observer, but he refused to do so. I wish to remind the House what the Observer, which is regarded as a very liberal-minded paper, said on Sunday, 5th November. It said:
"To accept all the arguments against the Bill does not demolish the case for some control of immigration … Britain has neither the resources nor the space to go on indefinitely adding to its population, irrespec- tive of whether the increase in population is white or coloured."
The paper added:
"If the door were kept wide open, a time would inevitably come … when we should have a social situation in which any proposal to limit further immigration would have to be fought through in an atmosphere of bitter racial antagonisms."
Is that what the right hon. Member for Smethwick wants?

Finally, the Observer puts this point:
"The seeds of such a crisis are already present"—
and then it blames it on me, adding:
"not only in the repugnant emotional attitudes of certain politicians".
Though I wrote to the editor and asked why views expressed by politicians were repugnant and yet those same views expressed by the editor of the Observer were liberal-minded, he failed to publish that letter.

The quotation continues:
"… but also among the workers who are directly involved in the social strains of competing with immigrants for houses, hospital beds and social services."
The right hon. Member for Smethwick knows that this is a fact. He knows that this is the trouble that faces us, and yelling across the Floor of the House will not solve the problem.

The Observer adds:
"Certainly, we want more of all of these; but, again, there is a limit to what is possible. And although race and colour should not complicate these problems, it is hypocrisy to pretend that they do not."
These are quotations from the liberal-minded Observer, and I plead all that in support of this very moderate Bill.

Lastly, I want to ask one question of the Leader of the Opposition to whom I gave notice that I would ask it. A letter was sent on to me, typed on House of Commons paper, from the Parliamentary Labour Party, House of Commons, dated 27th June, 1961. It reads:
"Dear Mr. Sawyer, Mr. Gaitskell has asked me as Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party to thank you for your letter of 25th June. The Labour Party is opposed to the restriction of immigration as every Commonwealth citizen has the right, as a British subject, to enter this country at will."
Does that stand, no matter what the conditions may be, for all time?

This is vital, because the numbers are growing and growing. No matter how they grow, does this still hold true? The letter continues:

"This has been the right of subjects of the Crown for many centuries and the Labour Party has always maintained that it should be unconditional …".
Is that still the policy of the Leader of the Opposition, whatever the conditions may be? Is it his policy that there should be unconditional entry into this country from any part of the Commonwealth?

This is a vital consideration and I should like the Leader of the Opposition to deal with it when he speaks.

The real way to deal with this problem, which hon. Members have in mind, of the poverty of the coloured people in the Commonwealth is not to bring what is a tiny fraction of them into this country, because a tiny fraction over there is a great flood for us and still leaves them with this basic problem. They have to face poverty and increasing population.

Hon. Members should bear in mind that at present basic commodities cost less than since 1946. If we as a country had paid the same terms of trade last year as we would have paid in 1954, then for imports from the coloured Commonwealth, we would have paid between £400 million and £450 million more than we actually did. [HON. MEMBERS: "Tell the Chancellor."] The coloured people would have been that much better off, but we must face it that the English people would have been that much poorer. [An HON. MEMBER: "British people."] The problem is greater in England. These people do not go to Wales or to Scotland.

The question that I want to put, therefore, is this. If we are to put into effect the concept of the brotherhood of man—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."]—which hon. Members opposite talk about, we shall not do it on the cheap. It will cost us a great deal. We can do it only by paying higher prices for the things which these people produce for us. In the meantime, because of the enormous flood of people wanting to come into this country and because of the tremendous social prob- lems which this is creating in Birmingham, Nottingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and London, I say that there must be a check, and because of that I gladly support the Bill.

5.45 p.m.

I was hoping that the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) would be allowed to intervene in the debate, but I had not expected to be so fortunate as to have him intervene so very early. Rightly, the hon. Member claimed at the beginning of his speech that he had agitated for the Bill for the last two years at least, and he was very glad that it had now been brought forward. I ant prepared to credit him with being the true author of the Bill, and I am quite sure that the Government feel not only elated but greatly gratified that they have now adopted the hon. Member's policy.

Incidentally, the hon. Member provided the answer to one assertion that had been made by the Home Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman claimed that it was not the Government's intention in the Bill to make any discrimination oil the ground of colour and that they had no intention whatever of restricting immigration into this country merely because the immigrant had not the same coloured skin as we have. But I had the good fortune the other night to watch television on which there was supposed to be a debate between the hon. Member for Louth and the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker). The hon. Member for Swindon was doing his best, quite calmly, to state his views about the Bill, but he was interrupted the whole time by hysterical shouts from the hon. Member for Louth of "Do you want this country to be black"? May I pass that on to the Home Secretary and tell him that the author of the Bill intends this to be a Bill discriminating on the ground of colour?

To me the Bill is a confession of failure in two important respects. First, there is the failure to tackle the problem which confront these people in their country of origin, and they are people for whom we have been responsible for well over a century. Now when we are handing over self-government to them we are merely leaving them to do the best they can. The Government ought to have shown from the outset foresight, energy and drive in facing what would happen to the people in these territories. Instead, there has been complete failure on the part of the Government to tackle that problem.

There has been complete failure to tackle the problem, on this side, of how these people are to be housed when they come here. There has been an admission by the Home Secretary that they have done excellent work and have added to the country's production. There has been an admission that they have replaced people required elsewhere, but then hon. Members like the hon. Member for Louth shout, "But look at the conditions in which they live".

Are they to be blamed for that or is the blame on the Government of the day? It seems to me that instead of tackling these two problems with energy, drive and determination, which they ought to have shown, the Government found that this Bill was an easy way out. So that they need not bother any more about these problems, they said "Keep these people out".

That has been said at the Dispatch Box by a representative of the "mother" of all these Commonwealth countries. It has been our proud claim that we have been in the position of the "mother country" towards all these others. Now that their people are driven from their homes because they cannot earn a decent living, the "mother" is prepared for the first time to close the door in their faces.

Up till now, as the right hon. Gentleman said, the position in the Commonwealth has been—and of this we have boasted throughout the years—that it was the right of any citizen in any part of the Commonwealth—an absolute, undeniable right—to come here and stay here at any time just as easily and readily and with as much right as any of us who were born here. For the first time in the history of the Empire and the Commonwealth that right is to be denied. All that those people are now to get is a permit, which may be given to them or may be refused.

I agree that in this respect we have had a unique position in the Common- wealth, and the Commonwealth as a whole is unique, but, as a mother country, we are not alone in giving that right to the people to whom we have been responsible. It is a right which is also accorded by France, and has been throughout, to all the people in the French territories, and it is accorded even now to the Algerians, in spite of all the trouble that France is having in Algiers. A similar position was taken by Holland. We are the first of these three countries to deny that right.

The Bill has done more to wreck the Commonwealth than any action ever taken by any Government at any time. After all, the fabric which keeps the Commonwealth together is a very delicate one, and it ought not readily to be interfered with. The Bill will have aroused emotions and social and economic questions and, above all, political questions. Hitherto the Conservative Party has put forward a sort of special claim that the Empire has been its Empire and that the Commonwealth really owed its existence to hon. Members opposite. I have always been in some difficulty in following that argument, for the Conservatives lost the first thirteen colonies we had in North America—and fought them for six solid years, not with our own soldiers but with imported German soldiers.

The history of the Tory Party with regard to the Empire is not good. As a result of the policy of the Conservatives in South Africa around the beginning of the century they certainly lost us Cape Colony and Natal. It may be that the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, as we knew them in those days, would have remained separate. At any rate, we always thought that the people of Cape Colony and Natal would regard it as right and proper to be associated with this country. Unfortunately, acts were committed at that time, especially with regard to the concentration camps, which were used for the first time, which will never be forgotten by the people of South Africa. Nevertheless, this Bill has done much more harm than was done by our actions in North America and South Africa.

What is more, until the last twelve months or so we heard members of the Conservative Party, including occupants of the Government Front Bench, express anxiety about the composition of the Commonwealth if perchance we join the Common Market. It can at any rate be said about the Government that before they took the first step of beginning negotiations about the Common Market they went out of their way to consult the Commonwealth and obtain its views. They actually sent out Ministers to explain what they intended to do and obtained the views of the Commonwealth.

But here is a far more delicate matter. No one was sent out to ask India, Pakistan—with their huge populations and tremendous problems— or the West Indies what they felt about something of this nature. I wonder what answer the Colonial Secretary has sent to the very remarkable telegram from that fine character, Mr. Manley, which contained these words:
"This act will be interpreted throughout the world as a failure to face up to the problem of colour presented to England for the first time in history."
I should like to know—I am perfectly sure that the House, the country, the West Indies, India and Pakistan would—what answer was sent to that telegram.

The right hon. Gentleman and other members of the Government may assert and reassert until they are black in the face that this is not intended as a colour bar, but nobody will believe them. Nobody in India, Pakistan and the West Indies will believe them. Nobody throughout Africa will believe them. What a situation it is when the Government are mistrusted by the countries and peoples for whom we were hitherto responsible!

What is more, a great number of people in the United Kingdom will not believe them. There must have been some millions of people—certainly hundreds of thousands—listening to and watching the hon. Member for Louth in his hysterical mood the other night shouting to the hon. Member for Swindon, "Do you want a black country?" I am not surprised that the hon. Member has had thousands of letters. There must be thousands of people who will believe that what he said represents the policy of the Government.

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman believe that we ought to have the right to kick out people like the Messina brothers? I urged at least five years ago that we should have the right to keep out of the country, or to send back to their own countries, criminals of any colour.

The hon. Gentleman has missed the point. I know of no occasion when this country has proved the loser through immigrants coming here. It has always gained through that. I would remind the hon. Member of the great advantages that we derived through the sanctuary that we gave to the Huguenots. It was the same with regard to the Flemish. In introducing the Bill, the Home Secretary commented upon the advantages that we were now getting through having received those very people into this country.

What is more, I claim to be a direct descendant of the original inhabitants of this country, and I have in mind the occasions in 44 B.C., A.D. 500 and A.D. 1066, when many of the ancestors of the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite came here without asking our permission at all. But I am prepared to admit that this country gained from every one of those invasions.

I come to one other matter mentioned by the Home Secretary. He gave the figures for immigrants, and the House was right in demanding the figures for emigrants. Throughout the last three hundred or four hundred years the number of emigrants from this country has far exceeded the immigrants. It has always been my boast that in an amazing period of the last century this country helped to create the strength of the United States, to people Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It was our boast in this country that we were responsible for a quarter of the area of the globe and for one-quarter of its population.

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman admit that those same forces which drove many hundreds of thousands from our shores to those countries are the same forces which compel people to come here from the West Indies?

I was coming to that. The hon. Member is quite right. That is the position. The emigrants were leaving this country because the economic situation here was bad. They went to produce new wealth elsewhere. They were driven out by hunger.

I wish the hon. Gentleman would realise that not one of us, whether from Wales or the West Indies, or from anywhere else, wants voluntarily to leave home. We would rather make a decent living at home. I wonder how many hon. Members realise the position of Wales, with its 2½ million population in the thirteen counties between the two World Wars, when 500,000 people could not make a living in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire alone. They had to go elsewhere and they never came back. What would the hon. Member for Louth do? Build a Berlin wall? Would he follow the example of East Germany and say, "You cannot come in or go out"? What kind of policy is that in this modern world, when we are so dependent upon one another?

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman compares the emigration from this country to North America with the immigration to this country in the last few years, he must bear in mind that our emigrants were going to a vast continent, unpopulated and with untold wealth and resources, whereas we are the most densely populated little island in the world.

What happened to the poor Indians who were already there? They were murdered—nearly wiped out of existence. But let me come to the present position of the West Indians. We owe a deeper obligation to these people than to almost any other part of the Commonwealth. Our ancesters took people by force from the West coast and East coast, but in the main from the West coast, of Africa and, under the most cruel conditions, trans-shipped them to the West Indies, where their descendants now live. We thus owe the West Indians a special obligation.

I am proud of the fact that, when this country was bled white in the time of Napoleon, the voice of Wilberforce was heard and this country paid millions of pounds in order to free the slaves. At present, when they are going hungry, they have the hope of a new haven on earth for them in London. They are forbidden now to go to the United States. The door has always been open to them here, but in the moment of want and of hunger the Government are closing the door.

The Tory record with regard to Ireland is a disgrace. It is perfectly obvious that the present Government are determined to do something to immigration from Ireland. There was a close association between the two islands before Anglo-Saxon was ever spoken. But there is a terrible tragedy of Ireland. The figures speak for themselves in telling what has happened to Ireland.

For a long time the population of England and Wales was roughly about double the population of Ireland. I cite the figures. In 1841 the population of England and Wales was just under 16 million and the population of Ireland was 8,200,000—nearly double that of Scotland. In 1851 the population of England and Wales was up to 18 million while Ireland's was down to 6,500,000. In 1901, the population of England and Wales was 32,500,000, while Ireland's was down to 4,500,000. In the last census, 1961, the population of England and Wales was given as 51¼ million, while that of Ireland—and all these figures include Northern Ireland as well as Eire—was down to 4,300,000.

Do the Irishmen want to leave home? I know of no one who is more moved by emotion about his home and the traditions of his country than Irishmen. But the Irish have had to leave home because there was no source of livelihood for them. That is why they come here. They would much prefer to live in their own homes.

The Times has always been a very strong supporter of Conservative Governments, but every now and then it turns upon them. In my younger days, another name for The Times, whenever it found itself in opposition to the Government, was the "Thunderer". I pass this advice to the Government: When that moment of opposition arrived and the rumblings of the "Thunderer" were heard, it was the death knell of the Government of the day. Let the Government take heed of The Times leading article yesterday, which said of the Bill:
"The damage, emotional, economic, and political, which it is likely to do to the already fragile fabric of Commonwealth can hardly be exaggerated."
Those who claim to be the protectors of the Commonwealth are tearing its fabric to bits. That is why I strongly oppose this Bill.

Like the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) I am not happy about this Bill. I value the Commonwealth right of free entry of people and of goods.

On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Would you clarify the situation? Did you call me or my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton)?

6.10 p.m.

I apologise to my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton, and I am sure that he will accept the infringement. We have listened to a very interesting address from the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), but we must all have been surprised that he appeared not to have examined the Bill and not to know as much about it as we had a right to expect. There was an intervention about the Clauses relating to deportation, but we still failed to get the right hon. and learned Gentleman's comments on deportation, which is a very important part of the Bill. Secondly, the right hon. and learned Gentleman made it clear that it was his impression that, to use his words, the doors were to be closed. Anyone reading the Bill must be convinced that the doors are not to be closed to the Commonwealth and that there is plenty of provision to enable many Commonwealth people still to come into this country.

I was considerably confused by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), although he fairly summed up the problem. He said that the present situation had had an appalling effect upon everybody. That was a fair assumption. He knows full well what the situation is in the West Midlands and certainly in Smethwick. However, I was confused when, having said how damaging the Bill would be, he said that it was quite useless and would not have the desired effect in solving the problem. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman is not in his place to clarify his position and clear the confusion.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on his courage in introducing the Bill. We all know the difficulties which he has had to face and which he now has to face.

I should be grateful if the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) could act in a little more civilised way than he appeared to do when my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) was speaking earlier. I expect that he will want to make a speech, and I promise not to interrupt him.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) attacked my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) and ought to give way.

I certainly did not attack the hon. Member. I merely implored him to keep his seat and to act in a civilised manner.

On a point of order. Is it in order for an hon. Member to imply that one of my hon. Friends is uncivilised.

I am sorry, but I did not hear the interruption. I was otherwise engaged at the time. One should not call hon. Members uncivilised.

To clear up the matter, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I did not say that anyone was uncivilised.

The Bill may well prevent an ugly situation from arising, although its opponents will say that it would never have happened anyway. Their faces will be saved, but Birmingham M.P.s cannot be insensible of the serious situation which is involved. Others can choose to be blind since they are not in Government and have no responsibility for the ugly situation which could arise.

But it is incredibly dirty politics and causes a lot of trouble to accuse those who favour restriction, not only hon. Members but many other people, of being actuated by colour prejudice. I have taken a lot of trouble to see many people who have written to me and I am convinced that they have searched their hearts and their consciences and know exactly what it means to restrict immigration by an Act of Parliament. They quite realise that it will give the coloured man the impression that he is not wanted here. However, use of that sort of argument shows the poverty of the case on the other side. I hope that we shall refrain from retaliation, which could so easily cause so much trouble in a debate of this kind.

The many letters which I have received from citizens of Birmingham and other places have shown that people have had a change of mind about this matter, as I have myself, having started on the other side. Six or seven years ago, particularly in Birmingham, immigrants, including coloured immigrants, were being integrated into our society quite happily and quite satisfactorily, with the odd difficulty here and there. Many people were writing to me then saying that we ought not to have control of immigration, and I agreed with them.

Now, however, as my right hon. Friend pointed out, the matter has become extremely serious and almost out of hand. I am glad that the right hon. Member for Smethwick did not try to cloak it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Out of hand?"] Hon. Members should see some of the things which go on in Birmingham. They would then think that it was getting out of hand. Certainly the police have more than they can deal with. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not true."] Oh, yes. I am not saying that it is all crime, but I know of cases where the police have been so busy at certain times of night that there has been as much as an hour's delay after the making of a 999 call before they have been able to get out and settle these little brawls which take place, not only among coloured immigrants but certainly among immigrants.

Most of the newspapers have been fairly honest about this issue. They have been mostly reliable and the Birmingham newspapers, the Birmingham Post, the Birmingham Mail and the Birmingham Dispatch, have tried to be fair. I do not think, however, that one could say that The Times has been fair. We have had criticism from The Times, and that is understandable. The Times is not sold in the areas of difficulty. The places where immigrants are now living are not the places where The Times is sold to any great extent. The Times is sold in areas where people never see immigrants and do not understand the problem. Perhaps the Daily Telegraph is a little more fair. Some of the television programmes have played to the emotions of certain people and that has been playing with fire. The television people should be a little more responsible. As for racial prejudice, we have to recognise—

When the hon. Member referred to television, was he referring to my appearance on television with another hon. Member? Are his strictures directed at me? If so, I should like an opportunity of replying.

No, they are not. I did not even know that the programme had taken place. It was relevant to mention it since it has been pointed out that the television programme arrangers had played to the emotions by choosing certain people and allowing certain things to be said in the programmes which I have seen and which other people have seen. If I said anything which annoyed the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker), I am sorry. I do not know anything about the programme he mentioned other than I have heard today.

I was about to say that racial prejudice has existed for as far back as we can trace—community prejudice, national and international prejudice between peoples. In our civilisation we expect it slowly to disappear, and it is disappearing. This process cannot be hurried. The situation in the affected areas was all right even eight or ten years ago, but this setback is due to the vast numbers who have suddenly come in. I am sure that I shall be supported by hon. Members representing Birmingham constituencies when I say that at one time it was possible to integrate these people into Birmingham. Some people may think that it is possible to do it even today, but many of us think that this is impossible.

This flood of immigrants has set us back considerably. We hear all sorts of stories about how, in the coloured countries, the white man is told to go home, but we here are not allowed to tell the black man to go home. This is the kind of emotion which is worked up by some people, and which is out of proportion to the problem, but it is wrong to accuse people of being immoral because they want a Bill of this sort.

I pay tribute to the police and to the people who have had to live in the areas which are most affected. Crimes are not committed only by coloured immigrants, but those that are are out of all proportion to the number of immigrants, and are of the worst kind—murder, rape, bloodshed, theft, dope peddling, sex crimes, and so on.

Surely the hon. Gentleman must have read the report of the Chief Constable of Birmingham—it has been quoted by the Home Secretary—in which he said that there was no justification for assuming that there was an increase in crime as a result of immigration?

That statement is not borne out by the figures. In reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell), the Home Secretary said:

"The number of convictions for living on immoral earnings in the Metropolitan Police District during 1960 was 130."

I was dealing with crime as a whole. The figures for Birmingham are just as bad.

My right hon. Friend continued:
"The following table shows the countries of origin of the offenders."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th March, 1961; Vol. 636, c. 145.]
There then follows the table, which shows that of the total of 130, 60 were from the United Kingdom, and 70 from other countries.

The hon. Gentleman talked about rape, violence, and sexual offences in Birmingham. The figures he has just quoted are of people convicted for living on immoral earnings in London. They are therefore irrelevant. If he is saying that the Chief Constable of Birmingham was lying, he ought to produce the figures for Birmingham to substantiate his claim.

If the hon. Gentleman allows me, I will quote Birmingham cases.

I have here a letter written by a West Indian, to the editor of the Trinidad Guardian. It says:
"We are very clever at diplomacy. We extract millions of dollars from Britain and America and we don't even have to show appreciation.
We are 'independent' now … we get our schooling and technical know-how from Britain, Canada and America, yet we are anti-British and anti-American.
We breed like flies, and don't have to bother with marriage and responsibility for the kids.
We send thousands of our offspring to Britain; mostly unskilled and many criminals. Britain takes them all in without restriction, we expect her to take them.
We do not want her people here. Not even will we allow our own kin from the Federation to come here.
We send fruit and other produce to Britain and get better prices than other countries. When we want something more, we yell 'Colonialism', 'Imperialism' and threaten Communism.
We blow a lot of froth about ancient slavery and exploitation of our working people, and they cheer us. We send our Ministers (loaded with spending money) all over the world to mix and talk with important statesmen and they return puffed up with good ideas which they call their own.
We have 'culture' to sell to the world. Our people make a hell of a racket on oil drums and beat lumps of iron. We concoct what we call calypsoes which many people consider utter drivel and often dirty.
We actually have a Colony of our own, but no independence for her is considered. Britain is our 'sucker' and we do not expect her to join any Common Market or in any way help herself (to help us more).
We want the British people to take on double austerity at this time, while we keep our high salaries and comforts. We tried to kick America out, but, if war comes, we want Britain and America to take good care of us …
We are anti-everything European and don't want those foreigners to come here unless they are very rich."
That letter was written by Bally Seer from the Port-of-Spain.

I have been challenged, but the opinions I have expressed are nothing like as severe as those expressed by this coloured person.

The hon. Gentleman said that the crime rate among immigrants was worse than among the rest of the population. Has his attention been drawn to what his hon. and learned Friend, who is now the Minister of State for the Home Department, said on 17th February? He said:

"Taken as a whole, the immigrants appear to be no less law abiding than their neighbours …".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th February, 1961; Vol. 634, c. 2012.]
Does he deny what has been said from the Government Front Bench on this issue?

The hon. Gentleman has changed what I said and made it appear that I used the phrase "crime rate". I did not say that. I said that the proportion of crime was high, and I read the list of crimes committed by immigrants.

I quote a newspaper report of a Birmingham case. When arrested, the man said:
"I am an agent for Russia."

Because I was talking about crime. This individual inflicted grievous bodily harm on a 53-year-old woman in her home in Trinity Road, Aston, and I could quote many other cases. Another man wielded a chopper, and when the police found him he said, "My sister-in-law put witchcraft on to me to go mad and mash up my life". Those are two cases, but I have many more—

I shall resist the temptation to go into those questions.

Many hon. Members have said that the problem of housing is the most serious aspect of the immigration problem. Slum clearance was in sight in Birmingham, but now it is not. A tremendous number of new slums have recently been created. It is easy for hon. Members to gibe, but I challenge them to come with me to Birmingham, where I can show them people living in the most appalling circumstances. The right hon. Member for Smethwick agrees with what I am saying on this point.

Opponents of the Bill say that the housing problem was with us before the immigrants arrived, but Birmingham's problem has been aggravated to an extent never before known. Slums now exist in hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, where previously they could be measured in dozens. Never was there such filth and such obscenity. The humiliation and degradation of these people are dreadful. That is why I say that it is not only socially but morally right to have this Bill.

Only control can stop this. No kind of housing measure or anything we can do in the foreseeable future could fill the bill.

We know that Mr. Norman Manley and others are politicians, and not statesmen. They have to appeal to the electorate, so they cannot collaborate in these matters. We understand that. We have all listened to Mr. Manley putting his case forward. We know his difficulty. We know he wants to be sure that people in his country will support him. Even if we have a conference on the matter he will not be able to tell us that he can agree to control measures. Most of the Commonwealth will accept this Measure with good will, but difficulties will arise with those who have their own problems. We can help in this matter, but only to a very limited extent, because of the problems involved. In time I hope that good feeling will be restored. I believe that it will. But we must make sure the Bill works, otherwise disaster is ahead.

6.33 p.m.

The speech to which we have just listened has proved conclusively what is really in the mind of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selley Oak (Mr. Gurden). As in the case of the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), it is a complete hatred of coloured people.

The hon. Member for Selly Oak read at great length a letter from a West Indian newspaper. It was supposed to have been written by a West Indian in Trinidad.

On a point of order. Is it in order for the hon. Member to impute such base motives without the slightest proof Mr. Speaker? Am I entitled to ask him to withdraw his remark?

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. In the course of my remarks I hope to prove what I accuse the hon. Member of. The hon. Member for Selly Oak quoted at great length a letter from a West Indian. It may have been written, but I suggest that it was written by an individual who was as much an illustration of the people of the West Indies as the hon. Member is an illustration of the people of this country, or of Birmingham. I cannot hope to follow him in his remarks about Birmingham, but I have hon. Friends who are quite able to deal with every point he has made with regard to that city and its coloured population. If they are successful in catching your eye, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that they will give adequate replies to the hon. Member.

We are often appealed to to speak from the head and not the heart. I confess now, at the beginning of my speech, that it is the heart that is uppermost but it will become patent during my speech that I ant dealing with the head as well. Most of the things I want to say are Inspired by my love of the people of the West Indies. In that respect I feel completely at cross-purposes with the two hon. Members who have addressed the House from the benches opposite tonight. I am not concerned about them. I can afford to treat them with some contempt. My concern is that the Home Secretary has capitulated to the agitation which they have been indulging in during the last few months. I wonder whether at this moment the Home Secretary is proud of the people whom he has allowed to influence him.

During the course of his speech on the Address my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) referred to the fact that the hon. Member for Louth had used the words, "This is a white man's country, and I want to keep it white." My right hon. Friend also referred to the fact that Fascist elements in Notting Hill and other places were saying, "Keep Britain white." Is there much difference between those two statements? I wonder whether the Home Secretary is proud that he has been moved by this combination of Tory reactionaries and Fascist thugs, and whether he has been influenced in any way by the sort of people typified by the three young men who were sent to long terms of imprisonment last week for their vicious actions against people whom they did not like, and whom they called the "spades". That has been the form that the agitation has taken, and that is what the Government have fallen for.

Does the hon. Member strongly advocate a mixed race in this country?

I shall come to that point in the course of my remarks. I am not concerned to answer the hon. Member now.

I ask the Government whether this is a package deal. It is not without significance that the people who have been agitating for a return of corporal punishment are the people who have been agitating for this kind of legislation. The same people have been saying this on the platform of Tory conferences for a year or two. Are we having this legislation instead of legislation to bring back corporal punishment? I suggest that this is part of a package deal with these agitators, and that the Home Secretary, feeling that he had to give way on something, took the line of least resistance, as a result of which he has introduced the Measure now before us. How proud this liberal-minded and progressive Home Secretary must be on this day in 1961!

The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) quoted part of a telegram sent by Mr. Norman Manley. May I make three quotations from what he said:
"No one can doubt that if the migration had been from countries where the people were of European origin or from Europe itself this sort of legislation would not be coming before the British Parliament."
He went on:
"Whatever excuses may be given whatever reason may be put forward to conceal the reality of the matter, the truth is that England has failed the first time it has had to cope with the problem of assimilating a fairly substantial number of persons of different races and colour."
Finally, he said:
"This business of race and colour is one of the great issues in the modern world. It is at a crisis. It is at a crucial and possibly decisive stage in modern history. Now a country with the greatest opportunity of making a decisive contribution to its solution has given in."
Can this House ignore that kind of statesman—he is a statesman—when he makes a statement of that kind? Does the hon. Member for Selly Oak remember the great speech that Norman Manley delivered on television and radio at the time of the Notting Hill troubles? If ever there was a statesmanlike statement it was the speech he made at that time, when he appealed to his fellow countrymen who were here to become integrated into this society and to become real citizens of Great Britain. That was the statement of a statesman. For the hon. Gentleman to suggest that there is nothing of the statesman in the make-up of Mr. Norman Manley is an offence to a very fine gentleman.

I believe that the duty of this House at this time is to bring in the spirit of the Commonwealth. I cannot help but feel, after the speeches we have heard this afternoon, that in spite of the accusations made in the past by hon. Members opposite against hon. Members on this side of the House regarding the breakup of the Commonwealth and the Empire, at 10.15 tonight there will not be any doubt about who are the great supporters and friends of the Commonwealth.

May I be forgiven if I concentrate on the West Indies aspect of this situation? The hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) and myself have been cochairmen of a British-Caribbean Association. We have been closely connected with the people of the Caribbean area for many years. May I say in the presence of the hon. Member for Surbiton that it has needed a great deal more courage for him than for me to take the line on the subject that we have taken in the days gone by. I wish to say to him in this House how deeply appreciative I am personally of the courageous line he has taken.

Because of my knowledge of these people I find myself speaking in these terms tonight. Why do they come to this country? It has been said once or twice already that it is because of the economic and social conditions which prevail in the West Indies. I have had the joy of visiting those territories. I know the circumstances, economic and social, in which these people live. Therefore, I am not surprised that they desire to lift their living standards and to improve themselves. I am not surprised that they wish to learn trades. It is true to say that nearly all of them hope to return home ultimately, having re-established themselves and taken the opportunity to become able to earn better wages. They believe that their stay in this country will result in their living fuller lives.

The second reason why they come is that they are loyal members of the Commonwealth and turn as of right to the mother country to obtain the things which the mother country alone can give them. They are much more loyal members of the Commonwealth than some people whom I have heard express themselves in this Chamber and in other parts of the country. On 30th October of this year, at Oxford, the Commissioner for the West Indies, Mr. Garnet Gordon, said:
"We know as an interracial and multiracial community, that it is possible for a variety of races to live harmoniously together."
If this Bill is given a Second Reading, it will be a suggestion from this House that we believe such a thing to be impossible in this country. Is this Her Majesty's Government's act of faith in the future and of confidence in the ideals of Commonwealth? Do Her Majesty's Government believe that the British way of life is threatened by the presence of less than 1 per cent. of coloured immigrants? In answer to his intervention, I say to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. N. Pannell) that I look forward to a multi-racial society.

I believe it is possible. I go further—although this may be thought an exaggerated statement—and say that world peace will not be assured until everybody in the world is coffee-coloured. We may be getting somewhere when that happens.

The hon. Gentleman has spoken almost entirely about the West Indies. Would he agree that the Commonwealth is indivisible and any restriction imposed on India must apply equally to the West Indies and that we cannot be selective in this matter? Would he address himself, therefore, to the question of the immigration from the immense populations of India and Pakistan which has grown tremendously in recent years?

I apologise to the House. Because I am particularly interested in the West Indies I have been talking about them. What I say about the West Indies is applicable to India and to Pakistan. I have not the fear which hon. Members opposite seem to have that these thousands of thousands and millions of people will come to this country.

Hon. Members opposite have no right to assume that that will happen. It has nothing whatever to do with our present experience.

From 1945 to 1959 there entered into this country 353,000 Irish and 330,000 from the Commonwealth. The increase in the Commonwealth figure in recent days is, in my view, entirely due to the fact that the agitation of hon. Members opposite has brought them here before the door closed—

The Home Secretary was perfectly right in what he said this afternoon. We cannot stop the Irish immigrants and we have known that all along. The right hon. Gentleman even suggested it during the early stages of the consideration of this Bill.

I will give a much simpler explanation than the right hon. Gentleman gave this afternoon. If three or four boatloads of people from Ireland come to the north-west ports every day, and each person is in possession of a return ticket to Ireland, there is nothing in the world to prevent him from coming in, whether he intends to go back to Ireland or not. Whatever kind of legislation the Government introduce, they would have difficulty in preventing that. So some of us knew that it would be quite impossible to deal with the Irish in this way.

It is generally accepted that the influx of white people from the Commonwealth is infinitesimal in comparison with the total amount of immigration. If we rule that out and rule out the Irish, who are left? We have the coloured people from the Commonwealth. The Bill becomes a colour bar Bill from that moment. Any hon. Member who votes for the Second Reading of this Bill—make no mistake—will be voting for a colour bar in this country and this legislation will be based on racial factors alone, in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman said to the effect that it would not be based on racial factors alone.

What are the arguments for the Bill? The pre-eminent one is housing. We accept that here lies a great problem in the centres concerned. It is not the immigrants who have caused the housing problem in this country. They have come into a situation in which there was a housing problem. Last week we had a debate on this question during our consideration of the Address in reply to the Gracious Speech. I suggest that the arguments used by my hon. Friends on that occasion blew sky-high any argument that the housing situation is even made worse by the presence of our coloured friends from the Commonwealth. They never jumped the queue; they cannot get on to the housing lists, not having been here long enough.

Is the hon. Member suggesting that, however many people come into the country, whether they come from the Commonwealth or anywhere else, that will not eventually worsen the housing situation? Whether they come on to the council queues or not does not make a difference, they are still occupying housing.

That is not the answer. The fact is that there is a great housing problem. In all our great cities, apart from the immigrants, there is a great shortage of housing accommodation. The immigrants are not responsible for it. The Government are responsible for it because they have failed to provide sufficient housing for the people. If the people from the Commonwealth are assisting us—as they are—in our economic situation and by the places they occupy in our economy, they have a right to expect from the Government that they will be properly housed and accommodated in this country.

Would not my hon. Friend agree with the proposition that it is very true that we have a great social problem in housing, but that the obligation under the Bill is that these people have to go where they can get work, yet where the labour shortage is at its worst is where housing conditions are worst?

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. Of course that is the situation. I hope to say something about the alleviation of that position. Meanwhile, I repeat that the West Indians and other coloured immigrants are in no way responsible for the general housing situation in this country. Can anyone for a moment suggest that the coloured population of ½ million—1 per cent. of our total population—can make this situation as bad as has been suggested in some of the speeches we have heard? One per cent. is an interesting figure, because there is precisely the same percentage of white people in Jamaica.

I cannot give way any more. Those people who went to the West Indies were not

"hewers of wood and drawers of water"
as are the immigrants to this country. They did very nicely out there. As the House has been reminded, it was we who sent Africans to the West Indies as slaves. Their descendants are coming here in great need and we have no right to resist that immigration to this country.

If a West Indian in this country buys a house of twelve rooms and puts thirty people in it, they will be living in very much better conditions than they had in a shanty town on the Spanish Town Road in Jamaica. They will also be living in conditions in which hundreds of English families have been living for many years in our large cities. That shows the extent of the Government's failure.

What of employment? We come to the question of the introduction of vouchers. In 1960 236,000 people from the Commonwealth started work in this country. In London Transport at the moment there is an overall staff deficiency of 4,500, 2,000 bus drivers, 1,000 conductors, 200 booking clerks and guards. Two hundred and fifty thousand scheduled miles per week—5 per cent.—are being lost. Underground journeys are being cut by 200 a week.

What about our hospitals? If the House will permit me, I shall relate a story which was told by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) at a meeting upstairs the other night. He went into his constituency and one of his white constituents complained that the value of a house he had bought had been reduced by £200 or £300 because some black people had come to live next door. My hon. Friend waited until his constituent had gone into his house and then went next door and rang the bell. A West Indian lady came to the door. He said, "Madam, what do you do? Do you do anything for a living?" She replied, "I am a sister at the Bristol Royal Infirmary."

What a comment on our people's attitude to these people that they should suggest that their houses are being reduced in value by £300 because their black brethren have come to live next door. That spirit is being encouraged by hon. Members in this House, two of whom have made speeches in this debate. These are matters we cannot ignore. The staffs of our hospitals are today dependent on black people from various parts of the Commonwealth.

I wonder if hon. Members opposite noticed a letter in The Times on 23rd October from Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck. This is what he said:
"During the years … we were building the Empire we depended very largely on 'coloured' manpower to fight battles for us. This manpower was drawn from different parts of the world but chiefly from India. It is from Pakistan and India today that a large proportion of our immigrants come … without the help of these soldiers … the Italians could not have been expelled from Eritrea, Rommel prevented from seizing Egypt or Burma retaken from the Japanese."
The Prime Minister of Jamaica proudly wears the Military Medal which he won in the First World War.

I wish to talk about this subject personally for a few minutes. The hon. Member for Surbiton and I, with others, went to see the Home Secretary on two or three occasions three years ago for the purpose of making suggestions to him on what we thought was becoming a problem. A suggestion we made then was that this was a question of dispersing the coloured people more widely throughout our country. They are seen more in our midst because they are living in what are almost ghettos. They gather together, and some natural resentments arise. I suggested certain things then to the Home Secretary, but nothing has been done. My right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) tells me that one of his suggestions as Colonial Secretary was put into effect, the result being that a consultative committee was set up consisting of representatives of several of the Ministries—Colonies, Commonwealth, Housing, Labour and the Home Department. The idea was to have general consultations, because immigration affected each of those Departments in some way.

My suggestion was that local authorities should be consulted, and that this consultative committee might have its offices at every port of landing. When new immigrants arrived and were asked where they intended to go they might say Notting Hill or Lambeth. They would be told, "Salford"—or "Burton-on-the-Water"—anywhere—"can take you. They can find you a job, and they are prepared to give you some accommodation." I would not mind if that accommodation was, in the first place, the kind that we are now giving to the people from Tristan da Cunha as a first stage towards integration into our general population.

I am quite certain that hardly any of these immigrants care two hoots whether they go to Lancashire or London. They would be prepared to take their families to any of our industrial towns and go to work there. How prominently would 200 or 300 families appear in some of our large industrial towns? How beauti- fully three or four families could be integrated into some of our lovely villages, and the village people learn to love them. I believe that is possible, but my suggestion was ignored.

There has been a great lack of consultation with the Commonwealth. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Chapman) and I put down an Amendment to the Motion for an Address in reply to the Gracious Speech, regretting that immigration control should have been decided on without the slightest offer of consultation. Two things could have been achieved by such consultation. The Prime Ministers in the other parts of the Commonwealth would have realised our difficulties and problems, and they might then have been persuaded to share the responsibility.

In the course of a supplementary question that I addressed to the Prime Minister the other afternoon, I mentioned a letter I had received from Sir Grantley Adams, the Prime Minister of the Federation of the West Indies, part of which I should like to read. Sir Grantley Adams wrote:
"I have never made any secret of my conviction that if this legislation is passed, the whole nature of the Commonwealth, and the respect and affection which its overseas members feel for the mother country, will suffer irreparable harm.
You will, I am sure, wish to know that the Federal Government protested in the strongest terms to Her Majesty's Government when it became known that the intention to introduce legislation would be announced when Parliament reassembled. We were asked by the British Government to keep this intention as strictly confidential until the announcement had been made at Westminster and therefore refrained at the time from publishing the text of our protest, which reads as follows:—
'The Federal Government protests most strongly at the proposal to impose restrictions, which will impair continuing Commonwealth good relations, intensify economic and social difficulties in The West Indies caused by population pressure and, whatever assurances are given to the contrary, be regarded by West Indians as based on racial and colour discrimination. The Government asks that Her Majesty's Government defer a final decision until at least the future of the Federation, including external economic assistance for development, has been settled'."
Sir Grantley Adams concludes with the assurance that anything that ensures that being done will be appreciated in the West Indies.

It is not housing that is the trouble; it is not employment; it is not health; it is not crime. This matter is not even urgent. It is all colour. What are all we Members of this honourable House? Apart from the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) can any one of us tell what his blood is? Vikings, Saxons, Romans, Picts and Scots, Normans, Flemings, Huguenots, Jews, Germans, Austrians, Poles, Hungarians—all have come in their turn, and we are what we are because they came to us in times of invasion, stress or persecution. They have enriched our culture. They have enriched our economy. Can any hon. Member assert that the contribution of the present newcomers is less than the contribution that was made in days gone by? At this stage, right in the middle of its Second Reading, I pray that this Bill may never be put into effect.

7.7 p.m.

After my own false start some sixty-five minutes ago, Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have heard the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle), with whom I find myself in Pertain agreement. As I see it, what we have to settle is whether the problems this Bill is designed to meet will be met by it. To my mind, there are two possible necessities for a Bill of this nature which denies Commonwealth right of free entry, and the first is that our non-indigenous population has grown so great that it constitutes a danger to the community.

The Home Secretary gave a figure of 500,000 for our Commonwealth immigrant population. I thought the figure was 400,000, but no doubt there have been increases which make my figure out of date. There are 400,000 aliens—we get that figure from the Statistical Abstract. I can find no record of the numbers of Irish, but it would probably be fair to say that they number about 500,000 or 600,000—[HON. MEMBERS: "More."] I am speaking of those of Irish nationality. If I included all those who came from Ireland originally, I would have to include myself in that category.

It will be seen that there is here a great disparity in numbers. It is the aliens and the Irish at whom we ought to look more than at the Commonwealth citizens. The Commonwealth citizens constitute only about 1 per cent. of the population. The percentages of aliens and Irish are clearly very much greater.

It is said that employment is another factor. What are the facts? The Home Secretary told us that 113,000 Commonwealth immigrants have come this year, but there are at present over 300,000 unfilled vacancies. So long as there are 300,000 unfilled vacancies, it cannot be said that there is a necessity for this type of Bill on grounds of employment.

I will give way later. I remind my hon. Friend that the less we interrupt each other the more time there will be for hon. Members to make proper speeches. It is quite clear that this type of Bill is not justified either on grounds of proportion of population or on grounds of employment.

I emphasise, however, that there is a problem, as the hon. Member for Salford, West said. There is the problem of what we call "full employment". Where there is the problem of full employment, unless we are working under a system of very tight Control of Engagement Orders, the position will arise in which there will be more people wanting jobs in a particular town than can be accommodated and looked after. I agree that at the moment there is a concentration of Commonwealth immigrants in certain areas. It would be a very good thing if we could solve that problem. But does the Bill solve it?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that unemployment amongst Commonwealth immigrants is now 21,700 as compared with 13,900 three months ago?

But there are 328,000 unfilled vacancies. When I was Minister of Health, I should very much have liked to have had more and more Commonwealth immigrants to help to solve the problems in the hospitals. What good nurses they are. This is a real problem. I am quite ready to accept the statement of those who come from Birmingham that they have a grievous local problem. If we can help them, let us do so.

But does the Bill help them? After all, it provides, as I understand it—I shall be corrected by the Government spokesman if I am wrong—that anybody who has the offer of employment and the necessary labour voucher will be admitted to this country without question. Is it beyond the wit of man—is it beyond the wit of immigrants—to devise a system of employment agencies and get vast quantities of people over here with offers of employment? I believe it has been done in some countries. The Bill will not stop incursion in a particular area.

Of course it will. It will be an invitation to employment agencies to work on this basis. That is what I fear. Birmingham has a problem. It is stupid for us to deny that.

It has a housing problem and a welfare problem. A migrant population coming in very large numbers presents tremendous problems. Those who have watched the problem in Western Germany in recent years know that. I am anxious that this problem should be dealt with but I am not satisfied that the Bill is the right Measure for doing it.

In particular, I am very worried about the extinction of the right of Commonwealth free entry. I do not believe that this is an issue to be pressed to extreme lengths on Second Reading, with one side wanting to kill the Bill, because there is a problem which we must try to deal with. Parts of the Bill are very good, but I beg the Government to consider carefully whether they ought to refuse admission to any Commonwealth citizen who wants to come to this country. There is a very strong case for saying to any Commonwealth citizen who comes to this country, "Owing to our problems, we must ask you to come subject to certain conditions"—in other words, using the power contained in Clause 2 (1, b) and not the power in Clause 2 (1, a). There is much to be said for the point made by the hon. Member for Salford, West, that it would probably be much better for some immigrants to go to Bourton on the Water or Salford than to Birmingham. That could be a condition which in certain regions my right hon. Friend might insist on.

We could also do another thing which other countries often do. They say to an immigrant, "Of course come in, but it will be for a certain period only. We cannot guarantee you the right to stay for all time, but for two or three years you have a perfect right to stay". I ask the Government to consider the advisability of applying those conditions under Clause 2 (1, b). I would include the Irish and make them subject to those conditions because many of the Irish want to come here only for a period. If the Government followed my advice, the Irish could be made subject to this Measure, because what is good for the Commonwealth should be much more so for the Irish.

It is quite right that all—Commonwealth and Irish—who because of their character or health are not satisfactory should be excluded. On that there is a measure of agreement on both sides of the House. The West Indies are extremely scrupulous. I was rather distressed that my hon. Friend the Member for Selly Oak quoted a statement from an anonymous letter in some peculiar paper concerning criminals coming in. All the West Indies are scrupulous in ensuring that migrants are of good character. We must ensure that people of bad character are not admitted. We must also ensure that people with bad health are not admitted, because this is extremely important. Again, I should like to see the Irish included as well as the Commonwealth, because as regards health, especially tuberculosis, the Irish are far more likely to cause danger of infection to other people.

Part II of the Bill, which deals with deportation, is satisfactory. I have for a long time thought that there should be a power of deportation. It is quite true, as my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) said, that some people who have come here from certain Commonwealth countries have committed crimes. If immigrants commit crimes, they should be returned to their own country, because they are abusing the hospitality of the mother country.

If the Bill could be refashioned on these lines, I believe that there would be a general measure of agreement in the whole House. I am most reluctant to vote for the Measure in its present form, but if it is not amended in Committee I shall find myself voting against it. However, I have great hopes that we can make it into a reasonable Measure in Committee.

7.18 p.m.

I am grateful for the opportunity of speaking for many reasons, not the least of which is that in my public life I have constantly had to deal with this situation. As recently as March of this year it fell to my lot to contest the by-election at Small Heath largely on this issue. Then, as on earlier occasions, I had to consider from what point I, as a public man, should start to formulate my judgment.

What distressed me about the speeches of the hon. Members for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) and Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) was the complete absence of that sort of basic conviction and premise to their arguments. I am sorry that these two hon. Members are not present in the House at the moment. I found it rather nauseating that these two hon. Members, one of whom is a prominent lay preacher and the other of whom is prominently associated with the Moral Rearmament Association, should speak in the way they did without in any way trying to convince the House of the Christian basis of their argument. I am not able to make such a dichotomy. I hope that the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), whose speech I did not entirely agree with though I think that he argued it extremely well and ably, will, from the point of view of such a moral premise, forgive me if I do not entirely follow him.

In 1953, I happened to be secretary of the city council Labour group in Birmingham, and we were in the majority. We came up against this issue for the first time in Birmingham during the bus strike of that year and it fell to me, with others, to try to solve that situation. It is clear that prejudices are easily aroused.

One of my complaints against the Birmingham Conservative Members, who have done a lot of work on this, is that they have not—I am being as charitably disposed towards them as I can—at any time in all these arguments tried to dispel emotions and prejudices by reasoned arguments. Rather have they tended to foster their claims. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak gave no figures of crime. In fact, all the three Conservative Members for Birmingham have spent the whole of the summer going round interviewing people and doing a good job of work, but nothing of the result of their investigations has been published.

One of the facts which I understand they found when they went to Winson Green Gaol, which was part of their investigation, was that one-third of the inhabitants happened to be Irish. This is an inconvenient fact, but if we are to deal with this subject on the basis of truth and morality it ought not to have been suppressed.

We did not investigate crimes by coloured people and we did not go to that particular gaol, so that the hon. Gentleman's information is quite wrong.

My information is not wrong and I stand by it. Perhaps the hon. Member can tell us what conclusions he reached from visiting magistrates, the Chief Constable and the people in charge of the criminals in Birmingham. I stand by my conviction, and if the hon. Member wants me to give way I will. Apparently, he does not want to speak again.

In 1953 we had to deal with this matter in respect of the Birmingham bus strike. The sudden influx of people from the West Indies into this country in 1953 happened to coincide with the return of a Conservative Government. One of the first things that the Conservative Government did in 1951, when returned to power on a pledge to reduce the cost of living, was to destroy the bulk buying agreements. One of the first agreements destroyed was the bulk buying of sugar from the West Indies. They could not do anything like that without destroying the economy of that country. It is worth pointing out to the Conservative voters of this country that they are now being hoist by their own petard.

In Birmingham in 1953, we had West Indians in large numbers on our buses. I was proud of the attitude of the Birmingham public. In 1953 we had a lot of immigrants helping to run the various public services, although they did not happen to be coloured, but they were immigrants none the less, and the people of Birmingham made it clear that they were not having a colour bar and that they were very appreciative of the extremely courteous, kind and efficient way in which the West Indians, in particular, did their work on the public transport in Birmingham.

Then I became the Member of Parliament for All Saints. I lost that seat by 20 votes. I am sorry that the hon. Member for All Saints (Mr. Hollingworth) is not in the Chamber. In All Saints, I had 8,000 West Indians and they did not take the interest in public life which I think they ought to have taken, and, inasmuch as they took an interest, I may say that they took the wrong sort of interest.

One day I received—and this is an example of the need for good social service—a memorial signed by residents in one or two roads, about 300 people, complaining of the behaviour of the people from the West Indies. This coincided with the Government's Rent Act. These people had gone into large houses in the All Saints division, which had become vacant owing to the Government's Rent Act. This was a byproduct of the Conservative Rent Act, and I can understand the complaint of Birmingham's citizens. I thought that the only way of dealing with this was by reason and argument. I invited every single one of the people who had complained to a meeting. When I got to the meeting I was astounded to find at the door an official of the All Saints' Conservative Party taking the names and addresses of the people going in and telling them who could come in and who could not. I had to tell him that this was my meeting. I had booked the hall and issued the invitations, and he had to desist. Present at the meeting was the present Member for the All Saints division.

The West Indians found that they had nowhere to go in Birmingham. I made this complaint to the Socialist city council. The West Indians were not able to express themselves socially. It is not possible to have 30,000 immigrants in the city without giving them a natural outlet for recreation. We dealt with overcrowding and the effect that had on the salvage and sanitary services. At the end of the day, we set up a committee which was composed half of West Indians and half of Birmingham people, and we let it be known in the area that if anyone had a complaint to make, one West Indian and one Birmingham person would investigate that complaint. I hope that the hon. Member for All Saints is listening because in Handsworth, which is part of his constituency, and in Sparkbrook two organisations have been set up to deal with this matter.

We found that most of the difficulties of a social nature could be ironed out by talking to people. One of the difficulties is the reserve shown by the people of this nation. When a Birmingham citizen found trouble with one of the immigrants he would not go to his house, knock on the door and say to him, "You are causing a nuisance, please desist." The Government and local authorities could help by giving money for the appointment of trained social science welfare people who could help to eliminate this cause of friction.

My experience in All Saints was that a large number of immigrants were persuaded that if they voted for me in 1959 that would be an end to their prosperity, they would lose their jobs and they would all have to go home. As a result of that I lost my seat by twenty votes. In Birmingham, Small Heath, this year I had the same position again. I have never been so nauseated as I was by the campaign of the Conservative Party in the Small Heath by-election. It was shocking and disgraceful.

It started on a reasonably high moral tone. It was said, "We are against a colour bar but we are concerned with the social problem and we must try to control immigration." We tried to deal with the problem as best we could by pointing out the value of these people to Birmingham.

This campaign ended by an anonymous loudspeaker van and the people being told, "You do not want blacks here, do you?" There was not a single speech made in that by-election by any Conservative speaker of repute dissociating the party from this conduct. It was really disgraceful. It was despicable.

I do not wish to over-dramatise the emotional effect that that by-election had on me, but one of my personal troubles was that my father was ill and died eight days before the poll. He had lain desperately ill in a Birmingham hospital and was nursed the whole time, with one or two exceptions, by coloured nurses and sisters. Who am I, or who is any other hon. Member, to deprive the citizens of Birmingham of the great care and devotion which was given to my father? That is the issue that the House has to face today. We cannot dodge it.

I agree that there are problems which we ought to tackle as a Commonwealth. Hon. Members opposite have not tackled them as a Commonwealth. There has been no attempt to get other countries in the Commonwealth, notably Australia, New Zealand and Canada, which are not making a full contribution, to do their share. What is the good of a Commonwealth family if we cannot say, "There is a problem and you must make your contribution to it"? That has not been happening.

We all know that it is impossible to prevent the Irish from coming here. If we spent twenty-five years trying to stop the I.R.A. getting into Northern Ireland without success, we cannot stop stop them from emigrating overnight to this country. The Irish who come here, and, in many ways, create a worse housing problem than others, are making a considerable contribution to the life of this country.

I should like to place one or two facts on record. After the Small Heath by-election I started doing some detailed work in respect of the hospitals and public services of Birmingham. In the Dudley Road Hospital, a hospital of which I am chairman in a group of hospitals, 44 people out of 90, including the supervisory staff in the laundry, are coloured immigrants. If they were prevented from working there, the laundry would have to be shut and, as a result, the hospital would have to close. The turnover figure there is 15 per cent.

One of the things which impresses me is the tremendous turnover figures. People do not merely come and stop here. This business about permits is absolute nonsense. A person can have a permit to come here, but for how long can he stay? How long can people keep their jobs? If we try to keep them very long, that is forced labour, and no one would defend that. This is a problem which hospital administrators must face.

At Summerfield Hospital, the hospital in which my father lay ill, 34 State-enrolled nurses out of 96 are immigrants. Fourteen porters out of 43 in a turnover of 16 per cent. are immigrants. At Marston Green, a very large hospital, six ward sisters out of 22, with a turnover of 50 per cent., and 47 pupil midwives out of 72, with a turnover of 60 per cent., are immigrants. At Heathfield Road Maternity Hospital, 12 staff midwives out of 13 and 12 pupil midwives out of 18 are immigrants. Fourteen domestics out of 23 are immigrants. At the eye hospital, ten medical staff out of 45 and 27 domestics out of 27 are immigrants. At the skin hospital, 15 members of the nursing staff out of a total of 43 are immigrants. The establishment for the domestic staff is supposed to be 13, but, in fact, there are 14 domestics, all of whom are immigrants. At Hollymoor Hospital, 85 members of the nursing staff out of 400 are immigrants.

At the United Birmingham Hospitals, which take the cream of the nursing staff in Birmingham, 147 of the domestics and orderlies out of 429 are immigrants and 82 out of 240 members of the catering staff are immigrants. At All Saints Hospital, there are 336 immigrants on the nursing staff.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of these nurses are trainees from Nigeria and elsewhere who will return to their own countries after training and therefore are excluded from the provisions of this Bill?

There are some Nigerians, but not a large number. That is an immaterial interruption, anyway. They are immigrants who are making a contribution to British public life.

The House must consider how the people who run the hospitals will be able to do the job without immigrants. The secretary of the United Birmingham Hospitals wrote in a letter to me:
"There is no doubt that if immigrant labour was not available the hospitals would experience considerable difficulty in maintaining adequate domestic cleaning and catering services."
One of the things which fascinated me in my correspondence with the people who run the public services, such as transport and salvage, was that I had to send them a second letter, because three-quarters of them did not include the figures of Southern Irish immigrants in the figures which they sent to me. I wrote back to them saying that it would be unthinkable that the British House of Commons would consider this matter on the basis of a colour bar. In order to deal with the matter properly, I asked whether they would let me have the figures for Southern Irish immigrants. Obviously, they knew the Government better than I did. The Midland Red Company cannot give me the figures relating to its Irish employees because it does not keep them—very properly perhaps—but the company has in its employ 311 immigrants, and the number of its Irish employees is fantastically high.

Let me read a comment made by the general manager of the Birmingham City Transport undertaking, Mr. W. H. Smith, in a letter to me:
"I would, however, state that in it is estimated that at least 25 per cent. of our total staff on the Engineering and Traffic Divisions are from the Republic of Ireland."
That is apart from the number of people from the West Indies, who represent 90 per cent. of the immigrants employed by the undertaking. Almost 25 per cent. of the staff employed on the Birmingham City Transport undertaking are West Indians and 25 per cent, are Irish. Mr. Smith states in another letter:
"From the figures which have been supplied you will appreciate that if we had not had the opportunity of employing coloured immigrants our staff shortage would have been more severe and we should have been unable to maintain services, with a detrimental effect on the travelling public."
I also have figures here relating to the salvage department of Birmingham and other public works departments, but I shall not bother the House with them. [Interruption.] I can understand the hon. Gentleman not wanting the facts and figures.

The hon. Gentleman misheard me. I said, "Do let us have the ones from the salvage department".

In that case, I shall give them to the hon. Gentleman afterwards. I apologise for thinking that he was trying to suppress information. That puts him in a unique category in the Conservative Party. I had hoped that hon. Members opposite would obtain the information before they formed conclusions, but apparently the Conservative Party, or most of its members, with some honourable exceptions, prefers to get information which supports preconceived conclusions. That is not a good way of doing public business.

I have a letter from responsible people in the building industry which states that in civil engineering and building the position would be absolutely catastrophic if it were not for the Irish and immigrants generally employed in it. The letter requests me to ask the Government whether the industry and civil engineering were consulted before the Bill was drafted. Perhaps we might have an answer to that question. Who were consulted about the employment position?

I return to the theme with which I started. There is a tremendous housing problem in certain areas, particularly in Birmingham, areas mostly of houses which are in no way controlled. If any city is entitled to say it, we in Birmingham certainly are entitled to tell the Government that they have signally failed to help us over the years in our housing problem. They have aggravated the situation. If they wanted to remove a cause of real friction they would ginger up the Ministry of Housing and Local Government for the provision of housing, not simply for immigrants but for Birmingham people, too.

When one meets constituents and argues with them, one finds time and time again that they do not object to people coming because of their colour. Their objection is that the immigrants have preference in getting houses, which, of course, is not the case. Most of the immigrants buy the houses. The problem of bad landlordism, too, applies just as much to immigrants as to the native British population. The housing problem and the general social conditions as a whole can only be solved by constant dedication on the part of the Government to these problems and by the provision of amenities and finance to provide, for example, new towns.

I have had to face this issue in Small Heath, All Saints and other places, as other hon. Members from Birmingham have done. It may be that there is some electoral advantage in the position that the Government have adopted. In a Christian country, however, it is not the job of political leadership to decide its first priority on the basis of electoral advantage. The only decent basis for decisions by the Government is that of ethics and morality.

The question that was asked 2,000 years ago, which has been ignored on the benches opposite, is as relevant in this context today as when it was asked—"Am I my brother's keeper?" I am delighted that the benches on this side of the House leave no doubt about their affirmative answer to that question. I despair that so many hon. Members opposite tend to ignore the answer to such a basic question.

7.42 p.m.

I regret that I am not able to follow the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. D. Howell) through the byways of Birmingham, but perhaps I may congratulate him on making what can fairly be described as two major speeches within twenty-four hours.

My reason for wishing to speak in this debate is threefold. I was the Home Office Minister responsible for immigration policy when this problem first appeared. I suppose that I have more constituents who could be described as immigrants than any other hon. Member—they include a certain number of West Indians—and I am myself part-Australian. On each of those counts, I look at the Bill sadly. At the same time, however, I shall have no hesitation in voting for its Second Reading, which I believe to be right, because I believe that the Bill deals with an essential problem in the only way that it can.

The Bill raises wide constitutional issues, and certainly it will have a great social and economic impact on the country. Something more important and deeper than those considerations is, however, involved, and it has been expressed from both sides of the House today.

Put in its broadest terms, that consideration amounts to the fact that all arbitrary control of human movement is repugnant to us. We feel that such control derogates from a man's freedom and from his dignity, whatever the colour of his skin. It is sometimes argued that such control can never be accepted. It was argued today by the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies). I am sorry that the right hon. and learned Member is not now in his place. Listening to him, I felt bound to ask myself how it came about that he was not here yesterday afternoon to vote against an Amendment to the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.

Year after year since 1919, aliens legislation has been re-enacted by this House without, I believe, a Division being called against it on any occasion. That legislation and the Orders made under it put all foreigners coming to the United Kingdom under far stricter control than anything which is included in the Bill. The reason why the House has accepted that legislation without opposition is simply that had it not been for the Aliens Order we should have had massive immigration from Europe. Whatever the origin of our aliens legislation, the Aliens Order was used after the war as an instrument to control immigration and for virtually no other purpose.

When I say "to control immigration", I mean, in effect, to control it from all possible sources. For the first ten years, perhaps, after the war, immigration from the old countries of the Commonwealth was negligible—indeed, it still is in this context—and there was practically no immigration from the Colonies and from the new countries of the Commonwealth', the reason being that those countries were too far away and those who lived in them were too poor to be able to afford to come here. That system of controlling immigration worked perfectly well until about 1953, when immigration from the Colonies and the new countries of the Commonwealth began.

By a freak of history, our immigration legislation has come to discriminate—it discriminates now—against the white people of the world in favour of the black people. Under the present law, without today's Bill, virtually all countries with excessive—I use that word for want of a better one—white populations are, or can be, kept out and certainly are controlled, whereas people from many of the countries with excessive coloured populations are perfectly free to come here.

The result has been that the law's accidental preference for coloured people is the principal reason why we have an immigration problem and why that problem, as has been correctly described, has involved a colour question. It is because our existing law is heavily loaded in favour of coloured immigrants as against possible white immigrants. Sooner or later, a revision of our immigration policy on that basis was inevitable. Those who speak more responsibly on the benches opposite have admitted that this afternoon. Sooner or later, it was quite impossible to go on limiting severely those coming in from Europe—Italy, Spain, where you will—and at the same time giving completely free access to those coming from much farther afield.

It was quite essential to pass some legislation so as to co-ordinate the sources from which immigrants can come into this country, and as any change in the law necessarily meant that we were going to change from that position I have described, it was necessarily going to appear to be discriminatory against coloured people and that is really the only fact that we have got to face here this afernoon. Hon. Members have built up a tremendously great case, but if they really look at it they will see that any change—and they will admit that a change was necessary if they look into their hearts—could easily be described and will be described as being discriminatory.

In one sense of the word, correctly.

Then it is argued that though it is proper to control immigration as a whole we have a special and overriding obligation to the countries of the Commonwealth. It has been said in various speeches today that we are the Mother Country, and that, I think, really sums up the whole argument. I cordially agree with that sentiment. I believe it to be true. I believe it to be true not only as a matter of sentiment. I believe that the fact that we are the centre of the Commonwealth is a matter of immense political and economic importance to this country as well.

For my own part, I have never been impressed by the argument that we ought to do this sort of thing because it is being done by other countries of the Commonwealth. I do not think that that argument is sound at all. Taking the metaphor of the Mother Country further, the obligations of the parents to their child are quite different from the obligations of the child to the parents. The reason why the United Kingdom should have a higher standard of behaviour in this connection—if that is the right expression—is justified not only on moral grounds but also on practical grounds. Not only have we a duty as the Mother Country, we have an interest as the centre of the Commonwealth. I believe firmly that we should act upon that.

I think, too, that it is of very great importance to us in our position as the Mother Country to preserve as far as possible the freedom of all the citizens of the different parts of the Commonwealth to come here. I cordially agree with that principle. Now what is this freedom to come here? Because that is a question we have got to ask and Answer in this connection.

Going back again to the metaphor of the Mother Country and the case of the parent and child, the child should be free, I believe, to go to its parents' house and to walk in without having to ring the bell. The child should be able to share the food, though possibly making a contribution, and the fireside. But the child is not entitled to come in and turn the parents out of the house. The child is not allowed to come in and should not be allowed to come and take the bathroom door and do things of that kind, and anyone who is faced with this problem in his constituency knows that that is what has happened, and it is that part of this problem we have got to tackle. [HON. MEMBERS: "Take the bathroom door?"] Yes, that is a very common practice. One finds that if people wish to get out others they do not like to share a house with, they remove the bathroom door and make life intolerable for them.

I have spoken in metaphor, but I believe I carry the House with me—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, no."]—and I believe that I am not so far from carrying hon. Members on the other side of the House with me.

There must be a limit to this obligation on the part of the parent to submit to treatment from the child, but that limit is not only in the interests of the parent himself or herself, but in the interests of the family as a whole, including the children, and there are places in the country where that limit has been reached now and there are places where it will be reached soon, and for that reason I believe that this Bill is necessary.

I do not want to take very much longer, but there have been suggestions made that the Bill proposes the wrong method of setting about the problem. The Leader of the House on 31st October, speaking in the debate on the Motion for an Address, questioned whether employment was the proper basis for seeking to control immigration. He suggested that it should
"be dealt with in the matter of housing".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st October, 1961; Vol. 648, c. 28.]
The Opposition Amendment today does not go quite as far as that, 'but it does make some similar suggestion with reference to housing. It is not very clear what it means.

If I may say so—I do not want to be controversial—it is, of course, perfectly fair for the Opposition on a controversial Bill to seek to make party capital on an issue of this sort. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not at all."] I am not complaining of that, and we can all have a good time arguing whether the Labour Party or the Conservative Party has the better housing policy, but the more what they say at the moment about the Conservative housing policy is true the worse becomes their case about this Bill, because on any footing whatsoever there is a shortage in this country now of millions of houses. I do not think anyone would put it lower than 4 million, and it has been put as high as 8 million, but on any footing whatsoever, we are not going to overtake that shortage for a great many years to come. Even if we were to double the rate of building, it would still be ten years or so on the most optimistic basis whatever.

If that is so, I should like to know just what this proposition about controlling immigration on the basis of housing really amounts to. I am thinking in terms of my constituency, a fully built-up area where I have got 3,000 families on the housing list, where I think we may be able to build something like 200 or 300 more houses on the available land altogether.

And representing an authority which takes the strongest objection to letting the county council do the job for it.

I do not think that even Middlesex County Council could build very many more houses in my constituency unless it does violence to the Green Belt.

I do not want to get involved in this housing question, but when I hear it said we are going to regulate immigration into Hendon by reference to the possibility of housing new immigrants—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who said this?"]—what I want to know is just how many council houses it is proposed be built to house the new immigrants.

The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. The Amendment does not say anything like that, nor does it imply that.

The Amendment, I notice, says practically nothing at all, but it does make a suggestion that housing is relevant in this connection whereas employment is not. We have not had an explanation of it. We got none from the Opposition Front Bench.

I am only saying that this suggestion of housing is not the method upon which we can do this. I thought it a good one once. I considered it when I was a Minister, but I am satisfied that it is an impossible method of proceeding. On careful examination I believe that the only method by which we can proceed here is upon the method proposed in the Bill, namely, by virtue of the control exercised by the Minister of Labour in just the same way as it has been done—and was done by the party opposite—in the case of aliens wishing to immigrate into this country.

Assuming that there are jobs available and the Ministry of Labour can issue the Necessary passes, do I understand that the hon. Member is perfectly prepared for these persons to be admitted irrespective of the housing situation?

I agree with that, and I agree also that it throws a heavy burden on our housing situation, but at any rate we would not be in the ludicrous position where we have to allot houses out of those available to British subjects, or those who are normally resident here, before people can enter the country at all. The only result of that would be to shut off the stream of immigration altogether.

I am satisfied that the Bill deals with a problem which must be dealt with, and I am satisfied that it deals with it in the most sensible and humane way possible. Although no one will welcome the Bill, I hope that it will not take long to pass through the House. I am satisfied that when it is in operation it will be found to be less harsh than we fear and will prove satisfactory in operation for all concerned.

8.3 p.m.

I should like to ask the hon. Member for Hendon (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) to reflect on the information we were given by the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne). He said that there were no coloured immigrants working in Scotland. The reason why there are none is that there is a shortage of employment there. The argument that has been put forward in criticism of the Bill is precisely that. If we have a properly co-ordinated and directed policy of moving opportunities of employment and of housing in the right direction, we shall not have the concentration of population, whether it is immigrant or indigenous, in areas which are already overcrowded.

The complaint which we on this side of the House have been making for a long time is that the Government have failed to tackle that problem, and, because they have failed, we are now faced with congestion in parts of the country and the responsibility for that congestion is being shifted to the immigrants as an alibi so that the Government may evade responsibility for it. Lord North, a very amiable and genial man, almost wrecked our Empire. So will amiable and genial Tories today wreck our new Commonwealth because of lack of imagination and of indifference to the factors involved in this problem.

I represent a Lancashire constituency which has no great problem of this kind, but the reason why I intervene in the debate is that I have spent the whole of my political life in Paddington where, when I first went there as a young graduate from Oxford, we had all the problems of migration, the problems of the Irish and of the Welsh coming into areas and creating the same kind of difficulties that we have today. Now there is a considerable incidence of migrant population.

I have been for about six years very actively concerned as chairman of a committee in that borough which has been dealing with problems of integration. I am also chairman of a committee under the London Council of Social Service which tries to look at all the problems of immigration within the County of London. I mention that not in any way to obtain a little free advertisement, but to justify myself in criticising the Bill.

I am not criticising the Bill from an ivory tower. I am not thinking that all immigrants are good, virtuous people and all the people who have difficulty with immigrants are bad, intolerant and racially prejudiced. I think that the present situation creates a challenge which in a Christian country should be taken up in a Christian way, by welcoming people who are coming into the area and bringing together all members of the community in one body. One's duty is not to try to keep them out but to make some effort to try to bring them together in harmony.

I follow what the hon. Member says, and I do not disagree with him. The difficulty that I see with it is that in the last 16 years we have imposed heavy barriers quite deliberately against large numbers of unemployed people in Italy who have been willing to come here and have been well able to do work. From the Christian point of view, why was the hon. Member not willing to do anything about lifting those bans?

I am not averse from raising some of the barriers against the admission of aliens, but I say that our primary responsibility is to the Commonwealth. What horrifies me is the assumption in the speech of the Secretary of State, and in so many speeches delivered today, that now there is no real difference between Commonwealth citizens and foreign people.

I am not leaving that point because I wish to evade it. I will come back to it in a moment.

The hon. Member is really being unfair. If he must argue on the basis of Christianity, he must look at an Italian as being as good as anyone else. If he puts his argument on the basis of British citizenship, he must drop the cant about Christianity.

I do not think it cant to recognise that one's responsibilities in this country are for people for whose economic position and, in the case of the West Indies, for whose very existence in that country we are responsible. We as a nation have based an enormous amount of our economy on the fact that the people in the Commonwealth are desperately poor. I would have thought that that increased the obligation to try to do what we can to help in the situation rather than to try to evade our responsibilities by shutting our doors on these people.

I want to look first at some of the practical problems that are involved in this question, but I do not in any way under-estimate the difficulties that are created. Nor do I under-estimate the tensions. Any problem of bringing people together creates tensions and difficulties, but I say that they are exaggerated and distorted. One of our duties is to try to look at facts objectively and find out what they are, rather than to make an exhibition of oneself of the kind that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) made. In a tense situation of this sort, one must be rigidly careful to be accurate in what one says.

What is the employment position? Just as people move to where jobs are in this country, I have no doubt that if we get into a situation of heavy unemployment here, there will in the same way be a natural move on the part of these people back to their countries of origin. We are living today in a world where transport is extremely easy. People do not migrate in a final and irrevocable manner; they now move much more quickly backwards and forwards. We have been told that in 1957 and 1958, when there were economic difficulties here, migration showed itself to be very sensitive to the situation, and I have no doubt that the same sort of thing would happen again.

Be that as it may, there cannot be the slightest suggestion at the moment that there is any danger of unemployment among the immigrants or that they are seriously in competition for a limited number of jobs. It is always assumed that if we put off our supply of immigrant labour we shall continue to build the same number of houses without them, but it must be emphasised that large numbers of them are employed in the building industry in the areas where housing is short. If we try to cut off that labour, we shall be in considerable difficulty.

I want to illustrate the difficulties which some people have in approaching this problem in a dispassionate way. Not long ago the Daily Telegraph said:
"Dole Queue 'a warning sign'
Britain is faced with a problem of large-scale immigration of unskilled workers of low industrial potential …"
This referred to a report by the St. Marylebone and Paddington Employment Committee. I took the trouble to find out what the situation was. There are a number of unemployed immigrants registered at the Edgware Road Employment Exchange, but they are registered there because they have to register in order to get jobs.

One newspaper published a photograph of a number of coloured men squatting in the sunlight in Edgware Road—that must have been a little uncomfortable—outside the employment exchange. The implication was that these were workshy dole consumers. However, it so happened that someone who was interested in the problem had taken the trouble to interview a group of the men, and it was found that in practically every case they had just come to the country and gone straight away to sign on not in order to draw dole but to get a job.

If we have a continual flow of people coming into the country and getting work, there is bound to be a "pipeline" through which they are flowing. If we have a fair number of them coming in, this is bound to make the unemployment figure a little misleading.

To my very great regret, I found that the St. Marylebone and Paddington Employment Committee had issued a statement calling for the immigration to be stopped on the basis that Britain was faced with the problem of the large-scale immigration of large numbers of unskilled men of low potential, and that this had been done without any appreciation of the fact that this was a "pipeline".

I am sure that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour will not mind if I quote what he said in a letter to me:
"As you suggest, the unemployment figures quoted are mainly those in the 'pipeline'—that is, fresh arrivals, and those temporarily out of a job. … They are indefatigable job-seekers and do not rely entirely on the employment exchanges to place them."
That was the tribute paid by the hon. Gentleman—I am sure that it was a perfectly fair and honest one—to the quality of the immigrants. Yet a body like the St. Marylebone and Paddington Employment Committee, which is supposed to be advising dispassionately, can merely add fuel to the flame by creating the impression that a large body of workshy immigrants is coming here. One could quote further examples.

There was the exhibition by the hon. Member for Selly Oak, to which I objected at the time. He was asked to justify his allegation that rape and sex crimes were rife in Birmingham. He could quote nothing at all except the figures from London about those living on immoral earnings, which, whatever one may think of that as a method of living, has in most cases nothing to do with rape or violence. I cite that as an illustration of the background of distortion and exaggeration against which the Bill and the allied campaign are being sponsored.

According to the Explanatory Memorandum in connection with the Bill, the Government will spend £500,000 on this operation. If they gave that money to the voluntary bodies and local authorities which are trying to wrestle with these problems and integrate the immigrants into the population, I believe that the need for the Bill would disappear, because the need for the Bill, in so far as one exists, is a social one and not an economic one. If the Government would devote half a million pounds to that purpose, they would save a great deal of trouble.

I want to touch on the constitutional situation which the Bill presents. I made a statement which was challenged by the hon. Member for Hendon, South, that it was unfair to say that the Government were treating Commonwealth immigrants in exactly the same way as if they were aliens. When the question of appeal arose on Second Reading, the Home Secretary said that we had no appeal under the existing legislation. I thought that that subtly showed the Home Secretary's assumption that what he is dealing with here is what he regards as an alien operation. It is a matter of keeping foreigners out; it is not a matter of having to make, for special and urgent need, exceptional new departures in the case of Commonwealth people. If the Government really want to have some restriction on Commonwealth immigration, which I do not believe is necessary, they ought to do it by starting with a declaration about the right of a Commonwealth citizen to come into this country, subject to certain exclusions. It should not be done the other way round, by denying the right to Commonwealth subjects unless they prove that they come within certain categories.

Some of the categories are rather disquieting. I do not like conditions being attached to admission. That will create a kind of second-class citizenship in the Commonwealth. It will mean that a man will be allowed to come here on condition that he works, say, on the buses, or that a woman may come here on condition that she works in a hospital. That will mean that if they wish to do a different type of work they will probably be faced with certain conditions preventing them from changing. That would be absolutely indefensible.

A Commonwealth subject who has settled in the country and integrated himself should be treated in exactly the same way as any other member of the community. To suggest that such persons should have attached to them the label "Coloured immigrant under restrictions" is monstrous. I hope that we shall give this matter careful attention in Committee. It seems deplorable to me that the deprivation of the rights of Commonwealth citizens should be the responsibility of an immigration officer and that there should be no opportunity for appeal.

There is no analogy with the case of an alien. We cannot repeat too often that we are dealing with Commonwealth citizens. The great danger is that the impression created by this Bill and the attitude that has been taken by hon. Members opposite will be that when the Commonwealth was a matter of flag-wagging, Rudyard Kipling and Empire Day, the Conservatives found it terrific, but once it grew up and became a multi-racial Commonwealth with a majority of coloured people they lost interest because it ceased to have the same romantic appeal to them.

For myself, the tradition of the Commonwealth only became interesting when they became part of the tremendous challenge to us to show what we could do to bring together peoples of different races in one great community. If we can preserve the sources of Commonwealth unity we shall have won a race with destiny. Dr. Verwoerd and Sir Roy Welensky must be laughing their heads off. We preach to them about the monstrousness of discrimination against coloured people. But we have 1 per cent. coloured people in our population and they have perhaps 75 million to 2 million. We have the impertinence to point the finger at them and say, "You should learn to live with your brown brothers." We, with our 1 per cent., cannot face up to the change and we are told that we must scuttle the Commonwealth and get rid of sentimentality and the nonsense because, as one hon. Member opposite said, it is all futile.

I do not believe that it is futile. Of course, people may feel that they will be able to get a house more easily and that they will not have the noise of steel bands upstairs. I have no doubt that the Bill will be popular with many people, but it will be the greatest retreat from the honour and standing and dignity of this country as head of the Commonwealth that has ever happened. It is a shameful thing that a party which gloried in the sweets of Empire when they were profitable shows that it is hypocritical when it comes to repaying some of the debt that we owe to those countries we have exploited in the past.

8.22 p.m.

I was glad to hear the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) stress the need for integration, and I was still more glad when, in the very eloquent closing passages of his speech, he came to describe his Commonwealth philosophy, which is identical with my own. It is on Commonwealth grounds that I oppose the whole underlying idea of this Bill. It is not only because it brings to an end the long tradition of free entry for all Commonwealth citizens, but because I believe it to be quite inimical to our whole concept of a multi-racial Commonwealth.

Here we are, the leaders of the greatest association of nations—many of them coloured—that the world has ever known, legislating against the entry of our own fellow citizens into our own country. In so doing, we must inevitably weaken the rather slender ties which still bind the Commonwealth together. By this Bill, we are cutting yet another Commonwealth cord of unity and cohesion, and doing it at the very moment when our application to join the European Common Market, which I personally support, has nevertheless called in question to, some extent the sincerity of our Commonwealth attachment.

Underlying the point made by the hon. Member for Widnes, I would add that it seems strange to me that in Africa we attack apartheid and preach partnership, but in the United Kingdom we are today taking powers to exclude coloured British citizens, which is really a form of apartheid, and are evading our opportunity, that splendid opportunity, to practise partnership and so make our contribution to the improvement of race relations throughout the world. Our words to Africa are inconsistent with our action today in the House of Commons.

There probably is not a single hon. Member on either side of the House who does not advocate partnership and good race relations on what one might call the periphery of the Commonwealth. Everybody likes that idea. Yet I suppose that the majority of us will vote tonight against the same principle at the heart and centre of the Commonwealth. It is a strange example to set to our compatriots in Central, East and Southern Africa.

The word "coloured" is not mentioned in the Bill, which is to apply to the whole Commonwealth. But would we have had the Bill at all if all the immigrants had been from the older, white Dominions and from Ireland? I doubt it, and so do the West Indians doubt it very much. I do not wonder at their doubt. Whatever the intentions of the Government—and I do not suggest that they are actuated by colour prejudice—the fact is that the Bill's whole impact falls upon the coloured immigrants from the Asian and West Indian countries of the Commonwealth.

One hears people say that the reason is that this island is over-populated. But we have been over-populated for the last fifty years or more and there was no question then, when Irish and others came in, of introducing such a Bill as this. The demand was only first raised seven or eight years ago when the West Indians began to arrive.

Over the last decade our population has increased by over 2 million, but in the same period the emigration to the Commonwealth has actually exceeded immigration from the Commonwealth. This destroys completely the population argument. I am afraid that the reason for the Bill is the coloured immigration, and in our hearts, on both sides of the House, we know that perfectly well.

Until the speech of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary today, we might have justified ourselves by saying that Southern Ireland was included in the Bill, but now one is unable to take refuge in that argument. I do not particularly want to exclude the Southern Irish. I think they make a useful contribution to our economy, mainly with unskilled labour which we need very much. I am not taking a dig at them, and we understand the practical difficulties about including them in the Bill. Indeed, I never thought it possible to include them unless thousands of soldiers manned the Ulster border. Even then one could not have kept them out, and good luck to them. I do not complain. But it seems odd first to include the Irish and then to take them out. It makes the whole thing look a bit "phoney". I cannot understand that in a Bill, which I believe to have been under preparation for some time, this point should have been overlooked.

Something might perhaps be achieved to offset the colour discrimination argument, which is justly levelled against the Bill, if the Government could see their way to take over the Race Discrimination Bill which has been introduced into the House year after year by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). It is not something which I very much like, for, as a matter of principle, I do not like legislating for a particular category of people, but in the present rather difficult situation in which we find ourselves with this Measure to control immigration, it might have some rather helpful psychological effects.

There seem to be five reasons for this immigration Bill, three of them perfectly valid and two not. I want first to deal with the two which are in my opinion not good reasons. The first, to use the words we hear so often, is "the social strains and stresses." In simpler and rather cruder language, that phrase really means colour prejudice. It is strange, that if one accuses someone of not having a sense of humour he is furious, and regards it as the most insulting thing of which one can accuse him. It is the same if he is accused of having a colour prejudice; he will vehemently deny it. But, I fear, in fact, that is the state of mind of many of our fellow countrymen. What worries me is that no serious attempt has been made to educate public opinion on this issue. I agree with the hon. Member for Widnes, who said in effect that we are applying a policy of restriction even before we have seriously tried a policy of integration. That is a legitimate criticism.

The second invalid reason is that mentioned many times today, the employment argument, upon which, in fact, the whole structure of the Bill is based. I do not see how it could have been based on anything else and I acknowledge that straight away. However, that is a funny thing on which to base the Bill, because it does not exist. There is no unemployment problem in Britain today and we all know it. The average West Indian immigrant gets a job within three wee