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Immigration Act 1971

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the working of the Immigration Act 1971.

The Government believe that a new nationality law, on which they have published a Green Paper, would provide a more rational basis for immigration control. In the meantime, I and my colleagues give close and personal attention to the operation of the existing law.

I welcome my right hon. Friend's recent statement on the extent to which Ministers will look at individual cases. May I draw his attention to the Kassamali case, with which he will be familiar? My constituency Labour Party and I regard his current decision to deport some members of the family, thus dismembering this good family, as heartless, cruel and excessively bureaucratic. Will my right hon. Friend meet a deputation from my constituency party and myself soon in order thoroughly to discuss the matter, which is upsetting race relations in my constituency?

This particular case has been considered for over a year. Both the Ministers in my Department and I have considered it. It is my job as Secretary of State to take the final decision. I believe that I am acting in accordance with the law and that I am doing the right thing. I would not have done it otherwise. All that is happening now is that this issue goes on from week to week and week to week and it is being suggested that we are holding up the case. I see no reason to discuss the matter further.

Will the Home Secretary confirm that the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) was kicked sideways in the Home Office in response to representations from, among others, the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall (Mr. Bidwell) that she was operating the Immigration Act too restrictively? Will he further confirm that the Government have no intention whatever of further restricting the flow of immigrants into this country?

We made abundantly clear in April what we were doing about immigration. At that time speeches were being made which gave the idea that the Opposition were going to do a great deal. In the event, we were shown that precious little was going to be done. The Government's view is quite clear on that. There was no question of moving Ministers because of the question that the hon. Gentleman has raised. It certainly was nothing to do with anything that was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Southall (Mr. Bidwell).