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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, before the Minister leaves that point, I hope she will say a little more about what is meant by being under pressure. Is it not possible that one of the pressures which might exist would not be their being told to leave by the Chinese authorities but that, not having any other passport, they could not travel away from Hong Kong and return?

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Would that be considered pressure which would qualify them under the guarantee which the Prime Minister gave?

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I think that I shall come to that matter. At the same time the Prime Minister undertook to consider whether we should seek to identify specific circumstances that should be met. He also made clear his view that setting down in advance a specific set of circumstances would not necessarily give better protection than broad guarantees already in place. I am sure that Ministers of the day would not interpret Britain's commitment narrowly. We have accepted that evidence of discrimination could indeed be a relevant factor. I think that goes some way to assure the noble Lord that simply pressure to leave would not be the only factor taken into account. I thank my noble friend for introducing the Bill. I support the Motion that this Bill be given a Second Reading.

8.36 p.m.

Lord Willoughby de Broke: My Lords, I am most grateful to everyone who has spoken so eloquently on this sensitive subject. I hope that the people in Hong Kong who are affected by this measure and their supporters--Mr. Jack Edwards has been mentioned--and the war wives and widows will draw great comfort from what has been said tonight by noble Lords on all sides of the House. Several noble Lords mentioned the non-Chinese ethnic minorities. I share the concerns, but it is, I believe, another battle for another day which I look forward to joining.

I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, for his generous apologies concerning the unfortunate events in another place. I welcome most warmly his assurance of support on this occasion and as regards the detailed way in which we hope to proceed. There is little more I can say other than to commend the Bill most warmly to your Lordships. I ask that it now be given a Second Reading.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

        House adjourned at twenty-three minutes before nine o'clock.

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