HC Deb 19 February 1946 vol 419 cc1089-119

10.10 p.m.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid (Glasgow, Hillhead)

I beg to move, That the Order in Council," dated 20th December, 1945, with respect to the Defence Regulations relating to Requisitioning and similar Powers (S.R.&O., 1945, No. 1616), a copy of which was presented on 22nd January, be annulled. We are in the usual difficulty here that there is no power to propose Amendments. It is a very odd position, because this comes under the Supplies and Services Act, which continues regulations for five years. This House has been dealing in recent weeks with another Measure, also piloted by the Home Secretary, which continues regulations for two years. Although that was a much shorter continuation, the right hon. Gentleman put the regulations in that case in a Schedule, so that we were able to propose Amendments, and I thought that in that respect the right hon. Gentleman behaved very reasonably. He accepted a number of Amendments, and I am sure he will agree with me that the Bill was considerably improved thereby. When that principle is accepted in a case of continuation for two years I cannot understand why the same principle was not accepted in a case of continuation for five years.

However, unlike certain hon. Gentlemen opposite we are bound to have regard to the facts and we must be willing to take things as we find them. I have always thought that one of the many things that are wrong in the outlook of the Party opposite, is that they refuse to take things as they find them. They insist on looking with curiously coloured spectacles on the facts and distorting those facts into something quite unreal with the result that when they try to put their theories into operation, somehow or other the theories do not work. I venture to think that people who do not take things as they find them will not reach better results than people who look facts in the face.[Interruption.] I must not allow myself to be diverted by interruptions. Therefore, I will try to come back to the main theme. If we had any more time I certainly would ask the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw this Order and amend it. I am sure if he had time the right hon. Gentleman would be willing to withdraw it, in the light of what we are going to say, and redraft it. But I realise, as a new Order would have to be put through before 24th February, that would not be a practical request to make. Therefore, I shall con-. tent myself with asking the right hon. Gentleman for explanations and assurances and if he can give those explanations and assurances—and, although I never think assurances are as good as something in an Act of Parliament, we shall have to put up with assurances as the second best—we shall refrain from dividing the House. But if we do not get those assurances then, of course, we must show our opposition.

I do hope to show that these are un-precedentedly wide powers for peacetime and in that connection I shall have to ask two questions. In the first place with regard to these powers why are they wanted at all, and, secondly, why are they wanted beyond a very limited scope? I do not propose to deal with all the regulations affected by this Order but some of my hon. Friends behind me will deal with certain of them which require detailed examination Each contains material for a full dress Bill in ordinary circumstances. Although these power occupy only one sheet of paper they take the place of four full-size Bills such as we have in ordinary peacetime. Therefore, they need very detailed examination of the kind that was given upstairs to the corresponding regulations, which were continued only for two years. I shall have to ask the Minister to explain why some of these are wanted, and why others are wanted beyond a very limited extent, and then I shall have to ask for an assurance that there will be introduced by administrative action, limitations corresponding to the limitations which were introduced under pressure from us. in certain. other Bills.

I come to the first of the regulations with which this Order deals. There may be some hon. Members who have not these matters at their finger ends, and I shall have to ask the indulgence of the House while I read the first paragraph at least, in full, because it is a very important paragraph. I checked this with the copy in the Library, which is kept up to date from time to time by the right hon. Gentleman's Department. I find that there is no amendment of the regulation, except one contained in the third column, so I think that what I shall read will be found to be correct. The right hon. Gentleman will check me if I am wrong It says: Any person authorised by a competent authority to act under this Regulation, and subject to any instruction given by the Admiralty, the Army Council or the Air Council, as the case may be, any member of His Majesty's Forces, acting in the course of his duty, as such, may, for any purposes connected with the defence of the Realm—

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

May I intervene?

Mr. Reid

I am reading from the copy which is in the Library.

Mr. Ede

I wish to give an explanation.

Mr. Reid

If I am wrong, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put me right now.

Mr. Ede

I find that I owe an apology to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and to the House as a whole, for the fact that the volume has not been kept as up to date as I hoped it would be. The reason is because the request for the return of the volume was addressed to an officer of this House personally, and not to that officer in his capacity as an officer. The result is that the book has not been returned, while the officer has been abroad. Perhaps I may read the words, as they will appear as a result of the amendment, coupled with the amendment which has already been made: Any person authorised by a competent authority to act under this Regulation and subject to any instructions given by the Admiralty, the Army Council, or the Air Council, as the case may be, any member of His Majesty's Forces acting in the course of his duty, as such, may, for any of the purposes specified in Subsection (1) of Section 1 of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Act, 1945, do any work on any land.

Mr. Reid

That is why I raised this matter. I thought it was rather queer for the right hon. Gentleman to leave in the Order a reference to the prosecution of the war. Thai seemed a little odd, and I thought it well to raise the matter to see whether the copy in the Library was correct or not. I am glad to hear that it is not right. I take it that the Order is now limited to the purposes set out in Section 1 (1) of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Act. These purposes are very wide The Act is: for the purpose of so maintaining, controlling and regulating supplies and services as to secure a sufficiency of essentials for the well being of the community, or their equitable distribution, or their availability at fair prices, or to facilitate the demobilisaton and resettlement of persons and to secure the orderly disposal of surplus material, or to facilitate the readjustment of industry and commerce to the requirements of the community in time of peace, or to assist in the relief of suffering in the restoration and distribution of essential supplies and services in any part of His Majesty's Dominions, or in foreign countries in grave distress as a result of the war. I hope I am right this time, and that there have not been amendments in another place which I have not been able to pick up. The first thing that leaps to the eye on paragraph 1 of the regulations is that it is extremely summary. There is no provision for any notice being given before the work is done or before the land is entered upon. There is no provision for any appeal or for any representations by the owner or occupier against the carrying out of the work. Of course that was essential in war time because under this regulation a great many of the fortifications that we saw all over the country were put up, and obviously it might be necessary at any moment to enter upon anybody's land for the purpose of doing all manner of work for the defence of the realm. But that does not apply any more. I am bound to say that had I not known that the right hon. Gentleman and his subordinates are grossly overworked, I should have expected that there would be introduced into this regulation, by way of amendment in the third column, provisions for notice, and for an opportunity to make representations such as were accepted in connection with the other Bill.

After all, the Minister of Health, who was rather fess reasonable than the right hon. Gentleman, was—no doubt under pressure—ultimately compelled to accept seven days' notice in the case of billeting. I should have thought that in the case of doing work on land, and still more in the case of requisitioning— to which I am coming in a moment— the case for notice was a good deal stronger, and that the right hon. Gentleman would have taken a hint and put something in. But he did not, and therefore I ask him now, at the end of the day, to give an assurance that work will not be done on land under this regulation, unless adequate notice has been given and unless there has been an opportunity to make representations which the Department were willing to hear.

I will not expand that point now because it arises even more importantly on the next regulation with which I propose to deal. What I do want to know about this regulation is why it is wanted at all. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to tell me that there is some reason for it and that he has not put it in unnecessarily, but my hon. Friends and I cannot imagine any case under which it is necessary in peacetime to do work on land without taking possession of it. This regulation applies only where possession is not taken but where land is entered but left in someone else's possession and work done upon it. The work may be putting up a building, knocking down a building, digging a hole, making a mound, or something of. that sort. Of course it was done in war time, but why should the Minister of Supply want to do it in peace time—and the Minister of Supply I think is going to do most of the damage. Why should the Admiralty, in peacetime, want to come in and knock down property on land of which they are not in possession? Why should the Army Council want to do it, or the Air Council and any member of His Majesty's Forces—even a private soldier is to be allowed to do it. I cannot understand it at all. It was right in war time, but it does seem odd that in peace time we are to pass a regulation which says that, subject to any instructions given by the three Service departments, any member of His Majesty's Forces, acting in the course of his duties, may do any work on land. This is unprecedented in peace time and I am surprised that the Service Departments still maintain their demand and have not abated it one bit. I hope we shall be told what kind of work is to he done, and that we shall receive assurances, limiting narrowly in this case, the use which is to be made of this regulation.

Then I ask, to whom are these powers to be delegated, for this makes a good deal of difference? If we could be assured that the operation of this Order would remain in the hands of the Department, or at least of some high authority, then we could rely, to a large extent, on its being carried out reasonably. But there is power to delegate to any extent, and the further you delegate, the more difficult it is for representations to be made to higher quarters, or to guarantee that those representations will be properly examined. I hope, therefore, that on this regulation we shall get adequate assurances on these points. I cannot see why it is needed at all, but I hope that what we hear will show that its purpose is narrowed very much, and that we shall have assurances about notice and power to make an appeal, and assurances that these great powers will not be put in the hands of subordinate servants.

I pass to the second part of Regulation 50 which raises a separate point. This regulation allows a competent authority to prohibit, or to restrict the doing on any land of any such work as may be specified in the Order. I have some difficulty in seeing why that should be necessary. In practically every Measure I can think of which authorises the acquisition of land, there is also authorised the creation of easements, or servitudes as we call them, under which the Department could prevent a neighbouring user from using his land in such a way as to injure the interests of the Department. When that occurs in an Act of Parliament it is commonly accompanied by a provision for compensation. But here, unless I am mistaken— and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will cor-reGt me if I am wrong— there is no provision for compensation. In the Compensation (Defence) Act of 1939 there is provision for compensation when you take possession; there is provision for compensation when you do work on the land, but I cannot find any provision for compensation when you prohibit someone else from doing work on the land. I should be very glad to be assured that, in practice at least such compensation is to be given in cases such as these. I may be wrong, because the position is complicated.

Mr. Ede

With what regulation is the right hon. Gentleman dealing now?

Mr. Reid

I am dealing with No. 50 (2). I should have thought that whatever might have been allowed in wartime, it is not right, in peacetime, for anyone to prohibit a man using land, in a way in which he is legally entitled to do, just because he might be interfering with you and to prohibit it without providing compensation. I cannot see why this should be so. Is there to be adequate opportunity of representation? Will representatives be listened to, and what is being done about the matter of compensation? The same situation does not arise under No. 50 (1) because there the work is done before action is taken.

Now I come to paragraph 3. I would ask the Minister for an assurance which I am sure can be given, and which ought to be put on record. This is a provision which, quite rightly, says that if the occupier is not responsible for the dangerous condition of his land, if that dangerous condition is caused by the interposition of the Government acting under the earlier part of the regulation, then the occupier is not to pay damages if someone is injured owing to that dangerous condition. But I want to be quite sure that the corollary is true—that the Government who created the danger, will pay compensation. These things are done in a roundabout way under our system, which I am bound to say has not been as successful as it might have been, although it has worked fairly well. First you get, from the Government the name of the officer you can sue who is responsible for doing the work; then you fight it out as between the person injured and the nominated officer, and then, if the nominated officer is found to have been negligent, you get damages against him, and the Government pay. I think that arrangement is clearly intended to be carried out in Regulation 50 (3), in its new guise.

I think that exhausts what I wish to say about number 50, and I come to the more important regulation number 51. I presume I am right in thinking that the same amendment will have to be made, as was made in number 50. I will see if I have got it right: A competent authority, if it considers it to be necessary or expedient in the interests of public safety "—

Mr. Ede


Mr. Reid

It is very difficult to put the words together, and make them read grammatically, without having them in front of you, but the gist is quite clear. A competent authority, if it is acting for any of the very wide purposes of the Supplies and Services Act, may take possession of any land, and give such directions as appear to the competent authority to be necessary and expedient in connection with the taking possession of the land. The land, of course, in the legal sense, includes everything that is attached to the land—all manner of buildings—and therefore this entitles the competent authority, which is practically every Department which could have an interest, to take possession summarily, without notice, without right of appeal, of any house in this country, inhabited or uninhabited, occupied or unoccupied, any factory, any building of any sort or kind.

I am aware that by administrative, action the asperity of that regulation has been fined down in wartime. There are rules of administration which have become well recognised and which prevent full advantage being taken of the powers of this regulation. But what I want to know is why, now that this has become a peacetime requirement, we did not have a limitation put into the paragraph itself. Why has this still to depend on the whim of the Government? It is an impossible situation that we should not know what the effective law is. We know what the actual law is, but one cannot know what the effective limitations are unless one is in touch with certain Departments concerned; there is no book to which one can refer. It really is quite intolerable that we should be told in peacetime that we must submit to this kind of thing.

As to the fact that no notice is given, I turn for confirmation to the Scottish section, and I find that a certified copy of an order to give up possession shall be sufficient warning for ejection. No right of notice at all is allowed, quite apart from there being no right of appeal before ejection takes place. The Minister of Health has allowed a right of appeal in the case of billeting, but not a minute's delay is allowed in turning a man into the street. Is this the way to draft legislation? I realise that this regulation is wanted to a certain extent in relation to housing, but I want to know for what else it is wanted. There may be a case for it; I hope the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what it is.

It may seem that requisitioning is a less drastic thing than compulsory purchase, but in the majority of cases requisitioning creates more hardship than compulsory purchase. With compulsory purchase, a man knows where he is. He can get his money, and use it in his business, or in other ways. But you are under two disadvantages if your property is requisitioned. First, your resources are tied up, and, secondly, you have no knowledge when you are going to get back your property. We all know of the unjustifiable delay that occurs in returning requisitioned property.

The Minister of Works (Mr. Tomlinson)rose

Mr. Reid

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to proceed. It is, I venture to think, an argument not always recognised in official circles, because it is often thought '' I am only going to requisition this." But it is very much worse. Let me tell the right hon. Gentleman what has been giving trouble to a number of people in my constituency. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give some explanation of this. As we have the change over from war to peace, quite a number of people have to move from one place to another, including people who have owned their houses in their old place of residence. Now, what happens? If you try to move, the local authority immediately comes along and requisitions your property and does not allow you to sell it. I cannot imagine anything worse than that from the point of view of local administration. I agree that you must not leave property empty, and you must occupy it fully; but, if you want to put it under the jurisdiction of the local authority, why not allow the local authority to buy it? Why not say that the person who wants to sell the property shall have the option to require the local authority to purchase the house rather than have it requisitioned? It seems to me that that Is the right thing to do. [Hon. Members: "At what price? "] At the price laid down in the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944. [An Hon. Member: "Prices are up three times."] The hon. Gentleman apparently did not follow what I was saying. I said I was quite willing, if such an option were given, to couple with it the restriction of price to the ceiling fixed in the 1944 Act and that washes out all questions about the rise in prices I will not delay to instruct the hon. Member further.

We ought to have some assurance about what I venture to call this misuse of the requisitioning power. I say again, so that there shall be no mistake about it, that I do not think it would be right to permit a sale to a person who is not going to occupy the premises fully; who is going to have only one or two people in large accommodation, which would hold several families, or one large family. Therefore if you do not like the person to whom the departing owner would like to sell the property, if the local authority think that sale would not be in the public interest, I do not say they should be bound to allow it; but if they prevent it, the local authority should be bound to take over the house, at an appropriate price under the Act, and should not compel the departing owner to go away and leave perhaps his sole capital locked up in a house which he will never see again. He is probably unable to find a house in the place to which he goes and he does not know how long his premises are going to be requisitioned, and he is left in a wholly unjustifiable position. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us some assurance about this use of requisitioning powers.

The next point is a shorter one. [Interruption.] I am sorry to detain the House but all this arises from the way these Orders are presented to the House of Commons. If the Government will insist on putting a large number of important regulations all in one Order they really cannot ask that we should refrain from putting forward quite genuine points on these occasions. I ask any hon. Gentleman, who has been here since I started, whether anything I have said has been irrelevant, or whether I have repeated myself. Indeed I have been so short that a number of hon. Gentleman below the Gangway have apparently failed to understand what I am talking about.

Mr. Medland (Plymouth, Drake)

On a point of Order. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had as much experience of local government as I have, he would know what the requisitioning of houses means.

Mr. Reid

It so happens that what caused the earlier intervention was not what I said about requisitioning, but what I said about purchasing. I do not think that the hon. Member really understands that. But I will not go back to that as it is getting late.

There is, as I say, a shorter point under No. 51 (2). That enactment allows the requisitioning authority to use the land in any way it chooses, notwithstanding any restriction imposed on the use thereof by any Act, instrument or otherwise. I want to know whether the requisitioning authorities really intend to use this to override local building regulations. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply knows what I mean when I mention the Dean of Guild Court. We have in Scotland an ancient and honourable court charged with the supervision of all buildings and alterations to existing buildings. Does this regulation mean that recommendations of the Dean of Guild court will be bypassed by the requisitioning authority if the latter sees fit? If it means that, it is highly objectable. There was a case in wartime for quick decisions, when labour was scarce. Does this mean 'that the requisitioning authority is still to be outside the appropriate building bylaws and be a law to itself? We should be told.

I come to the last point with which I wish to deal. I leave other points— and they are quite numerous— to other speakers. This point, which is a very important one, arises from the introduction at the last moment into the Supplies and Services Act of Section 5 (5) in its new form. -As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the effect of that is that, if land is requisitioned and thereafter something is done which alters its value up or down to an extent denned in the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, the land is not handed back again to its original owner. It is bought, either to save an asset for the country ox to prevent the country from being charged an unduly large sum to restore the damage. I think that is a fair statement, in as short a space as I can put it, of the essential point of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act. I do not want to go into the whole story; the right hon. Gentleman is well aware of the difficulty. Unless the right hon. Gentleman can assure us that he will not make use of the powers of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act in respect of land hereafter requisitioned, he will be operating compulsory purchase by an objectionable back door method as he will avoid all the safeguards—and there are not many left— which go with compulsory purchase. It will mean that be can step in and re- quisition without notice or anything else. Then, having got possession, he can turn the place upside down in such a way that he can afford to buy the place under the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act. That would be something approaching underhand procedure if it were used in peace time.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman can give us adequate assurances that nothing of that kind will be done. If a Department wants to make extensive alterations on land I say quite clearly that land ought not to be requisitioned in order to be bought. There can be very few cases in which a Department is bound to change its mind after it has entered into possession, but even if a case occurs where a Department finds that it is going to carry out operations of this sort on the land, it ought to step in and purchase the land compulsorily, and not leave the owner in the very difficult position in which he is placed if it is left to the operation of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act. I am sure the Minister of Supply knows the point, because I understand he deals very much with this line of country, and I am sure he is sympathetic. I think we ought to be able to get a definite assurance that this purchase through the back door will not occur. There is really no excuse for it, because there is a Bill upstairs— the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation of Procedure) Bill—under which the time taken and the steps to be gone through before land is acquired are being cut to the very narrowest margins— perhaps too narrow, as some of us think. But even under the worst provisions of that Bill, one is a great deal better off than under this regulation number 51. I therefore hope that the regulation will not be used in this connection.

I think I have said enough to show that there are very important and difficult questions involved in these two— and I have only dealt with two— of the eight regulations involved here. In conclusion I would like again to express my view that it is extremely unfortunate that we have to deal with these most involved questions, every one of which requires examination, at this time of night. But we have to do it, and I am sure that neither we on our side of the House nor the Government on theirs will shirk the obligation to give these matters full and complete examination. If I have occupied a rather long time, I am very sorry; it would have been much better if we could have broken the matter up and dealt with each of these regulations as it arose. It would have saved time in the long run. I have done my best and I hope the House will not think I have trespassed too long on its time.

10.58 p.m.

Mr. Maude (Exeter)

I beg to second the Motion.

Whereas my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) gracefully wielded a claymore, I propose to administer one or two sharp stabs with a bayonet to the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Home Office. The first point I want to make abundantly clear is that some months ago— it seems a very long time now— he was good enough to assure the House that he would put— I am not now making the same point as I was making earlier this evening— one of these books, the Defence Regulations, into the Library and that he would take care that it was kept up to date. I know that the motto this evening is "Prayers, idle prayers, I know not what they mean." There is no one who can possibly know what they mean if he relies on the Library. If they go to the.Library, hon. Members will find a book exactly similar to this, the one I hold in my hand. On the top is written "Amended as at 20th December, 1945." That is a long time ago, a very long time, but, nevertheless, one looks eagerly inside its pages. There are numerous amendments. Eventually we turn to the regulation with which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead was dealing and for which he was laughed at by some hon. Members. When he was laughed at I darted down the passage to have a peep into the book to see whether he was right or wrong. I went down to see whether it was right to laugh at him for reading out regulation 50 as printed and not as amended. I do not suggest that the Minister should go as rapidly as I did, but I can assure him, if he goes, he will find that the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead was quite right. Indeed he will find something rather more extraordinary if he looks at regulation No. 51 with which my right and learned Friend has just been dealing, that is in connection with the requisition of land, it will be found there that the official who was detailed to make these corrections has to some extent dealt with it. After the words, "the community" he has put a star, and in the marginal note he has put "continued by S.R.& O. 1616 of 20/12/45," but he has not erased the words for which my right hon. and learned Friend was laughed at about the Defence of the Realm and public safety.

Mr. Ede

That is due to the' fact that they do not disappear from the regulation until 24th February..

Mr. Maude

I am much obliged. I have more ammunition than that. I turn hopefully to No. 53. One should again find that same little star against that regulation after the words "the community," with the note "Continued by S.R.O. 1616 of 20/12/45." Do we find that? No; there is nothing, not a thing. It is absolutely in its virginal condition. I urge the right hon. Gentleman to have the book sent for and to look at page 133. He will find that I am absolutely right and that nothing whatsoever has been done to regulation No. 53. It is quite intolerable that this should happen. The only book upon which any hon. Member on either side of the House can rely, or even pretend to rely, is that yellow book in the Library and that book has never been put right. I venture to say that hardly one Member of this House could have looked at it, otherwise hon. Members would have drawn attention immediately to the fact that it has not been put right. Therefore, it is a case of "Prayers, idle prayers."

Nobody knows what is happening here until this thing is dragged in by its heels. May I point out what has really happened? On 20th December, 1945, His Majesty, in pursuance of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Act, found it.vas necessary or expedient— that is a very important word— that a Defence regulation should have effect for the purpose of so maintaining, controlling and regulating supplies and services as to secure a sufficiency of those essential to the wellbeing of the community. I will not go on any further because it becomes so difficult to follow. That was the position on 20th of December, 1945. His Majesty was advised by somebody— I very much suspect it was not by the right hon. Gentleman— by some Minister of the Crown and this Order was made on the 20th December. Has nothing been done? Has regulation 53 been invoked? Was it so expedient, was it so necessary to ask for the greatest powers that have ever been known in this country since the time of the Tudors? That is the fact. Let us face up to it. Let us see exactly what it is that really has happened. Without anybody knowing anything, and certainly not many Members of Parliament, we have to come here with a Prayer to ask why, on 20th December, 1945, it was necessary or expedient— and which was it, necessary or expedient?— to maintain control and regulation of supplies and services so as to secure a sufficiency of those essential to the life of the community? It was not that. It has never been done. Turn to paragraph (b): To facilitate the demobilisation and resettlement of persons and to secure the orderly distribution of surplus materials. Was that necessary? Will the Minister tell me? To facilitate the restoration of industry and commerce in time of peace. Was that necessary or expedient? What has been happening is this. It is this mania for taking every conceivable power that one can possibly imagine. I do not blame the Minister, because I do not believe that this particular regulation is his pigeon or baby; I think it is someone who has to do with the Board of Trade.

Mr. Ede indicated dissent.

Mr. Maude

Well, somebody. What do they want? We are asking for an explanation to this House for wanting to take the most enormous powers that one can imagine. This is one of the most interesting things that has happened in England for years. If we take these two regulations together— they are on page 3— we find amendments to Regulations 51 and 53. What do they do? It is quite simple when once one has unscrambled the thing and put it straight. What does it mean? It means, in fact, that the right hon. Gentleman said that all they wanted to do on 20th December was to take powers to requisition any property in any place— requisitioning of property other than land. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not blame me if I read words that are not supposed to be there, but if he will look at Regulation 53, he will find this: Subject to, as hereinafter provided the competent authority, if it appears to be necessary or expedient for the prosecution of the war— We find those words still left in. On pages 1 and 2, we find four different ones. One relates to the restoration and redistribution of essential supplies and services in any part of H.M. Dominions or in foreign countries. What did they put that in for? In order that they might requisition anything in the United Kingdom? …any vessel, or aircraft, or anything on board a vessel or aircraft and including also any detachable part of any vehicle. That, of course, is one of those things not meant to be amusing, but it is there, and it does not make it easy for the ordinary person to understand.

There are two more pages of it, down to the bottom of page 103, in the last edition of this wholely out of date book, which has not been published since 9th May, 1945. I suspect the right hon. Gentleman will find that paragraph (3) is hopelessly out of date; the names of the Ministers have probably been altered, but it does not matter very much. One cannot find out what it all means until somebody takes the trouble to come down and attend to it. Indeed, I very much doubt whether the officials are able to inform the right hon. Gentleman tonight whether, in fact, in the last 24 hours, or even 48 hours, something else has not been added to this regulation, or whether some other regulation has come out, or some order under the regulation, and where we are to find it heaven alone knows. If in fact powers have been taken under the regulation since 20th December, 1945, and if steps have been taken under Statutory Rule and Order 1616 since 20th December, 1945, does the House know anything about it? Is there any hon. Member who knows one way or another? Of course there is not. It is the result of having this delegated legislation, where you find two regulations, 51 and 53, giving the widest possible powers to Ministers, brought in, by the heels with a negative Resolution, temporarily not very active but potentially useful. But what for? When? How? Why? Can the House not see and agree with me that it is folly to introduce two of the greatest or potentially greatest Measures in this way? They should have been brought in in a different way.

I will point out why I say that. If the chattel of any hon. Member here— and I suppose he or she may have some chattel that some Minister might hanker after at some time— or indeed the detachable part of any vehicle, the spare wheel, is coveted, and if the Minister explains that he is able to have it to secure the sufficiency of supplies and services essential to the well-being of the community. then all sorts of ideas arise. Suppose there is a strike. Suppose it is a great strike, a strike not organised by the friends of the Government. Suppose it is a strike organised by the enemies of the Government, but a sympathetic strike. [An Hon. Member: "The Tories."] Not very likely. I do not feel that in the months to come that hon. Member would say that. He knows perfectly well that there is a potentiality of other troubles at some time. The case of Tearse in the High Courts, to which I referred the other day, showed that it is there, lowering behind the backs of the hon. Gentlemen on the other side, and they know it. It was thought necessary at the time of a Coalition Government, if you please, to take steps at the court of assize against what were called Trotskyists. Do not let us minimise it. Supposing in fact this thing did come about, is it not likely that hon. Members opposite might think it necessary to take many things, except money, gold, securities, or negotiable instruments. Would it be a good way to stop it? I wonder? There are possibilities about it, and it might be one way of doing it. In fact, something quite different might be done. But why does it become necessary? Why in fact has the Crown been thus advised? Why was it necessary or expedient to take these powers as far back as 20th December, 1945?

I have no doubt we shall have an explanation from the Government, and I have no doubt that it will be a skilful one, but whether it will stand the test of reading is a different matter. But some explanation will have to be given. It must be a very grave explanation. You cannot face every man or woman in the country and say "I have these powers to take away anything I like at any time without notice and without good explanation," unless you have gone completely mad. Again and again it has been reiterated in this House during the last few days, not only from this side but from both sides, that a Government which takes powers which are not necessary is not being properly controlled by the House of Commons, on both sides. It is not a question of this side of the House only. How impossible it is for hon. Gentlemen sitting behind the Government to hope that they can control this sort of delegated legislation. They can see for themselves what is happening. Right hon. Gentlemen come along and make Orders and then along comes the Scrutiny Committee and says "What is all this about?" Then the whips crack and everybody is here, all like kittens in a basket, waiting to pass through the Lobbies. It will not do. Sooner or later hon. Members will realise that it is extremely unpleasant to be kept waiting all this time for an explanation of why these powers have been taken. There is not even an explanatory Memorandum, not a word. Well, I have spoken and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me that the first part of my complaint about this sacred volume is absolutely justified. On the second part of the argument I hope I have advanced sufficient reason why we should have an explanation from him of why these powers are needed. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] It, is all very well for hon. Members opposite to cheer. Perhaps they will have an explanation from the right hon. Gentleman that something wonderful is going to happen but it is taking a very long time. I hope we shall hear from the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. C. S. Taylor (Eastbourne)

On a point of Order. When the previous Motion had been debated only for a very short time the Closure was moved from the Government benches. Would it be in Order to ask if the Closure is going to be moved again on this Motion directly after the Home Secretary has finished speaking?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

I cannot anticipate the progress of the Debate by making any statement as to its procedure, neither can I permit the hon. Member to put a question to the Home Secretary for I should have to extend the same privilege to other hon. Members.

11.20 p.m.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Maude) is, of course, an attack on the Supply and Services Act that we debated last November and December. The House then reached certain decisions which were embodied in the Act, and these regulations flow from that decision and are the means of giving effect to that Act. The great number of generalities in which he indulged were in fact, I should have thought, more in keeping with a Debate on the Second Reading of the Supply and Services Act than on these particular regulations. It cannot be expected that every particular paragraph of these regulations which are before us to night have to be justified in the light of every one of the requirements set out in Subsection (1) of Section 1 of the Supply and Services Act. Some are required for one purpose and some for others; very few of them, indeed, if any, are required for all the purposes of the Act. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) started off with such pleasant allusions to myself that I was certain that trouble was brewing, and, as usual, the worse his case became, the harder he banged the Box. I know when the right hon. and learned Gentleman is getting on to the weak part of his case because the Box suffers in exact proportion to the weakness of his case.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite (Holderness)

Just like the Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Ede

No, I think he taught the Foreign Secretary. He asked me one or two general questions to which I hope I may be able to give him a reasonably satisfactory answer. He asked me, for instance, about the question under Regulations 50 and 51 with regard to giving notice before a Government Department enters into possession or goes on to the land. It is the practice now, and I understand that there is no reason to expect that it will be departed from, except in the most exceptional circumstances, that notice is given and that as a result, not less than seven days' notice will be given, and during that time, of course, representations can be made to the appropriate Department with regard to the form of the requisition, and I hope that it may be possible, with a minimum of seven days, to give at least a fortnight in most cases.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid

It is a very short period. Can we have an assurance that the Department will have considered and decided the matter before the requisitioning takes effect, because it will be a very short period to bring the matter up and have it properly investigated?

Mr. Ede

That is precisely the difficulty. When I make a concession, at once it is not enough. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, after being belaboured for giving less than myself, was held up to the eulogy of the House because he had agreed to give seven days. I come to a fortnight, and at once the suggestion is that that is not enough. Of course, we recognise that times are changing and that we shall hope that these requisitioning powers, which are now hardly ever used at all, and will not be used very much in the future, can be so used as to enable adequate notice to be given. I expect there is only one case in which I must make an exception to that rule; that is, where the Minister of Works has to requisition buildings for homeless persons. In some cases it is not possible to deal with them with the kind of notice we hope will be given in all the other circumstances in which we expect to use these orders.

The right hon. Gentleman asked me with regard to certain of the paragraphs of Regulation 50, and to give him certain assurances. With regard to the request he made under Defence Regulation 50, paragraph (3), I can give him the assurance for which he asked. With regard to paragraph (2), the question is more difficult. It depends on the wording of the Compensation (Defence) Act, and I should hesitate to go as far as he asked without being able to study the implications of that Act on the request that he made. But it is difficult to imagine any circumstances in which we shall want to use Regulation 50, paragraph (2) except, possibly, in the few cases of the Ministry of Supply; which, from what he said, was what he most expected. That regulation enables authorities to do any work on any land. It enables work to be done on the land without requisitioning the land, and it is under this regulation that the Ministry of Fuel and Power have done. opencast coal work. It is clearly essential for some time to come that we should have the necessary powers to deal with opencast coal, and this regulation is also of great importance to the County Agricultural Executive Committees, as it enables them to get work done on land without going to the necessity of requisitioning land.

I gather from what he said on the latter regulation that he was anxious that requisitioning powers should be used as little as possible; and I think that the continuation of this particular regulation does ensure that that shall be done. It is also necessary to continue this regulation so that agricultural committees may carry out land drainage work beyond the powers of the drainage authorities. The Minister of Works requires this regulation to deal with the removal of defence works. I hope the House will, therefore, feel that there is ample justification for the continuance of this regulation. The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked why it was wanted, and I hope that the instances I have given show that we still need it. I have endeavoured to deal with the question of notice and I hope the right hon. Member is satisfied with the answer I have been able to give him. With regard to paragraph (3), which deals with who shall pay for the damage caused, the kind of arrangement that he instanced in the course of his speech will be continued, and we hope that in that way injustice will be avoided.

The next regulation with which he dealt was Regulation 51. This is a regulation which authorises competent authorities to requisition land, including buildings. During the demobilisation period, the Service Departments, on occasion, may be able to relinquish some land, including buildings, if they can get smaller or more suitable land or buildings for their purposes. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will recollect that we had this up several times on the Emergency Laws (Transitional Powers) Bill, where, in the end, we came to the agreement that on occasion it may very well be desirable, in the interests of the community as a whole, that some of the requisitioned land shall be derequisitioned if other land, less required by the community as a whole, can be taken by the Government Department concerned. And the same thing, of course, applies to the Disposal Services where again, by the contraction of stores, it is sometimes possible to release a large or compact area of land, if some smaller and less usable piece of land can be taken. As far as possible, we shall endeavour to see that that policy is carried out. The local authorities also need these requisitioning powers in order to provide land for housing in certain circumstances. And again it is essential that the agricultural committees shall be in a position to take possession of a farm and put in a new tenant in cases where they hold that the existing occupier is not farming his land efficiently.

The Minister of Supply may need to requisition land, or even a factory, for the purposes of manufacturing, for instance, housing components. May I say, with regard to some of the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter, that the Minister of Supply assures me that the existence of these powers has been of very considerable help to him in getting on with the provision of housing components? And, as often happens it is not so much the use of the powers, as the possession of them that enables progress to be made in matters of that kind. People who are willing to remain inactive all the time the Government are armed with no powers, will become active at the moment when the Government are armed with powers, although those powers do not, in fact, have to be used. I do not think I can agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman in the distinction he drew between requisition and compulsory purchase. I will remember it in future when compulsory purchase orders, which I promote in another capacity are complained about, and would point out how much more generous I am than the right hon. and learned Gentleman used to be, a few years ago. But I am afraid the argument will not get me very far Neither can I agree that people should be given the option of compelling the local authority to purchase. There is nothing to prevent the local authority from purchasing, if a satisfactory arrangement can be reached; but I do not think it would be right to give the owner of the property the right to compel the local authority to purchase, even with the limitation that the right hon. and learned Gentleman suggested should be put on the price that is to be paid. The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked me a question with regard to Section 5 (5) of the Supplies and Services Act. That is another case in which I have let myself in for trouble by being conciliatory to the Opposition. That Subsection was put into the Act on the Report stage as a result of an effort to try to meet what I regarded as the legitimate grievances of the Opposition in the matter. I can give the right hon. and learned Gentleman the assurance that it is not intended to use that Subsection in order to bring about what he described as compulsory purchase by back-door methods. I do not think it at all likely that there will be a single case, but there might be one or two extraordinary cases in which it would only be just to all concerned that the powers of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act should be brought into play after land had been taken under that Subsection But our intention is certainly not to use it except in those most exceptional circumstances.

I owe some apology to the right hon. and learned Gentleman and to the House with regard to the volume to which the hon. and learned Member for Exeter alluded so dramatically. I gave an assurance to the House. I am informed that there was a slip-up on the one case that was discovered by the hon. and learned Member for Exeter. With regard to the words read out by the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead, the case is that they do not disappear from the regulation until 24th February. It would, therefore, have been wrong to have struck them out of the volume in the Library until that date was reached. I do not think we shall be troubled with this kind of thing in the future, for, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows, I am compiling a volume of the regulations, which, I hope, will be placed in the Library, and will be available, for sale, as soon as 24th February is past. We shall then be able to have in front of us the whole of the Defence Regulations under the Emergency Laws (Transitional Powers) Act and the Supplies and Services Act, available in the form in which they will be operative; and from time to time amending volumes will be published, so that I hope we shall not again get into the tangle which has been operating, not merely during the last four or five months, but during the period since 1939, when the Defence Regulations first came into operation. We are anxious that none of these regulations shall be used oppressively. I have given, I hope, satisfactory assurances on the points raised by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and I can assure him that, as from time to time it becomes less necessary to rely on these regulations, we shall revoke them in order that they shall not be lying about, capable of abuse, when there is no further need for their use.

11.40 p.m.

Major Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)

I do not apologise for taking up the time of the House, even at this late hour of the night, on a matter of this importance which, by reason of the course the Government have taken, cannot be discussed in any other way. Therefore, I desire to put one or two points of considerable importance to the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State said that this Motion was an attack upon the Act of 1945.

Mr. Ede

I said nothing of the sort. I said that the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Maude) was an attack on the Act.

Major Boyd-Carpenter

With very great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, it was nothing of the sort. It was an attack upon the use which the Government have seen fit to make of the Act. It will be within the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman, and of the House, that the hon. and learned Member for Exeter went out of his way to refer to the relevant words of the Act: That it was necessary or expedient to make an Order. That will be within the recollection of the House, and it will, in due course, appear in the Official Report. I would emphasise that the attack is upon the use the Government have made of the very wide powers that they have taken under the Act. Once again we were treated to the defence of this taking of wide powers by the plea that it was not intended to exercise them. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman, in taking that line, fully appreciated the unprecedented—in time of peace— powers which he is taking, powers to requisition not only every house but every chattel in the country. I submit that we have heard remarkably little defence or justi- fication for the taking of these powers. They are taken in this extraordinary way, indirectly, under the Act of 1945, by a method that is extremely difficult to discuss. It is a little curious that, when powers infinitely less important than these are taken, they are taken with due debate, with full and detailed justification— or attempted justification, anyhow— put forward by the Minister in charge. Whereas, now we are faced with a fait accompli— with an Order made nearly two months ago, which we are able to debate only tonight. We are entitled, as representing our constituencies and the country, to ask what is the reason, what the necessity, for taking powers to requisition every chattel in the country in time of peace.

I would invite attention very particularly to Regulation 53, on which remarkably little was said by the right hon. Gentleman. No doubt in the exercise of that tactical and Parliamentary skill of which he is a master, he did not attempt to justify taking these powers. I would repeat the question that has already been put from these benches: what is the necessity, what is the overwhelming need, which causes the Government to take powers to requisition every chattel in the country? What is the emergency which they apprehend? What crisis have they foreseen which calls for these enormous powers in time of peace? I do not believe that it is fully realised, least of all by hon. Members opposite, that they are participating, as accessories after the fact, in the taking by the Executive of powers which this House has denied to successive Sovereigns over the centuries. We are entitled—and this applies with even greater emphasis to hon. Members opposite—to know what is the justification, what the need, for taking these powers in time of peace. We have been given none. We have been told none at all. We have heard from the right hon. Gentleman, with respect to the requisition of land, that there is convenience therein for certain of his colleagues and for certain Departments. That may be so, but we have not heard a word as to why it is necessary to take these powers to requisition chattels. Though it be comparatively late in the evening and though we are hamstrung by these methods that the Government, for their own reasons, have seen fit to adopt for taking these powers, we are entitled to have an answer on this.

I would say one thing more to hon. Members opposite who by their attitude to this question— 1 say this deliberately— of frivolous irresponsibility— [Interruption]— I am glad they endorse it. By their attitude to a question which, be it right or wrong, is of transcendent importance, they have succeeded in one thing, and that is, in demonstrating to the House and to the country the incapacity of the Labour Party to govern.

11.47 p.m.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid

The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary put the best face he could on these regulations and gave us some comfort and a number of pious hopes. But it seems to me, so far as the greater part of his remarks were concerned, we really were not advanced very much by what he said. He told us the Government would do their best not to be oppressive. I think that was a fair paraphrase of his remarks. He did not, however, tell us how far they were going to delegate their authority. I am perfectly willing to agree that if the Government keep the matter in the hands of the higher civil servants and if difficult cases are referred for the decision of the Minister himself then, even if some of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite prove to be somewhat ephemeral I am sure their successors will still act reasonably. It is when we have delegation— as, almost inevitably, we must in this matter— to a much lower range of officers that the trouble occurs.

I am not sure whether 1 understood the right hon. Gentleman correctly He told us something about seven days and something about 14. First he said there was to be seven days' notice and then he said we were grumbling at 14. I am not sure what he meant. Did he mean there was always to be seven days and sometimes 14, or did he mean there was always to be 14? I am not clear yet. I do not know whether he can tell me. Seven days is quite hopeless. There is not time in seven days to make an appeal which is going to reach the Government Department and be decided. The right hon. Gentleman referred to billeting, which is absolutely and entirely different because in the case of billeting there is a local appeal tribunal in the same town and all that has to be done is to summon them together and put the case to them. It is all over in half an hour. That is not the way in Government Departments and 14 days is little enough in all conscience, but if the Minister says he is going to cut it down to seven I can tell him it will just not work. I agree that under the Compensation (Defence) Act there is no compensation if a man is restricted from doing work on his own. land. Compensation is paid only if the land is taken possession of, or work is done on it. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that it has been the custom throughout the war to pay compensation in circumstances which are not warranted by, or to a greater extent than is warranted by the Compensation (Defence) Act. I asked him whether extra compensation would apply in that case. I did not get an answer and so shall have to consult the Treasury, but the Treasury is not represented here. I agree that there are few cases for using No. 50, but can he say that he is not going to use it in any other case?

With regard to No. 51, the right hon. Gentleman started off very nicely by saying the Government were only going to use it where they could, by derequisitioning, release some bigger place. It is not much consolation for a man whose property was taken to know that a bigger property was given back to somebody else, particularly if the derequisitioned house is handed back in a dilapidated condition. I should have thought that that was not a very good policy. Then the right hon. Gentleman spoilt it all by" saying "Of course, the Minister of Supply must be allowed some rope in this matter." I think we should have heard the right hon. Gentleman, as he is the chief culprit in this matter, and learned how he is to use it. I am, indeed, a little surprised that, as the Minister of Supply is here and is the

main person interested, he did not reply instead of the Home Secretary, who is really not responsible for any of the things to which these regulations apply. I think it is rather unfortunate that we did not get a better answer on No. 51, and that we did not get an answer at all on No. 53. I do not think one case was suggested of the reasonable use of No. 53.

I have said enough to show that, although the right hon. Gentleman approached this matter very reasonably and would, if the matter were all in his control, no doubt meet us, he cannot compromise the Minister of Supply or the Treasury or the Ministry of Health about requisitioning. Since the Government put up the right hon. Gentleman to answer for Departments for which he is not responsible, it is not surprising that we did not get a very satisfactory answer. As we have the Minister of Supply here, and representatives of the Ministry of Health, why are we not told? I am not satisfied that these other Departments have given adequate assurances. The right hon. Gentleman has given assurances within-his power, but the other Departments have failed to do so, and therefore we think that, as the Government have not chosen to do what they ought to have done and amend this regulation and have not given us proper assurances, we have no other course open to us but to register in the Division Lobby our protest, and our view that we dislike these despotic powers.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Whiteley)

rose in his place, and claimed to move, " That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 169; Noes, 41.

Forman, J. C. Mack, J. D. Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Foster, W. (Wigan) McKay, J. (Wallsend) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) McKinlay, A. S. Snow, Capt. J. W.
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) McLeavy, F. Solley, L. J.
Gaitskell, H. T. N. MacMillan, M. K. Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Mallalieu, J. P. W. Steele, T.
Gilzean, A. Mathers, G. Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Mayhew, C. P. Taylor, H. B (Mansfield)
Gordon-Walker, P. C. Medland, H. M. Thomas, l. O. (Wrekin)
Grenfell, D. R. Messer, F. Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Neal, H. (Claycross) Thorneycroft, H.
Hardy, E. A. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Tiffany, S.
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford) Timmons, J.
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Noel-Buxton, Lady Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Herbison, Miss M. Oldfield, W. H. Turner-Samuels, M.
Holman, P. Oliver, G. H. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
House, G. Orbach, M. Warbey, W. N.
Hoy, J. Paget, R. T. Watkins, T. E.
Hubbard, T. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Watson, W. M.
Hudson, J. H. (Eating, W.) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Hughes, Lt. H. D. (Wolverh'ton, W.) Pargiter, G. A. Weitzman, D.
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Parkin, Fit.-Lieut. B. T. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Janner, B. Pearson, A. White, H.(Derbyshire, N.E.)
Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Perrins, W. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St, Pancras, S.E.) Popplewell, E. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Porter, E. (Warrington) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Proctor, W. T. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Jones, Asterley (Hitchin) Ranger, J. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Keenan, W. Rankin, J. Willis, E.
Kenyon, C. Rhodes, H. Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J
Key, C. W. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick) Wise, Major F. J.
Lavers, S. Royle, C. Woodburn, A.
Lee, F. (Hulme) Scott-Elliot, W. Woods, G. S.
Leonard, W. Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M. Wyatt, Maj. W.
Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes) Yates, V. F.
Lewis, J. (Bolton) Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens) Zilliacus, K.
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Logan, D. G. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Longden, F. Simmons. C J. Mr. Robert Taylor and
McEntee, V. La T. Skeffington, A. M. Captain Michael Stewart
McGhee, H. G. Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Barlow, Sir J. Linstead, H. N. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Spearman, A. C. M.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Spence, Maj. H. R.
Clarke, Col. R. S. McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Marples, Capt. A. E. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Gage, Lt.-Col. C. Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G. Maude, J. C. Turton, R. H.
Grimston, R. V. Mellor, Sir J. Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Hogg, Hon. Q. Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Hope, Lord J. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall) Commander Agnew and Mr.Drewe:
Keeling E. H. Scott, Lord W.

Question put accordingly.

" That the Order in Council, dated 20th December, 1945, with respect to the Defence Regulations relating to Requisitioning and similar Powers (S.R.& O., 1945, No. 1616), a

Division No. 85.] AYES. 12.1a.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Scott, Lord W.
Barlow, Sir J. Keeling, E. H. Smith, E. P. (Ashferd)
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Linstead, H. N. Spearman, A. C. M.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G T. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Spence, Maj. H. R.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Thomas, J. P L. (Hereford)
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Drewe, C. Marples, Capt. A. E. Turton, R. H.
Gage, Lt.-Col. C Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G. Maude, J. C. White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Grimston, R. V. Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.
Hogg, Hon. Q. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead) Sir John Mellor and
Hope. Lord J. Roberts,Maj.P.G.(Ecclesall) Mr. Charles Taylor.

copy of which was presented on 22nd January, be annulled.

The House divided: Ayes, 41; Noes, 169.

Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Proctor, W. T.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Hardy, E. A. Ranger, J.
Austin, H. L. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Rankin, J.
Bacon, Miss A. Henderson, J (Ardwick) Rhodes, H.
Baird, Capt. J. Herbjson, Miss M. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Bechervaise, A. E. Holman, P. Royle, C.
Belcher, J. W. House, G. Scott-Elliot, W.
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Hoy, J. Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Binns, J. Hubbard, T. Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)
Blyton, W. R. Hughes, Lt. H. D. (Wolverh'ton, W.) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Boardman, H. Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Bottomley, A. G. Janner, B. Simmons, C. J.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Skeffington, A. M.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St, Pancras, S.E.) Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jones, Asterley (Hitchin) Snow, Capt. J. W.
Champion, A. J. Keenan, W Solley, L. J.
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R. Kenyon, C. Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Clitherow, Dr. R. Lavers, S. Steele, T.
Cobb, F. A. Lee, F. (Hulme) Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Coldrick, W. Leonard, W. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Collick, P. Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Thomas, l. O. (Wrekin)
Collindridge, F. Lewis, J. (Bolton) Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Colman, Miss G. M Lipton, Lt.-Col. M Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Comyns, Dr. L. Logan, D. G. Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Daggar, G. Longden, F. Thorneycroft, H-
Davies, Edward (Burslem) McEntee, V. La T. Tiffany, S.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) McGhee, H. G. Timmons, J.
Davies, S. O (Merthyr) Mack, J. D Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Deer, G. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Turner-Samuels, M.
de Freitas, Geoffrey McKinlay, A. S. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Delargy, Captain H. J. McLeavy, F. Warbey, W. N.
Diamond, J. MacMillan, M. K. Watkins, T. E.
Dobbie, W. Mallalieu, J. P. W Watson, W. M.
Douglas, F. C. R. Mathers, G. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Driberg, T. E. N. Mayhew, C. P. Weitzman, D.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Medland, H. M. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Dumpleton, C. W. Messer, F. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Neal, H. (Claycross) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Fairhurst, F. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Farthing, W. J. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E (Brentford) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Foot, M. M. Noel-Buxton, Lady Willis, E.
Forman, J. C. Oldfield, W. H Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.
Foster, W. (Wigan) Oliver, G. H. Wise, Major F. J.
Fraser, T (Hamilton) Orbach, M Woodburn, A.
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Paget, R. T. Woods, G. S.
Gaitskell, H. T. N. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Wyatt, Maj. W
Ganley, Mrs. C. S Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Yates, V. F.
Gilzean, A. Pargiter, G. A Zilliacus, K.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Parkin, Fit.-Lieut. B. T.
Gordon-Walker, P. C Pearson, A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Grenfell, D. R. Perrins, W. Mr. Robert Taylor and
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Popplewell, E. Captain Michael Stewart.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Porter, E. (Warrington)


Resolved: '' That this House do now adjourn."— [Mr. Mathers.]

Adjourned accordingly at Ten Minutes past Twelve o'Clock.