HC Deb 20 July 1933 vol 280 cc2072-99

Postponed Proceeding resumed on Consideration of Bill as amended (in the Standing Committee).

7.32 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 40, line 7, to leave out from the beginning to the end of the Schedule, and to insert instead thereof the words:

"Local authorities in England and Wales 4
Local authorities in Scotland 2
Users of mechanically-propelled vehicles 5
Users of horses and horse-drawn vehicles 1
Users of roads other than as above mentioned—
Pedestrians 1
Pedal cyclists 1
Railways 2
Canals (other than canals owned or controlled by a railway company) 1
Coastwise shipping 1
Harbours and docks (other than harbours and docks owned or controlled by a railway company) 1
Labour 3
Trading interests (including agriculture) 5"

I was explaining to the House that there will be no circumstances connected with this Advisory Council in which numerical strength will matter. The whole point is that there should be represented upon this Council all the various interests which it will be necessary for me to consult on these transport matters, and the only thing that we have to ensure is that every such interest will have someone who will be able to give me a real and authoritative opinion upon their particular section of the transport problem. The other consideration, with which, I am sure, every hon. Member will agree, is that the whole utility of this Council will be defeated if we allow its numbers to become unduly large. I am sure it is the experience of every hon. Member that as soon as a committee becomes too big its utility begins to fall away. The membership begins to be less prized, the interests become more diverse, and it nearly always ends by lacking utility. Therefore, in drawing up the composition of this Advisory Council, I have had to steer a course between these two evils; the evil of having so many members that the Council would not function, or having so few members that certain interests would not be properly represented, would not be able to make their point of view heard, and would, in the end, be apt to quarrel with any advice the Advisory Council tendered.

Already in the Committee stage we have had considerable discussion as to the composition of the Council, and as a result of that discussion, and of the representations made to me since, I have put down a new Schedule making certain changes. I think it will be of use if I detail what the changes are. I have increased the representation of the local authorities in England and Wales from three to four members. That was done in accordance with the principle I have enunciated of the various interests being able to make their point of view heard. That will provide a representative for the great municipalities, a representative for the county councils, one for the rural district councils and one for the urban district councils. With such representation I think the local authorities will be able to express all points of view. I may add that this change was made largely in response to an Amendment moved and an appeal made to me by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Louth (Lieut.-Colonel Heneage). I have increased the local authorities' representation in Scotland from one to two members. That concession has been ill requited by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), who all the time that he was accusing me of hardness of heart knew that there was on the Order Paper this proof of my essential kindness. Similar representations have been made to me by many of my hon. Friends representing Scottish constituencies, and I think there was a good case made out that we could not have got one man to represent adequately the interests of the urban and of the rural authorities.

I have increased the number of representatives of the users of the roads from one to two, and spilt them up between pedestrians and pedal cyclists, because it was represented to me that there might be a conflict of interest there. The only conflict I see is that whereas pedestrians travel on the footpath in accordance with the law the others persistently travel on the footpath in defiance of it. During the Committee stage I made it plain that the representative of canals and of harbours and docks should be representative of those undertakings not owned or controlled by railways. I have given another representative to Labour, increasing their representatives from two to three, because I thought that with two members they would be unable adequately to represent the views of all the various sections. I trust that with this additional number, and the close and paternal co-operation of all the unions, they will be able adequately to represent the various points of view. I have increased the representatives of the trading interests, including agriculture, from four to five. I thought that with only four to represent all the trading interests, that is to say, all the users of railways and roads, from the traffic point of view, all over the country, it might be impossible to get all the varying and clashing interests properly represented.

I know that there are various hon. Members who are never satisfied and who, the more I give, ask the more, but I think that hon. Members as a whole will realise that I have made an honest attempt to meet the various claims, keeping in mind what I think is a most important consideration; that if we extend this council too much its utility will disappear, and also keeping in mind that every concession I make to one interest is followed by an application for a similar concession from another interest, on grounds which are similar to those put forward in the first place, and which it is therefore extremely hard for me to refuse.


The Amendment standing on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard)—In page 40, line 6, at the end, to insert the words: Co-operative Union, Limited … 1 can be moved as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

7.38 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

I would like to thank the Minister for meeting the requirements of the local authorities to the extent of giving an increase of one in the number of their representatives for England and Wales. Of course, we should have liked five, but we thank him for what he has done. I notice that the representation of Scotland has been increased to two, and, therefore, the local authorities' representation will have an additional significance in the meeting of the Advisory Council. As far as the Urban District Councils Association is concerned, and I believe I can speak for the other local authorities, we thank the Minister, and it is not proposed to move the Amendment which had been put down on the Paper.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.

Question proposed, "That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill."

7.40 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, at the beginning, to insert the words: Co-operative Union, Limited 1 Unfortunately, I was unable to enjoy the Debate that accompanied the consideration of this matter in Committee, but I have paid a little attention to the printed report of the proceedings, and I was pleased to note that on the last day the hon. Gentleman stated that he was not adopting a rigid attitude towards the Amendments that still had to come before the Committee. I trust he still maintains that attitude, and that he will allow his sympathies, if he has any, to accompany him to this stage of the proceedings. I read a speech he made on that occasion, and I appreciate a number of the points that he put forward, and I accept the basis of discussion laid down, namely, that the real arguments to be examined were arguments that would affect some particular type of interest which has a right to expression in these matters. It is from that point of view, and with a real feeling that we have something tangible on which to base our claims, that I move this Amendment to include the Co-operative Union. At one time I did think this Advisory Council might have powers which it appears they do not possess. I would like to quote the hon. Gentleman's statement with regard to the purposes of the Council: The purpose of the Council will not be to give me a recommendation which has been carried by a majority and therefore in circumstances which would make the voting strength of a particular interest of great importance, but to enable me to consult them; and there, of course, the important thing will be the strength and vigour with which particular points of view are put forward by the interests, however strong or weak they may be numerically, which are chiefly concerned in the particular matter. I suggest that here we have an interest which does warrant some consideration being given to us, especially when we bear in mind the fact that the vehicles of this Union are under a control that extends from one part of Great Britain to the other. It is not isolated in one particular group of controlling units or societies, but is capable of being coordinated in such a way that they could be looked upon as a completely national unit. The voting question being excluded from the activities of the Council, I do not see anything which should prevent an expression of opinion by this interest inside this Advisory Council. I have not yet seen the machinery, but it may be possible to ascertain various views from the Co-operative Union, but those views would not have the status they would have if expressed to the Minister within the four corners of the Advisory Council. That is a point to which I would like some attention to be given.

In considering the claim of the Co-operative Union, the Minister said that it would not be the proper place to introduce it under the heading of mechanically-propelled vehicles, and he gave illustrations of the type of heading under which it might be segregated for representation. One would be the private motorist. He gave passenger vehicles as the second illustration and goods vehicles as a third, but he did not specify the other two types that will be included in representation under this Schedule. He suggested that if they were to receive consideration at all, they should be related to the last line which deals with trading interests. If they have to be looked at from that point of view, our case is rather stronger. If general trading interests have to be taken into consideration, it will be found that the co-operative movement will be in a more hostile field than if it were in any other place. We therefore think that consideration should be given to it in a greater measure than has been the case up to the present time.

We have been asked whether any specific difference can be displayed as between the co-operative movement and large multiple firms. There is one. The multiple firms can ally themselves with organisations created for the purpose of dealing with the transport industry, but that is not a position which is open to the co-operative movement. Therefore, here are interests that will not be able to express themselves through an alliance which is still open to the multiple firms. May I say, although I do not want to press the point, that the fears of the cooperative movement are rather well-grounded? I have paid attention to Part III dealing with the Transport Advisory Council, and I see that it is rather general in its terms. The council is stated to be for the purpose of giving advice and assistance to the Minister, but, in addition to that, I notice, in Subsection (7), that the council is to have considerable power. I notice that The council, so far as it considers it necessary or desirable so to do for the purpose of the proper discharge of its functions, may by notice in writing require any person"— I presume that that means person or organisation— to furnish … information. We have had experience of this before. We had the War-time experience when the co-operative movement were concerned with regard to the supply of material for carrying on their work, and we have had the experience of the inroads made in the standing of the cooperative movement in other directions. Those experiences, and a more recent example, have created the opinion and the feeling that there is danger in the proposals which we are now discussing, and that one of the ways to dispose of the danger is respectfully to ask that the cooperative movement should receive more consideration in so far as representation is concerned.

7.49 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

We stated our case in Committee on this matter. Just after the Budget Statement that was made in this House, the Government, for the first time in history, has seen fit, to its advantage or otherwise, to tax the cooperative societies of this country and to make an attack upon them in a manner in which those societies have never been attacked before. It is most natural that the Co-operative Movement are anxious to safeguard their interests, and to be more active along such lines than they have ever been before. That is because of the actions of the present Government. The Minister of Transport is part and parcel of that Government, and that is why the Co-operative Movement are anxious that one of the representatives on this Council should be a member of a co-operative society.

I want, at this juncture, to thank the Minister of Transport for the concession he gave me in having two representatives from the local authorities of Scotland. Originally he desired to have only one. for Scotland. I want to draw his attention to the fact that he has increased the last item in the Schedule, relating to labour, from two to three. I appeal' to him that one of these three might come from Scotland, and act as the Scottish representatives. Scotland is distinct from England or Wales. England: has a. Trades Union Congress; so has, Scotland. Wales has none. Scotland has a distinct Labour party. Wales has none. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh!"] It is simply swallowed up in the greater party of England. Scotland has a distinct claim here. We have maintained all along that it has been recognised, in the great Trade Union and Labour move-manta, that Scotland is something apart. The Scottish Labour and Trade Union Movements have asked me, on their behalf, to endeavour to secure that one of the three Labour representatives shall be from Scotland. I hope that the Minister and Scotland will note that many Scottish hon. Members on those Benches do not give us very much assistance when we are putting up a fight on behalf of Scotland.

The same argument is true in regard to the Co-operative Movement. The organi- sations in the Schedule all have interests to conserve. They all have different points of view that are legitimate as long as the competitive system exists. As I said in my first speech on this Bill, the only way to get round the difficulty is to nationalise the transport system and to incorporate it into our social life. There is no other way of getting rid of the difficulty. At every turn, you find that every organisation is working to safeguard its own particular point of view. It is not we who are responsible for that. The Minister of Transport is essentially representing capitalism and commercialism, and he is trying to run capitalism. That is the idea of this Bill. In trying to do the business, the Minister gets up against all manner and conditions of men, characters and situations, with which it is very difficult to deal.

I have stated before, and I may as well state again, that if angels came down from Heaven—never mind this great Government—they could not run capitalism because capitalism cannot be run. It has been tried in every part of the world. Every statesman and every country is right up against it, and cannot run capitalism; no more can the Minister of Transport run the transport business of this country successfully. Because I realise that, I am always appealing that the different sections to whom this Bill is to apply should have representation. I am now asking the hon. Gentleman to give representation to the great Cooperative Movement, which is far-flung in every town and village of England, Scotland and Wales—never mind Ireland—serving different sections of the community. They have hundreds of thousands of vehicles, operated by individuals who will be affected indirectly and directly by the Bill. I trust that the Minister will give us this concession, in view of the fact that he has given me the concession in regard to Scotland.

7.57 p.m.


The hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard), who moved the Amendment to the proposed Amendment, made a very moderate and sincere appeal, and it is with regret that I find myself unable to accede to it. I still am not at all moved from the opinion I expressd in Committee that, so far as these transport problems are concerned, you cannot distinguish the Co-operative Movement from trading interests generally, except possibly—and with this I will deal later—on the question of size. I do not want here to get into a discussion of the merits or demerits of the Co-operative Union, and I shall not let that blessed word "mutuality' pass my lips. I am concerned only with these bodies, whether they be the Co-operative Union, multiple stores or other forms of industry in this country, as users of our transport system. Taken on that basis, I cannot see any difference in principle, or any distinct point of view, as between the Cooperative Union and other similar bodies.

I frankly admit the size of the Co-operative Union, and the fact that they will be great users of the road and the rail, but I would point out to the House that before I actually appoint representatives of the trading interests I shall discuss the matter and consult with the big trading interests themselves. No doubt among those interests I shall discuss representation with the Co-operative Union.


They are the largest, are they not?


I should think they are. I make, of course, no promise as to what the result of those discussions may be. I hold firmly to the principle that, so far as this Transport Advisory Council is concerned, you cannot draw any distinction between the Co-operative Union and the other trading organisations who are users of the road. I would remind hon. Members that I am increasing the representation of the trading interest from four to five.


Would the hon. Gentleman answer a question? I know, of course, that he is careful in his use of words, but may I take it that his reference to discussing the matter with trading interests means that he definitely promises to discuss it with the Co-operative Union?


No. What I said was that when I come to make the appointment of representatives of the trading interests I shall, of course, consult those who I think will give me good advice in the trading world, and that I have no doubt that among those people whom I shall consult as to the appointment of those representatives will be the Cooperative Union.


Then I understand we can take it that the Minister, as regards the question of appointing representatives of trading interests, will not overlook consultation with the Co-operative Union?

Mr. STANLEY indicated assent.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.1 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, at the beginning, to insert the words:

"Operators of public service vehicles (licensed under the Road Traffic Act, 1930) 2"
By this Amendment I ask that operators of public service vehicles all over the country should have two representatives on the Advisory Council which is to be set up under this Measure. Passenger omnibuses now play a very large part in our daily lives, and their operations extend all over the country. Moreover, the operators of public service vehicles are subject to the very onerous restrictions and regulations of the Road Traffic Act, 1930. Therefore, it is only fair to ask that they shall have adequate representation on this Advisory Council. I feel certain that the Minister will acknowledge the justice of this request, and, in urging him to grant this representation, I would also ask that the appointments of representatives of operators of public service vehicles should only be made after consultation with the responsible organisations representing those operators.


I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

8.3 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

An Amendment to this effect was moved in Committee, and was subsequently withdrawn on the Minister's promise that he would reconsider the whole question of representatives on the Advisory Council. We cannot accept this proposal, and we think it would be quite unfair that the operators of public service vehicles should be specially represented in this manner. Already there is provision for five representatives of users of mechanically propelled vehicles. That number has been criticised by some people as being too large, and Amendments have been put down to reduce it. In the selection of these five representatives of users of mechanically propelled vehicles, it is fairly certain that the operators of public service vehicles will be included, and we think there is no justification for making any special provision for a representative of this section of mechanical vehicles.

8.4 p.m.


May I take it from the Parliamentary Secretary that a representative of operators of public service vehicles will at any rate be included in whatever number there is of representatives of users of mechanically propelled vehicles; and, if so, can I have an assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary that such representatives will only be appointed after consultation with the responsible organisations representing these operators?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

All that I can assure my hon. Friend is that the claims of operators of public service vehicles will, of course, be considered in the representation of users of mechanically propelled vehicles.


Will they be included?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

Their claims for inclusion will be considered.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, negatived.

8.6 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 3, column 2, to leave out "5," and to insert instead thereof "6."

The object of this Amendment is that the whole group of users of mechanically-propelled vehicles should have a representation of six instead of five. I am the more encouraged to move the Amendment by the words which the Parliamentary Secretary has just used in reference to the Amendment which has just been considered. When in that Amendment special representation was proposed for the operators of public service vehicles, he said that a similar proposal had been made in Committee and had been withdrawn on the Minister saying that he would reconsider the composition of this Advisory Council before the Report stage. That Amendment was with- drawn in Committee on the statement of the Minister that on Report he would at any rate consider the possibility of giving rather more favourable representation to that general group of users of mechanically-propelled vehicles.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

What I said was that the Amendment was withdrawn in Committee when the Minister said that he would consider the whole question of the composition of the Advisory Council. I do not think he made any statement to the effect that he was going to give more representation to this or that body.


I do not for a moment wish to put into the mouth, either of the Parliamentary Secretary here or, retrospectively, into the mouth of the Minister upstairs, any words which he did not use. The only point that I want to bring before the House is that the effect on the minds of those to whom the Minister then spoke was obvious. He said that he would reconsider the whole question of the composition of the Advisory Council, and at any rate that was a reason why those who were responsible for the Amendment in Committee did not then press their claim for larger representation of a particular section of users of mechanically-propelled vehicles. It certainly gave to them, perhaps wrongly, the idea that the Minister at any rate would not look with an unfavourable eye on giving a rather larger representation to users of mechanically-propelled vehicles.

Apart from that, may I give what I consider to be rather strong reasons for this Amendment? The Advisory Council, as it appeared in the original Bill, numbered 22, including five representatives of users of mechanically propelled vehicles. The reason for the proportion being as large as not quite one-fourth, but rather more than one-fifth, is obvious. It is that these are the people who most of all are affected by the Bill, and, therefore, it is quite natural that they should have a rather larger representation on the Advisory Council. Under the new proposal of the Minister, the total number of the Advisory Council is swollen from 22 to 27, and, although I admit at once that you cannot claim any exact arithmetical fraction for the users of mechanically propelled vehicles, yet to start with there would be an initial fairness in slightly increasing their representation as well. But the case is very strong for two other reasons.

The Minister is increasing the representation of the local authorities, and he gave as his reason for doing so—and it was applauded by the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. McKeag), who, I hope, will support the claim which. I am low making on precisely the same grounds—that the different classes of local authorities should each have appropriate representation; and he has made provision for all these different classes of opinion being separately represented. The case of the users of mechanically propelled vehicles is similar. There are three quite distinct classes—the private owners, the operators of public service vehicles, and the road hauliers. In many cases their interests are quite distinct, and they would sometimes put forward quite different views. Consequently, it would be a convenience and would be generally fair if a number were allotted to them which was divisible by three.

Special representation has been given to local authorities in Scotland, and in some instances it would clearly be necessary to have representation of people of this class, who are most affected by the Bill, from the Northern parts of the country, if not exclusively from Scotland, and also from the South. I do not think that this would create a precedent for enlarging the council indefinitely in other respects. I do not want necessarily to bind the Parliamentary Secretary at this moment, but I hope he will ask the Minister to take into consideration what I think is a very strong case, before the Bill finally receives the Royal Assent after going to another place.

8.14 p.m.


May I direct the Minister's attention to what he said in Committee? They cannot be representatives of particular interests or owners but must be representatives of particular types of users. Some will represent the ordinary private motorist, some the passenger type of vehicle, some goods vehicles as a whole, and so on."—OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee A), 11th July, 1933; col. 682. Surely, having regard to the very definite reference to owners of passenger types of vehicles, I am entitled to ask that that statement, which was equivalent to an undertaking, should be given effect to.

8.15 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

What the Minister stated was that he would consider the whole matter of the composition of the Advisory Council, and he has done so. Certain additions have been made to its number. My right hon. Friend said he thought that, as the numbers had been increased, it was only right and proper that the representatives of the users of mechanically-propelled vehicles should be increased also. Now it is asked that the Minister should consider the matter once again. We think that the representation that is given to mechanically-propelled vehicles in comparison with the representation that is given to all the other interests is sufficient and I can, therefore, hold out no hope that any alteration will be made in the number as it stands in the Schedule.

8.16 p.m.


There is one interest which in the whole of the Debate on this Schedule has never been mentioned by the Minister or anyone else, and that is the representation of railways, which now stands at two out of 27, whereas upstairs it was considered by some of us to be almost ridiculously small when it was two out of 22. My right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) reminds me of the importunate widow. The more he has got for his road transport, the larger the representation he thinks he ought to have. Because he has five and there are 27 now altogether, instead of 22, he asks for something which will be divisible by three. Nine would be divisible by three also, and so would 12. I am surprised at the moderation of the representatives of the road interest in asking for only six, whereas the railway companies have two. I am thankful to notice that this is not a question of voting and, therefore, it does not very much matter how many there are, but I ask the Parliamentary Secretary not to lie awake at nights between now and the time when the Bill finally passes into an Act in giving consideration to this importunate claim from the road interest.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.

8.18 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 11, to leave out the word "Coastwise."

I have another Amendment in the same line to leave out "1" and to insert instead thereof "2." The point is that there should be on this Advisory Committee two representatives of the shipping industry, without specifying whether coastwise or not. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary recognises that there are really two branches of coastwise shipping. There is the liner and there is the tramp. He is rightly anxious that all separate and distinct interests should be represented on the Advisory Council and, therefore, it is felt by the shipping industry that it would be much preferable that there should be two representatives, who would have a knowledge of the requirements of deep sea ships as well as purely coasting ships. It is not so much that there is a divergence of interest between them, but deep sea ships have much wider considerations to keep in mind, because the liner should be able to take advantage of all forms of transport. The smaller boats have to come alongside the liner, and they are a competing form of transport with the railways so far as the liners are concerned. In other words, the deep sea owners may have to take advantage of transport either by road or by rail or by canal or by coastwise shipping. The deep sea ship owners are the biggest customers of the railways with the exception of the coal mines, and it is desirable that the Advisory Council should be in a position to give the Minister advice from the special point of view of the deep sea ship owners as well as from that of coastwise shipping. Although I realise that the Council is purely advisory and has no definite voting or executive power, nevertheless I think, in regard to deep sea shipping, you have a distinct interest which should be represented.

8.22 p.m.

Commander MARSDEN

I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

The more railway representatives that there are, the more pleased will the shipping interests be, because they are so combined with the railways that to- gether they make a very formidable competition against all forms of transport. There are two representatives from the railways and one from coastwise shipping against double the number from the other forms of transport. The liner comes into the situation very much, because even with big ships going ocean voyages there may frequently come certain periods in the voyage when they call at two home ports and then come under the term "coastwise shipping." They have to discharge large portions of their cargo, sometimes into smaller coastal liners, and frequently when they come to the end of their voyage they might still have a portion of their cargo on a through bill of lading which may possibly best be sent over the railway. There are many other considerations of that sort which point to the fact that an extra shipping adviser would considerably strengthen the Committee.

8.23 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I should be more stupid than I am if I had gone through the Committee without realising that there are two kinds of shipping. I have ploughed through the deep waters listening to the various interests for a considerable period of time. As a matter of fact, I do not think my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment need fear that the representatives of coastwise shipping will not be able to represent the interests of shipping generally, but really the interests of the big ships are more of a trading nature than anything else. I mean that they are really limited to the use of docks and harbours and their interests are of a trading nature. Therefore, we have increased the representatives of the trading interests, and I hope my hon. Friend will be satisfied with that. It is possible that the additional representative might represent the shipping interests which he has at heart.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.25 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 14, column 2, to leave out "3," and to insert instead thereof "5."

The purpose of the Amendment is to increase the number of Labour representatives upon the Transport Advisory Council from three to five. The request is the most modest of any put forward for representation upon the Advisory Council. One has only to look down the Schedule to see to what extent other interests are being given representation. The users of mechanically-propelled vehicles are to have five representatives; the railways, two; canals, one; and trading interests, including agriculture, five. It is proposed that the Advisory Council shall consist of 27 Members, 24 of whom are to be representative of various interests. Three seats are to be given to the representation of the various trade unions, who certainly have a point of view quite distinct from that of the other 24 representatives who will sit upon the Advisory Council.

The Minister said that he did not desire the Committee to be too large, but as far as the representation of other interests are concerned he has not by any means curtailed the number. He has increased the number of seats on the Advisory Council from 22 to 27. He has increased the representation of the other interests by four, and the representation of the interests of trade unions by one. He rightly said that the members of the council would not be called upon to vote. It was an advisory council, and he did not desire to count heads. While we agree with him from that point of view, at the same time we say that, interest for interest, the trades union representatives should be entitled to claim upon that basis. We are not making a claim upon that basis, but only asking that five seats on the Advisory Council should be allocated to the trade unions.

It might be thought that the three seats which have been given would fairly represent the trade union interests upon the Advisory Council. That is not so. There are separate sections of trade unions dealing with dock workers, with canal and river workers, with road transport (goods) and road transport (passengers), and with coastwise shipping. There are three unions representing different points of view on the railways. There is the National Union of Railwaymen which covers the grades outside the clerical and administrative departments, the engineers represented by the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, and the Railway Clerks Association. The Minister is very sparing in the concession he has given in increasing the membership of trade union representatives from two to three, and we wish to express our dissatisfaction. For some reason or other the House, acting upon the advice of the Minister, is not nearly as generous as it was in setting up the London Traffic Advisory Committee or the Advisory Council under the Road Traffic Act, 1930, under which five seats were allocated to the representatives of the trade unions.

I cannot for the life of me understand the point of view put forward by the Minister that three would be a sufficient number to represent the interests of the workpeople through their trade unions. I ask at this late hour, when we are reaching the end of the Report stage of the Bill, that the Minister should reconsider the number which will be allocated to labour interests. I conclude as I commenced by saying that the request which we have made is much too modest. We could easily have asked at least for representation to the extent of one-third of the membership of the Advisory Council, but instead we are asking for representation of less than one-fifth. The House must realise that the number of seats on the Advisory Council allocated to the representatives of labour is totally inadequate, and I ask the Parliamentary Secretary, as representing the Minister, to accede to the request which we make in the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.


I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

8.32 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I was trying to do a little sum of proportion while the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) was speaking, and I am not certain that I was successful. He alluded to the fact that there are five representatives of Labour on the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee, but on that Committee there are 40 members, and I think that the representation works out practically in the same proportion. [An HON. MEMBER: "One-ninth!"] It is not such a large difference as hon. Members might suppose from the speech which has just been delivered. When the Amendment was proposed in Committee by the hon. Member, the Minister said: What really would interest me to know is how far it is possible to represent the different labour organisations concerned with transport problems under the same head, and any information my hon. Friends can give me as to who speaks for who and the difficulties of covering any two sections by one spokesman will certainly receive my most sincere consideration."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A; 11th July, 1933; Col. 700.] As a matter of fact, I do not think that until this evening any representation of that kind was made to my hon. Friend, although, I believe, recently, perhaps yesterday or to-day, he received a letter from the Railway Clerks Association pressing for the appointment of five representatives. This is all he has heard since he gave his assurance in Committee to the hon. Member. I agree that it is important that all workers interested in transport business should be represented on the Advisory Councils so that their point of view should be expressed. We believe that the representation we give to Labour will ensure that this will be the case. We have increased the representation from two to three, and, although it may be slightly less than the representation on the London Traffic Advisory Committee it is, nevertheless, a substantial representation. The Transport and General Workers' Union, I think, may be said to represent three types of employment which can be covered by one representative—passenger transport, goods transport and dock labour. There is no doubt, and I think the hon. Member will agree with me, that the Transport and General Workers' Union covers the field so far as those three types of employment are concerned.


I should like to point out that the constitution of the Transport and General Workers' Union is such that, as a very large union, it has various sections. There are separate sections dealing with each of the grades referred to by the Minister, and it is impossible for any one member of the Transport and General Workers' Union to cover all the grades. They have different sections dealing with goods vehicles, passenger vehicles, and the docks. There are three or four distinct and separate sections each having specialists dealing with the various points of view in the different sections.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

It may be divided into special sections. The aim in appointing the Advisory Council is to get hold of representatives in industry, employers and employed, who will be able to express the views of the interests which they represent, and we feel that three suitable members can perfectly well represent the special labour interests throughout the industries that are concerned. In these circumstances, we do not propose to increase the representation of labour on the Advisory Council. From what we know of the representatives of labour we feel that it will be perfectly possible to select men who are well qualified to express the views of those whom they represent.

8.38 p.m.


I think the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary was most deplorable, because it must represent the views of the Government and the views of the Minister, having regard to the statement made by the Minister of Transport in Committee, on the question of Labour representation. Those views apparently amount to this, that the National Government have so little appreciation of the part that Labour plays in the great transport industry of this country that in an Advisory Council of 27, where they are nicely balancing up the various interests concerned, they have the audacity to say that three Labour representatives can adequately represent the manifold points of view of labour engaged in the transport industry. The statement to which we have just listened and the statement of the Minister of Transport in Committee, are utterly deplorable, representing an attitude of mind which everybody who understands anything about industry must hold in the utmost contempt.

We are told that the Government have nicely balanced up all the interests concerned, and then they say that Labour will be satisfactorily and adequately represented by three people. That attitude is sheer nonsense. I do not want to use extravagant language, but I am tempted to do so by the attitude of the Minister of Transport and the attitude of the Parliamentary Secretary. The obsession of the Minister of Transport in regard to the council was that in no circumstances must it be too big. We all have reservations as to what the size of committees should be, but I am quite emphatic in my own view, and I am certain that my hon. Friends on these benches are equally emphatic, that the representation of Labour on this council is in no way adequate, and we shall have no alternative but to press our point of view in the Division Lobby.

8.40 p.m.


The Parliamentary Secretary has shown such a complete misunderstanding of the position that I should like to say a few words. Apparently, he does not think it necessary for the Minister to examine the position as to what unions there are or as to the categories into which the men who are likely to be affected are divided. He complains that nobody told him. Surely the Minister of Transport has sufficient intelligence to ascertain what is the structure of the workers in the great transport industry. One would think that he would have known it without having even to make inquiries. Presumably he takes the point of view that a worker is a worker, and that is that. He does not seem to appreciate that there are different sorts of workers. I suppose if he talked about lawyers he would not appreciate that there are different sorts of lawyers, barristers and solicitors. I suppose he would confuse a doctor and a male nurse, because they both look after the patient.

If he will turn his mind to the actual position, perhaps he will say how someone from the Transport and General Workers' Union can represent the Railway Clerks' Association. How "does he expect the National Union of Railwaymen to be represented by the Transport Workers' Union? How does he expect the Seamen and Firemen's Union to be represented by the Transport Workers' Union? The categories that I have already mentioned are completely different classes of workers, just as different as the difference between a mechanical engineer, a civil engineer and an electrical engineer. If it was a question of representing the interests of engineers on this council he would not venture to say that there is no distinction between the mechanical, the electrical and the civil engineer. He would not say: "They are all engineers. We have given one engineers' representative, and that is enough."

He seems to take the view that the workers are not sufficiently intelligent or useful to be distinguished into categories. He says: "I do not know how many different sorts there are. Nobody has told me. I cannot find out without being told, and therefore I say that three representatives are enough." That is an extraordinary attitude to take up, when any intelligent person knows that there are all these different unions, representing people of different classes, of different skill in the industry, who are doing different jobs. It is impossible for the representative of one trade union to represent the interests of other people who are doing a different class of work in a different industry altogether. By limiting the number of representatives to three, what will happen will be this, that great blocks of people who are working in the transport industry will be totally excluded from—

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM indicated dissent.


The hon. and gallant Member shakes his head. Will he tell me how he proposes to appoint the three representatives from unions that will represent all the workers in the industry? I will sit down while he tells the House.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

The hon. and learned Member, as usual, has been very scornful of everything that we do. We say that there are many men in the Labour movement who are capable of expressing the Labour point of view, and who are not necessarily specialists. The hon. and learned Member must know that perfectly well. He chooses to get up and to accuse us of not having any interest in the workers, and he does so for no reason except this, that his idea seems to be that every trade union is to have a special representative. We do not agree with him. We think it is possible to get three representatives to speak for Labour. That is our view.


Does the hon. and gallant Member take the same view as regards the employers? Does he say that three representatives can represent them.? If so, why have a representative of the railways? Why a representative of the canals? Why a representative of the mechanically-propelled vehicles, and so on? Why cannot three represent them all?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

They are not specially representative of the employers; they represent interests.


That is precisely the point. What I am asking for is that the different interests in labour should be represented just as the different interests of the employers. The Parliamentary Secretary has given no answer at all. He says that amongst the employers they have to represent the railways, canals, docks and mechanically-propelled vehicles, they have to be put into different categories, but when it comes to labour he does not distinguish interests, and any three people can represent all the different interests in labour. I maintain that the position in labour is precisely the same. You have different trades, crafts and classes of people, who are entitled to representation on this body if you are giving representation by interests to different classes of employers. We protest against this way of treating labour by the Government.

8.46 p.m.


I really must intervene to support the Parliamentary Secretary. It really seems to me to be rather absurd on the part of hon. Members opposite. I represent to a certain extent the railways and we have two representatives. Look at the various and large interests which are concerned. Everyone must give way to a certain extent.

8.47 p.m.


I am surprised at the remarks of the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers). The whole of labour in this country has three representatives. The thousands of men involved in the transport services have only three representatives. If it is a question of numbers the London Traffic Advisory Committee consists of a board of about 40 members. Here we have 27, so that the argument advanced by the Parliamentary Secretary falls to the ground when you relate it to the number of persons who are on the London Transport Advisory Committee.


How many Labour representatives were put by Mr. Morrison on to the London Transport Advisory Committee?


I understand there were five representatives out of 40.


In this case it is three out of 27.


And they represented five distinct and separate interests. The hon. and learned Member for Bristol, East (Sir S. Cripps) has shown that there are at least five distinct and separate interests in the transport services for which there should be some representative of labour on the Advisory Council, and the Parliamentary Secretary has not in any sense replied to the substance of that argument. This merely reflects the view of the Government; they are looking after interests. Here there ought to be persons of experience who have spent years in the service of each of the special branches of the transport service to advise from their own practical experience and in relation to their own special lines on matters which concern labour interests in their particular section of the transport industry. There is no case for the enormous number of representatives given to other interests on the Advisory Council and to leave three representatives to represent labour interests.

8.50 p.m.


I will be brief in my comments on this point but I cannot help entering into the discussion in support of the Government proposal. Do hon. Members opposite suggest that the addition of two members would cover all the interests they have mentioned completely? If not, then they could equally well advance the theory that they want about 40 members on the council. Let us come down to matters of common sense. The hon. and learned Member for Bristol, East (Sir S. Cripps) spoke ably but bitterly against the Parliamentary Secretary. Does he pretend that he does not represent labour in his own division, that he does not represent the various interests of labour in his particular division?


Certainly. I should not pretend to represent the interests of all the separate technical labour interests in the transport industry in my division on any subject.


That is to say that the hon. and learned Member acknowledges at once that, so far as he sits in this House, he does not represent labour in his division.


Technically yes, and technically no.


He acknowledges that he is unable to voice in this House the opinion of any section of labour with which he is not particularly connected. That is the logical conclusion to which one must arrive. When the hon. and learned Member urges that the interest of every section of labour in the transport industry should be represented on this council he must at once reach the logical conclusion that every particular interest of road transport and rail transport, and other vehicle users should each have their particular voice on the council, and you immediately get a council which he would agree would be unwieldy. The smaller the committee the more quickly and efficiently is the business done. I entirely support the Government in their attitude, and I think that the three, representative of labour, will be quite capable of putting any arguments which may be given them by the different sections of labour before the council.


If there are three separate interests in the transport industry why should there not be just the multiple of three for these special interests, as far as the employers are concerned? Why should there not be nine representatives instead of 24? If the ratio of three in the case of labour is adequate surely the ratio of nine is adequate in the other case?


The hon. Member's interruption proves my point. There are far more than three interests in the case of the employers. The ramifications of our transport system, coastwise shipping, railway interests, road interests and the ordinary vehicles on the roads, represent so many different sections that we might equally claim that every one of these sections ought to be represented. If the Labour party acknowledges that their members are incapable of representing labour interests, except in so far as they are connected with their own particular union, it is a bad day for labour representation in this country.

8.58 p.m.


The hon. and gallant Member for Coventry (Captain Strickland) has not realised the situation. We are asking for a fair deal on this matter, and I do not see why the Minister of Transport, objects to our proposal. There are 27 members on this Council, and taking out those who may be said to be neutral, the pedestrians and pedal cyclists, the remainder, with the exception of the three Labour representatives,

represent the employers' side. That leaves us with only three as against the overwhelming majority of the others. It is a small matter, but if the Minister of Transport wants to get general consent for his Bill and to get on with his Bill, fie might accept our proposal and give us two more representatives.

Question put, "That '3' stand part of the proposed Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 204; Noes, 32.

Division No. 278.] AYES. [8.55. p.m
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gower, Sir Robert Milne, Charles
Albery, Irving James Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Greene, William P. C. Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Moss, Captain H. J.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Nall, Sir Joseph
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Mlddlesbro', W.) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Guy, J. C. Morrison Newton, Sir Douglas George C.
Aske, Sir Robert William Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Nunn, William
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Hales, Harold K. Oman. Sir Charles William C.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Hammersley, Samuel S. Palmer, Francis Noel
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Porlsre'th, C.) Hanbury, Cecil Pearson, William G.
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Hanley, Dennis A. Petherlck, M.
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Harbord, Arthur Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Bernays, Robert Hartland, George A. Potter, John
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Powell, Lieut.-Col, Evelyn G. H.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Blindell, James Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Pybus, Percy John
Boulton, W. W. Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Ramsbotham, Herwald
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hopkinson, Austin Ramsdon, Sir Eugene
Brass, Captain Sir William Horsbrugh, Florence Ratcliffe, Arthur
Briant, Frank Howard, Tom Forrest Ray, Sir William
Broadbent, Colonel John Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham
Buchan, John Hume. Sir George Hopwood Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.
Burghley, Lord James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Jamieson. Douglas Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Burnett, John George Jesson, Major Thomas E. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Carver, Major William H. Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Runge, Norah Cecil
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Salt, Edward W.
Cazaiet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Clarke, Frank Low, Sir Alfred Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Clarry, Reginald George Leckie, J. A. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Clayton, Sir Christopher Leech, Dr. J. W. Savery, Samuel Servington
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Seiley, Harry R.
Conant, R. J. E. Levy. Thomas Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Copeland, Ida Lewis, Oswald Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Lindsay, Noel Ker Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Cowan, D. M. Little, Graham., Sir Ernest Smiles. Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Crooke, J. Smedley Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lockwood. John C. (Hackney, C.) Smithers, Waldron
Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Loder, Captain J. de Vera Somervell, Donald Bradley
Bernard Denman, Hon. R. D. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Denville, Alfred Mabane, William Soper. Richard
Dickle, John P. MacAndrew. Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Drewe, Cedric McCorguodale, M. S. Spens, William Patrick
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Steel-Maltland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Emrys-Evans, P. V. McLean, Major Sir Alan Storey, Samuel
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst Macquisten, Frederick Alexander Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Magnay, Thomas Sutcliffe, Harold
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Tate, Mavis Constance
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Mallalleu, Edward Lancelot Templeton, William P.
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Thompson, Luke
Ganzoni, Sir John Marsden, Commander Arthur Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Gibson, Charles Granville Martin, Thomas B. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Gillett, Sir George Masterman Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend) Whiteside, Borras Noel H. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock) Whyte, Jardine Bell Womensley, Walter James
Warrender, Sir Victor A. G. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Wayland, Sir William A. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertl'd) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Weymouth, Viscount Withers, Sir John James Major George Davies and Dr.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Grundy, Thomas W. Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Parkinson, John Allen
Caps, Thomas Hirst, George Henry Price, Gabriel
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cove, William G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Thorne, William James
Crops, Sir Stafford Kirkwood, David Tinker, John Joseph
Daggar, George Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Wallhead, Richard C.
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Logan, David Gilbert
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Grimths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) McKeag, William Mr. D. Graham and Mr. G.
Groves, Thomas E. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Macdonald.

Question put, and agreed to.