§ Mr. Mikardo (Reading)
I beg to move, in page 43, line 7, after "such," to insert "in a full-time executive capacity."
On Monday last a number of my hon. Friends and myself had some little difference with the Government on some of the terminology of the Bill, and the issue was one which appeared to be by no means clear to those hon. Gentlemen on both sides who have not had the advantage of sitting through this Bill in Committee. In spite of the efforts made both from the 633 Front Benches and the back it was quite clear that there were many hon. Gentlemen who have not completely followed the pros and cons of the argument. That is not altogether surprising. Often when I have sat and listened to a Debate on the Report stage of a Bill on which I have not sat in Committee, I have found extreme difficulty in following the trend of the difficult arguments which arise out of pledges or discussions in Committee. Indeed, I have admired and envied the ease with which hon. Gentlemen who had had that benefit were able to deal with them.
The present Amendment would ensure that no such difficulty could possibly arise. The words which it proposes to insert are in the clearest and most unequivocal terms. No one need be in any doubt as to the purport and intention behind the Amendment, even had he not had the benefit of hearing the many arguments—and there were many—for and against this proposal in Committee. Following the long Debate that took place in Committee, the Amendment was defeated by a single vote. It was rather fortuitous, because some of the supporters of the Amendment were away, like my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick), compulsorily away at Bikini, and others were inadvertently away because of confusion which arose over the announcements of the Government as to the hours at which we were to sit. The Government must congratulate themselves on their good fortune and perspicacity. In the Division which took place in Committee, and on which the Government were successful by a single vote, right hon. and hon. Members opposite abstained—if I may be allowed to say so without offence—with less justification than in any other abstention I have seen, because the issue was so clear. I feel sure they were torn between the inescapable logic of the arguments for the Amendment on the one hand, and their interest in big directors on the other. No doubt they will follow the same line now. It is for them to reconcile their action with their consciences.
There are three principal reasons why my hon. Friends and I urge this Amendment, which we believe to be of fundamental importance not only to the aviation industry, but in setting a precedent for many other industries which are being nationalised and which will be nationalised 634 in the next 20 years of the life of this Government. The first of these reasons is that the Amendment is necessary in order to infuse a new spirit into the aviation corporations, and into those manning the corporations. There can be no question from what I have heard in this House and outside, that all is not well in personal relations within the British Overseas Airways Corporation. The other two corporations are new, and it is hoped that they will learn from the mistakes of their predecessor. While there are always some frictional difficulties between directors and employed personnel, especially technical personnel who, to be fair, are liable to have funny moments of their own—the degree of friction between British Overseas Airways Corporation and the best people they employ is really abnormal. There has never been a single occasion in the history of our major airline operators, right through the history of B.O.A.C. and before that in the history of Imperial Airways, in which the important technicians employed in the air and on the ground were satisfied about the efficiency and direction of the corporation's affairs at the top executive level. It was common talk amongst all the employees of the corporation that up at the top there was a racket.
People in the industry feel that they need more than anything else at the moment a clean start right through the corporations. It can only start at the top level—a sense that here are people setting out to make sure that this great new enterprise is successful, and who are willing to stake their own reputations and careers on their ability to make it successful. Talk to any pilot in B.O.A.C., to any ground engineer, to any operational executive, to any of the major executive personnel, and they will all tell the same story—that civil aviation has been cursed for the last 20 years by being run by men as a spare-time occupation, and cursed by being run by men who already sit on the boards of aviation companies concurrently with five, six or seven seats on the boards of other undertakings not connected with aviation, financial undertakings, commercial undertakings, and general undertakings. There is a wide spread and deep seated feeling that while the employees, quite properly, stand the risk that if they fall down on their jobs they will be thrown out and, quite properly, have their careers prejudiced by 635 any reprehensible behaviour on their part, above them there are men whose interest in aviation is one-fifth, one-sixth, or one-seventh of their total interest and income and who can fall down on the job without suffering any inconvenience except that of dropping off one of seven boards to find a seat on another. They only have to make one change in one more letterhead, and perhaps have the further embarrassment of appearing in the New Year's Honours List.
The employees have to stake their reputation, their careers, and their future on doing the job while they are led by men, some of whom do not have to burn their boats, and who in fact have nothing tremendous to gain by the enterprise being a success, and nothing serious to lose by its failure, because they can dash from one interest to another. Nothing else would give a, greater fillip to employees in aviation than saying to them, "For the first time you are to have people running this industry who have the courage to stake their future on the chances of making a success of the industry." There would be a new leadership, a new reaction and a new upsurge of endeavour.
The second reason we have for this Amendment is that without it this Bill is not that complete departure from the Swinton plan which we were promised, which it was the policy of this party to make, and which the Government have represented it to be. It is possible to vitiate any policy by the way in which one administers it. It is possible nominally to depart from the Swinton plan on paper, but to preserve all the features of that plan at the level of administration. This is a serious matter. I think one should be frank, and have the courage not to mince one's words. I believe there are too many people appointed to these boards whose jobs contain an element of compensation. That is the one thing which, in the name of efficiency and smooth working, we cannot afford. I do not mind who the man is, and I do not mind if the list of members of a corporation looks like a page out of Debrett, so long as they are appointed on their merits and they are appointed full-time, with no other activities, staking their future on the job.
What have we got? At the moment we have not got anything like it, unless 636 this Amendment is carried. Some of these jobs contain an element of compensation. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will not get up and ask, "Which?" because we were told on Monday that we were not allowed to mention people and to criticise people. I wish to say, in general terms, as I said on Second reading, that if this is supposed to be a new deal for the aviation industry, when I look at the list of the people appointed to run this new deal I feel that the pack ought to be shuffled, cut and re-dealt all over again. It does not look like a new deal when one takes the per sonalities into account.
The third and most important reason why we put down this Amendment is that, without it, there is some confusion between the policy making function in running aviation and the administrative function in running aviation. It is the first principle of scientific management that the function of making policy shall be carefully separated from the function of executive administration. It is a well known principle that part-time bodies of a deliberative nature are excellent at making policy. I feel that this is a part-time body of a deliberative nature, and that it makes a good job of laying down policy. It is equally held as a general principle that part-time bodies of a deliberative nature are totally inefficient in administration. If the Government insist, as apparently they are insisting, for reasons which I think I shall be able to describe in a moment, on part-time personnel on these corporations, it can only be, if they know anything about the principles of management, because they consider that these bodies should have some some of policy making function. Indeed, the Parliamentary Secretary has said that.
Here we have a situation different from that to be found in a case of a board of directors of a private company, where a board of directors has to be a policy making organisation and then has to "hive off" into a number of individuals in order to execute that policy eruditely. But here the policy mechanism is the Ministry of Civil Aviation. If it does not make policy, what do we have it for? In the few months the Minister has held his office he has undoubtedly strengthened the personnel at the top level in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. He has done wonders in that direction in 637 the short time he has had at his disposal. But if these boards are to lay down His Majesty's Government's policy on civil aviation, what are all these eminent gentlemen in the Ministry to do? I put it to the House that the Ministry must be the only policy making mechanism, and that, therefore, the function of the corporations themselves is to carry out the policy laid down. If they are to carry it out they must be executive. If they are to be executive they must be at the end of the eternal telephone all day, during working hours. We cannot make do with any dilettante handling of problems of that nature.
I think I could tell the House in advance, and I intend to be daring enough to presume to do so, what arguments the Parliamentary Secretary will advance against this Amendment. That is not very clever of me, because he has advanced these arguments before. I can make his speech for him, not so eloquently and not nearly so eruditely, but I think I can forecast the contents. I think that he will adduce, against this Amendment, five arguments. First, he is going to say that this is a deliberative body. That is a point to which I have already given the answer. If he says that, I shall ask him what sort of deliberations he and his Minister are to carry out if the corporations are to do some deliberating. Secondly, he will endeavour to draw a comparison between these corporations and the Court of the Bank of England. He will say that we nationalised the Bank of England and did not insist on having full-time executive directors of the Bank. It will be obvious to the House that in making such comparisons one has to take account of the difference in circumstances. One has to make this comparison, as I think the Parliamentary Secretary would put it, mutatis mutandis. The fact is that there are a lot of mutatis in this comparison. In the case of the Bank of England there is not a Minister whose sole or overwhelmingly major function is to lay down policy for that public corporation. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has many functions which have nothing to do with the Bank of England. In the case of aviation, we have a Ministry which has almost nothing else to do but to supervise these corporations and lay down policy. Since the Ministry is to do 638 the policy making the corporations need only be executive.
A better parallel is with the Ministry of Fuel and Power, the major part of the function of which is to supervise the work of the Coal Board. Quite properly, the Coal Board has been chosen on the basis of a number of specialised full-time executives, each with his own functions. There are a couple of gentlemen, distinguished in the trade union world, to look after labour relations, a distinguished physicist to look after general questions of research, a distinguished mining engineer, etc., sitting together as a board to work out the policy laid down by the Government. If that is right for coal, when there is the policy making mechanism in the Ministry, it is equally true for aviation.
The Parliamentary Secretary may say that we are afraid that the corporations have got the wrong people on these boards, and he might say that surely if the people are the wrong ones they will do more damage full-time than part-time. I make him a present of that argument, and also a present of the reply, which is, that the wrong people will not take full-time jobs because they know that their wrongness will find them out. They know that when they have a full-time executive job they have to stand or fall by results. When they breeze into the office for an odd half hour twice a week between two others of their board meetings, the responsibility cannot be pinned on them. Fourthly, I think the Parliamentary Secretary will say he has some need of advice sometimes, and that some specialised knowledge is needed, when perhaps a new route is being opened up, etc. Any organisation, public or private, that needs advisory services of any sort, goes out and buys that advice, without necessarily putting the giver of the advice on the board. If a private company does not like the ventilation in its factory, or the Minister of Works does not like the ventilation in this building, they will go to a heating and ventilation engineer, who will spend a few months advising them on the matter. A private company would not put him on the board, and the Minister of Works would not make him a Parliamentary Secretary on that account. We do not need to clutter up a hoard of directors to get specialised knowledge.
Finally, I feel sure that the Parliamentary Secretary will advance the argument, 639 unless he is put off it by my having forestalled him, that these part-time appointments are only temporary, and that we shall move towards full-time executive appointments, that the industry is in a state of flux, and for the time being he needs some assistance in this direction. I can never understand the sort of thesis which says that a proposition is absolutely awful and then says that it is not permanent anyway, or a thesis which says, "I absolutely agree with this proposal, but I will start in two years' time." That cannot possibly be right. There are no circumstances under which that can be right. I would challenge the Parliamentary Secretary on this point: Does he represent this as being purely a temporary expedient for the next two years? We were told the other day that we must not criticise people by name in this House, but we ought to be able to praise them by name in this House. Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell us, in the case of every one of his part-time directors of corporations, why they are indispensable to him? Will he sing their praises and say, "Here is Mr. X. I don't like part-timers on the boards. We are going to get rid of them in a year or two, but here is Mr. X and these arc his qualifications which I simply must have and which cannot be fulfilled by anybody who will take on a permanent job"? If the Parliamentary Secretary will do that he may go some way towards satisfying me.
Those are the reasons which I think the Parliamentary Secretary will advance I do not think he will advance the real reason which, to be just, perhaps is not his so much as the real reason of the noble Lord. The Ministry appear to have shown an extreme level of obstinacy with regard to this matter. They have given way on many other points. This is the one upon which they appear to have been tremendously obdurate. I feel that that can only be because the Minister does not want to say to people who have been given appointments—at least partially by way of compensation for their disappointment in seeing the Swinton plan overturned—" I am sorry, lads. I thought it was on, but it is off." The real reason is just as simple as that. The Minister feels there would be a loss of personal face if accepted this Amendment. If it is the real reason then surely it is a very bad and shameful reason. 640 I address my final remarks to hon. Members on this side of the House. I feel sure hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot be very interested in this matter one way or the other. They abstained from voting upstairs and they will probably do the same thing here. The cause which I am urging at the moment may be unpopular. I think the Division list will show that it is an unpopular cause in the sense that it is the cause of a minority. I have the feeling that there is a tremendous issue of principle with regard to all nationalisation enshrined in this question. One day, when we see the problems involved in the administration of nationalised industries starting to work themselves out, we shall look back upon this day. When we are faced with some of the snags—there must be some snags—and we are considering the problem of putting them right, I feel that we shall look back and say, "Anyhow, there were a few people on our side who foresaw this sort of thing and who realised you have got to get an element of professionalism in the directorate of nationalised industries if you are not to run into trouble." I say to my hon. Friends on this side of the House that we have been talking about nationalisation for 40 years, and for 40 years one of the main arguments we have used in favour of nationalisation is that we mean to get rid of all "guinea pig" directors.
Here we have a Socialist Government nationalising a brand new industry, starting with a clean sheet of paper so that they can do anything they like and taking as their first nationalisation measure the step of installing into the management of this nationalised industry "guinea pig" directors. I say quite bluntly that in some cases that is precisely what they are—no more and no less. I cannot believe that any Socialist who has been campaigning earnestly for the type of nationalisation which for so long we have been urging can be indifferent to this matter and, if he wants to ensure the success of this nationalised industry—and of the nationalisation of all future industries—he cannot fail to show how strongly he feels on this matter and to impress his view upon the Government in the only way which is open to us.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Proctor (Eccles)
I beg to second the Amendment.
641 I congratulate the hon. Gentleman the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) for anticipating correctly everything that could be said by his supporters, and by the Government in their reply, in this matter. It will not be necessary for me to be anything but brief. A speech which I consider to have been one of the most brilliant delivered in this House for a considerable time contained an admission that the Ministry whose conduct was under discussion could plead guilty to only one failure, which was that they did not instantly and completely reverse the actions and the policy of their predecessors. I think that criticism might be applied to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in that we did not completely and absolutely depart from the Swinton plan as far as Socialist policy is concerned. That plan envisaged three corporations, three sets of directors, three separate and distinct organisation. It was a plan devised for the division of the financial spoils of civil aviation. I could understand the continuation of the present "set up" if we had the British European Airways Corporation operating under the railways and the railways were to operate the corporation and receive the financial benefits from that operation. I could understand a separate and distinct policy-making organisation being set up for the South American Airways Corporation if the shipping interests were to be vitally interested in the financial results of that operation.
For the purpose of operating this great national service, which the Government have decided to nationalise, we believe that it is necessary to have the policy-making organisation set up within the Ministry itself. The Minister with his expert advisers should be responsible for deciding the policy. The Minister having decided the policy, we believe that for the purpose of giving executive administration to the decisions of the Minister, the operation should be within the Ministry. We who are responsible for this Amendment feel that it is necessary to have fulltime people responsible for administration. We can see no advantage whatever in the setting up of three policy-making boards on a sparetime basis. Of necessity, that will be fairly costly and certainly it will not be efficient. We think the policy should be decided by the Minister with the aid of his expert advisers, and that these corporations should be manned by 642 fulltime executive directors who are responsible for carrying out that policy.
I hope the Government will give careful consideration to this matter. It is only because we feel that the whole efficiency of this organisation is at stake that we are pressing this Amendment. I believe that, almost as much as any other single action, the future of civil aviation will decide the prosperity or otherwise of the people of this country. There is no other instrument that is so likely to extend the influence of the British people all over the world as an effective and efficient civil aviation organisation. We plead with the Government to consider the proposals which we make. The policy of allowing fulltime executive people to operate on these boards is certainly a wise one. If this was the case of a small organisation, I could understand some suggestion that people would not be required on a fulltime basis; but with this vast organisation which extends all over the world there is, surely, no need whatever for spare-time personnel. We believe a spare-time director is concerned chiefly with financial interest. We do not want any financial interest being obtruded into this great service. We believe that it is the right way to operate a Socialist service, and we commend our proposals to the Front Bench and invite them to give further consideration to this matter.
Mr. Ivor Thomas
The mover and seconder of this Amendment have put their arguments in a way which must commend them to the House, and I am grateful to them for speaking so cogently and logically and without heat. I trust I may be able to do the same, and that this important subject will be discussed in the manner in which it ought to be discussed. Let me say at the outset that I have a great deal of sympathy with what I conceive to be the object behind their Amendment. As I conceive it, my hon. Friends dislike "guinea-pig directors," which have been a feature of joint stock enterprise in the past. The Government feel equally keenly about that, and have no desire to see any repetition in public enterprise of these features of private enterprise. Financial considerations are certainly playing no part in the appointment of the members of these corporations. It is not for the purpose of giving extra emoluments to certain per- 643 sons that they have been appointed to part-time membership of the boards, and, equally, my noble Friend will not tolerate any dilettante attitude in these corporations. Members are being appointed to the boards, and will continue to be appointed, only with a view to the services which they can render.
Let me turn to the successive stages of the argument. In the first place, I must point out that, under this Bill as now drafted, the Minister can do exactly what is desired by this Amendment. It would be open to him to appoint all the members of the board on a full-time executive basis, and to insist upon that in his instrument of appointment.
No, I am building up an argument. Just as I did not intervene during the speeches of my hon. Friends, I hope I may now be allowed to develop my argument, when, I think, the point will be covered. The first point I was about to make was that, under the Bill as now drafted, my noble Friend can appoint every member, if he so wishes, on a full-time executive basis. The Coal Industry Nationalisation Bill has been cited, but, under that Bill, it is not laid down that the members shall be appointed on a full-time executive basis. Members of the Coal Board have, in fact, been appointed on that basis, but there is nothing in the Bill to say so. In the Bank of England Act, it is laid down that no more than four members of the Court shall give their exclusive services. It would, therefore, be open to the Minister, if he so desires, to appoint every one on a full time executive basis.
My second point in the chain of argument is that the Minister has, in fact, appointed certain members already to full-time membership of the boards, and, as an earnest of what I am saying about having no dilettante directors on the boards, some of these appointments have meant considerable sacrifices on the part of those who have taken them up. In one case—I am very glad that we are not going to mention particular names tonight—a full-time member of one of these Boards has resigned the vice-presidency of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company and the vice- 644 chairmanship of the Gas Light and Coke Company in order to devote himself whole-heartedly to this air line corporation. In another case, a full-time member of one of these boards has sacrificed strong family and personal interests in shipping in order to give his full time to this appointment. I mention these instances to show that the Minister fully realises what the hon. Gentlemen desire, and that, to this extent, he has met them. It is true, as the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) pointed out in the argument which he was good enough to put in my mouth, that it would be embarrassing to my noble Friend if he were now to reverse that policy. In good faith with the persons concerned, in agreement with his colleagues in the Government, and, I may add, in full conformity with Labour Party policy in the past, he has made certain part-time appointments. It would. obviously, be an embarrassment to turn round and say, in the hon. Gentleman's own words, "Sorry, it is off." That embarrassment would not deter my noble Friend from doing it, however, if he felt it was advisable. He has done embarrassing things before, and he would do them again if it was necessary so to do, but he does believe that there are at the present time, and may always be, occasions where part-time directors may have a very desirable function to play and when no full-time director who was available could do the work for them.
That is the gist of the argument. For example, there may be a man of science whom it is most desirable to have on one of these boards, but who would not be prepared or able to give his full time services to the board. If he did, he would shortly cease to be a very good man of science. It is precisely because he is a good man of science that he is appointed to this post on the board. There may be, again, a trade union official whose presence on one of the boards may be very desirable for the purpose of maintaining good labour relations, yet, if he were taken full-time, he would cease to have those very qualities for which he had been appointed and would lose that contact with the trade union world which makes it so desirable to have him on the board.
It would, obviously, be done by agreement with the trade unions. I am giving hypothetical cases, but there is a possibility of this happening I think the hon. Member for Reading misunderstood the argument used on a previous occasion, and, on the basis of what he misunderstood, made a good point when he said that the corporations can buy advice. What I had in mind was that the corporations have certain more or less defined geographical areas in which to operate, and, in the case of the South American Corporation, a business man who has connections with South America may be very desirable on that board. Equally, in the case of the corporation operating to China, it may be desirable to have a member on the board with special knowledge of that country. It is not a question of buying advice for a special reason. In the case of the South American Corporation, such a person as I have mentioned would cease to have his value on the board if he ceased to maintain his business connections with South America.
§ Mr. Mikardo
I am sure the hon. Gentleman does not, deliberately, want to alter my argument. All I said was that the Minister could have the trade union representative, whom he wanted to help with labour relations, and the South American business man, whom he wanted for his knowledge of the country, in a consultative capacity, which is the common practice, without their taking up seats on the board, which the Minister might want to give to fulltime executive people.
They could be brought in in that way, but I do not think it would be nearly as good. In the majority of cases, such people would be compelled to give their services elsewhere. Most of us have to do something to earn our living, and it takes most of us nearly all our time to do it. In the case of these boards, we might be dealing with people whose time was fully occupied in doing two or three different things, and there would be no question of dilettante directors. I should like to give some examples, which I think will confirm my argument. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will forgive me for quoting examples which will be more familiar on this side of the House than on theirs. I should like to quote the case of the cooperative societies, and my hon. Friends 646 will not deny that the co-operative retail societies are examples of highly successful trading enterprise. I think hon. Gentlemen opposite think they have been too successful, and would like to curb them. In the case of all these societies, with only a single exception, the directors are part-time. It can hardly be denied that they have made a great success of their work. We are often exhorted to follow the example of the American airlines. I have made direct inquiries into the matter since this subject was first raised, and it is the case that the majority of directors of the three international American operators are employed on a part-time basis.
§ 6.30 p.m.
That is so; they have the Civil Aeronautics Board. No one can deny that they have been extremely successful in their operations. There is the gist of my argument.
I am sorry if I have not entirely followed the lines which my hon. Friend the Member for Reading thought I would follow, but I will now turn to the answers which he thought I would give. He said that I would give various reasons. One of them was that certain appointments made to this Board had been made as compensation. I can assure him, and I know he will not disbelieve me, that such a consideration has never entered my noble Friend's head. Indeed it never entered mine until my hon. Friend suggested it. In fact, if I may reveal some of the inner workings of the office, I can tell him that one of the first things which my noble Friend instructed me and his other principal advisers to do when he took office was to draw up a list of the various functions which have to be performed on the boards. It was from that angle that he tackled the matter. He wanted to get the functions settled first, and then to find the persons to carry them out. That is, in fact, how the boards have been constituted. In no case has there been any suggestion o a person being appointed by way of compensation for some previous service, or because of a disappointment.
§ Mr. Bowles
Will my hon. Friend tell the House, not the names, but the number of people who had already been selected and promised by Lord Swinton, 647 and taken over by the present noble Lord?
I do not know whom Lord Swinton had in mind or whether they have been appointed or not, but we should not be deterred from appointing a man whom we thought desirable just because Lord Swinton had thought so also. My hon. Friend who seconded this Amendment argued that the whole Swinton plan ought to have been overthrown. Substantially, of course, the Swinton plan has been overthrown, but is my hon. Friend going to suggest that because Lord Swinton proposed to use aircraft on his services that we should not use aircraft? That is what it comes to. We are not going to reject any proposal simply because it happened to commend itself to Lord Swinton also. Each of these questions has been considered on its merits,
As another argument, my hon. Friend the Member for Reading said there ought to be a separation of executive functions from policy making functions. I think there is a misunderstanding in his mind about what happens in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and in the corporations. It is not possible to make a clear distinction and to say that policy belongs to the Minister of Civil Aviation and executive action or administration to the corporations. There are different kinds of policy, and each of us is, in a sense, a policy making body. We are particularly concerned with international policy. We have to negotiate treaties and attend international conferences. But even on these matters, the corporations are naturally brought in. They are brought in as advisers, and we make a special point, whenever we attend an international gathering, to take persons from the corporations with us.
The corporations, equally, have their own policy to consider, with which we are not so directly concerned—the policy of airline operation. It is a different matter from the kind of policy with which we are normally concerned, but it is still policy. Whether these corporations were publicly or privately owned, someone would have to decide this policy of airline operation, and it is on these matters of policy, the policy of airline operation as distinct from Government policy, that part-time members of the board may fulfil very useful function. The hon. Gentle- 648 man also said that these might only be temporary appointments, and that my noble Friend might wish to work towards full-time appointments. I can assure the House that my noble Friend intends to be guided in these matters by experience. We are in an empirical race, and my noble Friend wants to see how these things work out, and what persons are available. He will certainly not take up any attitude a priori. This Bill enables him to appoint part-time or full-time members in accordance with the exigencies of the occasion. He would be able, if it were necessary, to work towards full-time appointments. I believe that there is always a case for the part-time director, and I will close on that note.
What my hon. Friends really want is not a board at all; they want the departmental heads to get into conference round the table, but not to have a board in the sense in which that term is commonly understood. There are arguments for that; I am not going to belittle them. There are industries in which that would be the right and proper thing to do, but I do not think that this relatively new industry, which is in process of developing into a great future, is such an industry. It is very desirable to have certain persons who have contacts with the outside world and can see where this industry may develop. The departmental head, immersed in all the duties of his office, very often cannot see the wood for the trees, and it is very desirable to have a breath of fresh air brought in by someone, such as a trade union official, a man of science or a business man with connections with the outside world.
It is also very desirable to have a man of sound judgment on a large variety of matters, even though he may not have a detailed knowledge on a particular one. The experts cannot solve problems which boards of directors are commonly called upon to solve. The expert comes to a point where he is bound to say, "Here are all the facts, but I do not know what to do with them." Time and time again, in my brief period in this office, I have met that problem. Various sets of views are brought before me—the views of the experts—who then cry, "What are we to do about it?" They rely upon the Minister who is supposed to be appointed for his balanced commonsense, and such a person is called upon to decide questions on which the experts disagree. 649 Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friends will be content with the Bill as it stands at present. It allows the Minister considerable latitude. They would fetter him in his discretion, and, by imposing this fetter upon him, would prevent him getting on to the Board the most suitable people for the British airlines at the present time.
§ Mr. Harold Roberts (Birmingham, Handsworth)
Hon. Members on this side of the House may be pardoned if they regard this little domestic quarrel with some amusement. I may say that the Parliamentary Secretary has my sympathy. Dealing with people obsessed by doctrinaire theories is always a thankless task, and I noticed how careful the Parliamentary Secretary was to jam the pill by suggesting that the part-time members of the Board would very often be trade union officials. That phrase was repeated several times. Naughty children must have plenty of jam on their medicine before they can be induced to take it. It is just as well to see where we are getting. Whether we like the socialisation of civil aviation or not, we hope that if we do have it, it will be made to work as well as possible. I entirely agree that the Minister should have full power to get the best boards he can. Hon. Members opposite must realise the hard fact that brains can impose their own terms, and that the able man who will join a board part time will very often not join it whole time or be a "tame cat." Many hon. Members opposite have been very fond of referring in disparaging terms to boards of directors, part time boards and people who collect directorships, and so forth. Those remarks sound very well indeed on platforms; they sound very well as a piece of prejudice, but do the Government give effect to such remarks when they get in contact with the realities of office? No, they do not. They have not done it wholly with the Bank of England, and they do not propose to do it with this Bill. The Government cannot escape the fact that they are having to disown in practice a vast amount of the nonsense and "hot air" talked by their back benchers and supporters in the country.
That is the issue in a nutshell. The Minister said something which is very true, but rather unpalatable to some people, namely, that we are an empirical race and we ought not to decide things 650 a priori. Stupid people like myself have been saying that for years, and I am very glad that my opinion has met with the august approval of the Treasury Bench.
§ Major Vernon (Dulwich)
I would like to dispose of the superstition that we have just heard enunciated from the other side. It is this queer antithesis between theory and practice. Theory and practice are not things which contradict each other; they are complementary. To be of any use, a theory must take into account all the existing facts. A theory is a distillation of practice. Those of us who spend our lives in a technical occupation are aware of the difficult process of producing a sound theory and know its extraordinary convenience when it has been produced. So, to put up the rule of thumb, or the ad hoc experimental way of dealing with things, against the theorists is an entirely false and useless proceeding. We have theories, but those theories are the result of profound study, not only on our part entirely, but on the part of the great minds through the ages.
So much for that. I would now like to deal with some of the points made by the Parliamentary Secretary. We were told, first of all, that the Minister is keenly aware of the importance of not allowing outside considerations and such things as compensation, to affect his judgment. I have looked up the previous Debate on the B.O.A.C. Bill in 1939, and there I found a profound remark by one of the great pioneers of aviation, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter. When the question of appointments to the board of B.O.A.C. was under consideration, he said, addressing the Minister of that day:I hope my right hon. Friend will not allow the corporation to be the dumping ground of ex-governors, or hangers on of any political party."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th July, 1939; Vol. 349, c. 1887.]Looking through the list of directors, without mentioning names, we do find two ex-governors among them.
It was pointed out that the Minister can make the members of the corporations full-time servants if he wishes, but apparently he has not wished to. What will happen? Some of them are full-time and some are not. The chairman and vice-chairman are full-time, and the rest are part-time. What do the chairman and 651 vice-chairman do when the other people are absent? If they have executive functions to perform, their knowledge, experience and grip of the whole organisation will increase from day to day, so that when they meet these part-time people at their occasional meetings, they will clearly outclass them in knowledge of the enterprise and will reduce them to nonentities. It is clear what was in the minds of those who were responsible for drafting this Bill, in connection with these corporations, because in paragraph 5 of the Schedule which we are considering, we find it stated:If the Minister is satisfied that a member of the corporation has been absent from meetings of the corporation for a period longer than three consecutive months without the permission of the corporation;or if he goes bankrupt, and so on, they may call upon him to resign.
That is the picture which was in the minds of the authorities when they designed the Bill; people may be absent for three months and it will not matter, but if their absence goes beyond that period there will be trouble. The Parliamentary Secretary referred to part-time people in the Co-operative Society. The Co-operative Society branches are mostly grocery establishments with a few other etceteras tacked on, and the committee meets once a quarter or once every half year.
§ Major Vernon
My hon. Friend points out that the committee meets weekly or twice-weekly. They meet for a few hours. By the nature of the undertaking, which goes on steadily from year to year, there are not many new problems to face, and it is an administrative enterprise which has been found in practice to work successfully. But the fact that it has been found to work successfully in that case is no argument that that set-up should be convenient in an entirely different concern like civil aviation.
Referring to other examples, the biggest socialised industry that we have is the Post Office. We find no part-time directors there. We have the Postmaster-General and his chief assistant, and under them are divisional directors who meet on occasions. They meet for advice and consultation. They manage quite well 652 without the intervention of the part-time people at all. Because we have examples of concerns which work without the intervention of part-time directors, and because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) has pointed out, there are the policy-making functions of the Ministry and the executive functions which are the duty of the whole-time employees, it seems to me that there is hardly any reason at all for the boards themselves. As the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out, there may be some embarrassment to the Minister in deciding what to do with these people who have some expectations of appointment to the board when the Bill goes through. He said that they are ready to take these jobs at considerable sacrifice. On 20th May I asked a Question of the Parliamentary Secretary about the remuneration of the members of the British Overseas Airways Corporation, and this is the reply received:Prior to the statement of Government policy in the White Paper of December last, those members of the British Overseas Airways Corporation who are still serving, other than the Chairman, were receiving no remuneration. The revised basis of working for the three Corporations proposed under the Civil Aviation Bill will necessitate payment to all members of the Corporations with retrospective effect to 1st January last.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1946; Vol. 423, c. 29.]It seems to me that the sacrifice need not be so heavy if these people were receiving no payment at all in the past, and they are now to receive some payment in the future. The sacrifice does not seem to be altogether too great. What could be done? We have the Advisory Council which has extended functions. It seems to me these able people, with their experience, who wish to serve in a part-time capacity, have a home already provided for them in the Advisory Council. That seems to be a very good way out of what is a rather embarrassing situation.
§ Mr. Bowles
I was very glad the House was so full when my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) made his speech. His speech was unanswerable. I for one certainly came to the conclusion after the speech of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, that it was unanswerable. I only wish there had been more hon. Members on this side of the House to hear it, although there were a large number present to show where an intelligent and logical argument 653 will take hon. Members on this side of the House. I hope the Conservative Party will not do another "Bretton Woods." I hope they will have the courage of their convictions and decide tonight one way or the other, and not shirk their Parliamentary responsibility, as they did on that notorious occasion. During the last 12 months I happen to have had the honour to be the chairman of the civil aviation group in the Labour Party. We have met fairly regularly, and have had this matter under consideration very often. It has been under very serious consideration, because we knew the Government were likely to resist the view we were asking them to consider. We went into this matter, and came to a unanimous conclusion that this is the correct policy for the Government to pursue in regard to directors.
We have been vitally concerned to try to help the Government and the Minister to get a nationalised civil aviation in the most efficient form in which we could possibly have it. After careful consideration we have come to the unanimous conclusion that in order to have air operations conducted properly and effectively in the very best way possible, in order to make our civil aviation service a success, it is essential that we should have full-time executive directors on these corporations.
§ Squadron-Leader Fleming (Manchester, Withington)
Would the hon. Member apply the same theory to the Co-operative Society?
§ Mr. Bowles
I am coming to the Cooperative Society. Unfortunately, the Parliamentary Secretary was not well advised about that. The Co-operative Wholesale Society directors are full-time.
§ Mr. Bowles
So are the Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Society directors. They are two of the biggest trading organisations in this country. The Parliamentary Secretary's analogy was a completely false one.
As always, I was very careful in my language. I said "the Co-operative retail societies."
§ Mr. Bowles
The policy of the large executive body in England, and particularly in London, is that of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, and in Scotland the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale 654 Society. The people are fully employed in directing the policy and operation in this country and Scotland. Therefore, I regret to say, the Parliamentary Secretary's analogy was a completely false one.
§ Squadron-Leader Fleming
Is the hon. Member saying that the Co-operative Wholesale Society in London, for example, controls the policy sent out from Manchester?
§ Mr. Bowles
No; all I am saying is that the directors of the Co-operative Wholesale Society and the Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Society are fully paid ladies and gentlemen. Therefore, I am afraid the Parliamentary Secretary was working on a rather false basis. He did not seem to me to understand the reference of my hon. Friend the Member for Reading to compensation so far as certain of these appointments are concerned. We have all rather forsworn mentioning who they are, but the Parliamentary Secretary referred to one of them in such detail that he is completely identifiable. My hon. Friend the Member for Reading, who said he would not refer to any of them by name, referred to them as being ex-governors of certain places. The position is that compensation, in the sense in which my hon. Friend the Member for Reading used that word, has been promised by Lord Swinton, and, I believe—although I cannot prove it, I suspect it—also by the present Minister. The scheme visualised by the former Minister of Civil Aviation is going to be carried out. Therefore, the fact that these people have been promised compensation by the former Minister makes a rather embarrassing situation. In that sense "compensation" meant that they continued with their jobs.
I am certain that what is essential in an organisation of this kind is for the Minister and the Ministry of Civil Aviation to keep out of the runnng of these corporations. I think that at the present time there is a tendency to butt in too much. The Minister should not interfere too much with the working of the three corporations he proposes to set up, but should concentrate on policy. That is, our logical argument for having full-time executive directors on the operational boards. We have, as a group, come to a unanimous conclusion. Not only should we use hon. Members from this House who have knowledge of the subject, but 655 people from the Royal Air Force and from civil aviation. If the Minister really wants to make a success of his job, in his own interest and in the interests of the Government, he should not always try to defy what is a logical and sensible stand taken by hon. Members on this side of the House.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I respond at once to the appeal of the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) that we on this side of the House should make our position plain. After all, the hon. Member has every right to make that request, for it is his Bill. It has never been denied that the Government, in the words of "The Tribune," did not want this Bill, but the Labour Party's Civil Aviation Committee forced it on them. As the hon. Member has just said, he is Chairman of the Labour Party Civil Aviation Committee; he is, presumably, the architect of this Bill, so he has every right to ask for our position. The newspapers have said that the Government were going to offer the Labour Party the Swinton plan, but owing to a revolt from the back benches opposite, led no doubt by the hon. Member for Nuneaton, they changed their minds. The hon. Member is fully entitled to ask what we would do, and what we are proposing to do on this matter.
There is a further reason why I think it incumbent upon us to make our position plain, namely, because so many of the people for whom my noble Friend Lord Swinton had asked are to be on the various Corporations I have the list here. I know nothing of what goes on behind the scenes, or the comings and goings in the brave new world appointing directors of companies and Members of His Majesty's Government. I do not for one moment imagine that a pledge given by a Conservative Minister would bind a Socialist front bench. I can only imagine that the reason they have retained so many of these people—adding, of course, as Socialists always do, a peer or two to our list of commoners—is because they think Lord Swinton chose well and wisely, and they are glad to abide by his choice.
I do not want to reduce this to a debate on this list of names of the members of the board. They have been announced publicly. In Lord Swinton's time they were, I think, announced in another place. 656 There is nothing secret about it. As the hon. Member for Nuneaton said, there is nothing less calculated to hide the identity of Sir Harold Hartley than the description of him as "the Vice-Chairman of the L.M.S. and the Vice-Chairman of the Gas, Light and Coke Company." I do not imagine this new form of governmental camouflage concealed the identity of the capitalists to whom the Government have. The Parliamentary Secretary must find some other form by which to obscure his views. The members who are to sit upon the various corporations as chairmen are precisely the same people who were to be chairmen under the Swinton plan. The chief executive of British European Airways was himself a director, and has been for many years, of B.O.A.C. All down that list it looks to me, without going into details, as if at least two-thirds of them have been there for quite a long time, and were as much in the mind of my noble Friend Lord Swinton as in the minds of the present Government. So much for the suggestion made.
Our view quite definitely is this. We believe in part-time directors; we dispute absolutely the argument that permanent directors, living remote from other interests and from the great stream of national life, can give better service. We do not believe that any pilot in the world would rather work for a little segregated group of whole-time board members than for a wider board drawn from varying interests outside, who would give him better service. We are confident that good service comes from part-time work, and we reject absolutely the assumption that, in our defence of part-time directors, we are in any way anxious to retain guinea pig directors. The interest that has been shown by the Socialist Party in the number of Conservative Members who are now on the boards of great companies has not disguised the fact that a large number of members of the Socialist Party have appeared as members of many boards; if this fact has not appeared in the national Press, I suppose it is because they rely on the ultimate failure of those companies to show the source from which the directors were drawn.
In regard to the Amendment with which we are now dealing, we believe in part-time directors. We believe in people who bring in experience constantly refreshed 657 from other national activities—trade union leaders, scientists like Lord Rothschild, who has been appointed, and men of such experience; not people who had experience some years ago, but people whose daily life today is enabling them to keep their experience up to date. The suggestion made by the hon. and gallant Member for Dulwich (Major Vernon), that part-time directors and whole-time directors would come into violent collision at what he seemed to imagine would be the occasional meeting on quarter day in the corridors of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, is really so grotesque as a picture of how part-time directors work, that I hope he will allow me to say without any offence that it is about time he stopped experimenting in his diet and took a few more calories.
Our view is this. The chairmen and the vice-chairmen of these corporations should be whole-time executives, but their boards should be drawn from part-time directors. As the hon. Member for Hands-worth (Mr. H. Roberts) said in one of the best short speeches I have heard in this House for many days, we welcome the lessons which the Socialist Government are now learning, and hope, for the sake of the country, that they will extend their experiences to their own back benchers.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Cooper (Middlesbrough, West)
I also should like to refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Hands-worth (Mr. H. Roberts), for he spoke of brains coming in on their own terms. If somebody has in his mind something to contribute to the corporations and their development, and if he has the necessary brains in the opinion of the person appointing him, surely the latter can buy that person's brains, irrespective of whether he comes on to the board or not? It is not essential for a person to become a member of the board just because he has something special to contribute. He can come in for some particular task or scientific problem that may be involved, and when that task or problem is dealt with, he can discontinue his connection with the corporation, for the time being at any rate. There is no need for him to continue as a member of the board.
In any case, the Bill has limited the number of people who can serve on the boards; that being so, it is important that each individual member shall contribute 658 to the utmost of his capacity, and shall be able to be present at more or less the whole of the board meetings and exert his full influence on the decisions reached by the board. The Parliamentary Secretary, replying to the mover and seconder of this Amendment, said it was open to the Minister to make full-time appointments, and I thought he spoke quite enthusiastically on that point. If he really does feel like that, why has he not appointed a full-time director? If, in the first instance, he thought that part-time members of the board would be a good thing, but has since changed his mind, due perhaps to some discussions he may have had, why has he not acceded to the suggestion contained in the Amendment we are discussing? It looks as if he has been partly persuaded, but that his hands are tied. I should have thought that when an nationalised undertaking is setting forth as this is, it should go free and spread its wings, and not have them tied behind its back.
The Parliamentary Secretary also referred to the fact that he might like to have on the board somebody who is a trade unionist who would also like to continue his association with the trade union, so that his influence with the union and the corporation would be intermixed. On more than one occasion it has been the public policy of some unions—and I believe of the T.U.C. itself—that if a person has become associated with the board of an undertaking such as this he should sever his connection with his union. I would like to know whether the suggestion the Parliamentary Secretary made lines up with present union policy in this matter. If so, it indicates that a change of policy has taken place.
There is, in the organisation of an industry, one other root principle to observe if we really want the industry to succeed, and that is, that the people at the top shall set the pace. If anything is right—or wrong, for that matter—in any large scale undertaking, time after time it is proved to be due to the people at the top. It is from that point of view that we ought to take special care of the way in which the boards of these new corporations are set up. If the men who are to be in control are to be really devoted to their task and are to approach it with the required enthusiasm, I think that they themselves would want to join in a 659 full-time capacity. I cannot imagine that anybody having that spirit, anybody who is really bursting with desire to see this thing a success, would want to come in on any other basis, and it is because we feel that that would be the attitude of mind that we wish to see incorporated in the Bill provision for the sort of spirit which is necessary in the leadership of these corporations.
If we take the position of part-time directors and analyse it, and see for whose benefit such people serve in large-scale industry, I think the answer would undoubtedly be that they were serving for personal benefit, so that they could hang on to all sorts of other interests away from the main interests they were expected to look after. The only other possible interest which might be served would be the interest of high finance. Neither personal interests nor high financial interests are the sort of things we want to guide people who are members of the boards of nationalised undertakings. It is suggested that it would be a good thing—and the Parliamentary Secretary has made this point—to have part-time people on the boards. What sort of time will they spend? He said it would be possible to get rid of them if they did not properly devote themselves to their task, but what power has the Minister got over these people, when in the First Schedule, in page 43, it says that only if they are absent without permission for periods longer than three months can the Minister say that he thinks they are not suitable members of the board and can ask them to resign? That means that a man need attend only four times in the year; provided his attendance does not drop down to three times in the year he is all right. That is a measurement of a man's keenness and zest which is of a very unsatisfactory order.
I think we might perhaps learn here from our past experience. The Government have already decided that, in the case of the Coal Board, it shall be full-time service. I therefore suggest that it is Government policy to have full-time directors for nationalised undertakings. The Lord President himself, in referring to the sort of people who ought to serve on these boards, said, in the Civil Aviation Debate on 24th January:We intend to make the appointments on the grounds of competence and ability. We 660 do not mind where the man comes from as long as he has the necessary competence for the position and as long as he is a believer in the policy we are pursuing."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th January, 1946; Vol. 418, c. 432.]I suggest that, if he is really a believer in the policy that is being pursued, he will want to devote himself to the task with that thoroughness and completeness of mind which will make him want to be a full-time member and not a part-time member. Again, looking to the experience of the past, on which I think we should draw, we see that when people have been part-time members of a board a conflict of interest has been aroused in their minds. We know that if a man tries to serve two masters he tends to draw towards one rather than the other. In a presidential address to the Chamber of Shipping in February, 1943, which was published under the heading of, "The Dangers of Monopoly," a man who was a part-time director of B.O.A.C. said these words:Just before the war Parliament in its wisdom decided on the present form of control for the development of civil air transport (B.O.A.C.). That was at a time when it was evident that considerable sums would have to be provided from the public purse to secure a minimum service. Are we still in that position, or can we say that aeroplanes will soon fly without subsidy? When that day comes, private enterprise should be encouraged to develop air transport in the same way as it developed our merchant marine. No one monopoly for sea transport could have secured for us the dominant place which we obtained by open competition in merchant shipping, and I believe that that is equally true of the air.He went on:Once private enterprise is prepared to venture its money in air transport, it should be welcomed, for it is only in an atmosphere of healthy competition that a vigorous merchant air service can be built up.…To create an artificial stimulus in the air, whether British or foreign, will pauperise shipping, whoever does it.That part-time member of the board was a director of a shipping company. If a man has that conflict of interest, he cannot devote himself to the task to which he is publicly appointed, to see that our air lines, in a nationalised undertaking, are really a success. He cannot do that if, at the same time he is a member of the board, he is advocating private enterprise instead. That is the sort of conflict, I think, that is inevitable. It may be suggested that, if that was said in 1943, as it was, it is old history. A present director of B.O.A.C. is talking in somewhat similar terms in a report he recently 661 published—in April, 1946. He suggests that:It remains to be seen how speculative our State-owned air lines will find it possible to be.…There is no impelling social reason for such an experiment, and if they try, and fail, it is, unfortunately, the taxpayers' money which is lost. Indeed, this problem of speculating with public money in unpredictable ventures it a subtle one, to which almost no constructive thought has yet been given.He makes a comparison between air lines and shipping lines, and says:What is not so predictable is the outcome, when the steamship operator finds it necessary to reduce his standards of comfort and amenity in order to face actual price competition from the aeroplane in the highest ranges of his tariff. It is then that the long and leisurely journey by sea may begin to lose some of its traditional attractions.That is from a man who was a director of a shipping company as well as a director of the Air Corporation. There is this conflict of interest, which prevents these people, and is bound to prevent them, giving that enthusiastic service, and that real and inspiring leadership, which are absolutely essential if these undertakings are to develop in the way that will promote the civil aviation progress of this country.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Sir W. Wakefield
Tonight we, have been listening to a very interesting difference of opinion in the ranks of the Socialists. On the one hand, the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) expressed the logical conclusion of what is in the Bill. This Bill gives complete power to the Ministry and to the Treasury to operate and to decide the policy of civil aviation, and to be responsible for it. Clearly, if that is the case, what the hon. Member for Nuneaton and his friends want is complete bureaucracy in absolute control of the Minister, to run this new nationalised industry.
§ Mr. Bowles
Does the hon. Gentleman really think B.O.A.C. is now bureaucratic, or not? Let us understand his terms.
§ Sir W. Wakefield
I am not going to be diverted by the red herrings the hon. Member for Nuneaton wants to draw across the trail. I am saying that he and his friends are following what is logical in the Bill, namely, Ministerial responsibility and bureaucratic operation, with full-time boards of directors and complete bureaucracy. But the Government are 662 rather fearful of this policy of nationalisation which the hon. Member for Nuneaton and his friends want. The Government are timorous about what is happening, and here is a cleavage in the opinion of hon. Members opposite as to how nationalisation should work. Again and again, the learned Attorney-General and the Parliamentary Secretary have given us intentions and assurances of what is going to happen, of how responsibility is to be given to the boards of directors to formulate policy, how freedom of decision is to be given them, flexibility and elasticity; and, clearly, if the intentions expressed, again and again, by the Parliamentary Secretary and by the learned Attorney-General are to be implemented, then the best way to implement them, as my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) said, is by means of part-time directors who can bring breadth of vision and experience to the formulation of policy.
There is another point of great substance. If the intentions behind this Bill are to be carried out, then the directors should feel themselves free to give independent views. How can a man, whose whole livelihood depends upon the views he gives, be as independent as he ought to be on these boards? After all, if a man is in receipt of only part-time remuneration, and if he differs from the Minister, he ought to be able to say so, and if he feels strongly enough about a matter of disagreement, he ought to be able to resign his position. If there are part-time directors that sort of thing will happen, when people feel strongly about a matter. It cannot happen if a man is a whole time servant of the Government. A man who is a whole-time servant of the Government cannot be expected to chuck his whole job. Therefore, I think the Government are very wise in what they are doing, and in not adopting the "whole hogging" atmosphere of nationalisation, which the hon. Member for Nuneaton and his friends recommend. It has been most interesting tonight, to see this difference of opinion as to how schemes of nationalisation should be carried out, and I only hope, for the sake of the future of civil aviation, that the Government will continue to be very fearful inked, of introducing schemes of nationalisation which will prevent flexibility and independence of judgment, and make this great industry, and other great 663 industries, more bureaucratic than they need be.
§ Major Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)
The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) moved this Amendment with great cogency, but it seems t me that one of his contentions was shown to be entirely wrong by the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary. He was under the impression that the main planning authority would be the Minister. We have been given assurances that this is not to be so, and I understand that the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) is also strongly of the opinion that the main planning authority should be the corporation.
§ Mr. Bowles
The hon. and gallant Member has misunderstood me—it is exactly the opposite. I want the Minister of Civil Aviation to direct policy and to leave execution to the corporations
§ Major Macpherson
In that case, I submit that there is no real reason for the board at all. All that is required is a number of departmental heads, each serving in a different capacity. The sort of man we want is a man of mature judgment. The hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper), with his accustomed verve and enthusiasm, seems to think that all that is required is zeal, but he should remember Talleyrand's injunction, "Pas trap de zèle "—not too much zeal. We want men with a capacity to form judgments, men who are well in touch with all kinds of users of
§ aircraft, and men who have knowledge of the countries to which the aircraft are flying. I submit that it would be impossible to gather together a board with such knowledge if these people are to be whole-time members. I was in full agreement with the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield). It is imperative that we should have the utmost independence of judgment. I quite agree that there is something to be said for the point of view that a big part-time director will not have much to lose if he differs from the Minister, because he may be willing to resign, or alternatively he may continue in his guinea pig capacity. Surely the job of the Minister is to select people who are independent persons with mature judgment, and are able to give the necessary service. It will be their duty to reach conclusions based on experience, and to hold their ground against the Minister, and to resign, if necessary, and resign with a resounding clash making known their reasons.
§ Mr. Boothby (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Eastern) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put accordingly, "That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 23; Noes, 230.665
|Division No. 245.||AYES.||[7.25 p.m.|
|Baird, Capt. J.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Solley, L. J.|
|Bowies, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Tiffany, S.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Mikardo, Ian||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Delargy, Captain H. J.||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Wyatt, Maj. W.|
|Foot, M. M.||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Skinnard, F. W.||Mr. Geoffrey Cooper and|
|Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)||Major Vernon.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Bechervaise, A. E.||Bruce, Mai. D. W. T.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Belcher, J. W.||Buchanan, G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A V||Bellenger, F J.||Burke, W. A.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Benson, G.||Byers Lt.-Col. F.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Bing, G. H. C.||Callaghan, James|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Binns, J.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Blackburn, A. R.||Chamberlain, R. A.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Blenkinsop, Capt. A.||Champion, A. J.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Bottomley, A. G.||Clitherow, Dr R.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exoh'ge)||Cobb, F. A.|
|Balfour, A.||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Cocks, F. S.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Coldrick, W.|
|Battley, J. R.||Brown, George (Belper)||Collindridge, F|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Key, C. W.||Robens, A.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||King, E. M.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Kirby, B. V.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Daggar, G.||Lang, G.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lavers, S.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Deer, G.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Sargood, R.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Leonard, W.||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Diamond, J.||Leslie, J. R.||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A.|
|Dobbie, W.||Lever, Fl. Off. N. H.||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helena)|
|Donovan, T.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Shurmer, P.|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Lindgren, G. S.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Lyne, A. W.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Durbin, E. F. M.||McAdam, W.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McAllister, G.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Edelman, M.||McEntee, V. La T.||Snow, Capt. J. W.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||McGhee, H. G.||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Stamford, W.|
|Ewart, R.||McKinlay, A. S.||Stephen, C.|
|Fairhurst, F.||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, F.|
|Farthing, W. J.||McLeavy, F.||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Symonds, Maj. A. L.|
|Forman, J. C.||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Teeling, William|
|Gaitskell, H. T. N.||Mathers, G.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Mayhew, C. P.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Messer, F.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Gibbins, J.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Gilzean, A.||Monslow, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Montague, F.||Timmons, J.|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Moody, A. S.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||Morley, R.||Tolley, L.|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Mort, D. L.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Grey, C. F.||Moyle, A.||Walker, G. H.|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Murray, J. D.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Naylor, T. E.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Gunter, Capt. R. J.||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Guy, W. H.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Weitzman, D.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Aberdare)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Noel-Buxton, Lady||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hardy, E. A.||Oliver, G. H.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Harris, H. Wilson||Paget, R. T.||Wigg, Col. G. E.|
|Harrison, J||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pearson, A.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Pearl, Capt. T. F.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Hicks, G.||Perrins, W.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Popplewell, E.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Holman, P.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Williamson, T.|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Willis, E.|
|Hoy, J.||Pritt, D. N.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pryde, D. J.||Wilson, J. H.|
|Irving, W. J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Woodburn, A.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Randall, H. E.||Woods, G. S.|
|Janner, B.||Ranger, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Rees-Williams, D. R.|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Reeves, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Mr. Joseph Henderson and|
|Keenan, W.||Richards, R.||Mr. Hannan.|
|Kenyon, C.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.
§ Amendments made: In page 43, line 20, after "office," insert "as such."
§ In page 44, line 23, leave out "annual salary," and insert "remuneration."
§ In line 26, leave out the first "annual salary," and insert "remuneration."
§ In line 26, leave out the second "annual salary," and insert "remuneration."
§ In line 32, leave out "annual salary," and insert "remuneration."666
§ In line 33, leave out "annual salary," and insert "remuneration."—[Mr. Ivor Thomas.]