Question again proposed,
That this House regrets that His Majesty's Government are neglecting their first duty, namely, to concentrate with full energy upon the most urgent and essential tasks of the reconversion of our industries from wartime production to that of peace, the provision of houses, the speedy release of men and women from the Forces to Industry, and the drastic curtailment of our swollen national expenditure; and deplores the pre-occupation of His Majesty's Ministers, impelled by Socialist theory, with the formulation of long-term schemes for nationalisation, creating un certainty over the whole field of industrial and economic activity, in direct opposition to the best interest of the nation, which demands food, work and homes.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Daines (East Ham, North)
I would like to make the usual claim for the 2600 indulgence of the House towards a maiden speaker, the more so because to sit here listening to point after point that one would like to make being taken up by previous speakers is a rather devastating experience. In offering my apologies to the House for attempting to address it I can assure the House I will endeavour to be quite sincerely non controversial. The main emphasis of speakers when dealing with economic problems has been upon the problem of loosening the bonds that are binding production, but I want to direct attention to distribution. One of the facts we have to face in our economic system is that distribution costs are more and more becoming a disproportionate part of the price of a commodity when it reaches the customer. Let me illustrate what has happened in one field that comes under the auspices of the Board of Trade. I am not going to criticise His Majesty's Government, but it is a fact that the current arrangements, so far as dry goods are concerned, which they entered into were a confirmation of a policy that was arrived at with the trade.
In the case of the much vaunted Non-Utility Clothing Order we find that to produce an overcoat of 28 inches in length the wholesaler is allowed a selling price of £6 8s. 5d. The retailer to whom it passes gets it for £8 0s. 6d., but the customer gets it for £14. After due allowance of one-sixth of the figure of £8 is made for Purchase Tax, the fact remains that the customer pays as much again for the coat when it is received as the manufacturer has got. I wish to dwell on this point, because I think it is a very serious problem in our economic system. Take, for example, the average woman's coat, the type of garment which is detailed in this list. The wool comes from Australia, the cotton from America, the dye perhaps from one part of Europe, and they are brought together by a combination and an organisation of human labour involving possibly 20 or 30 pairs of hands which are put into the final product when it leaves the manufacturer. Yet if that same coat is taken perhaps 10 or 20 miles, the cost is equal to the whole of the previous processes. I suggest to H.M. Government that we want a working party not only for production but for inquiry and action in regard to distribution. I submit that we cannot afford the constant wastage of manpower that is taking place in distribution today.
2601 Let me refer briefly to the question of food. When this war broke out the Government and the importers of wheat arrived at an agreement, which in effect was a proposal to stabilise their existing profits, irrespective of what service they rendered in the buying of foodstuffs. In actual fact, in the grain trade market the whole import of wheat became a government function. Nevertheless, the margin of profit to the folk who deal—I want to give the right technical terms—in futures and in option deals received throughout the war, and still do receive, exactly the same financial reward as was stabilised at the beginning of the war. I believe the Government must come to a decision as regards the import of food to this country, and particularly as regards the import of wheat. We cannot afford to go back to that same type of abracadabra to which an hon. Member opposite referred, and I suggest that in the importing of essentials into this country there are labyrinths which are just as sinister as those which he imagines.
I desire to say a word or two on the subject of wage policy. It is my misfortune that the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. T. Brown) has dealt with most of my points, but there are one or two which I would like to emphasise. In the past, this country got out of the problem of unpleasant and laborious work by the whiplash of unemployment. We got people to shift the coal, to bake our bread and to go to the docks because we were always able to recruit that labour as a result of unemployment which was the driving factor. The root cause of the disturbances which exist today is that the worker fealises that the whiplash of unemployment is not there to drive him. It may be that I have got my logic wrong, but during the course of this Debate there has been constant reiteration from right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite to the question of the profit motive. I submit that the logical corollary of the profit motive is to buy cheap and to sell dear. If it is said that the profit motive is a virtue when hon Gentlemen opposite control it, then I submit that the labourer has the same right to apply the same logic to the labour that he has to sell. The workers of this country are prepared to accept and to give quite a lot, but what they are not prepared to stand for is the operation of the Essential Work Order as 2602 far as their labour is concerned when it has to go into the making of private profit.
I agree with most of what the hon. Member for Rugby has said. I do not believe we will be able to continue with what is, in effect, a controlled economy in a perfectly free market with the same sort of trade union operations which went on before the war. We must come to an agreed policy with the trade unions. In fact, I think we have to do more than that. I will make a perfectly frank ad mission. 1 believe that one reason for the opposition of the workers which has shown itself in strikes, is that they are against the boss because for years they have been brought up in an attitude of mind which puts them against the Government. They are against things, and not for things. I believe we have contribubted to it in some way through endeavouring to mobilise political power by teaching them to be against things rather than for things. It is a perfectly frank admission, and I make it for what it is worth. I also believe, however, that, just as the workers of this country saw the overriding necessity for unity during the war, if the right approach is made to them now they will unite with an over riding sense of purpose that the profit motive can never give to them. I believe the time has come when the Government should give to all the people of this country and the workers in particular, a sense of over-riding purpose, a social motive and a sense of mission which, so far in the reconstruction of the life of this country, they have never yet had.
§ 7.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Butcher (Holland with Boston)
I am obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for enabling me to catch your eye, because it gives me the high honour and privilege of congratulating two hon. Gentlemen on their maiden speeches which, although quite dissimilar in character, had one thing in common and that is the sincerity with which they were uttered and the background of informed opinion from which each came. The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Daines) spoke with authority on problems of distribution, and we shall look forward with pleasure to his future contributions on this subject. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Kings mill) is, if I may say so, one of the fortunate people who have come into this House as a 2603 Conservative at the Election with a great majority. That is something for which to be very thankful, but when one considers his great record in the field and his leadership of men, at so early an age, and then the charm and modesty of his maiden speech, for him the future is bright indeed. I will address myself to this Motion of Censure on His Majesty's Government, which has, at least, already had one or two good effects. It has given the party opposite an opportunity for cheering the Prime Minister with the same zest and zeal which they usually reserve for the converted rebels such as the Minister of Health or the Minister of Fuel and Power.
He will forgive me saying that I thought I saw the hand of the astute party manager, that behind the enthusiasm there was a little of the party machine. This Government, whatever else they may have failed to do, are achieving one common result. Slowly but surely they are welding out of many scattered elements in the country a single National Opposition, which from today onward will steadily grow in power and authority both in this House and outside. That is the price which the Government must pay for the drudgery, inefficiency and arrogance which have already so sharply characterised their administration. I speak for one of those elements, small in numbers in this House, but not inconsiderable in the feeling it reflects in the country, which by sentiment and conviction is driven in escapably into that Opposition. It need not necessarily have been so, and person ally I sincerely regret it. There is so much we might have done in partnership in this Parliament. There is so wide a field for common action for the recovery of the nation in which all parties might gladly have- co-operated, along the lines set out so well by the President of the F.B.I. the other day. There are so many directions in the development of social and economic welfare in which Liberals could eagerly have contributed their share. Looking at the state of the country today, it is deplorable that the Government, for the sake of their party nostrums, should have scorned and deliberately repulsed the help of Liberal representatives, with the great reserve of constructive support which was, and is, at their disposal.
I understand that the Lord President of the Council is to speak this evening. I 2604 can well imagine him preening himself in anticipation of a Party triumph. He obviously enjoys the role of chief cockerel. This is the wrong time of the year for roosters to crow. Unless he is careful he will attract too much attention to him self. He will need no public relations officer. Unless he is careful, he might even be given an administrative job. Already the country is noticing the failures on the Government Front Bench, and the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council might be given a job of speeding up demobilisation, or of providing homes for the people or even clothes for them to wear. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about ideas?"] When it comes to ideas, I say that I represent a great Liberal tradition. If any hon. Gentlemen opposite who desire to interrupt would rise in their place in accordance with custom, I will give way.
§ Mr. William Williams (Heston and Isleworth)
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he has not left that tradition well behind?
§ Mr. Butcher
If the hon. Member will allow me to develop my argument, I will return to this matter later. 1 represent that area of the Eastern Counties, that stronghold of Liberalism, which sent such a large and important phalanx of Liberals to the Parliament of 1906, and they co-operated with the forerunners of the present Labour Party in the achievements of that Parliament, which were based on a conception of life that acclaimed happiness and plenty—not misery and scarcity; that exalted universal kindliness, not class antagonism; that had faith in the ultimate wisdom and initiative of the individual. Above all it respected as a first principle of government the rights, privileges and fundamental liberties of the subject in relation to the State. There is nothing in the Liberal faith, as I have learnt it, that in any circumstances, short of war itself, condones the intrusion upon personal freedom which this Government not so much practises—that might be permissible for the moment—but plainly seeks to make permanent in the life of the community. It is for these reasons that my hon. Friends and I—and, I have no doubt, sooner or later so will the great mass of Liberal opinion in the country—find our selves confidently and resolutely in sup port of the Vote of Censure. We are willing to ally ourselves as a" separate 2605 entity with all those whose conscience calls upon them to rally to the National Opposition during the lifetime of this Parliament. In that way I am very sure we shall best serve the State, and in time to come, if not now, win the gratitude of the British people. It is not only that the actions of the Government—present and potential—offend against the established rights of the citizen, against his free choice of home, against permitting the ex-Serviceman, with 22 years in the Regular Army, including imprisonment in Singapore, to establish himself in business, against right of choice of work, of investment, of personal initiative within the law. Though these are in themselves revolutionary actions in peace, striking at the very roots of the British way of life, that is not all; they offend equally against every rule of common sense and good administration.
What is our country's problem at the present time? I leave aside foreign policy, because here we find little to quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary. The problem is, How most quickly and easily can we convert the national economy from the stern conditions of war to the more kindly and prosperous conditions of peace? That I believe is everybody's aim. The crucial question is, how is it to be done? Surely, common sense and appreciation of the characteristics of the British people point to one way, and one way only, and that is by engaging the enthusiasm of the people in a great combined voluntary effort to restore trade and industry, out of which rising standards of living may be secured for all. It was by inspired voluntarism that the Spanish Armada was defeated, by the same spirit Napoleon was humbled; it was this spirit that caused the greatest and finest host of volunteers to rush to the colours in 1914 and 1915, and it was this same spirit which in recent years manned the Civil Defence Services and filled the ranks of the Home Guard and inspired our people to work in the fields and in the factories that victory might be achieved. It is in this spirit that the problems of Peace must also be faced—the inborn, irradicable spirit of free choice in response to confident leadership rallies the British people to supreme effort.
§ Mr. Butcher
Does the hon. Gentleman venture to suggest that man was not freer before the war than he is at the present time?
§ Mr. Butcher
He was free to choose at which shop he would buy his food, and he was free to build a house, and to spend more than £10 on repairs to his dining or drawing room, and, above all, he was free to change his job without the consent of a Government official.
§ Mr. Butcher
The leadership that this country needs is not forthcoming at the present time. If the leadership is not inspired, what is required is that efforts should be made, not by Whitehall, but by millions of individual contributions in the country. It must be based on hard and sustained work by the people them selves, of their own volition. I believe that that was the underlying principle of the four year plan of my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford. That was what distinguished his proposals so sharply from the confused and dispiriting compulsions of the present Government. His was a call to action to a free, enterprising people, a brave, determined, optimistic call that, if it could be repeated today, would energise the people and gladden their hearts.
How do the Government speak to the people? They speak to them in the tone of a dirge to a ragged band of displaced persons, in whose honesty and public spirit they have no confidence, in whose resilience they have no belief and in whose free choice they have no faith, and whom they therefore decide to rule 2607 as children rather than lead as men. His Majesty's Ministers, instead of devoting themselves to the liberation of the people from their six years of bureaucratic and military thraldom, instead of freeing those marvellous springs of enterprise that gave us, for four centuries, first place in the world, instead of encouraging a new voluntary effort to wrench prosperity from the ruins of war, have had, as their chief thoughts and actions the fashioning of a new thraldom for the years to come. Stage by stage it will rob men of the opportunity and prize of great daring, and stage by stage it will extend controls over life and livelihood and flatten the high peaks of endeavour that once illuminated the world, until the whole land becomes a dull level where none but prefabricated mediocrities may lie at ease, and from which all glory and inspiration will have gone. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheer up."]
It has been said that the Motion is a little premature. If you see the car which contains almost all that you love and wish to preserve proceeding in the wrong direction in the care of an in efficient and quarrelsome crew, you cannot shout "Beware" too soon. My hon. Friends and I share the belief that even yet, if the Government will cast aside their party interests and forget the shibboleths which they used to mumble years ago, before the atomic bomb was invented, they might still inspire the people with enthusiasm in the national cause, and all will yet be well. It is because I have no confidence in their judgment or in their leadership that I shall go into the Lobby against them tonight.
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Piratin (Mile End)
I cannot say that it gives me very great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Butcher). There are some things I should like to have followed up in what he said, were it not for my promise to Mr. Speaker that I would be brief. I should like to follow him on the question of freedom. In the years before the war I was free to sign on at the employment exchange in Stepney— perfectly free, though I was keen to work. If the hon. Member had had that kind of experience in the pre-1939 days he would not call it freedom so glibly as he has done in speaking on this Motion of Censure.
2608 There is no doubt of the outcome of this Debate. I am confident that the right hon. Gentleman who tabled the Motion did not expect to win over the Ministerial Benches, but I have begun to wonder in the last few hours whether we are going to see any honest men on the Opposition' Benches who will vote against the Motion of Censure in view of what has been said this afternoon, and the devastating speech made by the Prime Minister against the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill). I submit that this Debate is a sham. There have been ample opportunities, and there will be further opportunities in future, to make constructive criticisms. For that reason I do not agree with some of the points that have been put forward by Labour Members, because I believe that they need not have taken this opportunity of making some of their excellent points of criticism. On this occasion we should look to the Opposition Benches to say exactly what it is that they are criticising.
Having listened at very great length to the right hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) and, today, at even greater length to the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), I can not understand exactly what the Opposition are censuring. I am certain that the Prime Minister should have convinced him, had he been in an honest mood, that he was not censuring anything except the Opposition benches. What is the purpose of the Debate? Firstly, it is intended to be mischievous. It is intended to confuse the public at a critical period, when we are about to hear the result of the financial negotiations at Washington, and when 300,000 men are coming out of the Armed Forces each month and want to know what the future is to hold for them. I believe that the Motion is deliberately intended to be mischievous. Even "The Times" admits that the Motion of Censure is premature.
I suggest there is an ulterior motive, mischievous in character, in this tabling of a Motion of Censure. I believe the motive is, deliberately and irresponsibly, the disruption of the Government's programme. We have listened to the Opposion day in and day out. Last week during the Committee stage of the Finance Bill all kinds of Amendments were moved, which were sheer nonsense, in order to waste the time of this House. These two days' Debate are merely a 2609 waste of time, and we should remember that the Opposition even wanted three days.
The further purpose of the Debate asked for by the Opposition was to rally the Tories, and I believe that it has been a miserable failure in that respect. It gave me great pleasure sitting here—I have a privileged position because I can look down upon all the Opposition from here—to watch their faces when the Prime Minister was speaking this afternoon. Not only did the right hon. Member for Wood-ford look discomfited at the retorts of the Prime Minister, but many other Members of the Opposition benches were most embarrassed.
It is possible that the right hon. Member for Woodford might have had a very responsive audience at Friends' House but when his speech here is examined, neither the right hon. Gentleman nor his cohorts display the realism they so often refer to. Such realism as exists in the ranks of the capitalist class these days is displayed by Sir Clive Baillieu, and in the report of the Commission on the Gas Industry; statements which hon. Members opposite prefer to avoid.
The Motion is in two parts, the first regrettingthat His Majesty's Government are neglecting their first duty, namely, to concentrate with full energy upon the most urgent and essential tasks of the re-conversion of our industries from wartime production to that of peace, the provision of houses, the speedy release of men and women from the Forces to industry and the drastic curtailment of our swollen national expenditure.and the second deploringthe pre-occupation of His Majesty's Ministers, impelled by Socialist theory, with the formulation of long-term schemes for nationalisation creating uncertainty over the whole field of industrial and economic activity, in direct opposition to the best interest of the nation, which demands food, work and homes.I claim that the Opposition are not concerned about the first part. Previous speakers had not much to say about it. What they are really concerned about was the second part. I believe that it requires a little examination. We have sat on these benches exactly two months. [An HON. MEMBER: "Too long."] That is a matter of opinion, which the public will decide, and I will come to that. We have sat on these benches for two months, and in that period we have had a mass of 2610 legislation before us, and we have had Debates on various matters. In all this time, there has only been one Bill on nationalisation, and that concerned the Bank of England. Hon. Members opposite, who had ample opportunity for putting their criticisms, did not put down a single Amendment on the Bank of England Bill, nor did any organisation associated with them.
That is the only nationalisation Bill introduced in the past two months, yet today we have this protest made by them about the Government's formulation of nationalisation Measures. I submit that what they are really concerned with is not the nationalisation Measures, about which, to use a colloquialism, they do not care two hoots; what they are really concerned about is what compensation they are going to get when the nationalisation Measures are introduced. What they are trying to do now is to distort and confuse the minds of hon. Members on these benches, and of the public outside, in order that they shall get the best deal possible when the time comes for nationalising the coal mines, railways and other industries. I believe that I am voicing the views of many people in this House when I say that this Debate, apart from some excellent speeches made from these benches, have been a waste of time.
I believe that the Opposition will, in the main, go into the "Aye" Lobby when it comes to a Division, but I believe like wise that the will do so with their tongues in their cheeks, because they will have noticed in a national newspaper this morning an account of a Gallup survey—announced this morning, by the sheerest coincidence—which shows that 80 percent. of the public who had an opinion on the matter had confidence in this Government. That is a much higher percentage than at the General Election in July. The figures were: 57 percent. of all who were asked signified their approval of the Government's Measures, and as 27 percent. had no opinion, 80 percent. of those who expressed an opinion agreed with the steps being taken by this Government. Let the Members of the Opposition concern themselves with this factor. Let them realise that though there was a big gap between their policy and the beliefs of the public in July, that gap has now greatly widened.
2611 I believe that there is a lot to be said for what the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown) said earlier this evening, when he spoke of the "strong arm method" which the right hon. Member for Woodford had in mind in the speech he made at the Friends Meeting House last week. This talk about bodyguards and this threat of fundamental differences which are going to emerge in a few years, made by the right hon. Member for Wood-ford— Is he suggesting unconstitutional means of opposition? I believe I have the right to ask that. Is the Father of the House, if such an expression may be used, suggesting unconstitutional means? Surely the Members of the Opposition have become bankrupt. I think the statement made by the hon. Member for Rugby is a true one— they are damned, and they know it. Conservative politics no longer interest the public. What we have heard in these two days from the Opposition is an expression of demagogy, which is not striking a responsive note anywhere among the public. I, therefore, believe that the character of this Debate, on both sides of the House, should encourage the Government to carry on with the measures they are now taking more expeditiously even than they have begun.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Thorneycroft (Monmouth)
We have reached the concluding stages of what was, inevitably, a controversial Debate, and I do not suppose that by the time I have finished my remarks it will have become any less controversial. His Majesty's Government can make no complaint as to that. The right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council has been almost importunate in his desire, in recent weeks, to promote what he calls "a row" in the House of Commons. He has not come in yet to hear me but, no doubt, he is on his way. If the right hon. Gentleman spent half the time and energy that he uses in seeking to provoke the Opposition in governing the affairs of this country, perhaps our national affairs would be going rather faster and better than they are. I hope very much that the right hon. Gentleman, when he replies to this Debate—and no doubt my remarks can be passed on to him by a colleague—will remember that he is no longer in the Opposition, that he has passed out of the era of the Gol- 2612 Lanez pamphlets, and will talk not in the language of invective, but of statesman ship.
For our part, we make no complaint that this is a controversial Debate. It would, indeed, have been less than courteous on the part of the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who sit behind me had we denied the Government the occasion which they sought, had we re fused to give them the opportunity of facing up, in a realistic manner, to the real problems that confront the British people at the present time, an opportunity which, I am bound to say, they have so far lamentably missed. I believe that in the last resort the result of this Debate will not be judged simply by the number of votes in the Lobbies, or by the vigour with which party doctrine is put forward on one side or the other. I believe that from the point of view of the public the result of this Debate will be judged on the question of which side faces up, in the most realistic manner, to the vital problems that confront us at the present time.
It falls to me to summarise the arguments, to marshal the case in favour of this Motion of Censure, and I think the first thing I had better do is to say just what is the charge against the Government.[Interruption.] After all, even the meanest criminal in these islands is entitled to know the charge against him. Let there be no misunderstandings as to the charge. The charge is not that His Majesty's Government are confronted with great and complex problems, human and material. Those problems would confront any Government charged with the affairs of this country at the present time, inevitably, after six years of war. The charge is not that in the Speech from the Throne or in the statement of the right 'hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council there were some vague references to nationalisation. This Debate is not a Debate between nationalisation and private enterprise; that issue hardly enters into it at all. [Interruption.] I know hon. Members quite appreciate what the charge is. The charge against His Majesty's Government is simply this: that at a great moment in the history of this country, they have put a party political creed in front of the requirements of the nation. They have sought to placate a section of their extremists even though it 2613 means neglecting the welfare of the public as a whole. As the Lord President of the Council is now here, I want to recall to the House the statement which he made and which was in some respects the occasion of this Debate. There was nothing very novel either in the matter which that statement contained or indeed the manner in which it was delivered. What was its real purpose? Its real purpose was not to enable Ministers to open discussions with various industries. An executioner does not enter into discussion with the victim as to how the head is to be laid upon the block.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
The object of the statement was not to reassure industry. The actual date of execution is not a very reassuring thing. The real purpose of the statement was to satisfy the sense of doctrinal propriety among a section of the right hon. Gentleman's party. In so far as the right hon. Gentleman is seeking to satisfy the extremists in his own party, he will fail. In so far as he seeks to pursue the policy which he laid down, it will hamper rather than help him in the discharge of his real job of governing the country. Does anybody imagine that those who voted for successive resolutions at Labour conferences in favour of whole sale nationalisation will be satisfied with that statement? Does anybody think that the 48 percent. of the Labour conference who voted for affiliation with the Communist Party are going to be satisfied? Is the hon. and learned Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt),who is so busily working his passage back to the party, going to be satisfied?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
The hon. and learned Gentleman will have to consult a little more fully with the other Members of his party. I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council wished to pursue this policy. I think he is a practical-minded person who wants to get on with the job. Let him admit that this statement was not in any sense intended as a revolutionary' manifesto. It was a belated attempt to withdraw from what was rapidly becoming a wholly untenable position. I know the difficulties of the right hon. Gentleman and the Government. They were elected with a huge 2614 majority, their supporters sang "The Red Flag"; they nationalised the Bank of England, and they kept Lord Catto to run it. Then they had to persuade the extremists that that was a Socialist revolution. I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council, quite seriously, to put the cards on the table face upwards. Is this a first instalment, or is it a last territorial demand? Is he every now and then, to satisfy another demand, going to throw another industry into the maw of State control? That will be a policy of political danegeld. Unless the right hon. Gentleman is very careful, he will go down in history with Ethelred the Unready.
With those few introductory observations, let me come to the terms of the Motion. The President of the Board of Trade, and indeed the Prime Minister, sought to deflect the blow from them selves on to the people who had elected them. I think that was rather a timid approach to the matter. Let them face up to it themselves. The job of the Opposition is to focus the attention of the Government on to those matters which are really exercising the mind of the public at the present time. I ask the Government to leave aside for a moment their dreams of Marxist philosophy, to forget, even for an hour, the views of the President of the Board of Trade about the exports of this country, to forget the wider interpretations of their mandate. Let them think of what the ordinary British family is thinking at the present time—a man, his wife and two children. I want to be absolutely fair to the Government. Let us imagine the family voted Socialist at the General Election [Interruption.] I hope I shall not be interrupted, because I have a limited time. Does anybody imagine that the breadwinner of that family rushes home in the evening, waving the newspaper in the air, and saying, "My dear, at last our dreams have come true, they have nationalised Cables and Wireless"? Does anybody think that the wife, looking tired, says, "I have been worrying all day in case the Minister of Fuel and Power cannot get over the financial and economic difficulties of compensating the coalowners"? What sort of a world do hon. Members opposite live in if they think there is this mania for nationalisation?
A Serviceman travelling back from weekend leave does not look tired because 2615 he has been contemplating the difficulties of co-ordinating road and rail transport or dealing with problems of wasteful com petition. A member of the public can travel a very long way today before he finds two people competing to give him a service. The fact is that the ordinary member of the public does not give a fig whether you nationalise railway companies or whether you do not. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is where the hon. Gentleman is wrong."] Let us face up to the realities. There is all this talk about a Socialist Utopia, but what are the people really thinking about? Ordinary persons want much simpler things than that. They want shoes for the children, they want shorter queues, they want an end to the frustration of finding nothing at the end of the queue when they get there, they want to move about more easily, they want houses to live in, and after six years of war they want, not un naturally, a little more laughter and a little more pleasure. They look to the Government to make it possible for them to get those things.
The Government, therefore, will be judged less on their political doctrines and more on their administrative competence or incompetence, as the case may be. It would really be idle to pretend that their absorption with plans for nationalisation is not interfering seriously with the whole administrative apparatus of the country. One has not got to look further than the Front Bench opposite. Those Ministers whose ability of mind we can most admire, even if we do not agree with their political opinions, are concentrating on the job of long-term plans for nationalisation. All the great problems of demobilisation and resettlement, and getting the wheels of our industries turning again, are handed over to what I might term the weaker brethren. [HON. MEMBERS: "Names."] By the "weaker brethren" I mean those Ministers who are watched by hon. Members behind them of a more ambitious turn of mind. If any right hon. Gentleman opposite is doubtful as to whether he falls into that category, let him look behind him. He will find a number of hon. Gentlemen behind him watching him rather like vultures—[Interruption. ]
Mr. Deputy - Speaker(Mr. Hubert Beaumont)
These interruptions are apt to increase the length of the speech.
I am anxious to allow time for the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply. But the thing goes further down than I have indicated. It goes right down into the ranks of the Civil Service at the present time. There are a very limited number of actually first grade civil servants. These men are wholly occupied at present on long-term plans, and the day-to-day ad ministration is done by the second grade. We are playing the Wednesday team, with disastrous results. Take the Ministry of Fuel and Power. Does anybody imagine for a moment that, at that Ministry, the first-class officers have an opportunity of really dealing with administration? Their whole time is occupied in trying to solve these immense complications of the nationalisation of the coal industry which the Minister has just discovered after 40 years of advocating it. The administrative burden would be heavy in any case but, on top of it, we have had superimposed this extra burden, and the fact is that, day by day and week by week, it takes longer to get an answer from a Government Department. It takes longer to get a licence, and each delay there means another delay in a particular branch of industry which is affected. Each delay in that branch must mean delays in all the many co-related branches of industry which are affected by it and so the whole machine, at a moment when we ought to be going forward, is quietly and slowly coming to a standstill.
I challenge the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply. Is he really going to dignify the miserable trickle of consumer goods by the name of reconversion of industry? The rebirth of enterprise and a great nation turning over from war to peace—while there is this miserable flow coming out at the present time? I must say that all these problems go back to manpower. It is the basis of all these matters—the question of houses, the pro vision of goods, for home consumption and export, and the many questions of agricultural production as well—all go back to the question of finding the men to do it.
What I felt, during this Debate, was the most astonishing feature of the Government was their extraordinary complacency about this matter. They seem to be perfectly satisfied, I am bound to say that if anybody thinks the 2617 Motion of Censure has done nothing useful, they would do well to study the speech of the Prime Minister. For the first time, in this terrible and tragic situation, the rate of release in this country, which was actually going to decrease after Christmas, has now been altered. If this Motion of Censure achieves nothing else, we have done that. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh, but will the right hon. Gentleman say why it was not done before? The fact is that, so far as this country is concerned, our release rate is far behind that of the Americans, who in many respects have a very much more difficult task to face. The Prime Minister, when he spoke, referred to the fatal clamour of interested parties. The demand for demobilisation is not the fatal clamour of interested parties; it comes from the nation as a whole, because it is a great national need.
I believe that, in dealing with this matter, there has been something of a false approach in this Debate and a tendency to talk about the details of the Bevin scheme or some other scheme, or the demands of the generals or the difficulties of the Civil Service. I believe that, in the last resort, it is not a question of a particular scheme so much as a question of administration. I was not in the House of Commons during the last big demobilisation Debate, but: T read the speeches, and contrasted the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) with the Departmental answer read by the Minister of Labour, and I ask anybody who read those speeches to judge which of these two men could get the men out first. In any event, the Bevin scheme only laid down the question of priorities, and 1 remember that the Minister of Labour said that it could be speeded up to any extent desired. Well, it wants speeding up a lot at the present time, and, if it cannot be speeded up in its present form, consideration will have to be given to some other scheme.
I doubt if the bottle neck is the scheme at all. I think the fault lies much nearer —on the Front Bench opposite. I think the fault is the inability of the Government to reach certain decisions. I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to tell us what is the size of the Armed Forces he is aiming at after the war? What is the method of recruitment going to be? The 2618 hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Kingsmill) gave an illustration in an extremely able maiden speech, and said that men were leaving the Forces now because they did not know the terms on which the future Armed Forces are going to be recruited. Will the Lord President tell us whether he supports the principle of compulsory military service? These are fundamental matters. Let us make up our minds of the size of the Armed Forces at which we are aiming, how they are to be recruited, and then get the men out as quickly as we can.
I turn now to the question of housing. I suppose that on no matter in this country will the people be more rigorous in com paring Socialist promise with Socialist performance than on the question of housing, and it really is no good for the President of the Board of Trade, with an almost Jesuitical skill, trying to create an alibi on the ground of housing sites. We have had so many Debates that hon. Members on all sides all know that housing sites are not the difficulty. We have got all the sites we want; we are shortly going to have all the inspectors we want, but we have still got no houses. The hon. and gallant Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) has described that attempt to create an alibi as political chicanery. I think he was generous in the interpretation he put upon it. The Minister of Health has been most careful to avoid giving any figure he wants to evade the more grandiose language which his supporters used on the hustings at the Election. The housing problem, it was said, could be dealt with in a fortnight.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I am repeating it for this especial purpose: it is all very well to come along months after an election and deny a statement—
§ Sir S. Cripps
That was what the right hon. Gentleman did yesterday about his speech in "The Times."
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
That is a very funny answer even for a lawyer to put forward. However, I will leave the point. But 2619 what of these promises? At that time the Socialist Party was wooing the electorate, and the right hon. Gentlemen opposite must hope that the British public will not compare too closely the weeks of courtship with the years of possession. It will not be easy for them. Too many of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite have condemned in the most derisive terms the target set by the Coalition Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health himself-in a book called "Why Not Trust the Tories?" by "Celticus"—translated, for the benefit of people like myself who cannot understand Latin, as Mr.Aneurin Bevan —speaking of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Croydon (Mr. Willink) said this:He told us that in the first year after the war 100,000 houses will be built and 200,000 houses will be put in hand—not finished, mind you—in the second year. That promise is what the Prime Minister in his broadcast of March, 1944, described as the first line of attack of the problem. Not much of a blitzkrieg, is it? It has taken five years of governmental labouring to give birth to that mouse.That was five years of war. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health is now dealing with the problem in peace and, so far, he has not produced a house, let alone a mouse. The fact is that houses are not built by oratory. It is a pity, because, if they were, the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health would do quite well. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where is he?"] I expect he has some reason to be elsewhere. They are not built by Acts of Parliament, they are built by bricklayers, plasterers and plumbers. What are the Government doing about that? Let me take the most favourable case that can be put forward, the case of one of the Government's own sup porters—the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Jennie Lee) who ought to be reasonably well disposed towards the Minister of Health. She said, as to Class B releases, that the Government were failing as to 50 per cent. That is the judgment of one of the Government's own supporters. What is the target at which they are aiming? The target is a building force by May of 750,000—rather less than that proposed by the Coalition Government. Not much of a blitzkreig is it? I challenge the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply—but he has gone away. He really ought to be able to learn to take 2620 it. I challenge the Government—[Interruption.] Now that the Lord President has returned, perhaps I may remind him that we are dealing still, I am afraid, with housing. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us, "Yes" or "No"? Are they seeking to reach the target of house building set by the Coalition Government? Do they still regard it as hopelessly inadequate or not? I want a plain "Yes" or "No."
But there are matters worse than that. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health is in doctrinal trouble with his conscience. The whole policy is to be forced through the artificial bottleneck of the local authority building programme, and what do his own chosen instruments say about it at the present time? They complain of the administrative turmoil, the search from Department to Department without ever finding the decision they want. Even the right hon. Gentleman himself is pretty concerned about it because, realising the deficiencies of his own arrangements, he has created a vast system of Government flying squads—the whole edifice garnished with a revolving credit of £100 million. Money will not buy him out of his difficulties. Merely putting £100 million, on a market already short of men and materials will hinder rather than help him. The real trouble with the right hon. Gentleman is his persecution mania. Many of us who count builders, large and small, amongst our friends, would have the greatest difficulty in recognising them amongst the class of vicious social parasites into which he seeks to lump them all. So we are to wait months, as I understand it, months, in case some builder somewhere or another makes a profit, a bit more than the statistical expert at the Board of Trade thinks is proper.
I would say this. Let us stop this non sense. Let us stop talking about socio logical and biological differences and get houses. We cannot go on like this. Would the right hon. Gentleman answer this question? At some time he knew something about the London County Council. I challenge him to answer this. Is it not the fact that only 392 operatives are building houses for them at the moment? The great City of London with 392 operatives. How many houses have, 2621 in fact, been built in that area since this Government took office? Can we have the figure? We have not had many answers to the questions we have asked in this Debate, practically none at all, and I am hoping that the right hon. Gentleman will give us some. I say with regard to housing, let us set a target and let us use all the enterprise we have, public and private, in the attainment of it.
I turn, rather appropriately, from the Minister of Health to that will o' the wisp the question of the export trade, which is the special playground of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. He made yesterday a long speech which, in many ways, if I may be allowed to say so, was a very brilliant speech. He said he was going to deal with the economic aspects of the matter. If I had the time—and I may have—I might say just where he failed to deal with all the fundamental economic aspects of the matter. He talked to us about automatic licences for exporting jewellery. What an automatic licence is, I do not know. If it is automatic, why have a licence? He condemned the profit motive with all the eloquence of the Fabian Society, and he maintained the position that you could promote exports by restricting an already limited home consumption. I want to remind him of one fact that is not hypothetical at all.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I think the hon. Gentleman cannot have been in the House yesterday, or he would have heard a great many. The fact is that the export trade is going down. The fact is that in this quarter it is lower than it was in the quarter before. There may be some explanation for that but let us have the explanation. Why is the export trade in this country actually sinking at the present time? The figures are that the export trade in the last quarter was 99 and in the quarter before 102, and if the figures are wrong no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will correct me. I challenge him to do so. Quite apart from those figures, however, the gap between exports and imports is £561,000,000. The fact is that the right hon. Gentleman can preach austerity at home but he cannot preach austerity in the export markets of the world. They are not going to tighten 2622 their belts while we put through a Socialist experiment here. If they cannot buy from us, they will buy from someone else, and we shall lose these markets. I suppose that I ought to say something constructive about this. What suggestions shall I make to the right hon. Gentleman? If I were pressed for an answer, I would use words hallowed by tradition:Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.If I were to use them it might raise memories and perhaps even provoke the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. M. Foot). The real lesson of this is that exports can only be obtained by private enterprise, and the best thing the right hon. Gentleman could do would be to encourage private enterprise to get on with the job, and build up the export trade. Do the Government depend on private enterprise or do they not? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply will give us an answer. If they believe in private enterprise, has he the courage to get up and say we are going to start on with the profit motive and everything else that goes with it. That is really the test of the genuineness of the Government's approach to this matter.
I want to say a word about wage earners. The Government have not said very much on the points stated about wage earners put originally in the Debate by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton). They were not dealt with by the Prime Minister or the President of the Board of Trade. The question he, and other people have put, and to which we want an answer is this: If you are to go inform an extensive system of planning, how are you going to decide what priority is to be accorded to the various industries in this country? In order to do that, it is not sufficient to draw up a blue print. You have to get the men into the industries you want stepped up, and out of the industries you want stepped down. Are the Government going to do that? Do they, or do they not, intend to go on with the direction of labour? We want a frank and full answer to that. We got a very evasive answer from the right hon. Gentleman. We want a plain English answer. There is another way of doing it. That is by increasing wages in the industry where you want men, and depressing them, or holding them level, in the industries where you do not. If that is the method to be 2623 adopted by the Government, what do the trade unions think about it? What, in fact, is the Government's wage policy? Unless we know these things, there is a position of uncertainty which affects not only big industrialists, but every wage earner in industry today. I believe it is one of the fundamental, underlying causes for a great deal of industrial unrest which we are experiencing.
Few Governments have had a greater responsibility or a greater opportunity than the right hon. Gentleman's opposite. I do not under-estimate, and I have not sought in the course of these remarks to under-estimate, any of these difficulties. But I want to say this: I do not believe that the answers to these problems which confront the Government are to be found in the 1930 edition of the text books of any of the political parties. I do not believe it is sufficient for the Prime Minister, or any one else, to say that we have been preaching the same doctrine for 40 years, and that we ought to do something about it now. I think that there is every possible justification for holding ourselves free to adopt any remedy which human ingenuity can devise in order to solve these problems. I would support to the full the speech which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan) yesterday. We have all in one way or another, in this country, poured out too much in blood, suffering and sacrifice to imagine that the owner ship of a railway company is the one thing which really matters. It cannot matter as much as all that. If you are to have an objective approach, you have to apply that objective approach quite honestly. You cannot torture the facts in order to try and adapt them into some kind of Marxist philosophy.
I believe that is what the right hon. Gentleman is trying to do at the present time, and I believe the reason he is trying to do it, is because he has a large and rather difficult party to handle. I know that party rather well. There are the trade unionists, very able men, some of them now a little elderly, but many of them in their hearts I think a little to the right wing of my own politics. There are a large number, mostly young men, whose surprise at finding themselves in the House of Commons is only equalled by their surprise at finding themselves 2624 members of the Socialist Party. Thirdly, there is a body—inside and outside the House of Commons—and the right hon. Gentleman knows it as well as I do—who have faith in an economic system which is wholly alien to the desires and aspirations of the whole of the British people. The right hon. Gentleman has to make up his mind, some time, where he is going to stand among those rather shifting sands.
I have not the slightest doubt, that as we go forward in this country, we shall find any number of new difficulties and any number of new opportunities. I expect, as we do that, we may find many of the cherished customs of both big business and big trade unions will have to be adapted or altered, or perhaps, in some cases, ruthlessly eliminated. But of this I am quite certain, that if we are to tackle the immense and immediate problems that confront this country at the present time, we have to do it as a broadly united nation. If we choose this moment to seek to divide the nation into two halves, if we seek to condemn all those who work for profit, and laud all those who work for the State, that will be the pathway to disaster. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to make up his mind on this. We want men in this country who are prepared to talk, not for the trade unions or industrialists or any economic theory at all. We want men who are prepared to talk for England. It is just because we think that the Government are wholly failing in that task at the present time that we have put this Motion of Censure on the Paper and will support it in the Lobby.
§ 8.28 p.m.
§ The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)
We have listened with interest to the speech which has just been made by the hon. Gentleman, and I think that I can say we have all admired his vigour and energy, and we were glad to hear it. I thought that he finished on rather dangerous ground, by saying how undesirable it was to divide the nation into two. I thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was beginning to look a little apprehensive as to where this led after his own story last week about The People versus the Socialists, which seemed to be a good effort to divide the nation into two. I congratulate the late Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport 2625 on having put the Leader of the Opposition right on that point. He has advanced a theory, which I am bound to say flatters me a great deal, that I in vented this statement the other Monday, just in order to tickle the palates of my hon. Friends behind me, and particularly the Left Wing. It really is not true. There is no reason why I should have to tickle the palates of our supporters on this side of the House. They are in an extraordinary state of happiness at the present time, and, indeed, that state of happiness has been materially contributed to by the activities of the Opposition.
I believe that as long as this Labour Government are competent, intelligent, vigorous, bold, courageous, and as long as they have no fear of any vested interests that would stand in the way, the Labour Party will be united and happy. But if we were to take the advice-of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, and run ourselves upon the lines that we will forget the principles and the programme upon which we fought the election, and come to the conclusion that there are dangers in being courageous and bold, and that rather we will pursue a conservative line of policy, I agree that my hon. Friends behind me would become unhappy, and they would have a right to do so. Therefore, I am for the line, as are the Government, as is my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, of just going ahead and courageously and boldly living up to the principles and the programme on which we fought the Parliamentary General Election.
The hon. Gentleman says that nobody cares a rap for nationalisation. What is all the noise about? He said that nobody is interested. Why this Motion of Censure? Why did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) go pallid and white, and obviously go into a great state of almost paralytic indignation? He also has been reproved by the hon. Gentleman, who has said that no body is really interested in this question of nationalisation. All right, we will bring the Bills along, if nobody is interested, and let them go through like that, quietly, and nobody need say a word about it. He says that what the people want is not nationalisation, but this, that and the other in the ordinary everyday comforts of 2626 life. I know they do, of course they do. That is why they sent this Labour majority here. He advised all the Ministers on this bench outside a certain select few—I do not know who they are— "Look behind you; behind you are envious men." He was a Parliamentary Secretary on this bench for a few weeks, only a few weeks, and then ill-fortune fell upon him. We are glad to see him back, but it rather sounds as though he spent the whole of those three weeks looking behind him. However, he was not doing that to-night; he was good and courageous. I liked it, but I warn him that it is a bad habit to look over your shoulder in politics. Look ahead and bang at any body in the way, which is what he did with great vigour tonight. I ask my hon. Friends not to get demoralised by what ever befell the hon. Gentleman when he was at the Ministry of War Transport.
The hon. Gentleman said that the queues are getting longer. So did the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. I do not know what the evidence is for these allegations. It is the case, I admit, that neither the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition nor I stand in queues to any material extent, and therefore we cannot speak from first-hand experience. But I have made inquiries from housewives, and certainly there are queues, but I am told that this story that they are longer and longer every day is untrue. Certainly there are queues. One wishes there were not, but I am told by those who ought to know that it is not true that they are longer and longer. He says that the time taken by Government Departments to answer letters is longer and longer. I do not believe it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] At all events I had some very strong complaints while the hon. Gentleman was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport. People who wanted to get a licence to buy a motor car not only could not get a licence, but I am told that a great many of them never got answers to their letters; it was denied they were received. I hope to goodness that we have improved on the situation as it was at the Ministry of War Transport when he was there.
This Debate has been one of great liveliness and interest, and there have been many admirable speeches made in it. Speaking for our own side, we all 2627 very greatly enjoyed the speech of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister today. I thought he did not leave much of the Opposition on this Motion. In fact, I am suffering a little at the moment from an inferiority complex, because I feel that there is nothing to get hold of. My right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade made a most devastating speech yesterday and either he or the Prime Minister answered most of the questions that have been put by the Opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, I am quite sure they have. Hon. Members should look at the Report. It is all in the Report. Let me add that all of us on this side, even though we strongly disagreed with the right hon. Gentleman on many matters, thoroughly enjoyed the speech of the Leader of the Opposition. We were de lighted that he was in such fine form and vigour, and we greatly enjoyed, if I may say so, the brilliant and able speech he made today. There have also been some excellent maiden speeches on both sides of the House. If I may refer to two on this side, I would first mention that of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Major Mayhew), because he is my Parliamentary Private Secretary, a noble institution in this Parliament. I thought it was an excellent contribution to the Debate, highly intelligent, as I would expect from such an able Parliamentary Private Secretary. The other was the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Captain Noel-Baker) to day, which everybody enjoyed. Indeed, I think the Debate has been, as I have said, very good.
It almost sounded from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition that the Opposition were already sorry that this Motion had been put down. There is a lot to be said for that point of view from their side. I gathered from the right hon. Gentleman's early observations that he had a sort of personal grievance against me in the matter, on the basis that I had provoked them into putting this Motion down. I admit that if I had been capable of provoking them into doing so I should certainly have done so, because it seems to me it has been admirable from the point of view of the Government that this Debate should take place. It certainly sounded as if it was that way. The 2628 Debate and the Motion of Censure arose nominally out of the statement made on nationalisation. It is really what the Debate ought to have been about. It is referred to in the Motion, and I propose to say something about that subject. By the way in which it has worked out, and by the way in which it has been referred to by the Leader of the Opposition, it almost sounds as if the Motion of Censure really arose out of the allegation that the Opposition were not doing their job, so they thought they would put the Motion down. I am bound to say that I think it was too early to do it, much too early.
There is no particular subject upon which the Government are unpopular; there really is not. The Government are remarkably popular, as the by-elections indicate. I would not swear by a Gallup poll; I would sooner trust to my own hunch about public opinion; but, never the less, the Gallup poll has produced a rather complimentary situation as far as we are concerned. I would have thought it would have been wiser for the Opposition to wait for a bit in the hope that the Government would get into real difficulties about something, and that public opinion on that something would be cross with us, and then to dash in with a Motion of Censure and get the best advantage out of it. That seems to me to be the wiser course, but, instead of that, I make a statement, there are a few exchanges between me and the Opposition, and it sounds as if they lost their temper and banged down their Motion of Censure, and here we are, a good time being had by all.
I did make some observations on the function of an Opposition. It seems to me the constitutional function of an Opposition is to have a battle of principle between itself and the Government, to criticise the Government's policy, both on principle and in detail, and to advance an alternative policy. My complaint about the Opposition was, and remains, that they are evading the issues of principle all the time. Therefore, Parliament is not functioning in the way it should, on the basis of a real clash of principle between the two sides of the House and of alternative policies advocated by the Opposition itself. This Debate confirms that view. Who can build out of the speeches of the Opposition Front Bench any political and economic doctrine at all? Who can find 2629 any policy in their observations? It cannot be done. All they have done is to attempt to convert the House into a hag ridden assembly, and generally, to grumble and complain about the Government. But, even on the issue of nationalisation, they have been uncertain, and they have prevaricated. There was a pamphlet published recently by the Conservative Central Office. I thought, when I got hold of it first of all— it was produced in such a way— that it was a Labour Party pamphlet. It was called.We fight for the people.— and here they had a definition of their functions. As a definition it is one with which 1 agree, and I would naturally invite them, with respect, to live up to the definition of their functions contained in this pamphlet. They further said— which is very much what I have said:To be healthy, our Parliamentary. System must have a strong, vigorous and public-spirited Opposition, basing its actions on certain definite principles. The absence of such an Opposition is one of the main differences between a dictatorship and a democracy. The Conservative and Unionist Party provides Britain to-day with an Opposition meeting these requirements. It is strong; it is vigorous; it is public spirited;and, finally,it bases its actions on definite principles.I have listened to this Debate, and I challenge anybody, in any part of the House—if there were time for them to answer, which there is not—to say that there have emerged from it any definite principles of political or economic policy so far as the Opposition is concerned. There was, as I have said, this black Monday. It was black for the Opposition, very black for the absentees who ought to have been there—at least three of them—and then things got cross. The right hon. Gentleman followed up with his public speech to his party to buck them up, and it was the second edition of the first Election broadcast. I described that Election broadcast as the "crazy broadcast," and this speech, with great respect, was no better. It was a speech of depression and a speech of scares. Indeed, it almost reminded one of Ansaldo — Woe, Woe, Woe. It was something like King Chanute trying to hold back the sea in a way that was really not possible, and now, that speech having been made. we pass to the Debate on this Motion.
2630 The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in his speech had a good time at the expense of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. I am bound to say that in his attack on the Minister of Health I thought there was a most determined attempt to get back to, and to equate with, the attacks which my right hon. Friend used to make on the then Prime Minister—much to my regret at that time. Indeed, let me say that 1 was not exactly freed from his attacks either at that time and, therefore, I thought that the motive of the right hon. Gentleman in having his merry attack on the Minister of Health was the motive of la revanche, and I hope he enjoyed himself. Perhaps we might cry quits now, and get on with the merits of the case.
I also thought there was some good and merry fooling at the expense of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade which, he assures me, he thoroughly enjoyed, as we all did on this side. The Chancellor of the Exchequer came out of it pretty well, but, no doubt, his turn will arrive. Somebody else has summarised this political situation. Irefer to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford (Mr.Quintin Hogg). He con firms my judgment about what are the motives behind this Motion of Censure and the speech to the Conservative Party Conference. He put it very well in the "Daily Mail" on 4th December, the day before yesterday. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford wrote the following:Mr. Churchill's brilliant indictment of the Government last Tuesday left nothing to be desired as destructive criticism. So far, so good, but where do we go from here? Is destructive criticism enough?This is still the hon. Gentleman. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not for you."] But it is good stuff; it is all right. He continues:Mr. Churchill firmly rejected the view of those who want the Conservative Party to adopt a more positive and constructive out look.That is true. He continues:Was he wise? I fear I have to differ from our brilliant leader on this point.Later on, after discussing some other aspects of the matter, he continues:I hope he will change his mind before it is too late, or, at least, that he will present the party with machinery which will make it 2631 possible for the party to work out the answer for itself. The truth is that the answer, when it is given, is going to be a good deal longer than can be supplied by a single man, however brilliant.Well, that is where they are. This is the trouble that is going on. Though this comes from the pen of the hon. Member for Oxford, who still sits on the Front Bench, at any rate for the moment, I am bound to say I congratulate him, I think it is good stuff, and I invite him to go on with the good work. I detected almost a deliberately organised split in the Front Bench, a sort of divisional function. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bromley (Mr. H.Macmillan) made some observations, including a quotation of a broadcast of the Prime Minister which I will quote again if there is time, which I thought, was calculated to be positively embarrassing. I could not make out why the right hon. Gentleman had been asked to take part in the Debate, but I know now because the hon. Member for Mon-mouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) said he identified himself in particular, not so much with the views of the Toy Party, but with the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bromley. And so it looks as if what was done was that two Members from the Left—I am bound to say some people do not know whether they are Left or Right—two from the Left and two from the Right keep the party united, and in the meantime the Member for Oxford writes for the "Daily Mail."
That seems to me to be a very fair and amicable arrangement to keep the team together; and it certainly beats the idea that when I made the statement on nationalisation, with the full authority of the Prime Minister, it was to please the rebels sitting behind me. Why, Sir, they are being as good as gold. Why should anybody try to incite them? This effort to make mischief between His Majesty's Government and its supporters is a most unpatriotic action. But the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister in his speech made one or two dangerous allusions—[HON. MEMBERS: "The Prime Minister?"]— I sat in most exciting and dangerous days with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, and it will be inevitable that now and again I shall still think of him in the terms in which I so frequently addressed him, and I beg him to forgive me. I think he was 2632 getting into a bit of a class war mood in that speech outside, a sort of feeling that we were going towards a crash, that there was going to be a great division in society, and that there was going to be a head-on collision between what he called the Socialists and the people. Strange language this, when so many millions have voted Socialist, so many millions of all classes of society, the kind of assumption that there is a kind of clear division between the Socialists on the one hand, and the people on the other. I think this is getting a rather dangerous tendency.
§ Mr. Morrison
I never favoured that term myself. As a matter of fact, I would not be a bit surprised if I have been labelled with that term in past years. He said:I foresee with sorrow, but with fear, that in the next two years we shall come to fundamental quarrels in this country. It seems impossible to escape the fact that events are moving, and will move, towards the issue, the people versus the Socialists.What does it mean? Is it a new edition of acute class war? [An HON. MEMBER:" Who taught him?"] I daresay a lot of people taught the right hon. Gentleman something about it in the past. But is it a sort of plea that this is not going to be settled by argument and reason but that there is going to be a clash about it in the end? I always thought the right hon. Gentleman was an admirer of Parliamentary institutions, and he is certainly one of the most distinguished, if not our most distinguished Parliamentarian. I do not like this idea of moving to some sort of head-on collision instead of these things being discussed on the basis of argument. However, the right hon. Gentleman was better today. If he was in the mood of class war outside, he was almost in the mood of reconciliation in his speech today.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I do not wish to interrupt because I know time is short, but I wonder if I might ask the right hon. Gentleman if he would answer one or two of the questions which have been asked.
§ Mr. Morrison
The hon. Gentleman has had quite a good time. There were four Opposition Front Bench speakers. I know he would like me to occupy all my time replying to him, and I would very much like to do so, but I conceive that it is desirable and important that certain general considerations should be put forward. If the Opposition think that the only function of His Majesty's Government is to persist in defending itself against questions which have been answered already, the Opposition has made a mistake. Motions of Censure are not only opportunities for attacks on the Government by the Opposition, but equally opportunities for attacks by the Government on the Opposition
I have referred to the observations which were made in this somewhat classwarry speech by the Leader of the "Opposition, and I am bound to say, surprising as it may seem, that I prefer the observations of the President of the Federation of British Industries in which he took a broader view. He recognised that there was a change of policy consequent upon the change of Government and that there were serious departures in policy. The President of the Federation of British Industries did, indeed, speak in the spirit of the statement I made on be half of His Majesty's Government, which was to recognise that there was a change of policy which has been approved by the electorate, is inherent in the nature of this policy. That being so, we must accept it as being so, and now let us get together and discuss the best way of applying that policy which the people have approved. That was what I said in the statement, and this is what the President of the Federation of British Industries now says:We realise that industry in this, as in other countries, must operate within the frame work of Government policies and those wider international accords which we are now seeking with other Members of the United Nations. Whatever political views it may hold, industry will not be obstructive; it will not adopt go slow tactics; it will not stand on questions of form and procedure, and whilst we will not abandon our principles or pull our punches we will seek to secure a broad area of agreement on which the reconstruction of our national life can proceed.That was the statement of a gentleman who does not agree with us and who represents very different interests, but a statement of good sense. It is the spirit in which the Government wish to carry on the discussions.
2634 The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has been very anxious about war expenditure, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has commented upon the observations he has made. It really is absurd to expect a great war to finish and the war expenditure dramatically to shut down, dramatically to taper off at that point, but that seems to be what is expected. As a matter of fact a discussion like this took place at the end of the 1914– 18 war, and another discussion at the end of the Boer War, and it is a curious thing that it was the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition who made observations on both of those occasions showing why war expenditure could not suddenly stop. I will not bother the House with the one. at the end of the Boer War, but this is. What he said on 12th August, 1919, when he was Secretary of State for War, and, I gather, was meeting criticism of a precisely similar character to that which he has made against this Government this afternoon:I am going to address myself in the very short time I will trespass further on the House to some of the more general aspects of Army and Air Force finance.It was Army and Air Force only.After all we are the great cause of expenditure now; we are one of the greatest causes; we are spending—400,000,000 or—500,000,000 in this year— after the war has ended— we can say the war is over, is it not? — why docs expenditure not come to an end too? — a very reasonable, and very obvious reflection to arise in the breasts of any men. The war may be over but expenditure at the present time is still governed by events; policy is only now gradually beginning to reclaim its control over expenditure. We are still and "we shall be during the whole of this present financial year in a state where our expenditure is mainly fixed not by what we decide to spend but by what happens.That was what he said then, and he went on to say, after making reference to Servicemen stationed in France, Egypt, Palestine, India and Ireland:I could extend this tale were it necessary, but I think I have said enough to show the House the truth of what I say in making the statement that expenditure at the present time has not yet returned within the control ling domain of policy but is still governed by brute facts and by the course of events proceeding in many parts of the world as a part of the aftermath of the great war. How ever angry people may become the fact remains that our war affairs have got to be wound up. The service of the Empire and the safety of the country have to be 'maintained and we have to pay the bill.2635 That speech was made by the right hon. Gentleman nine months after the end of the 1914–18 war with Germany. I am not quoting that by way of scoring points. I quote it because it is an admirable description of the facts which face my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer today. I know the right hon. Gentleman will recall the observations that he made, and that he will recognise that the principle of what he said then is not in applicable to the situation as it obtains at the present time.
§ Mr. Churchill
The right hon. Gentle man mentioned the figure of £ 500million as the Army and Air Force expenditure in that year. It is all a question of figures. I do not know how much we are to spend in this present financial year, but at any rate we are dealing with a block figure of £ 5,500 million.
§ Mr. Morrison
I do not claim that the figures are precisely analogous, either in scope or purpose, one way or the other. It is the fact that the war with Japan ended I think in August and it is now the early part of December. What I quoted concerned nine months after and it concerned the Army and the Air Force, whereas in our Bill there are all the Armed Services, the Army of Occupation, and so on, which must be costing quite a lot of money. I only make the point not because the analogy is necessarily precisely similar but because, in principle, that is the situation that faces the Government at the present time. Dealing with the economic policy which this Government is following I would point out that we have done certain things. We believed, and we made it clear at the Election that we did believe, that it would be necessary to exercise certain economic and financial controls for a substantial period of transition. We said so. When we started saying so all the signs were that that was a vote-losing proposition.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister and I, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the President of the Board of Trade, the Minister of Fuel and Power, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health and others in the councils of the party, said "We know it may be dangerous and it may lose us votes, but we should be dishonest if we said anything else, and if we do get power we want to get it 2636 On the basis of an honest mandate." We went through and, despite all the commotion in the Conservative Press, some of them with very big circulations — though I have a theory that political influence is often in inverse ratio to the size of the circulation— notwithstanding this vast and powerful campaign we won; and the country was undoubtedly of the opinion that economic control should go through the transition.
It is no good the right hon. Gentleman complaining about the two years in the Supplies and Services Bill being extended to five. It is his fault entirely, or the fault of his Government. If the Care taker Government had put through the Supplies and Services Bill which I, as Home Secretary, introduced in the Coalition Government,- the Bill would have gone through on the basis of two years, with power to renew, and we should not have bothered to bring in a brand new Bill and take all the trouble to amend an existing Statute. But when we came in with this mandate, and when, despite my appeals and those of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, the right hon. Gentleman and his friends refused to carry the Supplies and Services Bill through, they wiped it off the slate and the new Government were perfectly free from Coalition obligations and were free to decide what they considered necessary in the situation. There fore, let this whining about this Bill stop. I believe it is awaiting the Royal Assent; it is all right and has gone very well.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has brought in the Emergency Laws (Transitional Powers) Bill— a complementary power to retain and continue certain essential powers of direction and control. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has brought in the Bank of England Bill— an amazing experience after all the noise there has been and the stories about Socialist jiggery pokery with the Bank of England. This is an amazing country. The Bill goes through with ease and sweetness, even in a Select Committee, where all the interests were invited to appear. None did. It is going fine. Everybody is happy about it. That is good and that is necessary; it is an instrument of adequate financial control. There will be a Bill on the control of investments, because it will be necessary to see that capital expenditure is not—I will not 2637 say, not wastefully used, but not injuriously used from the point of view of social welfare, and in order to encourage and stimulate capital expenditure in a useful, constructive and positive direction. That is coming along, and that will go through. The Building Materials and Housing Bill is going through. A Town and Country Planning (Compensation and Betterment) Bill to ensure adequate control of the land will also go through.
These Bills are not disconnected items. There is no accident about this series of Bills. These Bills were brought in as part of a deliberate and concerted plan in order that this Government should not find themselves in a position of powerlessness in a troublesome world and in relation to vested interests that might give us difficulty. We are not going to be in that situation in which we were in 1931, when we were faced with an economic blizzard, and lacking essential powers. Therefore, this policy was considered and deliberate, but our purpose is to promote order and to discourage anarchy. Ours is a constructive purpose, and that constructive purpose will go on.
§ Mr. Morrison
I am perfectly sure that, whatever I was talking about, the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite, who should really go and decarbonise his motor car, would certainly ask, "What about something else." He is the hon. Member for irrelevancy. [Interruption.] The gentlemanly party is not exactly a good example to my hon. Friends. We proceed to certain proposals for nationalisation, and we have a perfect right to do so. This Debate started about nationalisation and now they want to get off it. But we are going to nationalise certain industries, and if we take the series of industries with which this Government are dealing, either the case must be proved for them, or the case must be proved against them. I agree that, in the argument about nationalisation, there is the onus upon the party that is proceeding to nationalise, to prove that the nationalisation is in the public interest. I agree that the party in power proposing these things ought not to do it for political or doctrinaire considerations. But I equally say that the Opposition has no right to oppose these things on the ground that they are dogma, or doctrinaire considerations, and cer- 2638 tainly it ought not to be done by a party led by the right hon. Gentleman, who, in his own broadcast of the so-called Four Years' Plan actually said thata number of Measures are being prepared which will enable the Government to exercise a balancing influence upon development which can be turned on or off as circumstances may require.It seems to me that, with regard to economic controls, there is a broad field for State ownership and enterprise, especially in regard to monopolies. The truth is that the Conservative party have a great belief in monopolies; they even believe that they have a monopoly to introduce Socialist legislation. Who was it that nationalised the telephones? It was the Conservative Party. Who was it that socialised London's water supply? The Conservative Party. Who was it that socialised the British Broadcasting system, not by Act of Parliament, but by Government licence? It was the Conservative Party, and so, too, they in part have socialised the electricity supply. When a Socialist Government come in and say, "We would like to make our modest and, we hope, adequate contribution to Socialist development," we are then faced with a Motion of Censure and are told that we have no right to do any such thing.
We are going to socialise the coalmining industry because we believe that it will be better run in that way under the Bill to be introduced by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power than it is being run, or has been run for the last many years by private enterprise. As regards gas supplies, it is a most remark able and curious coincidence that we should now be favoured with a report by gentlemen who cannot be accused of being Socialist nominees—there is only one among them, and he is a moderate trade union leader. We are going to socialise gas— not a bad idea. We are going to complete the chapter on electricity that was begun in years past and to socialise transport when the time comes.
We are going to do these things because we believe it is right to do them. We believe that it will be to the advantage of the country to do them, and I trust that, as and when those Bills and policies are submitted to the House, all of us can debate them on the merits of the case. Let us seek, by our attitude towards them, not to argue shibboleths and theoretical doctrines but to discuss them 2639 as we ought to discuss them, on the basis of the interests of the nation.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 197;Noes, 3812641
|Division No. 47.]||AYES.||[9.16 p.m.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Gridley, Sir A.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Aitken, Hon. M.||Grimston, R. V.||Nutting, Anthony|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Armagh)||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Hare, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Osborne, C.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Scot. Univ.)||Harvey, Air-Cmdre. A. V||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Haughton, Maj. S. G.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Headlam, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Herbert, Sir A. P.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C.||Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Hope, Lord J.||Price-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel||Howard, Hon. A.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Ramsay, Maj. S.|
|Boothby, R.||Hulbert, Wing-Comdr. N. J.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hurd, A.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Bower, N.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A.||Hutchison, Lt.-Col. J. R. (G'gow, C.)||Renton, D.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Jarvis, Sir J.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Braithwaite, Lt. Comdr. J. G.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Jennings, R.||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland|
|Butcher, H. W.||Keeling, E. H.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Ross, Sir R.|
|Carson, E.||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Challen, Flt.-Lieut. C.||Lambert, G.||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Channon, H.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Shephard, S. (Newark)|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Shepherd, Lt. W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.|
|Cole, T. L.||Linstead, H. N.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.).||Snadden, W. M.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Lloyd, Brig. J. S. B. (Wirral)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Low, Brig. A. R. W.||Spence, Maj. H. R.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. O.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir G.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|De la Bère, R.||Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R.||Teeling, Flt.-Lieut. W.|
|Digby, Maj. S. Wingfield||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D.||McKinlay, A. S.||Thomson, Sir D. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Maclean, Brig. F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)||MacLeod, Capt. J.||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Drayson, Capt. G. B.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold||Touche, G. C.|
|Drewe, C.||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Turton, R. H.|
|Duncan, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C. of Lond.)||Maltland, Comdr. J. W.||Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Eccles, D. M.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Marples, Capt. A. E.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Erroll, Col. F. J.||Marsden, Capt. A.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.||Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin)||Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.|
|Foster, J. G (Northwich)||Maude, J. C.||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Fox, Sqn.-Ldr. Sir G.||Medlicott, Brig. F.||White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Molson, A. H. E.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Fraser, Lt.-Col. Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.||Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)|
|Gage, Lt.-Col. C.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Willink, Rt. Hon. H U.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gammans, Capt. L. D.||Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.||York, C.|
|Gates, Maj. E. E.||Neill, W. F. (Belfast, N.)||Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Nicholson, G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Comma-Duncan, Col. A. G.||Nield, B. (Chester)||Mr. James Stuart and Mr Buchan-Hepburn.|
|Adams, Capt. Richard (Balham)||Allighan, Garry||Austin, H. L.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Alpass, J. H.||Awbery, S. S.|
|Adamson, Mrs. J. L.||Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Ayles, W. H.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Attewell, H. C.||Bacon, Miss A.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Attlee, Rt. Hon, C. R.||Baird, Capt. J.|
|Balfour, A.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Edwards, John (Blackburn).||Leonard, W.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Leslie, J. R.|
|Bartlett, V.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Lever, Fl. Off. N. H.|
|Barton, C.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Levy, B. W.|
|Battley, J. R.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)|
|Beattie, J. (Belfast, W.)||Ewart, R.||Lewis, J. (Bolton)|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Fairhurst, F.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Belcher, J. W.||Farthing, W. J.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Lindsay, K. M. (Comb'd Eng. Univ.)|
|Benson, G.||Follick, M.||Lipson, D. L.|
|Beswick, Flt-Lieut. F.||Foot, M. M.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Forman, J. C.||Logan, D. G.|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.)||Foster, W. (Wigan)||Longden, F.|
|Binns, J.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Lyne, A. W.|
|Blackburn, Capt. A. R.||Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)||McAdam, W.|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||McAllister, G.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Gaitskell, H. T. N.||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Boardman, H.||Gallacher, W.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Mack, J. D.|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Bowen, R.||Gibbins, J.||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Gibson, C. W.||McKinlay, A. S.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Gilzean, A.||Maclean, N. (Govan)|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Gooch, E. G.||McLeavy, F.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Goodrich, H. E.||MacMillan, M. K.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Gordon-Walker, P. C.||McNeil, H.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Granville, E. (Eye)||Macpherson, T. (Romford)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Grenfell, D. R.||Mallalieu, J. P W.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Grey, C. F.||Mann, Mrs. J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Grierson, E.||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)|
|Burden, T. W.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)|
|Burke, W. A.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Marquand, H. A.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Griffiths, Capt. W. O. (Moss Side)||Maxton, J.|
|Byers, Lt.-Col. F.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Mayhew, Maj. C. P.|
|Callaghan, James.||Gunter, Capt. R. J.||Medland, H. M.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Guy, W. H.||Messer, F.|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Aberdare)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Chater, D.||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.|
|Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Monslow, W.|
|Clitherow, R.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Montague, F.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hardman, D. R.||Moody, A. S.|
|Cobb, F. A.||Hardy, E. A.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Morley, R.|
|Coldrick, W.||Haworth, J.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Collick, P.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Collindridge, F.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)|
|Collins, V. J.||Herbison, Miss M.||Mort, D. L.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Hewitson, Captain M.||Moyle, A.|
|Cook, T. F.||Hicks, G.||Murray, J. D.|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Hobson, C. R.||Nally, W.|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Holman, P.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Horabin, T. L.||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Corvedale, Viscount||House, G.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Hoy, J.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A||Hubbard, T.||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)|
|Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Noel-Buxton, Lady|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||O'Brien, T.|
|Cunningham, P.||Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Daggar, G.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Daines, P.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Orbach, M.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paget, R. T.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Janner, B.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||John, W.||Parker, J.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Paton, J. (Norwich)|
|Deer, G.||Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Pearson, A.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Keenan, W.||Peart, Capt. T. F.|
|Delargy, Captain H. J.||Kendall, W. D.||Perrins, W.|
|Diamond, J.||Kenyon, C.||Piratin, P.|
|Dobbie, W.||Key, C. W.||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.|
|Dodds, N. N.||King, E. M.||Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)|
|Douglas, F. C. R.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Popplewell, E.|
|Duberg, T. E. N.||Kinley, J.||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Dugdale J. (W. Bromwich)||Kirby, B. V.||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Kirkwood, D.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Durbin, E. F. M||Lang, G.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Dye, S.||Lavers, S.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Ede, Rt Hon. J. C.||Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Edelman, M.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Randall, H. E.|
|Ranger, J.||Sorensen, R. W.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Rankin, J||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R.||Sparks, J. A.||Watson, W. M.|
|Reeves, J.||Stamford, W.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Reid, T. (Swindon)||Steele, T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Rhodes, H.||Stephen, C.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Richards, R.||Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)|
|Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Stokes, R. R.||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Robens, A.||Strachey, J.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth)||Strauss, G. R.||Wigg, Col- G. E. C.|
|Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)||Stross, Dr. B.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Stubbs, A. E.||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Summerskill, Dr. Edith||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Rogers, G. H. R.||Swingler, Capt. S.||Wilkinson, Rt. Hon. Ellen|
|Royle, C.||Symonds, Maj. A. L.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Sargood, R.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Scott-Elliot, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Segal, Sq. Ldr. S.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)||Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E.)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Shinwell. Rt. Hon. E.||Thorneycroft, H.||Williamson, T.|
|Shurmer P.||Thurtle, E.||Willis, E.|
|Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.||Tiffany, S.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Timmins, J.||Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Tolley, L.||Wilson, J. H.|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Skeffington-Lodge, Lt. T. C.||Turner-Samuels, M.||Woodburn, A.|
|Skinnard, F. W.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.||Woods, G. S.|
|Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir B. (Rotherhithe)||Usborne, Henry||Wyatt, Maj. W.|
|Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)||Vernon, Maj. W. F.||Yates, V. F.|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Viant, S. P.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)||Wadsworlh, G.||Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.|
|Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)||Walkden, E.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Smith, T. (Normanton)||Walker, G. H.|
|Snow, Capt. J. W.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)||TELLER FOR THE NOES:|
|Solley, L. J.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)||Mr. whiteley and mr.mathers.|
Question put, and agreed to.