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Immigration Rules

Volume 172: debated on Tuesday 15 May 1990

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10.14 pm

I beg to move,

That the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (House of Commons Paper No. 251), a copy of which was laid before this House on 23 March, be disapproved.
We are to spend 90 minutes late at night debating immigration proposals that will have a profound and, in the Opposition's view, damaging effect on the lives of tens of thousands of British citizens. I propose to speak to the motion with all the speed and brevity that I can muster, as I know that several of my hon. Friends also wish to speak. I understand that the Home Secretary is to wind up the debate, so that he can deal properly with the points made by Opposition Members.

A number of points must be clarified. I think that we all agree that primary immigration into this country is largely over. The rules that we are to debate tonight, therefore, largely concern the enforced separation of British families living in Britain with British responsibilities and, I hope, British rights. We shall debate the case of husbands who are refused permisson to join their British wives; of elderly parents who are refused permission to join their British children; and of British children who, although wrongly excluded from this country, are nevertheless refused permission to join their parents.

Evidence now suggests that the regulations have also resulted in the intolerable treatment of young black and Asian British citizens who are in no sense immigrants, but who were born here and have lived here throughout their lives. I am sure that the Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that each month in London about 250 overstayers are detected as a result of police vigilance. No one has any objection to that. However, I also understand that, each month, 200 British citizens are interviewed on suspicion of minor road traffic offences, and are then required to prove their immigration status, although it is—on the evidence—not in doubt.

Of course, those young men—British by birth and registration—are black. The only evidence that requires them to prove their nationality after being apprehended for a minor motoring offence is the colour of their skin. It is intolerable that colour should govern suspicion and investigation by the Metropolitan police. The blame attaches not to the police, but to a repressive immigration policy, about which I want to say four things.

First, the harsh immigration policy and regulations, as well as doing immense damage to the welfare and happiness of divided families, do perhaps irrevocable damage to community relations. The whole spirit of the regulations implies that the black and Asian British are a problem that will increase if husbands and wives are united, or if elderly parents are allowed to join their children. That alleged problem does not apply to wives whose origin is in the European Community.

I hope that the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) does not think that I am discourteous to interrupt him so early in his speech, but he has mentioned a series of matters connected with immigration law none of which has anything to do with tonight's debate.

We are debating four things tonight: the extension of the visa requirement; the admission of Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent born in Britain; the financial requirements for business men and people of independent means; and the admission of people with settled status. All the matters that the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned are important, but they have nothing to do with this debate.

I shall be content for you, Madam Deputy Speaker, to apply the rules of order. But I must point out to the Home Secretary that, knowing his tendencies, I inquired of the Table Office today whether all the contents of the "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules" were debatable on the motion. I was told that the nature of the motion meant that the entire contents of the document were possible for debate. But even were that not the case, though the Table Office assured me it was, everything that I have said up to now is directly related to the points—

Order. The Home Secretary gave the four items with which the statement and motion pertaining to it are concerned. There are four restricted items which the Home Secretary announced to the House.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I raised this matter with Mr. Speaker earlier today. At that stage his advice was that this was a very narrow matter, and he said that the only matter with which we were concerned tonight was the adding of some countries to the visa list. That would not seem to be the case. The document "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules" covers the whole gamut of immigration procedures and rules, including, on page 19, the question of the political asylum of refugees.

I raised with Mr. Speaker today the question whether it would be in order tonight to raise the issue of 33 young Chinese who have been threatened with deportation from Britain to Panama. I raised that matter deliberately because, with the Home Secretary present tonight, I hoped that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would report to the House why that extraordinary decision had been taken. I hoped that we would have the opportunity to press him to halt that threatened deportation until a judicial review of his decision had been considered by the courts.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am mystified by your ruling. We have been supplied by the Vote Office with a note on the changes that we are discussing, and it contains 14 items. That document has been distributed officially and is designed to help us with our business tonight. In any event, I should have thought that, as we are dealing with a "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules", it is in order to discuss changes that should, in our view, be included but which have been excluded. Surely that must be correct.

The motion is to disapprove the statement of changes and it is a narrow debate concerning only four items. It is not concerned with the question of asylum which the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) raised.

Further to the point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. You will recall that in 1987, the House—wrongly, in my view—passed the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act. In that context, the issue of the admission of people to this country for political asylum relates to the question whether they have a visa to come here. As the instrument that we are discussing relates to visas, I should have thought that the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) was correct in that visas are necessary to enter from other countries to apply for asylum.

The visa requirements relate only to citizens of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and the scope of the debate relates to the desirability or otherwise of the proposed changes as in the motion.

Order. I am answering the hon. Member. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) has the Floor:

Further to my point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am trying, with respect, to be helpful to you. You will be aware that on many occasions asylum seekers come through a third port. In other words, if a Chinese refugee or other asylum seeker came through Morocco, it should be in order to debate that matter tonight.

Order. The hon. Gentleman should wait to be called before making that point.

It might be helpful if I continue dealing with two points that are specifically and explicitly dealt with in the statement of changes while those who advise you, Madam Deputy Speaker—of course, I defer to our judgment and ruling in all these particulars; it is not my way to argue with the Chair in general and with you in particular—consider whether it is possible, as we were advised, to suggest other changes that should be made in the regulations. That was the official advice that we were given today and while it is considered let me deal with two specific points.

A moment ago, Madam Deputy Speaker, you mentioned that one of the changes in the statement is the extension of visa requirements to four Maghreb countries. I hope that the Home Secretary will say in some detail not only why it is regarded necessary for British immigration policy that the visa requirements should be so extended, but how the decision to extend the visa requirements to those four countries came about.

As I understand it, it was a decision of the Trevi group comprising European Community Home Affairs and Interior Ministers. It is not an official body of the Community, meeting under the terms of Community legislation, but an informal group through which the Home Secretary and his counterparts in the Community reach common considerations about immigration and visa matters. May we be told why the Home Secretary agreed, before he came to the House, that that extension was necessary and why he thought it right to commit the United Kingdom to the extension of visa provisions to those Maghreb and Mashreq countries before he had considered it here in the House of Commons?

Let me also ask the Home Secretary about returning citizens. He will recall that, some weeks ago, the House debated Hong Kong. It was alleged that the object of the policy that the Government then proposed was to ensure that the citizens of Hong Kong had the right to come to Britain eventually, without having to come immediately.

As they are understood by all those organisations and authorities that have examined the narrow, precise and detailed changes in regulations that the Home Secretary has put before us this evening, the likely effect of those changes will be the opposite of that described during the debate on Hong Kong. It will require people to come here rather than lose the right to come here. It will induce prospective immigrants to return because, unless they return within a prescribed period, they will lose the opportunity to establish the right of permanent abode. I hope that the Home Secretary will deal with those specific matters.

I now turn to the changes that we regret have not been included in the statement. If, by such circumlocution, I am able to make those points within the rules of order, I propose to do so. First, we regret that the document does not include any alterations in the primary purpose rules. Opposition Members are all agreed that there must be some justification—

Order. I regret to call the right hon. Gentleman to order, but the primary purpose rule is not included in the scope of the debate.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am genuinely puzzled about your ruling and seek advice. The motion on the Order Paper is:

"That the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (House of Commons Paper No. 251), a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd March, be disapproved."
I have heard a number of items read out as being within order, but I see no reference to those items on the Order Paper. The Order Paper refers to House of Commons Paper No. 251, so I do not understand why that document in its entirety is not debatable.

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am anxious to get on with the debate and to be helpful to you—[Interruption.] I understand the objections of some Conservative Members, but we are moving a motion to disapprove a statement of changes in immigration laws. I have in my hand the document entitled "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules". It so happens that the Government have also produced another document with the same title. With the greatest respect, I cannot for the life of me understand why my motion must apply to one document with that title but not to the other.

I understand why the right hon. Gentleman is in error. We are concerned tonight with very minor rule changes—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am trying to help the House by clearing up a misapprehension on the part of the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members. It was thought that the House would find it convenient if we incorporated these minor changes in a reprinted, consolidated version of the complete rules. I should have thought that it is of help to the House, when minor changes are to be debated, for it to see where those minor changes fit into the rules that still stand. So it is as plain as a pikestaff that we are still debating minor changes, but for the convenience of the House we have presented a consolidated set of the rules.

I am sure that the Home Secretary is right in describing what he has done. I am interested not in what he has done but in what the House intends. The House is debating a motion disapproving the "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules". I repeat to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, that what I have in my hand is the "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules". That is what it is called. The word "Changes" appears. I would have assumed that everything that appeared within the cover labelled "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules" is appropriate for debate. I cannot contradict your ruling, Madam Deputy Speaker, but the logic of my position, if not the Standing Orders on my position, is impeccable. [Interruption.]

Order. We are in the middle of the debate. I want to be as helpful to the House as the two Front Bench spokesmen are trying to be. I think that the right hon. Gentleman should be allowed to continue.

I continue by referring to some of the things that we regret have not been included in the document. My statement of regret continues with the absence of a change in the primary purpose rule. We accept that there must be a check on the genuine as distinct from the bogus marriage, but we do not believe that that check can properly be applied by requiring an immigration officer to examine a prospective husband by asking questions that are open to ambiguity, and then making a judgment on what is going on in that man's mind and whether his answers imply a wish to marry the woman to whom he is engaged or a wish to come to this country. We would not be moving the motion to disapprove the changes with as much disagreement were such a suggestion not included.

Our second regret concerning omissions relates to those British citizens who should be in this country because they are the children of British parents. We have argued strongly over the last five years that a number of children who applied to come here and were denied the right to do so subsequently demonstrated by DNA tests that they were covered by the phrase "related as claimed". Despite the proof that they were the children of the parents they claimed to be children to, the Home Office wrongly excluded them.

A year ago, when we were having a debate, less interrupted by points of order, on the same subject and with the same width, the then Home Secretary said that young men and women who had applied to come here as children of British subjects, who were denied that right and who subsequently proved their relationship through DNA testing—

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Will you ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell the House which rule refers to DNA testing?

That is not a point for the Chair; it is a point for debate if I were to call the hon. Member. [Interruption.] Order. The point the hon. Gentleman raised was not a point of order; it was a question for debate if he is called.

Because other hon. Members want to speak, I will press the Home Secretary briefly on his proposals for young men and women who are children of British citizens, who were wrongly excluded and who are not being allowed into this country. His predecessor promised in a debate a year ago that there would be a quick reassessment of their cases. According to parliamentary answers provided to my right hon. and hon. Friends, people excluded and then proved to be related as claimed are now waiting for as long as 20 and 24 months in Islamabad and Dhaka for re-examination. That seems intolerable to us and I hope that the Home Secretary will have an answer on how that process will be speeded up.

My third point, which is certainly covered by the rules, is the treatment of asylum seekers in several particulars. The Home Secretary will recall that paragraphs 173 and 174 of the document deal with that point. He will also recall that those paragraphs describe the way in which asylum seekers should be treated. There is now documented evidence that because of the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987—[Interruption.]

There is now documented evidence that, because of the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act, airlines themselves have begun to deport asylum seekers from the United Kingdom without any authority or legal justification. We now know that some weeks ago, British Airways discovered a number of Tamils travelling to this country on documents that would have been unacceptable to the Home Office. British Airways therefore—

On a point of order Madam Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance on this point—[Interruption.]

Would not it be correct, Madam Deputy Speaker, to say that I should be out of order if, in my reply, I were to deal with the treatment of asylum seekers because it has nothing to do with the proposed changes in immigration rules?

I am looking at the "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules" and I find that paragraphs 173 and 174 refer to asylum. However, I must tell the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) that they do not concern changes in the rules.

As I tried, with perhaps some success, to do a moment ago, I am describing another change which, if it were included, might tempt us to vote in favour of the regulations. I must say through you, Madam Deputy Speaker, to the Home Secretary that I have never seen a more pathetic display than the right hon. and learned Gentleman being desperately anxious not to answer questions that are vital to the reputation of this country and to the welfare of people here.

I want to conclude so that my hon. Friends can make their points. There is another change which, if it were included in the subsidiary document, might tempt us to feel more sympathetic towards the proposals. I repeat that a number of Tamils came to this country. British Airways judged that they did not possess documents that would allow them to enter the country according to Home Office regulations. British Airways manhandled the Tamils on to an aeroplane and sent them back by main force to the country from which they had come, thus preventing them as asylum seekers even from enjoying the right of appeal which the primary and principal document says is theirs by right. When cross-examined on that, BA said that it could not possibly observe the rules of the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act, that it could see no reason why it should pay £1,000 a time for every man who travelled on its airline in a way in which it would be impossible for it to detect and that the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act was therefore unworkable.

I repeat that if this change in the immigration rules involved a more acceptable system for dealing with men and women who come for asylum and who are, at present, improperly and, I believe, illegally excluded by airlines operating independently as if they were able to do so in the manner of the Home Secretary, those of us who will vote against the immigration rules changes would not do so with the same enthusiasm.

I do not deny for a second that tonight the Home Secretary has achieved part of his purpose in diverting some of the criticism that would have been made by the Opposition about the immigration rules. I congratulate him on putting up this smokescreen around an unacceptable policy. However, since he has behaved in this extraordinary way, I must tell him that there are other ways open to us in which we can debate these matters properly—and I promise him: debate these matters properly we shall.

10.39 pm

I have examined the changes in the rules, with great care and I am bound to say that any fair-minded person reading the changes would not find much to quarrel with. Why therefore do the Opposition make such a song and dance about them? Is it because their policy on immigration is almost an open door which would allow everyone to come here, or is it because the Opposition feel that at present they must oppose everything that the Government propose?

I believe that we are a wonderfully fair country. We stick to the rules, unlike some foreign Governments. Why therefore are the Opposition trying to pillory the Government, who have been extremely fair, now that they want to make some small changes in the rules?

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

If I may be forgiven, I will not give way. Many hon. Members want to speak and a great deal of time has already been used up, yet the debate has hardly started.

I have attended many debates on immigration and the immigration rules in the 20 years that I have been a Member of this place. In debates of this kind, I have always been struck forcibly by how much Labour and Liberal Members have distanced themselves from the feelings of ordinary people.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am confused. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) was told on several occasions that this was not a wide-ranging debate and obviously, like all Opposition Members, he accepted your ruling. However, the hon. Member for Halesowen and Stourbridge (Sir J. Stokes) is talking about immigration in general and Britain's response. Is that in order?

I am sure that the hon. Member for Halesowen and Stourbridge (Sir J. Stokes) is just warming up and that he will come to his point any moment now.

That is exactly what I am trying to do and I will do so if I am allowed to get on with my speech.

In so far as the small changes in the rules reduce the flow of immigration to this country, they will be welcomed whole-heartedly by the British public. We must be careful to respect the views of the people who elected us to this place. Despite all the legislation and the rules, large numbers of people are still entering this country for settlement every year. It is true that there is some attempt to stop primary immigration, but thousands are still entering this country as relatives or for other reasons.

What we have heard so far from Opposition Members and the way in which they have intervened in the debate so frequently will worry and alarm many people, including many Labour supporters. The rules are reasonable and necessary. British citizenship should be a most valuable prize for anyone and it should not be granted lightly to all and sundry. I welcome the changes—small though they are—although I wish that they could have gone further.

10.43 pm

I feel a little unsure because I had wanted to congratulate the Home Secretary first on going to the trouble of consolidating the immigration rules. From the point of view of practitioners —be they professional people or advice workers—it is helpful to have a single set of rules. Secondly, enormous changes have taken place in the running of Lunar house. It has become more efficient and quicker. People there are now accessible on the telephone and there has been a complete change in the management. I am not saying that it is perfect or that I agree with he decisions that are made there—they are not always even—but there has certainly been a change.

At that point, the plaudits cease because one can compare trying to seek entry into the United Kingdom with trying to climb a rock face. It is a slow and difficult process and just when the applicant or immigrant gets to the final ledge, the changes in the immigration rules are the stamping on the fingers that push the applicant back down the abyss. That happens time and time again. It happened under the existing rules and under the primary purpose rule. The European Court of Human Rights held that the rules were sexist because they applied to men. The Government had a chance to liberalise the immigration rules, but what did they do? They stamped on the fingers of those who might have got into this country by changing the rules to have "equal misery" and apply the monstrous primary purpose rule to both men and women alike.

Just when West African students were beginning to find a way through the immense practical difficulties of getting an education in this country, the immigration rules were changed. Again, there was stamping on fingers and it is now impossible for people from many West African countries to come here as visitors and to change their status to student. Just when people were beginning to win deportation appeals on the grounds that there were compassionate circumstances why they should not be deported, the Government again effectively changed the rules to deny them any appeal—subject to the case of Oladahinde in which I have an interest. That has happened again under these rules.

The history of the immigration rules is almost the history of allowing people to drown within sight of shore. Indeed, they should no longer be called "immigration" rules; "exclusion" rules would describe their purpose much more accurately. We come to that again—

No, I cannot give way to the hon. Gentleman tonight because we are so short of time.

At the moment, it is impossible for someone who is established here to bring his or her aged parents to the United Kingdom unless the parents are wholly or mainly dependent on the children in the United Kingdom. If they are dependent, but have an income of less than £15,000 per year or less than £150,000 in capital, they cannot settle in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, some people save up and wait until they receive their pension or annuity from abroad and then seek to come to the United Kingdom —not to be a burden on this country, but to be with their children. But once again, their fingers are stamped on and the rungs are taken out of the ladder. Indeed, the £150,000 requirement has been unnecessarily raised to £200,000. That can have been done only with the intention of excluding people from this country and by not treating sons and daughters with compassion.

The same is true for those people who might have been able to establish businesses here, and be useful and provide employment, which is one of the conditions of establishing oneself as self-employed. Again, the rungs have been cut from the ladder by revising the rule for establishing businesses in the United Kingdom and by increasing the capital requirement to £200,000.

However, the worst aspect of the rules is the change affecting returning residents. It is not a minor change in the rules and it is not intended simply to restate the existing law; it is a change of substance. I should like to give the Home Secretary an example that I have raised with his private office, which, on that occasion, was helpful. This could happen to many people. I have a friend, an Australian lady, who is aged about 80. She has lived in this country for between 30 and 40 years, but has never gone to the trouble of changing from being an Australian citizen to being a citizen of the United Kingdom.

When she was about 79, she lost her old passport, but she got a new Australian passport and then went to France for a short time. When she returned, her passport was stamped "six months entry", not "returning resident". She paid no heed to that because, having spent most of her life in this country, where her children are established, she thought that she had every right to remain here. But she had on her passport a stamp that said six months. Under the changed rules, she would not, on her previous return to the United Kingdom, come as a returning resident and, at the age of 80 and in those circumstances—she was flying from Australia—she could have been sent back to Australia.

A second example—these are all real examples—involves a friend of mine who is a doctor and has established himself in this country.

As I understand the new rules, they say that if people do not ask for returning resident status and receive a temporary status, that is it—they have lost their permanent status for ever. In the example given by my hon. Friend, I understand that he sought the help of the Home Secretary's private office. If the new rules were in place, the Home Secretary's private office would not be able to help.

That is exactly my point.

My second case is that of someone who practises as a doctor in the United Kingdom and has indefinite leave to remain here. Under a scheme of assistance, he goes, with the blessing of the British Council, to a Third-world country to practise medicine there, dealing with poor people and trying to save their eyesight. The term of the contract is three years. He returns every year, but he no longer has a home here. The Home Secretary will appreciate that, if someone is away from the United Kingdom for more than one year, it is impossible to apply for naturalisation as a United Kingdom citizen, because one has to be here for the year preceding the date of the application. In those circumstances it could be said that a doctor who is established and has indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom is not coming back for the purpose of settlement, but only for the purpose of residence. That is another substantial change in the rules.

A third example involves someone under the age of 18, who is too young to be naturalised in his or her own right as a United Kingdom citizen, takes a university course —it does not matter whether it is in the United States or West Africa—and goes away for three years, instead of two. They would find it impossible to come back as returning residents, even if they had a short holiday here in the meantime.

Time and time again people who have spent most of their lives in this country, severed all links with overseas countries, sold their properties and abandoned their homes will find themselves suddenly excluded from the United Kingdom by virtue of the change of rules. If that is not stamping on the fingers of the innocent, I do not know what is.

10.52 pm

I have been looking at the statement of changes in immigration rules, and of the 15 changes that are listed in the explanatory note issued by the Home Office, there are only four, perhaps five, of substance.

I was greatly saddened by the speech of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) which, as far as I can see, was largely out of order. However, I can understand how the mistake was made. I found, when issued with the explanatory note, that it came from the Vote Office with a complete set of the immigration rules—inasmuch as they are covered by document 251. But it is clear from many of the speeches made this evening, that there is a desire to discuss immigration issues in the broader context, including those of refugee status, so perhaps it would be an idea for the Opposition to—

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The hon. Gentleman talks about the two documents which, I think, will be the subject of some discussion as the weeks go on. He referred to the document that came from the Vote Office. That document comes from the Home Office. We have not reached the point of elective tyranny when we are required to debate documents produced by Government Ministries, as distinct from the documents that have statutory force. It is the other document that has statutory force.

I am surprised at the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. I was trying to say that I could understand how the error had been made by his advisers. If he wants to debate immigration, he can take every opportunity to introduce a debate on the subject of immigration on the next Supply day. Tonight we are dealing with the changes in immigration rules that we have before us. The right hon. Gentleman's protestations can easily be given expression within the next few days on the next Supply day, when he can speak at great length on any subject he likes.

We are discussing a number of small changes. I should have thought that three of them would have been welcomed by the Opposition. First, in 1986, the rules were changed to prevent the admission of child spouses. I do not believe that the Opposition support the idea of child spouses—if they do, perhaps one of their number should say so. This change means that no longer can a child in Britain go abroad and marry under rules that may be legal in another country and then return to this country in a married state. I find it amazing that the Opposition's absence of comment on that subject suggests that they believe that the change is wrong. By voting against the order, they are removing protection for children who may go abroad and be forced to marry under the age of consent—

The hon. Gentleman seems misinformed about procedures of this House. Just because we agree with part of a measure and disagree with other significant parts of it does not mean that we do not vote against it. The hon. Gentleman must have been in that situation himself. Opposition Members do not believe that children should be able to go abroad to marry, and none of us has said that. The hon. Gentleman's remarks are mischievous, and he must know it.

The hon. Lady is being ingenuous, and clearly did not listen to the speech of her right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook—

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Knowing the fees that he charges for his legal advice, I hope that he will not be sending me a large bill in the morning.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook could at least have dwelt on the changes that are being made. The one that I have mentioned is important, as it protects children in this country. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) may believe that that is only a minor change, but since it is one of only four changes of substance, I am surprised by her opinion.

The second change concerns Commonwealth citizens who can prove that one of their grandparents was born in the United Kingdom, and who return to this country, are admitted for four years and then leave again. I seem to recall that the Opposition have regularly regarded patrials with scorn, believing that there was some sort of white-man link with those with grandparents in this country.

I can remember major speeches by Opposition spokesmen saying that we should tighten up the rules on patrials because they favoured white over black. Perhaps historically they have done so—I certainly do not favour whites over blacks in this respect—so the rule is being tightened to stop its abuse, from which so many whites have benefited in the past. So the Opposition should support the second change, too.

Thirdly, the Opposition have often said that the privileges granted to business people settling in this country constitute an abuse. Merely because the Government are increasing the financial limits from £150,000 to £200,000—by the rate of inflation—all the old arguments are being trotted out again, but this time from a rather strange direction. Surely the Opposition should support this third change, because it favours business people. They should support three, at least, of the four major changes in these rules.

The next change is merely a clarification of the provision for returning residents, and it is therefore perhaps not treated as a change of substance. The Opposition manage to find a reason for opposing that change, which is for clarification and not a change of substance.

The fifth change is one of substance because it will require visas for people from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It is fair to establish visa controls as long as there is mutual agreement about them between the countries involved. They are the best way to control immigration fairly, so that those who properly qualify to come here or to leave this country to visit other countries can do so. Such controls make sure that people have the right qualifications for travel.

That is the only change of substance that the Opposition can get on their high horse and vote against. By voting against the change, either the Opposition want to play the race card, which is sad, or they are blowing up out of all proportion the changes to existing immigration rules for their own party purposes. That is also sad.

I should like to see future contributions in the debate kept to changes in immigration rules. I hope that people outside, whether they are black or white and wherever they come from, will recognise that these are not major changes resulting from prejudice. They clarify existing law, correct minor spelling mistakes in the legislation and largely introduce the sort of changes that the Opposition have been demanding.

11.1 pm

If anyone is trying to play the race card, it is clearly the Government, who have moved the amendment relating to grand-patrials. The idea that grand-patrials will be allowed a right of residence here for only four years is designed to remove from the immigrant list a substantial number of white people, and that will expose people from the Indian sub-continent to greater pressure. It seems to be done for no other reason, but if the Minister has any other reason, we look forward to hearing it.

I welcome the consolidation of the rules. I cannot understand how it could seriously be argued that the document before us is not the document that we are here to debate. The title and the number of the document are on the Order Paper and it is extraordinary for the Home Secretary to try to argue anything else. It is of a piece with his argument that these are slight changes. The suggestion that the rule relating to returning residents is slight does not stand a moment's scrutiny. It will work extraordinary hardship in a large number of cases, and it must be amended.

It is of course right that we should have a wide-ranging debate on immigration as soon as possible. That lies within the power of the Home Secretary and the Official Opposition; I hope that we can have such a debate, because there are many matters that I should like to raise. However, in this short debate, I do not wish to take up the time of the House by dealing with them.

I have asked many questions about the extraordinary use of the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987 to enable British Airways to act as an immigration officer. I have had the most astonishing revelations about the countries involved and the numbers of people who have been turned away since the Act was introduced. It is an unsatisfactory way to implement the law. However, that matter is not the primary purpose of the debate, which is about the specific changes that are being made.

I go along with the Home Secretary's desire for a one-and-a-half-hour debate. That is the best that we can hope for. There is only one respect in which Thatcher's Britain resembles heaven, and it is that it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for someone from the Indian sub-continent to enter this country.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his generosity. Since the Government came to power, more than 500,000 people have been granted permanent citizenship in the United Kingdom, of which three quarters have come from the Indian sub-continent. That cannot be a record of racism.

The hon. Gentleman has raised a point that would be more suitable in the debate that we are all looking forward to.

I have just come hot foot from the Committee which is considering the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill, and I am rather surprised at one of the provisions that we are debating, which requires particular clarification from the Home Secretary. How are British dependent territories citizens from Hong Kong to interpret the amendment affecting returning residents?

The Government are giving contradictory indications. On the one hand, they are trying to encourage dependent territories citizens to remain in Hong Kong, while on the other, paragraph 9 of the statement of charges makes it abundantly clear that they do not enjoy the rights of British overseas citizens and so will have to establish their rights of residence here by returning from Hong Kong under the provisions of paragraph 58. That is a most disturbing development. When that becomes widely known in Hong Kong, it will run counter to the Government's declared policy of retaining stability of population there. The Home Secretary should deal with that matter tonight.

The hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) described the provisions for returning residents as clarification, but they are a clear reversal of the law as it has been established in a number of cases before the immigration tribunal. The present rule is simple, clear and easily applied. It is that people settled here in the United Kingdom are allowed to go abroad for up to two years without losing their settled status. Two new conditions will now apply.

First, the person returning must seek admission for the purpose of settlement. That means that someone who has been normally resident here, who interrupts that residence to go abroad for whatever purpose must, when coming back, declare that it is his intention to remain settled here, despite the fact that he may be making only a short visit to see a sick parent or to deal with some business matter. Innumerable practical cases of hardship will arise as a result of that change. How it can be described as a clarification is simply beyond imagination.

The second leg of the change is that it must also be established that the returning person had indefinite leave to remain when he last left the United Kingdom. That will also seriously restrict the operation of the returning residents rule.

The reality is that that will have a grave effect on the practical working of the rule. The intention to settle is extremely difficult to establish. It is rather like the primary purpose rule. It is to do with a state of mind. It is almost inviting people who come back to Britain to misrepresent their innocent reasons for coming for a short time so that they will not be deprived of their right to residence. That cannot be right.

That is the most serious change that the Home Secretary has made, and it is very worrying. It will lead to innumerable cases of hardship, which cannot be his intention. Surely that should be avoided.

11.9 pm

I represent a constituency in which about 20 per cent. of the population have Asian connections. In studying the statement of changes, I did so as someone who would not vote for a measure that materially disadvantaged any of my constituents. I refer to the changes to the rules, not the consolidation measures with which the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) tried to divert the House. It does not matter whether the right hon. Gentleman was in order—the fact remains that he tried to divert the attention of the House from the real subject of the debate.

The source of problems for my Asian constituents is the uncertainty surrounding some of the technical aspects of the immigration rules, which are open to different interpretation. It is not just that I cannot be sure whether an immigrant coming to my advice bureau has a good or bad case to make, because lawyers and the United Kingdom Immigrant Advisory Service are also not necessarily able to state whether a particular case is 100 per cent. sound. That uncertainty needs to be swept away.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) said, the package before us is of little or no substance, and it introduces only minor changes that will give people some confidence in interpreting the immigration rules. Is it unreasonable that the changes concerning money limits should take account of inflation over the past seven years? Is it unreasonable that a spelling mistake or some other genuine error should be corrected? As to illegal immigrants or overstayers, is it unreasonable for my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary to seek clarification and certain changes?

My hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes put a fair question to the Opposition concerning child spouses which they must answer. It is no use saying, "There are other matters in here, and this isn't really what we meant." My hon. Friend made a significant point concerning child spouses and the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook should answer it.

The last publicised account of child spouses concerned two young children from my constituency who were abducted and, in my view, falsely married in Yemen. When I fought for them to be returned to this country, I was urged by the Foreign Secretary not to behave in a way that would undermine Britain's relationship with the Government of that country.

The right hon. Gentleman's remarks are interesting and revealing. It is right for him to raise that important matter on behalf of his constituents. However, the right hon. Gentleman knows, as do other right hon. and hon. Members and the public, that it has nothing to do with the measure before the House.

I shall make matters clearer, so that the Opposition can understand them. The present rules do not prevent a child settled in this country from marrying abroad and returning with his or her spouse. That is being changed—which has nothing to do with the point made by the right hon. Gentleman, and he knows it.

We must ask the Labour party: is it on the side of illegal immigrants and overstayers? They are the subject of the only change to the rules that is of any real substance.

I do not even have to ask the hon. Gentleman to think back to the Yemeni false marriage of six months ago. Forty minutes ago, I said in my speech —before the Home Secretary ruled me out order—hat none of us would complain that cases of overstayers detected by the police being sent back to their country. That is in Hansard. If the hon. Gentleman had done me the courtesy of listening to my speech, he would not have asked his absurd question.

I am extremely grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his clarification. What he had to say to the House about the two matters that contain any substance is that he is not against those, but he is voting against the rules on other spurious grounds.

I have given way to the right hon. Gentleman often enough and other hon. Members wish to speak in the debate.

Why has the Labour party brought this matter to the House? I hope that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook is as good as his word and that we shall have a more wide-ranging debate—not about immigration but about race relations. That is the key issue and it is what affects my constituents. They want to know what hon. Members on both sides of the House have to say about the important issues that affect people of Asian origin in this country. They want to know about racial harassment and what can be done about it. They want to know about the issues that affect their families.

Why was this issue raised? I think that the right hon. Gentleman answered that question when he referred to Hong Kong. During the debates on Hong Kong no one could be in any doubt that the Labour party's stance on the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill, as stated by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, was designed to appeal to what they regard as racist Labour voters in the inner cities. They were playing the race card. The number of Labour abstentions and sheepish looks showed that many Labour Members of Parliament knew exactly what they were doing.

All the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and his party are trying to do tonight is to play the other side of the coin. Now they are trying to say that they are on the side of Asian-British people, despite the racist stance that they took a couple of weeks ago. I do not think that that is going to wash with Asian-British people. They will not be very impressed with what the Labour party has had to say.

My constituents and other Asian people in this country will welcome this minor package because, once again, they will be able to trust that what the Government say is what they mean, that fair rules will be applied fairly and rules that are unfair will be clarified. Therefore, when the Government consider the case of someone trying to enter the country, or whether a person's status allows him or her to stay, people will know that the rules are fair and will be applied fairly. People would not be able to say that that would be the case under a Labour Government, and that has been proved yet again tonight.

11.17 pm

The primary purpose rule has been referred to in the debate, and the Home Secretary should recognise the heartbreak caused by it. It is almost impossible for people to get round it if they are trying to answer honestly questions that they are asked in connection with the rule.

The Home Secretary should understand immigration because of the ministerial offices that he has held. You will know that, Madam Deputy Speaker, because you were a candidate in the Nelson and Colne by-election when the Home Secretary was elected for that constituency, and he had to deal with immigration problems there.

The primary purpose rule causes serious problems and the Government must deal with it at some stage.

As regards visas, it is time that the Government and officials stopped judging people who require visas to enter Britain as though they wanted not just to visit but to become permanent residents. We all recognise that the three additions referred to in the rules are a result of the French connection whereby people can come through in a different direction. That suspicion on the part of the Government and officials makes it difficult for many people who genuinely wish to visit this country to obtain a visa.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) referred to DNA testing. Applications by dependants should be dealt with as speedily as possible. As for those who are no longer dependants, if DNA tests prove that a mistake was made in the past, they should be allowed to come to the United Kingdom.

As for the increase in capital from £150,000 to £200,000 and in incomes from £15,000 to £20,000, I do not believe that these people should be allowed to come to this country under a different set of rules. An income of £20,000 is reasonable, but if people in Bangladesh or Pakistan want to come here and have capital of £150,000 or £200,000, they are extremely wealthy compared with the majority of people in those countries. Wealthy minorities should not be treated differently from the overwhelming number of people who apply to come to the United Kingdom. That is unjust. The rules should be fair. We want justice, but we do not have it.

11.21 pm

I hope that the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) did not think it discourteous of me to interrupt him. I had only one motive — to establish the parameters of the debate and to make sure that I knew what was the Chair's ruling on the width of the debate. We now know precisely what the position is. There is no doubt whatsoever, if we compare the consolidated rules with the previous rules, that we are dealing with minor rule changes.

Despite what the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) said, there is no link between these changes and the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill. The rules apply worldwide, they are not aimed at Hong Kong, they do not bear particularly on residents in the colony and they do not conflict with the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill. However, I shall deal with rule 58, which is worrying the right hon. Gentleman.

Only three of the changes will have any effect on our practices or procedures. The first is the change in visa requirements. There is the new visa requirement for nationals of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It came into effect on 1 April, and it applies to nationals of those countries, other than those settled here and returning after a short absence abroad. Visitors and students, along with those seeking work or settlement, have to make their case for admission at a United Kingdom mission abroad rather than at a port of entry, and those who do not qualify avoid the disappointment, expense and inconvenience of being refused entry after their journey here.

The change certainly brings the United Kingdom into line with the majority, though by no means all, of our European Community partners. The majority—Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Greece for Algeria alone—also now require visas. The change became necessary for us because of the operational difficulties that were created at the ports by the arrival of an increasing number of people from the Maghreb who did not meet the requirements of the rules.

I am glad to say that the new arrangements have been very successful. The difficulties at our ports have been resolved, which has enabled us to provide a better service for bona fide travellers, and there is at present no delay in dealing with visa applications abroad: they are all being decided within 24 hours. I commend the staff involved for the excellent job that they are doing.

In the near future, we shall be making two further changes to our visa requirements. My hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Sainsbury), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, reported to the House on 16 February that, during talks that had just taken place with representatives of the Argentine Government, it had been agreed that each country should soon abolish visa requirements relating to the other country's nationals, and on 9 April a visa abolition agreement was duly signed. It is due to come into force on 8 June.

Where on this little piece of paper is Argentina dealt with? I should also like to know the position of citizens of, say, Tunisia who—this applies to many—are also French citizens, thus having dual nationality. Will they be allowed in automatically, under EC rules, or will they still need a visa?

If they present French passports that appear to be valid, they will be allowed in like any other French citizen. If they present Algerian passports, they will be treated as Algerian citizens, and thus be subject to the visa requirement. Surely that is logical. I think that, when dealing with the three new visa requirements, it was helpful of me to remind the House of the Argentine arrangements.

Another visa change relates to the German Democratic Republic. As my hon. Friend the Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. Maude)—the Minister of State —announced on 9 May, Foreign Ministers of the European Community countries agreed at a meeting in Brussels on 7 May that all member states would abolish their visa requirements for that country. The United Kingdom welcomed that agreement, because we no longer see any need—on grounds of security or immigration control—for East Germans to obtain visas, and we now intend to negotiate a reciprocal visa abolition agreement with the GDR. No date for the lifting of visas was set at the meeting of Foreign Ministers, and we shall lay an amendment as soon as possible to remove the visa requirement for East Germans.

I appreciate that an important principle lies behind what the Home Secretary has said; changing international circumstances require the adaptation of visa requirements. Will he, however, consider another application of the same basic humanitarian rule?

An international change involving one of my constituents is the civil war in Somalia. One of the by-products of that war is the incidence of orphans, who —according to Somali rules—become the responsibility of the nearest male relative. In this instance, the nearest male relative happens to live in Cardiff, West.

One consequence of such developments is not covered by the regulations, although I do not think that a major change would be required to deal with it. May I ask the Home Secretary to consider these people as sympathetically as the European Foreign Ministers considered GDR nationals, now that it is assumed that German reunification will not be long delayed?

As I have told the Home Secretary in writing several times, my constituent and others like him are already taking financial responsibility, according to the iron rules of the Somalis. After all, in this country we are trying to encourage "care in the community"; the Somalis already practise it, but in their present form the regulations do not permit dependent orphan relatives to be brought here.

As the hon. Gentleman knows, many Somalian citizens have been admitted to this country and granted refugee status. The best advice that I can give him is this: if he will write to me about a specific case, I shall decide whether, on exceptional grounds, the person concerned should be treated as a member of the family of the person who has been admitted as a refugee. This can be dealt with only case by case. If the hon. Gentleman writes to me, I will look into the matter.

The situation in Somalia is truly dreadful. People are starving. There is a special unit in the Home Office dealing with these issues, and I have found the people in that unit extremely helpful in assisting relatives of my constituents. Is a tightening up taking place? Has there been a change recently? Up to now I have found the Home Office helpful and generous in these tragic cases. There is a suggestion that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is about to tighten the rules for Somalian refugees. Is that correct?

I know of no change. Apparently there has been no change in practice for those in refugee camps. The hon. Lady may have a case concerning others. If she writes to me, I will look into the matter. I know of no formal change in the situation, but there may have been some slight difference in some of the recent rulings, simply because of different reports coming to the Home Office and the Foreign Office about the situation there. I will look into that for the hon. Lady.

The second of the main changes in the package before us tonight concerns the admission of Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent born in the United Kingdom who wish to take or seek work here. This change will not prevent people of United Kingdom descent coming here as before. It will mean that, when they first arrive, they will be given leave to enter the country for a limited period and they will qualify for settled status if they stay here in that capacity for four years. The change brings this provision into line with the arrangements for others, such as work permit holders and business men who qualify for settlement only after four years working here.

I am not that critical of this proposal, but why does it apply only to Commonwealth citizens? This change will not apply to South Africans, who are probably the majority arriving in this category. Why has the Home Secretary exempted South Africans, for example?

The existing rule, the hon. Lady will remember, refers only to Commonwealth citizens who can prove that they have a grandparent who was born in this country. The only change we are making is that, whereas at present anybody who arrives at our ports and can show that he has a grandparent who was born in this country will be granted immediate settlement, under these rules he will not get settlement until he has served in this country the same time as a work permit holder must serve before he gets settlement. It is a logical change, because there is little point in granting settlement to somebody who presents himself at a port saying that he has a United Kingdom grandparent but has no intention of settling in Britain permanently but merely wishes to come for a short visit or perhaps to work for a year or so.

The third of the main changes in the rules concerns the financial requirements for businessmen and persons of independent means. A person coming here to establish himself in business or to be self-employed must invest his own capital in that business, in addition to meeting a number of other requirements which include the creation of new employment here. A person of independent means must have either a capital sum or an income available here to support himself and his family, as well as showing that he has a close personal connection with the United Kingdom or that his admission is in the United Kingdom's general interests.

The general structure of the criteria for admission in these categories remains unaltered. The new rules, however, increase the minimum investment required by business men to £200,000 and the capital sum or income required by persons of independent means to £200,000 in the first case and £20,000 a year in the other. Previously, the financial requirements were an investment or capital sum of £150,000, or an income of £15,000 a year. The amounts have not been raised since 1983, and the changes broadly restore the levels to their 1983 value. I can tell the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) that there is nothing sinister behind the change—it is a rather belated uprating of the qualifying sum to take account of the decline in the value of money over the relevant years.

It is clearly necessary to increase the limits from time to time to maintain the effectiveness of the rules and to ensure that a substantial investment is made by people securing admission as business men and that persons of independent means have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependants.

The changes in the provisions on returning residents in paragraph 58 worried the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland and seem to have caused some quite unnecessary concern inside and outside the House. However, they are no more than minor amendments to make clear what was always understood to be the position, until a determination of the immigration appeals tribunal cast doubt on the matter, and to restate what the High Court has decided was the correct view.

I think that it would be helpful if I explained what the change is. I can assure the House that the paragraph does not in any way affect adversely the position of people who being ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom travel abroad and then after a temporary absence wish to resume their residence here.

The old rule referred to a returning resident being admitted for settlement if he had had indefinite leave to remain when he left. That was always taken to mean, "when he left for the absence from which he was returning". Surprisingly, the tribunal held differently—that a person could claim to be a returning resident on the basis that, at some time in the past, he had had indefinite leave to remain, even if subsequently he had come here temporarily and had had one or more grants of limited leave. The new rule clears up the matter by referring to when he "last" left.

The other change arises from the fact that, although the old rule was clearly about admission for settlement, it did not state explicitly that, in order to be admitted for settlement under the rule, one had to be seeking entry for the purpose of settlement. It did not state it explicitly, but clearly that was the rule's whole purpose. It was intended to allow persons resident here to resume residence after an absence of two years. It was not intended to enable people resident overseas to maintain settled status in the United Kingdom by paying short visits once every two years when they had no real intention of resuming residence here. The position is now made clear beyond peradventure.

Will the Home Secretary consider the position of people from a country of political turmoil, such as Chile was in the past, who did not apply for political asylum but received permanent resident status here in exile, and then returned to Chile or wherever they were from? If the situation in that country deteriorated again, they would seek to return here as the place where they could live with some safety. In those circumstances, would they be forced to apply for asylum, which they would not want to do as they had never done that, or would they be forced to go through the whole process of applying for permanent residence here as if they were first-time arrivals?

Having followed the case which the hon. Gentleman raised, I cannot see any difficulty or injustice. The hon. Gentleman is positing that someone came here to seek political refuge, but no longer needed political refuge here because the position in his own country was restored to normality. He then returned to that normal country, as there was no need for him to remain here as a refugee. If, subsequently, the conditions in his own country deteriorate, the question obviously arises whether that deterioration is so grave that he is entitled to take refuge in this country again. I can therefore see no injustice whatsoever in his leaving this country, going back to his normal country, resuming residence in that country, and having to seek leave once again to come back here.

Does the Home Secretary see no injustice in the case of someone who has been resident in this country for a substantial number of years, who is required to go abroad to look after an indigent or dying relative, who interrupts his stay abroad to come back to deal with his affairs on a temporary basis, before returning to look after his relative, losing his long-established right of residence? That cannot be fair.

It is a question whether he was resident in this country before he left. If his settled home was in this country and he went for a visit abroad, there should be no difficulty in his re-admission. That is the whole misunderstanding. What many of the people who are worried about the change seem to be arguing for is not a provision for returning residence, but a new status of perpetual, permanent residence to be open to someone who has his permanent home elsewhere and who makes a fleeting visit here once every two years. That did not seem to be the sort of case to which the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland was referring.

Is the Secretary of State aware that many thousands of people affected by the change of rule will be pensioners who have spent all their working lives in this country and who may have to leave here for extended periods to deal with death and illness? They will find that, unknown to them, they have lost what they assumed was a permanent right of residence. I know many people, including my own uncles and aunts, who have been in this country for 30 or 40 years and who have held on to their Jamaican passports out of sentimentality.

They assumed that they had a sustained right of residence if they came back here within two years. Many of them will have relatives in America and Jamaica. They may well spend over two years away from here winding up the affairs of relatives, and they will have lost their right to residence through the change in the rules. It is not a minor change in the rules. It is a major change which will bring misery and confusion to people who have spent all their working lives in this country.

I can reassure the hon. Lady. She has overlooked paragraph 59, which deals with the very situation to which she refers. I will come to it in a moment.

The Home Secretary has referred to paragraph 59. If he looks at paragraph 49, he will see that, if somebody comes to this country for settlement and does not have a special voucher or prior entry clearance, that person is to be refused entry. Is the Home Secretary saying that paragraph 59 is an exception to paragraph 49?

No, because paragraph 59 has nothing to do with paragraph 49. Paragraph 49 deals with the admission of people with special vouchers. Paragraph 59 deals with when a returning resident should be admitted. It says plainly that, even if a person has been abroad and resumed residence elsewhere, that person may still be re-admitted here as a returning resident if he has spent most of his life here. That was precisely the case being raised by the hon. Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms. Abbott).

These cases rarely cause any difficulty. A person seeking re-admission as a returning resident within two years of having had settled status here should normally be re-admitted without further inquiry. We propose to reinforce the message that there is going to be no change in practice by issuing a specific instruction to immigration officers emphasising that in these cases it will not normally be necessary to make any further inquiries about the person's plans.

There are two other matters I should emphasise. First, a person who has been away more than two years may still qualify as a returning resident under paragraph 59 of the rules, if, for example, he has lived here most of his life; secondly, if in any case there were difficulties in reaching a decision at the port about whether the person met there turning resident's requirements, he would normally be admitted for a limited period. This would give him the opportunity to produce the necessary evidence and apply for his settled status to be restored. If we concluded—

It being one and a half hours after proceedings on the motion had been entered upon, Madam Deputy Speaker proceeded to put the Question necessary to dispose of them, pursuant to the Order [11 May].

The House divided: Ayes 137, Noes 176.

Division No. 210]

[11.44 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms DianeDunnachie, Jimmy
Allen, GrahamEastham, Ken
Anderson, DonaldFisher, Mark
Archer, Rt Hon PeterFoot, Rt Hon Michael
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Foster, Derek
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Fraser, John
Barron, KevinGeorge, Bruce
Beckett, MargaretGolding, Mrs Llin
Beith, A. J.Graham, Thomas
Benn, Rt Hon TonyGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bermingham, GeraldGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Boateng, PaulHarman, Ms Harriet
Boyes, RolandHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Bradley, KeithHenderson, Doug
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)Home Robertson, John
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Hood, Jimmy
Buchan, NormanHowells, Geraint
Buckley, George J.Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Caborn, RichardHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Callaghan, JimIngram, Adam
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Campbell-Savours, D. N.Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Kennedy, Charles
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Leighton, Ron
Clay, BobLewis, Terry
Clelland, DavidLitherland, Robert
Cohen, HarryLivingstone, Ken
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Livsey, Richard
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Loyden, Eddie
Corbyn, JeremyMcAllion, John
Cryer, BobMcAvoy, Thomas
Cunliffe, LawrenceMcKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Cunningham, Dr JohnMcKelvey, William
Dalyell, TamMcLeish, Henry
Darling, AlistairMaclennan, Robert
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)McWilliam, John
Dewar, DonaldMadden, Max
Dixon, DonMahon, Mrs Alice
Dobson, FrankMarek, Dr John
Doran, FrankMarshall, David (Shettleston)

Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)Short, Clare
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)Skinner, Dennis
Martlew, EricSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Maxton, JohnSmith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Meale, AlanSmith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Michael, AlunSmith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)Snape, Peter
Moonie, Dr LewisSoley, Clive
Morgan, RhodriSpearing, Nigel
Morley, ElliotSteel, Rt Hon Sir David
Mowlam, MarjorieSteinberg, Gerry
Mullin, ChrisStrang, Gavin
O'Neill, MartinTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Parry, RobertTaylor, Matthew (Truro)
Patchett, TerryThompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Pike, Peter L.Turner, Dennis
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)Wallace, James
Prescott, JohnWalley, Joan
Primarolo, DawnWarden, Gareth (Gower)
Quin, Ms JoyceWareing, Robert N.
Radice, GilesWigley, Dafydd
Redmond, MartinWinnick, David
Reid, Dr JohnWorthington, Tony
Richardson, JoWray, Jimmy
Robertson, GeorgeYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Rogers, Allan
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)

Tellers for the Ayes:

Ruddock, Joan

Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. John Battle.

Salmond, Alex
Sedgemore, Brian

NOES

Alexander, RichardDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelDover, Den
Amess, DavidDurant, Tony
Amos, AlanDykes, Hugh
Arbuthnot, JamesEggar, Tim
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas
Aspinwall, JackFallon, Michael
Atkins, RobertFavell, Tony
Atkinson, DavidField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Fishburn, John Dudley
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Forman, Nigel
Batiste, SpencerForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Forth, Eric
Benyon, W.Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Bevan, David GilroyFox, Sir Marcus
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterFranks, Cecil
Boscawen, Hon RobertFreeman, Roger
Boswell, TimFrench, Douglas
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaGarel-Jones, Tristan
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Gill, Christopher
Bowis, JohnGlyn, Dr Sir Alan
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir RhodesGoodhart, Sir Philip
Brandon-Bravo, MartinGoodlad, Alastair
Brazier, JulianGow, Ian
Bright, GrahamGregory, Conal
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Budgen, NicholasGround, Patrick
Burns, SimonHague, William
Burt, AlistairHamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Butcher, JohnHanley, Jeremy
Butler, ChrisHargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N)Harris, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Haselhurst, Alan
Carrington, MatthewHawkins, Christopher
Carttiss, MichaelHayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Chapman, SydneyHayward, Robert
Chope, ChristopherHicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Colvin, MichaelHowarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon)Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Couchman, JamesHunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Currie, Mrs EdwinaHunter, Andrew
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)Irvine, Michael
Davis, David (Boothferry)Jack, Michael
Day, StephenJanman, Tim
Dicks, TerryJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)

Jones, Robert B (Herts W)Soames, Hon Nicholas
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineSpeller, Tony
Key, RobertSpicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Kirkhope, TimothySquire, Robin
Knapman, RogerStanbrook, Ivor
Knight, Greg (Derby North)Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Steen, Anthony
Knowles, MichaelStern, Michael
Lang, IanStevens, Lewis
Lee, John (Pendle)Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkStokes, Sir John
Lilley, PeterStradling Thomas, Sir John
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Sumberg, David
Luce, Rt Hon RichardTaylor, Ian (Esher)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir NicholasTaylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Macfarlane, Sir NeilThompson, D. (Calder Valley)
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Maclean, DavidThornton, Malcolm
McLoughlin, PatrickThurnham, Peter
McNair-Wilson, Sir PatrickTracey, Richard
Malins, HumfreyTwinn, Dr Ian
Mans, KeithVaughan, Sir Gerard
Maples, JohnWaddington, Rt Hon David
Marshall, Michael (Arundel)Waller, Gary
Maude, Hon FrancisWardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Meyer, Sir AnthonyWatts, John
Nicholson, David (Taunton)Wells, Bowen
Norris, SteveWhitney, Ray
Onslow, Rt Hon CranleyWiddecombe, Ann
Patnick, IrvineWiggin, Jerry
Pawsey, JamesWilkinson, John
Riddick, GrahamWilshire, David
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)Wolfson, Mark
Rowe, AndrewWood, Timothy
Sackville, Hon TomYeo, Tim
Shaw, David (Dover)Young, Sir George (Acton)
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Shersby, Michael

Tellers for the Noes:

Skeet, Sir Trevor

Mr. John M. Taylor and Mr. David Lightbown.

Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)

Question accordingly negatived.