Skip to main content

Immigration Rules: Proposals For Revision

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 11 December 1979

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

5.32 p.m.

rose to move, That this House deplores the White Paper Proposals for Revision of the Immigration Rules (Cmnd. 7750) as racially and sexually discriminatory, incompatible with our international obligations and contrary to the principles of natural justice. The noble Lord said: My Lords, when this White Paper was debated in another place last week, 17 Conservatives abstained. It is the first and only example of such a rebellion during the lifetime of the present Administration, and a rare event in any period of Tory rule. I hope it is right to assume that, in providing an opportunity to examine these proposals before the rules themselves are laid, the Government were prepared to modify or withdraw any proposals which failed to stand up to criticism. I must say at the outset that, unless we have concrete undertakings on this situation, at the end of today's debate we shall seek to divide the House.

Apart from the honourable Members in another place who defied the Whips, and who represented a very much larger section of opinion within the Tory Party than was represented in the Division lists, informed opinion has been uniformly hostile to these proposals. The Times leader of 15th November used epithets like "objectionable" and "distasteful", and said that in all probability the proposals would violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The Commission for Racial Equality has issued no fewer than four statements attacking the White Paper. The Equal Opportunities Commission, the Sunday Times, Age Concern, the Observer, the British Youth Council, the Guardian, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the United Kingdom Immigrants Advisory Service, the National Council for Civil Liberties, and of course every single one of the organisations representing ethnic

minorities themselves, as exemplified by a resolution passed only this weekend by 60 such organisations (a copy of which I sent to the noble Lord, Lord Belstead), have expressed their hostility to these proposals.

Even if their voices were not those of the majority, my Lords, I venture to remind you of the words of Lord Salisbury in 1883 when he said:

"By a free country I do not mean a country where six men can make five men do exactly as they like".

The Home Secretary repeated the old canard last week that tighter controls are necessary:

"… because of the impossibility of advancing the cause of better race relations when public anxieties about further primary immigration are so strong".—[Official Report, Commons, 4/12/79, col. 264.]

This is false and is diametrically opposed to the advice given to the Government by the Commission for Racial Equality, the body appointed for that purpose.

One cannot appease racialism; one simply intensifies it by making concessions to it. Whenever the screw is tightened, the minorities feel that their security is being further undermined, while everybody must find it a strain on their credulity to believe that the Government are seriously committed to advancing racial equality within the country when they discriminate so blatantly at the ports of entry. When Ministers echo the irrational fears originally articulated by Mr. Enoch Powell, they inadvertently help to spread the virus of racism while, in pandering to the obsession of the extremists over numbers, they allow their attention to be diverted from the practical means of combating racism. By that I mean that while the debate we are now having occupies the centre of the public's attention, the ruthless cuts in the CRE's budget slipped through virtually unnoticed, and the Local Government (Ethnic Grants) Bill, which was lost as a result of the last election, has sunk without trace.

The fact is that the existing Immigration Rules are already extremely harsh, and the way they are applied, in accordance with secret instructions given to immigration officers, leads to the exclusion of many people who ought to be allowed to enter the United Kingdom or remain here.

They also lead to the prolonged detention without recourse to habeas corpus of thousands of people, at the dictates of a single immigration officer. Because the rules are so flagrantly unfair, the Minister has said that he gets well over 1,000 letters a month asking him to use his discretion outside the rules.

I have made an analysis of the cases that I have submitted to Mr. Raison since he took office. I find that out of 81 such cases he has decided, 45 have been given leave to enter or remain or, in the cases of a few visitors, were granted temporary admission, which came to the same thing. This certainly does not give the impression of a system needing to be tightened still further, but of one that ought to be relaxed so that most of these cases would be decided at official level instead of having to go before the Minister. The Minister said, in an interview published in the Guardian on 9th August, that he would like to reduce the powers of MPs and Peers to intercede with him in immigration cases. That could only be done by means of a change in the Law and not in the Rules. In the meanwhile, the changes now proposed are certain to result in an even greater burden of work for Mr. Raison, and even more cases that have to be favourably decided by ministerial discretion outside the rules. According to the Home Secretary, the effect of the changes will be to reduce immigration by a mere 3,000 to 4,000 a year—less than 5 per cent., by the way, of the actual number accepted for settlement in 1978. But, in practice, there are bound to be a great many within the people affected whose admission is justifiable and is brought into effect by the Minister on compassionate grounds.

Turning to the details of the White Paper, the most obnoxious provisions of all are of course those relating to husbands and fiancés, made even more nakedly racist by the concession to women who had at least one parent born in the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary concedes that what is now proposed is sexually discriminatory, but amazingly he continues to:

"… reject entirely the accusation that the proposals are racially discriminatory".—[Official Report, Commons, 4/12/79, col. 256.]

How can he make such a denial, practically in the same breath as he recites the statistics of husbands and fiancés from the New

Commonwealth and Pakistan? It is these men who are the target of the Government's measures, and it would be unconvincing for the Government to pretend otherwise either now or when the matter comes before the European Commission for Human Rights, as it eventually will. But I do not want to go into this part of the rules at any length, because I know that others will be dealing with it later on.

I want to say three things: First, the Government have admitted in another place that what they are doing is not designed to catch the bogus marriage of convenience, which was already dealt with by the changes introduced in March 1977. They have agreed that since those changes only 356 allegedly bogus husbands were refused leave to remain indefinitely at the end of their 12-month probationary period, out of, I calculate, something like 17,000 allowed to remain as properly married over that period. By the way, my Lords, I should have asked how many of those 356 cases were from the Indian sub-continent. I understand, according to Mr. Jim Marshall, M.P., in the debate the other day, it was only 169.

What the Government are now seeking to do, according to Mr. Raison, is to stop young men from entering by marriage when their motives are primarily economic. In their view, any man coming here, from the Indian sub-continent to marry a girl he has never met is ipso facto entering for selfish economic motives. That is, of course, an absurdly simplistic view of the system of arranged marriages. I think that one's attitude to the question of arranged marriages is a litmus test of one's commitment to integration in the sense of the definition given by Mr. Roy Jenkins—

"not as a flattening process of assimilation but as equal opportunity, accompanied by cultural diversity in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance".

This tolerance is necessary because the customs of one group may be quite different from those of another. The white natives of Britain have no more right to interfere with the marriage systems of the minorities from the Indian sub-Continent than the minorities would have to object to Western dress, which they may well regard as immodest.

The noble Lord, Lord Belstead, if I may say so in passing, has obviously forgotten, in the reply that he gave me the other day, that for centuries the Royal Family and

the upper classes in this country indulged in arranged marriages. Anne Mowbray married the younger of the two Princes in the Tower in 1478 when she was four. Bloody Mary was betrothed to the Dauphin in 1518 when she was two. She later married Philip, son of the Emperor Charles V, although the Commons sent a deputation pleading with her that she should not marry a foreigner. The second Queen Mary also married a foreigner—William of Orange—but perhaps we can forget about that because he was patrial, Charles I having been his grandfather. George IV married a foreigner he had never seen, and when the future Queen Caroline arrived for the wedding, his first remark was:

"Harris, I am not well; pray get me a glass of brandy".

Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert was arranged by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and her uncle, King Leopold. Eight of Victoria's children married foreigners chosen by her and she also selected the future Queen, Princess May of Teck. When the heir to whom she was engaged—Prince Eddie—died, Princess May was transferred to his younger brother, the future King George V. That was a process which might have incurred the displeasure of immigration officers if they had had to adjudicate on it at the time.

Mr. Raison wrote in his Daily Telegraph article on 4th December that he had nothing against arranged marriages as such, unlike the noble Lord, Lord Belstead. What he objects to is the use of these marriages to facilitate the entry of men for purely economic motives. He now identifies these as being men seeking to marry girls born elsewhere, neither of whose parents was born in the United Kingdom. A more far-fetched proposition, so little supported by evidence, can seldom have been presented to your Lordships' House, and I suggest that it should be rejected out of hand. This squalid little measure would certainly have brought us into conflict with our obligations under the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political Rights if we had not, on signing the Covenant, as the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, pointed out the other day, reserved the whole of our immigration law from its operation, thus shamelessly giving notice of our intention to continue discriminating in our immigration law.

If the Home Secretary denies that racial discrimination exists in our immigration law, then why was that reservation needed and why indeed have Ministers declined to comment on the opinion which has now been expressed by eminent lawyers that the proposals are in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights, or to produce the advice which has been given by the law officers? If Britain has to be dragged before the European Commission on Human Rights again, having been found guilty of racial discrimination in three cases very similar to those which are dealt with under these present rules, our reputation in Europe will have been indelibly stained.

These considerations also apply to the provisions regarding elderly parents and grandparents and children between 18 and 21. I notice that Sir Nigel Fisher, commenting on these in the other place, called the proposals "mean"; and Mr. John Hunt described them as "unreasonable and inhumane", pointing out also that they were not within the terms of the Tory Manifesto. Incidentally, both Sir Nigel and Mr. Hunt voted for the Government, bearing out the point that I made earlier, that the opposition within the Government's own ranks was very much larger than one would gather from the Division list.

Previously parents and grandparents could only settle here if it could be shown that they were wholly or mainly dependent on the child they were seeking to join. Now, in addition, it is to be required that they should have no other relatives to whom they can turn in their country of origin and they must have a standard of living substantially below that of their own country. These conditions also have to be met in the case of children between 18 and 21. Of course, nobody at all would qualify, apart from the obvious fact that a person whose standard of living is materially below that of the average in a country like Bangladesh, would die long before the application was considered and that these provisions mirror the "distressed relatives" paragraph of the existing rules, under which it is extremely rare for anyone to be admitted. Incidentally, Mr. Alex Lyon said that in the 30,000 cases he dealt with as a Minister, he could not remember a single one succeeding under the "distressed relatives" provision. Apart from that, there is this total impossibility of meeting those conditions and at the same time of the parent getting remittances from the sponsor in Britain to satisfy the requirements for dependency.

Mr. Raison did undertake to consider this argument in another place, and it would be very helpful if we could know what conclusions have been reached. Could we also know how many parents and grandparents have been admitted in each of the last few years? I believe that the number must be very tiny—so tiny indeed that it is not even worth identifying separately in the immigration statistics. In any case, as has been pointed out, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the question of primary immigration.

I now turn to some aspects of the White Paper which have been overshadowed by the discussion of these major changes. With regard to refugees, the convention and protocol relating to the status of refugees is mentioned for the first time—and I welcome this—in paragraph 16. In other references we find only the convention. Then the immigration officer has to decide whether a person's claim to be a refugee indicates that he might fall within that convention and thus refer the matter to the Home Office for decision. The officer is not obliged to inform the applicant of his right to consult the United Kingdom Immigrants' Advisory Service or the United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees' representatives, so that we shall continue to have cases like that of Mr. Carlos Reyes, who was held for two days in detention here last week after being expelled directly from a prison in Panama, before anybody knew about it and before the agencies had heard of his plight. And there is no provision, moreover, for an applicant's claim to be a refugee to be referred to an independent body for arbitration when it is refused, as in fact is required by the convention.

The position of students is worsened in several respects. When they move from one course to another they will have to satisfy the immigration authorities that they have not done so with the intention of gratuitously prolonging their studies. In any case, they will normally be refused permission to spend more than four years here on courses meant to last for two; so that, for instance, a student who does A levels and then goes on to HND would have to be careful not to fail any of these years and have to repeat it, because that would bring him into conflict with these new provisions. Paragraph 89 appears to imply continuous checks on a student's attendance at college; and perhap we could be told how the colleges and universities are expected to supply this information when at the same time their funds are being severely cut. Finally, students' wives will no longer be allowed to work, just at the moment when huge increases in fees make this support absolutely vital to many students. I hope that these are matters which perhaps your Lordships will pursue in further detail tomorrow.

The draft rules are riddled with ambiguities, of which I will mention only one. The phrase "without recourse to public funds", which the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, refused to clarify in response to a question which I put the other day, is bound to create unnecessary work for the lawyers while not achieving any conceivable policy objective of the Home Office.

I should like to touch on one final matter as a perfect further example of the petty racism which infects the White Paper—that au pair girls are in future to be limited to those coming from Western Europe, including Malta, Cyprus and Turkey. Mr. Whitelaw said that these changes—and I quote—

"will deal with some widespread abuses"

without giving a shred of evidence to support that allegation.

I put several questions to the Minister following the Statement on the White Paper, to which as yet no answers have been given. I believe that is because there is no answer to the objections that have been raised. The noble Lord said in a letter to me dated 13th August last that in formulating these proposals the Government would

"obviously try to avoid unreasonable discrimination".

In this task, if I may say so, they have been notably unsuccessful. Clearly, they have also failed to honour the undertaking that was given by Mr. Raison on 8th September, that there would be no racial discrimination in the exercise of control, and that the changes to be introduced would enable the ethnic minorities to feel more secure. Without making any noticeable difference to the figures, the Government have

managed to stir up the gravest apprehension, not only among the minorities themselves, but also in the minds of everyone who is concerned to maintain the civilised values which this country had done so much in former days to define and promote. If Parliament does allow the draft rules to be implemented as they stand, I believe it will be a tragic mistake and one of monumental irrelevance to the real problems that we face. We shall have capitulated to the tiny minority of racists in our midst, and we shall have abandoned our responsibility to give a lead to public opinion. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That this House deplores the White Paper Proposals for Revision of the Immigration Rules (Cmnd. 7750) as racially and sexually discriminatory, incompatible with our international obligations and contrary to the principles of natural justice.— (Lord Avebury.)

5.50 p.m.

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for providing the opportunity for this debate and I look forward to hearing the maiden speech of the right reverend Prelate. This, however, is a debate which should not have to take place in a society which prides itself on its tolerance—although there are unfortunate myths among the finer realities. What, then, is it all about? It is about a Government trying to come to terms with the country's racially prejudiced, and coming unstuck. The Conservative Manifesto listed eight points on immigration. The four main ones were: the establishment of a register, a quota, the restriction of elderly and young immigrants, and ending the Labour Government's 1974 concession to husbands and male fiancés. It is to their credit that the Government have recognised the folly of the register and the quota, and have dropped these.

So what is left? The discriminatory, unpleasant and totally reactionary exclusion of husbands and fiancés, unless the woman was born here or, as the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, pointed out, since last week's debate in another place, born to a parent who was born here; plus further harsh restrictions on old and young members of the family and the other restrictions which, due to the lack of time and the length of the speaking list, I shall not go into, but which were also covered by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. Yet that same Manifesto stated:
"The rights of all British citizens legally settled here are equal before the law, whatever their race, colour or creed".
Further, "to support family life" was declared as one of the Government's fine major tasks. Yet how are these admirable proclamations compatible with these wretched proposals? The very thought of the plight of the already severely restricted parents and grandparents, now condemned to a lonely ebb to their lives and for ever separated from their children, is absolutely heartbreaking. For make no mistake, my Lords, the cruel Catch 22 referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, renders their entry almost impossible and, as I understand it, fewer than 1,500 were admitted last year.

In the debate in another place last week, Mr. Raison, the Minister of State, said (at column 363):
"We shall consider the argument that the combination of the dependancy requirement with the standard of living criterion makes it too difficult for parents to come".—[Official Report, Commons, 4/12/79.]
But what I am asking is how could draft rules get to the stage of a White Paper, without that very basic question having already been considered by the Government? And how could the Minister of State in a debate in another place get up as though that was the first time it had occurred to him? It seems to me quite extraordinary.

Then, to refuse admission to children is contrary to British tradition and is also contrary to the Government's promise "to support family life". The Government's concession that applications for children of 18 to 21 made before 14th November will be treated under the old rules—and this is another thing that has suddenly popped up since the debate—is minor and inadequate. Children should not be cruelly separated from their parents. Just think for a moment, my Lords, how we who are parents would feel if this were happening to us and to our children.

These provisions further restrict those who are already gravely restricted, even too gravely restricted for some of us. Reversing the present position on husbands and male fiancés is not only outrageously racist but outrageously sexist, in a climate of sex equality created by the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Opportunities Commission—and I am glad the chairman of that commission will be speaking later in the debate. The effect on the number of immigrants, whether the number is shrunk or stretched as it emerges from the mathematical mangle, is still very small—set either against total immigration or against Britain's population. There were 356 men who were refused permanent settlement out of 11,600 between March 1977 and March 1979, while 20,000 women came in last year and were accepted for settlement.

It really seems extraordinary, with a small number like this—something like 3 per cent.—that the Government should go to the lengths of doing extraordinary damage to themselves, to race relations and to women's rights, and also to act in a way that I should have thought was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights (I am delighted to see that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, is speaking later and I shall be interested to hear his authoritative view on this), contrary to the Helsinki Agreement, and contrary to any concept of the rule of law that I can think of. Just imagine if a British woman, who does not meet the birth criterion, and an Italian woman want to marry Indian men, the Italian woman would be able to marry and live with her husband in Britain, while the British woman could not.

The 1977 rules comfortably cover all the problems of a marriage of convenience, and I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, that arranged marriages are inseparable from many cultural customs. These were strongly condemned by the Home Secretary and his ministerial colleagues as contrary to British custom, but I say that it is not the job of a democratic Government to decree how a British citizen should choose his or her spouse. Doubtless this custom will wither away, as it has in other previous immigrant communities, because, even in this country, the arranged marriage is not a unique novelty, which does not survive the exposure of young people to the British way of life. But, meanwhile, this authoritarian decree will create hardship and bitterness for just a few thousand people out of a population of 54 million—a return absolutely out of proportion to the damage done to our country. The Minister of State, again in another place, conceded that if the couple have not met—to which the Government object—the fiancé can come in as a visitor, if he can persuade the immigration officer that he intends to return to his country of origin when his visit ends. I want to ask the Minister today whether, if the man satisfies the immigration officer, he can then marry without first returning home. If not, then financial and other obstacles would nullify the visit and we should have another Catch 22 situation. I should very much like an answer on this.

The Government argue that this grossly unfair and degrading distinction between men and women has to be made, because of other legal problems tied up with the status of women. I personally do not accept this, because I think that this could have been ironed out in the Sex Discrimination Act. We are promised a British nationality Bill, although not in this Session. Yet there are certainly no sustainable grounds for taking away women's rights in the meantime, because this is what in fact is being done. It is a completely retrogressive step, so far as women are concerned. The proposals are racist, because they are aimed primarily at Asians, though others would also be caught in this sinister web.

Let us look for a moment at the position of refugees who have come to this country. We have a reputation for taking in refugees, and refugees came from Nazi Germany and became British citizens. But a woman who has been settled in this country for many years and now considers herself a British citizen, but who was not born here and whose parents were not—they were born in Germany—would also be caught by this rule. The rule makes a totally new distinction between the rights of male and female citizens, and overturns the generous and compassionate approach to immigration which was adopted by Edward Heath in 1971, in order to help the expelled Ugandan Asians, and by Roy Jenkins in 1974 who dealt with this problem and put back the situation to what it was before these draft rules appeared.

The Government believe that these restrictions will improve race relations. If the Government believe that, they will believe anything! It is true that the Government have produced some Asian opinion to support their case, but many of us recollect previous immigrations as a result of which those who came early resented late arrivals in case their own established position in British society might be adversely affected. But the approach of the Asian communities indicates that very few Asians adopt this attitude—and, in any case, the Government must be the humane arbiter and not the repository of prejudice, from whatever quarter it may come.

It is interesting that in addition to the list of people and newspapers mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, the clergy have made a united appeal about these draft rules to the Government: the Anglicans, the Catholics, the Jews and the Methodist Conference.

The real danger to race relations is that these proposals, so minimal in effect, have already fanned the fears and prejudice of white citizens. Anything like this triggers off the racism which people feel but to some extent keep hidden. They believe these proposals will stop a great influx of coloured people into this country, and are reminded of the statement about "swamping" which was made last year by Mrs. Thatcher. There is no question of swamping this country with immigrants. The legislation we have now, without these rules, makes swamping quite impossible. The Government's job is to pacify racial passions, not to inflame them.

Finally, these draft rules are being breached all the time by the Government who are under strong pressure. The Government are therefore giving to themselves bigger and bigger areas of discretion for ministerial decision, and also for immigration officers who will have absolutely impossible burdens of judgment foisted upon them. These officials will be at the receiving end of enormous acrimony and, not being infallible, they will obviously make some mistakes. Not all of these errors of judgment can possibly be picked up by the appeals procedure or routed to Members of Parliament or Peers to take up. A great many people will not even know how to go about trying to get the decision reversed; they will have an absolutely cast iron case but somehow they will slip through the net. The whole thing is a macabre and Monty Python Flying Circus which cannot possibly work. Under pressure, the door is being opened all the time by the Government.

I am sorry that I am speaking before the Minister. Nevertheless, I am hoping that he will still be able to declare a small change of heart, which is all that is needed to withdraw the intolerable parts of this White Paper. Governments are not infallible. There is still an opportunity for this Government to show the courage of other people's convictions and throw out these illogical, unworkable, unnecessary and nasty proposals which bring disgrace upon the Government and shame to our country.

6.4 p.m.

My Lords, I welcome this debate which I invited when the immigration Statement was made in your Lordships' House on 14th November because I believe that it will clarify points upon which there is misunderstanding. Incidentally, it gives us, into the bargain, the opportunity to hear for the first time the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford who is to follow me.

I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, will not mind me saying that the more I listened to him the more I felt that my regard for his knowledge and for his genuine concern over these matters is exceeded only by my total disagreement with almost everything which he had to say. For what is the noble Lord's objective in raising the debate this evening? It is to deplore, totally, a White Paper which has been published, based upon the simple belief that this country really cannot accept an indefinite commitment to continuing primary immigration. That is not a concept which is confined to the views of the present Government. It is in accord with a recommendation of the all-party Select Committee on Immigration and Race Relations which reported in another place only last year.
"The Government should make it unequivocally clear"
the Members of the Select Committee said—
"that in the foreseeable future there will be no further major primary immigration and that such immigration will only be allowed in exceptional individual circumstances".
Because they were the sort of people who have their feet firmly planted upon the ground, the Members of the Select Committee explained that by the phrase "primary immigration" they meant people entering the United Kingdom independently to establish themselves and their families here and that the reason for their recommendation was the economic and employment prospects of this country.

Of course there remain throughout the world very many people who have a continuing claim to come to this country. Over the years, the United Kingdom has provided a safe home for refugees, the tragedy of the Vietnamese refugees being the latest example. And the White Paper, which apparently the noble Lord deplores in its entirety, is going to make much clearer the precedence of a claim for refuge or asylum in the United Kingdom over other parts of the immigration rules. We shall continue to accept certain United Kingdom passport holders under the special voucher scheme. Then there are the wives and children who have the absolute right to join men who are settled here. But outside these categories, immigration must be strictly confined to circumstances of the most urgent need.

When noble Lords have the opportunity may I invite them to look at page 1 of the previous Government's White Paper on immigration which was published only last year, for your Lordships will there see that what I have just said does not contradict the general intention of the previous Government. What I think it is fair to say is that the difference of view between the Opposition Front Bench and the Government stems from what should be done about the clear evidence that the present rules are being exploited by men using marriage as a means of securing entry into the United Kingdom. Because neither the noble Baroness nor the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, said so, I feel that I have to say to your Lordships that we know that there are cases in which men overseas openly admit that they are looking for a girl in the United Kingdom to marry, solely in order to come and settle here themselves.

My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord would give way, since he mentioned me in connection with this point. The 1977 rules were drafted in order to deal with this very point. Now people have to have been married and appear to have stayed together in a per- manent marriage for at least 12 months. Therefore, the 1977 rules deal with exactly the point which the Minister is making. He does not need these rules.

My Lords, with respect to the noble Baroness, may I say that as I understand them the 1977 rules dealt with what the Government, in their rules, called "the marriage of convenience"—people who did not intend that their marriage should subsist. They did not necessarily deal with marriages which are contracted with one thought in mind—that is, for the man, by hook or by crook, to get into the United Kingdom. As I was saying to your Lordships—

No, my Lords. I have listened fairly quietly to your Lordships. I shall certainly give way to the noble Lord, but may I remind him that both he and, if the House will allow me, I also will have another chance to speak.

My Lords, I was going to say that the evidence has never been produced. I was in Bombay and Delhi at the beginning of 1978 and I was given the facility of sitting in on interviews at the High Commission and Deputy High Commission, and I heard a number of would-be husbands interviewed. They were all pressed intensely by the entry certificate officers to say that their motives for coming to the United Kingdom were entirely economic, but unanimously they denied this. So I have not the faintest idea where the noble Lord gets his evidence from.

My Lords, I know the noble Lord well, and I know that he is absolutely genuine and very knowledgeable in these matters. This is an absolutely fair point for the noble Lord to make, and it is absolutely wrong. Within the last month my honourable friend the Minister of State at the Home Office, Mr. Raison, has visited the Indian sub-Continent, and I am doing no more than repeating the view which he has given on the Floor of the House of Commons when I say to this House that we know that there are cases in which men overseas openly admit that they are looking for a girl to marry in the United Kingdom in order to be able to come to live here. It is clear from letters which the Home Office receive and which entry clearance officers abroad receive, that girls who are living here are being obliged to contract marriages with men whom they do not want to marry. I am saying to the House that I believe this cannot be right, but under the present rules—if I may correct the noble Baroness, Lady Birk—there is very little that can be done about it.

Noble Lords opposite are asking me for statistics. Very well; let me move on. This is a difficult problem. The noble Baroness is saying that it was solved by the previous Government, and I am saying that it was not. The problem here is illustrated by the fact that over the last 10 years the views of many people have changed, first one way and then another, and not least the views of the party opposite. In 1969 the right honourable gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, who was then the Home Secretary, removed the right of entry of Commonwealth husbands and fiancés. Five years later, in 1974, the then Home Secretary, Mr. Jenkins, reversed that ban; and finally as the noble Baroness has said, in March 1977 the previous Government changed the rules again in order to prevent entry where it can be discerned that there is no real intention that the parties to a marriage intend to live together permanently as man and wife. But while these differences in view have been occurring over the last 10 years there is absolute certainty about what has been happening.

To date, during the 12 months up to the middle of this year, which is the date for which I have the figures, 5,600 husbands from the new Commonwealth and Pakistan were accepted here for settlement. That compares with just 200 husbands coming to join wives already settled here in 1973. If your Lordships want a comparison in male fiancés wanting to come here, the increase is even more marked.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has previously in your Lordships' House suggested that these increases simply represent a pent-up demand from those years before 1974 when it was not open to men to come here and settle by having a claim to marriage. But the evidence does not support that argument. There is a continuing upward demand in the number of applications and no evidence of a peak shortly after 1974 with a subsequent downturn. That is why the draft new rules provide that where there is reason to believe that immigration is the primary objective of the marriage that will be sufficient reason to refuse an entry clearance.

My Lords, perhaps if the noble Baroness would like to read the rules, she will see. In addition we repeat the Labour Government's rule that where there is no intention of there being a genuine married life, entry should also be refused—and we add what I do not think is an unnatural requirement, that the couple to a marriage should have met. However, even these changes can be circumvented by people who are determined to conceal the true reasons for a marriage, and that is the reason why the Government have been obliged to confine the right of entry to husbands and fiancés of women who are citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies by birth or who have a parent born here.

I should like to remind the House of what it is that we are talking about. We are not talking about the right of women to come into this country; we are talking about the amount of latitude which the British Government should give to men, who in many cases are undoubtedly using marriage or proposed marriage as a calculated method of gaining entry. The reason why these draft rules apply to men in this respect is not only because obviously this is the immediate problem with which we have to deal, but also because of the law on nationality, which I do not think either the noble Lord or the noble Baroness mentioned.

As the law stands, a woman may enter and acquire her husband's nationality if he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies, and from her husband a woman may acquire the right of abode. A man cannot do that. Also, wives and children of Commonwealth citizens who were here before 1st January 1973 remain as free to come and go as they were before the passing of the 1971 Act.

In these circumstances, the position of women under immigration legislation is wholly different from—and I am glad it is more favourable than—the position of men. I hope therefore that the Opposition will not pursue the line taken by the noble Baroness, that there is a charge here of sex discrimination, because both the previous Government and the present Government have found themselves in very much the same boat over this question. Indeed, I am surprised that the noble Baroness did not see fit to mention in terms which the House could easily understand, that when, two years ago, the Labour Government changed the rules they did so by having exactly the same method of approach as the present Government are having; namely, by making the rules applicable to a man who wishes to come into this country to marry. The fact of the matter is that we desperately need a new law on nationality and the Government are committed to introducing such legislation which, may I say to your Lordships this evening, my right honourable friend intends to precede with a White Paper during the coming year.

I should like to make clear just two points where my right honourable friend has altered his original proposals in order to meet views which have been expressed. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has said—and in my view quite rightly—that he wants to know where changes are to be made in the propoals which have been put forward. The first change which my right honourable friend is ready to make and which he feels it is quite right to make, is that if Parliament agrees there will be an absolute right for a husband to join a wife within the terms of the rules. This will be firmly written into the rules. Also, it was my right honourable friend's intention, in the case if a girl is born abroad simply because her parents happen to be out of the country at the time of her birth, that that girl should be entitled subsequently to be joined by her husband or her fiancé in the United Kingdom in the same way as if she had been born here. When I was repeating the Statement on 14th November in your Lordships' House, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Elwyn-Jones, expressed the view that it would be desirable for this intention to be written into the rules and this advice my right honourable friend accepts.

With the leave of the House, I will try to reply to speeches made in this debate at the end of the debate, so perhaps I may refer only to all the other changes made in the White Paper by reference to three of the main areas of change. First, we are making new provisions for the entry of dependants. Our guiding principle has been that where there is no compassionate reason a relative really cannot expect as of right to be admitted here, given that we must set limits to our immigration commitments. Despite the fact that the noble Baroness referred to the heartbreak which can occur when relatives are divided from their families, the requirement that a relative should be dependent upon a family which is over here has already been written into the rules under the previous Government, something apparently which the noble Baroness just happened to forget. Here again, however, a point has been raised which we will certainly look at very carefully.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, raised the point that it is possible that this requirement, the dependency requirement, together with the criterion that dependent relatives should be suffering a standard of living below that of their own country may make it very difficult for parents and grandparents in receipt of help from their families over here to prove that they actually need to come to the United Kingdom. I repeat the assurance that was given in the other place that my right honourable friend is considering this argument.

My Lords, I am sure the Minister did not mean to be unfair, but I think he was being a little unfair in saying that I did not draw attention to that. I did say that the restrictions before these rules were already very hard, harder than many of us would have liked to see, but the added criterion of living at a standard of living lower than they would have or could have over here makes it even more difficult. This is what creates the Catch 22 position. I entirely accepted that the other criteria were the same, but now something else is added which makes it even more difficult. In fact I read out what Mr. Raison had said in another place in order to make the point that this should have been thought out before. It was not a case of not referring to this matter; I did refer to it.

My Lords, I apologise genuinely and unreservedly to the noble Baroness for misrepresenting her. I am sure that I must have misrepresented her and I am extremely sorry. With regard to the point the noble Baroness is putting to me, which is the same point that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, put, as I have said, this is a matter which my right honourable friend is looking at very seriously.

My Lords, I said that I would refer to the three main areas which remain. The second area is to do with overstayers. Here we feel that firmer rules are needed to prevent those who seek to turn a temporary visit into permanent residence. I am only too happy to record that the great majority of visitors and students are absolutely genuine and we welcome them here. Yet some of your Lordships have expressed concern to me outside the House that it may be almost impossible to trace passengers who say they are coming for a temporary purpose and then overstay.

Clearly this is a matter which worried the previous Government, because they initiated an overstayers survey, which my right honourable friend referred to in another place last week. The long and the short of it is that the survey ran into very great difficulties. It was not found possible for the survey to match the huge number of landing and embarkation cards, and the survey was not able to estimate with any accuracy the number of people who deliberately overstayed. But computer support, which was announced in the previous Government's White Paper, for the checking of departures is soon to be in use, and with that technical facility the changes that we are proposing in the rules will, I think, contribute in a fair way towards dealing with this problem of overstaying. In brief, we propose that there shall be reasonable limits set to the time for which a visitor may stay. Nor would students be able to remain perpetually for short courses, although, if I may take up the point from the noble Lord's speech, a student who is progressing in a logical and academic way from one course to another has nothing to fear from these rules.

Tighter requirements would be introduced to ensure that those admitted to the country for a temporary purpose do not become a charge on public funds. At the same time, those who enter temporarily and then deliberately overstay would find it more difficult to spin out their stay for further applications to the Home Office for leave to remain to be made. Also when a person who has remained in breach of our immigration laws reappears, as they do sometimes, at a port of entry the immigration officer would be specifically empowered to have regard to his or her immigration history in deciding whether or not to grant leave to enter. These changes are simply designed to combat exploitation. They would honestly bear only upon those who seek to manipulate our system of immigration control, and they would not affect the genuine applicant who has good reason to come here but does not intend to settle permanently.

My Lords, if I may just refer briefly to the third area, it is the position of those who come here to work. In saying that I am not referring to students or to young holidaymakers from the Commonwealth whom many of your Lordships may very well know when they come and work here. I am referring to those who wish to come to work on a longer term basis and must hold a permit issued in advance after application by the employer. The Department of Employment has recently issued stricter criteria for the issue of permits. In addition, the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration recommended last year that the categories of people who can come here without permits should be reviewed, and this we have also done and introduced an entry clearance requirement for some of them; because I have to say that, not infrequently, people entering temporarily then try to stay permanently by remaining for work or try setting up in business. We are simply saying that it is the responsibility of the applicant to reveal whether the real objective is to remain permanently and, if that is the case, to get entry clearance accordingly.

So, my Lords, I return to the Motion of the noble Lord. After more than six years, the immigration rules need revision. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, referred to greater difficulties which will be made for immigration officers. I was surprised to hear the noble Lord say that, because sheer weight of numbers is tremendous. Last year there were some 5½, million non-EEC visitors to these shores. I think what is necessary is to have more workable instructions for the officers in our hard-pressed immigration service, and this I believe the new rules will provide.

My Lords, the immigration rules do not make any difference to the number of visitors who come here. Surely the noble Lord is not trying to discourage tourism as well as everything else.

My Lords, perhaps we are getting a little tired and I did not make myself clear. I was trying to explain to the House that immigration officers are working under considerable strain. I gave the example of the very large number of visitors who come to these shores to show the extent of the number of people who pass through our ports of entry every year. I was going on to explain that in my view the rules we are putting forward in the White Paper will provide easier and more workable rules. The noble Lord does not agree with me. When the noble Lord speaks again he can explain to the House why that is so.

In addition to that, my right honourable friend has shown, as I like to think I have shown in this debate, that he is very ready to listen to the opinions expressed. Yet the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, will have none of this. The White Paper, in the noble Lord's view, must be done away with lock, stock and barrel, as being contrary to natural justice. I must say I find that a little hard, and I certainly find the noble Lord's argument a little hard to follow. Decisions will continue to be taken, as now, only after careful consideration and the rights of appeal laid down by statute will continue. A person will still be able to appeal to the independent appellate authorities against refusal of entry clearance, refusal of leave to enter, refusal or variation of extension of stay and refusal of settlement.

I fail to see that the noble Lord has even begun to make out a case that our immigration control violates the principles of natural justice. On the contrary, suggest that, as the Select Committee pointed out only a year ago, there are sensible economic and employment grounds why further immigration should be only for those who have a strong and genuine claim to come here. I believe that the noble Lord miscalculates if he ignores the Select Committee's point of view, and I believe that the noble Lord misunderstands that many people in this country are worried about the effects of continuing levels of immigration.

The Government are deeply and firmly committed to good race relations. It cannot be conducive to good community relations that there should be concern that, despite assurances to the contrary, primary immigration continues and could increase in coming years. It is in the hope of achieving a united and stable society that the Government have approached this problem by putting forward the proposals which are in the White Paper. I ask your Lordships to agree that our future should rest with that approach, and to reject the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, which is before your Lordships' House today.

6.31 p.m.

My Lords, I owe your Lordships' House an apology. I have been privileged to be a Member of your Lordships' House for four years, but this is the first time that I have spoken. My reason for speaking tonight is that I have, for just over seven years, been a Bishop in a multiracial situation. I reckon myself to be inhibited by the traditions of a maiden speech from scoring some of the points regarding racism and sexism that seem to be implied in the White Paper. Indeed, if I were not inhibited I would not want to make them. I would rather try to look at what seems to me to be positive steps forward that need to be taken and which I regard these rules as not helping to be taken.

In the metropolitan district of the City of Bradford one person in 10 comes of post-war immigrant stock—that is, about 63,000 people. Of those, about 90 per cent. come from the Indian sub-continent and of those the great majority from Pakistan. I want to consider some of the positive developments which have taken place in Bradford or in the whole area around the West Riding, which give reason to believe that the path to right race relations needs more positive action than the restrictions that either Race Relations Acts or immigration Rules provide.

I have heard young people to whom I have been talking consider the institution of marriage and argue that it has so many pitfalls that they could not possibly embark upon it. I have argued, as I think many people would do, that they should take courage and look at the potential displayed in a happy marriage rather than the disasters of unhappy ones. The same principle ought to apply when we look at race relations. We must look at areas where there is some harmony being achieved rather than at those where blatant disharmony is so notorious. I do not for one moment underestimate the incipient danger in my own city. However, I ask your Lordships to consider how seldom we have read in the national Press of flagrant breaches of racial harmony in my See city and for that matter in some other places—we almost forget that they are multi-racial towns—and to reflect that in these matters good news is seldom reported. Therefore, I should like to trace briefly why it seems to me the history of race relations in the West Riding has been, in the main, good, and what efforts are proving most successful in sustaining it.

Lest anyone should be under the illusion that I am starry-eyed about Yorkshire, let me tell your Lordships what ought to be obvious—namely, that I am not a Yorkshireman. I am regarded by them as coming from the deep South—where most people are daft anyhow—that is, from Kent and, as a Man of Kent, I regard myself still as a missionary to the rude North.

Nevertheless, historically, the West Riding has been both realistic and tolerant in this matter. Its indigenous Yorkshire population has assimilated wave after wave of immigrants from many places; has accommodated them without in any way losing its decisive Yorkshireness; and, in many cases, has found the accommodation to work to the advantage of both the host population and the newcomers. The Irish came first. Then came the Italians, the Germans, the Latvians, the Lithuanians the Byelorussians, the Ukrainians, the Poles and the Hungarians—you name them, we have had them! It is surprising how far these Mid and East Europeans have consciously retained their own culture within their own families while at the same time contributing to the wellbeing of the commerce and welfare of the city.

Therefore, the Asians are but the latest instalment in a long history of immigration, Their arrival was, in the first place, made easier by the fact that their labour was invited by the textile industry. But, the size of the immigration from Asia has been far larger than that from any other continent. The difference of colour made their presence more marked. If they seek to retain their own culture they are doing no more than has happened in the case of entrants from Mid and Eastern Europe. I find that the hostility which is alleged only exists in great degree in the richer suburbs where few Asians are to be found. It is certainly much more evident there than in the decaying inner city where so many of them live.

I was once dining with a general who said to me, "My children have no race problem whatsoever. I have been all over the world in my job and they have grown up all over the world. It never occurs to them that colour has anything to do with people—there are nice people and nasty people. That is the way that they have grown up and the way that they have lived together in different places". I was reminded of those remarks last Friday when I was giving away prizes in a large comprehensive school which bore all the marks of a multi-racial society. As your Lordships know, at prize-givings children are clapped as they receive their prizes. It is always very easy to see who are the popular boys and girls. The popularity marked by the amount of clapping bore no relation whatsoever to the colour of those children coming up for their prizes. Some were cheered and some were not, but colour had nothing to do with it. Indeed, there was one West Indian boy who contrived to leave me too soon after he had received a prize and had to go right round the room to come and receive the rest of his prize. That was greeted with the type of mirth that showed that he was a popular boy in the school.

I say all this because it seems to me that the criterion by which we ought to judge any action in respect of race relations is how far it results in our treating people as human beings and how far it does the reverse. I have paid visits to many of the schools in my city and I find, particularly in the first schools and middle schools, that colour is no problem. There are problems as regards English language teaching but one can see them playing cricket and football together without any difficulty whatsoever. Colleges of higher education in the district provide various courses which are designed to promote understanding between people of different races and to facilitate the teenager of immigrant stock in his transition from school to work. It is at that point where many of the difficulties are liable to arise. The home tutoring system is very widely used and under it English women go to Asian homes and attempt to teach Asian women English—many of whom have arrived never having seen a bus before. One such woman told me, "I don't know that I have taught them much English, but we have made friends".

I do not want to bore noble Lords with a list of things. The point I want to make is that behind all the activities that really matter must be this person-to-person contact. Harmonious race relations may need the legislative framework that is implied by race relations Acts and immigrant rules, but its seeds of succeess will spring only from person-to-person contact. Where hostility is expressed by white people, it is those who have the experience of a valued friendship with a coloured family who can do more to dispel the position than any legislative process.

I recognise that what I have outlined may well not be peculiar to Bradford and that the Government-sponsored link scheme is probably doing much more good than any legislation. I hope that this will continue. For central Government—any central Government—are suspect among Pakistanis; after all, their experience in their own country is not calculated to encourage otherwise. It is greatly to be desired that those in authority will underline, both in season and out of season, their commitment to a multiracial society, or else we shall be in trouble.

I have spoken much about the Asians, not only because I know so many of them but also because it is upon them that the provisions of the White Paper would fall most heavily. I shall not rehearse debating points, but I shall make two observations of fact. Nearly all the Pakistanis I know are Moslems. That does not mean to say that they all have the same ideas, or that they all have the same view of arranged marriages. Some of them are of Kenyan or Ugandan Asian descent and their attitude may well vary from those who come from a large city like Karachi or, indeed, from those—and this is true of most of them—who come from a remote rural province in Pakistan. In any case, Moslems themselves differ. It is not only the Christians who have sects; there are nearly as many Islam sects as Geoffrey Boycott has scored centuries.

We are told that the practice of allowing husbands and fiancés into this country has been abused. I still find this very vague. In Bradford we find that the average length of time before an application by a husband or fiancé to emigrate here is granted is as follows: from India it takes at least two years; from Pakistan it takes two and a half years, and from Bangladesh it takes three years. I find what is going on in the British High Commissions odd, if there is no sorting out in that period. As this legislation is not intended—praise be—to be retrospective and as the numbers involved are so few, it appears that The Times newspaper was right to say what the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, did not say, and to use the mixed metaphor that the restriction was a smoke-screen to crack a nut.

Be that as it may, I would only make the inference that, although general legislation may be necessary to provide the framework for harmonious race relations, a Government do ill to make legislation too particular. They do ill because it infringes on the legitimate cultural freedom of other races—those cultural ways of life which are not understood by a superficial reading. They do ill when the imposition of a particular restriction is the thin end of an intolerable wedge. The appeasement of potential racialism can well lead to the particular restrictions of the thick edge found in certain repressive régimes. In Soviet Russia, for example, we see the reverse: husbands forbidden to emigrate to join their wives or fiancées elsewhere. When we read that we do not stop to inquire whether such desired unions are arranged or are unions of romantic love. We, rightly, give the prohibition a blanket disapproval—all of us would.

I have spoken of what is happening where I live. In doing so, I have quite probably painted too rosy a picture. After seven years, I believe that notwithstanding the efforts that have been made, we are in a greater state of explosive danger than we were. This is not because numbers have increased, but because we are now in a state where many of those of immigrant stock are of the third generation. They know no other country but ours, which is also theirs. They need encouragement to believe that in it they are not regarded as second-class citizens. Whether or not these rules become the rule, the effect in their minds has been to make most of the Asians I know believe that they are second-class citizens. That can be righted. I wonder to what extent the Government make sufficient use of consultation with those, whether white or coloured, men and women of great calibre who devote their lives, their thoughts and their efforts to understanding the situation as it really is at a level where lives are really lived.

I should like to repeat two points. First, at the risk of being monotonous, harmonious race relations only spring organically from person-to-person contact. That may seem simplistic, yet even in so great an area of concern, it is a powerful lever which in the end operates to influence the whole. For when there is such contact men and women are judged, not on their colour or on their culture, but on their worth as human beings. That is the judgment we should all be free to make. Secondly, a Government—any Government—have a duty to create and to foster conditions in which incipient goodwill may be released. They do that first by making their commitment crystal clear.

6.49 p.m.

My Lords, it is a very real pleasure to follow the right reverend Prelate, who made a magnificent and, I believe, non-controversial maiden speech. It was non-controversial because virtually everything that the right reverend Prelate said was right. I hope that we shall not have to wait another four years before we hear him speak, and certainly not another four years on this subject.

I should like to declare an interest in this debate, for I am vice-president of the Gravesend Community Relations Council; my wife is the chairman of that council. Together with Sir Peter Kirk, the former Conservative Member of Parliament, whose attitudes on race relations were impeccable, and Jack Barnett, the Liberal candidate, we were responsible for setting up the first community relations council in Gravesend in the early 1960s.The Council has had its difficulties, but I believe that in Gravesend we have as good, if not better, race relations and racial harmony than anywhere else in the country. I think the introduction of these new rules sets race relations back. It makes me sad to see the Government doing it. They are falling into the trap of bowing to the bar-room gossips, and to the talk of "swamping", and I think they are going to do race relations in this country a great deal of harm.

My noble friend Lady Birk on the Front Bench said that she was glad to see that the Conservative Government had dropped the quota and the register. I do not think that they have done that absolutely out of the goodness of their hearts. My view is that it is too expensive at the present time for them to do it. That is the problem they face. Every time there is a nibble away on race relations, or curbs on immigration, the same people come back again and again "We want another piece. We want another piece". This Government are wrong, and I am sad that they have fallen for it.

In virtually every speech I make in this House I produce something from the Conservative Manifesto. So far, in all the legislation that this Government have introduced, in all of their views—notwithstanding the fact that they tell me that my party is the party of restriction—they are moving and restricting in every area, whether it be trade unionists or British citizens living in this country who do not happen to have the same colour of skin as most of the rest of us. They have the audacity in that Manifesto to talk about the rights of people legally settled here and say that we are all equal before the law, and then on the following page we come to, "Helping the family". That really is cant and hypocrisy. What families are they helping? Are they helping the families of migrants settled here, and settled here for many years, by restricting the rights of their parents or grandparents to come and spend the remaining years of their lives with them without any cost to the state?

People who are speaking against this are not a bunch of Left-Wing "nutters" and do-gooders. Let us have a look at some of the criticisms levelled against the immigration rules.
"Wholly illegal and quite unnecessarily restrictive … Should be opposed by anyone with any sense of decency and fairness",
said the Financial Times.
"Tainted by discrimination … Insensitive to long-held cultural traditions … Contrary to the whole intention of the Race Relations Act",
said the Commission for Racial Equality.
"A shabby ploy … A nightmare apparatus riddled with absurdities",
said the Evening News.
"Throughout all of it, it must be apparent that the Government's only purpose is to remove a right at present enjoyed by black women settled here. This would clearly be discriminatory. If the rules as laid before Parliament are of this character, we shall oppose them vigorously",
said the Bishop of Truro, Chairman of the Church of England Board of Social Responsibility.
"Two different definitions of the family running through the White Paper … For non-EEC nationals the proposals impose further harsh restrictions on almost every category of dependant",
said the Catholic Commission for Racial Justice. This is the level of the criticism now arising.

What is it that the Tory Party have suddenly found against arranged marriages? What worries the Sikh community, the people I know in Gravesend, is that they are now being told by the Conservative Government that arranged marriages are just a ploy to get past the laws on immigration. We cannot get any figures. Where are the figures? On Wednesday, 14th November, when the Immigration Rules were being introduced, the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, said at column 1272:
"It is for that reason, and because we are certain that many of these partnerships are arranged to the detriment of girls living in this country, that we felt it right to make the Statement to your Lordships today".
Where are the figures? We have not had a figure. We already have rules that deal with abuses of arranged marriages that are marriages of convenience.

Where are the figures? The Government were pressed in the Commons. They have been pressed by everybody. Where are the figures that say that this is being abused, that people are flooding in, that we are being swamped by men coming to marry women in this country? Mrs. Thatcher uses these words like "swamped", and we do not even know the number of people that this is going to affect. Is it 2,000? Is it the 3,000 that Mr. Merlyn Rees, the former Home Secretary, suggests, or the 3,000 to 4,000 suggested by the present Government? We have not had a figure to substantiate any of it. This is what people are concerned about—people have lived in this country, worked in this country, paid their taxes and been allowed to vote and have all the rights of a citizen, and now there is this implied criticism of the whole of their cultural and religious beliefs on the question of arranged marriages.

The Sikh community, which is the ethnic minority I know more about than any other, cherishes the honour of its families and the integrity of their marriages. I suggest that the divorce rate within the Sikh community, or within groups that have arranged marriages, is a little lower than the divorce rate of the indigenous people in this country. They are very concerned about it, and so are many more people.

The custom of arranged marriages is dying out, but is it for us as a people to say to these people, "You have got to abolish a custom that you have had for hundreds of years and that is part of your culture and your religion, because we think you are using that to abuse the immigration laws"? It is not for us to say that. We cannot act as God in these matters. It is for the people to decide that in those ethnic groups. Our society in Britain is always priding itself that it has the sense and thought of family. But there are large numbers of old people's homes in this country and people like to get their old people into them, and families like to get rid of old mothers and fathers because they are a bit of a nuisance. In ethnic minorities—at least among the Sikhs I know—they do not want to do that. They want to care for their old people. They want their old people to have a decent standard of living, which many of them have not had during their years in the Indian sub-continent.

They have strong and durable family relationships, and you cannot judge them by the standards that the Government are trying to apply. How can you regard parents or grandparents who are over 65 as primary immigrants? How can you believe that this is a new generation of primary immigrants coming over here and going to set up huge families? It is unbelievable, but it is the view that the Government are taking. How can they say, "If you have a relative in the country of origin, go and stay with them"? What sort of relative? A cousin twice removed? A sister? Perhaps a brother who is even older than you are? What relative?

Let me come back to my noble friend's point about Catch 22—the substantially lower standard of living. Which person from the High Commisson is going to go to the farms in the Punjab and examine how many acres of land a person has, or to see whether they are just tilling a small plot of land which they have themselves? It disturbs me, because this country prides itself on the question of family.

A statement was recently made after the Tory Manifesto was published at the end of April this year. It was not a statement issued by a bunch of Left-Wing "nutters", although some people might think they are, but I do not. In that statement it said that
"existing legislation already strikes at the root of the family life of our coloured brethren—demand for further legislation can only in the end degrade the society which requires and enacts it even more than it does its victims",
and that
"Christians in our country have all too often taken refuge in pious platitudes and plausible evasions; their commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel as it affects immigration and race relations has all too often been secondary to their political affiliations. We therefore urge Christians, and all men or goodwill, to support the endeavours of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and other organisations seeking to oppose and mitigate the cruel consequences of such un-Christian and inhuman legislation".
That was signed by the Bishops of Birmingham, Bristol, Chelmsford, Litchfield and Liverpool, by the Archbishop of Mauritius, by the Bishops of Rippon and Saint Albans, by the Assistant Bishop of London, by the Bishops of Lewes, Sherbourne and Stepney and by various other Church dignitaries. I believe that is a damning condemnation of this Government's attitude and policies. I conclude with a quotation:
"A law which is pointless, harmless, divisive and directed against a specific section of society is inherently repulsive and cannot deserve to find a place on the statute book of a free society".
That was said over 200 years ago by Edmund Burke. It was true then. It is true now.

7.2 p.m.

My Lords,I do not believe anyone can approach this subject without considering with great gravity the consequences and effects of everything one says. Nor do I believe that anyone disputes for a moment—as the right reverend Prelate said in a most distinguished maiden speech—that it was the size of the primary immigration in the 1950s and up to 1962 that did affect British society, did cause concern at the effect on the social conditions in our overcrowded island, and did create anxiety on the consequences to housing, education and social security.

It was obvious by 1962 that there was need to have control. But I recollect in another place the fierce opposition from Members of the Labour and Liberal Parties at the thought of any control whatever on immigration into the United Kingdom. I remember the then Leader of the Opposition, Hugh Gaitskell—which was unusual for a Leader of the Opposition—going so far as leading in the Committee stage of the Bill on the Floor of the House, so passionately and deeply and most genuinely, did he believe in the wickedness of the Bill which my noble friend Lord Butler of Saffron Walden was then introducing.

That was the genuine feeling at that time, but it was undoubtedly the ordinary feeling of most people that there had to be some control; and if there has to be control then there has to be some regulation. I believe that the core of this problem rests in the absence of any separate citizenship, a matter which was referred to in the speech of my noble friend Lord Belstead; it is the absence of any separate citizenship which has really created the problems for this country, for the citizen of the United Kingdom is a person unknown to United Kingdom law.

Since 1914, legislation of the United Kingdom dealing with nationality was based on the concept of a common British nationality of all subjects of the Crown throughout the Commonwealth and Empire, and it had grown from and was perpetuated by the common law doctrine of allegiance to the Sovereign. But by 1948 there had emerged the independent countries of the Commonwealth, and the British Nationality Act 1948 gave effect to the principle that each self-governing country in the Commonwealth—and oddly, considering the Statement we heard today, that included Southern Rhodesia at that time—should by its own legislation determine who are its citizens. Thus, after 1948 the status of a British subject was derivative because it was acquired only through the possession of local status citizenship.

But with the progress to independence of so many nations, there developed the practice of nations within the Commonwealth becoming republics, with the Sovereign merely head of the Commonwealth, and therefore the basic concept of nationality based upon allegiance to the Sovereign faded away. But there remained, and still remains—all of us here in this House know—the status of "Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies"; and that is an unreal situation. It is an unreal situation if it really could afford, as it would unless controls were imposed, legal right to millions—some people put it at 600 million and others put it as high as 950 million—to come and reside in this over-populated island. Therefore, the imposition of some control, having regard to the British Nationality Act 1948, was essential, but of course once you impose control then inevitably you get incidents of evasion.

My Lords, may I ask the noble and learned Lord to tell me how he arrives at the figure of 600 million or 900 million?

My Lords, at that time I believe those were the figures suggested. The figure was put at two different scales.

If the noble and learned Lord is talking about 1962, my Lords, then that could not have been so even then because India and Pakistan were already independent.

But they still had the right of entry, my Lords, and that is what I have been trying to explain. We have a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies—

and citizenship was derived from the status given by the independent nation. That was the position at that time and therefore, as I said, control had to be imposed, and then we got, and obviously got, evasion. The evasion over the years—this is accepted and I do not think anyone would dispute it—has on occasions been organised, elaborate and ingenious. It was not the immigrants who were getting money out of it but those people who were organising it, and finance of a very considerable extent has been involved, with secret routes established in this human traffic, people being passed from country to country; the smuggling in of people.

That was an incident of the immediate past and with it went the alternatives of disguise, trickery and impersonation. As usual, therefore, once you have the imposing of control, the lot of the legitimate immigrant is necessarily affected by the need for preventive measures to thwart the illegitimate cheat. And it seems to me from the impression I have gained over the past 15 years that there is constant and massive pressure. That is a fact, and it was for that reason that the present Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Callaghan, introduced his measures in 1969; and they were dealing, as he said, with only about 2,000 people, but he thought it necessary to deal with them, and so he introduced his measures. And it was necessary to introduce the measures of 1971 and the rules of 1973, because to permit evasion is unacceptable to all people residing in the United Kingdom and is unfair to legitimate immigrants.

The fact that these new rules, as I understand them, affect only some 3,000 to 4,000 people per annum is, in my submission, just as necessary as it was when Mr. Callaghan introduced his measures in 1969. And in regard to what Lord Belstead said—that there is no doubt that marriage is used as a method of obtaining entry, and he quoted the figure of 200, in 1973, up to nearly 6,000, in October 1979, of husbands and fiancés in sub-continent queues—if that is so, then it is right for an Administration to make sure that that evasion is stopped.

I want to turn to the suggestion that these new rules are a breach of our international obligations—and I suppose that that is particularly referring to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to the guarantee of the right to marry and the guarantee of the respecting of family life. The question arises as to whether as a consequence a person ought to be regarded as being entitled as of right to come to the United Kingdom, whenever he or she wishes to marry a person already here. I believe that in looking at this matter one has to look at the whole background. There is no right under the convention, nor under the jurisprudence, to enter, or remain in, another country. The jurisprudence does not confer that right. There is the Fourth Protocol, but to that the United Kingdom is not a party. Certainly this has not been considered by the Court. The Commission has published decisions in individual cases on Article 8 in respect of obstacles to enjoying family life in another country. But the right to respect for family life does not, in itself, carry with it a right to enter, or to reside in, a particular country. With a background of no right to enter it is very far from obvious—though I have read, and it has been said, that there has been here quite clearly a breach of the European Convention—that to keep out fiancés could be a breach of Article 8.

I was the counsel for the Government in the case of the East African Asians, which arose out of the independence in Uganda, or East Africa. The Commission's opinion there has never been published, so we are left with the position that it was not endorsed by the Committee of Ministers, which has the function to make the actual decisions. The Commission's report therefore is the result of its fact-finding role, its expression of its opinion; and the Ministers certainly made no actual decision.

There is no obligation on a State to enable a person to marry, and recent opinions at Strasbourg say that it is no breach of the convention if in particular circumstances a person has to leave the country in order to marry the person of his choice. The Belgian languages case, which is the case on which much of the jurisprudence is founded, says that even the right to respect family life can be disregarded if there is reasonable justification. So in my view the position certainly is not clear, and if fresh complaint is made about these rules there is a very substantial argument. I doubt whether it was ever conceived that the effect of the convention is to give a right which would override the powers of control over immigration. The United Kingdom has always been in a very special position. It was probably because of that, your Lordships may think, that the Committee of Ministers made no decision in the East African Asians case. The United Kingdom, in the aftermath of Empire, must be unique in its situation, and it faces a problem which was never faced by any other country.

As I understand the new rules, they are specifically designed to counter a racket admittedly only in a limited way. As I understand it, the refusal is to be based upon circumstances where the marriage was entered into primarily to secure admission to the United Kingdom, or where the parties have not met. In the circumstances of the existence of schemes of evasion, are the proposals so unreasonable, and do they merit some of the violent criticism that has been levelled against them?

But the core of the problem remains that out of which all our troubles grow: the imperative need for fresh legislation on nationality—to rationalise the status of British citizenship, and to return to the principle of allegiance to the Sovereign—based upon descent, birth place and residence. It will be difficult and complex, and I accept that it may cause repercussions in international jurisprudence. But it must be done, it has to be done—and I am glad to hear the Minister say that the White Paper will be presented next year—because we must remove from the shoulders of the British people this impossible burden which gets us into these wretched conditions when we have to make rules and regulations. They are of course makeshift rules, which cannot be wholly satisfactory, but they have to be practical and defensible. I wonder whether they really merit the criticisms which we have heard lodged today and which one has read about. I accept the most honourable of motives on the part of those who rightly feel passionately about these matters, who believe in the exercise of compassion, and in all the great principles of all the great religions, but are they not overlooking the weighty responsibility—and I believe it is very weighty—of those in authority, on whose shoulders rests the care and the order of our modern, but volatile society?

7.16 p.m.

My Lords, a few months ago I had the privilege of chairing the annual conference of Asian women. They were a most impressive group. In the main they were intelligent, sophisticated, enviably elegant, and, as they made clear, determined to keep their loyalty both to their own culture and to this country, to which, in statement after statement, it became very clear they had great attachment, and for which they had the very greatest respect. They had of course understandably been shaken by the virginity testing episodes—and who can blame them? But women such as those are the best possible agents for good race relations in this country. They have contacts with groups of people—young and old, newly come to this country and long established here—who, with the best will in the world, those of us here cannot reach, or who, if we do reach, we do so in a way quite different from the way of these women, who were working in their own localities and on behalf not only of their own community, but also this country, which they saw as their country of adoption. Their work, and their view of us, is surely of the greatest importance in the maintenance of race relations.

What can these women think today, faced with these proposals? And what are they to say to the critics whom they meet in their ordinary family and social life, when these new proposals are put in front of them? How can they defend their country of adoption when they see these proposed regulations put forward and they see them interpreted, as they inevitably are, by the many critics in this country and the very many critics in their own community? There is no question about it—these regulations are sexist, as the Home Secretary himself admitted, though he defended it. But he did not deny that they were sexist. But from the point of view both of these Asian women and of race relations in this county, the fact that the regulations have been improved in regard to white women makes it all the more offensive to Asian women, for the attack now is focused not on women as a whole—and we could moan about that together—but only on coloured women. So the sexist element which remains is made worse and it is seen as a greater offence by the Asian women against whom it is inevitably directed.

It is very difficult to understand why the Government are doing this. The numbers concerned are agreed by all to be small. Fair enough, it is some increase in immigration; but the total numbers coming in are really negligible in relation to the population as a whole. For that matter, there cannot be such a large number of young marriageable Asian women who are prepared to take on these chaps who want to come here. After all, there is plenty of opportunity for other people in this country. It must be a limited market; there must be limited opportunities and limited numbers. How can the decent men who make up the Government have agreed to a proposition of this kind? How can the Conservative Party, in the light of its own beliefs, of its own better beliefs, really go along with this kind of proposition? The Conservative Party believes that the individual is important, and it believes in individual rights. What individual right can be more important than the individual right to choose your marriage partner in whatever way you will?

It seems extraordinarily insular to take the line that there is something totally inappropriate about the arranged marriage, and that it is a mark of degradation that you are prepared to marry someone you have not seen. It would not suit most of us, but it is, as has been said by other speakers, the established tradition for many of the people for whom we are concerned. What right have we to say that in this most personal of all relationships they should not be allowed to follow the culture of their long-established tradition? Among my own students, educated in this country, I have had girls who have gone back, and apparently gone back happily and subsequently satisfactorily, to arranged marriages. It seems odd to us, but we seem very odd to them. Surely this is a matter which should be left to them.

Then, as other speakers have said, there is the question of family life. I believe the Conservative Party genuinely believes in the importance of family life, but there are the extraordinary requirements for bringing in old people to be looked after by their relations here. Here again is an area in which it is not too difficult to say that the standards of the immigrants are higher than the standards, in many ways, of the native population. Among the many overseas students whom I have had the pleasure to teach, as they got to know one better they would sometimes say—and I have had this happen on a number of occasions—that there were many things about this country which they liked and respected, but one thing they neither liked nor respected, nor had any intention of copying, was the way in which we treat our old people. For them not to bring their old people in, not to look after them, to see that by regulation of government they are to be kept out—this is something which will inevitably sour and embitter their view of us and add to the contempt which some of them already feel.

It cannot be that the Conservative Government have fallen for that evil doctrine of the domination of the mandate; that there is the mandate of the manifesto; that because there was an unwise line in the manifesto referring to this matter they feel, as their predecessors (to the point almost of dementia) felt, that every comma which was written into the manifesto had to be turned into legislation. Surely the Conservative Party has not caught that disease from the Labour Party. No, one fears that they are doing it to placate the nastiest and most extremist elements in their own ranks—and what on earth are they doing it for? I have never been a member of the Conservative Party, but I do not believe that most of them are nasty. In any case, why do they have to bribe them? Where will these nasty people go? Thank God!, the last election showed that the Fascist party, the only proper home for them, has no real support in this country. They would not go to the Labour Party and we would not have them if they wanted to come. It can then be only as a bribe to the more vociferous elements of their constituency parties. One sympathises; one has met them; but they are surely a small proportion of the total whole.

It has been suggested—rightly, I think—that what we are urgently needing is a new Nationality Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has said that a new Nationality Bill is in preparation. Would it not he more logical to wait until we have this new Nationality Bill and to look at the question which is being discussed in relation to these regulations in the light of that legislation? The new Nationality Bill makes a wider approach to the whole issue. This is one little bit of the issues which will be affected by that Bill. Surely that would be more sensible. Surely every party, every person, takes false steps from time to time. This Bill, from the way it has been viewed in the responsible Press, by the Churches and by members of all political parties, including the Conservative Party, is a mistake. The Government would give themselves credit in the country, except for among a small number of people who really need not be taken too seriously, if they would now withdraw this Bill, drop these shabby proposals, and say that a Nationality Bill is due to come before us soon and that the whole issue will then be considered together.

7.26 p.m.

My Lords, first I should like to add my congratulations to those expressed to the right reverend Prelate for his eloquent and moving speech, which underlined the moral values which the law should exist to cherish and support. I shall be following the right reverend Prelate by passing to the law and leaving to others of your Lordships the political, the social and the human questions to which this debate necessarily gives rise. I should like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for initiating this debate. I think he has performed a public service, and is enabling this House to do that which it must from time to time do; namely, discuss in a rational and calm way issues that go to the very heart of our society.

In my speech, I shall concentrate solely on one part of the noble Lord's Motion—that is, the question of the compatibility of these proposed rules with our international obligations—but before I do so I should like, as a lawyer and as an old law reformer, to applaud the action of the Government in laying before the two Houses of Parliament and the public a White Paper containing draft proposals. I think this is the correct way for a Government to go about law reform, or indeed the creation of new rules, in relation to a subject as sensitive as this; and I, for one, am conscious that the Home Secretary in another place and the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, in this House have said that they will pay particular attention to what emerges from our debate. I hope also, of course, they will pay very great attention to the organs of public opinion outside our two Houses, from which the noble Lord, Lord Murray of Gravesend, quoted so powerfully in the course of his speech.

I ask myself only one question. Are these proposed rules, or some of them, incompatible with our international obligations? If they are, or if there is a real risk that they are, then it is the duty of those of us in this House who take that view to say so, and to say so now before the Government take the final step of laying them before Parliament. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Rawlinson, said that this was a very serious debate. So it is, my Lords. Just for the short span of our discussion, this House, I would suggest, is the guardian and sentinel of the honour of our people. I think it is as high as that when one is considering the international obligations side of the matter. Of course, when the debate is over, that responsibility will pass to Her Majesty's Government who will have the opportunity which they have so wisely given themselves of reconsidering these rules in the light of all that has been said.

What are our international obligations? In the space of a short speech, one cannot conceivably cover them at all comprehensively. I am going to quote some of them and, as I do, I will ask noble Lords to bear in mind what is to be found in the proposed rules and to keep on asking themselves this question: Really, do these rules stand up to those internationally accepted obligations? Let me begin with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed almost on today's anniversary in 1948, passed by the General Assembly on 10th December 1948, with not a single vote cast against it. All that I am going to do is to quote the Preamble from the Declaration. I ask noble Lords to have in mind, as I read this most solemn Preamble, what it is proposed that we should do in regard to certain families. Of course, it will be said by the quibbling lawyer that this is not an international obligation. No, my Lords, it is an international moral obligation; but none the worse for that, as the right reverent Prelate in his speech has reminded us. These words appear in the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"… recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family"—
I repeat: all members of the human family—
"is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace…".
I ask rhetorically: Are your Lordships satisfied that all of these proposed rules are consistent with recognition of the dignity and equal rights of all members of the human families? What about those poor little au pair girls? What about those aged parents and grandparents?

I pass from the Universal Declaration because it is binding in honour only—but, as I say, none the worse for that—and I come to the more specific obligations that we have accepted under the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Again, because the European Convention has been bandied about in argument in the other place, in this House and in the Press, let me read to your Lordships the very first article. This is an instrument which, in almost all its provisions, has been ratified by the United Kingdom:
"The High Contracting Parties"
and that includes the United Kingdom—
"shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction"
I repeat; to everyone within their jurisdiction—
"the rights and freedoms defined in Section 1 of this Convention".
I will come to those in a moment.

In the course of his very able speech, if he will allow me to say so, the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, kept speaking about men, these wicked men, who are seeking to avoid the prohibition against primary immigration—and I say nothing as to the wisdom or otherwise of that because that is not my province—in the sub-continent of India and elsewhere. What we are discussing as a matter of law is not the right of those who are not yet here, even though their moral case is strong and powerful, as noble Lords have shown. We are discussing the rights that we must, by our international obligations, accord to persons within the jurisdiction. Take the case of the husband of the arranged marriage who wishes to come here. The right that we must preserve as a matter of law is the right of his wife who is settled here to have him with her; just as the man, if settled here, can have his wife here, even though the marriage be arranged. That is why there is an element of sex discrimination in that particular rule.

Concentrate your attention, my Lords, on the woman who is here; and then bear in mind Articles 8 and 14 of the convention. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Rawlinson, rather pooh-poohed Article 8. Let me read it; and again bear in mind those rules, those proposed rules, that we are discussing:
"Everyone has the right"
that is, everyone within this jurisdiction; that is women who have settled here, whether they were born here or not—
"to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence".
The woman who cannot have her husband join her in this country, is she really enjoying a right of respect for her private and family life? I have not heard it suggested, and neither do I think for one moment that anyone will suggest, that the exception clause in Article 8 can conceivably apply. There is no evidence of emergency, and, as I followed the speeches of noble Lords, no evidence of any great rush of this type of immigrant.

There is the fear of primary immigration. Whether the evidence supports that fear, I do not know. I have not heard it and I make no further comments than that because I am not here to argue a case against the control of immigration; I am merely arguing the case that some of these proposals, though designed for that purpose, are offending or infringing upon international obligations. If one therefore disregards, as I suggest one can in the circumstances in which we are placed, the exceptions clause, paragraph 2 of the article is important:
"There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right"
That is the right to respect for private and family life.

It does not end there. There is also Article 14. That article is particularly relevant. That is the article which provides:
"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status".
Again, if it be true—and it seems to me to be inescapable—that this particular rule that I am considering at the moment, which prevents a woman settled here from being joined with her husband, is limited only to certain women in our country but does not apply to others, how can one in an international court—and there is one at Strasbourg—avoid the charge of infringing Article 14? How can one avoid the charge that this woman, unlike other women within the jurisdiction, is not having the respect for her private and family life which should be given her under the convention? It is, I say with respect, a powerful case. It may or may not be right. But is it sound that we should run the risk of allowing that issue to find its way ultimately and in a most degrading fashion through the European Commission and up to the European Court years later, where again the United Kingdom, with a red face, is found to be guilty of an infringement of the Convention? It should be avoided in the interests of the honour of our country, if for no other reason.

There is another very unpleasant possibility—I put it no higher than that. It is possible of course for a contracting party to derogate in certain circumstances from the obligations that it has assumed under the convention. It is possible also in certain circumstances that some of the exception clauses contained in the convention will apply so that a country is for certain periods excused from complying with its obligations. But there are certain articles in the convention so fundamental that they contain no exception clauses qualifying them, and it is not possible to derogate from them. Article 3 is such an article. Article 3, among other things, provides that no one shall be subjected to degrading treatment. I do not know, and it will be foolhardy for me to suggest, that this will happen; but it may happen. It may happen one day, if these rules stand, that the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg will say that to have a rule which makes it impossible for the husband of an arranged marriage to join his wife in this country, she being settled here, is degrading treatment when it is done merely upon the ground that the marriage is an arranged one and they have not met.

I understand why the relevant rule prohibits settlement where it is proved to the satisfaction of the immigration officer, or he has reason to believe, that the marriage is a marriage of convenience entered into for the purposes of getting into this country. That is perfectly sound, I have no complaints about that. I understand the rule which makes provision that if he does not intend to live with her he should not be allowed to come in. But what of a blanket provision where there is an arranged marriage and the parties have never met? Why should we assume, in the absence of evidence, that that is a mala fide marriage? Noble Lords have already explained the importance of honouring and respecting the social customs and practices of ethnic minorities in our midst. All of us know that the arranged marriage has been a feature of society—and of a very civilised society—in the Indian sub-continent. To impose a rule such as this is surely a very degrading treatment of those people who come from such a civilisation, whose custom it is to have arranged marriages between parties who have not met, and of whom there is no evidence that they are doing it for some mala fide or illegitimate purpose. If it should ever happen that the European Court takes that view of this particular rule, I suggest it will be a very serious day indeed for this country. I put it no higher than this: here is a risk which surely the Government can avoid without undermining their determination in the slightest degree to prohibit or control primary immigration.

May I take just one further instance—I have already gone over my time and I apologise. But there is in these rules a nasty little paragraph about au pair girls. Why should au pair girls be limited to those between 17 and 25 years of age, coming from Western European countries and, I think it is, from Malta, Cyprus and Turkey? They come to learn English; they come to live with an English family. What business have we to say that we will have none from other countries? This is surely a discrimination on the grounds of national origin which is utterly unacceptable, bearing in mind the nature of our international obligations to which I have drawn attention. And what part does this play in the battle against primary immigration?

I could—and indeed I did intend to—go on for very much longer, but I must draw to a close. This House has a proud record of standing up for the honour, international and national, of our country and for the fundamental human rights of our people. It is only a few days ago since this House gave a Third Reading to the Bill of Rights Bill. What was that Bill doing? It was seeking to incorporate into our law the relevant parts of the European Convention. I hope I have said enough to indicate that there is ground to believe that many of these rules are in contravention of obligations assumed under this convention. What are we doing, sending to another place a Bill incorporating the European Convention and allowing these proposals to go by without public and emphatic protest?

I am sorry that, owing to an inescapable engagement, I shall be unable to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has to say in reply. I do not ask him to enter into a legal controversy with me. My object in making these few remarks is not to create difficulties for the Government in their immigration policy—that is a matter for them, not for me. My object is simply to urge them to use the opportunity they still have of reconsidering those rules which are not necessary for their purpose, but which put us at international risk and could in certain circumstances display us dishonoured before the world.

7.53 p.m.

My Lords, may I say how honoured I am to be following the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, and how grateful I am sure we all are for his clear exposition of the legal position. I, like him, would like to congratulate the Government for producing the White Paper before bringing out the final rules, and thus giving a chance to see if we can prevent them making bad errors. I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for giving us the opportunity to have this debate, and, also, I should like to congratulate and to thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford for his very positive contribution to this debate. I hope he will give us many more opportunities like this to listen to him, although I hope it will not be on this subject.

I want to begin my speech this evening by indicating how these rules would, and could, have affected me. I was born in Grenada; my wife was born in Trinidad; my two older children were born in Trinidad and my younger daughter was born here. I should have said that I have two daughters and a son. I am now 66 years old. I have spent 32 years in London and five in Edinburgh, so that more than half my life has been spent in this country. My older childen came here when they were four and three and, as I have said, my younger daughter was born in London. My elder daughter was, in fact, working at Barts up to the beginning of 1975. In December 1975 she married a Trinidadian and is now living in Trinidad. In 1975 if she had desired to come and live here with her husband, she could have done so under the rules existing at the time. Now, of course, she would not be able to do that under the present rules.

I am not suggesting that either my daughter or my son-in-law would want to come and settle here—I do not think they would—but these rules are depriving her of certain rights which she previously had. What is more, if I had been born in Martinique or Guadeloupe instead of in Trinidad, she would have been able to come here with her husband, and settle. What is more, since her primary medical qualification is in Edinburgh, she could, if she wished, go to live in France and take her husband with her. Yet she could not do it in this country, where she has lived from the time she was four years old!

I am sure that I am not singular in this. There are a lot of people who will be in this position and they are not all black. My noble friend from the Front Bench mentioned the refugees who came here to escape from Hitler's Germany. I am sure that some of those who came here in 1936, 1937 or 1939 had small children with them who were born in Germany and who are now British citizens, as I and my children are. The funny thing about it is that those children, were they to marry Austrians, could not bring them here, but they could take them to Germany—the Germany their parents escaped from in 1936, 1937 and 1939.

I hope the Government will give more thought to this problem. I did in fact tell my noble friend Lord Belstead, if I may so call him, that he should tell his noble friend there is no point in doing what I described as closing the supermarket in order to stop shoplifting. If there are in fact people abusing the rules, let us find ways and means of dealing with them. I would have thought it is possible to have discussions with the leaders of the Communities from it which is alleged that people are coming and abusing the rules, to find ways and means of dealing with the abuses. Certainly this blanket provision, in order to deal with an abuse, is a wrong way of approaching this matter.

The second way in which these rules could have affected me concerns my late mother. Between 1958 and 1960 she lived with me. In 1960 she told me she was happier in Grenada and had more friends there and that she wanted to go back. I understood that, and she went back to Grenada and died in 1975. When my mother came there was no problem, but had she wanted to come to me now she could not possibly have done so under these rules. After all, she had a sister still living in Grenada and a large number of nephews and nieces, and not by the wildest stretch of imagination could we have said that her standard of living was lower than the average of the people of Grenada. Therefore, she could not qualify under these rules.

I know that the Government have promised to look at this. There is no need for anything more than for somebody who is bringing an aged relation to be able to show that he or she can support and accommodate that relation. What more do you want? I hope that the Government, having given us an opportunity of advising them, will take our advice and abandon this attempt to restrict the rights of women to have their husbands with them, and relax these rigid controls on aged relations.

I hope that they will also amend the rules in a few other ways. There are a few which I hope the Government will look at. One of them is a pet of mine, because it is one which I have tried to get previous Governments to change but without success. It is related to the fact that in order to get a child here you must have sole responsibility for it. I previously asked friends of mine, when they were responsible, merely to change the word "sole" to "main". I never succeeded. I hope that this Government will see the wisdom of doing that. What happens under this rule is that, so long as the father is giving a shilling or two to the child, the mother—and it is usually the mother who is working here and sending money to support the child, who is living with her grandmother—does not have sole responsibility for that child and, therefore, she cannot have that child with her. I have had lots of cases like that. I even had an interesting one in which a man had been made to pay through the court. I was told that because he was maintaining the child there was no question of the mother—she was not his wife—having sole responsibility, and therefore she could not have the child. These absurdities could be removed by changing that word, because it is the interpretation of "sole responsibility" that causes all the trouble.

I am also disturbed about the double standard in relation to the family. Why cannot the rules be the same for members of the EEC as for non-members of the EEC? Why cannot families from non-EEC countries have the same rights as families from EEC countries to have their dependants up to the age of 21? What is so difficult about that? I intended to make a few comments about students, but they have been made by other people and I do not intend to repeat them, except that I should like to make two points.

First, I should like to ask whether the rule which prohibits working after studies will apply to nurses. If it does, it will play havoc with the National Health Service. Secondly, I find it difficult to understand about sponsored students. When I studied medicine, I was sponsored and I obtained a scholarship. But if, after qualification, I now wanted to take the MD, and I wanted to do it privately, then I could not. Under these rules, I must go back home. I hope that the Government will look at this in a practical way.

I meant to say something about au pairs, but the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, has said it so much better that I shall not bother. However, I am disturbed about paragraph 79, which permits an immigration officer to detain someone for up to seven days without even telling him that he can apply for bail, and it is only after seven days that he is obliged to state that one can ask for an adjudicator.

My Lords, will the noble Lord allow me to interrupt? Even under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, it has now been agreed that persons can have access to a solicitor after three days.

But not if someone is coming in. What is the defence for such an attitude? Having dealt with that point, I want to make a comment on the general attitude of immigration officers. Your Lordships will know that last year I chaired a commission which was investigating the Bermuda riots of December 1977. There were four members of the Commission from Bermuda, and three of them were black. One of the conditions that I made on accepting the appointment was that the report would be written in this country. I had my reasons and they were very firm ones. When the commission was told that, one of the members said, "Is that essential? I hate going into that place. The immigration officers always treat me badly".

Since that man is a business man and comes to this country only to do business which helps Britain's export trade, I was flabbergasted to think that he could be having such problems. The rules state quite clearly that the examination should not be carried further than is necessary for the purpose of deciding whether leave to enter should be given for a limited period, subject to any conditions. I cannot see why anyone coming here to do business should have difficulties, and I hope that my noble friend the Minister will ask his right honourable friend to give a general pep-talk to the immigration officers, because, when all is said and done, people get their first impression of this country from the attitude which immigration officers adopt towards them. If immigration officers adopt hostile attitudes toward them, then that is bound to affect them.

That is all I want to say about the immigration rules, but I want to invite your Lordships to ask yourselves how we find ourselves in this position. It is important that we should do this now. That is why I said to the right reverend Prelate that, although I hoped we should hear many speeches from him, I trusted that they would not be on this subject because I want this debate to be the last one. We got ourselves into this mess because of our attitude to immigration. During the war, lots of men came from the black Commonwealth to serve in the forces, while others came to work in the factories. At the end of the war, many of the chaps in the forces took their demob here, and those who worked in the factories stayed. At that time we were short of labour. Therefore, what we usually call the grapevine, the ground telegraph, indicated to those at home that there were opportunities here which could be taken. As a consequence, they came in larger and larger numbers.

The Government of the day realised the way in which people were reacting, but instead of recognising that racial prejudice was at the back of it and explaining to people the value to society of immigrants and stamping upon that prejudice so as to try to help to build a proper society, they responded by saying: "We will control immigration, because that is what we have to do". What is worse, they responded by also taking the power to deport, and that power to deport was the underlying point for racists—for the people who were complaining—because it showed them that these people were undesirables who needed to be sent back. That was in 1962.

The reason I intervened when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Rawlinson, made his point was because I heard at that time the nonsense about the 600 million to 900 million. I argued then, and I still argue, that all that was needed in the 1962 Act, assuming that we were going to take the power to control, was the power to exempt citizens of the United Kingdom and the Colonies. The others were independent; control over them could have been defended. To attempt to control somebody who is a citizen of your country merely degrades that citizenship. But we went on to do that.

That was the first step in the degrading of our citizenship. Then we proceeded further. The trouble was that Governments of both political parties were working on a certain principle. The principle was that white immigration created no problem—therefore there was no need for new policies—but that black immigration, particularly those from the New Commonwealth, created problems and needed to be controlled as carefully as possible; such immigration needed to be kept at the lowest possible level, as though these people were some form of pollution that had to be controlled so as to make sure that society was not poisoned by it. That was the underlying principle of the legislation, and it still is the underlying principle of the legislation.

We had the 1962 Act, the 1965 White Paper, the 1969 withdrawal of the rights of women to bring their husbands, the 1971 Act, and now this, because we are failing to approach the matter in the proper way. There is no reason why we should not have just and reasonable immigration controls. But they must be just and they must be reasonable. The trouble is that there is a myth in this country—as a matter of fact, the Minister gave expression to it—that when you have got this steady control it helps to create the right atmosphere for good race relations. The opposite is the case, and I will tell your Lordships why.

These frequent arguments about immigration control, and these frequent proposals for immigration control, make race relations worse. They make race relations worse because they create expectations that cannot be fulfilled. When you say to somebody in Bradford that you are controlling immigration because there are too many immigrants, that person expects to see in his neighbourhood fewer black people than he saw before. But he cannot, because black women cannot make white babies. Therefore he sees more black people and concludes that you have not controlled immigration properly, that people are cheating, and that there are all kinds of reasons why he is seeing more black people in Bradford.

Then there are all these politicians who are willing to interpret the situation for him. He thereupon says that he wants more control. And when all the additional controls do not meet the case he says, "There is only one solution; they must be repatriated". And when politicians again help him by saying that they will help people who wish to go back to their country—because that is what we did in the 1971 Act—he then says, "Ah, repatriation is the answer". We have come the whole distance. What we now have is a demand not for voluntary repatriation but for compulsory repatriation. That is the underlying demand that we are now getting.

In other words, I should like everybody to recognise that the logic of the policy that has been followed until now is the gas chamber. The sooner that is recognised the better. It is only when that is recognised that we are going to get the sort of policies, the sort of approach which will enable us to build the kind of society which we can so easily build. In the past, this country has absorbed large numbers of immigrants and it can absorb them again.

The only difference between the present immigrants and those of the past is the colour of their skin. That is the barrier we have to get over and we must help people to get over it. They need that help. We do not help people to get over that barrier by telling them that all we need to do is to keep out more and more immigrants. As the right reverend Prelate indicated, we help people by inviting them to work together so as to build a society of which we can be proud.

Since I have been in this House we have twice debated the family. Members have indicated how important they regard the family to be. These rules are an attack on family life, and this House must show by its action that it means what it says. I cannot do it so eloquently as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, but I want to make one last appeal. This House can say to the Government and to the people, "Enough is enough. We have had enough of this"—how shall I put it?—"backing away from the real issues, this backing away from the real contribution which we could make towards showing the world how people of different races can live together in equality and friendship". We can do it; I know we can do it. My appeal this evening is, let us do it.

8.19 p.m.

My Lords, first I should like to make a very sincere apology to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. I had to attend an important committee meeting in the other House and thought that I had tied up the arrangements to be telephoned the moment this Motion began. Unhappily, however, the messenger who knew me from long ago went to tea, and the gentleman who took his place did not know Lady Hornsby-Smith from a bar of soap. So I never got the message. So I owe a very sincere apology to the noble Lord. It was certainly a most unwitting discourtesy that I was not present to hear his speech. May I also add to the congratulations offered to the right reverend Prelate for a most enlightening and human speech, and I am sure we shall hope very much that it will not be four years before we hear him again.

In view of the late hour, I can tell your Lordships at once that I have already cut my speech by half and I will try not to keep you too long. We are a small and a highly populated island and I think the critics of this White Paper have substantially ignored this country's long and very generous contribution to the problem of refugees and Commonwealth immigrants. In the early days of Kenya's independence and certainly after the draconian decrees of General Amin in Uganda, we had the unhappy victims who were both Commonwealth immigrants and refugees from a country they had been forced to leave. Nor should we forget the thousands of refugees from Nazi oppression we accepted before the War, the half a million Poles after the War, the thousands of Hungarian victims of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and the Anglo-Egyptian expellees of 1957. More recently, we have had the Vietnamese boat people. For a country of our size I think we have a record of which we can be proud, and I think we take more abuse than we deserve.

Over and above the legitimate entries, there is still widespread abuse which all Governments of whatever political complexion have tried to stem in this country. If we subtract the figures for embarking Commonwealth immigrants and aliens from whatever source, the figures of admissions for those categories consistently over a period of time, the net intake very considerably exceeds the numbers registered for legal and permanent entry. There are illegal immigrants coming into this country, and no one has suggested—nor does this White Paper suggest—that they are exclusively African or Asian.

Those of us who have had experience in the Home Office know that many thousands of them come from the Mediterranean, some of them come from the white Dominions, from the Arab States. In my view, it is quite reprehensible that this recommendation in the White Paper is being represented as being exclusively anti-black, which it is not. The way in which it has been presented and exploited as against the coloured races does enormous harm to race relations by the presentation that it is exclusively against those people. In many Commonwealth countries admission is denied to all but those who have the skills which the host country wants or who have very substantial means indeed with which they can sustain themselves. Most of our immigrants arrived without means, were immediately afforded equal benefits with our own citizens, and we now face a situation which I think we must face, where with heavy unemployment and the shortage of housing, our first priority must surely be to do justice to those immigrants whom we have already accepted.

Having spent three years in the Home Office with particular responsibility for immigration, may I emphasise that the abuses are not confined to Commonwealth citizens. There is, for example, no valid record of those who enter this country as so-called students, take permissible part-time student employment and worm their way into the permanent employment market, sometimes drop out of the university or college and after a few years stay on for good.

The catering trade in particular is a happy hunting ground for Mediterraneans, young and middle-aged. They flit from job to job, changing location as the authorities look like catching up on them and, further, the police just have not the manpower to catch up with these visitors or "students" who overstay their time and jump from one police area to the next. We have the professional student who comes to us at 18 and we find that he is still a student, having been through three universities, swopped his courses and not done particularly well in any, and is still a student after seven or eight years, virtually living on the British taxpayer and such benefits as he can pull out of assistance.

In my day at the Home Office I can remember a spate of young women from strictly Catholic countries who, finding themselves pregnant, raced to England, took a job for a few months, later had their babies and not infrequently did a midnight flit, leaving the British born babies in our lap. Indeed I can remember joining forces with the late Mrs. Bessie Braddock who was a leading member of the Liverpool Social Security Committee and who brought me massive evidence of this abuse from Liverpool and told me to do something about it. It was substantially halted, I may say, by the intervention and help of the late Cardinal Heenan.

When we tightened up the legislation on foreign prostitutes we had a spate of arranged marriages between lonely elderly gentlemen who, after a register office marriage, drinks in the local pub, a visit to Holborn to produce the marriage lines and get the bride registered as a British citizen, the elderly gentleman then went back home with £100 in his pocket and never saw his bride again. Some Mediterranean ladies used their newly-born child—a British citizen—to try to blackmail us into allowing the mother permanent entry, on the basis that if we sent her home she would dump her British-born child in our lap.

The Immigration Rules and, in this case, the draft rules by the Home Office, have not been devised merely to go against the blacks. The noble Lord, Lord Pitt of Hampstead, always regarded as a very balanced and fair-minded man, I thought today made a speech which was a little extravagant, with a bias. When he made the point about the deportation being levelled at the coloured people, I can remember, a few months after that legislation came in, being asked a question in the other place: what nationality are the people who are being dealt with under the Deportation Act? Of the first eleven, nine were Mediterranean and two were Australian, which I remember saying with great relish because it had been put about that we were only going for the coloured people in that legislation. In fact, if the figures for the total period were shown I think your Lordships would find that there were very many white Mediterraneans who have offended our laws and have been deported for behaving in a reprehensible manner and probably more than there were coloured people being sent back.

My Lords, if the noble Baroness will allow me to intervene, I am sorry to disturb her and I thank her for her courtesy. I know that a very small percentage of the people who have been deported were in fact black. The point, however, was that the intro- duction of the power to deport at the time it was introduced created certain impressions. That was what I was saying.

My Lords, the noble Lord has emphasised a point that saddens me very much, that any regulation is immediately exploited as being anti-black when it is equally applied to aliens or Commonwealth citizens, whether they be black or white and from whatever part of the world they may come. It is this deliberate exploitation which does so much harm to race relations. In my experience immigration officers have a thankless job. They have types of persons to look out for whom we have not even mentioned this afternoon, criminals trying to get out of the country or people on the run trying to get in, of whom they are told by Interpol. They are supposed to have eyes in the backs of their heads to try to find them, poor chaps. There are people who have already been sent out of this country and have a nefarious reputation in other respects.

There are many types of people with whom the immigration officers have to deal and to whom they have to apply the regulations. I have been privileged to visit over 50 points of entry in this country and stand behind our immigration officers as they have carried out their arduous duties, from those dealing with the hordes of people who stream into Heathrow, to the lone officer in Sunderland with an endless stream of Arab seamen all claiming they were born in Aden, and therefore they must have a special certificate applying to somebody who was born in that British territory—when most of them have come from the Yemen or Syria or goodness knows where, and none, of course, has a birth certificate. If the unfortunate immigration officer gave a certificate to every Arab seaman who swears he was born in Aden, they would number more than the total male population of Aden. He has to use his experience. If we are not going to be over-burdened, he has to deal with them as fairly as he is able.

Then, I have seen the middle-aged tubby gentleman from the Lebanon trying to get in at Harwich at half-past six on a cold wet morning, who claimed to be coming as a student to take a diploma in clairvoyance. All I can say is that I did not have to be a student of clairvoyance to see that his wife was about eight months pregnant and that was the only reason he was trying to get in.

Immigration officers have also to be vigilant about security. There are times when the Press build up an enormous anti-immigration officer, anti-Home Office case. I can remember one campaign, as some Members who were with me in the other place will—the Farkas case, Hungarian refugees who had opted to go to Latin America. They left. They were smuggled on board a P & O liner—two men, two women in advanced state of pregnancy, three children. Initially the Home Office—and I equally shared the stick we got—did not believe their story, thought it was a plant. To cut a very long story short, the Press built it up. We had three weeks of yards and yards of publicity, thousands of letters, debate in the Chamber, when it was obvious the Home Secretary would have been defeated and had quite rightly to yield to what was inevitable; he let them in. The babies were born under one of the greatest consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists at Queen Charlotte's. Families sent them layettes, local authorities gave them delightful housing, furniture firms gave them furniture, grocers sent them food. All this we had for weeks in the Press. But when they skipped out one night on the Polish S.S. "Batory", when they went back to Budapest and gave the filthiest broadcast about this country I have ever heard—saying that we treated them like cattle in their pregnancy, that they had no medical attention—not one newspaper would admit that the Home Office and those much vilified immigration officers, who were given hell for weeks, in their wisdom were right.

In turning to the Commonwealth immigration problem on which so much has been said today, the Commonwealth immigrants who have opted to come here and stay with us, I agree fully that many of them have made an invaluable contribution to our economy and are good and valuable citizens. It is common knowledge nevertheless that a minority have seized upon the right of entry of a spouse to build up a revolting traffic in arranged marriages. A Commonwealth citizen who has no right of entry at any time on any grounds can jump the queue over the genuine United Kingdom passport holders patiently waiting in the queue by paying a large sum of money to a disreputable resident or agent who will arrange a technical marriage with some poor young girl in this country, who, even if the marriage is never consummated, must act and behave as a formally married wife until such time as her father and the divorce court will release her from the bondage. There is evidence produced recently from high level sociological inquiries that many young women of Eastern parentage, educated and growing up in this country, yearn to share the individual dignity and rights which our law provides for our young women. I wonder what has happened to our humanitarians, who will fight to the death just one case of someone penalised, and yet we hear them dismissing as of no consequence—"too trivial to be worried about", said a leading Member of the Opposition in the other House—the appalling abuse when these young women are forced into marriages they do not wish.

Timing has a great effect on the Press in this country. If before this White Paper had been published a couple of girls had rushed to the Council of Civil Liberties pleading and imploring and saying, "My father is forcing me to marry", if that had hit the Press first, the women's libbers would be talking about another aspect of the Charter of Human Rights—about the rights and freedom of women, about what has never been implemented by the eastern countries, the limit at which you can let a girl marry, about the rights of the girl not to be forced into the bondage of marriage, let alone as a human being to be sold into marriage. I wonder what the difference in attitude might have been had the timing been just that much different.

I am at one with those who recognise the problems which still face us in employing and housing immigrants—whether white or black—whom we have already accepted. I believe that we should be doing our utmost to make life happier for them and to improve relations. I passionately believe that the Government are right to try to contain the numbers so far as is fair and reasonable and, above all, to stop this country being made a soft touch by abuses that defy our law.

Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Pitt of Hampstead, asked why the whole world could not have the same freedom as the EEC. Does he honestly think that this country could take probably a quarter of a million Vietnamese boatmen who would seek to come? Does he really think that we could take the Chinese who try to get to Hong Kong, which is trying to keep them out? Does he not think that there are many thousands of Iranians who would now like to pour into this country and get away from their new Moslem dictator? Surely even he thinks that there must be a limit somewhere.

8.41 p.m.

My Lords, like so many others who have spoken I am particularly grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for giving us an opportunity to debate these rules today. I must say that I speak with some reluctance in this debate, because I do not like speaking in your Lordships' House as an Asian, although I think that perhaps on this occasion I should do so as I believe I am the only Member of your Lordships' House—at any rate of those who attend—of my precise ethnic background. I would much prefer to talk to your Lordships as a Yorkshireman having lived there for 10 years but, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford said, people did not accept him as a Yorkshireman and thought that he came from the deep South and was daft. So, my Lords, what do your Lordships think those people think of me?

I am a second generation immigrant. My parents came here from India, although I have lived here all of my life. So far as I can make out, if there is an ethnic question in the 1981 census, then I would put down my ethnic group as being Asian. However, I have always hoped that was not the most important feature about myself. I have never wanted only to involve myself in the speeches that I make in this House, or in the work I did outside, in the race relations business. Generally speaking, other than perhaps my private tastes—the music I may like to listen to or the food I may like to eat—I prefer to forget that I am in fact an Asian. Indeed, I suspect that that position is true of most members of the Asian community in this country. They do not want to find that the only things they can do is make careers in the field of race relations by taking jobs with the CRE or community relation councils or whatever, or that the only voluntary activities in which they can involve themselves are the ethnic group associations. Many of them have not found themselves confined in that way to very great effect.

The Asian community has provided this country with a number of distinguished professors, successful company executives, successful businessmen and so on. Indeed, the only really sophisticated social survey that I have seen on the composition of the Asian community in this country, commissioned by the Government, showed that their profile was remarkably similar to that of the white population. Indeed, I would argue that the Asian community here has a number of qualities which, far from being foreign and alien to this country, fit in very well with what might be called "traditional" or "old-fashioned" British values. I am referring to matters like a respect for education, for family life, for the care of the old, and a spirit of enterprise.

All those things really have, in the past perhaps been one of the glories of Britain, and the Asian community shows them to some effect. Indeed, it seems to me that these are not only old-fashioned and traditional British values: they might even be called Conservative values with a large "C". I suspect that if we took away the colour from most of the Asian community in this country, they would turn out to be natural Tories, far more than the relatively few who are members of the Indian Conservative Association or whatever it is called. However, the trouble is that we cannot take away the colour from a member of the Asian community in this country any more than we can evidently take away from a party its natural colouring.

The point that I am trying to make is that, before the Asian community in this country will make up its mind about the actions of a Conservative Government, they must first look at the Conservative Party which produces that Government. When they do so, what do they see? I wish here and now to acquit absolutely the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, of any kind of racial prejudice. Although I might say that, when he makes the point that if the Conservative Government are doing beastly things to immigrants, then "yah-boo", the Labour Government did it as well, that may be a satisfactory answer to politicians, but it is not a particularly satisfactory answer to the Asian community. Anyway, I certainly acquit him of that.

But he must realise that Asians have eyes and ears, and Asians every year look at the television coverage of the Tory Party Conference. I am thinking of the Tory Party Conerence over the last couple of years. Having looked at that coverage, they come to much less charitable conclusions than the noble Baroness, Lady Seear. Every year we hear speeches made by people from the rostrum which are frankly racist. It may be said, "But you know every party has these mad men in it; every party has these lunatics who every now and again up and speak".

I have managed party conferences in my life and I know perfectly well how easy it is to keep people away from the rostrum if one does not want to see them on it. Secondly, when these people say things, what are the sentiments that are cheered? How does one get a rousing roar from a hall at a Tory Party Conference? So far as I can make out from my experience, one does so by saying pretty unpleasant things about immigrants. We notice comments made by a leading Conservative—it has already been mentioned—about the danger of this country being "swamped" by immigrants. However, in the spirit of the way in which these regulations have been framed, as the statement was made by a woman we need not take it too seriously. I noticed that a prominent Conservative threw a fit of hysterics when a relative was rash enough to go out with a relative of mine. We notice the Questions tabled by Members of the Conservative Party on the Order Paper of this House, Questions which refer to the non-white human population of this country in terms which at the very least make us feel that we are separate, if not unwelcome.

So, the Asian community here decide that the Tory Party does not much like them. It is from that basis that they begin to look at the proposals that are made by the Conservative Government now. When they do so, they become extremely insecure. I suppose it is inevitable that I receive a larger postbag from members of the Asian community than other members of your Lordships' House. I can only say that I find pitiful the worries that have been induced in an otherwise hardworking, responsible set of the community. They are not the worries only of the people whose own lives will be affected by these proposals if they are carried through—they are the worries of people who are not quite sure what the regulations will be and are worried about what will happen to them, worries of people who say, "If they do this today, what will they do tomorrow? That is what the Government have done to what I think is a very useful part of the British community.

So the conclusion that I have come to is that if the Government want us to accept, as the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, said at the start of his speech, that these regulations are free of any kind of racial bias, they are what any Government would have to do in the circumstances; this is an absolutely neutral and responsible action; then I think we must realise that Asians will never accept this from the Conservative Party as it is. If the Government want their good faith to be accepted, then I think that before they start putting forward these new regulations, they ought to put their own party house in order first, and look at some of the people who are office bearers of the Conservative Party in the country. They should take a very close look at some of their parliamentary candidates and if they want a few suggestions I can tell them some. They ought to have a major campaign in their party to educate the Members of the Conservative Party to the fact that the immigrants in this country are not only inevitably here but are desirably here and are making a great contribution to life here.

Do that, and we may accept their good faith; do not do that, then, in fact, the Asians will not go rioting in the streets. Throughout the debate this afternoon one seems to get the impression that people from the sub-continent are a collection of petty crooks sitting down, filling in forms, trying to flog their daughters off as somebody else's wife or whatever. No, every chief constable will tell you that the Asian community is one of the most law-abiding sections of the community of this country. We shall not take to the streets and throw stones through windows, but we shall remain suspicious of everything that the Conservative Government do, that has anything to do with a racial community. We shall be desperately disappointed that many hopes that we had regarding the Conservative Government in other areas will not be realised in this case. Also, if they go ahead with these regulations, and if they do not withdraw them, the Conservatives will have passed up a chance to teach the Asians perhaps the one thing that we can learn from the British—tolerance.

8.50 p.m.

My Lords, may I again declare an interest and seek the indulgence of the House to speak on a subject on which I have spoken on a number of occasions in a different context—namely, as chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, a Commission which has as its responsibility to eradicate discrimination on grounds of sex and to promote equality of opportunity between the sexes generally.

I have spoken on this issue on numerous occasions since the Commission was established in 1975 and have made representation to consecutive Home Secretaries. Therefore, so far as I am concerned this is not a new issue. However, I want to take advantage of the Motion which the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has put before the House. I want to thank him for this opportunity to discuss the White Paper on these proposed Immigration Rules.

In my comments I want to concentrate, of course, on those aspects which I regard as being sex discriminatory and which have aroused a great deal of anger among a great many women in this country—so much so that the Home Secretary has conceded that he will make changes in the rules which have been laid before Parliament in two important respects. The noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has referred to those changes which will withdraw the distinction between women born here and women born abroad; in so far as those British women who were born abroad and have one parent who was born in this country, they will be treated in the same way. Both these groups of women will be given a right under the rules rather than a possible claim under the rules, in the case of women who were born here, or total discretion on the part of the Home Secretary for women who were born abroad.

We are grateful to the Home Secretary for these concessions in so far as they will ease the minds and the position of a number of British women who otherwise would have had to struggle to obtain their right to settle with their husband in this country. But—and it is a very big but—this concession does not alter the fundamental position of British women. I regret to say that we are second-class citizens compared to men. As the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has said this afternoon, British women have no right in law to bring a husband from a foreign country to settle here. They are being given a right under arrangements which can be changed, not by legislation which has a full scrutiny by both Houses of Parliament, but by administrative rules.

It so happens that on this occasion we have had a White Paper which has been debated in both Houses, but this need not necessarily be the position. Moreover, not all British women are covered by the rules. Those British women not born here who do not happen to have a parent born in this country are still left completely outside the rules. Therefore, we have three groups. We have, first, the group of British men with rights under our nationality law; we have British women with rights conveyed by this rule and we have British women with no rights either under nationality law or under immigration rules.

Noble Lords have said and the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, in particular said, that the concession makes the rules more discriminatory on grounds of race because the effect of the proposed changes will be to exclude mainly Asian and other new Commonwealth groups. I have a great deal of sympathy with that point of view because what has happened is that many of the articulate white women who were concerned about their position have had their position mitigated, whereas the newer British women citizens have not. I would remind the House that all British citizens, irrespective of colour, have, or should have, rights as citizens of this country. Obviously, some very difficult decisions will have to be made in future by Home Secretaries.

In the period 1969 to 1974, successive Home Secretaries had to deal with difficult cases of hardship on humanitarian grounds. I do not think that any of us envied them in their task in deciding whether or not this claim or that claim should be admitted. I regret to say that the present Home Secretary and his Ministers will be faced with similar difficulties. It was the very pressure of these cases between 1969 and 1974 that led to the change in the rules at that time.

Let me give just one or two examples. Reference has been made in the debate to refugees. Only a few days ago I was contacted by a Polish woman who obtained British citizenship 13 years ago. She lives in her own property; she is supporting a paralysed mother. Both she and her parents were born in Poland and came here because of political difficulties. She is engaged to an Iraqi student who is here for five years and who has already completed four years of his studies. Her position is that she does not want to live in Iraq; she does not want to leave her dependent mother and she does not want to lose her home here. That is the kind of situation with which the Home Secretary will have to deal.

Another group which will cause difficulty was brought to my attention only last night when I was talking to a manager of a very well-established multinational company. I was told of the concern of this company. It has been their policy to foster service abroad. This has meant that second and third generations of British families have served the company overseas. The company believe that they could well have British women who were born overseas of British parents themselves born overseas who will have no right of settlement under the present rules. Furthermore, they fear that British couples serving overseas at the present time with rights themselves will be careful to ensure that any children they have must be born in the United Kingdom; for they have sensed the danger which the White Paper, as published, makes clear: that the rules can be changed with retrospective effect to deny a girl born abroad her full right as a British citizen.

In order to avoid this danger the price to be paid will be that some pregnant women will fly back to the United Kingdom in order to ensure that their child, if a daughter, will have British citizenship. Of course if it is a son, it will not make any difference and the journey will have been in vain because a son would have his rights guaranteed. As the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, and others have said the basic problem is rights under nationality law. Rather than tinker in this restrictive way with immigration rules we need to firmly establish in law equal nationality rights for men and women. I regret that the Government did not give this first priority.

I now turn to some of the anomalies in the rules themselves. If we look at paragraphs 50 to 52, for example, presumably even those women who are being given a right under the rules will still have to clear obstacles (a), (b) and (c). The first is that the marriage was one entered into primarily to obtain admission to the United Kingdom. If it was, then the right will disappear. Secondly, that one of the parties no longer has an intention of living permanently with the other as his, or her, spouse. Presumably again, if that is so the right will disappear. Thirdly, that the parties to the marriage have not met. We have already had comments from different noble Lords on this third clause—that the parties to the marriage have not met.

The fact is that these three clauses again underline the different status that is given to men and women. Men will have the automatic right to bring a wife or fiancée here irrespective of these three rules, but women will not. I wonder whether the Government have thought carefully through the implications of paragraph (c)—that the parties to the marriage have not met—because the effect of this could be that to allow men to continue with arranged marriages (as is assumed under the rules) will mean that those Asian girls who are living in this country will suffer from a double discrimination. They will find that they cannot follow their traditional culture and go abroad to bring a husband back into this country through the arranged marriage system, but equally they will find that their male peers are doing so. Thereby, the pool of possible, eligible young males whom they might marry will be that much smaller. This could place the Asian girls in a very difficult situation.

Customs die hard, particularly in the first generation, and this is a problem which I think is not going to remain with us for long. Nevertheless, it is a problem which is with us at the moment. I hold no brief for arranged marriages which are against the wishes of one of the parties, but I hesitate to make a general judgment on a culture which I do not share. I wonder whether we are approaching the problem in the right way, and whether it would not be better for us to be more understanding of the difficulties that our Asian colleagues are going to be faced with.

Reference has also been made by a number of noble Lords to the situation in Europe. As well as our friends in the European Community having the right to bring a husband into this country if they wish to come over here to work and settle, they will have an added advantage which British women will not have, and indeed which British men will not have. The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, referred to this. If we look at paragraph 131 of the proposed rules on the subject of families, we find that members of the families who are allowed to accompany an EEC settler include "the person's spouse". It is not a question of the person's wife, a man's wife, or, in the case of a woman, a husband. It is neutral: "the person's spouse". I wish we had that same clause in other sections of the rules.

In addition to the spouse, their children under 21 are included; that is, both male and female; whereas under other sections of the rules for a British person it is a child under 18 or, for a girl but not for a boy, between the ages of 18 and 21. Equally, the definition includes parents, grandparents, and other relatives. Therefore, we have a wide definition here of the family which I think could well apply to the position of British people under their own rules.

There are a number of other requirements. For example, it is going to be a fact that a widowed mother will be allowed to come into the country, but a widowed father could only be brought in if he is aged 65 or over. So again we have here this question of sex discrimination between parents. We have an age limit for men, but we have no age limit for women. There are a number of anomalies of this kind in the rules which treat men and women differently. I hope that the Home Secretary and his Ministers will look carefully at these anomalies.

Finally, there are a number of categories of persons coming into this country for temporary purposes. They are not coming to settle here, nor are they British citizens wanting to return to this country, but people coming from other countries abroad for a temporary purpose where they are going to be allowed in under the rules, and again where a man might bring a wife and dependent children to accompany him provided they can be maintained and accommodated without recourse to public funds and provided they do not take employment. But again the fact is that even with these stringent restrictions, a woman could not do the same; in other words, a woman coming here for temporary purposes under the rules would not be allowed to bring with her her husband and children. This relates to the position of students, if one looks at paragraphs 21 to 25, as it relates to businessmen, self-employed persons and to persons of independent means such as writers, artists and so on.

What I think this does is to reflect an outdated approach to the relationship between men and women. All these categories assume that the woman will be the dependant—that the wife will be the dependent person in the marriage—but these days there are situations where the primary person in the marriage, the wage-earner, is the woman. The proposed rules take no account whatever of that situation. I hope the Minister will look carefully at this.

Having said that, I come back to the basic and fundamental point I made at the outset, namely that the women of this country will continue to feel aggrieved until they are afforded equal status and rights under nationality law. I hope the assurance the Minister gave—that there will be a White Paper on this subject—will be followed by early legislation which will deal with this primary and fundamental problem.

9.11 p.m.

My Lords, I apologise for being slow to rise. Apparently I was so attentive to the speech of my noble friend, and have been so little attentive to some other developments, that I thought there were two or three speakers in front of me, as indeed there were on the list and still remain on my list, although I had been told that the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, had decided not to speak again after his gifted speech earlier in the day.

The last person on the Benches opposite with whom I would wish to argue is the noble Baroness, Lady Hornsby-Smith, who has been particularly kind to me in my dotage, but I thought some of her extremely graphic and interesting pictures failed to take cognizance of some of the relevant position. We had one picture of her standing behind an immigration officer, known to be a good one, interviewing immigrants, and she was shocked at what she saw. One would have thought that no immigration officer would be allowed to be ignorant of the visit of a distinguished and gifted Minister of the Crown and one would have thought it extremely unlikely that the persons being interviewed would have any knowledge whatever that the very charming and attractive lady standing behind the immigration officer was in fact a Minister of the Crown and was keeping them under observation and watching their behaviour.

In Kenya the noble Baroness found some quite astonishing things. It was Mr. Kenyatta who stopped the difficulties in Kenya, or the fact that his system of government, which remained the government by two tribes, rather eliminated a lot of poor Africans from having any great part in the State. His behaviour was such that instead of sending him a rope, they sent him a gun carriage, and the two in quite different connections.

My Lords, I recall the exodus from Uganda, which was a paradise when I saw it. I think it was the loveliest country I have ever seen, with very much the nicest people. I heard some of the schoolgirls in school uniforms singing On Ilkley Moor baht 'at in Swahili, which was a special privilege. They were driven out by Field Marshal Amin, and Field Marshal Amin was put in by the British Government, while Mr. Obote, who was regarded as a little off-colour, was attending a Commonwealth conference far away in Singapore. Perhaps to say "put in" overstates the matter, but they knew of it; that he had been recommended as a member of the Scots forces serving under a very gallant and distinguished British officer, who was for a brief time a Member of the other place, is certain. So there is a situation in which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hutchinson—

Several noble Lords: Lord Rawlinson.

I must not forget the noble and learned Lord's name for the second time; it is a sign of my dotage that names come a little less readily to me. I know the noble and learned Lord, Lord Rawlinson, well and I respect him. He was of course a Law Officer of the Crown, and indeed he delayed his appointment in order to defend the Member for Oldham. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Rawlinson, was right of course. We do need a Nationality Act; but heaven knows what this Government might produce after this. The noble Lord, Lord Chitnis, saved me what was going to be an extremely unpleasant duty, though it would have been performed with some rigour. Few politicians have ever spent less of their lives attending party conferences than I have. I have never spoken at the Labour Party conference, and I remember only about one occasion when I managed to stay right through; and I was the Member for Oldham for 23 years. Probably because I switched on the wrong knob and did not get the cricket I heard the debate on race relations at the Conservative Party conference, and it was not a triumph for Saatchi and Saatchi. It was there, as Lord Chitnis said; one could see the weight of the pressure to try to prevent aspirants to speak from expressing their own views, and to express instead the muted views of the respected members of the Party.

May I say that the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford must surely have brought a little shame for those who are being pushed through the Lobby tonight to defend these proposals. The proposals have an unpleasant smell from start to finish, and that they are produced by a Minister so widely respected as is William Whitelaw is astounding.

My noble friends referred to the reception of the matter by the Press. Our trouble used to be the Press. Our trouble was that so much of this antagonism had been fomented by the Press; and it is a measure of the situation to which Britain has been brought that a large portion of her daily Press today is controlled from abroad.

My Lords, I have spoken before of the town of Oldham. I speak of it again in the light of what the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford has said, because Oldham actually touches the borders of the West Riding of Yorkshire, which used to have a Conservative county council which spent rather less on any kind of social reform than almost any county council in England. But they are fine people there; many of them grand people. When the Pakistanis came to Oldham we were apprehensive about what might happen. People in Lancashire had no great acquaintance with foreign people at all in those days. Nowadays, of course, they have massive lorries driving almost non-stop from Constantinople through to Scotland. Our one great good fortune was that we had what was perhaps the best local paper in England; a liberal paper which has tried to give absolutely fair representation to all three parties, with considerable success, and which I read now because they insist on sending me a copy once a week. So I turned up this week's copy and found that at this late hour they have felt it necessary to form an all-party committee, with its members drawn from all types of employment, to fight for the victims of these racial laws.

My Lords, they have some cases under consideration. There is one in which two young boys flying to join their father, and being met by their father, were told on arrival that they did not fulfil the qualifications, and were sent home. As a result of the activities of the present Member for Oldham West, fairly rapidly they were given a passport, with their mother, and complete freedom to join their father. Think of the agony! Think of the costly mistake that was made! My objection to this particular White Paper is that almost every test is a subjective test, and it is a subjective test by the immigration officer or the person who is administering it. Who is to decide, and how can one decide? How does one estimate this business of saying that the old man, the grandfather, might be able to come if it can be shown that his standard of living is not notably less than the average standard of living in this country? Think of that to a Pakistani!

Then there are the grandparents who have been refused permission to join a couple of exceedingly prosperous doctors—we were told in another place—who are anxious to make them a home and make their lives agreeable. For whose benefit is that? Why are there all these regulations? I know it is difficult; I know it is complicated. I would think that the fact that the Baader-Meinhof criminals can come into this country without detection, and remain without being recognised for months, undisguised, suggests that there is a difficulty in keeping track of people. It is, roughly speaking, impossible. The numbers are so small and the possibilities of future emergency so great. One speaker on the other side said that we shall be having the Iranians next. I think it is said that 300,000 have come in already in the last week or two. I may be exaggerating the number in my mind, but a large number have arrived since the moment they heard of the Ayatollah. For what purpose or on what grounds they are admitted, we do not know.

The Minister enjoys as much respect, personal respect, as almost any Minister. He did see the error in the ways of the person who drafted this document and gave certain undertakings to deal with some of the problems. A junior Minister made the quite gratutious statement that we would be surprised at the number of girls who had written and said, "Do not let him come in to marry me." I am surprised. Under the rules I cannot say more, but it is difficult to understand why people write to a newly-appointed junior Minister in the Foreign Office about their marriage before seeing their local advisers, and what reasons they gave and what hopes they have. This is really a rather gratuitous insult to these ladies which need not have been made. There is not the slightest reason in the world to believe that the arranged marriage is not as calculated to have success among the people with the faith that they have, the beliefs and customs that they have and the relatives that they have. My Lords, I apologise for having spoken a minute or so longer than I intended. I hope that this debate is not a sign of further things to come.

9.28 p.m.

My Lords, in view of the time, I have decided not to make a speech but to put one detailed question to the noble Lord. May I draw the attention of the House to paragraph 39 of the White Paper, the paragraph entitled "Writers and artists"? I should like to quote the first two sentences for the benefit of those who have not got the document:

"A passenger seeking entry as a writer or an artist must hold a current entry clearance granted to him for that purpose. He may be admitted for an initial period of up to 12 months subject to a condition prohibiting his freedom to take employment".
Could we consider these visitors for a moment—these writers and artists? It makes no difference to me whether they come from America, Africa, Asia or the Mediterranean—from where so many people come. This is of no significance to me. Wherever they come from, they are very unlikely to be numerous. They are among the most unobtrusive of temporary immigrants. They do not take up much space. They do not eat very much because they cannot afford to—and this is the point. It is extremely important for an artist or writer to travel; but it is often necessary to find some part-time employment, some odd job, to keep alive. The rules completely forbid it. For example, would such a visitor be deemed to be taking employment if he gave private tuition in his own native language? Certainly these particular visitors are very unlikely to qualify under the plutocratic requirements demanded of the self-employed.

It is worth a thought that had these rules been in force in Paris at the relevant time, George Orwell could not possibly have worked in that ghastly restaurant and the world would have been deprived of a remarkable book. I want to suggest that a small change could greatly improve the lot of these temporary immigrant writers and artists. Could they not be treated at least as generously—if that is the word—as the working holidaymakers that are referred to in paragraph 30? However, that paragraph applies only to young Commonwealth citizens aged from 17 to 25. To meet my point fully, the discrimination against non-Commonwealth citizens would have to be removed and the upper age limit would either have to be raised or abolished. That is all I am going to say. I suggest that this is a very small point which the Government might consider and even concede without violating the spirit of the White Paper. I will spare your Lordships what I was going to say about the White Paper.

9.32 p.m.

My Lords, probably the most unhappy night of my life in this House was that of 29th February 1968. I know that because I know the agonies that some of my well respected and well meaning friends on the other side of the House must be feeling tonight because on that night on the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, so far as I was concerned, we made one of the worst insults possible to our intelligence; and, secondly, a denial of the whole nature of human rights. This is important. I am being very generous and I am trying to save the Government opposite from making the mistakes of proceeding down the slippery slopes on which we found ourselves with the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968. That was a confirmation and it was a panic measure. Nobody can doubt that. From thereon, having once betrayed the principles of my own party, we slipped and everybody has been dragged into this.

This is what I feel about this draft White Paper tonight. It is a warning to all of us of what is liable to happen. As has been pointed out, this is a draft. The House should thank the Government for giving us the foresight of what were their intentions or thinking in this matter. I hope that the Government will take it away and look at it again and realise what a hopeless and insulting document it is. It is not just the immigrants, potential immigrants or people who were immigrants and are now settled citizens in this country; it is the British people who are being insulted. We are denying their long-held illusions about the generosity and justice of our race. I speak as I must with some feeling about this because I was on the original Community Race Commission with my noble friend Lord Pitt who was the deputy chairman.

We did, I think, foresee at that time the kind of things which would happen because we at that moment, if I may say so on behalf of myself and my noble friend, were dealing with our own party and our own Government. Therefore, we were fighting the kind of "skid" situation of which we see a culmination tonight. But what we were doing, meaningfully I think, was getting a recognition throughout the country that provided we had, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford pointed out—and I should like to thank him very much for his maiden speech—I actual and direct participation, people to people, that was what mattered and not what was put down in books of rules or anything else. But we were then fighting the kinds of things which people thought they could put down in books of rules. We fought them, we struggled with them and so on. But this is now something in a concrete form which I find so utterly distasteful and—I repeat again a word keep on using—insulting. It is insulting my intelligence and insulting, as I say, the intelligence of the people of this country.

There is one thing we must realise, as the noble and learned Lord pointed out, in what, if I might say so, I thought was a magnificently objective speech, although I speak of my reading of what he was talking about. Here we are, confronting a Declaration of Human Rights. It is not a convention but it is our avowal of universal principles and I think your Lordships will agree, on his examination of the definition, that we are definitely out of court on the European Human Rights Convention.

I would urge the Government to go away and look again very hard at this because, as the noble and learned Lord pointed out, this is where we are really going to have our noses rubbed in it. Here we are in this Bill, making all our genuflections to the EEC—and think of all the care we are taking of EEC members, who are going to have all these privileges and all these rights which are denied to the Commonwealth people and to the general run of immigrants. We have to look at that because, as the noble and learned Lord said, we shall be brought to the bar.

The thing which I find equally revolting is the condescension, if I may put it that way, with which we are looking at what we choose to call the arranged marriage. I do not approve of arranged marriages. I would not have let anyone arrange mine and I would not arrange anybody else's; but we have to realise—those of us who have had some experience of travel—that in some of the greatest cultures of the world there is this acceptance of the arranged marriage. This includes what has now become a fatal barrier; namely, the fact that you do not see the bride. In my own part of the world, you were not allowed to see the bride, at least in her bridal dress, which is one of the last remaining signs of what was there with us.

We really are, in this matter—and I will hammer this home—insulting the cultures. We are suggesting, as was pointed out by a previous speaker, that this procedure, which is very deeply valued in the cultural divisions of many religions and not just on the Indian sub-Continent, is somehow being used as a method of evading the immigration laws and smuggling in husbands, and so forth. As was borne out by some of the references here, the number of occasions on which the man in an arranged marriage is doing it simply for the purpose of becoming a settled immigrant here is extremely small.

We still insist that we have not had, and nobody has been prepared to give us, the figures or even the relative proportion, which would justify this egregious act of saying that any arranged marriage is simply a devious device for smuggling in a husband. At each stage, we are dealing with smaller and smaller areas of potential immigration. I think we all agree that the primary immigration problem is well under control, and has been for a long time, in spite of some of the yelps.

But I want to emphasise what my noble friend Lord Pitt said. It does not matter what you do. It does not matter what you throw to the NF or the racists. They will come back for more. As he said, one way of demonstrating that you are doing something about the coloured immigrants is to line them up, march them through the streets and put them on a boat at the docks. Of course, you could put them somewhere else, as the Nazis did. This is what we have come to and I endorse what my noble friend Lord Pitt said. The only choice we have is to send them home in this most discriminating way, after we have broken down the family, broken down their cultures and treated them as second-class citizens. What else can we offer them? What are we going to do about race relations, when we have reached this stage of being one step away from the final solution?

9.43 p.m.

My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord McNair, I have torn up my speech and propose to make just a few comments in a couple of minutes. I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for initiating this debate today, in order that we may talk about the proposals for revision of the Immigration Rules. The Home Secretary said in another place:

"I now invite the House to approve these proposals. This does not mean that my mind is closed to suggestions for modification of the draft rules contained in the White Paper".—[Official Report, Commons, 4/12/79; col. 253.]
Therefore, it is right and proper that we should be discussing these today.

I should like to thank the right reverend Prelate for his most constructive and positive speech, which indicated a love of mankind, caring for each person whatever his colour, race and creed; this love of mankind which is so dependent upon personal relationships. I have many friends from all nations among the immigrant population. May I first mention remarks made to me by people in that great country of India? Somebody in the Indian Government had a map of India and he put on it a map of England. He said, "It is incredible that your little country will take so many of our people. Nevertheless, I wish that our people would remain with us and I am sad and sorry that we are losing to your country some of our best people, whom we could well keep in our country and whom we need and need sorely. But there is the point of view of freedom. If they wish to go, they must go."

Equally, I remember a perfectly magnificent community relations officer in Manchester, a coloured man from India, saying to me, "You English are extraordinary! You think that we enjoy being here, and many of us do; but we long to get back to our own land". I wonder sometimes whether we are going about things in the wrong way: whether we ought, instead, to be conferring with the Third World to find out how conditions could be bettered and developed there, with help from the rest of the world, so that people did not have to leave their homelands but could remain there.

By the same token, many members of the coloured population, wherever they have come from, have been to see me about their children. Their children cannot get jobs, and therefore are unable to work. This worries them. They have said that for the sake of this country, of themselves and of their children they hope that we may bring in rules which will perhaps prevent primary immigration taking place but which will at the same time, as I said earlier, help their own countries to become better places in which people can live.

There are many things in the White Paper which I consider should be revised, particularly those relating to the elderly and the au pair. Today's debate has given us an opportunity to discuss them. However, these questions have been dealt with in a far better way than I could deal with them. Therefore, I propose to make the shortest speech in this debate.

9.47 p.m.

My Lords, I should like to join other noble Lords in congratulating the right reverend Prelate on his maiden speech, which I found to be quite exceptionally interesting. We are only two weeks away from Christmas and it is the season of goodwill. Therefore, strongly as I feel about mass immigration and its consequences and the motives of those who condone and encourage it, I had given serious thought to toning down my speech. But so fierce, so intemperate and so uncompromising have many of the speeches from the Labour and Liberal Benches been that I feel that I ought not to pull my punches. There is another story to be heard; there is another side to the case. It concerns the wishes of the British people. As so often happens, it has not had much of a look-in today.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, will not, I am sure, expect that I am going to agree with him very much. As a matter of fact, I agree with him on one or two small points, in particular on the question of students and why students are unable to take temporary jobs. I am also inclined to agree with my noble and learned friend Lord Scarman about the question of au pairs. On the whole, however, I believe that the proposals contained in the White Paper are moderate and fair. There are many sensitive touches, such as the provision relating to unmarried girls between the ages of 16 and 21 and that which allows children in certain circumstances to join a single parent in this country. Indeed, in the case of former illegal immigrants the proposals seem to be positively generous.

In view of the lateness of the hour, I do not want to go too much into the question of sex discrimination. Certainly there is discrimination in theory; but how much is there in practice? My mother is American, but it would never have occurred to my father for one single instant that that gave him the moral right to go and live in the United States, if he so chose; and I doubt very much whether he had the legal right, either. I realise that with women's liberation, and so on, times have changed; but in the real world, none the less, 999 women out of 1,000 go where their husbands go. His career is the one which takes precedence.

I agree with the criticism made by the noble Baroness, Lady Birk, about the way in which an Italian girl can marry an Indian and bring him into this country, while an English girl cannot do so. It is a ridiculous anomaly. However, I think it is well known that I do not believe that this country should be a member of the EEC, so my position on that point is perfectly consistent.

Undeniably there may be hardships in a few individual cases if these proposals are implemented, and to that extent I do not deny that it is regrettable. However, I have always understood that more often than not politics means having to choose between the lesser of two evils. The choice here is between the evil of a possible injustice to a few individuals or the evil of a greater injustice to the British people as a whole. By "greater injustice" I mean perpetuating the great wrong done to the British people by condoning and encouraging large-scale immigration—and I emphasise the words "large-scale"—and failing to make long-overdue amends to them. Make no mistake, my Lords, it was a great wrong to alter the character of large areas of this country so drastically. It was a great wrong to store up trouble for future generations, because after all the people are not ignorant of the fact—although they may not know the precise data—that for every successful multi-cultural society in the world there are at least 10 unsuccessful ones. If there were time I would gladly give chapter and verse on that. It was a great evil to do all this without consulting the people—without a referendum. Whether or not noble Lords disagree with me, I am sure that they must know in their hearts that if there had ever been a referendum the people would have voted overwhelmingly against what has happened.

Instead, what did happen? Working class people who complained about the impact upon their way of life were sneered at by sociologists who accused them of adopting petit bourgeois attitudes and of being "not on the side of life"—that favourite cliché of the early and mid-1960s. Professional people, academics and others, who so much as ventured to suggest that totally unlimited immigration might on the whole not be a good thing were virtually accused of being on a moral par with Nazi concentration camp guards, and if anyone thinks that I am exaggerating I suggest that they look up some of the speeches and the articles written at that time. They were often accused of this by the very people who, a few years later, were voting for immigration control. That was what compounded the wrong: the Establishment, the politicians and opinion formers tacitly conceded their mistakes towards the end of the 1960s by starting to support immigration control, although still remaining unusually tolerant of illegal immigrants in comparison with other countries. However, they refused to admit their own mistakes openly or to show a true sense of contrition which might have reconciled the British people to some extent to what had happened. Instead they pretended that everything had gone according to plan and everything was for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

Accordingly, to the man in the street, it appeared as though people living in comfortable circumstances in Belsize Park and Belgravia—and I say Belgravia because at the outset there were plenty of Conservatives who were just as contemptuous of the fears of the people as there were people on the Left—were looking down on, and disregarding the genuine fears of, people in Birmingham. Bolton, Bradford and Brixton. Whenever the latter objected, those at the top would intimidate them with a threat of ever more draconian race relations laws.

I believe that is why Mrs. Thatcher struck such a responsive chord when she spoke of people feeling swamped. Mrs. Thatcher was absolutely right. A great many people do feel swamped and quite a high proportion actually are swamped. I have never felt swamped nor, I suppose, have many of your Lordships. I live in a pleasant part of London. A great many Middle Eastern people have come there in recent years, but they are transient—or so one believes. We have a number of Asian shopkeepers and West Indian council workers who do an absolutely first-class job. They are agreeable and pleasant people and there is absolutely no problem whatsoever; but my part of London is not necessarily characteristic.

I remember an old lady whom I met who was born and brought up in West Ealing, who told me that the place where she lived had been transformed out of all recognition. So in anticipation of today's debate I went last week to Southall to see for myself. When I arrived I stood and did a count of the passers-by. Of the first 100 83 were Asian and two West Indian. As I got further into the town the proportion of English people dropped to about 10 per cent. I found it as a matter of fact a very attractive place; the shops were bright and full of delicious looking Indian confectionery, the fruit and vegetable stalls were doing good business, the women looked charming in their saris and the children were well dressed and well behaved. But the fact is that it was not England as the people who were born and brought up there knew it. They felt strangers in their own district. This is not an isolated instance.

It is all very well for me to enjoy this colourful and exotic ambience but what about the people who have been born and brought up there and have had the place changed without their consent? Suppose the boot were on the other foot and that 18½ million English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, plus 10 and one-third million people from the West Indies and Africa had gone to settle in the Indian sub-Continent over the past 30 years and that their numbers were forecast to increase to between 53 and 57 million by the year 2000 as a result of further immigration and a higher birth rate than the indigenous population's. The Indians, the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis would be up in arms, and understandably and rightly so.

My Lords, has it not occured to the noble Lord that that is exactly what we did do in the British Empire in the imperial days. We did go in, we did colonise and did totally change, and we were rather resented for it, but in a very different way from the way the noble Lord is describing.

Yes, my Lords, of course we did, but that is the past; the noble Baroness is talking about the 19th century. I am sure she would agree when I say that I do not think there were ever more than 100,000 British in India at any one time. It is a rather different matter from the equivalent of 50 million or so. We have not had that impact on Indian society.

My Lords, we have had much criticism of the "numbers game", but the numbers game is no game at all, it is the very essence of the problem. There are two extreme positions it is possible to take on immigration. At one extreme you have the National Front and people of that ilk who believe that nobody should be allowed to live in this country at all unless they can prove they are of 100 per cent. Anglo Saxon or possibly Celtic origin. At the other extreme you have the Young Liberals and other groups on the Left who believe that the country ought to be totally open to up to 1,000 million people. Indeed, that view was much more widely heard 15 or more years ago. Any position in between does involve the numbers game; so what are acceptable numbers?

One of the famous incantations of the open door lobby is that we have absorbed other waves of immigrants before without any problems, so why not this one? The answer is that this wave of immigration bears no relation to any previous influx. It is quite without precedent in its sheer size and also without precedent in the relative educational standards of the immigrants in relation to the rest of the population and in the relative birth rate in relation to that of the indigenous population. Virtually nobody in this country, I believe, would have any objection to the entry of students, tourists, businessmen, people who come to work on short-term contracts, just as British people go to work on short-term contracts in Africa and in the Gulf.

Very few people, apart from a few extremists, have ever objected to refugees. Of course, in the past we have happily accepted Jewish, Polish and Hungarian refugees from totalitarian and bloodthirsty régimes. The great tragedy of the excessive immigration that took place in the 'fifties and early 'sixties is that it made British people less willing than they have traditionally been to accept Asians fleeing from the murderous régime of General Amin and other Asians fleeing from the almost equally appalling régime of the successors of Ho Chi Minh. I do not think, either, that people would ever have objected to a modest number of immigrants other than refugees. When you ask me who I would include in this modest number I would think that the ex-Serviceman referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, would have high priority.

It may be pertinent to refer to the subject of Kenya at this point, because Kenya is frequently cited as being a model multi-racial society which not only Rhodesia but other people should follow. Kenya is a most impressive country in some ways. It is a long time since I have been there, but I was certainly impressed when I did go. But multi-racial in a true sense it is not. The permanent European population of Kenya is now down to 15,000. (There are many contract workers, but they do not count). I doubt that the Asian population exceeds 50,000. The total population of Kenya is 13 million. Therefore, the immigrant population is a mere one half of 1 per cent. That type of multiracialism, of course, creates no problems for anyone. The minority races are small and are declining because the indigenous Europeans admit that there is little future for their children there and no future for their grandchildren. So, the numbers are declining and they present no problem of any sort to anyone. The Africans can afford to be magnanimous and elect one European and one Asian to Parliament.

I have spoken previously about the 1 per cent rule. I believe that any country can positively benefit from absorbing a strongly differing cultural group so long as it does not exceed 1 per cent. by very much. Once one goes above that figure problems start. My feelings as regards that rule stem partly from intuition and partly from the experience of other countries. The larger the nucleus of the differing cultural group, the more of a magnet it is to those who want to come in from poorer countries. I do not think that anyone can deny that Britain will remain relatively richer to most of the new Commonwealth for many generations to come. The larger the group is, the easier it is to be discreetly absorbed within it. The noble Baroness, Lady Hornsby-Smith, gave many examples of the tremendous lengths people would go to to get round the controls.

Furthermore, the larger the group the more likely it is to demand special dispensations, which are quite reasonable from the point of view of the members of the group. At this stage some of your Lordships may say, "What about Rhodesia? Has not the minority there been granted special dispensations?" That is perfectly true. But, for all the fine words that we shall hear about a multiracial democracy, my sad prediction is that within 10 years of a new Government being elected in Rhodesia, the minority population will have shrunk from its present 300,000—that is to say 270,000 Europeans plus about 30,000 Asians and people of mixed race—down to about 50,000, whatever Government come to power. This will happen faster if the Patriotic Front get in. It will not be due to any bad faith on the part of Bishop Muzorewa, the Reverend Sithole, or indeed the Patriotic Front leaders: it will be due to the inexorable pressures of an exploding population. People simply have not realised the de-stabilising effect that the population explosion will have worldwide.

It is ironic that we should be encouraging a multiracial society at a time when almost every country in the world is becoming more homogeneous and less cosmopolitan. It is sad, but it is so; it seems to be the human norm. The other day the New Statesman published an article showing how the Common Market was discreetly changing rules to prevent immigration. The Germans have 250,000 illegal immigrants about whom they are worried stiff.

My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Monson, is aware that he has not altogether carried the House with him in taking the discussion away from the rules and on to the subject of Rhodesia and the Common Market?

My Lords, I did not want Rhodesia to be quoted against me and so I simply mentioned it to save other noble Lords the trouble of doing so. The Gulf States are practically the only true—

My Lords, perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, will bear with me. My point of view has not been heard much in the House today. The Gulf States—which are perhaps the only true growth area in the world—attract labour, fellow Moslems, from Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, but they take great care not to give them citizenship rights. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, may ask how I can reconcile my libertarian principles with opposition to large scale immigration.

My Lords, I hesitate to interrupt the noble Lord. He has spoken for 17 minutes. Many speeches have been made. I wonder whether he would be kind to the House and be as quick as possible, as we have many more speeches to hear.

My Lords, I quite appreciate that. I am just about to wind up. I make no apologies for being a nationalist rather than an internationalist. I believe that nationalism runs with the grain of human nature rather than against it. Robert Ardrey put it rather more bluntly. In referring to the claims made by internationalists he spoke of "sentimentality and self-delusion". I am fortified in my support from perhaps an unexpected quarter. One of the most powerful defences that I have read of the right of a nation to decide who shall and who shall not come to its shores, in other words, the right of a nation to discriminate, came from the pen of that world famous and almost universally-respected liberal, the late Don Salvador de Madariaga. I am not ashamed to find myself in such company.

I want to see goodwill and harmony among the different peoples of this earth—the different races, cultures and linguistic groups—just as much as the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, and his friends. But I believe sincerely that this is most likely to be achieved if the separate peoples in question do not tread on one another's toes. Whatever the criticisms of this White Paper—some of which are possibly valid—the proposals it contains, if implemented, would go some way towards ensuring that the toes of the British people are trodden on rather less often than has been the case in recent years. For that reason I support the Government.

10.7 p.m.

My Lords, I do not intend to follow the noble Lord who preceded me, except to correct him on one fact. There are now about two to three times as many Europeans living in Kenya as there were before independence. Is it not remarkable that in the latest election in Kenya one of the white citizens of Kenya was elected a Member of Parliament by a massive majority from an almost entirely African electorate?

My Lords, will the noble Lord not agree that three-quarters of the Europeans at present in Kenya are on short-term contracts and are not permanent residents?

My Lords, no, I would not agree with that. One cannot judge the time that they will spend there, but it is a very common feature of black independent Africa for there to be far more Europeans living in those countries today than there were before independence.

I pass to a much more pleasant task, which is to congratulate very warmly the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford on his maiden speech. As my noble friend Lord Pitt of Hampstead said, I hope that he will not have to speak on this subject again. As one who was brought up in Yorkshire and who is honoured to be an honorary member of the University of Bradford at present, may I assure him that he has a very long way to go before he will be accepted as a Yorkshireman. This also applies to my noble friend Lord Chitnis who will be an "off-corned-on" for several generations to come and the right reverend Prelate's missionary work will be in vain.

I shall now address myself for a moment or two—and it will be only a moment or two—to the Government Front Bench. Several times on many subjects which we have debated in this House I have pointed out what seems to me to be self-evident: that the present Government are constantly acting in defiance of accepted Conservative principles. We have heard talk about arranged marriages. How many hereditary Peers would there he in this House today if there had not been arranged marriages through the ages?—on that side of the House in particular. We have heard talk about rolling back the frontiers of the State. Can the frontiers of the State become more intimate than they are shown to be in the intentions of the White Paper which we are discussing today? Is it enough for the Government to talk about rolling hack the frontiers of the State when it comes to the protection of welfare and social facilities, but pointing forward the frontiers of the State when it comes to the personal life of married people?

Again the party opposite has always claimed to be a party of the family, and yet look at these sordid little provisions in the White Paper on the entry of widowed or elderly parents and grandparents! Can we not convince the Government that there are cultures and societies where the value of the family, and particularly of the extended family, is still preciously held and where it apparently fits in with their own desire that the family should look after its own, rather than the State?

Finally on this section, the Government claim to be the protector of the self-employed. Has the noble Lord's attention been drawn to the protest made by the Chinese Association in this country on clause 35 in his White Paper, under which nobody is allowed to enter this country on the basis of self-employment with less than £100,000? According to the Chinese—and they must be only one of several communities in this situation—if nobody is to be allowed to enter the country on the basis of self-employment with less than £100,000, that very valuable section of our self-employed businesses will simply disappear.

Twice before—and I want to address this specifically to the noble Lord, Lord Belstead—at Question Time I have asked the noble Lord a specific question, and on each occasion he has avoided an answer. The question is simply this: In the Conservative Manifesto, as has already been mentioned from our Front Bench by my noble friend Lady Birk, this sentence was included:
"The rights of all British citizens legally settled here are equal before the law whatever their race, colour or creed
And then the Manifesto goes on:
"and their opportunities ought to be equal too".
I have asked the noble Lord to try to equate that pledge on which his party was elected to government with the measures that are included in this White Paper. Is it not obvious that if there is a conflict—as surely there must be—then the Government have taken the wrong path? If the Government believe in the pledge they gave to the nation—and I know that the noble Lord has said to me before that they also pledged to cut down immigration, but surely that is not the answer—which I have just quoted, then this way of cutting down immigration, by making separate categories of citizens, is not the way of honourable fulfilment of that election pledge.

In my view—and I no more than summarise the whole weight of argument throughout this debate—this White Paper can be described in three words: it is racialist; it is sexist; and it is illegal. The argument on its racial character has been fully explored by my noble friend Lord Pitt and others. All I would say on that is that I believe that this Government are doing what other Governments have done before. There can be a case for the control of immigration; that case must not be mixed up with race or colour.

The argument on sexism has been more than fully put by my noble friend Lady Lockwood, and also in the remarkable speech from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman. All I would say is that the kind of sexism which is apparent in this Paper reminds me of the Hitlerian description of the role of woman of the 1930s, Kinder, Küche, Kirche.

On the last point, that of illegality, on which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, made such a fine speech, I have only one point to add to what he said on the European Commission of Human Rights. Have the Government considered their position in regard not just to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, not just the European Commission of Human Rights, but their position on the Helsinki Agreement? I remind them of what they are pledged to according to the Helsinki Agreement:
"The participating States will examine favourably and on the basis of humanitarian considera- tions requests for exit or entry permits from persons who have decided to marry a citizen from another participating State".
It goes on:
"The participating States will deal in a positive and humanitarian spirit with the applications of persons who wish to be reunited with members of their family, with special attention being given to requests of an urgent character, such as requests submitted by persons who are ill or old. They will deal with applications in this field as expeditiously as possible".
I simply ask the Minister, as did Lord Scarman, whether the Government believe that the proposals contained in this White Paper can be equated with the pledge we have given as parties to the Helsinki Agreement. We rightly condemn breaches of the Helsinki Agreement when we point them out in the case of the Soviet Union and other nations. Are we not in these proposals breaking our solemn pledged international word, and are the Government content, satisfied and happy that that is the inevitable conclusion to be drawn by the rest of the world, and by the citizens of this country, with regard to the proposals they are now making?

10.18 p.m.

My Lords, as the 20th speaker in this debate I am reminded of the old saying, "Patience is a virtue. Catch it if you can"—sometimes in a woman, but I will not say what the end is. Like my noble friend Lord Belstead, I have listened to every speech, so we can both claim some patience. At the outset, I wish to pay tribute to the maiden speech of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford which was magnificent and I hope we shall often hear him. I have some association with Bradford, in that one of my relations is at the university there and I would confirm everything he said about the community, the variety of people, in Bradford and the way in which they manage to work together most successfully. As I say, I hope we shall hear from the right reverend Prelate many times in the future.

I was also much impressed by Lord Belstead's speech. I am one of those in my party who has been anxious and rather nervous about the rules in the White Paper and I came to the debate today in a rather uncertain frame of mind. Having listened to all the speeches, I have been tremendously impressed by what Lord Belstead said, and we must remember as we debate this matter in this House and in another place that we are debating something which is not yet decided. The Home Secretary has said that he is open to conviction about changes; and the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, said that himself today. In the debate in the other place, which I read with great interest, Mr. Merlyn Rees said:
"I have always believed, and I am not prepared to change my belief in opposition, that there should be control of immigration".—[Official Report, Commons, 4/12/79; col. 266.]
Therefore it seems to me that although undoubtedly there are divisions on how this should be done, there is a consensus of opinion that there is a problem that ought to he tackled.

I was tremendously impressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Lockwood, when she put the case—which is a very strong one—on the subject of sex discrimination. I hope that the Government will look at this question because it is something they could well pay attention to, and it might very well improve the Paper if they could make some alterations. The description given by the noble Baroness, Lady Hornsby-Smith, was most impressive. She told us of her three years in the Home Office when she listened to, and had discussions with, immigration officers who were working under very difficult conditions. I think it important that all these matters should be looked at very carefully by the Government. The two noble and learned Lords who spoke about the legal aspect, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Rawlinson of Ewell, both made very substantial points, and I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, and the Home Secretary will look at these.

I want to ask only two questions, and these refer to the refugees. It is made quite clear that with regard to refugees coming to this country the rules will continue to be the same as they are now. I understand from the Standing Conference on Refugees, with which I am in very close touch, that there is some anxiety that this position should be made quite clear in whatever documents are sent out. Furthermore, refugees entering this country for asylum should be told of the organisations, which are mostly voluntary, which can help them in their difficulties. In addition, the revised rules should state that if there is any doubt about a refugee the immigration officer should consult the representative in London of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; the United Kingdom immigrants should be advised about that. As I think the noble Lord knows, there are many organisations which deal with refugees, and they are, I understand, rather deeply concerned that the refugees coming here should be able to get all the information they need.

I do not propose to make a speech. Everything that can be said has been said, and I feel encouraged by what the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has said. I am sure that he will be able to answer many of the questions. I do not know whether there is to be a Division, but if there is, I shall go into the Lobby with the Government in a more encouraged and a more cheerful frame of mind than when I came to the debate.

10.23 p.m.

My Lords, I should like to begin what is the final stage of the debate by thanking the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford for a most constructive speech and for showing how positive an approach can be adopted. I find it quite incredible that anyone who listened to that speech could make the kind of speech that we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Monson. What I think we on these Benches find so detestable about the Government's proposals, in addition to their content, is the way that they were brought about. To us this was one of the nastier pranks included in the Conservative Party manifesto to obtain the votes of that part of the electorate which is openly, or covertly, racialist; and having obtained those votes, the Government feel obliged to fulfil their immoral obligations. In my view, the pledge should never have been in the manifesto, and certainly it is unlikely to represent the view of many people who voted Conservative.

At this stage I do not want to go into all the arguments; I certainly would not dare to do so. I want only to emphasise what I believe to be the main reason why the Government should withdraw the proposals in the White Paper, and if they do not, to state the reasons why we appeal tonight to noble Lords to divide against this unacceptable White Paper.

The main reasons, my Lords, are these. The period of massive immigration into this country is over. The White Paper proposals are based on an illogicality. According to the Government, the first aim is to reduce the numbers coming
"… to this rather crowded island with its relatively high unemployment".
This was the view set out by the Minister of State at the Home Office in a recent article. This is an echo of the highly-emotive appeal used by the Prime Minister at the election, when she scaremongered the electorate by referring to the risk of this country being swamped by immigrants. I do not believe that anyone believes that, except possibly Mr. Enoch Powell. That is a myth. There is no question of swamping. The Government proposals will affect a few thousand people a year, if that. Moreover, if there are abuses of the rules, the Government have the power to deal with them.

As to unemployment, we do not seem to have much difficulty in accommodating, annually, 15,000 to 20,000 Australians who take a paid working holiday here each year—and why not? I welcome them coming here, as I welcome the fact that my daughter was able to work for one whole year in the Royal Hospital at Perth. Why not? This is not the sort of thing about which we ought to be troubling ourselves. The arguments about unemployment are just as specious as those which claim that we live in an overcrowded island. That is just not true. We shall easily absorb 10,000 boat people; it is right that we should do so, and we look forward to doing so. Since 1968 many more people have left Britain every year than have come to live here. Those are the facts. The myth has been put round that we are overcrowded, that every person who comes here will take a British job, and so on. It is not true.

In many places, if we had not had the Ugandan Asians we would not have the services and the shops that we have in Lambeth, in Wandsworth and in other places, and in many places in the Provinces.

But above all these arguments there is the very important question of our international obligations, and the racially and sexually discriminatory nature of the White Paper proposals. I think that the speech that was made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, was quite remarkable. If the Government do not take heed of that brilliant analysis of our obligations and the way in which these rules are destined to breach them, then I think the Government are going to be in serious trouble. The speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, will be quoted all over the country; it will be quoted internationally, and it will be quoted quite rightly. I feel very strongly that we must not get into a situation where we even risk breaching our international obligations.

I do not know why the Government are obsessed with the possibility of arranged marriages being used as a vehicle to gain entry into the United Kingdom. In this process they offend the culture of which the genuinely-arranged marriage is an important feature, and where the system is abused the Home Secretary already has power to act. I believe it is quite wrong to erect more and more restrictions, which are bound to inflict hardship on some innocent people; and, despite the concessions by the Home Secretary to confer the right on a woman born here to be joined by her husband and on a woman born abroad who has a United Kingdom-born parent to be joined by her husband, these rules are very discriminatory indeed, and I do not believe they ought to have a place within our statutory law. They discriminate on grounds of sex because in future husbands and male fiancés are not to be given the same absolute right of entry as wives and female fiancées have and which men had until 1969 and from 1974 till now.

I believe that the points made by my noble friend Lady Seear, with her experience of the Asian women, ought also to be taken in hand by the Government. She is speaking from experience, and I believe that these are matters which ought to change the views of the Government on the sexist and racialist discrimination in the rules. I would finally plead with the Government to consider the weight of opinion in this House, and outside this House, on these rules and regulations before they proceed any further. It is a widespread weight of opinion against the Government. These rules, if enacted in their present form, will only pander to the racist element in our community. At most, they will reduce immigration by a minimal amount. I hope that we shall be joined in the Lobby tonight by all those who feel strongly about discrimination on the grounds of race or sex, and who believe that our main task now is, not to be fiddling around with a few numbers but to try to effect some positive racial harmony in our mixed society, as the right reverend Prelate led us to understand. That is an aim which will be frustrated by this sort of legislation, and the attitude of mind which this sort of legislation reflects. It is not too late for the Government to change course. They could change course before we divide; and if they really substantially change course, we might have to make a quick decision.

10.32 p.m.

My Lords, this debate has ranged widely and, at this hour, I will try to reply to as many of the points raised as your Lordships' patience will allow, but, I hope, no more. Before doing anything else, may I express my appreciation of the speech made by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford. I see from the right reverend Prelate's career that he has moved, as it were, by degrees towards the North of England and now I think Yorkshire is very lucky to be able to count him one of their number. I know that the right reverend Prelate did not agree with a lot of what I had to say. But that is no matter. He made the most wonderful speech and I am glad to have been here to hear it. I join with other noble Lords in saying that it must not be another four years before he comes back to speak in this House again.

May I register disagreement with the view that has been expressed, inherent as it is in the very sweeping Motion which the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, is asking the House to accept this evening, that the Government's White Paper is not the right approach at all to our immigration policy? I think that that does not take account of three things. First, it runs counter—there is no question of that—to the view of the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration which reported 18 months ago; and, although I admired the speech which the noble Lord, Lord Byers, has just made to the House, he made it, if I may say so, as though the Select Committee had never reported at all. The members of that Select Committee wished the Government to make it unequivocally clear that there should be no further major primary immigration into this country.

These are five Members of Parliament from the Conservative Party and five Members of Parliament from the Labour Party and, judging from the names, they had their feet planted pretty firmly on the ground. I reckon that they had in mind when they said that they based their recommendation on the employment and economic situation of this country, the sort of things which two former Ministers in my party who have spoken in this debate today—my noble and learned friend Lord Rawlinson and my noble friend Lady Hornsby-Smith—had in mind also in making their speeches. In this case, I am surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, can be asking the House to vote totally against a White Paper which proposes rules which are firmer in a number of critical areas, and tries to make rules clearer—which the noble Lord asked for in his speech—and easier to operate for the very hard-pressed officers of our Immigration Service.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has published this White Paper so that the views of Parliament can be expressed. And your Lordships, who always are fair, have been, again and again in your speeches, good enough to express your appreciation that at least we have gone about matters in that way. My noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood is quite right that it is the Government's intention that points made in the debate will be carefully considered before new rules are laid before Parliament; so I will not rehearse the three particular areas where my right honourable friend has already rethought proposals, except to pick out one in particular. That is the combination of the dependency criterion, together with the standard-of-living criterion for the entry of dependants of families; and when the noble Lord, Lord Murray of Gravesend, wondered who would check on an applicant's circumstances, this is something which is done sometimes at present in order to see whether or not an entrant to this country has a financial reason for wanting to return to his country of origin. None the less, let me leave that aside. It is on the clash, as people see it, of these two criteria for dependants coming into this country that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has also said that he would look most seriously again.

I find also that views put forward by noble Lords do not take account of a third ground; the difficulty of this whole subject. I can only envy the splendid confidence of noble Lords opposite and on the Liberal Benches, that their views are right, and perish the thought of anyone who may think otherwise! Let me remind your Lordships gently that it was not always thus. My noble and learned friend Lord Rawlinson, with his experience, reminded us that it was in 1969 that the Leader of the Opposition today (the then Home Secretary) took a view that there should be a ban on Commonwealth husbands and fiancés. Then there was the removal of the ban in 1974—something which I must say to the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, we made crystal clear in our manifesto that We intended to remove. Then in March 1977 the previous Government changed the rules in order to try to prevent marriages of convenience from being used as a means of immigration. They made that change in the rules solely by reference to men trying to enter in order to marry; an approach to the problem which the Government of today are also adopting and which the Opposition calls sexually discriminatory.

My Lords, I am not going to bandy hard words that the Opposition feel able to use that expression for an approach to a problem which they themselves had to adopt two years ago. The previous Government and the present Government find themselves—if I may use a homely term—in the same boat on this matter. The present legislation, which entitles a woman to acquire her husband's nationality, if he is one of our citizens, to acquire the right of abode on marriage, for wives and children of Commonwealth citizens settled here before 1st January 1973 to be able to come and go as they wish, placed women in a wholly different position and a more favourable position than men so far as immigration matters are concerned. The position therefore that both the previous Government and this Government find themselves in is that we need a new law of nationality. As I said to your Lordships earlier on this afternoon, the previous Government's Green Paper on the subject warned of considerable difficulties which are going to have to be overcome in this regard. But this Government are committed to legislation on nationality and my right honourable friend intends to publish a White Paper during the course of next year.

May I add on this general area of marriages that I believe the requirement that the parties to a marriage should have met if they wish to live in this country is a reasonable one. It is a requirement which, incidentally, can be satisfied by arranged marriages. So contrary to the suggestion of some noble Lords, the new rules will not be an attack on the reputable Asian custom of the arranged marriage. The noble Baroness, Lady Seear, referred to girls who had been her students and who had gone back to contract arranged marriages. Precisely, my Lords. A girl who is to contract an arranged marriage would naturally meet her future husband, either by going back—if that is what the noble Baroness meant—to the country from which she had come, or by meeting her husband through an arranged marriage within the United Kingdom. It is not, I suggest, a natural thing for these marriages to be contracted across the world by a man who we know, time and time again, has only one concern in his mind, and that is to get into the United Kingdom.

Other changes are going to be made in the rules in a number of critical areas, making them firmer. The need for action on these lines is emphasised, I think, by the results of the over-stayers survey which I mentioned to your Lordships earlier. An essential part of an effective after-entry control is to prevent evasion by passengers who say that they are coming on a temporary permit and then turn their visit into a permanent stay.

A great many points which your Lordships have made this afternoon are relevant here and, if I may, I will spend a moment or two endeavouring to reply to them. The noble Baroness, Lady Birk, asked about the position of someone who wishes to enter, marry and leave. It will remain open, of course, under the new proposals for any fiancé who persuades the immigration officer that he intends to return with his wife to his own country, to enter the country as a visitor, under paragraph 54.

My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? Perhaps I did not make it quite clear. I was really talking about the man who comes and is going to marry a British woman in this country and wants to stay, rather than if he comes as a visitor, has to go back and then come back to marry. It was a question of whether he could marry and stay, not to go back.

My Lords, in that case he falls within the rules as they have been drafted within the White Paper. The noble Lord, Lord Byers, mentioned, in passing as it were, the position as he saw it of what are called "working holidaymakers from the Commonwealth"—young people we have all met, very often in large numbers, usually globetrotting, doing a job, getting some experience and going home. The noble Lord, if I may say so, is labouring under a misapprehension if he thinks the rules prevent working holiday-makers from the Commonwealth indulging in that.

My Lords, I did not make that point. I made the point that if we can afford to absorb 15,000 to 20,000 every year of these people, then you cannot use the argument that by increasing immigration by 2,000 you are going to do people out of jobs.

I am sorry, my Lords, perhaps I am getting a little tired at the end of the day: perhaps I got the noble Lord wrong. Perhaps, on the other hand, the Government have to take account of the whole scene and to decide on the number of people at any one time, considering the employment situation in the country at any one time. If I may say so, I think that on those grounds the noble Lord is not on to a very good point.

I also think, if I may say so—and in a moment I am going to concede to your Lordships areas where I think the Government ought to be looking again—that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, and (with great temerity) the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, are perhaps being a little hard when they criticise the provisions governing au pair girls. In future it is true there will be lower and upper age limits—17 and 25—and the au pair scheme will be restricted to nationals of Western Europe, including Malta, Cyprus and Turkey. They will not be able to take employment, that is to say, outside what they are doing—that is, living with a family in this country—nor to spend more than two years in an au pair capacity.

However, the point is that this restriction is not new in principle. The previous Government issued work permits for domestic employment only to Western Europeans. I have been asked what evidence there is of exploitation of the au pair arrangements by girls who are not Western Europeans. We do not keep figures, but since the issue of permits for resident domestics was restricted by the previous Government earlier this year to Western Europeans, there has been a great deal of pressure to admit girls as au pair girls from the countries so excluded. One can only concede that this is in order—I have some understanding and sympathy with what girls are trying to do in this respect—to get around the restriction which the previous Government felt it right to make.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, asked me about rule 89, which covers the question of regular attendance at a course of further or higher education. The Home Office already asks for information about a student's past attendance record. This is normally readily provided by the institutions concerned, and paragraph 98 of the rules mentions this. The rules for students in this White Paper, so far as their length of stay is concerned, will simply reflect what is perfectly normal practice, with proper provision for progression if somebody is going on from a course to a higher course, but with a four-year time limit for what my noble friend Lady Hornsby-Smith called the perpetual student.

My Lords, the noble Lord did not quite answer my point. What I said was that it had been the practice so far to make checks every year. But now under rule 89 it was possible for the Government to demand information about a student's attendance at his lectures at any time throughout the academic year. I said that this was going to impose an additional burden on the universities and colleges at a time when their funds were being severely cut, and I asked how they were supposed to do that.

My Lords, we will certainly take into account what the noble Lord has said. This is precisely what a debate like this is important for, and I assure the noble Lord that I will draw that to my right honourable friend's attention. The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, raised the case of a student who wished to undertake yet further education, after acquiring skills for which an award had been given in the expectation by the award-givers that the graduate would use those skills for the good of his or her own country. None the less, my answer is that, obviously, an extension for such further higher education could, of course, be applied for at the Secretary of State's discretion.

May I refer to two cases which were raised by noble Lords which, certainly, we will look at as sympathetically as possible. The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, raised the question of pupil nurses who might be caught by paragraph 91 of the White Paper. The Government are considering, as sympathetically as possible, the case for altering this paragraph so as to exempt nurses in that respect. As regards the case which the noble Lord, Lord McNair, put, we are certainly considering the view which the noble Lord put so far as paragraph 39 is concerned, although I think that the exemption for which the noble Lord was asking comes a little near to claiming that anyone could come in as a writer or an artist. But it might be possible to allow writers or artists to take employment acceptable to the Department of Employment, which, of course, would be in line with what students do, and I assure the noble Lord that we are considering this as closely as possible.

The noble Baroness, Lady Lockwood, asked me a series of questions of a detailed nature, and at this hour perhaps she will allow me to write to her. I undertake to try to do so as swiftly as possible. In answer to noble Lords who spoke about the European Convention, and to the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, who asked about the Helsinki Final Act, as my right honourable friend the Home Secretary said in another place the Govern- ment have, of course, considered collectively the full implications of the proposals which are in the White Paper, including the question raised today about international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. We believe that we have strong arguments with which to justify those proposals if they should be challenged.

Finally, may I give this assurance to my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood, who asked me whether it would be made clear that there is no change in the effect of the rules. The way in which the relevant paragraph works is that we are seeking to make it clear that a refugee or asylum claim has precedence over other parts of the immigration rules, if they should be agreed by Parliament, and that where such an application is well founded the person is not to be removed to the country in which he or she has a genuine fear of persecution. This is already our practice, but the drafting of the current provisions contained in the rules has been criticised and we want to make it clearer. I hope that what I have been able to say to my noble friend may be helpful to those organisations which do such valuable work in this field.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford said that the seeds of success for good relations within communities can spring only from what he called "person-to-person contact". I agree, but I think the right reverend Prelate would be the first to say to me that for that person-to-person contact to be fruitful both parties must make contact with as open minds as possible. To achieve this, the Government have what my noble and learned friend Lord Rawlinson called a weighty responsibility to assure people that men are not coming here by exploiting the immigration rules and that immigration is being controlled not only firmly but as fairly as possible, in line with what was recommended only 18 months ago by the 10 Members of Parliament on the Select Committee.

Any democratic Government must have regard to people's anxieties on these points. This is why we said at the General Election that firm immigration control is essential for good community relations. I believe that upon the draft rules set out in this White Paper we can continue to build the united society that we all desire, and I therefore ask your Lordships to reject the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, which is before your Lordships' House tonight.

My Lords, I do not want to delay the House, but before the noble Lord sits down will he comment on a point which I hold very strongly about children: the question of sole responsibility. I have raised the point with umpteen previous Ministers, so it will not matter if the noble Lord is in difficulty over answering me tonight. All I hope is that he will undertake to ask his right honourable friend to look at whether the word "sole" can be changed to "main".

My Lords, I have got the point. I shall certainly draw it personally to the attention of my right honourable friend, and I shall see to it that the noble Lord is written to either by myself or by the Minister responsible, again as soon as possible.

10.53 p.m.

My Lords, I hope not to detain your Lordships for very many minutes at this late hour. I must echo first the congratulations which have already been expressed to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bradford on a most notable maiden speech—one which was imbued with humanity and love of his fellow men, which one would have hoped would have found its way into the immigration rules.

The right reverend Prelate said one or two things which the Minister obviously did not take note of as he was speaking. He talked about the effect on the minds of Asians of the proposals now before your Lordships' House which make them feel as though they are second-class citizens. This point was echoed by a number of other noble Lords, including in particular my noble friend Lord Chitnis and the noble Lord, Lord Pitt of Hampstead, who showed quite graphically the effect which these proposals have on the minds of the ethnic minorities, a question which has been totally ignored by the noble Lord in his winding-up.

He asked why we had put down a Motion which was against this White Paper, lock, stock and barrel. Well, I do not know any mechanism by which your Lordships' House can condemn half a White Paper, but as far as I am concerned I can find nothing good to say about it. It warrants the epithets which are in our Motion, and I think that has been borne out fully by the discussion we have had.

The noble Lord, Lord Belstead, says that we should have looked at the report of the Select Committee on Race Relations in another place. We have done that and we noticed that the Government have been selective in the recommendations which they have chosen to implement. In particular, they have persistently ignored the pleas from the Indian community that the United Kingdom passport-holders, who were originally resident in East Africa and who escaped temporarily to the Indian sub-continent, should now be allowed to come here, instead of being restricted to 500 a year, so that the queue has built up, as the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, is well aware, to some four years' waiting time for people who are our own citizens to be allowed to enter this country.

I wonder whether the noble Lord will look seriously at the debate which we have had today, when he accuses those of us who have spoken against the proposals of being inconsistent. The noble Lord said that the law on nationality is needed: we agree with him. My noble friend Lady Seear reiterated this yet again. Of course, it was one of the points that was principally emphasised by the Home Secretary in his Leicester speech as being the first priority that a Conservative Government would take note of when they came into office; and yet we have the cart before the horse. We have these rules, as my noble friend said, preceding the law of nationality on which they should be based.

I thought the most devastating attack on these proposals came from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, and it is all very well for the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, to dismiss them as easily as he did. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, went through in some detail the articles in the European Convention on Human Rights which are going to be violated by these rules. The noble Lord persists in ignoring the warnings that have been given to him from such high authority. He must realise perfectly well that, unless we alter these rules before they reach the statute book, there will be cases submitted; it is not a case of "if ", as I said during his speech, but "when" a case is brought. When that case is brought, on the advice that we have been given this evening it is perfectly certain to fail and after two years or so we shall finish up back where we started, but with the opprobrium of the whole of Europe.

My Lords, we cannot allow such proposals to go forward from this House. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scarman, rightly said, we are the guardians

CONTENTS
Airedale, L.Foot, L.Ogmore, L.
Amherst, E.Gladwyn, L.Peart, L.
Avebury, L. [Teller.]Goronwy-Roberts, L.Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Banks, L.Gregson, L.Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.Hale, L.Ritchie-Calder, L.
Birk, B.Hampton, L.Robson of Kiddington, B.
Blease, L.Hatch of Lusby, L.Rochester, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.Janner, L.Seear, B.
Boyle of Handsworth, L.Jeger, B.Simon, V.
Bradford, Bp.Kirkhill, L.Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.Listowel, E.Stewart of Fulham, L.
Burton of Coventry, B.Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.[Teller.]Stone, L.
Byers, L.Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Castle, L.Lockwood, BUnderhill, L.
Chitnis, L.Mackie of Benshie, L.Wade, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.McNair, L.Walston, L.
David, B.Milner of Leeds, L.Wells-Pestell, L.
Davies of Leek, L.Mishcon, L.Wigoder, L.
Evans of Claughton, L.Murray of Gravesend, L.

NOT-CONTENTS
Abinger, L.Gibson-Watt, L.Rankeillour, L.
Aldington, L.Gisborough, L.Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Allerton, L.Glasgow, E.Redesdale, L.
Amherst of Hackney, L.Godber of Willington, L.Reigate, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L.Gowrie, E.Renton, L.
Bellwin, L.Gray, L.Renwick, L.
Belstead, L.Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)Rochdale, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.St. Aldwyn, E.
Campbell of Croy, L.Hives, L.St. Helens, L.
Cathcart, E.Holderness, L.Sandford, L.
Clitheroe, L.Home of the Hirsel, L.Sandys, L. [Teller.]
Cockfield, L.Hornsby-Smith, B.Selkirk, E.
Cork and Orrery, E.Kimberley, E.Sempill, Ly.
Craigmyle, L.Kinnaird, L.Sharples, B.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.Long, V.Strathcarron, L.
Davidson, V.Lucas of Chilworth, L.Strathclyde, L.
De La Warr, E.Lyell, L.Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.]Mackay of Clashfern, L.Swinfen, L.
Drumalbyn, L.Mansfield, E.Tranmire, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B.Margadale, L.Trefgarne, L.
Exeter, M.Massereene and Ferrard, V.Trenchard, V.
Faithfull, B.Monson, L.Vaizey, L.
Falkland, V.Mottistone, L.Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Ferrers, E.Mowbray and Stourton, L.Vernon, L.
Ferrier, L.Norfolk, D.Vivian, L.
Gainford, L.Northchurch, B.Young, B.
Galloway, E.Onslow, E.

Resolved in the negative, and Motion disagreed to accordingly.

and sentinels of the honour of our people. Therefore, I hope that your Lordships will join us in the Division Lobby in voting against this White Paper.

10.58 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 55; Not-Contents, 80.