HC Deb 29 July 1946 vol 426 cc707-41

Lords Amendment: In page 26, line 44, leave out subsections (1), (2) and (3), and insert:

"(1) His Majesty may by Order in Council provide for the constitution of an Air Transport Advisory Council consisting of a chairman, who shall be appointed by the Lord Chancellor and who shall be a barrister, advocate or solicitor of not less than seven years' standing, and such number of members appointed by the Minister (not being less than two nor more than four) as may be determined in accordance with the Order.

Of the members of the Council appointed by the Minister, at least one shall be a person of experience in the operation of air transport services, and at least one shall be a person of experience in the operation of other transport services.

No member of any of the three Corporations, and no person employed by any of the three Corporations, shall be qualified to be a member of the Council.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Air Transport Advisory Council to consider any representation from any person with respect to the adequacy of the facilities provided by any of the three Corporations, or with respect to the charges for any such facilities:

Provided that the Council shall not be required by this subsection to consider any such representation if, in their opinion, it is frivolous or vexatious or if, in their opinion, the matters to which the representation relates have been already sufficiently considered by the Council, or if, in their opinion, it is inexpedient that they should consider the representation on the ground that the matters to which it relates are for the time being regulated by any international agreement to which His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom is a party.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Air Transport Advisory Council to consider any question which may be referred to the Council by the Minister, being: —

  1. (a) a question relating to facilities for transport by air in any part of the world, or relating to the charges for such facilities: or
  2. (b) a question which in the opinion of the Minister requires consideration with a view to the improvement of air transport services.

(4) When the Council have considered any such representation or question as aforesaid, they shall report to the Minister upon their conclusions, and shall make such recommendations to the Minister in connection with those conclusions as they think expedient.

(5) The Council may appoint such assessors as they think expedient for the purpose of securing that they are properly advised with respect to matters affecting the interests of persons who use air transport services, or of any class of such persons, and the interests of technical, professional, industrial and commercial bodies (including those of organised labour) directly concerned with the provision of air transport services."

Amendment, read a Second time.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, in subsection (5), line 1, after "may," to insert "with the approval of the Minister."

These words are proposed because in the redrafting of this Clause we have endeavoured to meet the many points of view that have been put to us. I find, after consultation with the hon. Gentlemen whose suggestions have resulted in what is now Subsection (5) of the proposed Amendment by another place, that they would be more satisfied if the words "with the approval of the Minister" were there inserted.

1.2 a.m.

Mr. Bowles (Nuneaton)

I would like to have your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, as to whether I may make a general speech on the lines that I disapprove of the Amendment introduced in another place, to which the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary has now moved an Amendment.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

It will be in Order and more appropriate if the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) speaks when the Question before the House is the Lords Amendment.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment, as amended."

Mr. Bowles

I first would like to give the House a little of the history of this matter. I do not apologise for raising this matter at this time of the night as the position, to my mind, is completely unprecedented in the annals of Parliament. There was, in Standing Committee B, a long discussion on the constitution of the Advisory Council which the Minister proposed to set up under this Bill. There was a good deal of discussion, mainly on the Amendment moved by the hon Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd), and, with the permission of the House, I should like to read one or two of the extracts from the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Standing Committee. The Minister in charge, the Parliamentary Secretary, in the first few pages of the report, resisted the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford, and also those proposed by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper). I think it is only fair, if I might, to read out one or two quotations from the hon. Gentleman's speech.

He said: It would therefore be undesirable to specify in detail the classes of person who should be represented on the Council, as otherwise the membership could not be kept small. That was the first resistance to the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford. The next was when the Parliamentary Secretary said: I quite agree they are all very good persons, but they are not persons who ought necessarily to be on the Advisory Council. I am not, in this speech, proposing to go into the merits of the Amendment moved in the Standing Committee. The Parliamentary Secretary said that the object of this Advisory Council is to represent the ordinary travelling public. It is not intended to represent the point of view of the pilots or operators … What we need … are persons of sound commonsense and good judgment who will represent the point of view of the travelling public. He went on later: For two reasons, however, I should find great difficulty in putting these words into the Bill. One reason is that it must be kept a small body and therefore it is not desirable to fetter the Minister by asking that he shall have regard to particular interests. The second is that it is to represent not those interests but the travelling public … Therefore, I trust that the Committee will agree that, within the ambit of Government policy, which is not now the Swinton policy, this is the kind of Council that we should have. I hope the hon. Gentleman will agree not to move the Amendment. Then the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) twice in his speech affirmed the quotations I have just made. He said: The Parliamentary Secretary said while he has immense sympathy he does not agree that either of these two things should be done. Later he said: The Parliamentary Secretary said that we did not want the workers, but the users, represented. Up to that point it had obviously been resisted on the part of the Government and obviously, also, the Amendment moved later by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough. Then in column 526, the Parliamentary Secretary says: I am quite willing to have this matter considered again. We might wish to adopt our own form of words, because I think it may be necessary to specify other bodies which might have to be brought in. I am prepared to have the matter considered again and to introduce an Amendment at a later stage to cover the principle of the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend for West Middlesbrough. I hope that the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire will not press his Amendment in the light of this assurance. Then the Attorney-General says: The Government are quite prepared to accept the proposals in the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesborough (Mr. Cooper). We invite the hon. Member not to move his Amendment. We undertake on the Report stage to put down an Amendment in substantially the same form but we wish to consider exactly what organisations shall be consulted, and to ensure that all of them are covered. In the next column the Attorney-General says: We accept the general principle of the Amendment, but we want to look at the words to ensure that there is no overlapping with what is proposed in Clause 19 and that the words are sufficiently wide to cover all representations which it may be desirable to include. At the end, the Parliamentary Secretary says: I have accepted the principle of the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friends. Time has elapsed considerably, and I should like the Committee to come to a decision." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 27th June, 1946, c. 514–531.] Accordingly the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford was withdrawn and my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough did not move his Amendment. On the Report stage the Minister, having been pressed in the Standing Committee, put down an Amendment as promised in the Standing Committee on the lines of the Amendments of the hon. Members for Mid-Bedford and West Middlesbrough. When it was moved the Parliamentary Secretary said that it was an Amendment to carry out the undertaking given in Standing Committee, and on the Report stage it was accepted. Then, on Third Reading, the House accepted the Bill with this Amendment in. In all parts of the Committee upstairs, the Government, owing to pressure, agreed to accept the Amendment in principle, and carried out the promise to include it on Report.

I hope that the position up to there has been clear. But what happens next is that the Minister redrafts the whole of this Clause, which, in effect, goes back to the general policy of not having these general interests represented or consulted by not having regard to the interests of those in the organisation. Subsequently, at the bottom of the Amendment it says that there will be a panel of assessors consisting of some of the interests. This is curious, but I should like to know why it was done. This was done to discourage the noble Viscount, Lord Swinton, from moving the Amendment in another place, and I suggest that this is a very serious matter indeed, especially as in the House of Commons the Government gave an undertaking which they carried out. Then we find that the Government have gone back, for reasons unknown to me, on an undertaking given in this House. I suggest that there are serious constitutional issues arising from this, because Ministers might be influenced by another place to leave out provisions in the Commons, or in order to give something away in that other place.

I have thought that there has been a tendency recently for Ministers in another place to ask the Government to allow something to be given away in order to ease the passage of the Bill. That, I think, is very serious. Here, in the House of Commons, we have agreed to the merits of the Amendment in principle, and accepted them on the Report stage here. There is, therefore, no need to talk about the merits, but I do not want to take our attention off the matter before the House. It does seem to me, quite frankly, that this is a form of blackmail arising from the existence of another place, and I think it will be found that to take the line of least resistance often involves oneself in trouble later on. We find in this case that there is a changing of legislation by this House of Commons in order to ease the passage of the Bill elsewhere. It used to be said that another place was only a sub-committee of the Tory Party when it was in power, but I do beg of the Government to realise that we on this side of the House are not prepared to allow legislation passed here to be tampered with in any way in another place. I feel so strongly about this, as do other hon. Friends, that I propose to go into the Division Lobby tonight to vote against this Lords Amendment.

1.15 a.m.

Mr. Mikardo (Reading)

I am sorry to have to detain the House and to interrupt the galloping progress we have made with these Amendments since we passed the controversial terrain of Caledonia, stern and wild. As the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) has said, this matter is one of a major principle and I think it is important that the House should clearly understand what it is it is being asked to do by the Parliamentary Secretary. Clause 36 of the Bill, which lays down the formation of the Air Transport Advisory Council, as originally drafted went to some pains to define the functions of the Council but said nothing about the position of the Council. When this came to be considered upstairs both sides of the Committee felt that the omission of any description of the constitution of the Council was a mistake. It was clear that both sides of the Committee felt it very strongly, not only because the subject was itself intrinsically important but for a second and more important reason, which I hope the House will allow me to put.

There have been many and divided opinions about the administrative structure of this industry, whether there should be one corporation or three, whether there should be full-time directors or part-time directors, and so on. Many strongly held opinions have been expressed one way or the other about these points, but the fact is that no one knows what is right about the administrative structure of this industry. It is a new industry and must have something of an empirical approach about it, although we may find that by its decision this House, on the administrative subject was perhaps, in its great wisdom, quite right.

Upstairs it was thought—and it seems, if I may say so, a sensible point of view— that we ought to maintain a certain amount of elasticity in this matter to cover ourselves against the possibility of having made a mistake. And we all saw, on both sides of the Committee, in the Air Transport Advisory Council, the instrument of this elasticity. We felt that if this Council was a real body composed of competent people in sufficient numbers for the full discharge of its functions and was given adequate powers for such a discharge of functions, but we did not get the adminis- trative structure, the work of the Council would create inconvenience. We considered this was a matter of major importance and both sides of the Committee thought something should be done in Clause 36 to define the constitution of the Council. This attempt to define the constitution was done in two Amendments to which my hon. friend the Member for Nuneaton has referred. I hope I may be permitted to go into some detail about them. The first was moved by the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd). This proposed that the Council should consist of a small number of people, and the chairman should be a barrister of not less than seven years' standing. This view was opposed not only by the Parliamentary Secretary, but by my hon. Friends on the back benches and by an hon. Gentleman opposite. The Parliamentary Secretary opposed it in very cogent words indeed. He said that the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford had made it plain that the Council he desired was something different from that proposed in the Bill. What he wanted, in fact, was part of the Swinton Plan, and it was quite appropriate to that plan which envisaged regular scheduled services operated by persons other than the proposed corporations. The Government's policy had changed since the General Election, and this was a welcome departure from the ideas of the Swinton Plan.

On this subject of the composition of the Air Transport Advisory Council, it is not often that I say anything in commendation of hon. Members opposite, but I am bound to say that the Committee was united about a single object, namely, to make the Council an effective and real Council. The hon. Member for Mid-Bedford heard a number of arguments put against his Amendment, and, largely on the grounds of the smallness of the Committee and so on, was good enough to say that he had been impressed by my hon. Friends and myself and by the Parliamentary Secretary, and therefore withdrew his Amendment.

I come to the second Amendment, which was moved by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper). This Amendment set out to make the Air Transport Advisory Council a very different body from that visualised by the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford. It specified that the Minister, in appointing this Council, should have regard to a number of defined interests. I will not describe them in detail, but they included commercial interests, technical interests associated with the industry, and the interests of employees, including organised labour, and so on. The Parliamentary Secretary began, almost, one might say, out of habit, by resisting this Amendment, but undoubtedly he was impressed by arguments in favour of it which came from all sides of the Committee. No one spoke more effectively than the hon. Member for Macclesfield, who said: I think that the Advisory Council should be constituted as broadly as possible and with a view to the employees being effectively represented on it. I should like to see the British Airlines Pilots' Association, and the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators represented. By using these organisations to the absolute maximum, and by bringing not only the pilots but the representatives of the engineering staffs and radio operators, the Council can learn much from the men who are doing the work. I think that in view of the inexperience of the directors of the Board, as at present constituted, they will be well advised to accept these organisations into the Council."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 27th June, 1946, c. 512.] The hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) put forward another argument in favour of a diverse and effective Council. He asked, and everyone on the Committee agreed with him, that we should give the Board power to appoint permanent or ad hoc sub-committees which, among other things, would have the right to fly to remote parts of the world to investigate complaints brought to their attention. No one resisted that. Indeed, the Parliamentary Secretary was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the hon. Member for St. Marylebone. The House can see what a fine family party we had become by this stage. The Parliamentary Secretary said he had been asked whether the Council would be able to move round to other parts of the world, and that such matters would normally be decided by the Council itself. He went on: It will regulate its own procedure, and if it wishes to go around it will be able to do so. It is certainly our expectation that the Council will have its own headquarters in London, but will move round this country, at any rate, and it would be free to go to other parts of the world to make inquiries if it desired to do so."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 27th June, 1946, c. 527.] It is clear from what I have said, that the intention of the Amendment was well understood by the Committee and the Parliamentary Secretary; namely, that the Council should be a reasonably broad one, sizable enough to be split up into effective committees, and that it should include all those interests— technical, commercial, the manufacturers and the interests of labour. It may be argued that organised labour in the industry is, anyhow, reported on the joint staff committee set up under Clause 19, and, indeed, at the stage at which the Parliamentary Secretary was opposing the Amendment, before he had his very welcome change of heart, he did, indeed, argue that we ought not to ask for representation of the employees on the Advisory Council because they were reported on the joint staff committee, but the fact is that these two things do not in any way conflict.

May I give a couple of examples to illustrate the point? The Air Transport Advisory Council is there to consider representations about facilities, about fates and about complaints about the service. Is it right that people should be able to complain to the Council about alleged misbehaviour on the part of employees of the Corporation, who are not reported and cannot be heard? Clearly, it is not right, and it would be all wrong if these complaints came along and the Council considered them and then had to have a row with the Joint Staff Committee.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre (New Forest and Christchurch)

May I interrupt the hon. Gentleman? Could he say whether that argument really holds good, in view of Subsection (5) of the Amendment?

Mr. Mikardo

Yes; I have read the Amendment with very great care indeed, and I see nothing in it to conflict with it. I will come to Subsection (5) in a moment.

The second example which I give is this. Suppose there was a demand for a reduction in fares on a certain route, and it was established that the reduction could only be effected by reducing the wages of the employees. What is going to happen is that such a demand will be heard by the Air Transport Advisory Council, on which no employee representation exists, if we accept this Amendment. It may be that the corporation, advised by the Air Transport Advisory Council, might agree to cut the fares, and then, again, they will be faced with a first-class row with the joint staff Committee. Is it not much more sensible to have all this argued out? As the hon. and gallant Member for Macclefield (Air-Commodore Harvey) said, anyhow, the experience of pilots and ground engineers would be very valuable indeed on this Council.

There is the merit of the proposal, and it is so clear that even the Parliamentary Secretary came round to recognise it. As the hon. Member for Nuneaton has reminded the House, the Parliamentary Secretary finally said that he accepted the Amendment in principle, but would have a look at the wording, because the Amendment specified certain interests, and the hon. Gentleman said he must be very careful not to leave anybody out. The Parliamentary Secretary said they would have a look at the wording and introduce an Amendment on the Report stage. Everybody on the Committee was satisfied with that, and then, when we came to the Report stage, the Parliamentary Secretary said he was now going to honour a pledge given to the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough, and he did it by saying that subject to a very tiny change, the wording of the Amendment was all right. So the Parliamentary Secretary moved an Amendment in almost precisely the same terms as that of the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough. We then had this situation. Without discussion—half-a-column in the OFFICIAL REPORT shows that—the Parliamentary Secretary moved it formally and there was no objection from either side of the House.

We now have this situation, that the House has expressed a unanimous opinion upon this question; firstly, that it does not want a small committee with a barrister of seven years' standing as its chairman, and, secondly, that it does want a Council which is composed of all these various interests. Off goes the Bill with our blessing to another place. In another place what happens? The Minister scraps the agreed Clause and introduces another Clause which does these two things: Firstly, it reduces the council to from two to four people, with a barrister of not less than seven years' standing as chairman—introducing, in fact, the Amendment of the hon. Gentle- man the Member for Mid-Bedford, which he himself abandoned after admitting that he had been convinced it was all wrong; secondly, it removes the obligation, in picking the Air Transport Council, to have regard to the interests which every hon. Member on both sides of the Committee, and every hon. Member on both sides of the House on Report stage, agreed should be taken into consideration in selecting the personnel of the Air Transport Council.

I do not know to what extent this unprecedented concession, as my hon. Friend called it, this amazing use of another place to flout the unanimous expression of this House—for it is no other—was a craven giving way on the part of the Minister to the fear of opposition in that other place. He began by saying he was moving this Clause in order to remove from himself the wrath of Viscount Swinton. Then, after a powerful speech by Lord Strabolgi, he denied in equivocal terms that he was moving the new Clause in order to placate Viscount Swinton. I do not know to what extent it was a yielding to opposition. This much is clear, that if he was trying to yield to an actual or threatened opposition, he leaned over backwards in doing so. May I explain what I mean by that? Viscount Swinton put down an Amendment on the Order Paper. The Minister, in purporting to go some way to meet the Amendment of Viscount Swinton, went very much farther than anything for which Viscount Swinton was asking.

There are three separate proposals. This House agreed that the Minister, in choosing the members of the Air Transport Council, shall have regard to certain interests. Viscount Swinton was proposing that the Minister should choose his Air Transport Council by different means; that the council should set up a committee, composed of people who represented these various interests. The proposal of the Minister goes much farther away from the original agreement of this House, and says— coming to Subsection (5)—that the council shall be composed, not with regard to the interests on which we agreed but by other means, and the council may, if they think it expedient, appoint some assessors, chosen with regard to other interests. I put it to the House that the Council, if they think it expedient, appointing some assessors, is farther away from the decision of the House than Viscount Swinton saying the council may have a committee which is composed of these interests.

This evening the Parliamentary Secretary has introduced a further Amendment, thinning down this so-called concession still further, because now the position is that the council may, only with the agreement of the Minister, appoint some assessors. We therefore have this present position under Subsection (5), that if the Council are willing to say—as few people are honest enough to say—"We really do not know enough about our job; we had better have some assessors," and if they can get the Minister's agreement to that, they can appoint some "stooges" who -will have power to sit on their deliberations, not having a vote at all. To suggest that this goes any way to meet the pledged word of the Parliamentary Secretary and to meet the unanimous decision of the Committee or of this House is nothing short of a farce. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Nuneaton that this is an unprecedented situation in which the power of this Chamber, representing as it does the voice of our people, is being set at nought by a gathering of some two or three score gentlemen in another place, who have risen on the ladder of fame, for the most part, through their grandfathers starting at the bottom. If we allow this to go through without raising our voice in protest, we shall be doing something to undermine the power and prestige of this House and we shall be doing something, as my hon. Friend said, to build up trouble for ourselves over and over again on matters from another place even more serious and even more fundamental. I do not expect hon. Gentlemen opposite to agree with me, but I am sure that many of my hon. Friends will agree with this point, for which our party has stood for many, many years and on which we dare not give way. I am only sorry that we lack the all powerful reinforcement of the voice of the Minister of Fuel and Power. I feel that if he were here, his voice would not be lacking in support of the prestige of this House against this wanton interference by another place with this unanimous finding.

1.36 a.m.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre (New Forest and Christchurch)

I do not wish to detain the House for long, but I feel, in view of the speech made by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), that a few remarks are necessary. In the first place, whether we like it or not it is the intention of the Government to set up a monopoly, which is being established without regard to the rights of the smaller people, who will have to go into it. That has been made clear in the Debate on a previous Amendment from another place. The fact is, that if we are to consider this properly there are two things of which we must be certain. The first is that the rights of the employees under this Bill are safeguarded; and the second is that the rights of the public are safeguarded.

With regard to the first, I cannot agree with the hon. Member for Reading. It seems to me that on a question relating to service and other such matters, which are purely intrinsic to the working of the Corporation itself, there are adequate safeguards already under Clause 19, and I cannot agree, as far as the internal workings of the Corporations are concerned, that there is any need for further safety. It seems to me, however, that the position regarding the public is much more unsatisfactory. If Members will look back to the Bill as it left us for another place, they will see that under Clause 36 (3) the Minister of Civil Aviation not only was able to suggest but was able to dictate exactly what could be discussed, when it could be discussed and where it could be discussed. It is quite clear from (a) that if he happened to think that a question was inconvenient he could prevent it from coming before the Advisory Council. Similarly under (b) if there was any question he wished to rule out of order all he had to do was to see that the precious Order of his, which is going to make Clause 36 operate, is so drafted that the question he fears or may dislike or his successor may dislike, cannot be brought before the Council.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

I heard the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) say just now that he did not agree with the argument put forward. Apparently, therefore, he does agree with the Amendment under consideration by the House. I should like to ask whether he offered the advice he is now offering to the House on the Report stage when the Amendment was agreed to unanimously.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

I am afraid that on that question I must claim the privilege of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) that afterthoughts are often better than those first expressed. That is the position as this Bill left the House, and it seems to me that the Amendment moved in another place meets all those objections. It means in fact that this Advisory Council will be responsible, not only to the general public in detail but to this House in particular; it means not only that anyone, no matter what his status or position, can raise question and complaint to this House, but it means further that the Transport Advisory Council must report to the Minister and the Minister must be responsible to this House for whatever complaints are raised. In that connection I would point out that the Minister is guarded against, first, frivolous or vexatious questions, second, anything that may have been already sufficiently considered by the Council and, thirdly, he cannot be tackled on any question which may be subject to an international agreement at the time it is raised. With these safeguards the public have at last something which they have never had in this Bill before—an adequate means of representation. That is a thing which, as the hon. Member for Reading has pointed out, has been denied before, but even His Majesty's Government at the moment may be permitted to have the wisdom to learn from another place and realise that their first thoughts, swelled by their confident majority or whatever it may have been, are not the final stage. We on this side welcome that. We have, by accepting this Amendment, achieved something which will mean that however much we may regret this monopoly—for which we can see no need and no useful purpose— at least its chief dangers and evils are somewhat offset by the concession that the Government have made at this late stage.

1.43 a.m.

Mr. Henderson Stewart (Fife, East)

I do not want to go into the merits of this Amendment, but I feel that something must be said on the general thesis expressed by the two hon. Members who spoke from the other side of the House. Their proposition, as I understand it, was this. A certain proposal, made in this House and carried, went to another place. The Minister responsible in that other place altered the proposal and gave it a different form. If the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) does not like that new form, let him at least have the courage to blame his own Minister.

Mr. Bowles

I blame the whole Government.

Mr. Stewart

Let him have the courage to blame his whole Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "He has."] May I be allowed to conclude my argument? That is only half of what the hon. Member said; he said he did blame his own Government partly, and apparently he did blame his own Minister, but he concluded his speech, as did the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), by laying the blame not on the Government but on the Second Chamber. Certainly I am one of those who would say that the will of this House must be supreme; that, after all, was the whole point of the Parliament Act of 1911, and I have never myself thought to give away one ounce of the authority of this House. But the purpose of the Second Chamber is to reflect upon and to reconsider the Bills that are passed by this House. Governments on many occasions, including this Government have found out that reflection in that other Chamber, has sometimes brought about changes.

Mr. Bowles

The hon. Gentleman does not appear to remember very much what I said. I said that Lord Winster did not move the Amendment to make the Bill better but because, if he moved it, Lord Swinton would not move his.

Mr. Stewart

The hon. Gentleman said something rather different later on. The Parliamentary Secretary answered by saying that the Amendment of the Minister was more than they asked for. The hon. Gentleman finished by saying that this was blackmail on the part of the House of Lords. That was an expression of sheer lack of courage on the part of the hon. Gentleman. For any change to which he objects the whole responsibility rests on the Government. The hon. Member knows that if the Government had decided to stick to their guns, nothing that the House of Commons did would have made any difference. It would merely have meant that the Whips would have been put on, and the Government's docile majority would have marched wherever they were told.

1.46 a.m.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Many hon. Members who have not followed this Bill closely must be wondering what all this is about. The narrative of events has been given. With portions of it I have no complaint to make, but I should like to give my own narrative and I shall confine it to the facts. There are certain facts that I should like to add to those which have already been given. Clause 36 as originally drafted laid down that: His Majesty may by Order in Council provide for the Constitution of an Air Transport Advisory Council consisting of such number of members appointed by the Minister as may be determined in accordance with the Order. To that Subsection my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. G. Cooper) put down an Amendment, to add at the end that the Council should, in particular, be "representative" of the interests of certain specified producing and consuming interests. He withdrew this Amendment, and a new Amendment appeared under his name which proposed that in the appointment of members to the Council the Minister should "have regard" to the same specified interests. The Amendment was considered in Committee on 27th June. At the same time an Amendment was moved by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) to provide that the chairman should be a barrister or solicitor of seven years' standing appointed by the Lord Chancellor, and so on. I resisted the Amendment, not because I thought there was anything wrong with the substance of it—for I said it was the Minister's intention to have a legal chairman—but because I saw little meaning in "seven years' standing" and because I did not want the Minister's choice fettered. There is no objection in substance, and in another place we found it possible to accept the principle of the Amendment with a few changes; for example, we added "advocate" to ensure that a Scotsman might be appointed. In the same debate I gave good reasons for resisting the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough. But on that occasion as on many others during the passage of the Bill, we endeavoured to meet the various points put to us. In this House we learn, or try to learn, to rub shoulders with each other and to get along with each other. We endeavoured, therefore, to do what we could to meet him. I was fortified by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), who said that this was "a very tiny coin." He said: "It does not ask that this Council shall be a representative body—it is a very tiny coin—but that the Minister shall have regard to the interests of these people." I have pointed out also that my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough had withdrawn his Amendment asking for representation and had substituted an Amendment asking only that the Minister should "have regard." I should be the last person to try to diminish the force of these words. If they are put into a Bill, they clearly have a meaning, and must be respected. They appear in many other Bills, these words "have regard to," and I should not wish to diminish their force, but obviously they do not mean as much as the words in the Amendment withdrawn by my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough. In accepting it in the Committee I did use the words quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles), but I made it quite clear that we were rejecting the idea of a representative body because I said: The hon. Member was really advocating what has already been rejected by the Committee, namely, an Air Transport Board. This however is not implied in the Amendment. It is true that by it the Minister has only to have regard to certain bodies."— [Standing Committee B, 27th June, 1946, c. 526.] Then I used the words, "I am quite willing to have this matter considered again," which have been quoted already. Then my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General—

Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham)

My hon. Friend is quoting from the Report. Would he apply his mind a moment to the words of the Attorney-General: The Government are quite prepared to accept the proposals in the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper). We invite the hon. Member not to move his Amendment. We undertake on the Report stage to put down an Amendment in substantially the same form, but we wish to consider exactly what organisations shall be consulted, and to ensure that all of them are covered. We also wish to consider the relationship between Clause 19. in its amended form, and Clause 36. Then in reply to another hon. Member, the Attorney-General said: We accept the general principle of the Amendment, but we want to look at the words to ensure that there is no overlapping with what is proposed in Clause 19 and that the words are sufficiently wide to cover all representations which it may be desirable to include."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 27th June, 1946, c. 529–30.] So that was quite a clear and unequivocal undertaking. Is that undertaking being now completely withdrawn and repudiated by the Parliamentary Secretary, who made it?

Mr. Thomas

I really do not know why my hon. Friend should have interrupted. I was in the middle of a sentence to the effect that the Attorney-General had given a similar assurance, and the whole burden of my remarks, if I may be allowed the same latitude as has been allowed to other hon. Members, is that every undertaking has been fulfilled. But I am not going to be content with a single sentence to say so; I want to develop an argument. It is not disputed that the undertaking was fulfilled on the Report Stage, and we may be regarded as having agreement on that point. What happened next was that this Bill went to another place. [Interruption.] It is possible, I believe, to move Amendments on the Third Reading, but we do not now normally do so in this House. The Bill went to another place, and in that other place a large number of Amendments of some importance and complexity were put. Among them were three Amendments put down by Lord Swinton to Clause 36. They at once presented my noble Friend with a great problem. It is not an easy matter to steer a Measure—a nationalisation Measure— through another house with over 700 peers of a different political persuasion. [Interruption.] It is not always easy to steer it through a House where the Government have a large majority.

These Amendments appeared on the Order Paper. Some of them would have wrecked the policy of the Bill and had to be resisted completely. With others compromise was possible. It is impossible always to get the exact form of words one wants. We cannot do that even in this House, much less in dealing with another place. What my noble Friend did was to redraft the Clause, observing the spirit of all the undertakings given in the Commons and at the same time helping the passage of the Bill through the other Chamber. The relevant words can be studied by anybody who cares to do so. They are contained in Subsection (5) of the new Clause as it has reached us from another place.

In the Bill as it left this House it was laid down that the Minister in making his appointments to the Air Transport Advisory Council should have regard to certain producing and consuming interests. In the Bill as it has now reached us from another place it is laid down that the Council may appoint such assessors as they think expedient for the purpose of securing that they are properly advised with respect to matters affecting the interests of persons who use air transport services, and so on through the same catalogue of specified persons. The spirit of the subsection is exactly the same as that of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough.

The words have been changed to some extent, but even in the wording there is not a great deal of change. The spirit of the undertaking has been completely met. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Hon. Members can study it themselves. What they cannot deny is that my noble Friend in redrafting the Clause regards himself as having met the undertaking. It was his belief, and still is his belief, that he has fulfilled that undertaking entirely. I am bound to say I think he is right. In political matters it is not always possible to get every comma one wants. Sensible people do not trouble about commas so long as they get the substance. Hon. Members have secured the substance of what they want.

Mr. Mikardo

Will my hon. Friend allow a single question? Is he trying to tell the House that the change from having Members on the Air Transport Advisory Council to the right only of choosing assessors is the change of a comma?

Mr. Thomas

If my hon. Friend asks my opinion, I think that the provision has been amended, so far as it has been amended, in the direction he desires. I believe the appointment of assessors from these classes of persons puts these classes of perons in a stronger position than otherwise. In the original form the Minister was to "have regard" to these classes. Now assessors may be appointed from these classes. The assessors will sit with the Council. They are to all intents and purposes members of the Council. If matters came to a vote they would, presumably, not vote, but there would seldom be a division.

Mr. Mikardo

How many assessors?

Mr. Thomas

There is no limit put on the number. [Interruption.] If the hon. Member is going to legislate on suspicion we should never make any progress. That is my contention, . that the undertaking which was given was a very limited undertaking and that it has been fulfilled. The spirit of that amendment has been entirely kept in the drafting changes which this Bill has had to go through in the two Houses. What has been said is in effect that this House should never agree to any changes made in another place. If so, what are we doing tonight? I would point out that there have been more important changes this evening before the House than this one, especially in Clause 23. I can only say that this is a very unrealistic attitude for hon. Members to adopt—[Interruption.] I think that some of the hon. Gentlemen who have spoken this evening have behaved like spoilt children. It is a habit of spoilt children when they are given a red rattle to demand a blue one, but that does not get them very far.

Mr. Bowles

Lord Winster said in another place: These Amendments to Clause 36 are designed to meet the point of an Amendment to the same Clause standing in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Swinton, and I trust that the noble Viscount will consider that in substance they do meet his point. Now, who is spoilt?

Mr. Thomas

Well, here are the documents for anybody to study if he pleases. The undertaking which was given has been kept in the spirit and almost to the letter, and all I can say is that if they expect more than that they are behaving in a most unrealistic attitude.

Before sitting down, I would like briefly to refer to some remarks by the hon. Member for Reading. He spoke of my noble Friend using the House of Lords to flout the House of Commons. I think he must agree that my noble Friend, of his own volition would not have made any change. When he says that all sides of the Committee upstairs agreed, what he really means is that hon. Gentlemen from the Conservative Party in the Committee naturally seized every opportunity of voting with a Labour minority in the hope of defeating the Government.

Mr. Geoffrey Cooper (Middlesbrough, West)

May I ask one question? I am a rather new Member, and I want to know if this is a precedent. If I am able to obtain an assurance such as this in Committee, can I or anyone else in future rely on its being carried out?

Mr. Thomas

No assurance given by any Minister in this House can prevent us from having an Amendment in another place.

2.4 a.m.

Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham)

I speak with some reluctance, but I think that the House has never been treated with such contempt as has just been shown. Not one word of answer has been given, but there has been a complete repudiation of the undertaking which was given upstairs, and in respect of such undertaking the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper) withdrew an Amendment. The hon. Gentleman withdrew it, but there has not been one word of explanation to this House of how this Clause came about.

And then in response to some measure of debate he gets up and says, "Well, of course, no undertakings given by a Member are proof against the vote of the House''. This is a Minister speaking on behalf of the Government, a Government which I think is the best Government for 40 years and may yet be the best Government of all time. It is a tragedy to have such an utterance from the Front Bench.

Mr. Thomas

I do not recollect those were the words I used.

Mr. Hale

The words used not two seconds ago were "The hon. Member knows no undertaking given upstairs can be proof against the vote of the House".

Mr. Thomas

No. The phrase I used was that "there was no guarantee that an Amendment would not be moved in another place."

Mr. Hale

Amendments moved by their own Minister, by the Minister for Civil Aviation. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to answer this question. Does he suggest that the Minister of Civil Aviation representing the Government in another place, was forced by the thought of a hostile majority to move an Amendment and is he suggesting the Minister did it of his own volition?

Mr. Thomas

I have already said that the Minister did not do it of his own volition. It was to meet the exigencies of the occasion, and in particular to prevent this great nationalisation Measure being delayed towards the end of the Session. If there was a three months' delay in getting the passage of this Bill the consequences would be serious to civil aviation.

Mr. Hale

As this is the reason I, at once, accept the explanation of the Parliamentary Secretary. I, at once, withdraw what I said about him. Now that we have a full explanation we can face the issue. It is plain this great nationalisation Measure could not go through and would not have gone through, because of the hostile majority in another place. If this is the official explanation of the Government, and the Parliamentary Secretary gave this explanation deliberately, in answer to a question by me, we on this side of the House have a right to face up to it. We have a right to say we will not permit this austere anachronism to continue much longer, where the position is that our Ministers are not able to carry through great Measures of nationalisation. If this is the explanation as given by the Parliamentary Secretary I am bound to accept it. He says the noble lord the Minister did not wish this Clause to go through: he says the Government did not wish this Clause to go through now, but were compelled by a hostile majority— what is described as 700 peers, though this strikes me as a rather large attendance—to pilot it through.

One can appreciate the position in which the noble Lord would feel in these circumstances. I do not know what was the proper remedy but he might have followed the Roman custom and bared his bosom to the sword. Perhaps he would get the Parliamentary Secretary to hold the weapon for him. One can imagine the unhappy circumstances of the Parliamentary Secretary: with the prospect of immediate and not undeserved promotion, he might find himself in something of a quandary It may be that in the nick of time, as we see it on the films, the Lord President may rush in with an equivocal formula, shouting "Hold, hold, I can explain this to the House." I have such a faith in the ability and in the resources of the Lord President—I say this with all sincerity—that I thought he would come down to explain this. I was quite prepared to accept his explanation but I do not really think anyone out of Bedlam can accept the explanation of the Parliamentary Secretary. I was not talking about the last explanation. The last one but five struck me as the least offensive. That was the one in which he said he regarded this as the same Clause. It has been re-drafted and re-amended; there may perhaps be a comma here or a semi-colon there, but it really is the same Clause. Of course, he says, we would have to interpret "may" as "shall", but he was told by the legal advisers that there was no difference at all between these two words. What really is the position? I have tried to find out what an assessor is. I first examined Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, and worked down to Webster's. Nobody knows what an assessor is. Milton, who gives the best definition, says he is one who sits by another as next in dignity. But once he gets there, nobody knows what he does; and no one knows under this Clause.

It is a serious matter, and I am sorry it is being treated with hilarity, though that may be due to the lateness of the hour. Here are two assessors who may or may not be sacked by the Ministry, or, if not sacked, may not be allowed to advise. I do say that there should be an answer to the question put by the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough. That question is vital. If an hon. Member in Committee upstairs moves an Amendment of substance which is fundamental to Socialist policy, and fundamental to the carrying out of Socialist ideas, and if it is said to him, "Will you please withdraw, will you please not force it," to what extent is he, in the future, to be able to rely on undertakings given? I am sorry that, in quoting, I quoted the words of the learned Attorney-General, because he does not come into this at all. Because he was there, as he has been at these Committees, and displayed great ability, learning and consideration, I do not wish to criticise him in this matter at all. He did crystallise the undertaking given by the Parliamentary Secretary, and did make clear what it was desirable to make clear.

But an undertaking was given. It is now being repudiated. The Parliamentary Secretary shakes his head. I do not know whether we are going back on that, but the last explanation was that the Parliamentary Secretary did not agree with this Clause, because it was not the Clause he wanted. Why has he forced it on us? If it is not the Clause he wanted, it must differ from the Clause he did want. I am sorry,, at this time of the night, to take up this time over what I believe is a constitutional issue of importance. I think I am entitled to ask the hon. Members on the Front Bench for some explanation of why a specific undertaking has been repudiated, and what expectation we may have as to this procedure in the future. If it be that the final explanation given by the Parliamentary Secretary was the correct one, if it be, as it may well be, that, knowing what was going to happen in another place, the Minister tactfully and wisely effected a compromise rather than have his Clause defeated, then I say—conscious of what I am saying—that the sooner this business can be ended the better, and the sooner we are able to run our affairs on the basis of pure democracy the better it will be.

2.15 a.m.

Mr. Henry Usborne (Birmingham, Acock's Green)

I suppose there comes in the career of almost every Member of Parliament a moment when he has to decide whether to speak out or to hold his peace. That occasion has arrived tonight for me. The decision is the most difficult because I do not believe that anything I am going to say will alter the course of this Bill one iota, nor do I believe that the substance of this particular Amendment is very important either way. But I do happen to believe that the Government, on this occasion, have broken faith with us who worked with them on the Bill upstairs. I think it is the more regrettable because it appears to me that the Government cannot understand how they have broken faith, or why we think that they have done so. I do not believe that there was any question of a deliberate breach of faith in another place. I am quite certain that the Minister there was doing his best to get the Bill through as quickly as possible. Nor do I deny the facts related by the Parliamentary Secretary when he gave it as his opinion that this Amendment has not altered the spirit of the original Amendment. Quite clearly, in the opinion of the Minister and his Parliamentary Secretary, it is not a fundamental change that has taken place.

I would however like to remind the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, and the House, what, in my opinion, the change has, in fact, meant. It will be recalled that the first event here was an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd), in which he asked that the Council should be composed of four members. That was eloquently and rapidly overthrown, and the Amendment was withdrawn. Then we discussed an Amendment which we, on the Labour side proposed, which asked the Government to create an Advisory Council on which would be reported a great number of different interests. In the course of the argument with which it was supported, this phrase was frequently used—"We desire to give the Minister elbow room." Our difficulty is this. We wanted various bodies to be represented on the Council as members of that Council. On the other hand, we did not want to tie the Minister by defining precisely the size of the Council or the exact bodies which should be represented. It was quite clear—and it can be checked up—that, when we put forward that Amendment, we were thinking of a Council of between 15 and 25, of that sort of order. I will not bore the House by quoting the references, but it was clear that that was the size of which we were thinking. As has been related, the Government accepted the principle of our Amendment, and they did, very rightly, move, on the Report stage, an almost similarly worded Amendment. Then the Minister, in another place—

Mr. Ivor Thomas

I appreciate the spirit of my hon. Friend's speech. I ask him if he will say whether at any time I gave any encouragement that, under the Clause, as amended, there would be very large representation.

Mr. Usborne

I cannot precisely pin down the Parliamentary Secretary to the wording used, although I think he must have realised what was in our minds. I do not deny that the Government did not want that, in the first place I agree about that; but what I say categorically is that the majority of the Committee wanted it. As good democrats, the Government compromised on that issue. I say, therefore, that the Government did what I think was the right thing in accepting the advice which we wanted to give them. Thus, having adopted a Clause which defined the Council in terms which must have meant a Council of from 15 to 25, we rind that the Minister of Civil Aviation, in another place, has moved a Clause which now brings the Council back to a minimum of three and a maximum of five, almost precisely the figures in the original Amendment, moved by the Opposition, which was so decisively defeated in the first instance. If that is not a change, and a fundamental change, I do not know what is. The tragedy of all this is that this is a fundamental change, a change in spirit—which is what is meant by "fundamental change." We believe that is what happened; but the Parliamentary Secretary apparently cannot understand why we hold that point of view, nor why we complain of their action.

2.21 a.m.

Mr. H. Morrison

The House has been discussing this Amendment for quite a long time, and I would hope that we might now be able to come to a conclusion. I make no complaint that the discussion should have taken place. Indeed, it was probably inevitable that it should. But it has gone on a fair time; I think the House is seized of the issues on the historical side of the Amendment, and, with some observations from myself, I would hope that perhaps the House would be good enough to come to a conclusion. Quite frankly, I cannot enter into all the detail and historical matter which has been dealt with by hon. Friends in the course of the Debate, i was not a Member of the Standing Committee; I do not know all the details of what took place. I have not read every word of the speeches made on the Standing Committee, therefore the House will forgive me if I cannot go into that side of the matter; indeed, it would not be competent for me to do so, and would be rather impudent were I to seek to do so.

I gather the Standing Committee had a fairly exciting time as it went along, and that there were certain differences of opinion which manifested themselves on the Committee, and difficulties did arise. But at this stage we have this Amendment before the House, and the question which it seems to me the House has to decide is a practical question, the references to the past having been ventilated—and I understand the feeling behind them. The real question the House is going to vote on is, whether or not the proposals in the Amendment from another place are more appropriate, better and more suitable than the words in the Bill when it left this House. It is a question of merit between the two versions of the provisions in this Clause. On that point, with very great respect to some of my hon. Friends who have views otherwise, whose views I respect, my own conviction is that this proposed new version is better than the version which left this House. Whatever the reason for it, whether my noble Friend was the true author, or whether he was the author subject to force majeur from Viscount Swinton, I think it is a better version. The version of Clause 36 which went to another place provided that: His Majesty may by Order in Council provide for the constitution of an Air Transport Advisory Council consisting of such number of members appointed by the Minister as may be determined in accordance with the Order. (2) In the appointment of members of the Air Transport Advisory Council the Minister shall have regard to all appropriate interests, including the interests of—

  1. (a) the technical, professional, industrial and commercial bodies, including those of organised labour, directly concerned with the provision of air transport services; and
  2. (b) those bodies which appear to the Minister to represent the persons who use air transport services, or any class of the said persons."
If the Minister is to have regard to all those bodies and classes of people a certain situation will arise. One must attach some importance to the words "having regard to." If they are in the Statute they cannot be ignored by the Minister thereafter. If the Minister in constituting the Advisory Council would have regard to the desirability on the appointments of an appropriate, interest, including those technical, professional, industrial and commercial bodies, including those of organised labour, directly concerned with the provision of air transport services; and those bodies which appear to the Minister to represent the persons who use air transport services, or any class of the said persons. He would get a very large Advisory Council and also a body which was primarily a body representing sections of the community with interests upon the Advisory Council. I admit an argument can be brought forward to sustain that view. I think it was open to the criticism that it would tend to make the Advisory Council an aggregation of interests of one sort and another.

Under the scheme as it comes back from another place this possibility of the interests that are really concerned being taken into adequate and high powered consultation with the right of argument is brought into line, while a coherent advisory body is created consisting of a Chairman who shall be appointed by the Lord Chancellor with legal qualifications, and such number of members appointed Minister (not being less than two nor more than four) as may be determined in accordance with the Order. That gives a fairly small, coherent body. In order to come to the ideas of some of my Friends, which is that they want certain interests in on the ground floor of the Advisory Council or as near the ground floor as may be possible, the Subsection provides: The Council may appoint such assessors as they think expedient for the purpose of securing that they are properly advised with regard to various matters.

This, to a great extent, is where those interests which were mentioned in the original version are brought in. Therefore, the difference is that such interests can be brought in as assessors as are required from time to time in so far as their interest is relevant or helpful with regard to the inquiry that the Advisory Council may be conducting, but it avoids all being on the main body. It brings them in as they are required as assessors, and the position of an assessor is, I think, representative; that is to say, the assessor is there to represent and to urge a point of view of interest to the decision which ought to be the decision of the Advisory Council. It is not so that the assessor will not have material influence. Hon. Members of this House have acted as assessors from time to time, and they know that assessors have considerable influence on these bodies.

I think that is the more democratic and, if I may say so with respect, a more public-spirited way than the method suggested—I admit that the method was proposed by the Government—when the Bill left this House. Therefore, I would say with great respect to hon. Members of the House as a whole, that what we have to do now when we go to a vote or at any rate agree to the Amendment from another place possibly without a vote, is to decide which is the best version. For the reasons I have indicated the revised version, or the Clause as it has come back from another place, is on the whole an improvement on the Clause as it left this House. I, therefore, ask the House to agree to the advice which has been given.

Mr. Bowles

Before my right hon. Friend sits down will he tell the House whether the Government's view now is that it is either better, or the same, or worse than it was before; and has he not a single word to say on the constitutional issue involved?

Mr. Morrison

On the constitutional issue, if this House, on the advice of the Government, or without that advice—at least, we get into another constitutional difficulty if the House sets aside the advice of the Government—decides to disagree with another place, I would say that certainly the will of this House should prevail. There may, however, be occasions when, in circumstances in which it is possible to reach a compromise, an arrangement may be come to for good reasons which does not seriously damage the Bill. But on the constitutional issue I say, without hesitation, that in a real tussle between this House and another place I am for this House all the time; I always have been and always will be. Having said that I still maintain that the real issue before the House tonight is the merits of the two versions, and I honestly think that, on the merits of the case, the words as they come back from another place are rather better than when they left this Chamber.

2.31 a.m.

Mr. Pritt (Hammersmith, North)

I only seek to speak after the Lord President because I had risen several times before. I suggest to the House that the real issue is not that put by the Lord President, which of these two sets of words is the better. If it were, my own inclination would be with the hon. Gentleman who has been raising this matter so steadily, but the real issue is between words suggested in another place, and words which went from this House, sealed with a definite undertaking by the Parliamentary Secretary. The clash is between words which the Government here have really obliged themselves to stand by, and words forced upon the Government in the ordinary course of controversy in another place, where, no doubt, the noble Lord deserves all our sympathies and makes us, by his example, resolve never to get

into such a position ourselves. When we have two sets of words that, with the seal of this House upon the one group in a particular sense, it really is a clash-not perhaps an all important clash, but a very definite clash—between this House and another place, and I appeal to the Government to say that it is such a clash and that they should not give way.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment, as amended."

The House divided: Ayes, 151; Noes, 30.

Division No. 276.] AYES. [2.35 a.m.
Adams, Richard (Balham) Harrison, J. Rankin, J.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Haworth, J. Reid, T. (Swindon)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Rhodes, H.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Hewitson, Capt. M. Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Attewell, H. C. Hobson, C. R. Robens, A.
Barton, C. Holman, P. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Bechervaise, A. E. Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Berry, H. Hoy, J. Sargood, R.
Bing, G. H. C. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Binns, J. Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)
Blackburn, A. R. Irving, W. J. Shurmer, P.
Blyton, W. R. Janner, B. Skeffington, A. M.
Boardman, H. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Brook, D. (Halifax) Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Snow, Capt. J. W.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Kenyon, C. Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) King, E. M. Steele, T.
Burke, W. A. Kinley, J. Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)
Champion. A. J. Lavers, S. Stubbs, A. E.
Clitherow, Dr. R. Lee, F. (Hulme) Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Cocks, F. S. Mack, J. D. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Collick, P. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Comyns, Dr. L. MoLeavy, F. Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Daggar, G. Mann, Mrs. J. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Daines, P. Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.) Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Marquand, H. A. Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Marshall F. (Brightside) Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.) Mayhem, C. P. Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Deer, G. Middleton, Mrs. L. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Monslow, W. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Dumpleton, C. W. Morgan, Dr. H. B. Watkins, T. E.
Ede, Rt. Han. J. C. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Weitzman, D.
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.) Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) Murray, J. D. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Farthing, W. J. Neal, H. (Claycross) West, D. G.
Forman, J. C. Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Micholls, H. R. (Stratford) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Noel-Buxton, Lady Wilkes, L.
Gibbins, J. O'Brien, T. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Gibson, C. W. Oldfield, W. H. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Gilzean, A. Pargiter, G. A. Willis, E.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Gordon-Walker, P. C. Paton, J. (Norwich) Wilson, J. H.
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Pearson, A. Wise, Major F. J.
Grierson, E. Peart, Capt. T. F. Woods, G. S.
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Perrins, W. Yates, V. F.
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Plans-Mills, J. F. F.
Gunter, Capt. R. J. Porter, E. (Warrington) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Guy, W, H. Pursey, Cmdr. H. Mr. Collindridge and
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Randall, H. E. Mr. Simmons
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Ranger, J.
Allen, Scholefield (Crews) Collins, V. J. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)
Baird, Capt. J. Delargy, Captain H. J. Haire, Fit-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Driberg, T. E. N. Hale, Leslie
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)
Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Palmar, A. M. F. Usborne, Henry
Mainwaring, W. H. Price, M. Philips Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Messar, F. Pritt, D. N. Walkden, E.
Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Shawcross, C. N. (Wiónes) Wyatt, Maj. W.
Nally, W. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford) Stokes, R. R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Paget, R. T. Swingler, S. Mr Geoffrey Cooper and
Mr. Mikardo.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 27, line 42, after "Parliament", insert: provisions for the payment out of such moneys of expenses incurred in connection with the appointment of assessors by the Council.

2.40 a.m.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

I think it will be agreed that if there are to be assessors, as we have now decided, the expenses incurred in connection with their appointment should be paid. This makes provision for it.

Question put, and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Lords Amendment: In page 27, line 43, at end, insert: The procedure of the Council shall be such as to secure that no member of the Council shall sit to consider any representation or question which it is the duty of the Council to consider, if, in respect of the matters to which the representation or question relates, he has any special interest such as may tend to interfere with his impartial consideration of the representation or question.

Mr. Thomas

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The object of this Amendment is to ensure that no man shall be a judge in his own cause.

Lords Amendment: In page 28, line 9, at end, insert: and each of the three Corporations shall keep the Council informed of all services which are provided by them or which they intend to provide, and of the charges which the Corporation make or propose to make for any such services.

Mr. Thomas

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment will facilitate the work of the Council by keeping them informed of the air transport services provided by the Corporations.

Lords Amendment: In page 29, line 34 at end insert new Clause B.—" (Management and administration of aerodromes.) .—(1) In the management and administration of any aerodrome vested in him the Minister shall make such provision as he thinks necessary to ensure that adequate facilities for consultation are provided for the local authorities in whose areas the aerodrome or any part thereof is situated, and for other local authorities whose areas are in the neighbourhood of the aerodrome, and for other organisations representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the aerodrome is situated. (2) The Minister shall appoint for each such aerodrome an officer who shall be responsible to the Minister for all services provided on the aerodrome on behalf of the Minister, including signalling services, flying control services, and services connected with the execution of work.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

There are two Subsections here, embodying in the Bill what has for a long time been my noble Friend's policy. The first Subsection ensures there shall be local consultation with regard to aerodromes, and, in particular, with the local authorities and such bodies as the chambers of commerce. The second provides that there shall be one person responsible for everything at the aerodrome.

Question put, and agreed to.—[Special Entry.]

Lords Amendment: In page 30, line 36, at end, insert new Clause C.—"(Exclusion of discrimination.)

.—The Minister shall not provide any of the three Corporations with aerodrome facilities in connection with the operation of any charter service unless he is satisfied that comparable facilities are available, or can be made available if required, to persons other than the three Corporations in connection with the operation of a similar service, and are so available, or can be made so available if required, upon terms and conditions not less favourable than those upon which the facilities in question are provided by him for the Corporation concerned. In this section the expression "aerodrome facilities" means any facilities connected with the use of an aerodrome, and the expression "charter service" means any service provided on charter terms.

Mr. Thomas

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

My noble Friend and I have frequently given undertakings that in charter work there shall be no discrimination in favour of the corporations as against private operators. We have now, as far as possible, put that undertaking into the Bill in this Clause.