§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I beg to move, in page 13, line 2, at the end, to insert the words:and of two unpaid commissioners, of whom one shall be a layman and the other a laywoman.1802 I hope the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway will support me in this Amendment. The first two Amendments that I have on the paper are not being moved, because they would, for technical reasons, increase the charge, but I can give the same effect to the three Amendments by moving my Amendment in this form. The Clause, as a whole, will read as follows:The Board of Control shall consist of the Chairman (who shall be a paid commissioner), and not more than four other commissioners, all of whom shall be paid commissioners, and two unpaid commissioners, of whom one shall be a layman and the other a laywoman.The matter was debated in Committee upstairs, and I do not propose to argue it at great length. Here the Board of Control is being radically changed. Whereas under the Mental Deficiency Acts which constituted it there were to be 15 members, and there are now I think 11 members, the Royal Commission reported that they thought it necessary to have the Board of Control, which had done admirable work, and whose functions were so great, reduced and to divide its functions between the visiting Commissioners on the one hand and the administrative board on the other. For that purpose, the administrative board should consist of quite a small number. They actually suggested four, and possibly five. This Bill proposed a Board of Control of one chairman and four Commissioners, and suggests a staff of 15 visiting Commissioners. The remuneration suggested—a point which cannot be referred to now—is also lamentably behind the report of the Royal Commission. Evidently, this Bill suggests that all the five members of the new Board of Control shall be paid members. That cuts out the unpaid Commissioners who have done such good work hitherto at the Board of Control, and to make assurance doubly sure, there is a definite Clause later in the Bill which says that there shall be no unpaid Commissioners. There is nothing to that effect in the report of the Royal Commission. The report of the Royal Commission has been referred to again and again as being the substance and the reason for the scope of the new Bill, and clearly one has to look further afield for the reason for cutting out the unpaid Commissioners.
As a matter of fact, the unpaid Commissioners at the present moment are 1803 reckoned to be doing good work. The actual number has come down to two. One of them is my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Sir C. Forestier-Walker), who has done such admirable work in local Government, in Forestry and Ecclesiastical matters in the House, and is universally popular as representing the typical Member of Parliament who serves his constituency, understands people of all classes, and always makes himself extremely pleasant. The other is a lady who, besides having the treasured name of Darwin, has done some admirable work. Another who was unpaid is now a paid Commissioner. All these have been doing admirable work. It is said that in future this is to be done by the paid Commissioners, that the paid Commissioners are to be civil servants, and that the work is to be systematised and brought under control. It is for that reason that we propose in this Amendment that there is to be one unpaid lay man and one unpaid lay woman to bring in the unofficial element. The gist of our proposal is that there shall be an unpaid unofficial element to bring the point of view of the ordinary man and woman into the working of the Control Board.
The lengthy proceedings upstairs in Committee and in this House this evening show the real reason for this. The fact is that it has been clearly shown that there is a great suspicion and distrust of the official element in dealing with this question of mental disorder, and quite naturally and rightly so. You are touching the very basis of human life, and there are innumerable opportunities for things to go wrong. You want to establish public confidence and show that there is not going to be the iron grip of officialdom upon the unfortunates who are being dealt with by this system of mental supervision and treatment. It is the greater regularisation and systematisation of the machine in this Bill that inevitably shocks public confidence in administration. It is by bringing in the human factor of the unpaid man and woman into the vital part of the machine, the Control Board, that will give confidence to the public that the Board of Control is still human, in spite of the fact that it is official. It is no insult to or reflection upon the officialdom of the Government service to say that it still 1804 requires this element. Ordinarily boards do not require it in the same kind of way. We on this side have special reasons for believing in the value of unpaid officials in charitable agencies. In this case, they are especially necessary. The difficulties are very great and you must have public confidence which is far more likely to be given if there are unpaid members than if there is simply a paid body of officials.
The proposal in the Bill without the unpaid element creates this greater difficulty that you are dividing the functions. The Board of Control is to sit in Whitehall while the Commissioners are to do the visiting. It is only for very special purposes that the Board of Control will be expected to spare time to visit. Therefore, you will have a separation of functions between the administration by the Commissioners in Whitehall and the visiting staff. The unpaid man and woman would be able to do a good deal of the visiting and introduce the needs that are required. Those who have seen the unpaid visiting committees of county councils or people like the Commissioners at work in the mental hospitals can realise the value of their work. Simply because they are unofficial and unpaid, they can often get into closer touch with the patients and with the staff in a way that the officials are not able to do. I think the unpaid element is one of very great value for all purposes for the Board of Control, and, above all, I think it is required in order to give public confidence that there is a detached point of view being brought in this machine which will save it from being stereotyped on hard and fast lines. I can see no reason for these unpaid members being removed unless it be for a definite political prejudice against unpaid charitable work which is unjust and unsound. I hope I am not right in suggesting that, but I cannot see any other possible reason for depriving the country of the excellent services that the unpaid members have rendered, and I hope the Minister will see fit to accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. McSHANE
On a point of Order. I did not quite get the Amendment suggested by the hon. and gallant Member, but certainly the Amendment standing on the Paper is unsatisfactory in relation to the Clause.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I am not quite certain whether I agree whole-heartedly my hon. and gallant Friend, because the impression he gave me was that he did not place as much importance on this Amendment as I do. I think this is one of the vital Amendments to the Bill, because it deals with the constitution of the Board of Control. The Bill is making vital and radical changes in the constitution of this body, which was formed I think in 1845 of men and women appointed directly by His Majesty the King, men and women who through a long course of years have carried out functions connected with lunacy. We cannot forget that during the early years there was a certain amount of public suspicion of the Board of Control, a suspicion which perhaps in the early years may have been justified, but there is no doubt that for some years now the Board of Control have been gaining more and more the confidence of the public. They occupy a very special and peculiar position. They are the only safeguard that mental patients in this country have against improper or illegal detention. I venture to think that the increasing status of the Board of Control has given a measure of confidence to the people that our lunacy laws are being administered in a fair, reasonable and legal manner. I can imagine nothing which would give the people more satisfaction than the knowledge that on this Board of Control were two lay persons, a man and a woman, unpaid, there to look after the interests of the patients.
Absolutely nothing. These lay Commissioners were absolutely unpaid. That is a very important point. It shows that they have been absolutely unprejudiced, and under no Departmental control or influence. The duties of the Board of Control are very valuable and varied. They include scrutiny of the receiving documents under which patients are received in care, and the continuation reports, which warrant the continued detention, the visitation of places where patients are detained, supervision of the 1806 arrangements for the care and treatment of patients, the licensing of licensed houses in the Metropolis, and the examination of records and preparation of statistics. The Board of Control have very intimate and careful associations with all the mental patients of this country, to see that none are admitted and none kept under treatment unless the certificates are in order. I have a great regard for the Civil Servants of this country. There is not the slightest doubt that they are the most magnificent in the world, but still they are Departments of State, and it is a matter of common experience in this House that, if we ask questions which a Department does not wish to answer, we do not get the answer. Under this Bill, the Board of Control is simply going to become a Department of State.—[Interruption.]—All the members of the Board will be in a way Departmental officials.
I believe it is the idea of the Minister and the Department that it should become a Department of the Ministry of Health. In discussing this point upstairs in Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary acknowledged that fact. She wished them to be civil servants of the same status as others. One of the objections made, when we brought forward the Amendment, was that it was altogether a new idea in any Civil Service Department to have gifted amateurs receiving no pay, and therefore not subject to strict control. There you have the whole gist of the thing. That is the reason why this House should not refuse this Amendment, because these unpaid Commissioners are, I suggest, a very strong safeguard that the Board of Control does not get so departmentalised, that the people of the country cannot get to know what is really happening. The Royal Commission did not recommend this method at all, and I admire the ingenuity of the Minister, because when he brings any point forward which is in the Royal Commission's report, then he cites it in favour, but when he brings anything forward not in the report, then he tactfully does not refer to it. The Royal Commission statesIt would be in our view undesirable that the Board of Control should lose its identity by being merged in the Ministry of Health. We consider it essential that they should be a separate organisation responsible for the administration of the Lunacy and Mental Deficiency Acts.1807 This Bill simply brings the whole Board of Control under the control of the Ministry of Health, and we venture to say that is against the interests both of the Board of Control—[Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Sherwood) has anything on which he wishes to inform the House or criticise, I shall be very pleased to give way, but not to these irrelevant And meaningless interjections. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman either goes to sleep or leaves the Chamber. This is a very important Amendment, and I regard it as vital to the future status of the Board of Control. The question of status was raised upstairs and has been raised again, because, without giving any offence, I suggest that the constitution of the Board of Control as foreshadowed in the Bill is a definite lowering of the status of that body. Up to the present, as I pointed out before, members of the Board of Control have been directly appointed by His Majesty the King on the recommendation of the Secretary of State, but under this Bill they are to be appointed by the Minister of Health and His Majesty's consent is not required. That is a definite lowering of their status.
Another lowering of status is that the Commissioners may conceivably have to interview some of the highest medical men and medical psychologists dealing with lunacy in the country, and, when they are meeting such men, it is only natural that they should give advice and receive it from people with a status comparable to their own. You will probably not get the same smooth working as you have had in the past.
This Amendment deals specifically with the fact that we should continue a lay man and a lay woman on the Board of Control, as a safeguard in a way, and also in order to increase the confidence of the public in the work that the Board of Control is doing. It is a very definite difficulty and danger that we shall have to face. The very fact that we are allowing voluntary patients to submit themselves for treatment will make people in this country more and more suspicious and anxious that in no possible circumstances shall they get under the control of a Department and all trace of them be lost. Once people know that ladies or gentlemen, from very love of 1808 service to their country, are prepared to serve on that Board for no remuneration but simply to look after the interests of the patients, it will be of great benefit to the country, and it will be easier to get these patients in the earliest stages. I know that the Minister is definitely opposed to this proposal. In Committee, he was very adamant and would not listen to our demands. Therefore, I feel that I must appeal beyond the Minister to this House. The Minister holds his position through the votes of this House, and, therefore, I appeal to this House to show that it does not agree with the Minister in his attitude, and that it is determined, in spite of him, that the views and the votes of the House of Commons shall control this question.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
This is an Amendment of substance, and, as the hon. Member for Royton (Dr. Davies) has said, it is of vital interest. It is one, however, which I cannot accept. It is not true that I did not listen to the hon. Member's arguments in Committee. I did listen to them, and I found them wanting. I am still of the same opinion as I was then, that this principle of accepting lay commissioners really introduces an element that is foreign to the spirit of the Royal Commission from whose Report the hon. Member has quoted. What did the Royal Commission anticipate? A small body of full-time people running an administrative machine. The hon. Members opposite want a commission larger than what was recommended by the Royal Commission, with two unpaid people in it for no other purpose than to make it a body less responsive to the Minister than the Royal Commission ever had in mind. In the early stages of the Bill, a strong view was expressed, not that this body was subservient to the Minister, but that it was far too independent of the Minister. The case that I have made time after time is that in these proposals it would be possible to get a closer contact between the Minister and the administrative machinery than is possible in cases where you have unpaid people. The Royal Commission never wanted a body that was more independent. It wanted a more effective administrative machine. No one will ever persuade me that you will have a machine that is effective if you have it established partly of volunteers.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
Hon. Members are mistaking the use of words. We are talking about officers who are administering as officers and whose responsibility ultimately is to Parliament. We are not talking about local authorities. I am quite sure that the local authorities of whom hon. Members speak would never dream of appointing honorary officers.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
My Amendment does not ask for officers, but for members of the Board of Control.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
What is wanted, quite clearly, by hon. Members opposite is a semi-independent body over whom no one is going to have control.
§ 2.0 a.m.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
Oh, no. We have had this argument before. The argument that has been levelled repeatedly against the Minister and the Board of Control is that this body, as constituted to-day, is utterly out of touch with the public and has lost public confidence. To-day, it contains people who are unpaid commissioners. I see no reason to believe that, if public confidence has been forfeited, it is going to be restored by people who are there to-day. The procedure suggested by the Royal Commission has, I submit, been adopted in the Bill. There is no other Department of State to-day which places heavy executive and administrative responsibilities on an honorary staff. The Board of Education is not expected to have among its inspectorial staff a number of unpaid people in order to bring confidence on the part of the public to the Board of Education. The Ministry of Agriculture is not required to have that, either. Why should we have it in the Board of Control? There is no reason at all. The fact that you have two people, a man and a woman, from whom you cannot make demands but to whom you can make re- 1810 quests—is that going to make a difference to the spirit of the Board of Control? It is not. Hon. Members opposite are pressing this Amendment, not because they want more direct public control over the Board, but because, apparently, they want less. If the House is inclined to follow the report of the Royal Commission, it must stand by this view. There is a subsequent Amendment for which there may be some thing to be said. This particular Amendment, I believe, would be injurious to the interests of mental treatment, and I hope that the House will reject it.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman is rather alarming in its tone and temper, and it certainly does not appear to be in line with the tenor of the report. I understand that there was no objection in the Committee to the zeal or capability of the unpaid members of the Board of Control. If hon. Members will turn to the Royal Commission's report and summary, they will find the Minister's point is not shared by the Commission. On page 175, the Commission says:We are satisfied that the criticisms to which this Department has been subjected are to a large extent ill-informed, and that where criticism is justified the cause is to be found rather in the defects of the existing system than want of zeal in the members of the Board.So that the Minister's view does not seem to be borne out.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
If the hon. Gentleman turns over to page 176, he will find the kind of Board the Royal Commission did suggest should be brought into existence. There is no suggestion of unpaid members.
§ Mr. BROWN
I was not dealing with that point. What the Royal Commission said was that with regard to voluntary effort they wanted the finest.
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, we have in this country in many departments of administration men and women with knowledge and that kind of British independent judgment which we want to bring to bear upon difficult and technical problems. No Minister of State should know that better than the Minister who presides over the great Department of the Ministry of Health. I must say that the tenor of his speech really drives me in favour of the Amendment, for, if that 1811 is the outlook of the Minister of Health and his Department, then the sooner this House takes note of it the better. It does appear that if there is a number of independent people not under the control of the Department the better it will be for the unfortunate people who come under the administration of this Board. They will bring their independent judgment to bear. I quite agree that the Commission recommended thatthe Board should consist of a lay chairman, a legal commissioner, a medical commissioner, and a woman commissioner who might be non-technical. It might, however, be found desirable to appoint two medical commissioners, one having experience of institutional administration, and the other possessing special scientific qualifications … In our view, there is no justification for continuing the salaries of the commissioners at £1,500.That does not seem to rule out the idea that we may have, in addition, two extra who may be a man and woman of great experience in this matter. That might lead to great advantage to all those who come under the control of this Board. In one part of the report, it is pointed out that they do not wish the identity of the Board of Control to be merged in the Ministry of Health. The whole view is against that and I object to the tenor of the Minister's speech. He seems to give the idea that his view is that the Board of Control should be a paid body of persons, and that, because they are salaried and not volunteers, they are not merely to be supervised by him, but that he should have the actual control of things in that way. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has done his case any good by making that speech. Members would be lacking in their duty if they did not take the earliest possible opportunity to protest against his ultra-bureaucratic view, especially in matters of this kind, where the liberty of the subject is the vital thing at stake.
§ Miss RATHBONE
I listened with dismay to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I came to this subject quite fresh, not having served on the Committee upstairs. I find the right hon. Gentleman's speech singularly unconvincing. He made, I think, in the main two points against the appointment of unpaid commissioners. One was that there was no precedent in other offices of State. Surely, the analogy is rather to that of a deliberative body than to a purely 1812 executive body. Beyond that, there are two reasons which apply to this particular Board. There is already a precedent for unpaid service. Our experience of unpaid service in such an onerous kind of office to some extent inclines one to preserve it. There is the strongest reason which differentiates this particular Board from other forms of service—the very difficult and delicate nature of the work of dealing with insanity. A very real feeling exists in wide circles outside that, in the treatment of insanity, we are on particularly difficult and delicate ground. While there is need for improved methods of treatment which will enable us to deal with these difficult border-line cases, for which this Bill has been specially brought forward, the necessity in itself constitutes a danger. Everything that can be done should be done to reassure the public. The fact that the Minister laid so much stress upon the Board of Control being an entirely paid Board in order that it should be directly responsible to the Minister is precisely what the public does not want. People occasionally got bees in their bonnets, and one has heard of Departments which become rather dominated by individuals obsessed by particular ideas on educational, medical or psychological matters which may not commend themselves to the general public.
What harm can be done when we have the precedent of two unpaid commissioners? I do think it was rather ungracious of the Minister to go out of his way to allude to these unpaid commissioners and say that the Board had lost the confidence of the public. It seems clear that this is exactly a case where the introduction of the unpaid element of experienced men and women might help the public to have confidence. They would feel that here they had an impartial element—two people who were not looking for their future, or their rise in the hierarchy of official service, to the favour of the Minister, and would, therefore, speak up if there was reason to, think that there was something wrong. They would act as liaison officers between the public outside and the Ministry. The Minister might reconsider his attitude in this matter. He does suffer rather too much from the narrow-minded, bureaucratic distrust of the breath of outside criticism.
§ Sir B. MERRIMAN
It is not our fault that the first Amendment of substance from the Conservative opposition and of particular interest should be begun to be discussed at half-past two in the morning. I can assure the Minister goat the speech he has made will do very little to allay the feelings of some of those who are not quite comfortable about some of the provisions of the Bill. It is no argument to say that the presence of voluntary members on the Board is going to destroy the effectiveness of the machine. As it is, and as it will be, even if this Bill is accepted, you have got a permanent nucleus of official and professional people, and how it can destroy the administrative part of the machine passes my comprehension. [Interruption.] On the other hand, I make bold to say that the presence of these representatives of the man in the street, so to speak, will do a great deal to allay anxiety.
§ Mr. BECKETT
The first argument against the Amendment was that when you want unpaid commissioners they cannot be the type of people who can give the amount of time and service that will gain the public confidence as some hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to expect.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
Then, is not the hon. Gentleman talking rather out of the back of his neck?
§ Mr. BECKETT
The hon. and gallant Member probably knows that one of the chief causes of insanity is insobriety. I will leave it at that. [Interruption.]
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
May I ask the hon. Member to withdraw that remark if he was referring to me.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think an expression of that kind which is capable of misinterpretation should be withdrawn.
§ Mr. BECKETT
I had no intention at all to dispute your ruling, but did you, Mr. Speaker, hear the remark the hon. and gallant Member made before?
§ Mr. BECKETT
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman feels that my remark was calculated to suggest that his very vulgar remark to me was owing to his having too much drink, I shall be glad to withdraw it and to suggest that it was due to an absence of material inside and not to too much. The answer I was going to make was this. With regard to the question as to whether I was satisfied with the Board of Control, I do not want to-follow the example and continually to, repeat the observations I had made-previously.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
May I point out and say that he was referring to the Board of Control and saying that unpaid commissioners could not have the knowledge as the existing commissioners—
§ Mr. BECKETT
The hon. Gentleman is mistaken. I expected to have a courteous apology to which hon. Members are accustomed. If I had known he, was going to misbehave like a cad, I should not have given way.
§ Mr. W. J. BROWN
If one Member is to be compelled to withdraw this noun, if he has to withdraw that which he has applied to another Member who has used language, which certainly ought not to have been used, may I submit to you that the withdrawal ought to be mutual, and, since the offensive observation which I myself heard preceded the use 1815 of the word "cad," the hon. Gentleman might have cleared up the whole thing by withdrawing his phrase.
§ Mr. BECKETT
I would rather end this controversy by withdrawing at once. I would have done so before, if I had been allowed. Now I will proceed to the second part of this Amendment. The first objection I have is the very restricted choice of the commissioners owing to the necessity for a considerable private income. The second is that directly you put unpaid commissioners on this Board you lose Ministerial and Departmental control. The hon. Lady who preceded me seemed to consider that was a desirable thing to happen, but I most strongly dissent from that. I have had a good deal of experience since I have been in this House of trying to deal with the Board of Control. I invariably found from the Ministers concerned in the last Government that they were practically powerless to handle the Board of Control effectively in the cases that I brought to their notice, and, while you have unpaid commissioners selected from a restricted class of wealthy people, not responsible to any particular section, you are in the first place finding, as a good Minister finds, that his difficulties are increased in dealing with them, and that a reactionary Minister has ample shelter behind which to run when he is attacked on account of his policy. For all these reasons, it seems to me that it would be utterly undemocratic to support this Amendment, and I sincerely hope that my right hon. Friend will resist it and that the House will support his decision with a good majority.
§ Captain CROOKSHANK
I now realise why it is that this House has sat so late. The Minister of Health would never have dared to make the speech that he has just made in the light of day. If there is one Department above any other which has earned the suspicion of the great mass of the people, it is the bureaucracy of the Department over which he presides. Many hon. Members on this side, including myself, have in previous times inveighed against the powers that the Department tried to take upon itself, and we succeeded in the last Parliament in getting the late Minister of Health to whittle down some 1816 of the demands of the Department. The present Minister has made an unwarranted attack on voluntary service—a most ungracious thing for a Labour Minister to do—because, if there is anyone who is dependent upon voluntary service, it is the present Government. The Lord Privy Seal depends on unpaid committees, and the Royal Commission itself, whose report we are considering, were voluntary workers. It is perfectly intolerable that the Minister should make a speech and then run away and not listen to any criticism.
It was said that this Amendment would clog the machinery. Anyone who heard the hon. Lady's speech would draw the opposite conclusion. It would enable fresh air to come in from outside. The Government should remember, when they are taking this attitude, that they are attacking every form of voluntary service. Does not the Minister go about praising the devoted services given by all sorts of voluntary workers? Where would the Ministry of Pensions be without the advisory committees up and down the country? It was monstrous for him to come down and make this kind of speech. I have always understood that the Labour party prided itself on the great amount of voluntary work carried out in its organisations. I see the hon. Gentleman opposite with his barrier of friends. He has threatened that he might not be able to find himself in the House in future. Perhaps he will be able to serve on this Board and bring his experience to bear on the problems with which he will have to deal. It is no good just saying, because people are not paid, that they have not the confidence of the country. It simply is not true, and the hon. Gentleman knows that it is not true. You can perfectly well get people of any kind, of any section of the community, who will be willing to serve, because there is great readiness in every section in this country to give voluntary service in every kind of way. I am perfectly certain, if the Government accept this Amendment, that they will find no difficulty at all in getting people in whom everybody has confidence. Now, as the Minister has come back, I will repeat again what I said just now. He knows perfectly well that, when he goes out of his way to attack voluntary service given by every section of the community to every Department of State, 1817 he will bring upon himself the wrath and indignation which, even though it is 2.30 in the morning, he will find in due course will rebound upon his head. In order to alleviate the position, I hope he will whisper in the ear of the hon. Lady that when she gets up she will do what she did before and accept an Amendment after he has refused it.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I must protest against what the hon. Member has suggested. What took place was exactly the reverse. After the Parliamentary Secretary had clung to the original form of the Measure, the Minister, having listened to the arguments, gave way. I want, first of all, to point out that the Royal Commission, having paid a tribute to the work of the unpaid members, recommended that the new Board should be constituted of a small number of paid members. There is no mistake about what the Royal Commission says, and I ask the House to remember that the Royal Commission, after having inquired into the whole procedure of the Board of Control, unanimously suggested that there should be a small body of paid persons. The small number of paid persons they suggested is in the Bill. Consequently, the view I am going to express is founded on the authority of the Royal Commission. Having said that, and that is a matter of importance, I want to ask the House: What is the object of the Royal Commission and what is the true sphere of influence where voluntary help is desired? Under the machinery of the Lunacy Act every patient will be visited by visiting committees of unpaid persons, one of whose duties it is to inspire the confidence of the public. What was the object of the Royal Commission? It was just this. The Board of Control had existed as a kind of separate entity, not vitally connected with the work of the Ministry of Health. The net result of the change will be to place the Chairman in almost exactly the same position as a first-class civil servant in every Department, just as the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health. This body will be made an integral part of the Ministry. There is not a single point in this Bill which is not contained in the Report of the Royal Commission.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
These interruptions are unfortunate. Are these cases more important than other branches of public health which are under the control Of the Ministry? Are they more important than child welfare or the care of the tubercular? I think not, and in every one of these cases the service is administered by the civil servants of the type familiar in Government offices. The Minister of Health will be responsible for the members of the Board of Control exactly as fully and as completely, as he is responsible for Sir George Newman, the Chief Medical Officer, and every officer in his Department. Voluntary help would not be bound by the instructions of the Minister and would not be fully responsible to the Minister. The Minister will be responsible to Parliament for the acts of the Board of Control exactly as he is responsible for the care of maternity or child welfare. If you introduce this voluntary irresponsible element—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—what becomes of the power of this House? If the Minister has an official, for whom he is not responsible, what becomes of the control of the House of Commons? You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have full control over the Minister if the Minister has not full control over the officials.
§ Dr. MORRIS-JONES
The Minister has the right of appointment, and he can dismiss the members if he likes.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Appointment and dismissal are one thing, but, with the element of irresponsibility introduced, the Minister cannot be responsible to Parliament for his servants.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Did not the Royal Commission lay it down that it was not desirable to make this Board an integral part of the Ministry?
§ Miss LAWRENCE
The Royal Commission recommended that there should 1819 be a body of commissioners. They suggested this, which is extremely important, that the chairman should not be the head of the Board, and that the Board should not be a deliberative machine, but that the chairman should be an executive officer. I do press Members to consider this point: Do they or do they not desire that every action of the Board of Control should be subject to Parliament? If the Minister is to be responsible for every action of the Board of Control the irresponsible element should be eliminated, and I believe the Royal Commission, having considered the defects of the Board of Control, unanimously recommended a small Board. There have been many complaints with regard to the Board of Control. I am not saying one word here against commissioners; I am speaking against the administrative machinery. It is common knowledge that the defects of the administrative machine has to a large extent lost the confidence of the public. If it is said that the lay element should be introduced, then this House is the lay element. That is the function, among other things, of private Members of Parliament. I press the House, having regard to the authority of the Royal Commission, to reject this Amendment and to allow us to go on to finish the Bill.
Lieut. - Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
I have never heard a more disappointing speech from the hon. Lady than the one she has just delivered. It seems to me she is advocating in one way that the House of Commons should be the decisive factor, which I thought always was the prerogative of this House. It is the first time I have heard, because a Royal Commission has sat, that we are bound to accept every proposal laid down by the Royal Commission. I am one of those who pay the greatest tribute to voluntary workers, and I have yet to learn that because they happen to be voluntary they are necessarily to be classified as irresponsible. Is it to be stated that anyone who gives his services is in future to be considered irresponsible? This is a new doctrine laid down by a Socialist Government. I thought the Government recognised and appreciated voluntary work heretofore, but, after the speech of the Minister of 1820 Health, it must be accepted, I suppose, as the decision of a Labour Government that in future all assistance given, unless it is paid for, if it is given without any hope of reward, is not to be recognised. That is a suggestion that certainly has come from the Minister, and it is one which I hope will not be accepted generally by Members of this House, wherever they may sit. We have a vast number of not wealthy but poor people who are only too happy to give their help and guidance on these various bodies.
I am sorry to say that there have been too many recriminations during the discussion. Our sympathies go forth to those in whose interests this Bill is brought forward, and I am rather surprised that there should have been so much jesting and amusement among Members who sit on the Labour benches. We want to make this Measure in every way as successful as we possibly can. No statement that has been made by the Minister of Health deters me from saying that I think it would have been a great deal better if he had seen his way to accept the Amendment, and say that, as far as the Labour Government is concerned, they appreciate the help and assistance that has always been rendered by voluntary workers, and look forward to its continuance in the future. With such an unfortunate Measure that we have to discuss, it would have been a great deal better if we had been able to get the Government to accept the Amendment that has been moved and utilise the services of at least one layman and one laywoman.
§ Major NATHAN
I feel that the Minister has done himself and his party less than justice in the attitude that he has adopted towards this Amendment. I am alarmed at his attitude towards this suggestion and the view that he apparently holds that it is the duty of the Board of Control such as is contemplated, whether it consists of professional or unpaid members, to be, to use his own words, responsive to the Minister. I cannot help feeling that by an oversight both the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary have confused the recommendations of the Royal Commission as to the composition of the Board of Control with the recommendations of the Royal Com- 1821 mission as to the relations of the Board of Control to the Ministry of Health. It is perfectly true that there is no mention in the recommendations of the Royal Commission of any commissioners except paid commissioners, but unpaid commissioners are certainly not in terms excluded. I would, in reference to the relations of the Board of Control to the Minister of Health, and to the argument of the Parliamentary Secretary, direct the attention of the House to the statements made by the Royal Commission in paragraph 258 of their report. If the Minister will do me the courtesy of following the argument I am addressing to him—[Interruption]—an argument which I do not frame myself, but which is framed by the Royal Commission in their report, he will find this statement. It is not a question of the composition of the Board. Not at all. That is subordinated to a later and less important passage in the report. The Royal Commission define the issue thus:The most important issue that arises is whether the Board of Control should become an integral Department of the Ministry of Health or should remain a separate organisation related to the Ministry of Health in manner now provided by the Lunacy Act,and so on. That is the most important issue: What are the relations to be between the Ministry of Health and the Board of Control? One would have thought, from the arguments presented to the House by the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, that the answer to that question was that the Board of Control should be subservient to the Minister of Health and responsive to the Minister of Health. But the answer is very different. The answer of the Royal Commission to the question which they raised on what they defined as the most important issue is this:It would, in our view, be undesirable that the Board of Control should lose its identity by being merged in the Ministry of Health.There is nothing there about being responsive to the Minister, nothing there about being under the control of the Minister, and nothing there about being obedient to the instructions of the Minister. Not at all. They go further:We consider it essential that there should be a separate organisation responsible for the administration of the Lunacy and Mental Deficiency Acts.1822 Then they go on to say, in a very minor key, that, as this deals with health problems, the Minister of Health should be answerable to Parliament. That is the whole sum and total of his duties recommended by the Royal Commission. They proceed to review, briefly, the relations between the Minister of Health and the Board of Control and how they are to be exercised. First, they say that there should be a, different body not subject to the control of the Minister of Health; then they say that it must have relations with the Minister of Health; and now they go on to say what those relations shall be. They say:It is necessary to have a general control over its policy.There is nothing there about being responsive to the Minister and nothing about being obedient to his instructions, but a general control. They even say how it shall be exercised:This control is effectively exercised through the submission to the Minister of the draft estimate of the Board for which the Minister is responsible to Parliament.That is in line with the constitutional practice. They do, it is true, say that in practice the Minister s views are consulted from time to time on important questions of policy that arise. That is nothing new, nor does it, require modified or strengthened procedure. Then the report refers to matters not really material to my argument, but I do not want it to be suggested that I have in any way misled the House. It suggests that certain statutory powers of control and matters in which the Minister's approval is required be retained; but throughout the report, from beginning to end, there is no suggestion of a day-to-day control by the Minister to be exercised over the Board. There is no suggestion of their being responsive to the Minister, and there is no suggestion of their being subservient to his instructions. The whole object and aim of the Royal Commission, in defining the relations between the Minister of Health and the Board of Control, is to establish how the Minister's responsibility to Parliament is to be ensured. That is the sum total of it all.
As regards, not the relations between these bodies, but the composition of the Board of Control, can the Minister have forgotten that only two or three days 1823 ago the President of the Board of Trade expressed to the House and, through this House, to the country the appreciation of the Labour Government—and not only of the Labour Government but of this House as a whole—to the Food Council, which had been acting in an honorary capacity? Does the Minister forget that the same colleague of his, in relation to the Consumers' Council, in defining the suggested composition of that council, pointed out that it was hoped to secure voluntary effort, and that he laid stress on the importance he attached to membership of those who were unpaid on that body? I ask the Minister to reconsider a view with which he has startled us and rather alarmed us by putting forward to-day. Let him not forget—and I now direct myself to
§ the argument put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary—that it is not a question of a group of paid members and a group of unpaid members, some of whom may be willing and others not willing to abide by certain lines of policy. The Board of Control is one and indivisible. I only wish, in conclusion, to say that I am alarmed at the attitude adopted by the Minister. I express the strong feeling with which this Amendment is regarded by this House.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided; Ayes, 182; Noes, 44.1825
|Division No. 294.]||AYES.||[3.0 a.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Gill, T. H.||Longden, F.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Gillett, George M.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Glassey, A. E.||McElwee, A.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Gossling, A. G.||McEntee, V. L.|
|Arnott, John||Gould, F.||McKinlay, A.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||McShane, John James|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Gray, Milner||Mansfield, W.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Marley, J.|
|Barr, James||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Marshall, Fred|
|Batey, Joseph||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Mathers, George|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Groves, Thomas E.||Messer, Fred|
|Bellamy, Albert||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major J.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Benson, G.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Mort, D. L.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Moses, J. J. H.|
|Blindell, James||Haycock, A. W.||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hayes, John Henry||Muff, G.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bromfield, William||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Bromley, J.||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Brothers, M.||Herriotts, J.||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Hoffman, P. C.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Hollins, A.||Potts, John S.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Hopkin, Daniel||Price, M. P.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Horrabin, J. F.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Cameron, A. G.||Isaacs, George||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Church, Major A. G.||Johnston, Thomas||Raynes, W. R.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Daggar, George||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Dallas, George||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Rowson, Guy|
|Dalton, Hugh||Kennedy, Thomas||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Kinley, J.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lathan, G.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Dickson, T.||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Sandham, E.|
|Duncan, Charles||Law, A. (Rosendale)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lawrence, Susan||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lawson, John James||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Shield, George William|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Leach, W.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Foot, Isaac||Lees, J.||Sinkinson, George|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Lindley, Fred W.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Logan, David Gilbert||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Longbottom, A. W.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Viant, S. P.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Sorensen, R.||Wallace, H. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Sullivan, J.||Wellock, Wilfred||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Sutton, J. E.||Welsh, James (Paisley)||Wilson R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)||White, H. G.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Tinker, John Joseph||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Tout, W. J.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Townend, A. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.||Mr. Wilfrid Paling and Mr. Ben-Jamin Smith.|
|Vaughan, D. J.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Penny, Sir George|
|Balniel, Lord||Ford, Sir P. J.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bracken, B.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Womersley, W. J.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Sir Frederick Thomson and Captain|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Muirhead, A. J.||Euan Wallace.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."1826
§ The House divided: Ayes, 63; Noes, 163.1827
|Division No. 295.]||AYES.||[3.9 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Elmley, Viscount||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Foot, Isaac||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)|
|Balniel, Lord||Ford, Sir P. J.||Pybus, Percy John|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Blindell, James||Glassey, A. E.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gray, Milner||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Bracken, B.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||White, H. G.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Muirhead, A. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Nathan, Major H. L.||Sir Frederick Thomson and Sir George Penny.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Gill, T. H.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgle M.||Burgess, F. G.||Gillett, George M.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Cameron, A. G.||Gossling, A. G.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Gould, F.|
|Arnott, John||Charleton, H. C.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Church, Major A. G.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Clarke, J. S.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Barr, James||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Groves, Thomas E.|
|Batey, Joseph||Daggar, George||Grundy, Thomas W.|
|Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Dallas, George||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Bellamy, Albert||Dalton, Hugh||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)|
|Benson, G.||Dickson, T.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Duncan, Charles||Haycock, A. W.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Ede, James Chuter||Hayes, John Henry|
|Bowen, J. W.||Edmunds, J. E.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)|
|Bromfield, William||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)|
|Bromley, J.||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Herriotts, J.|
|Brothers, M.||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Gibbins, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Hoffman, P. C.|
|Hollins, A.||McShane, John James||Sinkinson, George|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Mansfield, W.||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Horrabin, J. F.||Marley, J.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Isaacs, George||Marshall, Fred||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Mathers, George||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Messer, Fred||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Johnston, Thomas||Milner, Major J.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Sorensen, R.|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Mort, D. L.||Sullivan, J.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Moses, J. J. H.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Muff, G.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Kinley, J.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Lathan, G.||Oldfield, J. R.||Tout, W. J.|
|Law, Albert (Bolton)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Townend, A. E.|
|Law, A. (Rosendale)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Lawrence, Susan||Potts, John S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Lawson, John James||Price, M. P.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Quibell, D. J. K.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Leach, W.||Raynes, W. R.||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Lees, J.||Romeril, H. G.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Lindley, Fred W.||Rowson, Guy||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Lloyd, C. Ellis||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Logan, David Gilbert||Sanders, W. S.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Longbottom, A. W.||Sandham, E.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Longden, F.||Sawyer, G. F.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Lunn, William||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Sherwood, G. H.||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|McElwee, A.||Shield, George William|
|McEntee, V. L.||Shillaker, J. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|McKinlay, A.||Simmons, C. J.||Mr. Wilfrid Paling and Mr. Benjamin Smith.|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I beg to move, in page 13, line 6, to leave out the words "one at least shall be a medical commissioner" and to insert instead thereof the words "two shall be medical commissioners."
The object of this Amendment is to carry out a further proposal in the Report of the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission Report has been referred to us freely as being the best—
§ Major HARVEY
On a point of Order. I want to be clear on this matter. Line six reads:one at least shall be a medical commissioner.I do not know whether there has been a misprint or whether there has been a misunderstanding.
The hon. and gallant Member has not read the Bill, otherwise he would have seen that the sentence begins with the word "one" in line 6.
It is not a point of Order. It is the usual and correct way to start from the line where the Proposed Amendment begins.
If the hon. and gallant Member has made a mistake, he will tell me so. Colonel Fremantle.
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I take it your Ruling is that the Amendment is clear as it stands, and, consequently, I think we can get to the substance of it. The proposal is that the Board of Control shall consist of one chairman and four other commissioners, and it is arranged already in the Bill that one shall be a lawyer, one shall be of the medical profession, and one shall be a woman. Looking at the work of the Board, it is quite clear, as you read the Report of the Royal Commission, that the work is mainly legal and medical. It is so much so that the Royal Commission said it might even be desirable to appoint two medical commissioners, one having experience of institutional administration and the other possessing special scientific qualification. I think it will be recognised that the work is really on two different planes. You cannot, as a rule, get one man who will fulfil both these qualifications. He either is an administrator of a mental institution and comes 1829 with that experience and knowledge and has done very little research, or, on the other hand, he is devoted to research work and has done very little administration. Therefore, as the Bill stands, you have to have either one or the other, whereas for the work of the Board of Control you really want to have both. I suggest, in accordance with the proposal of the Royal Commission, that you should have both on the Board.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
In view of the fact that the hon. and gallant Member may feel there was something to be said for two medical commissioners, and as it was intended no doubt that there should be two medical commissioners, I shall accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS rose—
§ Mr. McSHANE
May I ask hon. Members not to forget the purpose of this Bill and not to forget the people for whom we are legislating.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
That is precisely why I object to the acceptance of this Amendment. I am convinced that in a body of this kind is essential that we should have one lay member and not have a body composed entirely of professional people. If the hon. Lady wishes to interrupt me, I will give way. If she does not wish to do so, then perhaps she will permit me to continue my remarks. If this Amendment be accepted, you will have a lawyer who is a professional person, you will have two doctors, both of them professional, and you will have one woman member, who may be a professional. This is a most important point. I express great regret that this Amendment has been accepted. I have nothing in the world to say against the medical profession, but I would like to emphasise that on a body of this sort you should have some outside person 1830 whose judgment would be wider from a different knowledge of ordinary everyday affairs.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
I am very sorry to disagree with my hon. and gallant Friend who moved this Amendment, but I am bound to say after listening to his observations, that I agree with my hon. Friend who spoke last. I do not with to detain the House, but I do not see my way to vote for this Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I beg to move, in page 13, line 10, to leave out the word "regards," and to insert instead thereof the word "respects."
This and the next are purely drafting Amendments.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE
I suggest that this change of words is not altogether a happy one. For greater accuracy, I have obtained a dictionary, and, if the House will allow me, I will read out the meaning given to the two words. It says that the word "regard" means to have respect for, to give heed or attention to one speaking or something said. I think the Minister should leave a word of that kind in. It also means to show consideration for a thing or person. When I turn to the word the Minister proposes to insert, I am not at all sure that the choice is a happy one. One of the meanings of the word "respect" is to consider, to look upon as being of a certain kind.
§ Mr. HAYCOCK
On a point of Order. Will the hon. Gentleman give the meaning of the word psittacosis?
§ Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE
I suggest that if the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary had more regard for the rights of the Opposition, and respect for the Opposition, they would have had a much easier passage for the Bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In line 12, leave out the words "on the recommendation."—[Miss Lawrence.]
§ Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE
I beg to move, in page 14, line 5, after the word "appointed," to insert the words:by His Majesty on the recommendation of the Board of Control.This raises the question of the appointment of the Commissioners other than 1831 the Board of Control. It will be seen that there is a distinction which seems a very curious one to most of us who sit on this side, between the appointment of the senior five Commissioners and the other Commissioners, who are simply inspecting Commissioners. Clause 11, Sub-section (4), says;The senior Commissioners shall be appointed by His Majesty on the recommendation, as regards the legal Commissioners, of the Lord Chancellor, and as respects the other Commissioners, on the recommendation of the Minister of Health, and shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure.But in Sub-section (7) it is laid down thatthe paid Commissioners, other than the senior Commissioners, shall be appointed, subject to the approval of the Minister, by the Board of Control.Why is there this difference between the two? If the Board of Control are to be appointed by the Minister of Health, why should it be said that they are to be appointed by His Majesty on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor and the Minister of Health? The distinction is because, owing to tradition and custom, the status of direct appointment by His Majesty, on the recommendation of a Minister, is greater than appointment by one of His Majesty's Ministers. That is why in this Bill a greater status is given to the Board of Control. This is the form of appointment which hither-to has been the custom for the larger Board of Control which is now being broken into two. It was the custom in the case of the old Lunacy Commission, and the same direct appointment by His Majesty was the custom of any Commissioners in the service. Obviously, there is just a slight difference in status between officers so appointed and officers appointed by the Minister without appointment from His Majesty. It is a matter of only minor importance, but, if it is a difference of status, is it right that we should give this inferior status to those who are going to represent the Board of Control in inspecting institutions? The work of the Board of Control Commissioners who visit the institutions is to be the sizing up of the institutions and reporting, bringing them up to the mark, making suggestions and advising the superintendents. They are dealing with men of the highest position in the profession, men of high status 1832 and high salary, who are the heads of these institutions, and it makes all the difference in the world that the Commissioners visiting these people should have the highest, possible status. The Commissioners themselves will tell you—I have talked with some of them—of instances in which a superintendent has said that he looks upon them in one capacity, because they hold a direct commission from His Majesty the King. Another man who has not that commission they look upon as "hail-fellow-well-met" and not with the same reverence and respect. You must have authority and respect for the representatives of the Board of Control visiting these institutions—[Interruption.] I am afraid the general effect of this inferior Board of Control will make difficulties in that they will not have the same weight with the mental institutions that they have had hitherto and that they should have. I think I am asking very little in this Amendment that they should be given the same status of direct commission from His Majesty and I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ Mr. WOMERSLEY
I beg to second the Amendment.
There is one point I would like to raise, an important one to my mind. In Clause 11 (7, ii) it states:the paid Commissioners, other than senior Commissioners, shall be appointed subject to the approval of the Minister, by the Board of Control.It seems there as if the Minister was assuming some responsibility. We have been told the Minister will be responsible for the Board of Control and responsible to Parliament. When we discussed these matters in Committee and an Amendment was moved to make it possible for an appeal to be made beyond the Board of Control to the Minister himself, he refused to accept any such Amendment, thereby indicating in his opinion that the Board of Control should have full charge. Inserting the words "subject to the approval of the Minister" does not mean anything at all, and I think it far better that the matter should not be in the hands of the Minister.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I want to say, first, a word with regard to the form of this Amendment, which is rather curious. The Sub-section would read: 1833shall be appointed by His Majesty on the recommendations of the Board of Control subject to the approval of the Minister.It really reads as if the approval of the Minister was required to an appointment by His Majesty, which would be an altogether strange and terrible thing to put into an Act of Parliament. Passing from the extraordinary position in which Ministers would be placed if they were to approve actions of the Crown, appointments by the Crown must be on the recommendations of the Minister, so that, in form, the Amendment is almost unconstitutional, very strange, very unusual, and I do not think in accordance with the Constitution. What is the substance of the Amendment? We propose that there should be senior commissioners who would be appointed by His Majesty. With them, there will be junior commissioners who will be in the nature of inspectors, officers of the Board of Control. It is right that we should mark this difference in status by a different form of appointment. It is not generally the practice to appoint the junior officers in the Civil Service on the appointment of His Majesty. That is a form reserved for the very highest class. It is said their duties are important. They are extremely important, but so are the duties of many other inspectors who do similar work in connection with the great hospitals; great educational work, in which men of the highest scholastic attainments meet and discuss details of administration with the inspectors of the Board of Education who might, in the public estimation, be in fact of much lower status. Very important persons who may want to settle some trifle will talk with inferior officials, by which I mean officials lower down in the grade. They may come up to the Board of Control, they may come up to the Department, they may come to the Minister himself. It is therefore quite unusual and quite unnecessary that the officials who act in the main as inspectors of the Board of Control should have this especial mark of appointment by the Crown. I hope that, having regard both to the odd form and unnecessary character of the Amendment, the House will not pass it.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
I beg to move, in page 14, line 7, after the word "and" to insert the words:there shall be included among them women as well as men and.1834 This Amendment, I think, needs no explanation.
§ Amendment agreed to.