HC Deb 18 February 1932 vol 261 cc1937-76

I beg to move, in page 3, line 3, to leave out from the beginning to the word "there" in line 5.

The mere statement of the Amendment will not convey any information to hon. Members. I ask your guidance, Mr. Chairman. This Amendment and that which follows next—in page 3, line 7, to leave out the word "Advisory"—should be taken in conjunction with a third Amendment—in page 3, line 9, to leave out the words "the Treasury" and to insert instead thereof the words "Parliament on the recommendation of the Crown."


It is obvious that the Amendment which the hon. and gallant Member has moved is introductory to others which stand together as a whole. Therefore, the hon. and gallant Member will be at liberty on this Amendment to discuss the Amendments which he is to propose later.


The object and the result of this and the subsequent Amendments, if approved by the Committee, will be to ensure that instead of the Advisory Committee being denominated in the Bill an Advisory Committee it will be known as the Import Duties Committee, and that instead of the Members being appointed by the Treasury they will be appointed by Parliament on the recommendation of the Crown. On more than one occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer has expressed the view, in which every hon. Member will concur, that the importance of the functions of the Advisory Committee cannot be exaggerated. It will be charged with the conduct and decision of very grave affairs, on the correct determination of which will depend, perhaps for a generation, the welfare and the prosperity of the country. It is, therefore, of fundamental importance that the Advisory Committee should be the right kind of committee. When speaking on the Second Reading the Chancellor of the Exchequer anticipated that this Advisory Committee would operate in some sort of judicial way. I hope that that is the intention of the Government, and that it will be made explicit in an Amendment which will be moved later.

Meanwhile, by the Amendment now moved it is desired to create a statutory committee which will not be limited in its action by its name and function to being merely "advisory," but will have so wide an authority that it will be exercising all the power of a statutory com- mittee not merely in an advisory but also in an investigatory capacity. A committee of that kind, charged with the survey of the industrial system of the country and with the making of proposals as to whether or not and in what degree the provisions of the Bill should be carried into operation with reference to any particular industry, is obviously a committee with very special responsibility.


I am not quite sure how many Amendments the hon. and gallant Member proposes to include in this discussion, but I do not think that there are more than three which can properly be discussed together at present. Those are the Amendments to the first Sub-section which would alter the title of the Advisory Committee and the method of its appointment. Therefore, I do not think that any question arises at present as to what would be the duties of the Advisory Committee. The Amendments to be discussed here are only those which would have the result of constituting that committee under a slightly different name and providing that it should be appointed by Parliament on the recommendation of the Crown.


I agree. What I was about to say was that a Committee such as this should be, as the Lord President of the Council said, quite outside politics and should have very much the same status as that of His Majesty's judges. His Majesty's judges are not appointed by the Treasury. An appointment by the Treasury would be apt to savour too much, or give the appearance of savouring too much of politics and party feeling and dependence upon the political party which happens for the time being to be in office. The object of the Amendment is to ensure, as far as possible, that there shall be no hole-and-corner appointments; that the appointments shall be made in the eyes of all men and that Parliament shall have the opportunity, should it think fit to do so, of pronouncing judgment upon the persons who are nominated by the Government of the day. The present Foreign Secretary presided over a committee charged with functions scarcely graver or more responsible than those which will rest on the Committee proposed by the Bill. That was a Statutory Committee, each member of which was appointed by name by Parliament. It is the desire of those who subscribe to these Amendments that, just as that Committee owed its appointment to Parliament, so this Committee which will be charged with recasting the industrial system of the country should equally derive its authority from no less a source than Parliament itself. There will be an opportunity later, on another Amendment, of discussing in greater detail the nature and quality of the functions to be discharged by this Committee. The simple object of this and the two following Amendments in my name is to ensure that the Committee shall be appointed in a manner suitable to the functions which it will have to perform.


I think there is a general feeling that the word "advisory" is very limiting in character. Whatever point of view we may take on the Bill itself, I think we all want a Committee which will have the general confidence of the country, of trade interests and of consumers. If the Committee to be set up under the Bill is merely to give advice, there will be a feeling that it is composed of benevolent old gentlemen who can express opinions but whose opinions are not going to have much weight in selecting the goods to be dealt with under this Measure, in deciding the rate of duty on articles specially selected for extra duty, or in deciding the articles which are to be added to the Schedule. This is a great experiment and we are all agreed on one thing. We all hope that it will be for the advantage of the country. I am one of the doubtful people. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman above the Gangway is one of the optimists and I hope that he will prove to be right.

There is something more than political theory or party ideals and principles such as Free Trade and Protection to be considered when we are going to embark on an experiment of this kind. I fear that it will be disastrous. While I have that fear, I wish to try to ensure that it will do as little injury as possible and if it should prove successful no one will be more pleased than I shall be. But we must get the right kind of Committee and I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman cannot get the right kind of men to serve on the Committee, the kind of men whose views will carry weight, if the Committee is only to give advice. We want to have the feeling throughout the country that this Committee is judicial, that it is, as the Mover of the Amendment said, in much the same position as the Statutory Commission which inquired into conditions in India under the chairmanship of the present Foreign Secretary. That was a real Statutory Committee which carried great weight throughout the world. [An HON. MEMBER: "It was an Advisory Committee."] It was not only advisory; it was appointed to report on the whole problem, and, of course, I am not suggesting that the word of the Committee proposed in the Bill should be final. Far from it. The House of Commons is not going to relinquish its right to decide what taxes should be levied, but, in coming to its decision, it ought to be influenced more by the opinion of this Committee than by the opinion of the Treasury or of the Minister who happens to be guiding our finances at this time.

This may seem a small Amendment, but there is an important principle behind it and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has accepted that principle. The hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) has eloquently preached this doctrine and I hope we shall have his support, if not for the actual terms of the Amendment, which is only a drafting suggestion, at any rate for the spirit of the Amendment. If we are to have a Committee to decide what goods should be and should not be taxed, that Committee ought to have the authority of judicial status and its authority ought not to be qualified by the use of such a trumpery word as "advisory."


As the hon. Baronet has referred to me, may I answer him straight away. I do not think it is very important whether the Committee is called advisory or not, or indeed what it is called. Obviously, it is going to be called the Tariff Committee. Whatever name we put on it in the Bill, it will get some short nickname, and, to that extent, I do not agree with the hon. Baronet. What is more, I am surprised to hear anybody from the Liberal benches making such a song and dance about a name. Some of us wonder what the word "Liberal" means. I do not see what the objection can be to the use of the word "advisory" in this connection. Whether the Committee's functions are to be judicial or not is another matter; and, if the hon. Baronet asks my opinion, I think that as long as the first words in this Clause are "for the purpose of giving advice," it is fatuous to call the Committee anything but an Advisory Committee.

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 8, after the word "other," to insert the word "permanent."

I do not know, Sir Dennis, whether it would be for the convenience of the Committee if this Amendment were taken in conjunction with other Amendments on the same point which follow on the Paper.


I think exactly the same remark applies in this case as in the case of the last Amendment. This Amendment is introductory to several Amendments which form one complete proposal and which, I think, we can discuss together.


May I ask for your advice on one further question? Will you allow me to discuss this Amendment together with other Amendments which stand in connection with Clause 2, or would you prefer me to discuss with it the series of Amendments to Clause 3 which I and my hon. Friends have put down, and which, to some extent, deal with the same subject? If I deal only with this in regard to Clause 2, would you be able to preserve our opportunities on Clause 3?


I think that the hon. Member must limit the discussion at present to those Amendments which are on Clause 2. It is possible that it may be necessary for him, in order to explain this, to make a short reference to the fact that he is proposing to bring forward certain other Amendments on Clause 3, but on this occasion he must not discuss any Amendment beyond those to Clause 2.


I am grateful for that guidance. The Committee realise that Clauses 2 and 3 are the vital Clauses of the Bill in respect of the composition of the committee, and a great number of Members, and the country as a whole, regard the question of how the committee will operate, whether on a satisfactory basis with sound terms of reference or not, as the culminating question which we have to face. Clause 3 relates to the terms of reference of the committee, and, in obedience to the Ruling of the Chair, I do not now make any reference to it, except to say that my hon. Friends and I have put down certain Amendments to Clause 3 relating to the functions of the committee which are in sense joined to this Amendment and the other Amendments to Clause 2 which I have the honour to move. The functions and composition of the committee represent, from a certain point of view, the central aspects of the proposals which the Government have put before the country. By passing Clause 1 and by the Second Reading of the Bill the House and the country are committed to the principle of Protection. In this Clause we have to formulate a scheme by which we can make that a success.

As regards Clause 3, I will only say that we are very anxious that the terms of reference of this committee should be as wide as possible. There are many questions which, we think, ought to be brought under their purview, and which we have ventured to indicate in the Amendments we have put down. We do not at all believe that the functions of the committee should he of a purely judicial character, that is to say, if "judicial" means giving a judgment upon the existing facts. We want it to have a character of a far wider scope, and be able to be of real assistance in the development of our industries upon a modern basis, and be able not merely to deal with the problems which are put before it in regard to the conditions now existing, but to consider what amount of assistance to industries can be given, which it is the object of the Act to secure. It will then be able to perform this wider function and to carry out its duties, and be really helpful in the development of industry, not merely by saying that the basic trades must prove that they are in a position to manufacture at prices and in quantities satisfactory to the consuming trade. If it is to be conciliatory rather than merely judicial, and is to carry out a creative function, and not merely a static and passive one, then, we think, the Amendments we have put down as to the character and composition of the committee must follow and commend themselves to the Government.

9.30 p.m.

The Committee is to consist of not less than two and not more than five persons, but in Sub-section (6) of Clause 2 there is a provision for the formation of subcommittees of the Committee. In the event of the Committee being restricted to two persons, it is rather difficult to see how the sub-committees can be formed, and therefore we have put down an Amendment that in addition to the permament members there should be temporary members, as may be necessary from time to time. Further, in our Amendment we suggest the delegation of any of the functions of the Committee to a, subcommittee, which might consist of members of the Committee and such officials or representatives of the industries concerned as the Committee might invite, or such other persons. The point in this Amendment is the very practical question of the Committee's functions. We are trying to consider how the Committee will operate in view of the experience of the Safeguarding Committee in past Years. In that case, two or three persons were elected to act as a committee to deal with each individual industry which came under Safeguarding. On investigation of the history of Safeguarding, I find there were 18 such committees appointed. Altogether, there were 40 or 50 persons who acted as members of the committees. These committees held 253 meetings and interviewed 500 witnesses, and the average time they took was between three and six months. Applications were made by witnesses, and by counsel on each side. That is a procedure which we hope will not be followed by the new Committee.

We need a rapid decision by the Committee upon the broad range of industry, but beyond that we do think it should be necessary for sub-committees to be formed as is envisaged by the Bill, by which particular questions of particular industries can be studied. Obviously, a great series of questions such as those involved in the iron and steel trade, would need a sub-committee, consisting perhaps of a member of the committee acting as chairman, together with such other persons as they may choose to call upon to act as assessors, and who would be able to study the position of that particular trade. The same applies to the textile and other great trades. We do hope by that means that the Advisory Committee will not merely be in a position to make a judicial decision as to whether an additional tariff should or should not be given, but that it should give a far wider consideration to all the problems concerned with particular trades, and be able to go much farther in assisting any trade towards a real reorganisation of its affairs. For that purpose it will need not only a technical adviser from the trade concerned, but probably also a financial adviser and a representative of such organisations as the Bankers' Industrial Trust and so on, so that these committees can become creative organisations in the reorganisation of our industrial system. If that can be done, the Advisory Committee will perform a function far greater than that performed by the Safeguarding committees.

I venture to suggest that the Government would be wise to take rather wider powers as to the composition of the committees and the developments which may follow from their policy. If they restrict their committee—and I am not arguing more than comes under Clause 2, for I hope we shall have an opportunity on Clause 3 to deal with the wider questions of the functions of the committee—to the very narrow personnel in Clause 2, I am afraid they may find themselves overwhelmed with work, and the number of applications will be so tremendous that they will not be able to deal with them. The only practical way in which they can work is by giving them subcommittees for studying specific problems and the right to appoint temporary members to act as chairmen of sub-committees; and simply in the spirit of trying to make suggestions which will be helpful to the Government in carrying out this great policy, I move this Amendment.


I do not think it needs any expression of opinion on my part to request the Government to reject this Amendment. There are some of us on this side who look to this advisory committee for very speedy action. We hope that at the beginning of their work they will lay down general lines on which they can immediately recommend additional duties, leaving the refining principles to come on later, and the scientific tariff to become the third stage in the proceedings. But what we hope for first is very quick action, and I think the Amendment would mean delay, although the hon. Member who moved it indicated that he was for speed. I fear that if the advisory committee once begins to go into the question of the efficiency or inefficiency of industries, the result will be that the decisions that we want will be very long delayed.

Talking about inefficiency in industry, we nearly always find that the biggest criticism comes from those who have very little knowledge of industry. Taking it on the whole, I think that, considering the handicap under which this country has worked for many years, our industries are extraordinarily efficient, and indeed a great deal more efficient than might have been expected. If they can only be given the safeguard that we are hoping to get under this Bill, and that we hope this advisory committee will give to those engaged in industry, it will be found that they will be able to work out their own schemes of efficiency far better than any committee set up by Governments or by anyone else can work them out for them. I therefore feel that this Amendment should be resisted. It is not in the interests of the industries of this country, but rather is it in the interests of delay. I should like to welcome the resurrection of the Y.M.C.A.


May I say a few words in support of the Amendment, which is in no sense designed for delay? Speaking as a member of the Bar, I hope this committee will function without what, in other circumstances, is no doubt very properly called the assistance of counsel. I hope it will be expeditious, but I think we shall all agree that the duties which are to fall on this advisory committee are onerous and manifold, and we are not able really to foresee the extent of the complexity of the problems which will confront them. If I may be allowed to show partiality among my children, treating in that aspect the Amendments to which I have put my name, I should like to express my preference for that which stands on the top of page 79 of the Order Paper, which is an Amendment to Subsection (6) entitling the committee, when it forms a sub-committee, to incorporate in that sub-committee persons representing the industries concerned and such other persons as the Committee may invite to assist them. It will be noted that that is purely an enabling provision and if this committee find that they can function better and more expeditiously merely by taking advantage of Sub-section (7), which entitles them to call witnesses, they need not, and no doubt will not, resort to the enabling power which this Amendment proposes to give them. But there are in inquiries certain advantages in having persons experienced in the industry or in accountancy on the same side of the table as the permanent member of the committee who would be chairman of the sub-committee. There are certain advantages in his having on his side of the table persons who have been co-opted there rather than having them on the opposite side of the table as witnesses, and it is merely in order to confer on the committee the power, if they choose—they need not exercise it if they do not choose —to co-opt persons representing the industry or such other persons as they think can assist them to serve with them as members of the sub-committee, that, this Amendment is moved.


We certainly support this Amendment, and I should like to say to the hon. Baronet the Member for Ecclesall (Sir S. Roberts) that we would rather see a resurrection of the Y.M.C.A. than the affairs of this country handed over to the Grannies' Group, who apparently rely upon what is known by the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury as the fusty, musty principles of the 19th century. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment referred to the procedure under the Safeguarding Act, and to the long delays that took place owing to that procedure. I had the privilege, or otherwise, of appearing in some of those proceedings, and it is perfectly true that the length of time that was occupied by them was inordinate. The expense of them was, I am sure, un-remunerative to everybody, and I do not suppose that they came to very satisfactory decisions in the long run.

It seems to us that a judicial body is not the right sort of body to get on with any real business in this matter. It is not a question, as we see it, of sitting down to come to some semi-legal decision as to whether some industry or other can prove a case according to the laws of evidence, and as to whether all the facts have to be inquired into. It is more a matter of inquiring, if you are going to have this tariff system, into how it can best be applied to the country as a whole and to the various groups of industries in the country; and as I understand the purpose of this Amendment, it is at least the first awakening to the idea that some form of national planning is necessary. We have, inside this House and outside, constantly laid emphasis upon the necessity of adopting some form of social control and planning, and we believe that if a really strong committee was set up, which was given power, not only to inquire into, but to order, the reorganisation of industry, where it found it was necessary, as a condition of giving any tariff Protection, a beginning at least might be made in the setting up of a body which, when we required to use it for social control and planning, would be found useful for our purpose. Therefore, we certainly welcome this beginning as a step in the right direction.


Any contribution made by the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Macmillan) is worthy of serious consideration, for everybody knows that he has taken a deep interest in this matter both in speech and in writing. I venture to suggest to him, however, that he is transforming out of all knowledge the original intentions of the Government by this series of Amendments. In dealing with them, I may perhaps be permitted to refer to the able speeches to which we listened on two previous Amendments, to which no reply was given. This Advisory Committee is to be a small body consisting of a chairman and not less than two or more than five members. It is intended that it shall have every facility for doing its work expeditiously, and it is entrusted with very wide powers of acquiring information. A great deal of that information is confidential. My hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees proposes that the committee shall be enlarged in several particulars. He says that instead of the committee being constituted as is proposed in this Sub-section, it should have a chairman, not less than two permanent members and a number of temporary members as occasion may require. He does not even stop there. Having poured ridicule on the fact that this small Advisory Committee may appoint sub-committees, he himself suggests that it may appoint a sub-committee of one. It is his own suggestion, for it is to be found in one of his Amendments. It is not only to do that, but it is also to co-opt on to its committees persons representing the industries which are the subject of the inquiry, and invite any body of representative persons to serve.

It will be obvious that this transforms the whole character of our proposal, and it takes us a long way from a judicial committee. Any industry that is to be inquired into is to be entitled to representation if the Committee so desire. Take my hon. Friend's own illustration of the steel industry. If, when inquiring into the steel industry, they co-opt members from the industry, it will set up a precedent which every industry that is subsequently inquired into is entitled to have followed. Therefore, instead of the country having the advantage of a small committee working rapidly, they will be encumbered with a whole series of precedents, and discontent and many anomalies will be created. If we were starting from the void, as it were, much might be said for my hon. Friend's suggestion, but it would be unsatisfactory to graft on to these proposals a series of ideas which are foreign to the whole of our intentions.

Therefore, while I respect, and while everybody must respect, what the hon. Gentleman has in mind, I hope that he will not press his Amendments. The proper place for the representative bodies with which he is concerned is the witness box, not the judicial tribunal. The Advisory Committee Will be empowered to hear evidence, and if it is to co-opt on to the bench the very persons who are to be on trial, as it were, it will not work rapidly, and it will certainly not work judicially. Therefore, while we have much sympathy with what my hon. Friend said, we have even more sympathy with my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Major Nathan) and those who support him, in requiring that this Committee should be judicial. Unfortunately, their ideals are too exalted for this world, and we have not been able to make the Committee as judicial as they would desire. I hope, however, that they will agree that it is more judicial than it would be if the Government accepted these Amendments.


I agree with the Parliamentary Secretary that this Committee has to act with speed, and that the Amendment imports a new principle into it. Though it may not be possible for the Government to accept the Amendment, I want to impress upon them certain points about this change in our fiscal system which seemed to be of prime importance. It will be admitted by the Government that efficiency must go hand in hand with Protection. I agree that you cannot get reorganisation and rationalisation until you have a certain Protection; and until that is given, no business that wants to reorganise itself can find the capital. Here I disagree rather deeply with the hon. Member for Ecclesall (Sir S. Roberts). Business men are not so confident about the organisation of their businesses as he is. In the wool and textile trades I am told that a large amount of capital could usefully be spent, and that the business will not be efficient until the expenditure is made, but the capital cannot be found until they have the security of Protection. I cannot think, therefore, that the hon. Member is expressing the real opinion of the business community when he says that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

This Amendment and those that go with it bring into that reorganisation of business, business men themselves. I agree that you cannot enforce reorganisation from outside; you always fail if you do. Each industry has to regenerate itself. Here we have this valuable suggestion of sub-committees to consider the state of each industry, and to comprise, in addition to the permanent members of the Advisory Committee, persons representing the interest concerned and such other persons as the Committee may invite. I should have thought that that was a very valuable suggestion, and I hope that some time it will be carried out. Whether it can be carried out in this Bill or at this time, is a question for the Government. I am convinced that the success or failure of this great Bill depends largely on whether or not it is used to regenerate British industry. I am certain of that. If it is used to regenerate British industry, the future is very bright; we shall go right ahead, and no country will start with half such an advantage as we shall possess. I am sure that the Government have that point in mind, and I hope that it will not be overlooked, and that we shall find some means through the protection afforded by this Bill, of bringing about the increased efficiency and reorganisation of our industries.


I really cannot let the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) go without some reply. Are we in a Socialist Parliament or are we not? He says he hopes that at some time this great regeneration of industry will be carried out, and that this Bill is going to do it.




This Bill is not intended to do anything of the sort. If he will read the Preamble he will see that it is meant to do certain definite things—to restrict in the national interest the importation of certain goods in order to save sterling, to provide a remedy in the case of foreign countries discriminating against us, and to make an addition to the public revenue. If the House wanted to set about reorganising British industry it would adopt a very different system. I leave it at that. Technically, this Amendment seeks only to add some temporary members to the committee over and above the permanent ones. Of course, the hon. Gentleman who moved it, like myself, some 15 years ago thought that temporary people were much better than regulars, and so does the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken. But when the hon. Member who moved the Amendment was speaking about creative organs of industry and a far wider development of the modern State, I was wondering how long it would be before the Labour party tumbled to what he was talking about. The keen and acute mind of the ex-Solicitor-General saw it at once, and got up to welcome the assistance he was getting from the benches opposite.

The Parliamentary Secretary has made it perfectly clear that the function of this committee is to be a judicial one. I admit that I have not yet heard how the Government think it is going to be judicial, but perhaps in the course of the proceedings on the Bill they may indicate a little more clearly their intention on that point. But we come back once again to fundamentals—whether the committee are to take evidence and act in a judicial capacity, or whether they are to be a semi-Socialist organisation for the direction of the whole of the trade and industry of the country. The Leader of the Opposition would like it to be such a committee—of course he would; and he is getting some support from this side.


I want the committee to call into consultation persons representing industry, and, if that is Socialism, I believe that my hon. and gallant Friend is a Socialist too.


Oh, no. It is quite true that some people have talked prose all their life without knowing it, and the Conservative party may find that it was Socialist all the time. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment said that he did it in the hope that this Measure would bring about a far wider development of the modern State on well-planned lines.


Hear, hear!


I am afraid I cannot pursue that point, because it will be ruled out of order. What is the object of the Bill? I submit that from the Preamble the Bill does not set out to do—



I thought so.


The hon. and gallant Member caught my eye some time ago, when he was speaking about the Preamble; he realised that he was out of order then. Perhaps he may do so now.


So long as I have demolished the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon, I am quite satisfied.

10.0 p.m.


I do not wish to intervene in the contest going on opposite, but I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Potter) was a little unkind to my hon. Friend sitting in front of me. There is nothing of the bright young man about my hon. Friend. There is nothing of the Y.M.C.A. about him. He is really a sort of super-Gretton, if I may put it like that. [Interruption.] The hon. Member would have us believe that there is no one in this country who is capable of managing his own business and his own affairs, and therefore we are to have a Committee not only for the purposes mentioned in the Bill but to be a creative organ. I have never quite understood what is meant by that phrase "creative organ." The words sound very nice, but they remind me of the sort of thing we used to hear in 1920 in the wonderful speeches of the then Prime Minister. The Committee will have enough to do to discharge the actual duties placed upon them by the Bill. They will have to deal with the imports of a vast variety of trades, and we do not want to place on them the obligation of interfering with the conduct of businesses in the country.

I do not for one moment wish to go behind any of my hon. Friends in front of me. [Interruption.] What I wish to say is that although we realise the necessity for the reorganisation of trade such a thing is not more important in this country than in others. We are just as far ahead as other countries. In setting up this Committee we ought to have clearly in out minds what the duties will be. It is set up for the purpose of placing taxes on foreign goods coming into the country, and it ought not to get mixed up with the question of the reorganisation of industry. If Parliament wishes to reorganise industry, let it do it at the proper time and in the proper way—as it did in the case of the Coal Mines Act, which has been such a failure. I hope that my hon. Friends, having put their point of view, will have the good sense to withdraw the Amendment, because it goes far beyond what most of us regard as the purpose of the Bill.

Question put, "That the word 'permanent' be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 35; Noes, 282

Division No. 68.] AYES [10.5 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L.
Attlee, Clement Richard Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Batey, Joseph Groves, Thomas E. Maxton, James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Grundy, Thomas W Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Price, Gabriel
Cape, Thomas Hirst, George Henry Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Tinker, John Joseph
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, J. J. (west Ham, Silvertown) Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Daggar, George Kirkwood, David Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Edwards, Charles Logan, David Gilbert Mr. John and Mr. Gordon Macdonald
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lunn, William
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Blaker, Sir Reginald Castle Stewart, Earl
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Boulton, W. W. Cautley, Sir Henry S.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)
Ainsworth, Lieut. Colonel Charles Bower. Capt. Sir George Cayzer, Mal. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)
Albery, Irving James Boyce, H. Leslie Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Bracken, Brendan Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Briant, Frank Chotzner, Alfred James
Applln, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Clayton, Dr. George C.
Apsley, Lord Broadbent, Colonel John Colfox, Major William Philip
Aske, Sir Robert William Brown, Ernest (Leith) Colman, N. C. D.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Browne, Captain A. C. Colville, Major David John
Atholl, Duchess of Buchan, John Conant, R. J. E.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Cook, Thomas A.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Burghley, Lord Cooke, James D.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Burnett, John George Craven-Ellis, William
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Cadogan, Hon. Edward Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Caine, G. R. Hall- Crooke, J. Smedley
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C) Caporn, Arthur Cecil Croom-Johnson, R. P.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Carver, Major William H. Cross, R. H.
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Cassels, James Dale Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard
Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.) Castlereagh, Viscount Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)
Dawson, Sir Philip Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Romer, John R.
Dixey, Arthur C. N. Knox, Sir Alfred Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Donner, P. W. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Dower, Captain A. V. G. Law, Sir Alfred Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Drewe, Cedric Leckie, J. A. Robinson, John Roland
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Leech, Dr. J. W. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Duggan, Hubert John Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ross, Ronald D.
Dunclass, Lord Levy, Thomas Runge, Norah Cecil
Eastwood, John Francis Lewis, Oswald Russell, Alexander West (T nemouth)
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Liddall, Walter S. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Ellis, Robert Geoffrey Lindsay, Noel Ker Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Elliston, Captain George Sampson Llewellin, Major John J. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Elmley, Viscount Lloyd, Geoffrey Salmon, Major Isldore
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley) Salt, Edward W.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mebane, William Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool) MacAndrew, Maj. C. G. (Partick) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) McCorquodale, M. S. Scone, Lord
Everard, W. Lindsay McLean, Major Alan Selley, Harry R.
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Maitland, Adam Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Mallalleu, Edward Lancelot Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Fraser, Captain Ian Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Ganzonl, Sir John Marjoribanks, Edward Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Martin, Thomas B. Smith-Carinnton, Neville W.
Gibson, Charles Granville Mason, David M. (Edinburgh. E.) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Gillett, Sir George Masterman Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Soper, Richard
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Meller, Richard James Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Miller, sir James Duncan Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Stanley. Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Gower, Sir Robert Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Moore. Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Stones, James
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Strauss, Edward A.
Grimston, R. V. Morelng, Adrian C. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Gritten, W. G. Howard Morris-Jones. Or. J. H. (Denbigh) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Morrison, William Shepherd Sutcliffe, Harold
Gunston, Captain D. W. Moss, Captain H. J. Tate, Mavis Constance
Hales, Harold K. Muirhead, Major A. J. Templeton, William P.
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Nall-Gain, Arthur Ronald N. Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Hammersley, Samuel S. Nathan, Major H. L. Thompson, Luke
Harbord, Arthur Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Harris, Sir Percy Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Hartington, Marquess of O'Donovan, Dr. William James Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Hartland, George A. Oman, Sir Charles William C. Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Harvey Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Ormlston, Thomas Train, John
Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Palmer, Francis Noel Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Patrick, Colin M. Wallace. John (Dunfermline)
Hepworth, Joseph Peake, Captain Osbert Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Hillman, Dr. George B. Pearson, William G. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Holdsworth, Herbert Peat, Charles U. Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Penny, Sir George Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Hore Belisha, Leslie Perkins, Walter R. D. Weymouth, Viscount
Hornby, Frank Petherick, M. Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Powell, Lieut.-Col, Evelyn G. H. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N) Procter, Major Henry Adam Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Pybus, Percy John Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Wise, Alfred R.
Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Weimer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Iveagh, Countess of Ramsbotham, Herwald Womersley, Walter James
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ramsden, E. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Ratcliffe, Arthur Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Ker, J. Campbell Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Kerr, Hamilton W. Reid, David D. (County Down) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Kimball, Lawrence Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward and Mr. Minden.

I beg to move, in page 3, line 9, at the end, to insert the words: after consultation with such representatives or bodies representative of the following interests as the Treasury thinks fit, that is to say:— The National Confederation of Employers Organisations;

The General Council of the Trades Union Congress;

The Association of the British Chambers of Commerce;

The Co-operative Union."

We are anxious that there shall be a feeling of confidence in the public mind that, when this committee is appointed,

these representatives will be consulted, so that it may be felt that the matter is not left altogether to the Treasury. To our mind, the Treasury represents the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. We know his views on tariff questions, and I think it would be to his own interest to indicate to the public that the country is not being governed altogether by one man. I think we might expect some help in this matter from the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Macmillan) and from the right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills), both of whom have asked for a wider circle of representation on this body. The last Amendment was riot carried, and we have here a chance to give that feeling of confidence which hon. Members desire should be given to the public.


I rise to support the Amendment. It is very important that we should get a clear idea of what this Advisory Committee is to be like. I am afraid that, if the matter is left solely to the Treasury, they will regard it purely from the revenue point of view. It is most important that the committee should be composed of people who have a wide outlook and will consider the general needs and interests of the country and the industrial life of the country as a whole. It is very important that they should not look at things either from a narrow Treasury point of view, or even from a narrow judicial point of view, though I do not understand how it is possible to be judicial in a matter where there is, so to speak, no code at all to apply. We do not want this committee to be composed of people who will yield to requests made by particular interests; we want them to be selected as being conversant with the whole range of the economic life of this country, and understanding the point of view of those actually engaged in industry. We do not want them to be merely financiers, but people who understand the point of view of the workers of this country. We are now, to some extent at all events, changing the direction of our economic life, and the direction of our economic life is particularly important from the point of view of employment, the location of new industries, and so forth. We want the committee to include, also, people who will consider the consumers, and that is the reason for suggesting consultation with the co-operative union. This Amend- ment is a fair one, and is not put forward from a narrow point of view. It proposes that there shall be consultation with the workers, the employers, the producers, and the consumers, on the question of the people who are to be appointed to this very important body.


I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not listen to this proposal, which is on very unsound lines. The last thing we want to have is a committee representing the interests. After all, the Federation of Employers Organisations will represent many people who will want to ask for privileges and favours from the committee. We want it to be as judicial in character as possible and to be drawn from the very people to whom the last speaker objected, people like chartered accountants, judges, men who are accustomed to hear and to sift evidence and to be as impartial as possible.


This is the first time during this Debate that I have found myself in agreement with the hon. Baronet. As far as I can see, the Amendment cannot have been very carefully thought out by its promoters, because, if you bring it to its logical conclusion, its effect will be that one of these bodies will suggest one commissioner and another, and there will be a series of entirely conflicting interests. They would cancel each other out, and the committee would not be able to get along with its business at all. It may be that that is what is at the back of the minds of those who put the Amendment down, and that they do not want the committee to get along with its business. They say they want a committee of wide outlook. I cannot imagine that any representatives of these bodies would take an outlook very much wider than the interests of their own particular body. It is somewhat amusing to reflect on the wide outlook of the Co-operative Union, and, with regard to the Trade Union Congress, their outlook may be wide, but, as far as I can remember, it has never been wise. There is no need to request the Government to reject the Amendment. I am certain that they will do it.


The hon. Baronet is entirely incorrect about the position of our party in the matter. The point is this. We do not want a committee com- posed of economists, to whom the President of the Board of Trade so strongly objects. We want a more businesslike committee. Here is a committee which will represent all the interests concerned—the producers, the employers, the consumers, the workers and commerce. We do not want all these political economists, who always disagree with each other and come to different decisions. I ask the Chancellor to consider the matter carefully, and I hope he will not take any notice of the revolt of the rabbits.


This Amendment seems entirely characteristic of the Socialist party. They always want a committee to appoint a committee to appoint a committee to consider what should be done. During that period when they were responsible for the bad government of the country, they appointed more committees than anyone else and never took any notice of their recommendations. A well-known bishop said that if Noah had had a committee he would never have built the ark. If the Amendment should by any chance be accepted, I should like to ask the Mover if he would be willing to accept a manuscript Amendment, which I will hand in, to add to the four organisations the Free Trade Union and the Empire Industries Association.


I do not think that the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) will be able very much longer to use the phrase about the number of committees appointed by the late Government. I believe that before many months are over the number will have been surpassed by the present Government. But I join with him and those on this side who deplore the very foolish Amendment which has been brought forward by the Labour party. If you had to go to all these different bodies, you would get different opinions about every proposal. If, on the other hand, you had not these special bodies but a national industrial council such as has been suggested representing all the elements in industry, employers and employed, there would be a case for making some alteration. In resisting this Amendment, we shall be doing something to help hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, because when they come into power again it may be that they may have to make the appointments of this body, and they may be placed in a position of very great embarrassment if they have to go to the Trades Union Congress for their nominees. Hon. Members who sat in the last Parliament will remember the sort of persons they used to choose as chairman of these bodies. They will remember the difficulty they had in getting their nominee Lord Hunsdon appointed. If they desired to appoint Lord Hunsdon to one of these bodies, I venture to say that they would have great difficulty in getting the proposal through Congress. For this and other reasons, I oppose the Amendment.


I only wish to ask a question. According to the President of the Board of Trade, we are not to have any of these musty, fusty political economists, and we are not to have the judiciary. Will somebody tell me who we are to have? [HON. MEMBERS: "You!"] God forbid. I also want to know the difference between such a national organisation of employers and employed which the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) suggests and the bodies we suggest. I hope before we go any further that somebody will tell us the sort of person of which this great body is to consist. You have ruled out everybody except me.

10.30 p.m.


It would be discourteous if I were not to answer the right hon. Gentleman. I will tell him with the use of one adjective what sort of body we are to have. It is to be an impartial body, and, of course, as my right hon. Friend would be the first to admit, it could not be an impartial body if we accepted this Amendment. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive, and my hon. Friends opposite have given a strange discretionary power to the Government. The representatives of various trades unions and employers organisations are not apparently to be selected by the bodies themselves but by the Government. Of course, that would put the various competitors even within this body in the most invidious position and impose upon the Government a most distasteful duty. For those reasons, I hope that the Amendment will not be pressed.

Amendment negatived.


The next Amendment, which stands in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank)—in page 3, line 10, to leave out from the word "office," to the end of the subsection, and to insert instead thereof the words: during good behaviour subject to power of removal by His Majesty on an Address presented to His Majesty by both Houses of Parliament "— is out of order.


Will you explain why it is out of order, seeing that the Chairman of Ways and Means told me that he intended to call it?


I must point out to the hon. and gallant Member that in his Amendment the persons appointed would hold their office, during good behaviour subject to power of removal by His Majesty on an Address presented to His Majesty by both Houses of Parliament. The Financial Resolution lays it down that they shall receive such payment as Parliament may determine. In other words, they will come on the Estimates and it will be open to the House, in Committee of Supply, to refuse them their salaries at any moment.


But they may be so public spirited as to want to go on doing their work, without payment.


That is a remote possibility, but I think it is too remote to be a possibility.


May I remind you, Sir, that possibilities are not points of Order. May I move the Amendment, whether that is a possibility or not?


No. I must hold to my decision, in view of the fact that the salaries of these Gentlemen may be terminated by the Committee of Supply at any moment. Therefore, it is impossible to put in the Statute that they shall hold office during good behaviour.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 12, to leave out the words "from time to time" and to insert instead thereof the words "for further periods of three years, or annually."

The Bill as drawn is so indefinite as regards the appointment of these very important members of the committee, that I desire to insert definite periods. From time to time, re-appointments can be made. They could, presumably, be appointments for 10 years. There are those on this side of the House who desire to make the appointments of a very definite and permanent character. I take the view that the appointments must during the first period be regarded as something in the nature of an experiment. Therefore, I think they might be appointed for three years, but there should be the greatest possible latitude afterwards in making the re-appointments. By inserting in the Clause the provision that the appointment should be "for further periods of three years, or annually," I have sought to provide, first, that if the initial appointments are successful, they can be continued for another period of three years, but if, for some reason, a first appointment was desired to be continued for a lesser period than three years, it could be continued annually. It might be possible that one person whom it was desirable to retain might not be able to continue for three years but might be able to continue for one year.

There must inevitably be from time to time some changes in the personnel of the committee, and it is desirable that these changes should be gradual in their nature and that there should be some continuity of personnel. By inserting the word "annual," I provide for that. It makes it possible to continue some members of the committee for three years and some for only one year. Possibly, after that, they could continue for another year. Therefore, changes could gradually take place when the necessity arose. It may be that the Minister will see some objection to my suggestion. In that case we may hear what his intentions are, and perhaps he will offer some Amendment of the Clause which will make the re-appointment of a more definite nature than it appears to be in the present wording of the Bill.


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension as to the effect of the provision. He fears that they may be re-appointed for a longer period than three years, he mentioned 10 years, but re-appointment is covered by the first part of the Subsection. They are to hold office for a period of three years and, therefore, on re-appointment they would be re-appointed for three years. It would, of course, be possible to appoint them for a shorter time, but we must remember that we want to give this body a certain amount of independence, and to appoint them for a shorter period than three years would be prejudicial to their status. In addition, it might be somewhat difficult to find people who would be willing to take office for a year at a time. With regard to his second point, that it is not desirable that members of this committee should come out together and be reappointed together, that does not necessarily follow. It is not necessary to reappoint the whole of the committee at the same time, some members may be re-appointed and others may not; and there is no obligation to appoint the whole number of five members as well as the chairman at the same time. In fact, I anticipate that we shall begin by appointing three members to the committee and add to it other members as it is found desirable to increase the personnel in order to deal with these questions.


I am glad to hear that it is proposed to appoint the committee for three years. The Bill, ostensibly, is to deal with an emergency, the adverse balance of payments, and we hope that in three years time the President of the Board of Trade will be satisfied that the emergency has passed. Otherwise the Bill will have to be considered a failure. Three years, I think, is ample time and I hope that we shall be able to dispense with the Bill and that the Committee will not be wanted before the expiration of that period.


If it is unnecessary to provide that the salaries of the members of this committee should depend upon good behaviour and that they should be subject to removal by an Address to His Majesty, because it is within the power of the House of Commons to withdraw their salaries at any time, what is the good of appointing them for three years?

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 13, at the end, to insert the words: If a Member becomes in the opinion of the Treasury unfit to continue in office or incapable of performing his duties under this Act the Treasury shall forthwith declare his office to be vacant and shall notify the fact in such manner as they think fit, and thereupon the office shall become vacant. This is a provision which has probably been omitted by an oversight. It is a usual Clause in Bills of this character, to cover the possibility of anything happening to a member of a committee during the first years of his period of office. If, unfortunately, a person suffered a mental illness there is no provision in the Bill to free him from his office, and unless there is some such provision as this—it is found in other Acts of Parliament—it will be impossible in any case short of death for the member to be removed.


I shall be glad to accept this Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in page 3, line 13, at the end, to insert the words: (3) The chairman of the Committee and any member of the Committee shall, within one month after his appointment, sell any securities which he may hold in his own name or in the name of a nominee for his own benefit in any undertaking engaged directly or indirectly in the production or sale of any goods which if imported would be chargeable with the general ad valorem duty, and it shall not be lawful for the chairman or any such member of the Committee whilst he holds office to purchase for his own benefit any securities in any such undertaking, and if the chairman or any such member of the Committee under any will or succession becomes entitled for his own benefit to any securities in any such undertaking he shall sell them within one month after he has so become entitled thereto. Everyone realises that the functions of this advisory committee will be very delicate and important, and that they should be free not only from any self-interest in exercising those functions but from any suspicion of self-interest. The words of the Amendment are adapted from those which were inserted in the Electricity Supply Act of 1926, setting up the Central Electricity Board. In that case over a comparatively limited industrial field very big powers were entrusted to certain gentlemen, and the Parliament of that time, overwhelmingly Conservative, thought fit to insert the words that are contained in the Amendment. If it is right that members of the Central Electricity Board should be free from any interest in any electricity undertaking, it is quite clear that the members of this advisory committee should be free from any suspicion that any matter on which they have to give a decision may affect their own personal interest. I hope, therefore, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see his way to accept the Amendment.


I hope that the Government will not accept the Amendment, because I think that there is no parallel case to be drawn with the Central Electricity Board. In that case the members of the Board were dealing with a very narrow or comparatively narrow field, while in this case they are dealing with a field the limits of which it would be hard to define. I object to the Amendment on two grounds. First, it assumes a form of potential dishonesty on the part of the Advisory Committee; and, secondly, I think it is impracticable in its application. It might be possible that the members should declare their interest, but to force them to sell any securities which they may hold in any undertaking engaged directly or indirectly in the production or sale of any goods that might be chargeable with the duty, is another matter. The strength even of gilt-edged stocks depends on the ability of this country to produce and sell goods, and the members of this committee would thus not be able to purchase or hold either industrial stocks, or even gilt-edged stocks. By passing this Amendment we would force them to sell, possibly in a depressed market, and under conditions which would be unfair to them, stocks which would come within the terms of the Amendment but which would, in practice, have no bearing on the matter at all.


I do not think that it would be possible for us to accept this Amendment. The Mover of the Amendment will, I am sure, see that it would mean that those about to act on the committee would not merely have to get rid of any securities which they might hold but would have to get out of any undertaking which was engaged directly or indirectly in the production or sale of any goods liable to the general ad valorem duty. It would be obviously unjust that they should not be able to hold securities if they could themselves engage in the undertaking. I cannot imagine what they could not be required to sell under the terms of the Amendment. A man who owned a cow, for instance, would be interested in the production of goods which would be liable to an ad valorem duty such as milk and cheese. I am not quite sure whether a bull would come within the terms of the Amendment, but it might be said that calves were subject to this provision. I think we should be led very far afield if we adopted the Amendment. There must be a certain sense of propriety in these matters, and I would remind hon. Members opposite that even judges are not prohibited from holding investments and from hearing cases affecting undertakings in which they may chance to have holdings. In this case we are dealing with duties which may affect a wide range of undertakings and articles and it would be unreasonable to expect the members of the Advisory Committee to realise everything which they possess.


This is a very serious matter. [Laughter.] Perhaps hon. Members opposite do not regard it as serious, not whether or not the advisory committee is corrupt but whether or not people should be able to make the suggestion that it is corrupt. Of course, nobody here is suggesting that the committee would be corrupt, hut it has often been said, and was said only recently by the Lord Chief Justice, that it is sometimes more important that justice should appear to be done than that justice should be done. Nothing could he more unfortunate than that it should be ascertained that a member of this committee held securities in a firm which benefited by an additional duty. No one would suggest that it had influenced his judgment except someone who was concerned to make trouble. Surely it is worth while, however, considering the protection of the committee against people who might make such suggestions and might thereby lead to a great deal of discontent with the committee's work. If the Government in 1926 thought it necessary, when dealing with a limited field—which makes it all the more surprising perhaps—that this protection should be inserted for such a committee in order that they might not be laid open to some charge which would not be true, it is even more necessary here.

This advisory committee is apparently to be set up as a, small judicial body with complete powers of recommendation, and nothing could be more unfortunate or more likely to injure the good repute of the committee and the whole proceedings under this Measure than that is should be discovered, at some time, that members of it held securities in a firm which had benefited by some act of the committee. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman jestingly pointed out that a cow might be included in the terms of the Amendment, but I do not think any judge has ever held that a cow is a security, and it certainly is not a security in an undertaking. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not think that that sort of point meets what is a serious question, which hitherto has been treated seriously in matters of this kind. We very much hope that the right hon. Gentleman will at least consider whether some form of protection should be inserted.


The speech to which we have just listened fills me with amazement. There would only be one class in the country who would not be included in the category, and that is gentlemen of the legal profession. The hon. and learned Gentleman would seem by this special advocacy to be asking for the sole appointment of those who are connected with this profession, because, obviously, he has eliminated everybody in the other categories. If you look all round and take this Bill, there can be no man who is not directly or indirectly affected—


I am sure that if the hon. and gallant Gentleman asks the 135 members of the legal profession in his own party in this House, he will find that a good many of them have securities in undertakings.


The hon. and learned Gentleman misunderstands me. I can conceive that it is almost impossible for anyone to have any independent income except gentlemen of a profession such as that followed by the hon. and learned Gentleman. It probably has not occurred to him that it is only a professional man of such a description who could come into the category to which he seeks to limit the appointment. You would have to draw this much wider, for there would not be a man in the trade union move- ment who would not come under the Bill. In the course of years their whole livelihood will be affected, and then there are the co-operative societies who will gain enormously from all development in the country. You will have eliminated all of them. Supposing there is any hon. Gentlemen sitting below me interested in merchandise in foreign countries, you will have eliminated all of them. I do not say that in any offensive way. The hon. and learned Gentleman will agree with me that, probably, with the exception of his profession, there are very few people in the country who will be eligible for the committee.

With regard to cows, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that they would not count, but surely he is going to eliminate all the dairy farmers from the possibility of being appointed? When the right hon. and gallant Gentleman speaks about bulls, I can only say that if we have our way bulls will be included. The Amendment is obviously a farce, and I hope that the Government will resist it, because if it were carried you would exclude anyone from the purview of this Clause who has any direct stake in the fortunes of the country.


The hon. and gallant Gentleman has spoken very eloquently, but he has not read the Amendment. I will read it for him. It says: The chairman of the Committee and any member of the Committee shall, within one month after his appointment, sell any securities which he may hold in his own name or in the name of a nominee for his own benefit in any undertaking engaged directly or indirectly in the production or sale of any goods which if imported would be chargeable with the general ad valorem duty, and it shall not be lawful for the chairman or any such member of the Committee whilst he holds office to purchase for his own benefit any securities in any such undertaking, Is that unreasonable? We may not be living in an ideal world, but with a precedent like that of the Electricity Commissioners, it is possible to get first-class men who had the confidence of all industries. Surely this great Government can discover some men of character and property who are not engaged in business, and who are thoroughly disinterested? I think that it is a most reasonable Amendment.


It appears to me that, although the Amendment might not be acceptable as it stands, possibly some variations with a view to not allowing such members who happened to be on the Committee to vote on or decide any issue in respect of which they held securities, might be acceptable to the Government. I ask that this might be considered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and possibly he might be prepared to accept an Amendment on these lines.


I remember that in the last Parliament the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) called attention to the fact that one of the Whips of the late Labour Government occupied a position as director in a co-operative society, and he had to resign his office as Whip. That hon. Member was a long way from being in a position to initiate legislation or anything of the kind, but in order to maintain the rule that Members of the Government should not be interested in business, our friend had to go out. I cannot help thinking that you might happen to choose, say, a man like the late Lord Melchett, who, if he were living, would be the kind of man to be chosen, or Sir Josiah Stamp, or some other person connected with one or other of the great monopolies concerned, for one of these positions. Are we to be told that they are to be appointed and to help adjudicate on something which may be of very great importance to the business with which they are associated?

I think the Committee has treated the matter altogether too lightly. If the right hon. Gentleman will tell us that he will consider this question between now and Report, we shall be glad, and if he does not meet us then, we can take a vote on that occasion, but in any case will he consider it? I beg the Committee to remember that when these decisions are made there will be a lot of discussion by the opponents of certain firms that will perhaps be considered to be getting an advantage, and the one thing to kill all thought or talk of suspicion would be to take some steps along the lines suggested in the Amendment. If our proposal is not the right one to meet the point, all that I ask is that the right hon. Gentleman should undertake to consider it between now and the Report stage.


I have no doubt that the Government would make it clear to those who were going to be members of this Advisory Committee that they could not hold directorships in industries that might be affected by their decisions, as is the case with Ministers, but no Government has ever attempted, nor has Parliament, to limit the ordinary disposition of a Minister's property.


Up to the present no Minister has had the sort of power that these gentlemen will have in determining business.

11.0 p.m.


From the Chancellor of the Exchequer downwards Ministers almost every day have opportunities where, if they wished to make investments guided by their inside knowledge, they could do things which we should all deplore, but we know that they do not do them. We can trust members of the Advisory Committee not to go speculating in the shares of undertakings that may be influenced by their decisions. Anything like a, broad rule of this kind is frankly impossible, because not only would any holdings which they may have be impossible to limit, but if they did sell, there would be nothing in which they could re-invest their money that would not be excluded under this Amendment, whether shares in an undertaking, land or any form of property. There is no form of investment that is not affected by the general tariff scheme. It must be left to the discretion of the Government to see that members of the committee do not hold directing or governing positions in any financial undertaking that may be affected, so that the same rule that applies to Ministers will equally apply to them.


There is more in this Amendment than hon. Members try to admit. The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) seems to think that no one will be picked if this Amendment is carried. There are many people without investments. Would not the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) be a fit representative? Would not I, also? I suppose, however, that we are outside the category of likely members of this committee. If the members are allowed to have interests, they cannot be impartial. If the Amendment be ac- cepted, the point would be made clear that anyone on the committee should have no financial interests at all. In the interests of the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer might examine this more closely and see if anything can be done to meet our point of view. So far, we have had no indication that this will be an impartial body and that is why the Amendment is being moved.


I have always understood that members of this committee were to perform a whole-time job, and I hope that there is no question of these gentlemen holding directorships while they are on the committee.


I hope that the Government will resist this ridiculous Amendment. The whole collective wisdom of the Government will be devoted to selecting men who are entirely above suspicion, and if this Amendment were accepted, these unfortunate men would be stripped of all their possessions. They would have no place where they could invest any money that they might have or that they are paid for holding their positions. Should any flagrant case occur the Government will have a remedy because they have accepted an Amendment under which any member of the committee can be given three months' notice.




In supporting the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) respecting directorships, I would note that one interesting point emerges from this discussion. All those supporting the Amendment, who ordinarily are strong opponents of the Bill, and predict that it will cause general ruin among the population, seem to be agreed now that business undertakings will very much improve in value. I am glad that point has been brought out.


I would like to support the Amendment, and would point out, in reply to certain criticisms, that all that it says is: The chairman of the Committee and any member of the Committee shall, within one month after his appointment, sell any securities which he may hold in his own name or in the name of a nominee for his own benefit in any undertaking engaged directly or indirectly in the production or sale of any goods which if imported would be chargeable with the general ad valorem duty, What has that to do with the possession of land or houses? The Leader of the Opposition is quite right, and we ought to treat this point seriously. A man who is appointed a member of the Advisory Committee will be a responsible person, well paid, and is quite capable of buying Government stock or other stock. The case would be different if he were a director, say, of Lister's, or some other firm in the woollen industry, and a high duty was to be proposed for that industry. All the Amendment proposes to do is to deal with a case of that character, and I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will consider the point between now and the Report stage. Perhaps it might be advisable to cut out the word "indirectly," because that makes the Amendment rather wide.

As to the observation of the hon. Member for Horncastle (Mr. Haslam), that we have been saying that it is impossible for industry to benefit under the Bill, I would point out that we Free Traders have never denied that certain industries may benefit, but what we have tried to show hon. Members is that it will be bad for the trade of the country in the aggregate. We have never denied that if a particular industry is bolstered up by high tariffs—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] That is quite in order, and I am sure that Captain Bourne will agree with me. To put a high duty on the products of a particular industry will obviously give a great advantage to that industry. I hope that between now and Report stage the Chancellor will be able to devise some form of Amendment which will prohibit anyone who is on the Advisory Committee being directly interested as a stockholder in a particular industry which may have a high duty.


This question appears to me to be of far greater importance than some hon. Members think it is. I hold the view, old fashioned if you like, that anybody holding a full-time position in which he is adequately paid ought not to have the opportunity to use that position for his own personal benefit; and there cannot be any doubt that if the Bill goes through in its present form the opportunity will be there for anybody who is evil minded enough to desire to take advantage of it. An hon. Member reminds me that only men of responsible character will be selected. In return, let me remind him that we have had in many of our highly paid posts men of the highest possible character—until they were found out. It has not been unknown even that people holding the highest position in this House have found themselves in a position where they could use their inside knowledge to their own advantage. Everybody in the Committee knows that in recent years matters have come up for consideration in this House. If hon. Members who are so concerned about the well-being of the people of the country and about the honest working of this

Tariff Bill, were sincere, they would at least make some reasonable concession to the Amendment that is now before us. The Minister who is going to reply ought to be prepared to make the concession that is asked for, namely, to give consideration to the matter between now and the Report stage. If that concession is not made, people outside will be filled with suspicion that will be harmful to the people holding the high offices that we are now setting up.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 38; Noes, 273.

Division No. 69.] AYES [11.12 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Mailalleu, Edward Lancelot
Bernays, Robert Groves, Thomas E. Mender, Geoffrey le M.
Briant, Frank Grundy, Thomas W. Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Nathan, Major H. L.
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Harris, Sir Percy Parkinson, John Allen
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hirst, George Henry Price, Gabriel
Daggar, George Jenkins, Sir William Salter, Dr. Alfred
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, J. J. (Went Ham, Silvertown) Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianeily)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Edwards, Charles Lansbury, RI. Hon. George
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lunn, William TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Mr. John and Mr. Tinker.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) McEntee, Valentine L.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Castle Stewart, Earl Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Cautley, Sir Henry S. Fraser, Captain Ian
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Albery, Irving James Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Ganzoni, Sir John
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgbaston) Gibson, Charles Granville
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Clayton, Dr. George C. Gillett. Sir George Masterman
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Colfox, Major William Philip Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Apsley, Lord Colman, N. C. D. Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Aske, Sir Robert William Colville, Major David John Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Conant, R. J. E. Goodman, Colonel Albert W.
Atholl, Duchess of Cook, Thomas A. Gower, Sir Robert
Balfour, Capt. Harold (1. of Thanet) Cooke, James D. Graves, Marjorie
Baintel, Lord Craven-Ellis, William Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Croft. Brigadier-General Sir H. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Crooke, J. Smedley Grimston, R. V.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Gritten, W. G. Howard
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Croom-Johnson, R. P. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Cross, R. H. Gunston, Captain D. W.
Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.) Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hales, Harold K.
Blindell, James Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)
Boulton, W. W. Dawson, Sir Philip Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Denville, Alfred Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Dixey, Arthur C. N. Harbord, Arthur
Bracken, Brendan Donner, P. W. Hartington, Marquess of
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Dower, Captain A. V. G. Hartland, George A.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Drewe, Cedric Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)
Broadbent, Colonel John Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Duggan, Hubert John Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)
Browne, Captain A. C. Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)
Buchan, John Eastwood, John Francis Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Edmondson, Major A. J. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Burghley, Lord Ednam, Viscount Hepworth. Joseph
Burgin. Dr. Edward Leslie Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Hillman, Dr. George B.
Burnett, John George Ellis, Robert Geoffrey Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Walter
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Elliston, Captain George Sampson Holdsworth, Herbert
Caine, G. R. Hail- Elmley, Viscount Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Hore-Bellsha, Leslie
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Emrys Evans, P. V. Hornby, Frank
Carver, Major William H. Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Howard, Tom Forrest
Castlereagh, Viscount Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Morrison, William Sheppard Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Moss, Captain H J. Skelton, Archibald Noel
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Mulrhead, Major A. J. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Nail, Sir Joseph Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Smith Carington, Neville W.
Ker, J. Campbell Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Somervell, Donald Bradley
Kerr, Hamilton W. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Kimball, Lawrence Oman, Sir Charles William C. Soper, Richard
Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Knebworth, Viscount Ormiston, Thomas Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Law, Sir Alfred Palmer, Francis Noel Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Leckie, J. A. Patrick, Colin M. Stones, James
Leech, Dr. J. W. Pearson, William G. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Peat, Charles U. Strauss, Edward A.
Levy, Thomas Penny, Sir George Strickland, Captain W. F.
Lewis, Oswald Perkins, Walter R. D. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Llddail, Walter S. Petherick, M. Sutcliffe, Harold
Lindsay, Noel Ker Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston) Tate, Mavis Constance
Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n,S.)
Lieweilln, Major John J. Procter, Major Henry Adam Templeton, William P.
Lloyd, Geoffrey Pybus, Percy John Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th) Paikes, Henry V. A. M. Thompson, Luke
Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley) Ramsay, T. B W. (Western Isles) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Ratcliffe, Arthur Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Mabane, William Reid, David D. (County Down) Touche, Gordon Cosmo
MacAndrew, Maj. C. G. (Partick) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Train, John
McCorquodale, M. S. Remer, John R. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
McEwen, J. H. F. Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
McKeag, William Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U. Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
McLean, Major Alan Roberts, Aled (Wrexham) Ward, Lt Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecciesall) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Macmillan, Maurice Harold Robinson, John Roland Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Magnay, Thomas Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Maitland, Adam Ropner, Colonel L. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Ross, Ronald D. Wells, Sydney Richard
Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col, Sir M. Runclman, Rt. Hon. Walter Weymouth, Viscount
Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Runge, Norah Cecil Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Marsden, Commander Arthur Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Martin, Thomas B. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Meller, Richard James Rutherford, Sir John Hugo Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Salmon, Major Isldore Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Millar, Sir James Duncan Salt, Edward W. Wise, Alfred R.
Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham) Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Womersley, Walter James
Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Worthington, Dr. John V.
Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Scone, Lord
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Selley, Harry R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Moreing, Adrian C. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Major George Davies and Lord Erskine.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.— [Captain Margesson.]

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

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