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First Schedule—(Supplementary Provi Sions As To Control Of Immigration)

Volume 654: debated on Tuesday 27 February 1962

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I beg to move, in page 15, line 26, after "documents", to insert:

"of any description specified by that officer, being a description appearing to that officer to be relevant for the purposes of the examination".

I think that it would be convenient for the House to discuss with this the two next following Government Amendments in lines 27 and 31.

Yes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker; it would be convenient to discuss the three together.

In Committee, I undertook to consider the drafting of paragraph 1 (3) of the First Schedule which deals with the power to demand documents and the power to search for documents with a view to ensuring that the immigration officer's power to demand documents is limited to those relevant to his examination of the immigrant or visitor under the Bill.

These three Amendments meet just that purpose. They provide that the immigration officer must specify the description of the documents he wishes to see and also that the documents must be of a description appearing to him to be relevant. I hope that the House will regard this as an improvement.

I raised this matter by an Amendment in Committee, and I am greatly obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for meeting the point we had in mind. I am a little puzzled as to why his words are better than mine, but no doubt the lawyers will know the answer, as they do on so many occasions.

What the Government propose does help. The immigration officer will now be limited in two ways, first, in the general carrying out of his duties under Part I and, second, more specifically in regard to documents, since the documents he demands must be relevant for the purposes of the examination. He will not be able to demand that someone should empty his pockets on the table and show what he has in the way of documents. I am glad that the proposed Amendments cover that point.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 15, line 27, after "documents", insert "of any such description".

In page 15, line 31, at end insert "such".—[ Mr. Renton.]

I beg to move, in page 15, line 36, after "examination" to insert:

"(not exceeding seven days)".
In Committee, the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) moved an Amendment limiting to thirty days the length of time for which an immigration officer could keep a document under the powers given him by the First Schedule to detain a document handed to him by an immigrant or found on an immigrant after search. I persuaded the hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw his Amendment in order that we might find a more suitable form of words. I did not think that it was necessary to have such a long period as thirty days for the retention of such document.

The Amendment provides that the period shall be seven days. It will be very rare that an immigration officer will want to retain documents for even as long as that, but there might be a case in which it was necessary to do so for so long. I remind the House that there is the further safeguard that the document must be retained only for the purposes of the examination and not for any other purpose.

Amendment agreed to.

5.45 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 15, line 42, after "inspector" to insert:

"or by any qualified person carrying out any test or examination required by a medical inspector".
We had a fairly considerable discussion on this point in Committee. I undertook that I would put down an Amendment in the sense then indicated. The purpose of this Amendment is to put beyond doubt the power of a medical inspector to require an immigrant to undergo an X-ray examination or any other kind of examination which the medical inspector thinks necessary. It is highly desirable also, for practical reasons, that the examination should be carried out not necessarily by the medical inspector himself but by a qualified radiologist or, according to the nature of the test or examination, by some other qualified person. This will be possible under the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 19, line 34, to leave out from "comply" to "with" in line 35.

This Amendment deals with certain wording in paragraph 8 of the First Schedule, Part II, providing for control over seamen. In sub-paragraph (3), it is provided:

"An immigration officer may by notice in writing given at any time to any Commonwealth citizen to whom sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph applies, authorise him to remain in the United Kingdom either without conditions or subject to any such conditions as could be imposed under section two of this Act, including in particular conditions requiring him—
  • (a) to leave the United Kingdom in a specified ship or aircraft; or
  • (b) to leave the United Kingdom within a specified period in accordance with arrangements for his repatriation;
  • and where such a notice is given to any person, he shall not be treated as a person to whom admission to the United Kingdom has been refused unless, in the case where he is subject to conditions requiring him to leave the United Kingdom as aforesaid, he fails to comply or is reasonably suspected of intending to fail to comply with those conditions."

    The object of the Amendment is to omit the words

    "or is reasonably suspected of intending to fail to comply".

    This is not the case of a suspected criminal being found loitering on premises with intent to commit a felony. It is not suggested even that the seaman in question is intending to fail to comply but merely that the immigration officer reasonably suspects him of intending to fail to comply.

    We have heard a good deal about the amount of discretion given to immigration officers. It seems to me that this sub-paragraph imposes too great a burden on the immigration officer as well as putting the person in question in the very difficult position of having to prove that he is not rightly suspected of intending to fail to comply with the conditions. I need not elaborate. The point is whether it is reasonable to insert such words as these, and I hope that they will be deleted.

    I concede at once that these words are unusual and, on the face of it, appear to be somewhat arbitrary. But we are dealing with a rather unusual situation. The wording of the paragraph itself is a little complicated, but perhaps I can explain what the situation is. Then the House can better judge whether or not these words are appropriate.

    Take the case of a Commonwealth seaman who arrives at a port here, where the master of the ship wants to arrange for him to leave the ship and go back to his own country under alternative arrangements. Or there is the case of a seaman who may fall ill and be admitted to hospital here on the understanding that the owners of the ship will arrange his repatriation when he is better. Those are two examples of cases which could arise.

    It will be generally accepted—because there has been no adverse comment about it during our discussions—that the power given earlier in paragraph 8 (3) of the First Schedule is a necessary one. It is a power to impose special conditions; if the seaman fails to comply with them he can be detained and the master of the ship is made responsible for his removal. But the difficulty which arises is that the seamen may make it clear that he does not intend to leave in accordance with the arrangements made. He may even tear up the notice given to him and trample on it or say something which makes it quite plain that he is not going to go.

    Various circumstances could arise in which it became extremely doubtful whether he was going to go. If such circumstances should arise, it would be rather absurd that an immigration officer could take no action at all until the time for repatriation was past and the ship or aircraft had gone. The only result would be that there would have to be all the palaver of fresh repatriation arrangements, and the seaman would have to be held in custody until the arrival of the new time fixed for his departure.

    It is in the interests of all concerned, possibly indeed of the seaman himself, that, in an appropriate case, he can be detained and placed on board the ship on which he is due to leave. That is the effect of these words which the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade) wants to leave out. I agree that it is an unusual power to give, but I should have thought it was highly desirable to retain it.

    Would not this mean that an immigration officer could have a man deported before there could be an intervention by someone applying to the Home Secretary or exercising an appeal against the officer's decision?

    No. I do not think that the fact that the immigration officer had himself reasonably suspected that the man was not going to go, say, the next day, would in any way prevent him from making representations to the Home Secretary. As we know from our experience under the aliens law, aliens who are detained do make representations. Quite candidly, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman's point is an answer to the case I have put.

    I am unhappy about this, and that is why I propose to say something. The point I was trying to make was that these words mean that a person shall not be treated as having been prohibited from entering unless he fails to comply or is suspected of not intending to comply with the conditions. If the immigration officer suspects that the man concerned is not going to comply, he can thereupon remove him from this country and thereby prevent him from actually exercising some form of appeal either to the Home Office or to somebody else.

    In other words, that person may be refusing to comply for the moment in order to make some formal appeal. If these words are left in, however, the immigration officer can say, "I do not think that you are going to comply with the conditions. I could not care less about your appeal. I have the power to make you go, and you are going."

    I have already spoken twice, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I do not know what the position is now.

    We are in some difficulty here. I understood that the Minister of State had the Floor. If he is interrupted, it can only be by short questions.

    I, too, am unhappy about this. It is not good enough for the Minister of State to say that in certain conditions the Home Office might have to go through "palaver"—I think that was his word. He said that, in certain conditions, the Home Office might have to go through a great deal of "palaver" to give effect to certain circumstances in which it thought it might have reasonable grounds for suspecting that someone was intending to fail to comply with certain conditions.

    We are concerned not so much with saving the Home Office, in a few isolated cases, from going through a certain amount of trouble, but chiefly with doing justice to an individual. If the point at issue is doing justice to an individual rather than doing injustice to him, then it is small price to pay that the Home Office may have a certain amount of trouble.

    The hon. Gentleman has quite misunderstood the position. We are envisaging circumstances in which repatriation arrangements have already been made. During the time that they are being made, and up to the moment they expire, there is an opportunity of making representation to the Home Office. There seems little point in having similar arrangements made all over again unless

    Division No. 109.]

    AYES

    [6.0 p.m.

    Agnew, Sir PeterBuck, AntonyCraddock, Sir Beresford
    Allason, JamesBui lard, DenysCritchley, Julian
    Arbuthnot, JohnBullus, Wing Commander EricCrosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver
    Ashton, Sir HubertBurden, F. A.Cunningham, Knox
    Atkins, HumphreyButler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)Curran, Charles
    Barlow, Sir JohnCampbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)Currie, G. B. H.
    Barter, JohnCampbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Dalkeith, Earl of
    Batsford, BrianCarr, Compton (Barons Court)Dance, James
    Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)Cary, Sir Robertd'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
    Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonChannon, H. P. G.Deedes, W. F.
    Bell, RonaldChataway, Christopherde Ferranti, Basil
    Bevins, Rt. Hon. ReginaldChichester-Clark, R.Digby, Simon Wingfield
    Bitten, JohnClark, Henry (Antrim, N.)Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
    Biggs-Davison, JohnClark, William (Nottingham, S.)Doughty, Charles
    Birch, Rt. Hon. NigelClarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Drayson, G. B.
    Bishop, F. P.Cleaver, Leonarddu Cann, Edward
    Black, Sir CyrilCole, NormanDuncan, Sir James
    Bossom, CliveCollard, RichardEden, John
    Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J.Cooke, RobertElliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
    Boyle, Sir EdwardCooper, A. E.Elliott, R. W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)
    Braine, BernardCordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.Emery, Peter
    Brewis, JohnCordle, JohnEmmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
    Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir WalterCorfield, F. V.Errington, Sir Eric
    Brooman-White, R.Costain, A. P.Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.
    Brown, Alan (Tottenham)Coulson, MichaelFarey-Jones, F. W.
    Browne, Percy (Torrington)Courtney, Cdr. AnthonyFarr, John

    there is a really good reason for it. We do not see that there really is such good reason.

    I think that I am entitled to continue what I was saying, because I gather that the Minister of State got up not to make a speech but to interrupt me.

    I am far from happy about this. What worries me as much as anything is that a provision of this kind, which might mean injustice, is just the sort of thing that this House ought not to allow to be slipped into a Bill a minute before the Guillotine falls. Issues of principle are involved, and the House ought to weigh, on the one hand, the possibility of doing injustice to an individual and, on the other hand, the arguments put by the Minister of State about administrative convenience or inconvenience. It is all very unfortunate. This is not the first time it has happened that, as a result of this mischievous and iniquitous Guillotine, we cannot ventilate these matters.

    I am prepared to give an undertaking that this matter will be looked at in another place. I cannot say any more now, but I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman has said and willingly give that undertaking.

    Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—

    The House divided: Ayes 274, Noes 179.

    Finlay, GraemeLongbottom, CharlesRopner, Col Sir Leonard
    Fisher, NigelLongden, GilbertRoyle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
    Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesLoveys, Walter H.Russell, Ronald
    Forrest, GeorgeLucas, Sir JocelynSandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan
    Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughScott-Hopkins, James
    Freeth, DenzilMacArthur, IanSeymour, Leslie
    Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.McLaren, MartinSharples, Richard
    Gammans, LadyMcLaughlin, Mrs. PatriciaShaw, M.
    Gardner, EdwardMaclay, Rt. Hon. JohnSkeet, T. H. H.
    George, J. C. (Pollok)Maclean, Sir Fitroy (Bute &N. Ayrs.)Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
    Gilmour, Sir JohnMacleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)Smithers, Peter
    Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)Smyth, Brig Sir John (Norwood)
    Goodhart, PhilipMcMaster, Stanley R.Spearman, Sir Alexander
    Goodhew, VictorMacpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Speir, Rupert
    Cough, FrederickMaddan, MartinStanley, Hon. Richard
    Gower, RaymondMaitland, Sir JohnStevens, Geoffrey
    Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn Sir R.Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
    Gresham Cooke, R,Markham, Major Sir FrankStodart, J. A.
    Gurden, HaroldMarlowe, AnthonyStoddart-Scott, Col Sir Malcolm
    Hall, John (Wycombe)Marples, Rt. Hon. ErnestStorey, Sir Samuel
    Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)Marshall, DouglasStudholme, Sir Henry
    Harris, Reader (Heston)Marten, NeilSummers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
    Harrison, Brian (Maldon)Mathew, Robert (Honiton)Talbot, John E.
    Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)Tapsell, Peter
    Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)Mawby, RayTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
    Harvie Anderson, MissMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
    Hastings, StephenMills, StrattonTaylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
    Hay, JohnMontgomery, FergusTaylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
    Heald, Rt. Hon Sir LionelMore, Jasper (Ludlow)Teeling, Sir William
    Hendry, ForbesMorgan, WilliamTemple, John M.
    Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)Morrison, JohnThomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
    Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)Mott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesThomas, Peter (Conway)
    Hirst, GeoffreyNabarro, GeraldThompson, Kenneth (Walton)
    Hobson, Sir JohnNicholls, Sir HarmarThompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
    Hocking, Philip N.Nicholson, Sir GodfreyThorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
    Holland, PhilipNugent, Rt. Hon Sir RichardThornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
    Hollingworth, JohnOakshott, Sir HendrieTiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
    Hopkins, AlanOsborn, John (Hallam)Tilney, John (Wavertree)
    Hornby, R. P.Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)Touche, Rt. Hon Sir Gordon
    Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral JohnPage, Graham (Crosby)Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
    Hughes-Young, MichaelPage, John (Harrow, West)Tweedsmuir, Lady
    Hulbert, Sir NormanPannell, Norman (Kirkdale)van Straubenzee, W. R.
    Hurd, Sir AnthonyPearson, Frank (Clitheroe)Vane, W. M. F.
    Hutchison, Michael ClarkPeel, JohnVaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon Sir John
    Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Peyton, JohnVickers, Miss Joan
    Jackson JohnPickthorn, Sir Kenneth
    James DavidPike, Miss MervynVosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
    Jennings, J. C.Pilkington, Sir RichardWakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
    Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)Pitman, Sir JamesWakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
    Johnson, Eric (Blackley)Pitt, Miss EdithWalker, Peter
    Johnson Smith, GeoffreyPott, PercivallWall, Patrick
    Kaberry, Sir DonaldPowell, Rt. Hon. J. EnochWard, Dame Irene
    Kerans Cdr. J. SPrice, David (Eastleigh)Webster, David
    Kerby, Capt. HenryPrior, J. M. L.Wells, John (Maidstone)
    Kershaw, AnthonyPrior-Palmer, Brig Sir OthoWhitelaw, William
    Kimball, MarcusProfumo, Rt. Hon. JohnWilliams, Dudley (Exeter)
    Kitson, TimothyProudfoot, WilfredWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
    Lancaster, Col. C. C.Quennell, Miss J. M.Wise, A. R.
    Langford-Holt, Sir JohnRamsden, JamesWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
    Leather, E. H. C.Rawlinson, PeterWoodhouse, C. M.
    Leburn, GilmourRedmayne, Rt. Hon. MartinWoodnutt, Mark
    Legge-Bourke, Sir HarryRees, HughWoollam, John
    Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Renton, DavidWorsley, Marcus
    Lilley, F. J. P.Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
    Lindsay, Sir MartinRidsdale, Julian

    TELLERS FOR THE AYES:

    Linstead, Sir HughRobinson, Rt. Hn Sir R. (B'pool, S.)Mr J. E. B. Hill and
    Litchfield, Capt. JohnRoots, WilliamMr. Michael Hamilton

    NOES

    Abse, LeoBraddock, Mrs. E. M.Deer, George
    Ainsley, WilliamBrockway, A. FennerDelargy, Hugh
    Albu, AustenBrown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Dempsey, James
    Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Brown, Thomas (Ince)Diamond, John
    Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Dodds, Norman
    Awbery, StanButler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Ede, Rt. Hon. C.
    Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)Callaghan, JamesEdwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
    Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Castle, Mrs. BarbaraEdwards, Robert (Bilston)
    Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Chapman, DonaldEdwards, Walter (Stepney)
    Benson, Sir GeorgeCliffe, MichaelFernyhough, E.
    Blackburn, F.Cronin, JohnFinch, Harold
    Blyton, WilliamCrosland, AnthonyFletcher, Eric
    Boardman, H.Cullen, Mrs. AliceFoot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)
    Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S. W.)Darling, GeorgeForman, J. C.
    Bowles, FrankDavies, Harold (Leek)Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
    Boyden, JamesDavies, Ifor (Gower)Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh

    Galpern, Sir MyerMcInnes, JamesRoss, William
    George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)McKay, John (Wallsend)Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
    Ginsburg, DavidMackie, John (Enfield, East)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
    Gooch, E. G.McLeavy, FrankSkeffington, Arthur
    Gourlay, HarryMacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
    Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
    Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)Manuel, A. C.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
    Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.Mapp, CharlesSnow, Julian
    Gunter, RayMarsh, RichardSpriggs, Leslie
    Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Mason, RoySteele, Thomas
    Hamilton, William (West Fife)Mayhew, ChristopherStonehouse, John
    Hannan, WilliamMellish, R. J.Stones, William
    Hart, Mrs. JudithMendelson, J. J.Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
    Hayman, F. H.Milne, EdwardStrauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
    Healey, DenisMitchison, G. R.Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on Trent, C.)
    Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)Monslow, WalterSwain, Thomas
    Herbison, Miss MargaretMoody, A. S.Swingler, Stephen
    Hilton, A. V.Morris, JohnTaylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
    Holman, PercyMort, D. L.Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
    Holt, ArthurMoyle, ArthurThornton, Ernest
    Houghton, DouglasMulley, FrederickThorpe, Jeremy
    Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)Neal, HaroldUngoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
    Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Dierby, S.)Wade, Donald
    Hoy, James H.Oliver, G. H.Wainwright, Edwin
    Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Oram, A. E.Warbey, William
    Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Owen, WillWatkins, Tudor
    Hunter, A. E.Padley, W. E.Weitzman, David
    Hynd, H. (Accrington)Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)Wells, Percy (Faversham)
    Hynd, John (Attercliffe)Pargiter, G. A.
    Irving, Sydney (Dartford)Parkin, B. T.White, Mrs. Eirene
    Janner, Sir BarnettPavitt, LaurenceWhitlock, William
    Jeger, GeorgePearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)Wilkins, W. A.
    Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)Peart, FrederickWilley, Frederick
    Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Pentland, NormanWilliams, D. J. (Neath)
    Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)Plummer, Sir LeslieWilliams, LI. (Abertillery)
    Jones, Dan (Burnley)Popplewell, ErnestWilliams, W. R. (Openshaw)
    Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
    Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Probert, ArthurWillis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
    Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Randall, HarryWilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
    King, Dr. HoraceRankin, JohnWoodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
    Lawson, GeorgeRhodes, H.Woof, Robert
    Lee, Frederick (Newton)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
    Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
    Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonRobertson, John (Paisley)

    TELLERS FOR THE NOES:

    MacColl, JamesRobinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)Mr. Redhead and Dr. Broughton

    It being after Six o'clock, Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question on an Amendment, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to the remaining part of the Bill.