HC Deb 31 March 1938 vol 333 cc2203-76

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [30th March] proposed on Consideration of Bill, as amended.

Which Amendment was: In Clause 41—(Duty of the Commission to reduce number of coal-mining undertakings where necessary in interests of efficiency)—page 39, line 10, to leave out "said Act," and to insert "Coal Mines Act, 1930."—[Mr. Stanley.]

Amendment agreed to.

4.5 p.m.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

I beg to move, in page 39, line 25, to leave out from "inadequate," to the end of the Subsection, and to insert: (3) After receiving any such recommendation from the Commission the Board of Trade may lay before Parliament the report in which the recommendation was contained and may then make a provisional order declaring that it is expedient in the national interest that the number of coal-mining undertakings should be reduced in the area with respect to which the recommendation was made and directing that the said powers of the Commission shall become exercisable in that area: Provided that any such provisional order shall so define the area in which the said powers are to become exercisable as to show so far as practicable what undertakings are likely to be affected by their exercise, and the order when made shall be published in the London Gazette (or, in the case of an order relating to an area in Scotland, in the Edinburgh Gazette) and in at least one newspaper circulating in the area to which the order relates. (4) A provisional order made under this Section shall be of no effect unless it is confirmed by Parliament, but if the order is so confirmed, either without modifications or with modifications as to the area with respect to which the order is to have effect, it shall come into force on the date of the passing of the Act confirming the order or on the first day of January, nineteen hundred and forty, whichever is the later date. This Amendment is moved in consequence of a pledge which I gave during the course of the Debate in Committee, when the opinion was expressed in more than one quarter of the Committee that in some form or other there should be an opportunity for an interest which might be affected by compulsory amalgamation—by "interest" I do not mean only coal interest, but interest such as that of local authorities or representatives of employés—should have some opportunity of stating its case in public. In order to explain this Amendment and the reasons which have led up to it, it is necessary to go back a little into the history of compulsory amalgamation. Under the Act of 1930 wide questions of national interest in compulsory amalgamation were left to the Railway and Canal Commission, the same body as was called upon to decide the narrower question of equity and fairness as between the parties in any amalgamation. It was the opinion of the Government before they introduced this Bill that that has proved to be a mistake, that the Railway and Canal Commission, a judicial body, was not the proper body to whom to leave questions of national interest. They are mostly questions which are not questions of fact, but of opinion; questions, therefore, which are not susceptible of proof in the legal sense, but only of conviction to the individual mind. It was the fact that it was left to the Railway and Canal Commission to decide on questions of this kind which to my mind more than anything else made the Act of 1930 inoperative.

It was, therefore, decided, in view of the position of the Railway and Canal Commission and the advice of the Government's legal officers that the Act as thus drafted was quite nugatory, that new machinery must be introduced if the Act was to continue to operate. It was decided that questions of this kind, wide questions of general national interest and general public policy, should be decided by Parliament. Parliament, I think, is the right place in which they should be decided. After all, it is what all of us are here for—to make up our minds, on a variety of questions, whether what is proposed is in fact for the general interest or not. In making up our minds, of course, we have not to be guided by legal rules or legal proof, but simply by how it appears to us as reasonable people. Therefore, I do not think there is any real criticism in any quarter of the proposal to remove the decisions from the Railway and Canal Commission and to give them to Parliament.

As a matter of fact, the events of the last six or seven years have made such a change even more desirable to-day than perhaps they would have been if this proposal had been inserted in the Act of 1930. In these seven years a great many people have given a good deal of closer attention to the problems of the mining industry than they were ever called upon to give or ever had given before; and the result is that words like "compulsory amalgamation"—which in 1930 to many people, perhaps more or less ignorant of the industry, were blessed words like "Mesopotamia," in which in themselves were contained the salvation of the industry—have now come to be regarded from a much more realistic point of view. I do not think that anyone will contend, certainly I shall not, although I am responsible for introducing these provisions with regard to compulsory amalgamation, that the salvation of the industry lies alone in compulsory amalgamation. I would not contend that all amalgamations are necessarily good. What I do contend is that there are a number of amalgamations which are good, which are valuable and which are indeed inevitable, and that if these amalgamations, under proper safeguards, are not carried out by private enterprise, it is the duty of the State to do them compulsorily.

But I recognise, as I think everyone in the House recognises, that there are very wide questions involved in amalgamations; something much more than just an interchange of shares between two or three collieries, and the result of that upon the colliery shareholders; something more even than the effect of that amalgamation on the possibility of producing coal more cheaply or more efficiently. I think we all recognise that there are wide social and general economic and industrial problems bound up with these questions, and it seems to me all the more necessary, therefore, that Parliament should be the body by which consideration is to be given to the question whether these schemes are in the national interest. The Railway and Canal Commission will decide the question of the schmes themselves, whether they are fair as between parties and what the allocation of shares must be. For that they are the ideal body. But for these wider questions it has been the Government's belief that Parliament and not a judicial body is the right place.

With that, with the exception of the Mining Association, I think there is practically unanimous agreement. A matter which remains a matter of difference is the method by which Parliament shall be enabled to judge these questions, and the opportunity it shall have for understanding the problems before it is called upon to make up its mind and to come to a decision. As the Bill was originally introduced the method proposed was the method of a negative Resolution. It is quite absurd to say about the method of a negative Resolution, that such a Resolution must go through the House without debate. It is quite true that usually it does go through without debate, because it usually deals with non-controversial subjects, but all of us in our experience in this House have known occasions when the subject has been controversial, and all of us know that a debate can, in fact, be forced even upon a negative Resolution. Quite frankly, the difference between a negative and an affirmative Resolution is not that in the one case a debate is allowed and that in the other it is not. It is really that a negative Resolution is more convenient to the Government and that an affirmative Resolution is more convenient to the House as a whole.

But quite apart from any question of altering the idea of a negative Resolution into that of an affirmative Resolution, it was, I think, clear, certainly it was clear from the Debate which we had on the last occasion, that on all sides of the House there was a general feeling that there should be some opportunity given to those who were opposed to these proposals to state their case, so that Parliament when it came to a decision should know from their own mouths what their case was. It was a demand which was put on behalf of a variety of different interests—for the mine owners, because they felt that the mine owners should be entitled to state before Parliament that these proposals, far from leading to greater efficiency, would in fact be a disadvantage to the industry; for the local authorities, because it was felt that local authorities should have an opportunity of saying what the passage of such a scheme might be upon their local areas; and those concerned with the organisation of the workers felt that there should be some opportunity for Parliament to know and to judge what the effect might be upon employment in an area Therefore, there was a clear desire in all parts of the House, I think, for some form of inquiry, and it is quite clear that that inquiry must be a public inquiry. I know that the Amendment in the names of hon. Gentlemen opposite asks only for representations to be made to the Commission, but it is quite clear that if Parliament is to make up its mind as a result of the inquiry, that inquiry must be a public one, and Parliament must know what is being said there and have the evidence before that inquiry as material on which to judge.

I promised that, at this stage, I would, without committing myself to a particular form, give an opportunity for a public inquiry of some kind, where these interests would be able to state their case and make their representation. There were three ways in which the inquiry could be held. The first was the way which was suggested by hon. Gentlemen opposite; that was an inquiry by the Coal Commission. Then there was the possibility of an ordinary public inquiry, held by some independent person, who would make a report to me, which I would lay before Parliament. Thirdly, there was the possibility of an inquiry by Parliament itself. On considering these, I had very little difficulty in deciding in favour of the last: for this reason, that it was, after all, Parliament which was going to decide, and it is much better that it should be Parliament before whom the people who wish to state their views should appear. In any matter, when we want to make our views known, the person to whom we want to go is the person who will ultimately have to decide.

It then became a question of how that inquiry should be carried out. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Eccleshall (Sir G. Ellis) had on the Paper a scheme which would enable not only one inquiry, but, I think, something like four inquiries to be made. I felt, and I think it was the feeling on all sides of the House, that the method proposed by the hon. Member was, to say the least, slightly cumbersome. What I wanted to find was a Parliamentary method which would be be as expeditious as possible, while fulfilling the pledge I gave. Above all, I was anxious not to try to invent some ad hoc method of dealing with this situation. When we have an old and tried Parliamentary form, it is better to stick to it as far as we can, rather than to try to invent something new for each particular case. Therefore, I decided that the only form of procedure which met my point of view was that which was incorporated in the Amendment that I am now moving—Provisional Order procedure.

Mr. Batey

What is that?

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Gentleman has been a number of years in this House, and knows what it is.

Mr. James Griffiths

That is why he asked.

Mr. Batey

What good is it?

Mr. Stanley

Provisional Order procedure is a well-established procedure in this House. Under it, a number of important things, dealing with a number of interests, have been dealt with. Many Members here have served on these Select Committees, and, as far as I know, it is a procedure which has worked well. I would point out that there are some precedents under Provisional Order procedure for having a public inquiry first. I have not adopted that. It would be unnecessary. We have to consider broad questions of policy, and it would be a mere duplication of procedure to have a public inquiry first. The procedure suggested carries out, I think, the pledge that I gave. There was another promise, that the locality should be made aware of what has happened. Hon. Members will see that in the Amendment there is provision for publication not only in the London Gazette, but also in a local newspaper in the area affected. Under the Provisional Order procedure, there is an opportunity, if the Measure is opposed, for a hearing by a Select Committee, before whom the interests affected can appear and state their objections.

I do not deny that from the point of view merely of the Government this scheme has a disadvantage over the scheme, say, of an affirmative Resolution. It is a slow one. It would naturally be more convenient for the Government of the day if one could get through with greater speed; and, for that reason, I regret that this does mean a longer time for consideration. But that longer time may not be wasted if, as a result of that full examination, we can get a decision by Parliament which no one can question, and which will leave no one an opportunity for saying, "If only my point of view had been properly put, Parliament would never have come to that decision." I notice that, after I had given a pledge of this kind in Committee, one newspaper said that to adopt this procedure would involve a Select Committee, which would throw the matter into political controversy. There is a possibility of throwing it into political controversy as soon as you bring it to Parliament at all, but I would most strongly deny that it is in a Select Committee, as proposed here, that you find the political controversy, and not in a Debate on an affirmative Resolution on the Floor of the House. Everyone who has had experience of serving on committees of that kind knows that we are a great deal more controversial on the Floor of the House, and a great deal more judicial when serving on committees of that kind. I believe that the new procedure that I now propose will give a proper opportunity for all these interests concerned to state their case, make their objections and, if their objections are good, to prove them. Where the Commission and the Government can show that it is in the national interest that these proposals shall proceed, the Commission will be able to pursue them and proceed with the later stages of their investigations.

4.26 p.m.

Mr. Shinwell

I was ready to give the right hon. Gentleman some credit for firmness, but, after that speech, I have been completely disillusioned. He has yielded to the claims of hon. Members on the other side, and has, at the same time, made no concession to the representations from this side of the House. I detected in the course of his speech some reference to the principle of amalgamation. While I recognise that this is not the appropriate occasion for discussing that principle at large, I would just say that no one on this side accepts the view that amalgamation is the salvation of the mining industry—far from it. On the other hand, we appreciate that, in an industry with so many competitive units, a large measure of co-ordination is essential, and that that co-ordination should be expeditiously effected if it is in the national interest. But to that hon. Members on this side add that if amalgamation of mining undertakings is applied, and if its application is proved to be detrimental, first, to the local authorities, and, secondly, to the workers in the industry, it is doubtful whether amalgamation of that kind is desirable at all. Indeed, that was the case that was put to the right hon. Gentleman when we submitted our previous Amendment, and it was upon that issue that the right hon. Gentleman gave his pledge. In my judgment, that pledge remains, as far as we are concerned, unfulfilled.

We do not dispute that Parliament should be the sole arbiter in respect of the general principles which are to govern the mining industry. General policy, certainly in so far as it affects national interests, is a matter for this House. But, in the wisdom of the right hon. Gentleman, it was decided to appoint a commission to discharge certain functions relating to the mining industry in the national interest; and, in our view, that commission, once established, should have been, as far as is practical, unimpeded in its operations. The proposal of the right hon. Gentleman is to take from the Commission the power to determine whether mining undertakings should be amalgamated. It is hedged round with many phrases, but that is the simple issue.

Mr. Stanley

It is not to take it from them, because they have never had it.

Mr. Shinwell

But it was proposed to give them these powers in the original Bill. Surely, the right hon. Gentleman would not deny that, or should I refer him to the specific Clause? The fact is that under the Bill the Commission were to have powers to take steps to amalgamate mining undertakings without further reference to Parliament, except through the Board of Trade, and then by the process of Resolution in this House. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to establish the most costly machinery that this House can devise to be utilised by objectors to the amalgamation of mining undertakings, presumably local authorities, and, if need be, the workers themselves.

Mr. Holdsworth

You asked for that.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. Gentleman will no doubt be able to make his speech in due course, but it was not that for which Members on this side asked. If the hon. Member looks at the Order Paper he will see that Mr. Speaker in his discretion has refused to accept an Amendment in the name of some of my hon. Friends which precisely states the view of hon. Members on this side of the House. There is no reference in that Amendment to Provisional Order machinery for the purpose of determining whether the amalgamation of mining undertakings should be applied. I hope that that will satisfy the hon. Member, but if it does not, no doubt he will deal with it in due course.

What is the consequence likely to be if the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman is accepted? It will be, first of all, to make amalgamations less likely. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am very glad to have that unanimous expression of opinion from hon. Members opposite. They are fortified by the slight expression of opinion persisting on the Liberal benches. Sometimes it is very difficult to say who speaks for the Liberal party or who is the Liberal party. If we were to consult the views of the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith) and the views of the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth), two noted individuals and the last of the Mohicans, we should find varying views expressed indeed. It is clear that hon. Members opposite are opposed in principle to the amalgamation of mining undertakings, and that is why I say that they have obtained a great concession. The right hon. Gentleman is yielding to the clamour and he is establishing machinery which will make amalgamations less likely. I wonder whether there will be any amalgamations at all once the Provisional Order machinery is established? The right hon. Gentleman was quite right in assuming that hon. Members on this side of the House, and indeed in all quarters of the House, have some acquaintence with Provisional Order machinery. We know that it costs more. That will not be disputed.

Mr. Stanley

If you have to brief people like the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) it is very costly, but that is not essential. Members of Parliament are quite used to having cases put to them by people other than learned counsel.

Mr. Shinwell

That is very interesting, and I should like to hear the views of the hon. and learned Member for Ashford (Mr. Spens) on that matter. This sounds very much like blacklegging the legal profession, and I hope that hon. and learned Members opposite will take note of the views expressed by the right hon. Gentleman. That is a direct attack upon trade unionism in the legal profession. It may be true that a Member of Parliament might appear on behalf of his own local authority or of the Miners Federation of Great Britain, or of one of the district miners' associations, but the Provisional Order, to begin with, is promoted by the Government. The right hon. Gentleman will not appear for the Government. The Government will be represented by the Attorney-General or Solicitor-General or both, or, may be, by some well-known member of the legal profession. Is it conceivable that a body of mineowners who object to amalgamation in the area with which they are concerned would be represented by the hon. Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake)? Would not the hon. Member himself prefer to employ a member of the legal profession? Of course he would employ a member of the legal profession. That is bound to be so, and it is exceedingly likely that a local authority, knowing what it is up against, will be compelled to employ a member of the legal profession which is an excessively costly proceeding.

It is not only the cost of employing someone like the hon. and learned Member for Ashford or my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). That is only part of the cost. There is the cost of the production of the Minutes, which are very necessary in order to determine whether a case has been properly dealt with. There is the cost of all the paraphernalia associated with the Provisional Order machinery. The right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of the Government, is imposing a costly burden upon the people primarily concerned. I am not speaking for mining undertakings but for local authorities and the workers engaged in the industry. I can certainly speak for the miners in my area. If they were to be affected, I imagine that they would not care to raise an objection which would require to be heard by the Select Committee appointed under the Provisional Order machinery without being represented by counsel, which would impose a very serious financial burden upon them.

There is another aspect of this Provisional Order machinery which, apparently, has not occurred to the right hon. Gentleman. As I understand it—and I am willing to be corrected—Provisional Orders cannot be introduced into this House before the first meeting after Whitsun, which means that, for some-think like six months of the year, no action can be taken under the Provisional Order. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman or his hon. and gallant Friend will deal with that. Does not the right hon. Gentleman accept my view that the first meeting on a Provisional Order cannot be heard in this House until after Whitsun, and that for several months in the year it means that, if a Provisional Order is promoted, nothing can be done, and no objection can be raised or anything said on the subject of amalgamation? Does not that impede the amalgamation of mining undertakings, hang up the work of the Commission, and frustrate the intentions of the Government in respect of amalgamations? Is that not yielding to the clamour of hon. Members opposite and to the Mining Association? Is it not, in fact, a defeatist attitude for the right hon. Gentleman to adopt?

If the right hon. Gentleman finds any difficulty in respect of the Provisional Order machinery, we are ready on this side of the House to present him with an escape from that difficulty through the medium of a manuscript Amendment. We shall vote against this Amendment, first of all, because we believe that the local authorities and workers engaged in the industry will not have the opportunity of being fairly heard under Provisional Order machinery; secondly, because the right hon. Gentleman, whatever concessions he may have made to the other side and to interests outside, has not fulfilled his pledge to hon. Members on this side, speaking for the local authorities and workers in the industry, and last, but not least, because we believe that this is only another case of the Government giving way to the pressure exerted by hon. Members opposite. We shall do this while recognising that perhaps it is the only alternative that is left and the only means of expression for those who wish to raise objections, but it is far from satisfactory in respect of persons with whom we are directly concerned.

4.44 p.m.

Mr. Holdsworth

I think that the House must have been very interested in listening to the speech of the hon. Gentleman. He says, in effect, "Here are five commissars termed a Commission, with power to roam over the country and make suggestions to the Board of Trade as to compulsory amalgamations." He has told the people of this country times without number that he believes in democratic government, and yet he comes to the House to-day and says, "I have no time for your Parliamentary procedure, to go upstairs and be content to accept the judgment of four or five fellow Members. I prefer to take it outside to a body, it is true, appointed by Parliament. I prefer them to be unimpeded in every action they take rather than accept a properly constituted Parliamentary Committee set up in this House." That is an astonishing declaration, but it confirms so much of what has been written by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) from time to time, and the fact that there is no democracy on that particular Front Bench. They prefer to set up these bodies and let the matter go outside this House. That is contrary to the Labour doctrine. Hand it out to some outside body. Do not let them be interfered with in any way whatever. Let no decision which they make be challenged. I should be astounded if the people of this country confirmed an attitude of that description.

I said in the last Debate that I hate compulsory amalgamations, and I do not withdraw that statement. The hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) challenged us on the Liberal benches on this subject. He asked who spoke for the Liberal party. I am not here to speak for the Liberal party. I was sent here as the representative of my constituency, and as an individual I express the views that I believe in, irrespective of party. It is not my conception of my duty that I was sent here to be a pure automaton for any caucus. That is not my idea of Parliamentary representation. It is the last kind of charge to be made against us on these benches that we have different opinions. Let the hon. Member read the Debate of 3rd February. Speaker after speaker on these benches objected to compulsory amalgamation. What of those benches? The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan)—I have not the reference, but I think my memory serves me well—put the view before the House that a pit was an economic unit it itself. Member after Member on those benches contradicted each other as the Debate proceeded. There was no unanimity as far as compulsory amalgamations were concerned. Those who were present will recollect that one speaker would express belief in compulsory amalgamations, then the next one would ask, "What is to happen to my area?" The hon. Member for Seaham ought to be the last man to complain about differences of opinion on this subject.

I was interested to hear the President of the Board of Trade in his introductory speech. Speaking of the Railway and Canal Commission I understood him to say that the question of compulsory amalgamations was not a judicial question, but that it was a question of opinion and that they were not the body to deal with that. I understood him to say that they were not capable of legal proof; that it is a question of conviction. I thought that was a remarkable confession, because the body that has had to study these compulsory amalgamations have turned down one after another because they could not stand the question of legal tests.

Mr. Stanley

As a matter of fact there has been only one case before the Railway and Canal Commission, and that did not involve physical amalgamation.

Mr. Holdsworth

My point is that very few compulsory amalgamations have been put through.

Mr. H. G. Williams


Mr. Holdsworth

Very few, if any. My argument is that the Government have brought forward this procedure because amalgamations cannot be got through the Railway and Canal Commission. If we are to have these amalgamations, I accept this procedure as being much better than the procedure when the Bill was presented. What is the procedure in regard to these amalgamations? In passing, I would say that I do not think there will be any amalgamations under this procedure. I think the hon. Member for Seaham was correct there. There is very little chance of them getting through after thorough examination. What is the procedure? I have described these men as five commissars, going round the country. They look at an area and say: "There are a certain number of pits here. We think there are far too many and we must do away with some of them." They recommend that such a thing should be done by the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade say, "We think you are right. There are too many pits in this area and we must get rid of some of them" The decision is made on the question of the numbers, and whether they are able to carry on economically in a particular area. They report to the Board of Trade that compulsion should be brought to bear.

How far will the Committee upstairs be able adequately to see the details contained in the Provisional Order? I suggest that under this procedure there is no need to put the details into the Provisional Order. The Board of Trade will make a Provisional Order that it is expedient in the national interest that the number of coal mines in a particular area should be reduced. So far as I am aware, perhaps the President of the Board of Trade will contradict me if I am wrong, Parliament when it gets the Provisional Order will be in this position that the Order itself will contain no particulars of the scheme. That is what I complain about. A statement has to be made as to the number of undertakings which are to be taken away, "in so far as is practicable." Is that sufficient to enable the Committee to judge the issue? Are we to judge whether compulsory amalgamations are necessary or not merely on the point of the number of undertakings in a given area? If those are the only particulars to be stated in the Provisional Order, how can the national interests really be judged in so circumscribed a matter?

I suggest that the five commissars will form their opinion on a purely theoretical economic point that there are too many undertakings in an area. I understand that the only power to modify a Provisional Order is as regards the size of the area over which the compulsory Order is to have effect. The House ought to try to grasp the point that they can only modify the size of the area in the Provisional Order.

Mr. Stanley

Or reject it.

Mr. Holdsworth

So far as I can see, when the Provisional Order goes upstairs the point for consideration will be as to the area being too big. Do not let the House be under any misapprehension. The details of the scheme will not be detailed in the Provisional Order when it goes upstairs. We shall be merely deciding whether the number of pits in an area are too many or otherwise. The real trouble starts when the five commissars have got their Order. They will begin to make their schemes after the Order, and they will seek to put them into operation. At this particular point the inquiry is finished. They simply get a general permission to carry on with the scheme, and there is no Parliamentary control over the details of the scheme but merely over the wide issue as to whether the number of pits in a particular area is too large or too small.

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Member has overlooked the fact that the details of the scheme will come before the Railway and Canal Commission. In the first part of his speech he said he preferred the Railway and Canal Commission to Parliament, as being a more capable body for effecting amalgamations.

Mr. Holdsworth

No; I said that you were not prepared to accept that. The right hon. Gentleman must not put words into my mouth. I say there is no control as far as Parliament is concerned. In the Debate on 3rd January the right hon. Gentleman tried to get the House to agree, because he said it was a good thing for Parliament to judge the issue, and I agree with him, but even if it does go to the Railway and Canal Commission, Parliament cannot discuss the details. It is useless to come here and to advance the argument that because this sort of procedure is put into the Amendment it really is giving the House of Commons the opportunity to discuss the scheme. It is doing nothing of the kind. The real details are decided when the scheme has left this House and not when the Provisional Order is made.

Let me give an illustration. Suppose the Commission decides that the number of coal mines in Yorkshire are far too many, and that there ought to be some scheme of compulsory amalgamations. The details of that scheme will not be put in front of the Committee upstairs. It has only to show "as far as practicable" what number of undertakings will be affected. No real details of the scheme are to be given. Nothing is to be said as to the number of pits of any company that are to be taken over and what they are to get in pounds, shillings, and pence on that account. You cannot say how it is going to affect a particular district within a given area. We have been told that notice has to be given in a newspaper. Yorkshire is a big place. Suppose a little pit is to be closed in one corner of that huge area. Is it sufficient to give notice by publishing the fact in the "Yorkshire Post"? Will that particular area know at the time of the Provision Order what is to be the particular effect on that little area within the greater area of Yorkshire?

The point I want to emphasise is that although this procedure is an improvement on the Bill as first introduced, the really vital thing that ought to be discussed cannot be discussed under the Provisional Order, circumscribed as it is within the terms of the Bill. As to the five commissars, for that is what they seem to me to be, they can do what they like when they have got the Order. The only thing that we can discuss upstairs is whether the number of undertakings in an area are such as to prevent the economic working of the pits.

Mr. A. Bevan

May I draw the hon. Member's attention to the first part of the proposed Amendment? If what the hon. Member says is correct it would exempt them from giving details, but if they are making a recommendation they will make that recommendation upon a report, and it is to be assumed that that report will go into some detail as to the reasons for the amalgamations in a particular area. I should not like the hon. Member's statement to go forward that the Commission will be exempted from the necessity of presenting that report in some detail

Mr. Holdsworth

I am very doubtful whether the report is bound to contain the details of the scheme. All they have to do is to declare that it is expedient in the national interest that the number of coalmining undertakings should be reduced in the area. There is nothing to make it an obligation that the report should contain all the details.

Mr. J. Griffiths

There is the proviso.

Mr. Holdsworth

The proviso simply defines the area. I want the Provisional Order procedure upstairs to be really effective in examining the schemes. I want to have it on record that the details of a scheme can be examined upstairs and objected to if necessary. It is the details which will decide whether the scheme is fair or otherwise to those whose business will be affected. At the moment I am impressed by the fact that there is very little need to give any details of a scheme which can be discussed upstairs which would enable one to form an adequate judgment as to whether a scheme of compulsory amalgamation should be allowed or not.

5.2 p.m.

Mr. Spens

I agree with a good deal of the first part of the speech of the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth), but in regard to the latter part of his speech I suggest that the original trouble in regard to the procedure as it appeared in the Bill was that until the scheme had been worked out in detail and was more or less ready to be presented to the House and then to go to the Railway and Canal Commission, there was no method by which any undertaking or any local authority or any workmen's organisation could know whether or not they were to be affected by a scheme. It is true that everybody who may be affected has the prospect of having their rights thrashed out in minute detail before the Railway and Canal Commission. That still obtains, but the definite lacuna in the procedure was that there was no preceding stage at which people who were to be affected would know that they were to be affected, and would not have an opportunity of showing that there was no good ground for them to be included in a compulsory amalgamation. That lacuna seems to me to be filled up by this procedure.

It still involves a Provisional Order which is to indicate the area and the units which may be involved in an amalgamation. That is perfectly true, but I do not think it is necessary that the Provisional Order should give full details of the ultimate scheme which is going before the Railway and Canal Commission. If there is anything like that we shall have one inquiry in the House into the details, and a second inquiry later on by the Railway and Canal Commission. We do not want that. What we want to know is who are going to be affected, what areas are going to be affected and what interests are involved, and we want the representatives of all these interests to have the fullest opportunity of making their case why they should not be affected. That is what the Amendment, in fact, does. It fills up that gap. I am the last person to suggest that Provisional Order procedure is cheap, but I do suggest that to give a right to make recommendations to the Commission and to leave it to the Commission whether they shall accept a recommendation or not is perfectly useless when big and vital interests are involved. You must have something more substantial than that. If there is a possibility of a pit being closed, those interested should have a chance of appearing before some body to argue their point and of saying everything that can be said against the pit being closed down. What is the use of sending protests or recommendations to a tribunal which might conceivably—I do not say they would—put them in the wastepaper basket?

There are only two alternatives. There is a public inquiry before an independent judicial officer, at which all the parties can appear in exactly the same way as they do before a Select Committee of this House, probably with exactly the same counsel and solicitors as would appear in a Committee room upstairs. Then there is the inquiry in Committee upstairs and between the two there is nothing in it on the question of expense. An independent public inquiry in the country is just as long and just as expensive to everybody concerned as an inquiry in Committee upstairs, but as between the two on a matter of national importance, on a matter of vital importance to the area concerned, to the individual colliery concerned and to the workmen concerned, surely the right tribunal is a tribunal in this House, where we shall know what is going on and have a complete record of what transpires. I suggest that the Amendment genuinely carries out the undertaking given. It fills the lacuna in procedure which I criticised rather forcibly. There is now a prospect of persons affected getting early notice and having a chance before a proper tribunal of putting their case why they should not be brought into a compulsory amalgamation. The details afterwards can go before the Railway and Canal Commission.

5.9 p.m.

Mr. Bevan

I do not propose to discuss the general principles of the Amendment, as I have expressed my views on the matter already. I rise to call attention to one narrow point. This House in debating an Amendment does to some extent give a meaning to the words which we assume will govern people who afterwards have to carry out a Bill. I hope it will not be assumed that the Commission will have discharged its duties merely by making a report which defines the area in which amalgamation is to be made. A little more than an outline is necessary if we are to form any judgment as to the merits of the scheme. The Amendment says: Provided that any such provisional order shall so define the area in which the said powers are to become exerciseable as to show so far as practicable what undertakings are likely to be affected. In other words, if the Commission think that sufficient progress is not being made in the production of coal they will have to show why progress is not being made, and why the standard tonnage of the area is permanently in excess of the allocation which the area receives, and that it is likely to be in excess for a long time. They will have to show, also, that the excess of standard tonnage as against allocation has a bearing on A, B, or C company, and that particular collieries in the area might quite easily be closed down and their output transferred to other indicated undertakings. All these details should be included so that we may be able to envisage the situation in the area after the amalgamation has been carried out.

Mr. Holdsworth

I agree that such details should be shown, but is there any legal obligation that they should be shown? My point is this. Very often there are discussions as to what Parliament meant in an Act of Parliament, and Judges reply that it does not matter what Parliament meant; it is what the law says. There is no obligation on the Commission to give these particulars.

Mr. Stanley

It is clear under the new procedure before a Select Committee that the onus is now on the Government and on the Commission to prove their case, and probably they will have expensive counsel to do that. Unless they are prepared to produce before the Committee all the things which have led them to their conclusions, they fail to prove their case.

Mr. Bevan

I am certain that it would be unreasonable for the actual instrument of amalgamation to be before the Committee upstairs. The financial relationships between various sets of shareholders are not matters with which the Committee upstairs can conceivably be interested.

Mr. Holdsworth

Surely we want everybody to have fair representation upstairs. How can a man who is the owner of a pit in an area object to an amalgamation unless he knows the details?

Mr. Bevan

I am concerned only whether amalgamation is good or bad in the public interest, and in the interests of the community in the area. The law is quite clear. The individual whose property is to be transferred or compensated is amply protected by the law, and he will be able to put his case before the Railway and Canal Commission, and it is certain that when the actual instrument is before the Railway and Canal Commission many of the considerations which are in the hon. Member's mind will be given full weight in the decision of the Railway and Canal Commission. What I am concerned about is that we ought not to allow it to be assumed that there is no obligation upon the Coal Commission to prove its case. There is an obligation. There is an obligation to indicate what colliery undertakings will be affected, what pits will actually be closed down in any amalgamation, what will be the effect upon the community in the area, and how the employment of the men in the area will be affected by any amalgamation. All those considerations belong to what I call the framework of the scheme, they belong to the national interest that the Committee upstairs must consider. I hope that the House will agree with me in reading a liberal interpretation into the language of the Amendment, so that we can be sure that the report from the Commission will provide us with all the information which will enable the Committee to form its judgment.

5.16 p.m.

Colonel R. S. Clarke

While thanking the Minister for his Amendment, there is one point that I should like to be sure about. Clause 41 as it stands directs that the powers given to apply an Order approved by Parliament are exercisable either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order. but in the Amendment these words are omitted. It seems to me that by this Amendment the Order would define an area in which the powers would be exercisable, and the Select Committee would be presented with a kind of picture frame, but with very little indication of what the picture was going to be. They would get something from the report, but probably during the course of the proceedings of the Select Committee there would be representations from local authorities and other people of that kind, and they would want to make some sort of correction as to what the picture should be. But as the Amendment stands to-day it appears to me that they would not be able to insist on these conditions or to specify them in the Order. Further, by the Amendment the Commissioners would have power to vary the Order provided they did not go outside the area, and if they wanted to vary it, they would not have to submit the question to the Select Committee for it to decide whether or not it was in the interests of the nation. I am without legal training, and I may be misreading the Amendment, but I should be very grateful for the Minister's assurance that my fears in this connection are unfounded.

5.18 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Macdonald

I am very disappointed at the attitude of the President of the Board of Trade. Both on Second Reading and on the Committee stage we put forward claims that certain interests should be allowed to make representations to the Commissioners on this question of amalgamation. I am one of those who strongly support compulsory amalgamation. That does not mean that I would support it everywhere, but there is a case for compulsory amalgamation in some parts of the British coalfield, and it is because of such cases that this Bill has been brought forward. It is because voluntary amalgamations have failed that the Government have taken upon themselves to put this Clause in the Bill. I feel that the right hon. Gentleman is going back on what he put in the original Bill. I know that there is a case for some persons interested in a certain colliery to raise objections to amalgamation—we have had that in Lancashire—but at the same time I think there is a better way of doing it than this, which is a dilatory method. It is no use the President saying that it is not as dilatory as some other methods; I consider that this is a dilatory method.

The right hon. Gentleman must consider our point of view as regards the local authorities. The case that we put to him on the Committee stage was that there would be instances in which the local authority involved in an amalgamation would desire to make representations to somebody somewhere, and I want to know from the President to what extent the social consequences of amalgamation are involved by this Amendment. From my reading of the Amendment, it makes provision only for industrial representation. The right hon. Gentleman must know that it is a very costly procedure for local authorities, and in my area I can see, before very long, a possible compulsory amalgamation, and I can see a very poor local authority involved m it. If this Amendment goes through, that authority will have to engage very expensive legal representatives to put its case, and I think we ought to find a cheaper method of enabling local authorities to put their objections.

The Miners' Federation of Great Britain will look upon this concession to the coal-owners, to those who are opposed to compulsory amalgamation, as an attempt to make that part of the Bill ineffective. After all, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, and as the Secretary for Mines knows still better, at the consultation that took place with the Miners' Federation representatives, whose President was a member of the Commission and knew the difficulties of compulsory amalgamation, the federation viewed that Bill with some approval, largely because it had this element of compulsory amalgamation in it. I do not want the Amendment accepted, for this simple reason, that I think it is an attempt to meet the wishes of the opponents of compulsory amalgamation. It pretends to keep compulsory amalgamation in the Bill, but at the same time it makes it ineffective, or at least it delays the procedure; and I hope the Government will make it quite clear that if this Amendment is carried, every interest involved in an amalgamation shall be allowed to make representations before the Select Committee.

5.23 p.m.

Sir Edward Grigg

I shall support the Amendment very gladly, and since various charges have been levelled against Members of this House who propose to support it, I should like to make my own position perfectly clear. It has been said that this Amendment is prompted by opposition to the principle of compulsory amalgamation. So far as I am concerned, there is no such motive in my mind. I know absolutely nothing about the coalmining industry, but I have heard enough in the House to realise that compulsory amalgamation is an extremely controversial subject. I can imagine that it may be good in some cases and bad in others, but my own knowledge of the coal industry is so small that I am not entitled to have an opinion on the subject at all. Therefore, it is in no way opposition to the principle of compulsory amalgamation that made me press for an Amendment of this kind and now makes me welcome its introduction by my right hon. Friend.

I ground myself entirely on the point of principle, which is this: I can quite understand that if a body is appointed by the State to alter the conditions under which a great industry is carried on, it could say that certain undertakings shall be amalgamated with others. The State is fully entitled to do that without consultation, provided it is prepared to bear all the consequences itself. If the course proposed is nationalisation, and if the State is going to take responsibility for what happens after the amalgamation is carried out, then I do not see that the enterprises involved who are taking no responsibility once the change has been carried out, have anything to complain of. But that is not what is proposed in this Bill, which is that the Government shall come in, that a body appointed by the Government shall say that amalgamation in one place or another is desirable, and that, when that amalgamation is carried out, the responsibility shall be thrown back on to private enterprise for dealing with its own business in conditions which have been created for it. That seems to be absolutely unfair, unless the private enterprise which is to be responsible for the results of the amalgamation can be fully heard before the amalgamation is carried out. Surely that is a clear point of principle, and it is on that point that I take my stand.

I am bound to say that I am influenced by what I have heard said in the Debate to-day about the cost of these proceedings, and I think it would be desirable that the cost should be alleviated, particularly for impecunious local authorities, if that could be done, but if there is to be an inquiry anywhere, is it not always going to be an expensive inquiry?

Mr. Shinwell

I would remind the hon. Gentleman that we never asked for a public inquiry. We asked for the right of both local authorities and workers in the industry to make representations to the Commissioners, that they should be heard, and that their views should be properly considered.

Sir E. Grigg

I should have thought that if the Commission were going to inquire fully into the desirability of any proposed wholesale amalgamation, the Committee would have to hear counsel from the various interests concerned, and indeed, it is would be very difficult, from my experience of the legal profession, to keep them out. I fancy that they would be gathered there. If, however, there is any method of cheapening the procedure for local authorities and so on, I am bound to say that I should support it, but it seems to me that that is extremely difficult to do. At any rate, let me repeat that it is purely on the ground of principle that I was among those who originally asked for an Amendment of this kind and that I welcome it now, and I refuse to be accused, in supporting the Amendment, of interested motives of any kind.

5.28 p.m.

Mr. J. Griffiths

May I say a word to the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth), who has made one of his usually interesting speeches? He described the Commission as five commissars and was shocked at the idea of such a body, but does he know the origin of this Commission? He belongs to the Liberal party. I was not in this House at the time, but I was in the Miners' Federation, and outside I took a very intimate part in the passing of the 1930 Act. That Act contained, to begin with, a most important part dealing with quotas, and the then Liberal party told the then Labour Government, "We snail never vote for this Bill unless you put into it a Clause setting up a Commission to bring about compulsory amalgamation." Therefore, actually this Commission, to which the hon. Member objects in this Bill, was in the 1930 Bill as a result of the political pressure, or rather the political threats, of the party to which the hon. Member belongs. We did not originally ask for this Commission. It was forced upon us by the Liberal party at the time, and now in 1938 they object to it. It is so characteristic of them; they are continuously and for ever burying their own children. Now the hon. Members throws that Commission overboard.

I do not think it is appropriate at the moment to discuss the principle of amalgamation. I have expressed my views on that subject upon previous occasions and those views have been drawn, very largely, from experience. Amalgamations may be either good or bad. It depends on what they are, and what they are for, and sometimes on who carries them out. The district to which I belong is one of the best coal areas in the world—certainly the best anthracite area in this country—and much harm has been done to the industry there by people who have no experience of the technical side of coal-mining and who are concerned only with finance—the kind of people who have been described as "industrial bookies." People of that kind have been responsible for bad amalgamations. But there can be amalgamations of another kind designed for technical purposes and in order to make the working of the coal more efficient. We shall welcome or reject amalgamations from that standpoint.

Let me remind hon. Members that we have pleaded in this House on many occasions for protection against the consequences of voluntary amalgamations. Hon. Members opposite wax eloquent about the consequences of compulsory amalgamation but they are silent about the consequences of voluntary amalgamation. Those consequences are the same. Indeed, the consequences of voluntary amalgamation can be even worse than those of compulsory amalgamation because when you bring in the compulsory element you also bring in a certain measure of social control. We are setting up this Commission. Do not let us be too anxious to deprive that Commission of real power in these matters. I think the most important power which they will have under this Bill in planning the future of the industry will be the power of administering the coal as a national property, and if there is to be amalgamation of undertakings, it is essential that there should be the largest possible measure of social and public control over such amalgamation.

It is only right and fair, if these amalgamations involve a burden on the public, that the public who have to carry that burden should have a voice in them. We have then to ask ourselves whether the method proposed here of dealing with the matter is the best one. These Clauses have been phrased by hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite and we have to examine them as laymen in order to try to find out what this procedure means. As we read this Clause, it would give power to all local interests, to miners, local authorities and owners, to make representations to the Commission. But what we have visualised has not been a Commission sitting in London, with the representatives from various areas coming before it. Rather have we visualised a Commission going round the various areas, meeting the local representatives on the spot, and seeing for themselves some of the consequences of amalgamation.

Mr. Stanley

I would not like the hon. Member to get the impression that the Commission are not going to see things for themselves, on the spot. Being reasonable people they will, of course, do so.

Mr. Griffiths

In any case, the procedure proposed here is that there shall be a Select Committee. Will those whose interests are likely to be affected, be heard by that Select Committee? For example, will the Miners' Federation and the local authorities be entitled to make their representations? Then there is to be a provisional Order, declaring that it is expedient in the national interest that the number of undertakings in a certain area should be reduced. If a scheme is put forward, it will come from the Commission and will go before the Select Committee and it will propose that in a certain area, say South Wales or Durham, the number of undertakings shall be reduced. What interpretation is to be given to the word "undertaking"? Is undertaking equivalent to company? I can imagine an interpretation of that word which would prevent, either the Select Committee or those who appear before it, from getting full particulars of the kind which they want. If the Commission simply say that in South Wales, company A and company B shall be amalgamated, that will not be much.

The important thing is to know what is likely to happen after amalgamation has taken place, and we should have an assurance that, if particulars are to be filed in these cases, they will include not merely the undertakings, in the sense of companies, which are amalgamated, but also particulars of the individual collieries concerned. Unless full particulars are given, there will be no public safeguard, and I regret that the Minister has not found it possible to accept our Amendment in that respect. At the same time I do not want to see amalgamations of undertakings of this kind without those who propose the amalgamations having to go before some body to prove their case and show how they propose to deal with the consequences of their amalgamation. I am concerned about the measure of social and public control which will be possible over these amalgamations. I welcome this proposal, but I should like the Minister to deal with one or two of the points I have raised because the value of the Clause seems to depend in no small measure upon the interpretation given to these words.

5.37 p.m.

Mr. H. G. Williams

I cannot imagine that the representatives of the miners in any locality would have any difficulty in establishing before a Committee upstairs the right to be heard. Judging from the various people who appear from time to time before Committees upstairs, the question of status in that respect is interpreted sensibly and intelligently, and I do not think that that problem is likely to arise. But whether the representatives themselves would rather come to London for the hearing, or remain, for instance, in the constituency of the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) is debatable.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The Croydon inquiry was held in Croydon.

Mr. Williams

My own experience is that if people are asked whether they would rather give their evidence at a local inquiry or come to London, they are generally in favour of a week-end in London. Visits to London in connection with the promoting of local Bills are quite popular.

Mr. Shinwell

And very costly.

Mr. Williams

The hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) said a great many things with which I agree. He and I share certain views on these matters. Neither of us believes very much in the modern theory of political economy under which people are forced to do things which they are unwilling to do, for some reason which nobody can explain. I do not like compulsory amalgamation and I am not much impressed by voluntary amalgamation. It is not as if those great enterprises which have been amalgamated are, in the main, very successful. The railways were compulsorily amalgamated and they have been in rather a mess since. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, I do not think it can be denied that they are in a mess. Cables and Wireless cannot pay their dividend, and we heard last week that the air companies were not having a very happy time, while as for the London Passenger Transport Board there are constant complaints about the service—

Mr. Bevan

May I ask, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether the principle of amalgamation is under discussion?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Captain Bourne)

Certainly not. We are discussing only the particular form of procedure which is to be adopted in relation to these amalgamations, and the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams) must not go into a general discussion on the principle of amalgamation.

Mr. Williams

I am sorry. I was mentioning only casually and by way of illustration certain examples. I should be out of order if I were to go into the details of those four cases, but hon. Gentleman opposite have argued that compulsory amalgamation is desirable and I am giving some illustrations of the bad results which have followed from compulsory amalgamation. The hon. Member for South Bradford has dominated this Debate and has drawn attention with some precision to what is proposed here. First of all, the Commission have their own investigation and then they present a report to the President of the Board of Trade, who, in due course, makes a Provisional Order declaring that it is expedient in the national interest that certain things should happen. Then apparently we are to have an unusual form of Bill, namely, a Bill to confirm an Order, when the Order itself does not propose that anything in particular should be done but merely states, in general terms, that it is expedient to do those things. It is rather like making a Provisional Order that it is expedient that all the bachelors in this House should get married and then putting into the Bill that they are not to know the brides. There was a Debate some time ago, in which all the bachelors took part, urging an increase in the population, and that is probably what led my thoughts in that direction. Anyhow, I ask hon. Members to read these words: The Provisional Order shall so define the area … as to show so far as practicable what undertakings are likely to be affected. "Affected" may mean that this undertaking is to survive and the other is not, but there is no indication of which is to survive and which is to die. Therefore on what basis are these people who come before the Select Committee to make their representations? If I am a Member for a South Wales constituency, there may be certain pits in my constituency and others near by, in an adjoining constituency. It may be proposed that the pits in that area should be brought into a scheme, but I will not have the faintest idea of whether the pits in my constituency or those in the next constituency are to be selected. It is going to be very difficult for the Select Committee to examine anything as vague as that. It is like the "South Sea Bubble." What will the Provisional Order declare? It will declare that it is expedient that all collieries, say in the Rhondda Valley, within certain limits shown on a certain plan, should be looked into with a view to certain amalgamations. No scheme is worked out; there is no proposal as to a holding company being formed or as to terms; there is no declaration as to what pits it is proposed to close, indeed no indication of any kind as to what the scheme is to be.

Mr. Bevan

But does the hon. Member suggest that a Select Committee would be dumb enough to pass a scheme without any of those particulars?

Mr. Williams

But that is just what we are asking them to do. A Provisional Order is to be made declaring that it is expedient in the national interest that a number of coal-mining undertakings shall be dealt with in this way. In other words what we are doing by this Bill is to provide for the passing of subsidiary Acts of Parliament of an enabling kind, and not for authorising Provisional Orders which set forth the schemes. To me it is an extraordinary procedure, but I like it better than the original scheme, because it does interpose one barrier of public opinion and of democracy between us and what the hon. Member for South Bradford has called the commissars. The procedure is most extraordinary and, as far as I know, entirely novel; I do not think there has ever been a case where a Provisional Order Bill contained merely a general aspiration and not a detailed scheme. I hope my right hon. Friend will examine the point very carefully. We cannot make any changes now, but the Bill will have to go through another place, and I hope that in another place, with the help of my right hon. Friend, they will define with much greater particularity what things will be in the Provisional Order. I think the House ought to be grateful to the hon. Member for South Bradford for having drawn attention to this aspect of the matter.

5.46 p.m.

Mr. Stanley

One or two important points upon which there appears to be some misunderstanding have been raised in the Debate. As to the point raised by the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shin-well) concerning the impossibility of introducing Provisional Orders after Whitsuntide, I understand that it is on that point that a manuscript Amendment to the Amendment is to be moved, and therefore, I will not refer to it now. I should like to deal with the matter raised by the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). I think the hon. Member for South Bradford can find his spiritual home only in company with the hon. Member for East Croydon—

Mr. H. G. Williams

May I point out to my right hon. Friend that East Croydon is a railway station and not a constituency?

Mr. Stanley

I am sorry to have mistaken anything so dynamic as my hon. Friend for anything so static as a railway station. The hon. Member for South Bradford and my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams) are almost entitled to be called the Liberal party. The hon. Member for South Bradford raised the very important point as to what sort of information the Select Committee would have and what sort of things they would discuss. Let me make it plain at once that I do not want any hon. Member to support this Amendment under a misapprehension. There is no intention that the details of the scheme, that is to say, the financial provisions of the scheme, shall be before the House of Commons. The whole idea of the Bill is to take away from the Railway and Canal Commission questions of public interest and to leave to it the question of finance. I believe that to be the right solution, and I think the last people who would thank the hon. Gentleman for his suggestion that the financial details of the scheme should be taken away from the Railway and Canal Commission and come to the Houses of Parliament, are the people who are concerned. I understand they put forward the view that it is the Railway and Canal Commission which should be empowered to discuss this.

The other point put by the hon. Member was more important, and concerned the question of what the Select Committee would be able to discuss even on the points of national interest. It is true that there is a Statutory duty upon the President of the Board of Trade to lay before the House the report which is made by the Commission, but that, of course, is not the real safeguard. The real safeguard is that the President of the Board of Trade, who has made the Order, and the Commission, who have made the recommendation to the President of the Board of Trade, would have to prove their case. It would be no good their coming to the House and to the Select Committee, and saying, "We think it is a good thing that there should be an amalgamation in that area." Neither the House nor, particularly, the Select Committee, would stand that for a moment. The representatives of the Board of Trade or of the Commission would have to appear before the Select Committee and say why they thought it was a good thing, and why they thought that an amalgamation in a certain district would lead to a saving and to more economic or better working. It seems to me that it would be impossible for them to do that without giving to the Committee an outline of what they themselves thought would be the results of the amalgamation. Therefore, I think the answer to the hon. Gentleman is that either the Board of Trade and the Commission would give to the Select Committee all the information for which it asked, or the Select Committee would say that they had not even attempted to prove their case, and would throw the case out.

The hon. Member for Seaham raised the question of who would appear before the Select Committee. As he knows, the final determination as to who may appear is in the hands of the Court of Referees, and I can no more bind them than I can bind Mr. Speaker as to whether or not an Amendment shall be called. However, from all I know of the practice of the Select Committee, and from what I can judge—and here I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon—it is inconceivable that in such a question of national interest any of the bodies to whom the hon. Member referred could be judged to have no concern. Certainly, there would be no obligation on them to appear, but it is always open to them to appear in person or to be represented by counsel.

Mr. Shinwell

What possible chance would they have?

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Member is in great difficulty. I know that he likes difficulties and takes them easily, but the truth of the matter is that although he is complaining about this procedure he knows that the object which the local authorities and the people for whom he speaks would have in turning up before the Select Committee would be to oppose the Bills.

Mr. David Grenfell

Or to obtain assurances.

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Member asked what chance they would have to brief expensive counsel. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) said that he had never been briefed by the Mining Association. When the hon. Member for Sea-ham asks what chance the local authorities would have of briefing equally good counsel, he knows very well that, in practice, before the Select Committee, the local authority and the Mining Association would be on the same side. [An HON. MEMBER: "For different reasons."] I think that, in practice, there is no doubt that the bodies which the hon. Gentleman is anxious should appear before the Select Committee will, in fact, have an opportunity of doing so. One or two specific points were raised by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Grinstead (Colonel Clarke). The sinister change to which he referred of the omission of those particular words is necessitated merely by the change in the form of procedure. Whereas before we would not have been entitled to attach conditions to the Order, but the Order would have had to be approved or not by the House, now the House can make alterations, and therefore there is no necessity any longer to give that power to the Board of Trade. I am afraid that I could not follow the other point made by my hon. and gallant Friend, because, as far as I am aware, the Commission is not given the power to vary the Order subsequent to its having been approved by Parliament. I think I have answered the main points that have been raised in the Debate, and as a manuscript Amendment is to be moved on the specific point, I hope it will now be possible to conclude the discussion on the main points, and proceed to discuss the manuscript Amendment which is to be moved.

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

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

5.55 p.m.

Mr. A. Jenkins

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, at the end, to add: (5) Notwithstanding anything in any Standing Order of either House of Parliament, proceedings to confirm a Provisional Order made under this Section may be commenced at any time when Parliament is sitting. I think the need for this Amendment to the proposed Amendment is clear. At the present time, under the Rules of both Houses, it is not possible to introduce a Provisional Order after Whitsuntide, and that means that practically half of the year would pass without there being an opportunity for any Order under this Bill, when it becomes an Act, to be introduced.

Mr. S. O. Davies

I beg to second the Amendment.

5.57 p.m.

The Secretary for Mines (Captain Crookshank)

The Amendment to the proposed Amendment deals with a small point which has arisen in the course of the Debate, and I will make the situation as clear as I can. I would remark, in passing, that there is an interesting difference of views on the benches opposite; there are those who do not want these matters even to be discussed, and now the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. A. Jenkins) is very nervous because he finds that under the Standing Orders there is a period of time during which it would not be possible for a Provisional Order to be introduced.

Mr. Ede

Do not say the hon. Member is nervous; say that he is anxious.

Captain Crookshank

The present position is that, according to Standing Order No. 204, no Bill can originate unless it is read the First time before Whitsun. There is a similar Standing Order in another place. On occasion, it is possible for that Standing Order to be waived, by a Motion made by the Chairman in this House and the Chairman in another place, if they are in agreement, on a particular Bill. What is fundamentally wrong with the Amendment to the Amendment is that it seeks by legislation to alter the Standing Orders of the two Houses. Even if that were agreed to in this House, judging from the history of the Standing Orders in both Houses, I have very grave doubts whether the other House would allow it.

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is wrong as to the intention of the Amendment to the proposed Amendment. It is submitted in order to prove that the proposed Amendment for which the hon. and gallant Gentleman is responsible, and which has not yet been definitely disposed of, is in itself ineffective, in that it does not permit these matters to be dealt with except during a limited period of the year.

Captain Crookshank

I do not know what the Amendment to the proposed Amendment is intended to prove. What I understand is that, since under Standing Order 204 Provisional Order Bills cannot be introduced unless, in exceptional circumstances, the Chairmen of both Houses move the suspension of the Standing Order, the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Jenkins) wishes to have a new Sub-section in this Clause specifically referring to this Standing Order, and beginning "Notwithstanding anything in any Standing Order." What I am trying to put to the House is an old argument, because both Houses are very jealous of their own powers of regulating their own procedure themselves and not having it done for them by Statute. That is the fundamental difficulty which has always existed, and I think every hon. Member recognises it. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment to the proposed Amendment would be very annoyed, and would consider it a breach of privilege, if the other House sent down to us, a Bill to which it had given a Third reading containing some reference to our altering our Standing Orders without, at any rate, having received preliminary consent to it.

Mr. Jenkins

Was the Minister conscious of this difficulty when he introduced his Amendment?

Captain Crookshank

The answer is "Yes." It is against the traditions of either House to deal with Standing Orders by legislation. That is the first difficulty we have to meet. Now the hon. Gentleman says that unless we can get over Standing Order 204 there will be a long period during which it will be impossible to introduce a Provisional Order. The answer is that this is not the first time that Provisional Order procedure has been introduced in this House, and that in the past there has been no great difficulty in that regard. It is, I think, only fair to say that one does not anticipate—I may be wrong, of course—that these Orders will be a matter of such supreme urgency at any given moment. After all, the Commission are charged with the function of seeing the whole picture, as we have been providing in this Amendment, and laying a report before the Board of Trade, and so on, and it will not be a matter of life and death whether it is done this month or next month.

I recognise the difficulty to which the hon. Gentleman has called attention, and my answer is that we cannot accept his proposal for the reasons which I hope I have made clear, namely, that we cannot by legislation touch the privileges of the other House in regard to the way in which it conducts its business. As hon. Gentlemen opposite consider this matter of sufficient importance, I propose that we should look into it further. My right hon. Friend and I are prepared to consult with the Chairman of Ways and Means and the Lord Chairman, and the officials of both Houses, to see whether, if this Amendment to the proposed Amendment is accepted, it would be necessary to ask either House to make some Amendment in the Standing Orders in order that our intentions should not be brought to nought and that there should not be this gap. We will consult with the properly constituted authorities in both Houses in order to see whether this difficulty is as acute a difficulty as the hon. Gentleman fears it is, and, if it is, whether it would be right for new Standing Orders in due course to be promoted.

6.5 p.m.

Mr. Shinwell

I can speak again only with the leave of the House. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman really knew that this difficulty existed—of if he is not prepared to accept the word "difficulty," I would say this probable difficulty—it is very strange that no reference was made to the matter in the speech of the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Stanley

I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not making anything of that point. I made no reference to the details of the Provisional Order procedure because I took it that hon. Members in all parts of the House knew what it was, and what its implications were. I assure the hon. Gentleman that I had no sinister intentions in not referring to it.

Mr. Shinwell

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to remember that his proposed Amendment is an alternative to the proposals which were put to him from this side on the Committee stage, and if in his Amendment such a difficulty occurs—it is a very important difficulty—it ought either to have occurred to the right hon. Gentleman to mention it, or, in lieu of that, since an assurance has now been given, it should have been treated as a point of substance. The assurance that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has given is not specific enough to warrant our accepting the proposed Amendment.

6.7 p.m.

Mr. Bevan

I agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that if there is one thing which is undesirable it is to complicate our Standing Orders so as to have them apply to some forms of legislation and not to others. We shall never know where we are if Provisional Orders affecting the coal industry can be introduced at any time and other Provisional Orders must be introduced before Whitsun. It would create a chaotic situation. My hon. Friend has directed the attention of the House to an important matter, although this Bill is not the instrument by which a reform can be effected. We have now a concentration of an enormous amount of private Bill legislation into a certain time of the year, and if all these other Provisional Orders are to come forward at one time of the year it will impose a great strain on the members of the Parliamentary Bar.

Mr. Croom-Johnson

Do not worry about that.

Mr. Bevan

I was about to point out that the Parliamentary Bar do not worry about it because, owing to the concentration of the demand on their services at one time of the year they are able to extract far higher fees. I have never heard members of the Parliamentary Bar complaining

about this procedure. We, however, have some cause for complaint about it. It means a strain on those Members of the House who have to sit upon these Select Committees, and if the Orders can be spread out it would be better. Perhaps it would be possible, whenever it is proposed to bring a Provisional Order forward, for the Lord Chairman in the other place and his appropriate counterpart here to come to an agreement to enable it to be brought forward. In 1930 there were proposals exempted from the Standing Orders and they were brought forward by the Lord Privy Seal. Owing to the Standing Orders of the House certain Orders concerning railway developments, involving loans, could not be proceeded with except at a certain time in the year, but they were temporarily exempted from the limitations of this Standing Order in order that the schemes could be brought forward at any time of the year, in order to deal with the emergency of unemployment which then existed. There is nothing to prevent the right hon. Gentleman from bringing forward a proposal, when he is presented with the possibility of a Provisional Order, that it should be exempted from the Standing Orders. If that is done it will meet the main substance of the point that has been raised.

Question put, "That those words be there added to the proposed Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 122; Noes, 196.

Division No. 159.] AYES. [6.12 p.m.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Hayday, A.
Adams, D. (Consett) Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Henderson, J. (Ardwick)
Adamson, W. M. Day, H. Henderson, T. (Tradeston)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Dobbie, W. Hills, A. (Pontefract)
Ammon, C. G. Dunn, E. (Rather Valley) Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)
Attles, Rt. Hon. C. R. Ede, J. C. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)
Banfield, J. W. Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.
Barnes, A. J. Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Jones, A. C. (Shipley)
Barr, J. Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Batey, J. Foot, D. M. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.
Bevan, A. Frankel, D. Kirby, B. V.
Broad, F. A. Gallacher, W. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.
Bromfield, W. Gardner, B. W. Leach, W.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lee, F.
Burke, W. A. Gibson, R. (Greenock) Leonard, W.
Cape, T. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Leslie, J. R.
Cassells, T. Grenfell, D. R. Logan, D. G.
Charleton, H. C. Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Lunn, W.
Chater, D. Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Macdonald, G. (Ince)
Cluse, W. S. Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) McEntee, V. La T.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) McGhee, H. G.
Cocks, F. S. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Mander, G. la M.
Cove, W. G. Hardie, Agnes Maxton, J.
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Harris, Sir P. A. Messer, F.
Daggar, G. Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Naylor, T. E. Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey) Tinker, J. J.
Noel-Baker, P. J. Seely, Sir H. M. Tomlinson, G.
Oliver, G. H. Sexton, T. M. Viant, S. P.
Paling, W. Shinwell, E. Walkden, A. G.
Parker, J. Silverman, S. S. Walker, J.
Parkinson, J. A. Simpson, F. B. Watkins, F. C.
Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's) Watson, W. McL.
Price, M. P. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe) White, H. Graham
Quibell, D. J. K. Smith, E. (Stoke) Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Richards, R. (Wrexham) Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly) Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Ridley, G. Smith, T. (Normanton) Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Riley, B. Sorensen, R. W. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Ritson, J. Stephen, C.
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.) Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Mr. Mathers and Mr. Groves.
Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens) Thorne, W.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Furness, S. N. Peat, C. U.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley) Perkins, W. R. D.
Albery, Sir Irving Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Petherick, M.
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead) Gluckstein, L. H. Radford, E. A.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Ramsbotham, H.
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.) Grant-Ferris, R. Rankin, Sir R.
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ's) Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Gridley, Sir A. B. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Apsley, Lord Grigg, Sir E. W. M. Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
Assheton, R. Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor) Raid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Guinness, T. L. E. B. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)
Balniel, Lord Hambro, A. V. Ropner, Colonel L.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Rowlands, G.
Bennett, Sir E. N. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Bernays, R. H. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Russell, Sir Alexander
Boulton, W. W. Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Bracken, B. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Salt, E. W.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Higgs, W. F. Sandeman, Sir N. S.
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon) Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Savery, Sir Servington
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Holdsworth, H. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Holmes, J. S. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Cartland, J. R. H. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Smith, L W. (Hallam)
Carver, Major W. H. Hume, Sir G. H. Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Hunter, T. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Keeling, E. H. Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Channon, H. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Spens, W. P.
Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.) Law, R. K. (Hull, S. W.) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Chorlton, A. E. L. Leech, Sir J. W. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Lees-Jones, J. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Clarry, Sir Reginald Leighton, Major B. E. P Storey, S.
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Lewis, O. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Liddall, W. S. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Lipson, D. L. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Lloyd, G. W. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Courtauld, Major J. S. Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S. Tate, Mavis C.
Critchley, A. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page McKie, J. H. Titchfield, Marquess of
Crooke, Sir J. S. Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees) Tree, A. R. L. F.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Maitland, A. Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Cross, R. H. Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Turton, R. H.
Crossley, A. C. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Crowder, J. F. E. Markham, S. F. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Cruddas, Col. B. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Culverwell, C. T. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Warrender, Sir V.
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Waterhouse, Captain C.
Davison, Sir W. H. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
De la Bère, R. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Wells, S. R.
Dodd, J. S. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Doland, G. F. Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R. Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Morgan, R H. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Ellis, Sir G. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Withers, Sir J. J.
Elmley, Viscount Munro, P. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Emery, J. F. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) Orr-Ewing, I. L. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Everard, W. L. Palmer, G. E. H.
Fildes, Sir H. Patrick, C. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Peake, O. Captain Dugdale and
Mr. Grimston.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 179; Noes, 119.

Division No. 160.] AYES. [6.29 p.m.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Petherick, M.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Gluckstein, L. H. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Albery, Sir Irving Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Radford, E. A.
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead) Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Ramsbotham, H.
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.) Gridley, Sir A. B. Rankin, Sir R.
Assheton, R. Grigg, Sir E. W. M. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor) Rayner, Major R. H.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Guinness, T. L. E. B. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
Bennett, Sir E. N. Hambro, A. V. Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Bernays, R. H. Harvey, T. E. (Eng, Univ's.) Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Boulton, W. W. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Ropner, Colonel L.
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Higgs, W. F. Rowlands, G.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon) Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Cartland, J. R. H. Holdsworth, H. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Carver, Major W. H. Holmes, J. S. Salt, E. W.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Sandeman, Sir N. S.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Hume, Sir G. H. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Channon, H. Hunter, T. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.) Keeling, E. H. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Chorlton, A. E. L. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Lamb, Sir J. Q. Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Clarry, Sir Reginald Law, R. K. (Hull, S. W.) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Leech, Sir J. W. Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Lees-Jones, J. Spears, Brigadier-General E L.
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Spens, W. P.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Lewis, O. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Courtauld, Major J. S. Liddall, W. S. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Critchley, A. Lipson, D. L. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Crooke, Sir J. S. Lloyd, G. W. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Looker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Tasker, Sir R. I.
Cross, R. H. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Tate, Mavis C.
Crossley, A. C. McKie, J. H. Titchfield, Marquess of
Crowder, J. F. E. Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees) Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Cruddas, Col. B. Maitland, A. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Culverwell, C. T. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Turton, R. H.
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Wakefield, W. W.
Davison, Sir W. H. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
De la Bère, R. Markham, S. F. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Dodd, J. S. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Warrender, Sir V.
Doland, G. F. Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Waterhouse, Captain C.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
Dugdale, Captain T. L. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Eastwood, J. F. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Wells, S. R.
Eckersley, P. T. Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Morgan, R. H. Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Ellis, Sir G. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Elmley, Viscount Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Emery, J. F. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Withers, Sir J. J.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Munro, P. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Entwistle, Sir C. F. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Orr-Ewing, I. L. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Palmer, G. E. H.
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Peake, O. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Furness, S. N. Peat, C. U. Mr. Grimston and Major Sir
Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley) Perkins, W. R. D. James Edmondson.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Day, H.
Adams, D. (Consett) Burke, W. A. Debbie, W.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Cape, T. Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Cassells, T. Ede, J. C.
Ammon, C. G. Charleton, H. C. Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Chater, D. Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.
Banfield, J. W. Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Fool, D. M.
Barnes, A. J. Cocks, F. S. Frankel, D.
Barr, J. Cove, W. G. Gallacher, W.
Batey, J. Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Gardner, B. W.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Daggar, G. George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)
Bevan, A. Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Gibson, R. (Greenock)
Broad, F. A. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.
Bromfield, W. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Grenfell, D. R.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) McGhee, H. G. Simpson, F. B.
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Mander, G. le M. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Mathers, G. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Maxton, J. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Messer, F. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees. (K'ly)
Hardie, Agnes Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Harris, Sir P. A. Naylor, T. E. Sorensen, R. W.
Hayday, A. Noel-Baker, P. J. Stephen, C.
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Oliver, G. H. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Paling, W. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Parker, J. Thorne, W.
Hills, A. (Pontefract) Parkinson, J. A. Tinker, J. J.
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W. Tomlinson, G.
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Price, M. P. Viant, S. P.
Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Pritt, D. N. Walkden, A. G.
Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Quibell, D. J. K. Walker, J.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Richards, R. (Wrexham) Watkins, F. C.
Kennedy, Rt. Hon T. Ridley, G Watson, W. McL.
Kirby, B. V. Riley, B. White, H. Graham
Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G. Ritson, J. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Leach, W. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.) Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Lee, F. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.) Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Leonard, W. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens) Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Leslie, J. R. Saltar, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)
Logan, D. G. Seely, Sir H. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Macdonald, G. (Ince) Sexton, T. M. Mr. Groves and Mr. Adamson.
McEntee, V. La T. Shinwell, E.
  1. FIRST SCHEDULE.—(Constitution and procedure of the Coal Commission.) 501 words
  2. cc2247-68
  3. THIRD SCHEDULE.—(Provisions as to compensation payable under Section six of this Act.) 8,601 words
  4. cc2269-71
  5. FIFTH SCHEDULE—(Lease Consolidation Schemes.) 836 words
  6. cc2271-6
  7. EIGHTH SCHEDULE.—(Amendments of 20 and 21 Geo. 5 c. 34, ss. 5 and 8.) 2,211 words